The observation that the VLCK diet severely reduced FM while preserving muscle mass was reinforced by the maintenance of its physiological action (i.e., muscle strength). Despite a slight reduction in ALM and ASLM, as determined by DXA and MF-BIA, respectively, crude HG remained unchanged during the study (Table 1). Moreover, HG/ALM and HG/ASLM showed a moderate increase in comparison with baseline [Fig. 3(C)].
First reported in 2003, the idea of using a form of the Atkins diet to treat epilepsy came about after parents and patients discovered that the induction phase of the Atkins diet controlled seizures. The ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital modified the Atkins diet by removing the aim of achieving weight loss, extending the induction phase indefinitely, and specifically encouraging fat consumption. Compared with the ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet (MAD) places no limit on calories or protein, and the lower overall ketogenic ratio (about 1:1) does not need to be consistently maintained by all meals of the day. The MAD does not begin with a fast or with a stay in hospital and requires less dietitian support than the ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are initially limited to 10 g per day in children or 20 g per day in adults, and are increased to 20–30 g per day after a month or so, depending on the effect on seizure control or tolerance of the restrictions. Like the ketogenic diet, the MAD requires vitamin and mineral supplements and children are carefully and periodically monitored at outpatient clinics.[48]
The ketogenic diet is not a benign, holistic, or natural treatment for epilepsy; as with any serious medical therapy, complications may result.[28] These are generally less severe and less frequent than with anticonvulsant medication or surgery.[28] Common but easily treatable short-term side effects include constipation, low-grade acidosis, and hypoglycaemia if an initial fast is undertaken. Raised levels of lipids in the blood affect up to 60% of children[38] and cholesterol levels may increase by around 30%.[28] This can be treated by changes to the fat content of the diet, such as from saturated fats towards polyunsaturated fats, and if persistent, by lowering the ketogenic ratio.[38] Supplements are necessary to counter the dietary deficiency of many micronutrients.[18]

At its core, weight loss results from burning more calories than you consume. But the macronutrient composition of those calories is also vital. Different foods have substantially different metabolic and hormonal effects on the body. So what’s eaten (and how calories are expended) can change how much you eat and whether those calories are burned or stored.


“I encounter many patients who are interested in LCHF and are finding benefit in weight reduction, better diabetes control, improved endurance and energy levels, and improved lipid profiles. There is a great deal of confusion out there about the diet, much of it based on outdated science or an incomplete understanding of the topic. I feel that I owe it to patients to be informed about LCHF so that I can advise them on the risks and benefits it could have for them.”
“A lower-carbohydrate diet and lifestyle has not only changed my personal health for the better, but also the health of my family and my patients. The low-carb ketogenic lifestyle has also transformed my medical practice from a traditional sick-care office to an Integrative Wellness practice that focuses on improving people’s health and preventing illness. I enjoy going into work every day as I now feel I am truly preventing chronic diseases from taking root via proper nutritional counseling. I send virtually all my patients to Diet Doctor for help getting started on their own low-carb journey.”

A lot of veggies are carb-heavy—they can’t fit into an ultra-low-carb diet. These include potatoes of course, but also yams, corn, peas, and carrots. The best options for keto dieters include asparagus, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens, and zucchini. “What’s tough for many people to grasp when starting out on a ketogenic diet is that you can’t really eat a lot of [certain] vegetables,” Mancinelli says. “When you’re keeping carbs super low, you have to limit vegetables—which goes counter to everything you know about how to eat healthy and lose weight.”


“As a bariatric surgeon and as a researcher studying the liver for two decades, my research has shown that it is the toxicity of chronic excessive carbohydrate consumption that is the primary cause of obesity and obesity-related co-morbidities. As an obese doctor myself, I was able to lose 90 pounds once I recognized that I had a carbohydrate addiction and so eliminated carbohydrates from my diet. While I have performed more than 8,000 bariatric surgeries, I firmly believe that surgery is only a tool. Obesity and diabetes are not treated by surgery, but rather by the journey to become carbohydrate-free.”
“Real food — that is low-sugar, high-fiber — works for most of the population, but some patients may need a low-carb diet for best results. For those patients, I am totally for low carb. I have certainly had many insulin-resistant patients who didn’t get better until they went on a low-carb diet. I am not remotely concerned about negative effects of low carb. I feel that, aside from patients with familial hypercholesterolemia and type 5 hyperlipidemia, a low-carb diet is entirely safe.”
This is because the triglycerides from those fat cells are metabolized for energy while the cholesterol is not. The cholesterol is simply released into the blood where it will remain until removed by the liver, making it appear that our cholesterol has suddenly skyrocketed. Many people are quick to assume that this is due to an increase in dietary fat and cholesterol intake.
Anecdotally speaking, people do lose weight on the keto diet. Heather Wharton, a 35-year-old business relationship manager from Tampa, Florida, lost 140 pounds since starting the keto diet in January 2016: “I plan on being on the keto diet for the rest of my life,” says Wharton. “My husband and I consider ourselves to be food addicts, and the keto diet is what we use as a form of abstinence from trigger foods that have sugar and other carbohydrates." A typical day of eating for Wharton includes coffee with a protein supplement, a cup of unsweetened cashew milk, cauliflower rice with ground turkey and liquid aminos (a carb-free substitute for soy sauce), spinach, six slices of turkey bacon, six eggs, and a little salsa.
But according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, it won’t. Two groups of resistance-trained and semi-fit men were put on the same training schedule. Half of them followed a 'Western diet' (55% carbs, 25% fat, 20% protein), and the other half followed a keto diet (5% carbs, 75% fat, 20% protein). Both groups consumed the same number of calories. After 11 weeks, not only did participants in the keto group lose more body fat, they also gained more lean muscle mass.
Because the ketogenic diet alters the body's metabolism, it is a first-line therapy in children with certain congenital metabolic diseases such as pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) deficiency and glucose transporter 1 deficiency syndrome,[35] which prevent the body from using carbohydrates as fuel, leading to a dependency on ketone bodies. The ketogenic diet is beneficial in treating the seizures and some other symptoms in these diseases and is an absolute indication.[36] However, it is absolutely contraindicated in the treatment of other diseases such as pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, porphyria, and other rare genetic disorders of fat metabolism.[9] Persons with a disorder of fatty acid oxidation are unable to metabolise fatty acids, which replace carbohydrates as the major energy source on the diet. On the ketogenic diet, their bodies would consume their own protein stores for fuel, leading to ketoacidosis, and eventually coma and death.[37]
^ St Jeor ST, Howard BV, Prewitt TE, Bovee V, Bazzarre T, Eckel RH (October 2001). "Dietary protein and weight reduction: a statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association". Circulation. 104 (15): 1869–74. doi:10.1161/circ.104.15.1869 (inactive 15 February 2019). PMID 11591629. These diets are generally associated with higher intakes of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol because the protein is provided mainly by animal sources. ... Beneficial effects on blood lipids and insulin resistance are due to the weight loss, not to the change in caloric composition. ... High-protein diets may also be associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease due to intakes of saturated fat, cholesterol, and other associated dietary factors.
But what does the science say? Results are mixed. In one Spanish study of 20 obese adults, participants were put on a low-calorie keto diet and lost an average of 40 pounds over four months. Another small experiment had a similar outcome. In a six-month Experimental & Clinical Cardiology study of 83 obese adults, those on the keto diet lost an average of 33 pounds, while lowering their bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and increasing their good (HDL) cholesterol.
By design, the nutritional intervention induced an important reduction in BMI and fat mass, especially visceral fat mass through the study visits synchronized with the ketone levels in four visits (Figure 1). Thus, at the end of the nutritional intervention, the patients were out of ketosis (0.2 ± 0.1 mmol/L) with a total of 7.7 units of BMI lost (Figure 1). Most of the initial body composition loss was in the form of total fat mass (Figure 1). Relevantly, from the total fat mass, visceral fat mass, the most physiological and clinically relevant fat depot, was significantly reduced after the VLCK diet (−1.2 ± 0.7 kg; p < 0.05).
During the ketosis phase of the nutritional intervention, the IWQOL-Lite scores did not change for the sexual life, social anxiety, and work area domains (Table S1). A significant improvement was observed in the physical function and self-esteem scores during this phase. When comparing the visit of reduced ketosis and endpoint with baseline, a significant improvement was found in all domains, except for social anxiety, which did not change throughout the nutritional intervention.

I wanted to put it out there that I made this meal plan specifically with women in mind. I took an average of about 150 women and what their macros were. The end result was 1600 calories – broken down into 136g of fat, 74g of protein, and 20g net carbs a day. This is all built around a sedentary lifestyle, like most of us live. If you need to increase or decrease calories, you will need to do that on your own terms.


First, don’t mistake a ketogenic diet (or the upgraded Bulletproof Diet) for the Atkins Diet. Whereas the Atkins Diet is extremely high in protein, a keto diet contains moderate amounts of protein. On a keto diet, large amounts of protein can turn into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis, thus taking you out of ketosis. That’s why fatty cuts of meat are better than, say, chicken breast, which is high in protein and low in fat. Vast amounts of protein also tax the liver and lead to inflammation. By contrast, a ketogenic diet is anti-inflammatory; burning fat for fuel creates far less inflammation than burning sugar does[2], and ketones themselves turn off inflammatory pathways[3]. Because of this, ketogenic diets may in fact help prevent chronic diseases that are caused by inflammation. (Fun fact: The ketogenic diet is used to keep epileptic patients from having seizures.)

^ St Jeor ST, Howard BV, Prewitt TE, Bovee V, Bazzarre T, Eckel RH (October 2001). "Dietary protein and weight reduction: a statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association". Circulation. 104 (15): 1869–74. doi:10.1161/circ.104.15.1869 (inactive 15 February 2019). PMID 11591629. These diets are generally associated with higher intakes of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol because the protein is provided mainly by animal sources. ... Beneficial effects on blood lipids and insulin resistance are due to the weight loss, not to the change in caloric composition. ... High-protein diets may also be associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease due to intakes of saturated fat, cholesterol, and other associated dietary factors.


RESULTS: After VLCKD1 were reduced: Body Mass Index (BMI) (Δ%=-11.1%, p=0.00), Total Body Water (TBW) (p<0.05); Android Fat Percentage (AFP) (Δ%=-1.8%, p=0.02); Android Fat Mass (AFM) (Δ%=-12.7%, p=0.00); Gynoid Fat Mass (GFM) (Δ%=-6.3%, p=0.01); Intermuscular Adipose Tissue (IMAT) (Δ%= -11.1%, p=0.00); Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Re-sistance (HOMA-IR) (Δ%=-62.1%, p=0.01). After VLCKD1 a significant increase of uricemia, cre-atinine and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (respectively Δ%=35%, p=0.01; Δ%=5.9%, p=0.02; Δ%=25.5%, p=0.03). After VLCKD2 were reduced: BMI (Δ%=-11.2%, p=0.00); AFM (Δ%=-14.3%, p=0.00); GFM (Δ%=-6.3%, p=0.00); Appendicular Skeletal Muscle Mass Index (ASMMI) (Δ%=-17.5%, p=0.00); HOMA-IR (Δ%=-59,4%, p=0.02). After VLCKD2, uricemia (Δ%=63.1%, p=0.03), and Vitamin D levels (Δ%=25.7%, p=0.02) were increased. No significant changes of car-diovascular disease (CVD) indexes were observed after DTs. No significant changes of PPARγ lev-el in any DTs.
Although the KD has shown promise as an alternative dietary strategy for weight management, it should be approached with caution. Acutely, the KD causes physiological changes which may manifest as the “keto flu,” a set of symptoms which commonly includes headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset and fatigue. A recent study by Urbain et al. (22) illustrates this point, as they state, “Consistent with other studies, our subjects complained about headache, gastrointestinal symptoms, and general weakness mainly during the 1-week metabolic adaptation phase to a KD.” While these symptoms typically resolve within the first one to two weeks, this may present an unpleasant barrier for many individuals to overcome.
I ate a lot of bacon, cheese, eggs and meat (steak and chicken mostly). For a person whose eating philosophy is typically more plant-based and whole-food-focused, eating processed pork products every morning took a lot of personal persuasion. It also took a complete mental shift, because eating multiple pieces of bacon every day for weeks on end goes against everything I've been taught for personal health.
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