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.
Getting into ketosis is a critical component of the ketogenic diet. You can achieve ketosis by fasting, cutting carbs drastically (typically under 50 grams a day), and/or taking keto supplements, such as BHB (exogenous ketones) and MCT-based meal replacement shakes. After becoming fat-adapted, incorporating intermittent fasting (IF) can help boost weight loss or break weight loss plateaus. The most common method is 16:8 where you go 16 hours without eating, and consume all of your calories during an 8-hour eating window.
The weight-loss program has five steps and adheres to the most recent guidelines of the 2015 EFSA on total carbohydrate intake [22]. The first three steps consist of a VLCK diet (600–800 kcal/day), low in carbohydrates (<50 g daily from vegetables), and lipids (only 10 g of olive oil per day). The amount of high biological-value proteins ranged between 0.8 and 1.2 g per each kg of ideal body weight to ensure that patients were meeting their minimum body requirements and to prevent the loss of lean mass. In step 1, the patients ate high-biological-value protein preparations five times a day and vegetables with low glycemic indexes. In step 2, one of the protein servings was substituted with a natural protein (e.g., meat or fish) either at lunch or at dinner. In step 3, a second serving of low-fat natural protein was substituted for the second serving of biological protein preparation. Throughout these ketogenic phases, supplements of vitamins and minerals, such as K, Na, Mg, Ca, and omega-3 fatty acids, were provided in accordance with international recommendations [23]. These three steps were maintained until the patient lost the target amount of weight, ideally 80%. Hence, the ketogenic steps were variable in time depending on the individual and the weight-loss target. The total ketosis state lasted for 60–90 days only.

“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.”
Normal dietary fat contains mostly long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are more ketogenic than LCTs because they generate more ketones per unit of energy when metabolised. Their use allows for a diet with a lower proportion of fat and a greater proportion of protein and carbohydrate,[18] leading to more food choices and larger portion sizes.[4] The original MCT diet developed by Peter Huttenlocher in the 1970s derived 60% of its calories from MCT oil.[15] Consuming that quantity of MCT oil caused abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting in some children. A figure of 45% is regarded as a balance between achieving good ketosis and minimising gastrointestinal complaints. The classical and modified MCT ketogenic diets are equally effective and differences in tolerability are not statistically significant.[9] The MCT diet is less popular in the United States; MCT oil is more expensive than other dietary fats and is not covered by insurance companies.[18]
The association between the physical and psychological changes in the measures of the study was estimated with bivariate Pearson’s correlation. Due to the strong dependence, the relevance of these coefficients was not based on a significance test (low samples sizes tended to report nonsignificant R-coefficients, which effect size could be considered high), effect size was considered poor for |R| > 0.10, medium for |R| > 0.24, and large for |R| > 0.37 (these thresholds correspond to Cohen’s-d of 0.20, 0.50 and 0.80, respectively) [34].
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)].
White sugar, honey, and most traditional sugars are out when you’re eating keto because of the high carb counts. While many artificial sweeteners deliver sweetness sans a single carb, that doesn’t mean you should eat them, Crandall says. “We have demonized sugar—rightly so—for causing unneeded insulin spikes,” Crandall says, but “many artificial sweeteners do the exact same thing.” One study found that eating artificial sweeteners may increase cravings—especially for sweet things. This can stymie your weight-loss intentions. Discover how one woman totally kicked her sugar habit by trying the keto diet.
A lot of people on the keto diet tend to go absolutely overboard with the unhealthy food that they pack into their plan. Sure a bunch of cheese, mayonnaise and bacon will fit into a seventy-five percent fat allowance, however, for your health these foods are not always the best option. Your day to day seventy-five percent fat allowance is meant to be used for healthy sources of fat such as such avocados, coconut oil, whole eggs, nuts and fats found in unprocessed meats such as beef, salmon, chicken thighs, ground pork or turkey. 

Just to put things in context, I read an old scientific report about a seriously obese man who decided to be without food about a year (under medical supervision) and was given only some necessary micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) during the entire period. In this case all his energy had to come from adipose tissue (plus gluconeogenesis, I assume) in deep ketosis, and eventually he lost a lot of weight, mostly fat. Even more surprisingly, repeated tests during that year and thereafter demonstrated, that his health was continuously improving and he was actually feeling very well. What would be the downside of this kind of “starvation ketosis”, that will obviously last only until the point where the person has lost all his excessive fat?


The ketogenic diet is amazing for losing weight and improving your health, so stick with it and don’t be afraid to make changes as needed. Track what you eat, stick within your keto macros, and test your ketone levels frequently to make sure you’re staying in ketosis. Most of all, give your body time to respond to the great changes you’re making for it.
Yeah so there definitely is a sweet spot for maintaining ketosis and the weight loss benfits(via body getting energy by burning fat for ketones and fatty acids as opposed to carbohydrates for glycogen.) yet still consuming enough carbs where you aren’t suffering from malnutrition or whatever it is that’s causing your fatigue every afternoon. Their are are couple ways to find and ride within this “golden” range. Possibly easiest is to take some coconut oil or similar high fat, high calorie, medium chain triglyceride supplement. This will likely ensure sufficient caloric intake and you can also eat more carbs while maintaing a sufficient fat:carb ratio to remain in ketosis. I hesitate to toss out a number but maybe 40-50g net carbs per day will be okay as long as your taking the supplement. Another way(the one I’d probably reccomend) is to slowly increase your carb intake 5g / day / week. As you do this continue to test ketone levels in the pee to determine at which amount of carbs per day you slip out of ketosis then just eat a little less carbs per day then that number. This is best because it requires no supplement, you’ll learn more about your body, and it will lower ketone levels which, although good for the brain in smaller amounts, in large amounts WILL cause ketoacidosis and raise the bloods Ph in which can cause kidney stones via bone demineralization along with a whole host of other complications including coma (likely one of the reasons you’ve been feeling crappy-too many ketones) third: eat the amount of carbs just above your ketosis inducing threshold level, you’ll still likely lose weight because even at carb levels just above ketosis range you’ll still experience less hunger sensations(a benefit of burning ketones and fatty acids for energy and not glycogen) and so eat less. I hope you find this helpful. *note: I am not a medical professional this information is the result of personal curiosity and independent reaearch.
Collagen is a type of protein that has been shown to suppress appetite[*], provide fullness compared to other proteins like whey, casein, or soy[*], help retain muscle mass[*] and even help to reduce the appearance of cellulite due to it’s ability to improve skin elasticity and thickness[*]. Refer to this article for more information on the benefits of collagen and the best way to supplement it in your diet.
Hi Sara, it depends on if your husband eats cold food or not. The lunch suggested here is great to take to work, the chicken can be enjoyed cold, or he can reheat it in a pan if his office has a small kitchen. If he doesn’t like cold chicken and he has no option to reheat you could change the lunch and dinner options suggested in this meal plan. He can eat the egg and salad for lunch. It’s a great lunch to enjoy cold and then the chicken and baby spinach for dinner instead. Great cold lunches that are keto friendly in general are always hard-boiled eggs with veggies, or turkey/cheese roll-ups and raw veggies, or salad greens with shredded chicken or shredded pork with homemade mayo on the side to then mix up at the moment as a salad dressing.
Dieter beware: U.S. News & World Report, in its high-profile January cover story on "best diets," calls the DASH and Mediterranean diets tops for health, though these regimens represent the failed nutritional status quo of the last 50 years. It's clear that U.S. News — which employed an expert panel to rate 40 diets on various criteria — merely recapitulated questionable dietary advice that has gone by a succession of names since the 1970s — "low-fat," "DASH," "USDA-style," "plant-based." The basic set of recommendations have remained the same, emphasizing plant foods (grains, cereals, fruits and vegetables) over animal products (eggs, regular dairy, meat), and vegetable oils over natural animal fats such as butter. According to government data, Americans have largely followed these recommendations over the last 50 years, notably increasing their consumption of grains, vegetables and fruits and eating less whole milk, butter, meat and eggs. The outcome? In that time, rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes have skyrocketed. Something has gone terribly wrong. Why would 25 doctors, dietitians and nutritionists on the U.S. News panel choose a dietary philosophy that has — so far, at least — failed us?
Hi Sam, it won’t work. You will be incredibly hungry and you won’t have any energy. The idea of the keto diet is to get your body used to use fat to burn energy not carbs. Since you won’t be eating carbs energy has to come from “something” and it can’t be protein. I can’t recall what happens when you have too much protein when doing Keto but it was something scary. In general, I do not recommend the Keto diet without some sort of supervision by your doctor or nutritionist that can watch your process and progress.
On a “strict” (standard) keto diet, fats typically provides about 70 percent to 80 percent of total daily calories, protein about 15 percent to 20 percent, and carbohydrates just around 5 percent. However, a more “moderate” approach to the keto diet is also a good option for many people that can allow for an easier transition into very low-carb eating and more flexibility (more on these types of plans below).
Here’s a nutritional list of some of the more commonly consumed vegetables on keto. Keep in mind that the weights are the same of everything listed so that it will impact the skew of the carb counts. For example, in a meal you may have 6 oz. of broccoli in the side, but you would not have 6 oz. worth of berries in the morning. You may mix 6 oz. of berries into a pudding with 4 servings.
A ketogenic diet — which is very low in net carbohydrates and high in healthy fats — is key for boosting mitochondrial function. Healthy fats also play an important role in maintaining your body's electrical system. When your body is able to burn fat for fuel, your liver creates water-soluble fats called ketones that burn far more efficiently than carbs, thereby creating fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals. Ketones also decrease inflammation, improve glucose metabolism and aid the building of muscle mass. The benefits of a cyclical ketogenic diet are detailed in my latest bestselling book, "Fat for Fuel." While the book was peer-reviewed by over a dozen health experts and scientists, a new large-scale international study (known as the international Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology, or PURE, study) adds further weight to the premise that high intakes of healthy fats — especially saturated fats — boost health and longevity.
In a fantastic online review of the study, Dr. Stephan Guyenet, a nutritional research expert, notes the study's thoroughness and that the results, at face value, support the researchers’ initial hypothesis that a ketogenic diet promoted greater fat loss. Compared with the higher carbohydrate diet, the keto diet coincided with increased energy expenditure, meaning the subjects appeared to burn more calories when their carbohydrate levels were cut, thought they were consuming the same amount of calories as they were on the high carbohydrate diet.
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He’s the author of the books “Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems,” “Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine” and the upcoming “Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease” (February 2019, published by Little, Brown Spark). He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.

I recently applied for life insurance after following the ketogenic diet for about six months. I was initially quoted the lowest rate based on the fact that I have no health issues whatsoever. However, my cholesterol readings were very high so they came back and said that I had elevated total cholesterol readings of 378 which alarmed me. They have now doubled my life insurance rates because of it. Even though my total cholesterol was high everything else seems good according to this article. LDL – 272, HDL – 92, Triclycerides – 70. This all translates to an LDL/HDL ratio of slightly under 3:1 and a Triglyceride/HDL ratio of close to 1:1. I don’t know if I should be concerned that my total is well over the 300 that is sited in this article. Does anyone know?
Cardiovascular workouts increase the heart rate for extended periods. If you are on the ketogenic diet, you might have difficulty finding energy reserves for cardio exercise. This is why the targeted keto diet can be effective. Right before working out, you load up on high-carbohydrate foods, which provide fuel to burn while exercising. During inactivity, your body burns fat. In periods of high intensity, such as aerobics, the body finds fuel from carbohydrates that can sustain the movement.
If you’re not sure after your initial test, explore other healthy diets such as clean eating and always have in mind that your number 1 goal should be to avoid overly processed foods (keeping this definition fairly broad of course, as we live in the 21st century and have to adapt to modern age as well, where hardly any of us have time to spend 12 hours a day evolving around food production, gathering and cooking).
“I am a medical practitioner who has type 1 diabetes. Since adopting a very low-carb lifestyle I have found that day-to-day diabetes management has become so much easier with the added bonus of normal HbA1c. As a result of smaller insulin doses, I am not tied down to strict meal times and can eat when I choose. Similarly, glucose control with exercise is far more predictable. Very low carb for me gives as near to a ‘normal’ life as someone with diabetes can get.”
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.
To figure out how many fat grams specifically you want, you would take the total number of calories it takes to maintain your body weight (normally around 14-16 calories per pound of body weight). Subtract your protein calories from that number and then divide by 9 (number of calories per gram of fat). This should give you how many total fat grams you need to eat per day.

Katherine Arvesen, RDN, who in private practice in Plano, Texas, also notes that the study was not randomized and controlled, which is the gold standard for medical research to minimize error and bias. In this study, the patients were their own controls, meaning their results were compared with their own baseline (starting) measurements, not with the results of a control group.


A low-carbohydrate diet has been found to reduce endurance capacity for intense exercise efforts, and depleted muscle glycogen following such efforts is only slowly replenished if a low-carbohydrate diet is taken.[38] Inadequate carbohydrate intake during athletic training causes metabolic acidosis, which may be responsible for the impaired performance which has been observed.[38]

The popular belief that high-fat diets cause obesity and several other diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer has not been observed in recent epidemiological studies. Studies carried out in animals that were fed high-fat diets did not show a specific causal relationship between dietary fat and obesity. On the contrary, very-low-carbohydrate and high-fat diets such as the ketogenic diet have shown to beneficial to weight loss.
×