Hi Gigi, Low carb and keto is about the balance of macronutrients eaten (fat, protein and carbs), not specifically meat or lack thereof. Most people on keto do eat meat, though some people do vegetarian keto. Fat is actually necessary for many body processes. There is no issue for the kidneys with a high fat diet, but if you eat too much protein that isn’t great for the kidneys. It’s a common misconception that keto is high protein (it isn’t). Keto is great for diabetics as it naturally helps stabilize insulin. All of this being said, please know I’m not a doctor and you should consult your doctor on any medical questions or before starting any diet. If you have more questions that aren’t medical questions, I recommend our low carb & keto support group here.
I used an online keto calculator to set a goal for calories, carbs and fat. I mostly followed the suggestions, with the exception of fat. The calculator suggested over 200 grams of fat each day. That's tough to hit without loading ghee into my coffee or swigging some coconut oil before lunch. Can it be done? Absolutely. I just couldn't get there. For me, the focus was on reducing carbs. I let the other pieces just fall into place.
Maintain adequate protein intake. Too little protein and you lose muscle mass and starve the few parts of your body that can’t use ketones as an energy source, like portions of your red blood cells, kidneys and brain. Too much protein and you inhibit ketone production. Make sure you consume enough protein to support your vital functions, but not too much that protein becomes your alternate glycogen source.
Essential fatty acids (the omegas) provide core functions to the human body, but they are often times out of balance when on a standard diet. On keto, with a little bit of preparation, your omega fatty acids are easily manageable. If you want to know more about essential fatty acids, omegas, and how they interact with our body on a ketogenic diet, you can read more here >
Dr. Vincent M. Pedre, medical director of Pedre Integrative Health and president of Dr. Pedre Wellness, is a board-certified internist in private practice in New York City since 2004. His philosophy and practices are a blend of both Western and Eastern medical traditions. He is a clinical instructor in medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is certified in yoga and medical acupuncture. His unique methodology is best described as integrative or defined by a functional, systems-based approach to health. With his holistic understanding of both sides of the equation, he can help each patient choose the best course of action for their ailments to provide both immediate and long-term relief. His holistic approach incorporates positive, preventive health and wellness lifestyle choices. Dr. Pedre Wellness is a growing wellness platform offering health-enhancing programs along with informative social media and lifestyle products, such as dietary supplements, books, and weight-loss programs.
“I started a low-carb, high-fat diet for myself in an attempt to treat my own health problems. Since then, I have seen significant health benefits not only in myself but also in many of my patients using a LCHF/ketogenic approach. Diet Doctor gives a simple but very effective evidence-based resource that I confidently recommend to all my patients. And the recipes are great!”
The low glycaemic index treatment (LGIT)[49] is an attempt to achieve the stable blood glucose levels seen in children on the classic ketogenic diet while using a much less restrictive regimen. The hypothesis is that stable blood glucose may be one of the mechanisms of action involved in the ketogenic diet,[9] which occurs because the absorption of the limited carbohydrates is slowed by the high fat content.[5] Although it is also a high-fat diet (with approximately 60% calories from fat),[5] the LGIT allows more carbohydrate than either the classic ketogenic diet or the modified Atkins diet, approximately 40–60 g per day.[18] However, the types of carbohydrates consumed are restricted to those that have a glycaemic index lower than 50. Like the modified Atkins diet, the LGIT is initiated and maintained at outpatient clinics and does not require precise weighing of food or intensive dietitian support. Both are offered at most centres that run ketogenic diet programmes, and in some centres they are often the primary dietary therapy for adolescents.[9]
But let’s look a little deeper at that. Though the subjects’ energy expenditure increased in the first two weeks of ketogenic diet, this increase eventually plateaued in the final two weeks and fell back down to the study’s baseline. What’s more, though participants lost weight rapidly in the first few days of going keto as a result of decreased water retention, body fat loss eventually also slowed. Further testing also returned that the participants on the keto diet even started to break down lean tissue for energy – not body fat.
“As a pediatrician practicing for the past 24 years, I spend most of my clinical time caring for children with chronic behavioral, developmental, psychological or metabolic conditions (ADHD, depression, anxiety, OCD, Tourette’s Syndrome, autism, autoimmune disease, obesity, NAFLD, etc.). A well-planned, low-carbohydrate (and in many cases ketogenic) nutrition plan is a very powerful tool that I use with my patients to address both physical and mental health. I so appreciate Diet Doctor and reference it frequently for my patients as the best resource for this topic. This site is commercial free, well-supported, referenced and frequently updated.”
We know now that plaque formation is a culmination of inflammation at the plaque formation site along with a white blood cell mediated interaction between calcium, cholesterol and other biological substances. In fact, it is thought that cholesterol is actually used by the body as a kind of internal bandage when our arterial lining becomes damaged by inflammation. This means that cholesterol build up in the arteries may actually be a protective mechanism.
By discriminating the components of the FFM as determined by DXA, it was observed that these variations were mainly due to changes in lean mass, whereas bone mineral content remained unchanged from baseline (0.003 ± 0.066 kg at visit C-2; −0.018 ± 0.066 kg at visit C-3; and −0.028 ± 0.066 kg at visit C-4; P > 0.05). Given that DXA technique is unable to discriminate the composition of lean mass, the question was raised as to whether the observed reductions in lean mass were at the expense of muscle mass or body water content. Therefore, further analysis was performed by MF-BIA , which is able to discriminate these 2 variables. Remarkably, the measurements performed by MF-BIA showed that the initial loss of FFM at visit C-2 (−3.1 ± 1.5 kg) was mostly due to total body water loss (−2.3 ± 1.1 kg), both intra- (−1.5 ± 0.7 kg) and extracellular [−0.8 ± 0.5 kg; Fig. 3(B)], probably because of the intense diuresis that occurs in the first phase of any VLCK diet. In subsequent visits, a slight recovery of intra- and extracellular water was observed, similar to the recovery observed with total FFM. This means that reductions attributable to muscle mass were, depending on the method used, around 1 kg throughout the 4-month study; only 5% of the total 20.2 kg of weight lost was FFM.
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.
The concern regarding the possible loss in muscular mass was addressed by a strict analysis of the FFM component using DXA, MF-BIA, and ADP, and mild but significant reductions in relation to baseline were observed [Fig. 3(A)]. The greatest decrease in FFM occurred at the visit of maximum ketosis (visit C-2), with partial recovery thereafter [Fig. 3(A)]. The FFM losses determined by the different techniques at this point were −4.2 ± 1.8 kg (DXA), −3.1 ± 1.5 kg (MF-BIA), and −3.7 ± 7.6 kg (ADP). At the end of the study (visit C-4), these FFM losses had diminished to −3.7 ± 2.0 kg, −2.4 ± 1.8 kg, and −3.0 ± 8.0 kg, respectively.
“When the low-fat dietary advice I had been preaching for decades didn’t work for me in middle age, I changed to low-carb. After mentorship from Dr. Eric Westman, I introduced low-carb to my patients with astonishing results reversing diseases I had only been “managing”. In fact, more than 90% of patients who come to me on insulin are able to come off. I run a multidisciplinary medical weight loss clinic helping to restore health. This has brought the joy back into medicine for me. Diet Doctor has been an amazing resource to help me and my patients in this journey.”
The average daily goal for keto is 20 grams of net carbs. Net carbs are the total carbs in a given serving of food, minus the carbohydrates that are supplied by fiber. You’ll find carb grams quickly add up, even when you’re choosing the best low-carb foods, like spinach and avocado. Keeping your body in a quasi-keto state can be hard on you, warns Santo: “This will leave you feeling sluggish, foggy, and discouraged,” he says. “It will most likely cause a weight plateau, and maybe even weight gain.” Here’s what it’s really like to be on a keto diet.
If you’re a newbie planning your weekly keto diet menu, make the meals as easy as possible. A keto breakfast, for example, can take advantage of many classic breakfast foods, including eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham. Eggs are real winners in the keto world. They’re extremely versatile, easy to cook, and have just half a gram of carbs but 6 g of protein and 5 g of fat.
Looking for that hearty crunch that’s packed full of flavor? Look no more. Instead of cracking open a box of Ritz or Cheez-Its, go ahead and make your own! You can make crackers from anything including flaxseed meal (featured in The RULED Book), chia seeds, or even almond flour to make your own homemade crunchy snacks with a delicious flavor of your own.

“As a nephrologist, I have seen many patients with end-stage kidney failure resulting from diabetes and obesity. I decided to switch my career towards wellness, integrative medicine and obesity management. I now provide guidance for ketogenic and low-carb diets along with fasting to all patients in my clinic and via telehealth consultations. It is very rewarding to see their health improve and their medications reduced or eliminated. I refer all my patients to Diet Doctor on the first visit and I teach them also to use the recipes on the site. Thank you for providing an unbiased educational platform!”


Some negative side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet have been suggested, including increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis, and increased blood levels of uric acid (a risk factor for gout). Possible nutrient deficiencies may arise if a variety of recommended foods on the ketogenic diet are not included. It is important to not solely focus on eating high-fat foods, but to include a daily variety of the allowed meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds to ensure adequate intakes of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals (iron, magnesium, zinc)—nutrients typically found in foods like whole grains that are restricted from the diet. Because whole food groups are excluded, assistance from a registered dietitian may be beneficial in creating a ketogenic diet that minimizes nutrient deficiencies.
“As a family doctor in India, I recommend low-carb and keto diets, with and without intermittent fasting, to all of my patients who have lifestyle-related chronic conditions. I follow the growing, evidence-based science behind these approaches and I have seen the impressive clinical results. I, too, follow a low carb lifestyle and usually do it with intermittent fasting. I have been able to reverse my diabesity and keep my post-menopausal symptoms at bay. I also recommend to my patients that they visit the Diet Doctor website to find trustworthy information and delicious recipes.”
^ Ketogenic "eggnog" is used during induction and is a drink with the required ketogenic ratio. For example, a 4:1 ratio eggnog would contain 60 g of 36% heavy whipping cream, 25 g pasteurised raw egg, saccharin and vanilla flavour. This contains 245 kcal (1,025 kJ), 4 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate and 24 g fat (24:6 = 4:1).[17] The eggnog may also be cooked to make a custard, or frozen to make ice cream.[37]
Research into the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diets for preventing weight gain and diabetes has produced conflicting results, with some suggestion that diet suitability is not generalizable, but specific to individuals.[11] Overall, for prevention, there is no good evidence that LCHF diets offer a superior diet choice to a more conventional healthy diet, as recommended by many health authorities, in which carbohydrate typically accounts for more than 40% of calories consumed.[11]
Eat fats with all your meals. Fats are the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet, and will encourage your body to burn fatty ketones for fuel. Typically, calories from fat should comprise 80 – 90% of your meals.[10] (However, you cannot eat unlimited fats on a ketogenic diet; the calories can still add up and cause weight gain.[11]) Examples of fatty foods include:
In theory, a ketogenic diet that increases carbohydrate loads for cardio exercise seems perfect. However, the side effects of a ketogenic diet can include dehydration, malnutrition and constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic website, ketogenic plans also can lead to kidney stones. In addition, the ketogenic diet does not give you the nutrition you need to be healthy. Instead, try cutting portion sizes and counting calories; this also can force your body to burn fat while still providing you with balanced nutrition, including proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and fat. As with any diet, you should discuss a ketogenic diet with your doctor.
Although the patients underwent a total of 10 visits, the complete body composition analyses were synchronized with the ketone levels in 4 visits (Table 1; Fig. 1). Visit C-1 was the baseline visit, before starting the diet, with no ketosis (0.0 ± 0.1 mmol/L) and a body weight of 95.9 ± 16.3 kg. Visit C-2 was at the time of maximum level of ketosis (1.0 ± 0.6 mmol/L) with a body weight of 84.2 ± 18.0 kg. At visit C-3 (after 89.7 ± 19.1 days of VLCK), patients began the return to a normal diet and showed a reduction in ketone levels (0.7 ± 0.5 mmol/L) and a body weight of 76.6 ± 11.1 kg. Finally, at visit C-4, the patients were out of ketosis (0.2 ± 0.1 mmol/L) and showed a body weight of 75.1 ± 11.8 kg. All weights were statistically different from baseline levels (P < 0.05; Table 1; Fig. 1).
Carbohydrate: Most of what determines how ketogenic a diet is will depend on how much carbohydrate is eaten, as well the individual's metabolism and activity level. A diet of less than 50 or 60 grams of net (effective) carbohydrate per day is generally ketogenic. Some sources say to consume no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, while others cite up to 50 grams, and many recommend no more than 5 percent of calories from carbs. However, athletes and people with healthy metabolisms may be able to eat 100 or more grams of net carbohydrate in a day and maintain a desired level of ketosis. At the same time, an older sedentary person with Type 2 diabetes may have to eat less than 30 net grams to achieve the same level.
“I recommend low-carb nutrition for the majority of my patients and clients. And I send them all to Diet Doctor for the best recipes, instructional videos and written guides for everything someone needs to get started and to thrive on a low-carb lifestyle. Diet Doctor doesn’t have anything to sell you; its only goal is to provide you with the highest quality, evidence-based information to help you improve your life. That is hard to find in today’s ad-driven and product-driven internet. In fact, I loved Diet Doctor so much, I decide to work for them hosting their podcast!”
Purnell JQ, Hokanson JE, Marcovina SM, Steffes MW, Cleary PA, Brunzell JD. Effect of excessive weight gain with intensive therapy of type 1 diabetes on lipid levels and blood pressure: results from the DCCT. Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. JAMA. 1998;280:140–146. doi: 10.1001/jama.280.2.140. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
While there are delicious-looking ketogenic recipes and meal plans online, experts like Weaver warn that you’ll want to avoid relying too much on artificial sweeteners and unhealthy foods for your keto diet menu. Make sure your grocery list includes healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil. This is what really happens to your body on the keto diet.
If you’re looking to get a jump start on your health and fitness goals this year, you may be thinking about trying the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase before — it’s a huge diet buzzword — but aren’t sure what it means. Here’s a primer: The ketogenic diet is an eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source (instead of carbohydrates), says Stacey Mattinson, RDN, who is based in Austin, Texas.
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