A ketogenic diet is very low in carbs, high in fat and moderate in protein. For a weight stable person, no more than 5% of calories should come from carbs, 70-80% from fat and 20-30% from protein. With this macronutrient-distribution, individuals do not rely on glucose as a major source of energy but use fat for fuel instead. Fat is used to produce ketone bodies, which are used for energy or to regulate certain genes. Two ketone bodies circulate in in your blood: Acetoacetate (AcAc) and Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). A third ketone, acetone, is spontaneously created from Acetoacetate. It is not a source of energy but is useful for ketone measurement. Check our ketone measurement guide to learn more.

In general, men tend to do better on a long term ketogenic diet than women do. From my own research and experimentation, women can follow a keto diet, but with some adaptions. Most women will do well with a cyclical ketogenic diet when they stay on ketogenic diet most of the time and eat starchy carbohydrates occasionally to spike calories and carbs.
This was a great read. I aim to restrict carbs always because I believe most are why the American population is obese. I would very much like to hear more about carb restriction excluding the discussion on processed meats and processed high salt content foods because I consume neither. I also don’t consume dairy or eggs. So can you provide some substance.
“Studies have shown that the ability to stick to a diet is more important for long-term success than the type of diet that’s followed,” says Yawitz. “Keto is incredibly restrictive and is particularly tough for those who have frequent social engagements or are prone to carb cravings.” The Mediterranean diet allows you to eat carbs, like as many fruits and veggies as you want, along with whole grains. Not to mention, the Mediterranean diet has been linked to a number of other health benefits, including a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, certain types of cancer, and heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Therefore, when you’re following a ketogenic diet plan for beginners, your body is burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrates, so in the process most people lose weight and excess body fat rapidly, even when consuming lots of fat and adequate calories through their daily food intake. Another major benefit of the keto diet is that there’s no need to count calories, feel hungry or attempt to burn loads of calories through hours of intense exercise.
The benefits above are the most common ones. But there are others that are potentially even more surprising and – at least for some people – life changing. Did you know that a keto diet can help treat high blood pressure, may result in less acne, may help control migraine, might help with certain mental health issues and could have a few other potential benefits?

It’s very good info. Thanks. I have been doing Ketogenics for a few weeks and feel great. I really like the idea of adequate protein and not all you can eat. Now I have my husband on it and some relatives. I have been reading some good and bad articles cause now I feel responsible for all of them and what if I’m wrong and they have problems? But, I really liked your article and feel better. Thanks for busting some myths!


Ketogenic diet for diabetics is a highly controversial topic, but we will break down everything here for you! As a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I have to tell you from the start I will have a biased view here. Sorry, but I feel that I need to be completely honest right up front! I will however, present all the evidence that is available currently on the subject.

Abbey, I appreciate all the work you put into this but there are a few things you missed. Not all oils are keto friendly. Vegetable oils are a huge no-no which was not mentioned. Regular mayo usually contains soybean oil which should be avoided. You also missed that foods with preservatives are a no-no which excludes some cheeses (you said enjoy all the cheese you like). Processed sliced cheese or pre-shredded cheese in a bag at the grocery store contains preservatives. Ever notice how shredded cheese in a bag never sticks to itself but when you shred your own cheese it sticks? Preservatives. Most nuts are okay but peanuts are a legume and should be consumed in very small amounts or avoided altogether. Don’t go crazy either, nuts do have carbs. I don’t eat more than a half cup a day of salted almonds. That said, you could have mentioned that getting salted nuts is ideal as you do excrete more salt and other minerals in your urine (eating keto is diuretic so attention must be paid to salt, potassium, magnesium, etc. as you did mention) so finding simple ways to add salt and other minerals is helpful. I also take a multi-vitamin daily. You mentioned you cannot do high intensity workouts. You are not supposed to do high intensity workouts as elevating your heart rate too high actually stops the fat burning process in your body. Your heart rate should be 180 beats minus your age +/- 5 beats depending on fitness level. A 40 year old obese person shouldn’t go over 135 beats/min during a workout as that is the optimal fat burning window. Higher than that and your body reverts to storing fat reserves thinking it will run out if it keeps this pace. Which bring me to metabolism. Its been long believed a high metabolism is good. A high metabolism leads to more hunger (because you’re burning glucose faster), ingesting more food, and typically gaining more weight. Slowing your metabolism down AND teaching your body to consume slow burning ketones instead of quick burning glucose puts less stress on your liver mainly and on your body in general. There’s a lot more but this is getting long so I’ll finish with this. You said this diet focuses on quantity of food and not quality. This is confusing to me….wouldn’t organic and grass-fed meats, be of better quality than non-organic and grain fed meat? (they feed animals grains to fatten them up….shouldn’t that be a huge warning sign for us?). Is food without preservatives not better quality than food with preservatives? Aren’t beverages with no sugar or artificial sweeteners of better quality than sugar/artificial sweetener-filled beverages? I’ve never seen any keto advocate advise ignoring quality foods, in fact its quite the opposite.


Test for allergies and intolerances. For suspected allergies and intolerances, It is best to try an allergy test and an elimination diet that removes all common allergens and intolerances (wheat, eggs, fish, dairy, nuts, peanuts, shellfish, soy, and nightshade vegetables) for a period of time (3-4 weeks). If you are noticing positive changes and want to start adding these foods back into your diet, choose one at a time and tread slowly. Take note of how you feel. If you are still feeling great, move onto the next one. If at any time you experience adverse reactions to a certain food, chances are you have an allergy or intolerance to it.
These carbohydrate recommendations are not PER DAY, they are per meal. This is the major difference between Ketogenic diets and a consistent, low carbohydrate diet CDEs advocate for. 30-45 carbs per meal is considered a low carb diet. Eating this in the form of a Mediterranean diet is what I recommend and what my article outlined. In a perfect world, we try to have people steer clear of anything artificial or processed when possible. Just eat fresh foods, like our grandparents did, who never had these types of health problems.
Controlling your blood sugar levels helps you control your cravings, Dr. Burrows says. “When we are not on a sugar roller coaster from processed carbohydrates, most people make better food choices because they are not looking for their next hit of food,” she says. You may also find you’re able to go longer periods without eating, he says. Intermittent fasting is a common practice among dieters who’ve been eating keto for a while. Learn how one woman totally kicked her sugar habit by trying the keto diet.

In this study, researchers compared the impact of a low-carbohydrate diet and three other diets on blood pressure and other measures of cardiovascular fitness in women. After the 12 month trial, all subjects who successfully completed their respective diet experienced notable reductions in body mass, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. Those in the low-carbohydrate diet group, however, had the best results.

Look, the good doctor is right – he only forgot to stress “portion control” which is why many fanatical dieters are so kee-jerk reactive to any discussion – odds are you over ate like a hog before your keto diet, and are weak and insecure in your diet plans. Eat EVERYTHING in small amounts, and you will live long and prosper. The only thing to avoid are processed foods. Cook your meals from scratch using quality ingredients.
In 2009, Drs. Eric Westman and Bryan Kraft published a case study and a review of the literature for a 70-year-old woman with life-long schizophrenia. Diagnosed at age 17, she had experienced daily visual and auditory hallucinations (skeletons that urged her to hurt herself) since the age of 7. She also had obesity, sleep apnea, hypertension, and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) among a number of other health issues. After only 8 days on the ketogenic diet, the voices and hallucinations stopped. At the time of publication she had continued the ketogenic diet for more than a year, with no return of hallucinations, and had lost more than 10 kilograms (22 lbs).
Yes!! Edward!! I am pre-diabetic myself and have IBS which many doctors have no explanation for many of my questions because IBS triggers everyone differently and with different foods. I have been keto for 6 weeks and have lost 14lbs and have not noticed any symptoms of IBS even when I eat trigger foods (onion/garlic) I am no means 100% keto yet because I have had slip ups here and there but I jump right back in. I can’t imagine not following this way of life moving forward. I immediately feel the difference if I indulge in anything more then I should. Im learning to listen to my body and now see carbs/sugar is what has been causing madness on my body. Keto-on Edward!
Essentially, the keto diet for beginners works by “tricking” the body into acting as if its fasting (while reaping intermittent fasting benefits), through a strict elimination of glucose that is found in carbohydrate foods. Today the standard keto diet goes by several different names, including the “low-carbohydrate” or “very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet”(LCKD or VLCKD for short).

Check your ratios. Total cholesterol/HDL ratio is a good indicator of how long LDL is hanging around in the blood and remains the best standard assessment of heart disease risk. Another good one is triglyceride/HDL ratio, which is a strong surrogate marker for insulin resistance. In both cases, lower is better. An ideal T/HDL ratio is 1:1. I’d say 2:1 is about as high as you want to go. An ideal TC/HDL ratio is 3.5:1 or lower.
In addition, on the day the diet was initiated, diabetes medications were reduced – generally, insulin doses were halved, and sulfonylurea doses were halved or discontinued. Due to the possible diuretic effects of the diet soon after initiation, diuretic medications were discontinued if of low dosage (up to 25 mg of hydrochlorothiazide or 20 mg of furosemide) or halved if of higher dosage. Participants were also instructed to take a standard multivitamin and drink 6–8 glasses of water daily, and were encouraged to exercise aerobically for 30 minutes at least three times per week.
In the last 15 years, about two dozen studies have been conducted on low-carb diets and all of the studies came out with one conclusion – the Ketogenic diet works! It is a much healthier and more effective option for weight loss compared with any high-carb calorie restricted diet. This article explores the numerous health benefits of ketogenic diet in addition to weight loss.
Despite its explosive popularity, there’s a lot of confusion about what the ketogenic (keto) diet really is. “Many people think they’re following a keto diet when they’re really just consuming a low-carbohydrate diet,” says Patti Urbanski, MEd, RD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator with St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. “So one person’s ‘keto diet’ may look very different than another’s.”
Here’s what we do know: The keto diet may be useful in treating symptoms of epilepsy, a seizure disorder. “The use of keto in treating epilepsy has the most evidence,” Angelone says. One study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine, for example, followed epileptic patients on the keto diet and found that 36 percent of them had a 50 percent reduction in seizures after three months on the diet, and 16 percent were seizure-free. However, experts aren't entirely sure why the keto diet has this affect, she adds.
Ketogenic diets (learn how to get the most from the diet here) are diets that take the concept of low carb to the next level, and encourage people to consume a large amount of protein and a moderate amount of fat, but almost no carbohydrates, so that their bodies are forced to burn fat for energy, entering what is known as a ketogenic state, or ‘ketosis’ (get the full ketosis story here).
Familial Hypercholesterolemia. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a condition where one or more of the genes for the LDL receptor are defective, making it more difficult for them to clear cholesterol from the blood. If a person with familial hypercholesterolemia is then put on a high-fat diet, they will become even more vulnerable to heart disease as the increased saturated fat and cholesterol content of the diet provokes higher cholesterol levels. To counteract these genetic vulnerabilities, it is may be best to follow a low to moderate fat diet with plenty of whole foods, fiber, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats (especially omega 3s), and limited saturated fats. This, as well as a lifestyle that prioritizes physical activity, stress relief practices, and plenty of sleep, should keep their cholesterol levels under control.
In Europe and in North America the impact of mental illness on the individual and society is enormous. Each year, one in five people will be impacted by a mental health condition and over the course of a lifetime, almost one in three (29%). Since 2005 the rate of depression alone has increased 18%, now impacting 322 million people globally and the number one cause of disability in the world. 
Researchers note that subjects taking between 40 to 90 units of insulin before the study were able to completely eliminate their insulin use while also improving blood sugar control! They also point out that this effect happens “immediately upon implementing the dietary changes” so people with type 2 diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar closely and likely adjust their medication dosages/needs with the help of their doctors.
As someone who is prediabetic, Keto has been a godsend! I thought I was just a glutton, but now I’m certain I am actually insulin resistant. I am on Keto and can manage half a cup of blackberries without coming out of ketosis, but almost any other carb/sugar and I become a mindless food consuming zombie. I literally feel like I have zero control over my ability to stop eating. Also before trying Keto, if I was not able to eat constantly throughout the day I became grumpy and tired. Like none tired where it felt like I had lead running through my veins. On Keto, I can go a good 5-7 hours without eating and I don’t feel off at all. I am hoping to lose weight, but mostly I do not want to become diabetic and my problem is that I am insulin resistant. I do plan eventually to eat more black beans, vegetables and fruits again. Maybe a little chocolate on holidays and cake and ice cream on my

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet, similar to a number of popular diets such as the Atkin’s diet. It is primarily known as a weight-loss diet, as it can help boost the metabolism and speed up the burning of calories. While many people think of a high-fat diet as being unhealthy, it is all about the type of fats that you consume. In a ketogenic diet, for example, your protein intake will be quite high, rather than having a carb-heavy diet. Both carbs and fats can be used by the body for energy, but when fat is the primary source of energy metabolism, the body enters a state known as ketosis.
I am with you! I have been a WW member and been years without going outside of my suggested guidelines. I would lose weight, plateau, go on one of their plateau breaking diets for two weeks then have to go off and slowly gained weight again. I was teaching my body to live on less. I have been down as low as 800 kcal a day and not losing. Eat more fiber so you feel full was what I was told. Try eating 800 kcal, high fiber and see how balanced your diet is. I am eating between 1800 – 2000 kcal now and dropping 10 – 15 lbs a month on Keto. Long term diuretic user, I no longer have water retention. I am salting and using fat and I am off my blood pressure medicine. I am not hungry so I am wondering why is this not sustainable? I eat mostly carbs from vegetables, I eat a variety of meats, I eat a variety of vegetables, I feel great and my blood tests are better than they have been in 2 decades. I am starting to feel that the carb revolution is because we are told by the government what is good to eat. We all know that vegetables are good to eat but the government subsidizes corn, wheat and soy, not spinach, kale and cucumbers. Do your research, follow your hearts, do what works for you.
If you are seeking fat loss but do not want to follow a strict ketogenic diet, you will be pleased to know that this study found that the weight loss benefits came purely from a low carb diet – whether it was ketogenic or not. If you need help transiting to a lower carb diet, be sure to download my free diet plan or better yet, be sure to view the most effective way to lose fat and keep it off on this page. 
There are several medical studies — such as two conducted by the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center for the University of Iowa, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, for example — that show the ketogenic diet is an effective treatment for cancer and other serious health problems. (12)
The struggle as a prescriber is that you have to follow the “standard of care,” lest you open yourself up to a lawsuit. So I talk to my patents about what “the” recommendations are, and then I talk to them bout what the evidence says and what my experience says. Plain and simple, patient’s trust the government’s recommendations and can’t wrap their head around the idea of not eating carbs because they have learned their entire lives that the body “needs” carbs to survive.
After 32 weeks, those in the keto diet group lowered their HbA1c more than those in the plate group with more than 50% achieving a reduction to less than 6.5%, basically reversing their diabetes. None in the plate group did this well. As for weight loss, those in the keto low-carb group lost on average of 28 pounds, while those in the plate group lost an average of 6.6 pounds.1
One of the keto researches commented, (I think it was Steve Phinney) that change will come about only because enough of the the public will be become educated about this and will demand that the ADA change their recommendations because those recommendations are just wrong. What is the proof they are wrong? If you eat 45-60 g of carb daily, you will continue to have diabetes, and the epidemic will continue as it has for the last 25 years.
I’ve been type 2 for about 15 years was pretty stable with diet and Metformin for 10 years. But eventually started trying more aggressive treatment like Victoza and without fail in 4 years I was on slow acting insulin. I lost weight lowered carb intake to 40mg or less in the morning my breakfast has been no carbs. People need to realize every diabetic is different you must manage it how it keeps you with good A1C levels. I myself got off insulin for a year and half but my fasting levels slowly increased again. Reversing diabetes is not possible. Reducing the effects is possible and more likely the better you monitor yourself and do what you need to do. Depending on medications or diets or counting carbs will all help but not cure the diabetes. These all are things that reduce its ability to affect your health negatively.
Beyond the short-term effects of the keto flu, the diet can also negatively impact your digestion and gut in the long run. One 10-year study conducted on using keto to manage pediatric epilepsy found the following GI side effects over time: constipation, high triglyceride levels, high cholesterol, diarrhea, lethargy, iron deficiency, vomiting, and kidney stones.
Despite its explosive popularity, there’s a lot of confusion about what the ketogenic (keto) diet really is. “Many people think they’re following a keto diet when they’re really just consuming a low-carbohydrate diet,” says Patti Urbanski, MEd, RD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator with St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. “So one person’s ‘keto diet’ may look very different than another’s.”
I would just like to share with you that my patients are HORRIFIED if their physicians ask them to cut out “everything white” in their diet. This is what some doctors ask for…essentially asking for the Ketogenic diet and most of my patients are in shock! Not only would I never want to skip a year of my birthday cake, but I wouldn’t ask my patients to either! One slice of cake is certainly not going to harm anyone with diabetes and hopefully you know enough about carbohydrates and their short term effect on BG levels to know this too! I am not a Registered Dietitian, so I couldn’t speak to this diet in regard to children with epilepsy. Are you a Neuro RN? TheDiabetesCouncil did just post another article where 25 Registered Dieticians weighed in regarding the Ketogenic Diet, so I would encourage you all to check that out!
Another way to test the body’s response to nutritional ketosis is through breath acetone levels. This essentially shows how much of the ketones are being utilized by the body. I used a Levl meter (use the code wellnessmama at this link for $25 off) to test breath acetone levels. This device is more pricey but does not require strips so it can be used more often. I used it to test my response to certain foods or exercises and to see if they pulled me out of ketosis.
Certain Cancers Keto may be used in combination with chemotherapy and radiation, some studies have suggested, including one published in November 2018 in the journal Oncology. (12) But ultimately more studies are needed to determine if keto can play a role in cancer therapy, and patients should not use it as a stand-alone treatment or without a doctor’s consent.
MCT oil can be used alongside Coconut Oil  in cooking, frying, sautéing, and baking. If you don’t like the coconut flavor then it is recommended to opt for the “refined” version of Coconut Oil. You can add both Coconut Oil or MCT Oil to any food you like, especially if you like the sweet flavor of Coconut Oil.  A few drops of MCT Oil in almost anything can enhance its richness, and add fullness. MCT Oil is a great alternative to olive oil as a salad dressing, and a good addition to any smoothie.
Yancy has seen similar results in his practice. “Carbohydrate intake is the main driver of blood sugar. So if you’re able to lower blood sugar by reducing carbohydrate intake, then you may be able to reduce diabetes medication,” he says. “We’ve seen people come off of hundreds of units of insulin just by changing the way they eat, and that can happen really quickly, in just a few weeks.”

While it’s an extremely important factor, your diet is not the only variable that affects your pH level and hormones. Other factors that influence alkalinity, aside from the foods you eat, include: the level of stress you deal with on a daily basis, how much sleep you get nightly, the amount of sunlight exposure you get and the level of environmental toxicity you’re exposed to.
The catch, of course, is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And that’s exactly what hopeful dieters need to keep in mind when approaching the ketogenic diet (if we're calling it by its formal name). It’s not that this high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate approach to eating can’t deliver weight loss in a delicious package, but it’s a restrictive, sometimes complicated affair that isn’t sustainable for most people.

My son started the Keto Diet (not perfectly) with the ok of his Dr and a Different Oral Chemo at the same time. Last Tuesday an MRI indicated no new growth or no new tumors. We don’t know if the new Chemo, Keto diet, lots of prays or what has stopped the tumors from growing.I found your site after looking for possible adverse reactions to Keto Diets, and appreciate your research. His platelets are low now and never have been low before. This is stopping the next Chemo treatment. I understand that being on Chemo for 12 months could have created the low platelets and now the possibility that the Keto Diet could also be causing low platelets is frustrating. They will do a new blood test Tuesday to see if the platelets have increased. Any suggestions about how if possible to increase the platelets on the Keto Diet would be helpful.


For me, I chose to become a CDE because I had worked as a Registered Nurse first on a medical unit, then in a Medical ICU. These are the units where most of the people with diabetes are, so I had seen every horrific complication that diabetes can cause. When I had a chance to become a Diabetes Educator…to actually help PREVENT some of those horrible complications…I jumped at the chance!
The upsides: While the precise mechanisms are unclear, ketosis is thought to have brain-protecting benefits: As many as half of young people with epilepsy had fewer seizures after following the diet. And some early research suggests it may have benefits for blood sugar control among people with diabetes. An upcoming study will look at the ketogenic diet as a weight maintenance strategy.
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.

These carbohydrate recommendations are not PER DAY, they are per meal. This is the major difference between Ketogenic diets and a consistent, low carbohydrate diet CDEs advocate for. 30-45 carbs per meal is considered a low carb diet. Eating this in the form of a Mediterranean diet is what I recommend and what my article outlined. In a perfect world, we try to have people steer clear of anything artificial or processed when possible. Just eat fresh foods, like our grandparents did, who never had these types of health problems.

She adds that the research supports the safety and effectiveness of following a keto diet even in older adults with obesity as it seems to help improve body composition and improve metabolic health.6 “We saw significant reduction in body fat while lean mass was preserved and significant improvements in insulin sensitivity and the lipid profile in response to a ketogenic diet when compared to a standard ‘balanced’ diet,” Dr. Goss explains.
Test ketones in the late morning or afternoon. Blood and urine ketones are usually lowest right after waking up. Try testing later on, preferably a few hours after eating. Even if you’re only in ketosis for a portion of the day, you’re still getting some benefits, as discussed in this talk by Dr. Steve Phinney: Achieving and maintaining nutritional ketosis.

To be on the safe side, be sure to discuss with your doctor whether the keto diet is right for you before you drastically change your eating habits. While the diet has roots in medicine, its widespread use is still new, and not every doctor understands the keto diet. For more information, you can look to national programs that are gaining steam. Two examples: Virta Health, where they are studying the diet’s role in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes treatment, and the Cleveland Clinic’s Functional Ketogenics Program.


The ketogenic diet is usually something that’s prescribed by a registered dietitian. For example, Jessica Lowe, a Keck School of Medicine of USC ketogenic dietitian, said she might prescribe it to a patient who has epilepsy, since there’s research that shows it can help control seizures. There’s also growing interest in whether high-fat diets could help with brain injuries or neurodegenerative diseases, Lowe said. For the everyday dieter, Lowe said, it’s important to consult a registered dietitian.
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