Keto flu is a real thing. Cutting your carbs to the bone and going into a state of ketosis (where your body burns fat for energy) can bring on a cluster of uncomfortable symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. The side effects are the result of your body transitioning to using fat as its primary source of energy instead of carbs, explains Kristen Mancinelli, MS, RDN, author of The Ketogenic Diet. Once it adapts to the new fuel source (usually within a week or two), you’ll start to feel better.
If you're new to keto, watch out for hidden carbs. Generally, dairy products and nuts are a good way to meet your daily fat intake, but know that some of those items may contain more carbohydrates than you think. For example, yogurt topped with nuts may seem like a great keto-friendly snack, but a 5.3 ounce serving of plain yogurt has 12 grams of carbohydrates. Vanilla flavored yogurt has 24 grams of carbohydrates. Add an ounce of cashews, weighing in at nearly nine grams of carbs, and you’re up to 21 to 33 grams of carbs for that snack, which could knock you out of ketosis. Be sure to read nutrition labels carefully and pay careful attention to serving sizes. Track foods using a keto-specific app like Senza or KetoDiet can help you stay within your recommended daily carb intake.
Unless you’ve already been eating a paleo or primal diet and are somewhat keto-adapted (burning ketones for fuel), it is a good idea “reset” the body in order to regain the metabolic flexibility to go into ketosis or even stay in ketosis despite eating some carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting is one efficient way to do this. During a water fast, ketosis can occur in days instead of weeks or months and often sustains for a while after the fast.
A ketogenic diet elevates the levels of ketone bodies in the system—these are the byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy when carbohydrates are in short supply, a process called ketosis. The average American gets most of their energy from glucose, which comes from carbs and sugars. When you’re in ketosis, though, your body goes into hyper fat-burning mode, also using up stored body fat, which is why it’s effective as a weight-loss strategy.
It’s important to note, however, that most of the research is being done on diseases and disorders, not specifically weight loss. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been evidence of weight loss as a benefit of the eating pattern, just that the studies performed specifically for the benefits for long-term weight loss are limited. There’s anecdotal evidence out there, of course, but there was evidence of weight loss associated with a low-fat diet in the '90s… until that farce came falling down around our collective shoulders as the long-term evidence came rolling in to the contrary.
Prior to the advent of exogenous insulin for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in the 1920's, the mainstay of therapy was dietary modification. Diet recommendations in that era were aimed at controlling glycemia (actually, glycosuria) and were dramatically different from current low-fat, high-carbohydrate dietary recommendations for patients with diabetes [1,2]. For example, the Dr. Elliot Joslin Diabetic Diet in 1923 consisted of "meats, poultry, game, fish, clear soups, gelatin, eggs, butter, olive oil, coffee, tea" and contained approximately 5% of energy from carbohydrates, 20% from protein, and 75% from fat . A similar diet was advocated by Dr. Frederick Allen of the same era .
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.
The keto diet can be an effective way to reduce excess body fat but there are several cons that should be noted by anyone wanting to follow this eating plan, says Ms. Zarabi says. In fact, the keto diet has serious risks. For one thing, it’s high in saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease. Additionally, a nutrient deficiency and constipation could occur since the keto diet is very low in fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Make sure you’re eating whole, unprocessed foods when on keto. There are different types of keto diets, and some, like dirty keto, may be low-carb but they’re still full of inflammatory foods. Learn more about how dirty keto works. Your best anti-inflammatory game plan is to emphasize good fats, grass-fed proteins, and fresh, organic vegetables, like on the Bulletproof Diet. Learn more with this Bulletproof Diet Roadmap.
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.
Certain studies suggest that keto diets may “starve” cancer cells. A highly processed, pro-inflammatory, low-nutrient foods can feed cancer cells causing them to proliferate. What’s the connection between high-sugar consumption and cancer? The regular cells found in our bodies are able to use fat for energy, but it’s believed that cancer cells cannot metabolically shift to use fat rather than glucose. (11)
From baseline to week 16, the mean body weight decreased significantly from 131.4 ± 18.3 kg to 122.7 ± 18.9 kg, BMI decreased from 42.2 ± 5.8 kg/m2 to 39.4 ± 6.0 kg/m2, and waist circumference from 130.0 ± 10.5 cm to 123.3 ± 11.3 cm (Table (Table3).3). The percent change in body weight was -6.6%. The mean percent body fat decreased from 40.4 ± 5.8% to 37.0 ± 6.0%. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures did not change significantly over the 16 weeks. The mean heart rate decreased from 81.2 ± 12.9 beats per minute to 74.6 ± 14.0 beats per minute (p = 0.01).
ME: It is not essential. You can be fully ketogenic without any intermittent fasting. However, most people find it natural to do intermittent fasting as their hunger is reduced to where they don’t need a third meal. Keeping feeding time reduced to a smaller window during the day enables the body to use stored body fat for fuel longer, which benefits weight loss. My husband Craig and I still do intermittent fasting every day as maintenance. It just makes life easier only having to make two meals a day instead of three.
I agree with the article above regarding the muscle loss myth, with that said, I think that a keto diet can become a problem with retaining muscle mass and here is why… many people who follow this diet tend to under eat. Keto is a great way to force your body to use fat as an energy source but you still need to get a certain amount of calories, and if you dont there is a good chance you will lose muscle mass eventually if not right away. To lose weight we have to be calorie deficient, but within reason, and I have found that many dieters (not just keto) follow the absurd 1200 calorie a day diet…that is just not good in my opinion and more importantly, not sustainable. The average 5’7″ 150 female between 20 and 60 years old has a BMR of between 1350 and 1550 calories a day, so 1200 calories is not wise. This is not the keto diet plan but the 1200 calorie figure is what many people are being told to do…over time your body will think it is starving and most certainly use muscle mass for energy. Keto is great, but you have to be smart about it. P.S. I am a personal trainer not an expert on nutrition, but like most trainers I study nutrition, nutrition and diet trends, and continually research to help my clients succeed…I have also followed the keto diet with success…but I cycle. My biggest issue with keto is getting enough calories..I’m always eating.
Also, be aware that, while diet can be an extremely powerful tool to regain control over many aspects of health, diet by itself remains insufficient for full health. Just as filling up the gas tank of your car with quality gasoline helps your car run well, but other aspects of your car need attention over time (change the oil, tune-ups, new tires on occasion, etc.), so it goes with diet. We must also pay attention to vitamin D and iodine status, the potential for common endocrine disruptions such as thyroid dysfunction, efforts to cultivate bowel flora, and other issues. Focus on diet as a start, not as an end.
Regarding keto diets specifically, studies have proven this method to be more effective than moderate protein diets in lowering blood glucose, promoting weight loss and lowering HbA1c in patients with Type 2 diabetes. A growing number of clinicians now agree that low-carb diets can effectively treat this disease. The fact remains: these diets remain controversial and contradict dietary guidelines, so they are not very often discussed or recommended in the clinical setting.
The diet is called "keto" in reference to the ketogenic state your body enters when it gets essentially no carbs — its default form of fuel for energy — and instead, uses fat as its source of energy. If you think about it, that's a pretty dramatic shift for your body to make. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that aside from hastened weight loss, keto can bring with it some significant complications.
There are people who say that keto helps your athletic performance, and those who say it hurts it. "The literature is mixed on how an ultra low-carbohydrate diet like the keto diet affects athletic performance," says Grant Cox, C.S.C.S., head coach at Iron Tribe Fitness. But one thing is pretty clear: "A lot of it points to consistent decreases when athletes are looking for maximal power output (in weightlifting, vertical jumps, sprinting, etc.). Along the same lines, you'd be hard-pressed to put on weight and strength on such a low carbohydrate diet," he says.
Celiac disease is another condition with a very well established link to psychiatric and neurologic conditions. It is estimated that one to two of every 100 people has celiac disease, an immune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten in wheat, rye and barley destroys the lining of the small intestine, leading to a wide array of health problems. Another six out of every 100 people may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which while not having evidence of damage to the lining of their small intestine nevertheless can experience a wide range of health issues, including mental health issues.
Roxy, I started at 283 in February 2018. I am now 212 with the hope to make 100lbs lost by Feb 2019. KETO is a life choice and comes with changes that have to be made! My mantra at difficult times in the beginning was to be different i must do different! Also most modern foods pizza and tacos can be adapted to keto way of eating. Just takes research and a little planning. I have tacos weekly!
"Your brain runs on glucose (a simple form of carbohydrates)," notes Adrien Paczosa, R.D., L.D., a registered dietitian and eating disorder specialist. "When you cut out carbs, your body has to 'make' carbs from breaking down other parts of the body. This results in what I like to call a hungry brain. You experience slower cognition, memory loss, headaches, and confusion." That doesn't sound so great, right? "Also, those who suffer from depression and anxiety may have higher levels of those periods when not eating carbs on a regular basis." Because of this, keto might not be the best choice for those with mental health issues.
To understand what the keto diet is, you have to understand a little about how your body generates and uses energy for daily activity. All day, every day, your body undertakes a series of chemical processes (together referred to as metabolism) to break down and use a combination of carbohydrates and fats to produce energy. The energy produced is used for everything -- from breathing to brushing your teeth to running to catch a taxi. Your body is burning fuel constantly just to sustain basic life function. And while your body is always burning a combination of fats and carbohydrates, your brain’s primary fuel source is carbohydrates… and your brain requires a surprising amount of energy to get you through each day.
Why is the keto diet good for you? A keto diet is one that prioritizes fats and proteins over carbohydrates. It can help reduce body weight, acne, and the risk of cancer. Find out about the mechanisms through which it achieves these benefits and the research that supports it. This MNT Knowledge Center article also discusses the risks of the diet. Read now
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.
Given all the buzz, adopting a ketogenic diet may be the perfect weight loss plan, especially if you have diabetes, or want to try this approach to lose those troublesome extra pounds. After all, it’s a very low-carb meal plan that promises effective weight loss while also lowering your blood sugar to the point where you could possibly stop taking medication. By all accounts, the “keto” diet, as it’s widely known, may even reverse type 2 diabetes, at least for some lucky individuals.
A keto diet was/ is not just used for diabetics. It is a very useful tool for epilepsy. It is extremely successful in reducing the number of seizures per day, mainly in children but also in adults. I am sure that followers of the epilepsy diet, which has been used since the 1920s have not all starved to death. Iwould also think that the followers of this diet are also motivated to stay on it, not eat a slice of birthday cake and keep all thier brain cells.
Clinical improvement was observed in Alzheimer’s patients fed a ketogenic diet, and this was marked by improved mitochondrial function. (15) In fact, a European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study pointed to emerging data that suggested the therapeutic use of ketogenic diets for multiple neurological disorders beyond epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, including headaches, neurotrauma, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders, brain cancer, autism and multiple sclerosis. (16)
Identifying not-so-obvious acidic foods. There are a few acidic veggies (like Brussels sprouts), as well as alcohol (sorry!), coffee, and most dairy that are acidic and must be avoided. That doesn’t mean you’ll never eat them again. I can’t imagine life without wine and chocolate and brussel sprouts! Just be aware that as your body shifts into alkaline mode, they will be off limits temporarily.
Another possible nutrient deficiency: potassium, a mineral important for both electrolyte balance and blood pressure control, notes MedlinePlus. “Inadequate intake of potassium is likely when consumption of fruits and starchy vegetables are decreased,” says Asche. She recommends adding lower-carb sources of potassium to the diet, including avocado and spinach — as well as lower-carb sources of fiber, such as chia seeds and flaxseed (be sure to enjoy ground for the best health benefits).
Keto diets, like most low carb diets, work through the elimination of glucose. Because most folks live on a high carb diet, our bodies normally run on glucose (or sugar) for energy. We cannot make glucose and only have about 24 hours’ worth stored in our muscle tissue and liver. Once glucose is no longer available from food sources, we begin to burn stored fat instead, or fat from our food.
According to Dr. Cabeca, “Fasting is a key aspect of a healthy diet and has many anti-aging effects.” In particular Dr. Cabeca recommends fasting to women during or after menopause due to it’s anti-aging effects. For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when women went 12.5 hours between dinner and breakfast (a common form of fasting), the overnight fast seemed to help improve immune system functioning to the point that it reduced their risk for breast cancer. (03)
I must note here, that as a nutrition professional who has worked in pediatrics and seen children who must follow this diet, it is incredibly challenging for both the child and family. Most people who must follow this diet for therapeutic medical reasons have trouble actually reaching ketosis with diet alone, and need to drink poor-tasting formula drinks to keep their carb-to-fat ratio in tight control. Many of these individuals must follow this way of eating to survive or have any sort of quality of life.
In some ways, it’s similar to the Atkins diet, which similarly boosts the body’s fat-burning abilities through eating only low-carb foods, along with getting rid of foods high in carbs and sugar. Removing glucose from carbohydrate foods will cause the body to burn fat for energy instead. The major differences between the classic keto and the Atkins diet is the former emphasizes healthier keto fats, less overall protein and no processed meat (such as bacon) while having more research to back up its efficacy.
The popular low-carb diets (such as Atkins or Paleo) modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? "They're everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work," McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. "But again, we don't know about the long term," she says. "And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return."
No one is trying to diminish your success, but it does not work for everyone, and studies show it can have long term negative effects on your overall health. If you look at the Meta-analysis it shows a calorie restricted diet and Keto for 12 weeks had the same weight loss. There are also many studies that suggest looking back at people after one year those on a calorie restricted diet kept more of their weight off. The only one it does better than is just a low fat diet, which Dieticians stopped suggesting long ago. And as Health Care professionals we read the “REAL SCIENCE” not the internet articles, You Tube, Blog, book writers. One of the books written about it by Dr. Jason Fung. Have you looked him up on PUBMED? He has not written one article published in a real medical journal to be such an expert. It is not magic, it is not a cure. If you like the diet and it does not mess up your cholesterol then so be it but promoting it to others not knowing their medical history can be dangerous. What people don’t realize is that for year’s we have known that if you lose 7-10% of your own body weight your blood sugars will improve, cholesterol, and blood pressure. But you don’t have to do the fasting and put more burden on your Liver or potentially increase your risk for cardiac problems eating such high fat. If you do high fat at least do plant fats and not animal fats. But of course everyone is happy with your success but just keep a tab on your lab work.
Oh how I miss you, delicious high-fat smoothie 😫 🌿🌱🍃Day 15 on carnivore and I am feeling quite amazing though! 🥩 ~ UPDATE: I don’t have “recipes” I make food to taste but if I recall this was something like: -a handful of blueberries -half a carton of coconut milk -macadamia nuts -a couple glugs of @perfectketones MCT oil -some chunks of cacao butter -some chunks of coconut butter -half avocado -spinach, kale, cabbage -some ice and maybe a little water to get consistency right MUST use a badass blender (I use blendtec) -toppings: you can see them. Put what you like to eat on top.
Here’s another controversial yet promising area of study: Research suggests that when patients with diabetes take on a low-carb diet (like keto), they experience improvements in insulin sensitivity by up to 75 percent, as well as a reduction in blood sugar control medications. What we aren’t sure of, however, is whether these improvements are due specifically to the effects of ketosis or to weight loss in general, so similar results could theoretically be found with any successful diet.
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They have high likelihood of calcium oxalate and uric acid kidney stones–Kidney stones are uncommon in childhood, yet these kids commonly have kidney stones. The risk in an adult on a prolonged ketogenic effort is therefore high, also. Kidney stones are not benign–they are painful and can occasionally result in kidney damage (increased creatinine, urinary tract infections, etc.)