The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, very-low-carb diet plan. The goal of the diet is to reach a “ketosis” state. The more restrictive you are on your carbohydrates (less than 15g per day), the faster you will enter ketosis. Once in this state, rapid weight loss begins. Research does indicate that the ketogenic diet is most effective in weight loss by reducing visceral (body) fat.
Kidney stones are mineral deposits in the kidneys. They can be caused by multiple things–including dehydration, high sodium intake, family history, and excessively high consumption of protein (> 200g per day). A true ketogenic diet is low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat. So there’s no solid evidence that protein consumption at levels seen in a typical ketogenic diet could cause kidney stones.
A recent pilot study put five patients on the ketogenic diet (less than 20 grams per day of carbohydrate). At the end of six months, the average weight loss was 28 pounds (but this wasn’t the most surprising finding). Each patient underwent a liver biopsy, and four of the five patients had a reduction in liver fat, inflammation, and fibrosis. However, this is a small pilot study that also used supplements, so the results are not conclusive. What does the rest of the research say?
2. Raygan, F., Bahmani, F., Kouchaki, E., Aghadavod, E., Sharifi, S., Akbari, E., . . . Asemi, Z. (2016). Comparative effects of carbohydrate versus fat restriction on metabolic profiles, biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in overweight patients with Type 2 diabetic and coronary heart disease: A randomized clinical trial. PMID: 28607566
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat dietary regimen which has been linked to improvements in insulin sensitivity and higher rates of weight loss — both positive factors in managing type 2 diabetes. Lowering carb intake induces a metabolic state known as ketosis, through which the body produces ketones which burn fat — rather than carbohydrates — for energy.
Adding salt to food might be new to you, since most people are used to being told to limit salt intake. However, when you’re eating a ketogenic diet of less than 60 carbohydrates each day, you’ll need to make up for this loss of salt. That being said, those with high blood pressure who take medication should check with their doctors before making a change.
Low carb, high fat diets have been used for centuries by doctors when working with obese patients. William Banting published the widely popular booklet titled ‘Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the Public’ in 1863. In this booklet he explained how he had slimmed down by eating a diet high in fat void of carbs. The Banting diet was used for decades by individuals looking to lose weight.
The keto diet — eat all the fat you want, minus the carbs — seems like a miracle diet for those who are looking to lose weight fast while still enjoying their favorite foods. For obese individuals, it may be the golden ticket. Repeated studies have shown that following a keto diet can significantly reduce body weight, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
“Suddenly and drastically reducing carbohydrates sets your body up for a double whammy of sorts,” says Yawitz. “The brain’s favorite fuel is glucose, which is most easily created from carbohydrates. In very-low-carb diets, the brain has to adjust to using ketones from digested fats for energy. To add to this discomfort, your kidneys release more electrolytes as insulin levels fall.” Additionally, your total body water decreases as carbohydrates become depleted on a keto diet, notes Clark. The result? What’s known as the keto flu, which could cause constipation, nausea, headache, fatigue, irritability, cramps, and other symptoms. Don’t fret, though: Many of these symptoms are short term and should last only a few days to weeks. Make sure to drink plenty of water to help your body cope with these symptoms. And call your doctor if symptoms — especially nausea — are prolonged, advises Yawitz.
Most people already know about the keto flu, which can happen when you start the diet. It’s a result of the body adapting to the low-carb state. Lowering carb intake forces the body to burn ketones for energy instead of glucose. Once the body is in ketosis — burning fat instead of glucose — the keto diet is working. But you may not feel so great at first, hence the term keto flu.
Seek Nutritional Ketosis, Not Higher Ketone Levels. To gain the most benefit from this diet, you’ll want to aim for a level of ketosis between 1.5-3.0 mol/L on a blood ketone meter. You’ll be there when you are eating well-designed meals that carry you through to the next meal without hunger or other adverse symptoms (ie, nausea, insomnia, crankiness, inability to exercise). Higher ketone levels suggest you have more circulating ketones in your blood but don’t confuse this with efficient fat burning, which is the goal of this diet.
A related clinical diet for drug-resistant epilepsy is called the medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diet, in which MCT oil is extensively used because it’s more ketogenic than long-chain triglycerides. (13) Another dietary therapy for epilepsy called Low Glycemic Index Treatment (LGIT) was developed in 2002 as an alternative to the keto diet. LGIT monitors the total amount of carbohydrates consumed daily, and focuses on carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index.) (14)
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.
2. A ketogenic diet helps to increase your level of energy as well as reduce hunger. Since the ketogenic diet uses body fats as a primary source of energy, your body will have a more reliable source of energy. This will make sure that you have a lot more energy to use throughout your day. In addition, since fats are more satisfying, you will find that you fill full for longer periods of time.
To say that the keto diet has become one of the most popular diets of recent years is a complete understatement. Case in point: There are more than one million searches on Google every month for the keto diet. It’s unique because the fad diet has captured the interest of people who want to lose weight — and there’s no shortage of reported success stories to be found.
Also, diabetics should not undertake the diet without medical supervision. “Trying a ketogenic diet has the power to drastically and quickly lower blood glucose levels,” says Santos-Prowse. “If a person with diabetes is taking blood glucose-lowering medications, their doctor needs to be on board to help with adjusting or stopping the medications as needed.”
Statistical differences between body weight, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, level of fasting blood sugar, and urea and creatinine levels before and after the administration of the ketogenic diet were analyzed using a paired Student’s t test using the Stat-view version 4.02 (Abacus Concepts Inc, USA). Weight, BMI and all biochemical parameters are expressed as mean ± SEM.
When you eat foods high in carbohydrates and fat, your body naturally produces glucose. Carbohydrates are the easiest thing for the body to process, and therefore it will use them first – resulting in the excess fats to be stored immediately. In turn, this causes weight gain and health problems that are associated with high fat, high carbohydrate diets (NOT keto).
Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...
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.
The only evidence I could find for the long-term safety of a keto diet is from one 12 month trial. As a result of the study, the researchers found that overweight adults with elevated A1c that followed the keto diet experienced more significant reductions in A1c, lost more weight, and decreased their medications more than those instructed to follow a moderate-carbohydrate, calorie-restricted, low-fat diet.
Ketoacidosis most commonly arises with people with diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs in response to a severe lack of proper insulin activity whereas alcoholic ketoacidosis is a harmful metabolic condition arising when someone consumes alcohol but no food, explains Michael J. Gonzalez-Campoy, MD, PhD, medical director and CEO of the Minnesota Center for Obesity, Metabolism, and Endocrinology, in Eagan, Minnesota. Either way, this is a dangerous situation.
There is also exciting early research suggesting that ketosis may be beneficial for many other conditions, such as reducing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches, reversing PCOS, perhaps enhancing conventional brain cancer therapies, possibly slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, along with potentially helping people live longer, healthier lives.
The keto diet is an ultra-low-carb and high-fat diet that restricts total carbohydrate numbers to just 20 or 30 net grams of carbohydrate per day. That’s the equivalent of a single piece of fruit or half a bagel. When you cut carbs, your body’s preferred source of energy, you require your body to suddenly shift to fat for fuel. This raises blood levels of ketones and puts you in a state of ketosis—hence the name “keto diet.” Once this shift, happens, you will lose weight, but you may also have experience so negative side effects. This is commonly referred to as the keto “flu.”
Fresh fruits supply only a small fraction of the fructose Americans consume (the biggest source is sugary beverages). Sugar in fruit is accompanied by healthful nutrients and antioxidants, as well as fiber, which slows absorption of fructose so it’s highly unlikely that the fructose in even very sweet fruit could have any undesirable health effects.
More recently, a meta-analysis was published in the Journal of Neurology that assessed the impact of the ketogenic diet in treating epilepsy. It included a total of 19 studies with a total of 1084 patients. After analyzing the data, the researchers noted that the patients who stayed on the diet had a 2.25 times greater probability of treatment success (at least a 50% reduction in seizures).
Con: Results can vary depending on how much fluid you drink. By drinking more water, you dilute the concentration of ketones in the urine and thus a lower level of ketones will be detected on the strips. The strips don’t show a precise ketone level. Finally, and most importantly, as you become increasingly keto-adapted and your body reabsorbs ketones from the urine, urine strips may become unreliable, even if you’re in ketosis.
I am a T2D, finally fully keto starting at the end of March. I am down 28 lbs. My goal is 50, so I am feeling encouraged and fitting into smaller sizes already. In May my A1C was 5.6. This morning, according to a home test kit I purchased from CVS, my A1C is 5. I believe that is fairly accurate based on my blood sugar readings, which are staying well below 100.
First of all, I can’t deny the fact that people will lose weight on a keto diet. Here’s why. First of all, you’re eliminating a major food group. When you do that, you limit your food options and most likely your food intake, so it’s not rocket science that you’ll likely lose weight. Second, most people on a low carb diet tend to increase their protein intake in the absence of carbs and there is some evidence that consuming higher amounts of protein may have some weight loss benefits. The large recent study mentioned above also looked at fat loss and found that individuals following a keto diet lost about the same weight as individuals following a different diet when they ate the SAME amount of calories. However, the studies found that individuals on the keto diet tended to lose body weight quicker.
So rather than giving one-size-fits-all dietary advice or weaponizing the word “balanced” it might be better if the medical community suggested that there are Individual differences that need to be considered. This might also help those lay folk who have had success with one dietary lifestyle or another also realize that what’s valid for them may not be good advice for others.
It is now evident that high carbohydrate diets increase fasting plasma triglyceride concentrations (47–51) and decrease HDL cholesterol concentrations (52–55). These changes are associated with enhanced atherogenesis (55). However, it has been shown that short-term ketogenic diets improve the lipid disorders that are characteristic of atherogenic dyslipidemia (56). It has also been found that sugary drinks decreased blood levels of vitamin E, thus reducing the amount of antioxidants in the body. It has been proven, beyond a doubt, that disrupting the oxidant-antioxidant status of the cell will lead to various diseases of the body (57).
Practicing intermittent fasting. This works wonders to help patients get into ketosis. Ideally, you’ll go 13.5–15 hours between dinner and breakfast to help your body find energy reserves beyond stored glucose. (Your body can only store reserves for about 24 hours, so if you are eating much less, intermittent fasting will allow you to drop your storage levels way down, requiring your body to burn fat instead.)
Before the discovery of neuroplasticity, scientists believed that a damaged brain cannot regenerate. However, by improving mitochondria health, reducing inflammation, and stimulating cellular cleanup, ketogenic diets can help a damaged brain repair itself. Thus, the ketogenic diet is almost a miracle for many brain diseases that were thought of as incurable.
Lele Jaro has been on a ketogenic diet for over two years to help with her type 2 diabetes, and has successfully got off insulin. She’s been documenting her health journey on Instagram with keto-friendly food ideas, keto tips, and workout motivation. She’s lost over 80 pounds on her journey, and inspires others to try keto to improve their health. Connect with her on her YouTube channel or Facebook.
After seeing thousands of patients now for years and from personal experience, I still believe it comes down to staying away from processed foods and cooking at home whenever possible. Eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fiber. Also, cutting out any sugary liquid calories; staying away from sodas, juices and the infamous sweet tea! Keeping stress levels under control and incorporating exercise into your routine will also be key to breaking through challenging times when you are having trouble with continued weight loss.