The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if little carbohydrate remains in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Around half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet. Some evidence indicates that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective. Potential side effects may include constipation, high cholesterol, growth slowing, acidosis, and kidney stones.
Let’s also get one thing cleared up, there’s a difference between not pooping and constipation. Constipation is obvious blockage and discomfort–there’s something there but it ain’t movin’. Not pooping is well, not pooping. There’s nothing there to come out. When you produce less waste, you poop less often–and on Keto, you’re going to poop less often. The body is very efficient at extracting nutrients from meats and fatty foods. The result is less waste. So don’t mistake fewer bowel movements with constipation.
Also, consider supplementing with the amino acid leucine, as it can be broken down directly into acetyl-CoA, making it one of the most important ketogenic amino acids in the body. While most other amino acids are converted into glucose, the acetyl-CoA formed from leucine can be used to make ketone bodies. It’s also present in keto friendly foods like eggs and cottage cheese.
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).
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.
🙌🙌 thank you for some great info! USC just had an article about Keto, saying they don’t know the impact on bone health. So I’m not sure why all these articles are written without the documentation to prove the claims. We all know too much calcium supplementation can cause problems but every Dr wants you to supplement calcium. Most people could do a lot worse than doing Keto! The SAD will cause more problems for you than eating whole, unprocessed Keto food! Sugar seems to be the real issue along with aspartame and stressful living.
A ketogenic diet could be an interesting alternative to treat certain conditions, and may accelerate weight loss. But it is hard to follow and it can be heavy on red meat and other fatty, processed, and salty foods that are notoriously unhealthy. We also do not know much about its long-term effects, probably because it’s so hard to stick with that people can’t eat this way for a long time. It is also important to remember that “yo-yo diets” that lead to rapid weight loss fluctuation are associated with increased mortality. Instead of engaging in the next popular diet that would last only a few weeks to months (for most people that includes a ketogenic diet), try to embrace change that is sustainable over the long term. A balanced, unprocessed diet, rich in very colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and lots of water seems to have the best evidence for a long, healthier, vibrant life.
Diabetes is said to be a ‘progressive, chronic’ disease – incurable, in other words. Recently, case reports and clinical studies have accumulated claiming diabetes reversal with a low-carb or ketogenic diet. Many will debate if ‘reversal’ is the right term since adding in sugar and flour will bring their diabetes back. Nevertheless, there remains no doubt that people with diabetes benefit from these kinds of diets . For diabetics, both type 1’s and type 2’s, a well-formulated low-carb or ketogenic diet should be the first line of lifestyle treatment.
Carbohydrates: Historically, a targeted keto diet consists of limiting carbohydrate intake to just 20–30 net grams per day. “Net carbs” is the amount of carbs remaining once dietary fiber is taken into account. Because fiber is indigestible once eaten, most people don’t count grams of fiber toward their daily carb allotment. In other words, total carbs – grams of fiber = net carbs. That’s the carb counts that matter most.
Experts are split on whether the keto diet is a good idea. On the one hand, Lori Chang, registered dietitian and a supervisor at the Center for Healthy Living at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles, says using a “cleaner” source of energy—ketones rather than quick-burning carbohydrates—can improve mood and energy levels. When you eat refined carbohydrates or just too many carbs in general, the blood is flooded with excess insulin, Chang says. "This can lead to a blood sugar rollercoaster that stresses the body and negatively impacts energy levels and mood. When you’re in a state of ketosis, however, ketone bodies don’t require insulin to cross the blood-brain barrier, which wards off unfavorable blood sugar levels."
In summary, the LCKD had positive effects on body weight, waist measurement, serum triglycerides, and glycemic control in a cohort of 21 participants with type 2 diabetes. Most impressive is that improvement in hemoglobin A1c was observed despite a small sample size and short duration of follow-up, and this improvement in glycemic control occurred while diabetes medications were reduced substantially in many participants. Future research must further examine the optimal medication adjustments, particularly for diabetes and diuretic agents, in order to avoid possible complications of hypoglycemia and dehydration. Because the LCKD can be very effective at lowering blood glucose, patients on diabetes medication who use this diet should be under close medical supervision or capable of adjusting their medication.
Resistant starches can be included as part of a ketogenic diet or as a supplement because it has minimal effects on blood sugar, so it doesn’t disrupt the state of ketosis. Resistant starches not only feed good bacteria in the gut but can also get fermented into substances that are beneficial for health. (Read this post to learn more about the health benefits of resistant starches and how to use them.)
During ketosis, your body produces ketones, or byproducts of the fat-burning process. Your body uses several tactics to remove the ketones from your body, including exhalation. When ketones are excreted by your lungs, they leave as foul-smelling acetone. Because of this fat-burning process, you may develop bad breath while you’re in ketosis. Drink plenty of fluid to help your mouth stay hydrated and reduce the risk for bad breath. If the situation becomes particularly smelly, you can turn to sugar-free mints or gum to mask the situation.
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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.
OK, so this is the one most people probably actually care about. The great thing about the keto diet is that most dieters report not feeling hungry at all, likely because ketosis tends to suppress the hunger hormone, ghrelin, which helps tame our hangry monster within. So when you combine a satiating diet with the fact that you’re just cutting out a lot of foods, it makes perfect sense then that you’ll lose weight. One meta-analysis found that participants lost more weight on a very low-carb diet (like keto) compared with those on a low-fat diet.
Dr. Cabeca came up with the concept of combining an alkaline diet with a keto diet after weighing the benefits of very low-carb eating on one hand, with some of the negative feedback she was receiving from clients on the other. Although many of her clients experienced weight loss quickly and reliably while reducing their intake of carbs, many also reported dealing with side effects like nausea, fatigue and constipation due to the keto diet.
The relation between a high fat diet and cancer is not conclusive. Recent epidemiological studies (17,58–60) could not explain a specific causal relationship between dietary fat and cancer. It has been found that altered energy metabolism and substrate requirements of tumour cells provide a target for selective antineoplastic therapy. The supply of substrates for tumour energy metabolism can be reduced by dietary manipulation (eg, ketogenic diet) or by pharmacological means at the cellular level (eg, inhibitors of glycolysis or oxidative phosphorylation). Both of these techniques are nontoxic methods for controlling tumour growth in vivo (61). Sugar consumption is positively associated with cancer in humans and test animals (58–61). This observation is quite logical because tumours are known to be enormous sugar absorbers. It has also been found that the risk of breast cancer decreases with increases in total fat intake (16). Further studies on the role of a ketogenic diet in antineoplastic therapy are in progress in our laboratory.
When we eat, we consume either protein, carbs, or fat. Carbs increase blood sugar levels. Protein and fat do not. So eating a low-carb diet IS healthy for diabetics because you eliminate a lot of what causes glucose to rise. I’m not referring to a no-carb way of eating, but a lower carb diet. I’m type 2 and have been eating keto for three weeks. My blood sugar levels are great. No swings — highs or super lows. I was injecting 60 units of insulin prior to each meal. Now I inject 5-10 units. I’m not losing weight, but I feel better and my sugar levels are under control. Most nutritionists and many doctors still haven’t caught up with the science. Low-carb/keto is the best way to eat for a diabetic.
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Thank you Dr Jockers! I recently came across your website and i absolutely love what you do. I am an advanced practice nurse and just started a part time keto coaching practice.I am already amazed by the changes i see in my clients. Do you have by chance a training program for keto coaches. If not, is there one out there that you recommend? Thank you in advance.
Unfortunately I think Dr. D has too much of a vested interest in distinguishing WB from Keto diet when they actually overlap quite a bit. Especially people practicing keto for overall health, not just weight loss. Having said that, more studies are needed to monitor side effects of keto diets in adults, and it is good to keep in mind that there could be unintended side effects from low carb diets. Fortunately most can be prevented by being aware of them, adjusting to have a well-rounded low carb diet, and taking supplements.
The ketogenic (or keto) diet was initially designed to treat severe epilepsy in infants and children. As an intervention diet, it was intended to be administered for short periods of time under the supervision of a medical team. Now popular for it’s rapid weight-loss side effects, the diet has moved to the mainstream public as an alternative low-carb diet.
Several recent studies indicate that a low-carbohydrate diet is effective at improving glycemia. A few studies have shown that in non-diabetic individuals, low-carbohydrate diets were more effective than higher carbohydrate diets at improving fasting serum glucose [13,14] and insulin [6,14-16], and at improving insulin sensitivity as measured by the homeostasis model . One of these studies also included diabetic patients and noted a comparative improvement in hemoglobin A1c after 6 months (low fat diet: 0.0 ± 1.0%; low carbohydrate diet: -0.6 ± 1.2%, p = 0.06)  and 12 months (low fat diet: -0.1 ± 1.6%; low carbohydrate diet: -0.7 ± 1.0%, p = 0.019) duration . In a 5-week crossover feeding study, 8 men with type 2 diabetes had greater improvement in fasting glucose, 24-hour glucose area-under-the-curve (AUC), 24-hour insulin AUC, and glycohemoglobin while on the low-carbohydrate diet than when on a eucaloric low-fat diet . In a 14-day inpatient feeding study, 10 participants with type 2 diabetes experienced improvements in hemoglobin A1c and insulin sensitivity as measured by the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp method . Hemoglobin A1c also improved in an outpatient study of 16 participants who followed a 20% carbohydrate diet for 24 weeks .
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.
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.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LCKD) in overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes over 16 weeks. Specifically, we wanted to learn the diet's effects on glycemia and diabetes medication use in outpatients who prepared (or bought) their own meals. In a previous article, we reported the results observed in 7 individuals ; this report includes data from those 7 individuals along with data from additional participants enrolled subsequently.
Metabolic Syndrome Limited research, including a study published in November 2017 in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews, has suggested that adults with metabolic disease following keto shed more weight and body fat compared with those on a standard American diet, which is heavy in processed food and added sugars. (6)
A second counterintuitive approach to healing the gut for children who are having a hard time gaining is to encourage a nice long ‘fast’ over night. When the gut is less full, and the body can digest the food that’s in there completely and then it can repair an inflamed or leaky gut better. If the gut is inflamed, food may be passing right through without being absorbed. In addition, growth hormone raises during periods of fasting.
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.
Other causes of diarrhea on the keto diet include consuming a diet low in fiber (fiber helps ward off diarrhea by bulking up stool) and eating processed low-carb foods like shakes and bars that may contain sugar alcohols. These sugar alcohols can ferment in the gut and cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Yawitz suggests limiting foods labeled “sugar free” if you’re prone to gas or diarrhea when you eat them. And you may want to gradually adjust your carbs downward and your fats upward. “Also build your diet around [naturally] high-fiber, low-carb foods like avocado and nonstarchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus,” she says. Other keto-friendly ways to get more fiber include chia seeds, almonds, and coconut.
2 days from grains my stomach bloat was gone and I knew at that point everything this article and American diet was a lie. I’ve been on keto for over 16 months. Down 50lbs. In 6 months. I am ripped. Haven’t lost any muscle mass. I eat greens protein and healthy fat. I whole juice to get macros and yes I add watermelon or berries fo palatability purposes. I still eat carbs just healthy choices. I’ve become carb tolerant.. your liver will produce all glucose without ever eating 1 carb. This is biased and poor representation of keto lifestyle. When your starving and no carbs to choke keto will still thrive on either or fuel.
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.
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.
While it's not necessarily dangerous, bad breath is a known side effect of entering ketosis. When you’re taking in a lot of fat, your liver metabolizes it and eventually converts it into smaller ketone bodies. These ketones (including acetone — yep, like nail polish remover acetone) will circulate in your body and diffuse into your lungs. Your body wants balance, so you'll exhale ketones to avoid build-up in your bloodstream. Those compounds are what cause keto breath: a metallic-tasting, somewhat stinky side effect.
We have all heard of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and essential amino acids (EAAs), but have you ever heard of essential carbohydrates? No. The human body is capable of burning fat for fuel. If the body can burn fat for fuel, why would you ingest a substance (carbohydrate) that raises your blood sugar, raises your insulin levels, and makes you sick? Why would the ADA advocate the very diet that made us sick in the first place? When are they going to admit they’ve been wrong and start doing what is in the best interest of diabetics?
There’s many suggested interventions for these short-term keto side effects on the internet, but know that there are potential pitfalls of these dietary supplements. While there are benefits for some specific cases, many of us will experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation as a result. Plus, unless they’re prescribed to you by a physician, dietary supplements come with their own safety gamble.
No Pete, this is not true. What you have mentioned is based on the seven country epidemiological study done by Ancel Keys in the 1970s. This entire study was based on flawed science. Ancel Keys cherry picked the data that supported his argument for the foundation for his hypothesis. Although this hypothesis was never backed by scientific evidence the mainstream medical system took it as gospel in creating standards for the health professionals.
Chronic exercise patterns: Fat-based metabolisms are great for long, slow movement, quick bursts of speed with rest in between, and feats of explosive strength. In other words, making your way through the world, doing some strength training, going for hikes, playing with kids, running some sprints, and are all tenable on keto. Heavy CrossFit training or anything else that burns a lot of glycogen at a lot of workouts each week, however, might pose issues. Resolve this by either scaling back the training or eating some carbs before, during, or after your workouts.
After reading that article I have to say that the “USC experts” are full of it. It’s the usual scare stuff that the mainstream docs and dietitians trot out to attempt to discredit LCHF and keto diets. There’s no reason why a keto diet should be any worse for bone health than any other diet provided it has adequate calcium, phosphate and Vit K2 and you have good Vit D levels. As for the recommendations of dietitians – eat lots of healthywholegrains and “vegetable” oils but no saturated fats – we know what the long-term results are of that: diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Luiza Petre, MD, a board-certified cardiologist and weight management specialist in New York City, suggests focusing on eating more low-carb, fiber-rich foods that can help beat this bowel issue. “Try fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, and cabbage, consume more fat like MCT oil, coconut oil, or ghee, and, as always, drink plenty of water,” she says.
These types of back-and-forth weight fluctuations can contribute to disordered eating, Kizer says, or can worsen an already unhealthy relationship with food. “I think this diet appeals to people who have issues with portion control and with binge eating,” she says. "And in many cases, what they really need is a lifestyle coach or a professional counselor to help them get to the bottom of those issues."
In a March 2018 blog post, Dr. Ede provides a range of very helpful tips for anyone already on mood-altering or psychiatric medications who want to try a ketogenic diet, such as how to talk with your psychiatrist or mental-health provider and what laboratory metabolic tests the doctor should order to help monitor your response to the diet. Most importantly, she provides details about some specific medications — notably specific antipsychotic medications, anticonvulsant medications, and lithium — that should be carefully monitored.
The ketogenic diet is a powerful new tool to hit the mainstream recently. This style of eating has substantial data behind it showing that it can boost fat-burning, reduce inflammation, boost cognitive performance, and more. What has not been covered quite enough are common keto side effects and how you can avoid them to make the best of this powerful eating style.
Your glycogen stores can still be refilled while on a ketogenic diet. A keto diet is an excellent way to build muscle, but protein intake is crucial here. It’s suggested that if you are looking to gain mass, you should be taking in about 1.0 – 1.2g protein per lean pound of body mass. Putting muscle on may be slower on a ketogenic diet, but that’s because your total body fat is not increasing as much.5Note that in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, both endurance athletes and obese individuals see a physical performance for the first week of transition.
I had type 1 diabetes for 30+ yrs; CKD/ESRD x8 yrs and did peritoneal dialysis for 5 yrs before getting a kidney pancreas transplant nearly 5 years ago. Then had a below knee amputation and a rather sedentry life since-need to lose weight. Is this a safe diet for me? I am terrified of ketosis (DKA nearly killed me when i was 12 yrs old) so anything messing with stuff like that really makes me nervous. TIA!
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.
Studies are emerging that ketogenic diets (in conjunction with other treatments) can either reverse progressive brain disorders or help repair the damage. These include traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The Wahl’s Protocol also utilizes this benefit of the ketogenic diet to help repair neurological damage from multiple sclerosis.