“Muscle loss on the ketogenic diet is an ongoing area of research,” says Edwina Clark, RD, a dietitian in private practice in San Francisco. “Small studies suggest that people on the ketogenic diet lose muscle even when they continue resistance training. This may be related to the fact that protein alone is less effective for muscle building than protein and carbohydrates together after exercise.” Meanwhile, according to a small study published in March 2018 in the journal Sports, people following the keto diet for three months lost about the same amount of body fat and had about the same muscle mass changes as people following normal diets. Yet the folks on keto did lose more leg muscle.
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.
If the liver is resistant to insulin, that's a bad sign for the rest of the body and could mean there's an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the researchers said. What's more, these results are concerning because overweight patients seeking to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by following a ketogenic diet could unintentionally be increasing their risk for developing the disease, at least in the first few days of their diet. 
Thank you for your wonderful comments Marcia. To share more about me personally with you all…I am not a completely non-diabetic Certified Diabetes Educator. I found out I had Prediabetes 15 years ago when I became a Diabetes Educator. I tested my own A1c and found it was 5.8%. The incredible news? There have been years when my A1c dropped to a normal level of 5.4%…out of the prediabetes range. My last A1c in May was 5.8%, so I still have Prediabetes 15 years later, but not diabetes, and without any medication, just the sensible diet I’ve discussed and exercise, so I really am living with this. I feel it everyday, I wonder what my A1c is going to be just like you every 6 months when I go to have it drawn.
It wasn’t until my waist started pushing 35 inches that I decided I needed to do something. That something just happened to be a slight change in life style. I gave up eating processed carbs, i.e. cereals, bread, rice, pasta, pizza, beer (yes pizza And Beer!), and continued eating such things as meat, nuts, cheese, vegetables. Foregoing the processed carbs is really not that much of a loss when you consider the benefits. The impact of processed food industry didn’t hit America til the early part of the 20th century. And I dare say that it had anything to do with increasing longevity. I’ve been living a ketogenic life style for about six months and plan to continue. But for those of you thinking that its a quick fix, I’m inclined to say that, in my case, your wrong. This wasn’t exactly quick a fix. It took all of those six months to reduce my waist size to a leaner 33 inches. I’d like to think that I’m not done yet. I drink half my body weight in ounces of water (nothing to do with the ketogenic life style, but thought i’d mention it). I’m far from hungry, don’t see a down side to this, and I’m looking forward to my yearly physical and blood work results. I’m glad that I stepped outside the normal dieters box.
A ketone body (KB) is a byproduct formed during the conversion of fatty acids to fuel. Some fatty acids are oxidized by the liver for energy production. Others can be partially oxidized to form the substrate acetoacetate, which is then converted to beta-hydroxybutyric acid; collectively, these are termed ketone bodies. Ketones can be used by all tissue containing mitochondria, which includes muscle and the brain.
“Certainly, the quality of fat counts,” says Yawitz. “There’s a big difference nutritionally between bacon and almonds. As much as possible, people set on the keto diet should emphasize plant-based, unsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado, which have even been shown to protect the heart.” If you have high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease, you should speak with your doctor before beginning the keto diet. This is because the diet may — but doesn't have to — include large amounts of saturated fat. Some studies have shown increases in cholesterol and triglycerides in people following the diet, while other research reveals that the keto diet may actually decrease heart disease risk as well as saturated fat intake.
Lele says that it’s important to remember that, while keto is a “high fat” diet, the goal is to use your body fat as an energy source, not the fat that’s on your plate. “You don’t need to necessarily add more fats to your diet to adhere to keto. For instance, if your dinner consists of avocado, bacon, and eggs, you really don’t need to add butter to that to make it ‘more keto’,” she says.
There are many physiological reasons for eating enough carbohydrates throughout the waking hours to maintain a steady blood glucose level…a couple of important reasons are to minimize the hepatic release of glucose (from the liver) and to help prevent hypoglycemia which can be very dangerous and lead to hypoglycemic unawareness over a short period of time. Each person is different of course..if you aren’t taking insulin, or pills that lower your blood glucose levels, you may not have to worry about low blood sugars. The reality is, most people with diabetes do; it can be very dangerous for some to not get enough carbohydrates at each meal.
What the doctors never tell you is that you could also just eat completely different and take none of this crap. So that’s what I did. I stopped all of them all at once. Sure I don’t recommend that, but this damn disease and my disgusting visceral fat filled stomach ruined every aspect of my life-professional, relationships, sexual, mental. I am now 41 living back at home having to start from the bottom. I don’t want what the book recommends. I want every disgusting piece of fat off this body so I can excel again. If staying in ketosis every moment for the rest of my life will get me there then that’s what I’m going to do.
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.
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.
Financial disclosures: There were no conflicts of interest reported except for Dr Bernstein who has received royalties for books on the management of diabetes (which were used by members of the online social media group surveyed in this study). Dr. Hallberg who holds stock options and receives research support from Virta Health, and consulting fees from Atkins. Dr. Rhodes is the site principal investigator in clinical trials for pediatric type 2 diabetes that are sponsored by Merck and AstraZeneca. Dr. Westman has an ownership interest in companies using low-carbohydrate principles, and he receives royalties for books related to low-carbohydrate diets. Dr. Ludwig has received royalties from books on nutrition and obesity; and Dr. Galati is author of Eating Yourself Sick: How to stop obesity, fatty liver, and diabetes from killing you and your family (2018).
But more than that, people just don’t like giving up carbs. Dr. Kevin Fontaine, a Professor of Health Behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health and an expert on the ketogenic diet points to this as one of the main drawbacks of the diet. “Many people find it very difficult to give up carbs, and may be unwilling to do it. Plus, if you’re on the diet and eat a few carbs, you feel physically terrible. It’s hard to stick with this diet, especially while traveling.”
A huge concern with the keto diet is the maintenance and potential loss of muscle mass. Many people will just think: hey, dummy, then just eat more protein. However, some research has shown that even if your protein intake remains constant, a low carb diet may promote muscle loss. A study from the Netherlands confirmed these findings. In the study, participants were given three diets (high carb, moderate carb, low carb) and moderate protein. The study found that those following a low carb diet experienced increased muscle breakdown. This is because when we eat carbohydrates, we produce insulin which promotes muscle growth. This is why athletes depend on carbohydrates (along with protein) to fuel their performance. When we eat carbs, the insulin release “unlocks” our muscles to let the protein in so it can do its job at building our muscles. So, when we skip the carbs all together, muscle glycogen stores get depleted, we lose out on those muscle building opportunities. Forget about high intensity training. A depleted glycogen store also means our workouts will suffer because we just don’t have enough oil left in the tank. This was a again suggested in the recent review looking at many ketogenic studies. The studies found that there was greater lean body mass loss in the ketogenic groups compared to the other diets being studied.
In either case, think about that for a second: Mancella says a 4% carbohydrate consumption translates to roughly 20-50 grams of carbs per day. And given that a single cup of cooked pasta contains roughly 45-grams of carbs by itself, and a single English muffin has about 30-grams of carbs, a single, poorly-planned meal could undo your efforts to achieve and maintain ketosis in a hurry.
For children, fill up an adult-sized water cup with each meal and request they finish it before they leave the table. Usually they will be thirsty and this is not an issue. If you are concerned that they are not drinking enough, stevia flavor enhancers can encourage this, carb-free.  Ice chips are popular in my house as well, and an additional way to get liquids into children.  Don’t force or encourage excessive water consumption, but rather give children the down-time to drink to thirst rather than rushing back to play, ignoring their thirst.

While the exact mechanisms of ketones on brain health are still unclear, a 2017 paper in the journal Neurochemistry summarized what is known: ketones as fuel in the brain have been shown to enhance mitochondrial respiration, increase neuronal growth factors, strengthen the signal sent between synapses, reduce brain inflammation, and reduce oxidative stress. These effects, the paper noted, then seem to have downstream implications for a wide range of brain functional pathways.
Several comprehensive studies and meta-analyses have demonstrated that after a few months or even a year of a low carb diet versus a moderate/high carb diet, there are no significant differences in the amount of weight lost (2,3,4,5).  I will say, however, most of these diets are NOT keto and are simply lower carb (i.e. 20%).  Also, long-term effects (beyond 1 year) are not often studied due to budgetary constraints, so interpret results as you wish.
Ketogenesis has existed as long as humans have. If you eat a very low amount of carbohydrates, you starve your brain of glucose, its main fuel source. Your body still needs fuel to function, so it taps into your reserve of ketones, which are compounds the liver creates from fat when blood insulin is low. This process is known as ketosis: It’s like when a hybrid car runs out of gas and reverts to pure electricity.
So my question to all of you is: why do most people trying to improve their health appear to not care at all about how their food choices impact the earth and the future of all our children? (Not to mention the horrific conditions that the great great majority of animals bred for food endure?) Is it because you have not been told or do not believe how bad it is (our society has many many who are in total denial about global warning, for instance), or is it because you truly don’t care?
 Ketones are a cellular “superfuel” and one in particular – beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) – drives powerful, beneficial processes. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is important for the regulation of important genes, inflammation regulation, immune system activity, and even antioxidant function. This important ketone is one of the fundamental reasons the keto diet is so beneficial.
Work towards cycling fasting days so you’re fasting on 2–3 nonconsecutive days per week (e.g. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). Stick to only light exercise or yoga on fasting days to reduce feeling exhausted or hungry, keeping higher intensity activities for your non-fasting days. This approach allows for more dietary and lifestyle “moderation” because the goal isn’t to eat 100 percent “perfectly” all the time.
The problem is the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) and eat less move more advice. Tell that to a baby boomer with a hi bmi. Keto if done properly allows over weight people a way to lose weight without having to do hours in a gym. It is recomended to do a 15 minute walk now and then to keep a level of fitness. The weight is coming off even if one doesnt excercise. No sugar highs and lows, no cravings of carbs. Easier to do intermittent fasting to break plateus. Having the control over food and not being a slave to it. Reduction in sugar levels. The chance of autophahy. No brain fog. The chance to reverse type 2 diabetes. We have an obesity problem world wide. Yes you do have bad breath. Yes you can get constipated. Shall I stop because of a couple of negatives. Both negatives are treatable. The keto wave is coming. Empowering people to take control of thier own bodies by controlling thier insulin levels by keeping all sugar derivied products to a low level. The food companies drug companies are worried.
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.
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.
But more than that, people just don’t like giving up carbs. Dr. Kevin Fontaine, a Professor of Health Behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health and an expert on the ketogenic diet points to this as one of the main drawbacks of the diet. “Many people find it very difficult to give up carbs, and may be unwilling to do it. Plus, if you’re on the diet and eat a few carbs, you feel physically terrible. It’s hard to stick with this diet, especially while traveling.”
We recently published an article documenting the grim long-term effects of low-carbohydrate diets, in which we explain the evidence-based research showing that low-carbohydrate diets high in fat and protein including meat, dairy products, eggs, fish, and oil actually worsen diabetes health, increase cancer risk, increase cholesterol, increase atherosclerosis, harden blood vessels, and increase all-cause mortality.

What is more common throughout the history of the human race is fasting. Islamic Ramadan is a 28- to 30-day fast where food and drink are prohibited during the daylight hours. Christianity also has a strong fasting foundation, and in the Bible, Jesus fasted to have higher and clearer communication with God. Greek Orthodox Christians fast for a total of 150–200 days each year!
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Case in point, Steve Richert has Type 1 Diabetes and his September 1, 2015 blog The Ketogenic Diet and Type 1 Diabetes: What I Eat. He gave it the good old college try and has fearlessly came back and showed us all his results. His cholesterol increased, which just like mine, was due genetic factors, but was exacerbated by the Ketogenic Diet. So, what’s the best part of Steve’s story? He’s coming close to being right in line with what I would recommend for him! Moderation and the mediterranean diet; he’s currently trying a modified ketogenic diet or really a modified mediterranean diet. Brilliant and exactly what we all should be doing!
Although the ketogenic diet has been a source of controversy and debate, one cannot dispute its astounding health benefits. Initially, it was created by specialists at John Hopkins Medical Center, particularly for individuals who have epilepsy. The researchers established that fasting enhanced the number of seizures the patients experienced. Nonetheless, since fasting isn’t an accomplishable purpose nowadays, a diet has been developed that would trick the body into believing it was in that process.
You’re a diabetic counselor and are talking about being worried about not being able to eat birthday cake? Hell I’ve been on keto since July 2016 and haven’t felt any urge to go back, simply because I feel so much better. Also the diet is really not all that restrictive, you can make desserts using stevia/erythritrol, coconut/almond flour, etc. I had ketogenic pizza the other night and it turned out great. Lots of great resources out there for food options. I’m not diabetic myself, but I used to be prone to hypoglycemia and keto has eliminated the issue since I’m not dependent on glucose. There are a lot of wrong ways to do keto though, and doing the diet correctly has a moderate learning curve.

To see where you stand on the ketosis scale, you can test your ketone levels with a blood meter or with urine strips, the latter of which works similar to a pregnancy test and generally costs less than a dime a piece. Recent research shared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, however, found that breath monitors (typically $200 to $300) provide the most accurate readings. Dozens of meters of all three formats are currently available on Amazon.
It’s only dangerous to not get enough carbs at each meal if one is taking too much meds or insulin for the amount of carbs they are eating! Restricting carbohydrates doesn’t lead to hypoglycemia unawareness, but having lots of lows and lots of highs will (and decreasing insulin and carbs leads to way fewer highs and fewer lows, or at least it can). On the other hand, being in ketosis does make low blood sugars less negative as an experience. I still feel my lows just fine, but they are less of an emergency because my brain still works (feeding on ketones) and by body doesn’t freak out and release tons of adrenaline that then makes me want to eat a house. Mind you, I still wake up and know immediately if I’m low, I know from experience and how it feels in my head and body but without the crazy shakes. This is not unawareness but it is less reactive.
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).
"Muscle loss on the ketogenic diet is an ongoing area of research," Clark told Everyday Health. "Small studies suggest that people on the ketogenic diet lose muscle even when they continue resistance training. This may be related to the fact that protein alone is less effective for muscle building than protein and carbohydrates together after exercise."
Thank you for this info. I will be copying the link to send to some folks ready to jump on this new trend. In fact I had a resident (I am a CDM) come in to our re-hab facility in pretty bad shape. He was unable to speak with me so I spoke with his wife. The man had come in after having a TIA. He was a diabetic, as well. The wife told me that she had her husband 9and herself) on a keto diet. When she saw the size my eyes got for some reason she got angry and very defensive and screamed “Forget everything you have been taught. It is all crap”. I understand when folks are worried abut their loved ones they can get pretty emotional. I asked my standard question about chew/swallowing, UBW and food allergies and quickly left. I spoke with the RD (a CDE) about what had happened. She tried to speak with the resident and his wife and got the same treatment. The RD said to me “He will have another stroke in a week”. He had one in 3 days. Unfortunately with this stroke, he got anew diagnosis of severe dysphagia. SLP tried and tried but he would aspirate on everything. He had to be pegged. He was brought back to the facility. The wife was taught how to feed him through the tube. He left the facility and passed quietly about 3 weeks later. I reached out to the wife on his second stay and we became fairly close. She said she thought she was doing the best thing for him because he was over weight. I get it. She only wanted a healthy husband. She apologized for being so quick when we met. I thanked her for actually educating me on this diet. I was not aware there was such a thing.
I have enough carbs in a day for all my needs. Just eating proteins alone raise the insuline level, enough for muscles preservation. And I top it with vegetables. I have more than enough. I just to be clear, I don’t think the human body is dumb enough to burn a lot of muscles when you have 100 pounds of stored fat. Why the body don’t store proteins, if it prefers that? Modern nutrition take our body – and us – for fools!
Thank you for your objective review of the Keto Diet. I am not overweight but decided to try the Keto lifestyle because I have a lot of inflammation issues, including asthma and osteoarthritis. I had also been experiencing uncomfortable intestinal issues. I have been following the Keto lifestyle for 4 1/2 weeks, and I feel so much better- especially my stomach! I am eating a ton of leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower. I am also enjoying Brussel sprouts, whole avacados and zucchini. I think the reason this is working well for me is because my body chemistry loves all the vegetables, good fats and protein. I also think that taking away sugar has had a big impact on how I feel. I’m just not eating grains and sugar. lots more veggies, berries, and consciously incorporating healthy fat. My stomach is flat again, and I have no more bloating or constipation. I have only lost 5 pounds, but I think my system is clean and operating better than it has in years. My point is that every person’s body chemistry is different. The Keto lifestyle seems to be what My body needed to feel my best. I did experience “the Keto flu” about a week into it, but it was short lived. I think that to be successful it is really important to eat a wide variety of veggies and good fats every day.
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