The researchers hypothesized that the positive effects that the ketogenic diet has on migraines are due to how ketone bodies inhibit neural inflammation and enhance brain mitochondrial metabolism. The ketone bodies do this by blocking high concentrations of glutamate (commonly found in both migraine and epilepsy sufferers) and reducing oxidative stress.
Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a complication of poorly managed diabetes. It results in uncontrolled production of ketone bodies that can change the pH of the blood, which can prove fatal. Ketoacidosis is more common with Type 1 diabetes rather than Type 2. It’s also important to note that the keto diet cannot cause ketoacidosis – but rather puts the body into the beneficial state of ketosis.
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He’s the author of the books “Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems,” “Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine” and the upcoming “Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease” (February 2019, published by Little, Brown Spark). He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.
I’m desperate to find some answers~I have no history of sensitivity to anything, no allergies. I understand allergies can happen at any time. I started the Keto diet and in a one month time I had four separate episodes of my tongue swelling~each episode worse than the one before. I LOVED this diet~felt great, handled it with ease. The last episode almost put me in the hospital~my tongue was so swollen it was coming out of my mouth making it difficult to swollen and breath. I had no choice but to narrow it down to Ketosis. All the foods were the same that I have eaten all my life. No new meds. The last episode I took 2 Benadryl and pulled myself out of Ketosis with consuming a Dr.Pepper, and 2 pieces of white toast. I was terrified. Everyone on Facebook in all these Keto sites tell me it has nothing to do with Ketosis….but I’ve tried literally everything I consumed when a was on that WOE and I’ve had no reaction in days. My body feels horrible, I have no energy, my entire body aches. I want back on the Keto diet because my body was responding really well to it~except for my tongue.
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Type 1 diabetes is not caused by insulin resistance, but it still makes sense to lower the need for insulin. Because type 1 diabetics hardly produce any insulin, they rely on external insulin when following a standard high-carb diet. Through carb restriction, a ketogenic diet decreases the need for insulin. In some type 1 diabetics, their insulin production is sufficient when following a ketogenic diet. Others still need to inject insulin, but much less than on a high-carb diet. Overall, it is much easier to control blood sugar levels with injected insulin on a ketogenic diet because blood glucose raises only mildly after meals.
You might be surprised to learn that many non-keto friendly foods are associated with a whole lot of health benefits – so by cutting them out, you forgo many of their perks. Fruit, for example, is brimming with a range of antioxidants that help to fight damage to your body’s cells. Another example is grain foods, which are associated with reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Same goes for legumes, too.
The keto diet is known for helping people lose a few pounds very quickly, says Becky Kerkenbush, RD, a clinical dietitian at Watertown Regional Medical Center. Carbs hold on to more water than protein or fat, so when you stop eating them, your body releases all that extra H2O by making you pee more. As a result, the scale might read a few pounds lower, and you may look a bit leaner.
Disagree. I’ve been eating like this for ten months. I still enjoy carbs on the rare occasion but stick to a ketogenic diet most of the time. Ive lost 94lbs. I understand people lose weight in other ways but for me this worked. I eat 10x as many green vegetables as I ever have (at least 2 meals a day). My blood pressure dropped drastically in the first month. My cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar all normalized within the first 90 days. I don’t see any reason not to continue. I find this way of eating empowering and not restrictive. Before you call something a fad, because you obviously don’t fully understand this, you ought to read something from people other than the people you agree with. This is the problem I have with dieticians and most doctors. You don’t think for yourselves. You follow whatever the accepted guidelines are and spout them off without ever asking if they are right. It’s easier to stand with the crowd. I get that. But do not use your expertise as a means to criticize real progress. I would think as an expert your would be a proponent of what works! Have you ever been morbidly obese? Do you know what it is like to think your going to die from a heart attack at a young age? Do you know what it’s like to know your going to get type 2 if you can’t overcome your weight? Eating this way got me out of all of that and gave me my life back. Come down from the Ivory tower… Just maybe a little less judgement, a little more open minded
Still, research on the relationship between the keto diet and mental clarity, as well as anxiety and depression, is still in its early stages, and not all people who try the keto diet report noticeable changes in the ways they think. In fact, some people report an increase in brain fog after switching to the keto diet, though this might be explained by the "keto flu", which describes the flu-like symptoms people tend to experience in the first few weeks after beginning the keto diet.
In order for this process of fat breakdown to ‘work’, the protein content must be kept low enough to prevent gluconeogenesis. So, just because you are eating a low carbohydrate diet, does not mean you are in ketosis. It is important to note here, that this nutritional ketosis is different from ketoacidosis, which is the setting of low blood pH level that occurs in people with diabetes and can be very dangerous.

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.

While a ketogenic diet helps normalize blood sugar (glucose) levels and can help you maintain or reach a healthy weight, an alkaline diet is beneficial for its anti-aging effects— especially lowering inflammation, boosting detoxification, and promoting hormonal balance, immunity and more. Traditional ketogenic diets usually miss the important factor of restoring alkalinity. For many patients the key is to reach an alkaline pH first before beginning keto in order to prevent feeling agitated, anxious, uncomfortable or overly hungry.


Carbs turn into glucose (aka sugar) in the body. Eating too many carbs causes your blood sugar to spike. When you switch from carbs to fat for energy, you stabilize your blood sugar. Keto can be particularly beneficial for diabetics, who have high blood glucose levels. The keto diet may even cure diabetes — many diabetics are able to come off their medication when switching to keto. Find out more about keto and blood sugar here.

In order for this process of fat breakdown to ‘work’, the protein content must be kept low enough to prevent gluconeogenesis. So, just because you are eating a low carbohydrate diet, does not mean you are in ketosis. It is important to note here, that this nutritional ketosis is different from ketoacidosis, which is the setting of low blood pH level that occurs in people with diabetes and can be very dangerous.
When in ketosis, the body begins to burn stored fats for energy, and this results in the build-up of acids, known as ketones, in your blood. A person following the keto diet aims to burn unwanted fat by actually pushing the body to rely on fat, not carbohydrates, for energy. This process occurs when there isn’t enough glucose available to burn, so the body turns to stored fats instead.

Regarding metabolism: one study found when men on either the ketogenic diet or the low-fat diet were compared, their resting metabolic rates were not different despite lowered T3 on the ketogenic diet.21 Of the several studies done on the ketogenic diet, none have reported significant cases of hypothyroidism–essentially, the thyroid can function fine while following a ketogenic diet.
I have been working more seriously on my health after a major health crash 5 years ago, possible Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever/Lyme. Organ functions are getting better including heart, liver and gallbladder. Pancreas is at stage 3 insufficiency. I’m concerned about a high fat, protein diet. Still have IBS and gut infections. Thinking that just bone broth and easy to digest foods might be good at this point for healing?
Sleep enough – for most people at least seven hours per night on average – and keep stress under control. Sleep deprivation and stress hormones raise blood sugar levels, slowing ketosis and weight loss a bit. Plus they might make it harder to stick to a keto diet, and resist temptations. So while handling sleep and stress will not get you into ketosis on it’s own, it’s still worth thinking about.
That makes a lot of sense. Keeping up insulin pathways when you aren’t eating carbs would be like keeping the lights on when it’s daytime outside — it’s a waste of energy. You aren’t using insulin on keto, so your body probably downregulates your insulin pathways. As a refresher, insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that tells your cells to absorb glucose to use as fuel. When you eat carbs, insulin production begins. In the absence of carbs, there’s less need for insulin.
Although many people find that their energy and stamina improve on a keto lifestyle, trying to do too much in the early stages can worsen keto flu symptoms. Well-known ketogenic researcher Dr. Steve Phinney has conducted studies in endurance athletes as well as obese individuals demonstrating that physical performance decreases during the first week of very-low-carb eating. Fortunately, his research also shows that by week 4, people typically perform better than before they started keto.
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).
🙌🙌 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.
Second point, I have never tried ketogenic dieting and also I did my calculations based on a 4:1 ratio and I was amazed at how much fat I would need to consume even at my size and the foods I would have to 1. Get rid of to achieve that and 2. Add in my diet to get there and , no thank you. My heart goes out to the families with children who do have to be on this diet.
“If someone with diabetes is [taking insulin or oral type 2 meds in the sulfonylurea or meglitinide class and is] following this diet, they need to know that their blood sugar can drop really quickly, so it’s critical that they check it more frequently,” says Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, CDE, author of Diabetes Meal Planning & Nutrition for Dummies. “Don’t wait for it to happen. Meet with your doctor or diabetes educator in advance so that you can troubleshoot exactly what to do if your blood sugar drops.” If it’s an infrequent occurrence, you may be advised to treat with fast-acting glucose. But frequent lows may require medication adjustments or the addition of more carbs to your eating plan.
Switching from a high-carb diet to a very-low-carb diet lowers insulin levels in your body. This is not only healthy but also one of the primary goals of a ketogenic diet. When insulin levels are very low, your liver begins converting fat into ketones, which most of your cells can use in place of glucose. When your body is mainly using ketones and fat for energy, you’re in a state of ketosis.
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.
Thank you so much for this article! My husband and I have been following keto for a little over a month now and we love it! I did a lot of research before starting, and am still doing lots of research because I like to be armed with the best information I can have when friends question my choices. Just yesterday I had a friend tell me that our brains need carbs to function (more than what we get from veggies). I hadn’t heard that before so I didn’t know what to answer. Thanks to your article now I know, and I have lots more answers in case more points come up. 😉

In the brain, there are some parts that can only take glucose to burn for fuel, which is usually derived from carbohydrates. However, when the body is on a ketogenic diet, the body will enter ketosis, which is a process that produces proteins called ketones from fatty acids in the liver. The brain can surprisingly also take in these special ketones to function. Past studies have shown that children affected with epilepsy who are on this diet have a 50% lower chance of reducing seizures. 16% of that group have also shown to be seizure free. This diet is for individuals with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s to see if ketogenic diets can also help.
"Keto is not a great long-term diet, as it is not a balanced diet," Nancy Rahnama, M.D., M.S., an internal medicine and bariatric specialist, told Reader's Digest. "A diet that is devoid of fruit and vegetables will result in long-term micronutrient deficiencies that can have other consequences. The keto diet can be used for short-term fat loss, as long as it is under medical supervision."
Although this may repel people away, it also provides you with a clear sign that you are on your way to reaping all the benefits of keto and ketosis. As your body continues to produce ketones, it will become more efficient at creating and using the energy-shuttling ketone bodies, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate, which will help reduce acetone levels and normalize your breath. In the meantime, while your body is adapting to ketosis, make sure you have breath-freshening gum or spray that you can use throughout the day to cover up keto breath (if you have it).
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Parkinson’s disease is another neurodegenerative disease that is on the rise in our country, with a rate of incidence between 2-4% in those over 60 years of age. Researchers have found that ketones may be able to bypass the defect in energy production characteristic of Parkinson’s disease. This means the ketogenic diet can interrupt the underlying cause in dysfunction in Parkinson’s patients, which results in an improvement of symptoms.
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
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.

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) 

Slightly increase carbs. If you wait a few more weeks and still have trouble with the ketone smell, you might consider eating slightly more carbs to reduce the ketosis. Try increasing to between 50 and 70 grams per day. You might also try combining this with intermittent fasting, such as only eating within an 8-hour window, to maintain the benefits of ketosis without the side effect of fruity breath.


There is nothing inherently difficult about following a ketogenic diet. We have many patients who do this very easily over many years. The metabolic benefits significantly outway any perceived challenges from limiting particular food types. Uptake would be far more widespread if nutrition professionals left their predujical opinions of SFA’s behind. Finally, given the expertise in Ketogenic Diets at Harvard, Dr David Ludwig, for one springs to mind, I am surprised the author did not avail themselves of the local expertise.

This diet also entails weight loss because it gets rid of excess water content in the body due to a lower amount of insulin produced. The food is broken down into simple sugars, with excess energy stored as complex sugars. The pancreas produces insulin that helps regulates sugar breakdown in the body. The body needs less sugar in switching to higher intake of fat. The liver can break down fatty acids to energy in ketogenic diets. Due to eating less carbohydrate or sugars, the production lowered. In a study, 90% of all type 2 diabetics were able to lower or completely eliminate their diabetic medication after 6 months of being on a low carbohydrate diet.
I had 3 medical stents inserted for clogged arteries 11 years ago and I currently take a statin to keep my cholesterol at a healthy level and I also take a low dose diuretic to help keep my blood pressure at a good level. I am very much interested in the Keto Diet but I have some fears that eating foods which are high in saturated fats such as animal fats, butter, heavy cream and cheeses which I believe raise triglyceride levels which I have heard are a major contributor to blockages in the arteries. I would like to see more input from those who share a similar health history as mine and are on a Keto Diet. I was wondering if I can be on a Keto Diet and limit my fats to Olive Oil, Avocados, and the oils we get from fish such as Salmon, Sardines etc. or is it just a myth about saturated fats from butted, cheese and animal fats being bad for you?

Reduce daily net carb intake to less than 20 grams: Although it’s possible that you may not need to be this strict, eating fewer than 20 grams of net carbs every day virtually guarantees that you’ll achieve nutritional ketosis. What does 20 grams of carb look like? Use our visual guide to find out, or simply try our keto recipes and meal plans that limit carbs to less than 20 grams per day.
The keto diet is known for helping people lose a few pounds very quickly, says Becky Kerkenbush, RD, a clinical dietitian at Watertown Regional Medical Center. Carbs hold on to more water than protein or fat, so when you stop eating them, your body releases all that extra H2O by making you pee more. As a result, the scale might read a few pounds lower, and you may look a bit leaner.
I would love to join a study! Could you recommend where to go to find one? I have done 30 or less total carbs a day for almost 2 years and feel great. I have NEVER EVEN ONCE gone over 40 total so I do follow it and I do not cheat on high carb foods, although I do occasionally over-eat on low carb foods resulting in a bit over 30 maybe 1 -2 times a month. I do feel that time will provide more support and think that the medical community should educate on this as another alternative. It isn’t for everyone because it is a bit more problematic if a person does fall of the straight and narrow too often but it can be done!

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)
“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.
I am a 7 year stroke survivor that is partially paralyzed from the stroke. I work part time and while working I walk at least 2 miles at work three to five times per week, but I can only walk 1 mph if even that speed. Which I know average speed is 3 mph when walking. I am 40 pounds overweight due to not being to do cardio workouts. I take aspirin daily as a blood thinner. I have considered getting on the keto diet. I drink sweet tea and one dr pepper per day along with coffee and water. I talked to my dr about this diet all he could tell me was he hasn’t researched it enough but knew of someone that lost weight on it. For my health I need to maintain a healthy weight and not be overweight. I have a b12 deficiency along with folic acid. I have not been taking any supplements for either.
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