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.

Walking, stretching, or doing gentle yoga or other mind-body exercise should be fine and may even help you feel better. But when your body is already under stress from trying to adapt to a new fuel system, don’t place an additional burden on it by attempting any type of strenuous workout. Take it easy for the first few weeks and then slowly increase your exercise intensity.
The same goes for people with type 2 diabetes. While some preliminary research suggests the keto diet may be safe and effective for certain people with type 2 diabetes, there’s still the risk for low blood sugar, especially for those on insulin, and the keto diet omits certain food groups known to benefit those with this disease. For example, a study published in September 2016 in the journal Nutrients highlights the importance of whole grains for helping to control weight as well as episodes of high blood sugar. Whole grains are off-limits on the ketogenic diet.
Thanks for posting this Edward. While I agree that the thought of a lifetime without any sweets or any grains sounds miserable, it’s even more miserable every time I see a number above 120 on my meter, which is guaranteed to happen every time I eat even a few bites of one of those foods. Yeah, it’s stressful (and cortisol is just as much of a pain as T2D), but I want a better life and a life off of drugs. I was on three orals and two shots of insulin daily.
If you’re a part of our community on Facebook, you may remember seeing a study I recently posted regarding the long-term impacts of the ketogenic diet in a study of obese patients. The study, available thanks to the US National Library of Medicine and the NIH, had some very interesting findings on the impact of diet on brain and body health, and my post on the subject saw a lot of traction. Because of that, and because the findings have such importance, I wanted to share the research with you here. The study shows that the ketogenic diet has efficacy as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, depression, migraines, and many other illnesses that plague huge portions of our population. I encourage you to read this study and to learn more.
Adequate food records were available for analysis in a proportion of participants at each of the 4 timepoints (Table ​(Table2).2). Participants completed food records at a mean of 2.5 and a median of 3 timepoints. In general, comparing baseline to subsequent timepoints, mean carbohydrate intake decreased substantially and energy intake decreased moderately while protein and fat intake remained fairly constant.
The keto diet has a massive fan base that has grown at least in part due to the popular Netflix documentary The Magic Pill, which touts a trove of promising keto health benefits. But the fact of the matter is that most of the studies on the keto diet are premature. Meaning: They’re in small populations of humans, or they’re in rats. (And you are very different from a rat.)
Vegan ketogenic diet or vegetarian diet: Yes, both are possible. Instead of animal products, plenty of low-carb, nutrient-dense vegan and/or vegetarian foods are included. Nuts, seeds, low-carb fruits and veggies, leafy greens, healthy fats and fermented foods are all excellent choices on a plant-based keto diet. There’s also a similar plan called ketotarian, which combines keto with vegetarian, vegan and/or pescatarian diets for supposedly greater health benefits.
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.
Incidentally , there’s a very informative article on the bbc website about one of the last remaining hunter/gather societies left in the world, living in Tanzania. They have amazing gut health and no t2d. Would you like to guess at the type of diet they follow? This would be the caveman diet that the writer mentions, and yes these people might not live as long as us but the cause of death is never a lack of motivation to stay on a keto diet.
Lorraine Turcotte,  a metabolism researcher at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, said that although it’s less trendy, long-term healthy eating is the tried-and-true solution. She’s not sure why people prefer “difficult dietary manipulations than to say ‘I’m just going to eat moderately — a well balanced diet, lots of fruits and vegetables.’”

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As Mark Sisson puts it, doing a keto reset restores our “factory settings,” which is our flexibility to alternate between different types of fuels and stored fats for energy, depending on what’s available. This flexibility has allowed humans to thrive for millions of years because hunter-gatherers didn’t always have access to constant abundance and variety of foods that we have today.
The good news is, it is not necessary to stay on a ketogenic diet at all times to reap this benefit. Our ancestors went through fast and feast cycles and the body is designed for flexibility. We may be able to reduce cancer risk, prolong life, improve brain function, and benefit from ketosis otherwise by being in ketosis or fasting a few days a week.
She has found that when women stick to eating a lighter dinner, and then abstain from eating for about 13–15 hours between dinner and breakfast, they experience improvements in their weight, blood sugar control, etc. She recommends that women try avoiding eating after 8 p.m. or experiment with eating only two meals per day, with tea or broth between meals to help curb hunger. Another option is to try skipping dinner altogether on 1–2 days per week. For most women, when attempting IMF, it’s not recommended to snack between meals unless the woman is very active (such as an athlete in training) or dealing with a hormonal issue such as adrenal burnout.
There is quite a bit of research that has been done on the effects of a ketogenic diet, and the findings show a general reduction in blood pressure. This could be due to a higher concentration of potassium and a lower amount of sugar in the foods common to this diet. It may also be due to the weight loss benefits, as obesity is a causative factor in hypertension.
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.
This whole post must have taken so much effort and I think it’s incredible that you do this. The issue with these diets is that people hear about it, think it sounds good and do it. No questions! We are so lucky to have dietitians like you actually laying out all the research, the good, the bad, and everything in between about these diets, so THANK YOU!
This upregulation is actually responsible for the anticonvulsant benefits in patients with epilepsy, and, likely, the benefits seen in other brain disorders with glucose uptake problems. By providing an alternate source of brain power, brains that don’t run so well on glucose can begin burning fat. There’s no indication that ketosis only induces mitochondrial biogenesis in “unhealthy” brains. It simply hasn’t been studied yet, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t also build mitochondria in healthy brains.
Studies found that endurance performance, whether it was anaerobic or aerobic was impaired or maintained with a ketogenic diet. This is still a complicated area to study, since majority of studies used in this review had small sample sizes, no control group or were very short in duration (no more than six weeks). Because of this, it is still unclear whether endurance performance is enhanced or impaired with a ketogenic diet.
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.
I would just like to share with you that my patients are HORRIFIED if their physicians ask them to cut out “everything white” in their diet. This is what some doctors ask for…essentially asking for the Ketogenic diet and most of my patients are in shock! Not only would I never want to skip a year of my birthday cake, but I wouldn’t ask my patients to either! One slice of cake is certainly not going to harm anyone with diabetes and hopefully you know enough about carbohydrates and their short term effect on BG levels to know this too! I am not a Registered Dietitian, so I couldn’t speak to this diet in regard to children with epilepsy. Are you a Neuro RN? TheDiabetesCouncil did just post another article where 25 Registered Dieticians weighed in regarding the Ketogenic Diet, so I would encourage you all to check that out!
Some studies have shown a positive connection between ketosis and lower levels of ketosis, but as Paoli et all conclude in their paper Beyond Weight Loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets, there is persuasive, although not yet conclusive, clinical and physiological evidence that the ketogenic diet could be effective in reducing the severity and progression of acne and randomized clinical trials will be required to resolve the issue.

Note: Because you'll be excluding some major food groups on the keto diet (grains, many fruits) you should definitely think about taking a multivitamin—especially one that contains folic acid, which helps your body make new cells and is often found in enriched breads, cereals, and other grain products, says Julie Upton, R.D., cofounder of nutrition website Appetite for Health.
I was a Corpsman (not a corpse-man as some recent somewhat fanatical president would say), and I can tell you many stories of Marines and Sailors who maintained restrictive diets (aka picky eaters). Most obvious was lack of sustaining energy (hypoglycemia) at mile 15 (with 80lbs of gear including a 6.5lb rifle and 200 rnds of ammo, etc.) and depletion of essential vitamins, electrolyte imbalance. They were always the first to collapse and have to hear me scold “see I told you so.” An IV of D5W usually does the trick (D is for dextrose, OMG!)

Lorraine Turcotte,  a metabolism researcher at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, said that although it’s less trendy, long-term healthy eating is the tried-and-true solution. She’s not sure why people prefer “difficult dietary manipulations than to say ‘I’m just going to eat moderately — a well balanced diet, lots of fruits and vegetables.’”
ME: It helps by removing carbs and forcing the body to rely on fat for fuel. This sort of primes the body for using stored body fat for fuel. It also gets hormones under control, especially hunger hormones like leptin and grehlin. It works because it is a lifestyle, not a fad diet. People can stick with it because they feel so good, aren’t hungry and don’t have cravings anymore.

Once the medical community acknowledged the keto diet’s effectiveness in reducing seizure episodes, they decided to look further and study its impact on neurological diseases in general. Neurological diseases share a common problem – a deficiency in energy production. Ketones provide that energy for normal brain cell metabolism, and may even be a more efficient   when the body is in starvation mode. When patients were put on the keto diet, the number of mitochondria (energy powerhouse) in brain cells increased. Ketones may also act as an antioxidant by inhibiting the formation of reactive oxidant species, which is why they may have promising effects in the treatment of certain cancers in conjunction with chemotherapy.
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.”
I know it is hard when you have been taught something, and believed it, and taught it to others…only to be shown that what you have been taught is not the end all be all that you were led to believe. It sucks. But, you can choose to ignore the truth, and continue to follow the incorrect path. Or, you can look at the facts, and realize that what you have been taught is not the truth…and you can take a new path, which will lead many to wonderful new lives.
Thanks Dr. Jockey…very informative article. Im into pure keto diet almost a week now but started illiminating sugar and carbs 3weeks ago and the side effects that i’ve encountered are frequently urinating and light headache only. Is it good or not? I’ve never consult a specialist before doing keto diet but i do my research, is it okay? As of now i’ve loose almost 11lbs. Im just curious how can i get the percentage of fats, protein etc in my meals? Do i need to measure it all? How can i measure the percentage of foods that i need to eat?is there any ways?
The keto diet dates back to the 1920s, explains Michelle Hyman, MS, RD, CDN a registered dietitian at Simple Solutions Weight Loss. "The original keto diet was designed for patients with forms of epilepsy that were resistant to standard treatments. The macronutrient breakdown was designed to mimic the fasting state — which seemed to help with relieving seizures — yet provide energy and nutritions to function," Hyman says.
In 2009, Drs. Eric Westman and Bryan Kraft published a case study and a review of the literature for a 70-year-old woman with life-long schizophrenia. Diagnosed at age 17, she had experienced daily visual and auditory hallucinations (skeletons that urged her to hurt herself) since the age of 7. She also had obesity, sleep apnea, hypertension, and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) among a number of other health issues. After only 8 days on the ketogenic diet, the voices and hallucinations stopped. At the time of publication she had continued the ketogenic diet for more than a year, with no return of hallucinations, and had lost more than 10 kilograms (22 lbs).
There have been many attempts at studying the link between type 2 diabetes and the keto diet. In one study, a strict low-carbohydrate diet was administered in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. After 14 days of being on the diet, the glucose levels of participants normalized, their hemoglobin A1C decreased from 7.3% to 6.8% and insulin sensitivity improved by 75%. Some of this study’s limitations include the short duration, the small sample size and the weak control group. In another study, 84 obese patients with type 2 diabetes were randomized to either a low-carbohydrate keto diet or a low-glycemic reduced calorie diet. At the end of the study, both groups experienced improvements in glycemic control however the low carb keto group had greater improvements in hemoglobin A1c and higher HDL levels compared to the low-glycemic group. A more recent 2017 study in the journal of Nutrition and Diabetes found that a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet for 12 months led to greater reductions in HbA1c and body weight. These results suggest that low carbohydrate interventions may be effective at improving glucose control.
Type 2 diabetics may be on a range of medications that only treat symptoms, have serious side-effects and leave root causes unaddressed. Medications like Metformin may still make sense to use while reversing diabetes with a ketogenic diet. However, most if not all drugs like insulin and sulfonylureas can and should be discontinued. A note of caution though, changing doses or discontinuing medications is something you should do with the help of your doctor (or at the keep them informed).
Tammy, just because someone follows a keto diet doesn’t mean they can’t have their sweet treats. There are dozens of websites with hundreds of keto sweet treats and “fat bombs” made with stevia or other natural non-caloric sweeteners which will not raise blood sugars. One of my favorites is Keto Mocha Mousse https://www.ruled.me/keto-mocha-mousse/ which has 5 g net carbs per servings. We don’t have to be deprived on keto.
That might be part of the reason the keto diet is thought to be a better fit for endurance athletes. But even for them, evidence is mixed. "The keto diet has been popular with athletes that engage in long endurance events, because it requires them to rely on less frequent carbohydrate feedings to fuel their exercise (think gummies, drinks, and goos) and more on their body fat stores," Brown explains. "This can decrease uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms (fewer stops at the porta-potties!), but a keto diet can be as challenging to maintain for an athlete as it is for a layperson."
He has been on keto diet for at least 3 years now. I think that he is some proof that yes, it does work. And it may be that some people do need keto. However, I don’t believe that everyone needs keto diet to get reversal. I have had reversal with regular ADA diet in my clinic. Not just a few! Many have reversed. However, I just want for keto dieters to find a clinical trial. We do need more information. We must understand what happens in the long term on keto diet. I personally did Atkins years ago, which was 20 grams. I had a very hard time to stay on it. I lost 20 pounds, and then I did gain it back. I just could not live without some more carbohydrates than this allowed. I don’t know about being on 60 to 70 carbs, and staying in ketosis. It seemed I was out of it at 22 carbs. Anyway, this was not for me. Maybe it is for you. No one is saying that one should never go on a keto diet, but we are wary of it. We need more science behind it. Therefore, I am just going to put this out here now. I will paste it down the page so that others may see it. They are taking participants. If you fit the criteria, please help us to get more than people’s opinion about this diet. Then we can be more positive about it, and recommend it if the science is there. Here is the link to the clinical trial. Thanks for your comments:

“I’m no longer on insulin, and I have cut down my medications due to keto. I never had to deal with trying to find a spot to inject or having to deal with bruises on my belly,” she says. “I know this may sound silly, but I have a picture of my old insulin syringes in my wallet. I look at it to remind me of what I had to do before keto. It grounds me, and when I have days of self-doubt, I remind myself how far I’ve come.”
Earlier in this article, I briefly mentioned how consuming too much sugar can impair brain function and cause plaque build up in the brain. Many studies on Alzheimer’s disease patients agree with the biochemistry as well. In fact, A group of scientists reviewed the literature and concluded that “high carbohydrate intake worsens cognitive performance and behavior in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” This means that eating more carbohydrates cause more problems in the brain. Will the opposite (eating fewer carbs) improve brain function?
I’m 35 years old and in great health. I follow the low carb keto diet. I eat eggs, chicken is the only meat I eat half boneless skinless chicken breast, no red meat. I eat lots of veggies, Spinach, all types of lettuce yes even iceberg I enjoy it. I eat many types of leafy greens. I also eat zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, all types of onions, carrots, cabbage, avocado, lemon and limes and all types of non-starchy veggies. I also use fresh and dried herbs and spices. I don’t eat potatoes because too much carbs. I sometimes use cheese but no other dairy products. I try to avoid all grains. I don’t eat bread or wheat products. I don’t eat corn products either so no corn tortillas. I sometimes eat very small portions of brown rice or green lentil but never together and I probably only eat that few days a month so not very often. I avoid butter because it has high cholesterol. I use the following oils to cook: 1st choice virgin organic coconut oil. 2nd choice extra virgin olive oil and 3rd choice is peanut oil. I don’t deep fry anything. I don’t eat any sweet tasting fruits. I don’t eat or drink anything that taste sweet. I do drink mostly water and hot tea. Black and green teas made with water nothing added. If I make iced tea I’ll add some fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice. I eat 2 times a day. I have brunch around 10am, dinner at 6pm and then I don’t eat for 16 hours until the next day. I also eat small amounts of nuts and seeds. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts. I also eat raw sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Chia seeds, Ground flaxseeds. In the morning I usually make my usual brunch which consists of a 3 egg omelet with a 1 tablespoon Chai seeds, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds, handful of spinach, green onions, black pepper, salt, and some sriracha sauce. I eat it with some steamed broccoli and a side salad. For Dinner I will cook up a half boneless skinless chicken breast and make different meals with a good amount of fresh veggies. I don’t eat any type of processed foods or snacks. If I ever wanted a snack I usually eat some nuts and seeds and then drink some freshly brewed tea. I limit my daily carb intake to no more than 50grams per day mostly coming from veggies and some nuts and seeds. My daily calorie intake is about 1,000 – 1,200 a day from my (2) meals in total. I’m a thin person. Yes I follow a low carb and low calorie diet. My body creates ketones and burns fats instead of running on carbs. With low carb intake your body won’t have to deal with a large amount of insulin and Glycogen in the body and your body should function optimally. Hope this help somebody. Too many sick people in the United States due to poor eating habits and it doesn’t have to be this way hopefully this will improve someones health. Take my advice and try it! Eat right and live well. MAGA!
Here’s another controversial yet promising area of study: Research suggests that when patients with diabetes take on a low-carb diet (like keto), they experience improvements in insulin sensitivity by up to 75 percent, as well as a reduction in blood sugar control medications. What we aren’t sure of, however, is whether these improvements are due specifically to the effects of ketosis or to weight loss in general, so similar results could theoretically be found with any successful diet.
The upsides: While the precise mechanisms are unclear, ketosis is thought to have brain-protecting benefits: As many as half of young people with epilepsy had fewer seizures after following the diet. And some early research suggests it may have benefits for blood sugar control among people with diabetes. An upcoming study will look at the ketogenic diet as a weight maintenance strategy.

Bingo!! It’s all about the $. The info graphic at the very beginning is labeled Keto-Paleo. And is misleading. Contrary to popular belief the Paleo diet is plant based. It restricts carbohydrate and dairy consumption based on foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body. Keto restricts foods that cause a blood sugar spike two very different purposes. American nutrition is very obviously broken and any recommendation tied to a money making association should be taken with a grain of salt because you can bet there are $$ strings attached. Usually big Pharma funding.
I wasn’t planning on writing about the ketogenic diet but that all changed with my recent YouTube video. If you guys caught this video on my channel, my girl Abby Langer and I found a hilarious Reddit thread that shared some keto-followers favourite “strange but delicious” keto-friendly meals and snacks. Let’s just say, it was extreme. I was by no means under the impression that everyone (or even a large number of people) on the Keto diet ate that shit. But, I get why some viewers on youtube maybe thought that and they got PISSED. Like, viciously pissed.
Brain fog and a lack of focus can be caused by having too much glutamate and very little GABA. This will happen if your brain has to use glutamate and glutamic acid for fuel, which leaves little left over to be processed into GABA. By giving the brain another form of energy when you break down ketones, you’re able to balance out the neurotransmitter production.
The one important caveat: Eating keto also ups the risk for diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition where fat gets broken down too fast and causes the blood to become acidic. It’s much more common in people with type 1 diabetes, but if you have type two and are eating keto, talk with your doctor about what you should be doing to diminish your risk.
In a survey of both children and adults, researchers found that a very low carbohydrate diet promotes “exceptional glycemic control” in those with type 1 diabetes mellitus. When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the Journal of American Medical Association recently published a review examining the effective use of the ketogenic diet in those with type 2 diabetes.

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). 

If you experience symptoms like fatigue, intense hunger and cravings, light-headedness, or heart palpitations, this may be a sign your blood sugar has dropped too low. Use a blood glucose monitor to track your body’s response to the diet change and make sure your body is adapting properly. If necessary consult your physician for necessary medication changes.


People With a History of Eating Disorders Going on a strict diet that eliminates food groups could trigger a relapse if you have a personal history of having an eating disorder. And while there’s a growing popularity in treating binge eating disorder (BED) with keto, experts strongly advise against it. Treatment of BED requires regular, adequate food intake without restriction, says Sumner Brooks, MPH, RDN, a certified eating disorder dietitian in Portland, Oregon.
Increases in cholesterol levels need discussion too. We do see temporary increases in cholesterol levels often as individuals transition onto a ketogenic diet. However, when you examine lipid particle size (a more important way to look at the cardiovascular risks), the risk pattern doesn’t seem to increase with a ketogenic diet. Harvard Health has written about lipid particle size here before: http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/should-you-seek-advanced-cholesterol-testing- 
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