With more people enthusiastic about the ketogenic diet comes more talk about potential adverse side effects. Upon closer examination, almost all of the complaints can be traced to a flawed approach. Granted, if you are coming to the game with significant metabolic damage from decades of carbohydrate dependency, or not paying attention to some common sense best practices, such as choosing healthy foods instead of blindly focusing on macros, you will likely struggle with something as stringent as keto.
Obviously, if you could keep the weight off, it may help in preventing diabetes. There are many risk factors for diabetes, but the Diabetes Prevention Program in 2002 followed 1,079 people with prediabetes. This groundbreaking study showed that 58% were able to prevent the progression of developing diabetes through diet and exercise. Want to know what the great news is? They didn’t have to eat 20 carbohydrates per day to achieve this!
This plan entails eating about 120 grams of protein per day (or four 4-ounce servings of meat, fish or poultry) and around 130 grams of fat per day. Carbs are still restricted to less than 10% of daily calories. But many people find this modified keto diet easier to follow, because it allows you to eat more protein and less fat than the standard keto diet. The caveat is that this approach may not result in ketosis, because like carbs, protein can be converted into glucose for fuel. But the high-protein keto diet will generally result in weight loss.
The study concludes, “The ketogenic diet appears to improve glycemic control. Therefore, diabetic patients on a ketogenic diet should be under strict medical supervision because the LCKD can significantly lower blood glucose levels.” Previous research has also shown that for patients with type 2 diabetes, long-term administration of the keto diet lowered body weight, improved blood sugar levels and can result in a smaller needed dose of antidiabetic medication.

But the question remains, can you keep it off? Aside from the fact that it’s a pretty hard diet to keep up (ah, no birthday cake!), one large meta-analysis found that while low-carb dieters tended to lose more weight than low-fat dieters at first, the differences disappeared by the one-year mark. This may be because cutting carbs tends to reduce bloating and water weight, which may level out over time. But the bottom line on weight loss? Calorie restriction is calorie restriction. You just have to find what works best for you, and slashing carbs for fat might or might not work.
But what I think is funny is that the keto diet has been staring us in the face forever. Look at Inuit tribes that survived off of blubber in a region that grows next to nothing most of the year. Yet their people didn’t die out or show signs of metabolic disorders or heart disease until introduced to the modern western diet that prioritizes carbohydrates over fat. Here is an interesting link, however I find the conclusion disheartening and frankly more than a little suspicious. (Basically the people in charge decided to drop the study and introduced a bunch of “what about…” questions to obfuscate a clear pattern in observation across many indigenous people from across the face of the planet and decided the outcome “wasn’t enough” to introduce into public policy…)

And while some fats can be healthy, there’s a risk that in following a high-fat diet, you’ll increase your intake of unhealthy trans and saturated fats. These “bad” fats are found in things like red meat, poultry skin, cheese, and butter, and can lead to an increase in LDL, or “bad” cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease. (14) This is a controversial issue, as some experts do recommend adopting a low-carbohydrate diet to lower heart disease risk. If you’re at risk or have heart disease, it’s important to speak with your doctor first about your health needs.
Certain studies suggest that keto diets may “starve” cancer cells. A highly processed, pro-inflammatory, low-nutrient foods can feed cancer cells causing them to proliferate. What’s the connection between high-sugar consumption and cancer? The regular cells found in our bodies are able to use fat for energy, but it’s believed that cancer cells cannot metabolically shift to use fat rather than glucose. (11)
Keto diets are great for losing weight. And everyone should be able to make their own decision AFTER being fairly apprised of the risks, which are too often glossed over. A balanced and honest discussion of the pros and cons, is what helps people make an informed decision, where they are aware and consenting of possible risks they may be exposing themselves to.
After 32 weeks, those in the keto diet group lowered their HbA1c more than those in the plate group with more than 50% achieving a reduction to less than 6.5%, basically reversing their diabetes. None in the plate group did this well. As for weight loss, those in the keto low-carb group lost on average of 28 pounds, while those in the plate group lost an average of 6.6 pounds.1
It's really the trans fats that you'll want to avoid completely. "Trans fats are highly processed, and heated to a point where they create free radicals in the body, which increase your risk of cancer.," she says, "Trans fats are found in hydrogenated oils (be on the lookout for this form of fat listed on the ingredients), and these are mostly used in the preparation of processed crackers and packaged foods."
The diet calls for consuming high amounts of fat, a moderate amount of protein, and a very limited amount of carbs. It’s usually broken down to 75, 20, and 5 percent of your daily calories, respectively, says Pamela Nisevich Bede, RD, a dietitian with Abbott’s EAS Sports Nutrition in Columbus, Ohio. Compare that with the typical American diet — which is usually 50 to 65 percent carbs — and it’s safe to say this is a completely different way of eating, Nisevich Bede says.
The research on how diet affects PCOS is minimal, but there is one compelling study on the ketogenic diet and women with PCOS. In this study, five overweight women ate a ketogenic diet (20 grams of carbohydrates or less per day) for 24 weeks. The results were astounding — average weight loss was 12%, free testosterone decreased by 22%, and fasting insulin levels dropped by 54%. What’s even more impressive is that two of the women became pregnant despite previous infertility problems.
While these findings are preliminary, in one study of mice, the keto diet helped reduce anxiety. The research suggests this could be due to the protective brain benefits of intake of healthy fats and low levels of sugar. A follow-up study found that mice exposed to a ketogenic diet while in utero showed less susceptibility to anxiety and depression than mice born to mothers who were not on the keto diet. Here’s what it’s really like to follow the keto diet.
Keto Diet is NOT strictly 20 grams of carbs per day. Not only are you biased but you are not being truthful. 20 grams per day is just the recommended guideline for maintaining ketosis. Many people can consume 40, 50 even 60 and 70 grams of carbs per day and stay in ketosis. It depends on the person. Age, size lifestyle and exercise all factor into how many carbs can be allowed and maintain ketosis. It is ok to not recommend a diet but when you leave out important aspects you do both your readers and yourself an injustice. Don’t base your article on one or two 3 page leaflets you read on ketosis written 20 years ago.

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.
This style of Ketogenic Diet, the temporary reduction in fats, carbohydrates and sugars is the heart of the Ideal Protein Protocol. Ideal Protein a medically developed, step-by-step, personalized Ketogenic Weight Loss Diet available today. By temporarily restricting fat intake, the Ideal Protein dieter burns through fat stores more rapidly, resulting in safe, efficient weight loss. Because the Ideal Protein Protocol is a Keto Diet focused on weight loss and weight maintenance, for most people it will be the safest and most credible entry point into living a low carbohydrate lifestyle. Not only is the Ideal Protein Protocol a supervised Ketogenic weight loss program, we teach our dieters how to develop and maintain a healthier relationship with food after they have graduated from Ketosis. This makes maintaining your new healthier weight easier and safer following your weight loss, because living in a state of Ketosis should only be temporary.
The only issue with keto, is really that I’m afraid that it might be hard to up my calories to a maintenance weight now that I’ve gotten a taste preference for the rich assortment of foods with no carbs in them. I’m satisfied with less calories than I will need after my excess fat is burned off… but , maybe I bet my body will send more hunger signs once there isn’t anymore body fat in the cupboard to use instead of what goes down my throat.
I can’t tell you how often through the years I have been asked the question, “If I lose 20 pounds, will I no longer have diabetes?” Let me answer this very clearly, there is currently no cure for diabetes. Once you have been diagnosed, you have it for life. Every day, our most brilliant researchers are busy searching for a cure though. There is good news however; you can manage your diabetes, get it under control, prevent all the complications of diabetes and live a normal, healthy life.
After about two to seven days of following the keto diet, you go into something called ketosis, or the state your body enters when it doesn't have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. That's when you start making ketones, or organic compounds that your bod then uses in place of those missing carbs. At this point, your body also starts burning fat for more energy, says Beth Warren, R.D., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living A Real Life With Real Food.
The most obvious sign that your electrolyte/mineral balance is being affected is an increase in urination. On a low-carb diet, insulin levels drop which promotes the secretion of sodium in the urine. Sodium pulls more water into the urinary system which then is excreted as well.  This is a very normal one of the keto side effects and a positive sign you are moving towards keto adaptation.
Abbey, I appreciate all the work you put into this but there are a few things you missed. Not all oils are keto friendly. Vegetable oils are a huge no-no which was not mentioned. Regular mayo usually contains soybean oil which should be avoided. You also missed that foods with preservatives are a no-no which excludes some cheeses (you said enjoy all the cheese you like). Processed sliced cheese or pre-shredded cheese in a bag at the grocery store contains preservatives. Ever notice how shredded cheese in a bag never sticks to itself but when you shred your own cheese it sticks? Preservatives. Most nuts are okay but peanuts are a legume and should be consumed in very small amounts or avoided altogether. Don’t go crazy either, nuts do have carbs. I don’t eat more than a half cup a day of salted almonds. That said, you could have mentioned that getting salted nuts is ideal as you do excrete more salt and other minerals in your urine (eating keto is diuretic so attention must be paid to salt, potassium, magnesium, etc. as you did mention) so finding simple ways to add salt and other minerals is helpful. I also take a multi-vitamin daily. You mentioned you cannot do high intensity workouts. You are not supposed to do high intensity workouts as elevating your heart rate too high actually stops the fat burning process in your body. Your heart rate should be 180 beats minus your age +/- 5 beats depending on fitness level. A 40 year old obese person shouldn’t go over 135 beats/min during a workout as that is the optimal fat burning window. Higher than that and your body reverts to storing fat reserves thinking it will run out if it keeps this pace. Which bring me to metabolism. Its been long believed a high metabolism is good. A high metabolism leads to more hunger (because you’re burning glucose faster), ingesting more food, and typically gaining more weight. Slowing your metabolism down AND teaching your body to consume slow burning ketones instead of quick burning glucose puts less stress on your liver mainly and on your body in general. There’s a lot more but this is getting long so I’ll finish with this. You said this diet focuses on quantity of food and not quality. This is confusing to me….wouldn’t organic and grass-fed meats, be of better quality than non-organic and grain fed meat? (they feed animals grains to fatten them up….shouldn’t that be a huge warning sign for us?). Is food without preservatives not better quality than food with preservatives? Aren’t beverages with no sugar or artificial sweeteners of better quality than sugar/artificial sweetener-filled beverages? I’ve never seen any keto advocate advise ignoring quality foods, in fact its quite the opposite.
Consider Using Exogenous Ketones:  Providing pre-formed ketones takes stress off of the body and improves the bodies ability to use ketones as a fuel sources.  This, in turn, improves the bodies ability to make its own ketones and speeds up the keto adaptation process.  The best is when you take exogenous ketones with adaptogens which help stabilize blood sugar, improve the stress response and support your brain.  I recommend Keto Edge as the best all round exogenous ketone, adaptogen mix.
Thanks for reading Roxanne! You could try the following: eating more frequently, using MCT oils, consuming plenty of salts, and potentially using an HPA axis supporting formula such as adapt-strong: https://store.drjockers.com/products/adapt-strong we also have an awesome magnesium lotion with melatonin that could be helpful in this case: https://store.drjockers.com/products/magnesium-lotion-goodnight-with-melatonin
Keto dieters often commiserate about experiencing symptoms as their bodies adjust to the diet, but experts say this period of transition is no joke. "When your body first enters ketosis, you may experience a series of side effects termed the 'keto flu,'" says Jennifer M. Brown, R.D., a faculty associate at Arizona State University's School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. "These include fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, poor sleep, difficulty with exercise, and constipation, all resulting from extreme restriction of carbohydrates." While these symptoms usually subside after the body adjusts to relying on fat for fuel, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Is losing weight really worth potentially feeling ill for three weeks?! "Given that low-carb diets have not been shown to have an advantage when it comes to weight loss, I would say these side effects aren't worth it and are unnecessary," Brown says. (Related: Is It Possible to Follow a Vegetarian Keto Diet?)

One aspect that is not often mentioned is carb cravings. Before I started a keto diet, every day I would have serious starchy- or sweet- carb cravings that were uncontrollable and HAD TO BE satisfied. The high-fat keto diet has pretty much eliminated those carb cravings. It is wonderful to not be under the control of those cravings anymore. I think the high success rate of keto diets is that you are not hungry and have no cravings.


"We recommend against 'dieting', which is invariably a short-term solution," Dr. Gonzalez-Campoy, tells EndocrineWeb, "and since weight loss may be accomplished by a reduction in calories by any means, a ketogenic diet that restricts carbs is simply shifting the calories away from foods that typically demand insulin as in both of these studies.1,2  
This was a great read. I aim to restrict carbs always because I believe most are why the American population is obese. I would very much like to hear more about carb restriction excluding the discussion on processed meats and processed high salt content foods because I consume neither. I also don’t consume dairy or eggs. So can you provide some substance.

Imagine your body is a home with a fireplace in the middle and the heat required to keep it at a comfortable\livable temp is keeping the fireplace burning at a manageable and constant pace. To do this you have two fuel-types at your disposal: Kerosene and Charcoal. (in this analogy Kerosene is carbohydrates and coal is fat). American diets are high in carbs, which is like throwing a bucket full of kerosene on that fire. Will it keep the house warm? Sure, but it burns down fast so you have to keep throwing bucket after bucket on it to keep it going, consuming tons of kerosene, and you get these huge spikes in heat. It is much harder to control the strength of the flame, and thus much harder to keep the house at a constant, comfortable temp.


To lower your heart risks while following a keto diet, be mindful of the types of fats you’re eating. “Most nutritionists encourage people to get their fat from heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats,” Urbanski says. So even though going keto may sound like a license to load up on bacon and butter, reach for unsaturated fats from foods such as olives, nuts, seeds, and avocados, and olive, canola, and nut oils.


Based on what we know from the available research, is the keto diet safe? The evidence is clear that the KD can reliably help to treat obesity and improve insulin resistance, but the long-term impact of the KD on cardiovascular risk factors, liver disease and glucose tolerance is more controversial. Experts agree that genetics seem to play a role in how different people respond to the KD, meaning some may be more likely to thrive on very low-carb diets, while others are more susceptible to developing side effects.

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It has been known for more than a decade that bipolar disorder shares a number of clinical, biochemical and physiologic features with epilepsy and that a similar neurobiology may underpin both disorders. Both conditions cycle, both are risk factors for each other, and anticonvulsant drugs used in epilepsy have been found to be effective in helping manage bipolar illness. 

"Most people who wind up trying a ketogenic diet and then deciding not to continue do so because of the emotional and lifestyle consequences," Turoff says. To put it simply, people miss eating carbohydrates. "That doesn't mean that you should be eating pizza or cupcakes every day, but what about having a sweet potato with a meal, or beans in a chili? Or fresh watermelon in the summer?" Turoff asks. "Whether or not we want to admit it, food plays much more than just a physical role in our lives and having such restrictions on the types of foods you can and can't eat can really take a toll. It might be easy in the short-term to go for carb-free foods but at a certain point, the thought of not being able to eat your favorite foods again can become daunting."


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.


It is important to understand that the statement that carbohydrates are “nonessential” is not only factually inaccurate, it results in adopting a low-carbohydrate diet or ketogenic diet that increases your risk for a wide variety of chronic health conditions that may ultimately shorten lifespan, decrease your quality of life, and accelerate your risk for chronic disease.
While body weight decreased significantly (-8.5 kg) in these 21 diabetic participants, the mean weight loss was less compared with what we observed in the LCKD participants of an earlier trial (-12.0 kg) [18]. Given that the diabetic participants had a higher baseline mean weight than the LCKD participants of our previous trial (131 kg vs. 97 kg), this translates into an even more dramatic disparity in percent change in body weight (-6.6% vs. -12.9%). This lesser weight loss might result from several factors. First, in the current study, most of the participants were taking insulin and/or oral hypoglycemic agents that are known to induce weight gain[20,21] Second, these same agents, particularly insulin, inhibit ketosis, which is strived for in the earliest phases of the LCKD; while it remains unclear whether ketones actually play a role in weight loss on the LCKD, previous research in non-diabetic patients has shown a positive correlation between level of ketonuria and weight loss success [22]. Lastly, compared with our previous study the participants in the current study had more comorbid illness, lower socioeconomic status, and a shorter duration of follow-up (16 weeks versus 24 weeks), all of which are associated with reduced success on any weight loss program [23].
In a second study,2 a Harvard-led research team evaluated the benefit of a ketogenic diet in both children and adults with type 1 diabetes despite concerns about a possible negative effect on growth and development in children following such a restricted diet. These researchers report "exceptional" glucose control with little adverse effects. However, the participants were recruited from a closed Facebook group, TypeOneGrit, for people who follow a diet and diabetes program based on the recommendations in the Diabetes Solution,3 a book by Richard K Bernstein, MD, who devised this program to manage his own type 1 diabetes.
There are a number of different causes of acne, and one may be related to diet and blood sugar. Eating a diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates can alter gut bacteria and cause more dramatic blood sugar fluctuations, both of which can have an influence on skin health. Therefore, by decreasing carb intake, it's not a surprise that a ketogenic diet could reduce some cases of acne. 

"The keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and very low-carb way of eating that leads to ketosis, which is a metabolic process that shifts the body to utilize a different power source," says Pamela M. Nisevich Bede, MS, RD, a registered dietitian at Abbott who specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, and diet trends. It's similar to the Atkins diet, but is even lower in protein and higher in fat. In short: "Your body turns fat into fuel instead of running on easy-to-access carbs, which are its energy fuel source," says Nisevich Bede.

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.
Keto is often suggested for children who suffer from certain disorders (like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Rett syndrome) and don’t respond to seizure medication, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. (1) They note that keto can decrease the number of seizures these children have by half, with 10 to 15 percent becoming seizure-free. In other cases, it may also help patients reduce the dose of their medication.
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