Many people and even some doctors confuse nutritional ketosis with (diabetic) ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs in uncontrolled diabetes when the pancreas cannot secrete enough insulin to exert its action in cells, so blood glucose levels and blood ketones both skyrocket to dangerously high levels. Ketoacidosis has nothing to do with nutritional ketosis which is when ketones are produced from all the dietary fat you’re relying on and can thus keep your blood sugar levels under control at low and stable levels.

Often caused by lymph node removal or damage due to cancer treatment, lymphedema occurs because there’s a blockage in the lymphatic system and results in the swelling in leg or arm. A 2017 study involved patients who suffered from obesity and lymphedema and who embarked on a 18-week ketogenic diet. Weight and limb volume was significantly reduced. (5)
In the study, the researchers fed mice a ketogenic diet for several days and expected to find a favorable outcome — perhaps weight loss or another indication of improved health. Instead, they found that the liver began resisting insulin almost immediately and the mice were unable to regulate their blood sugar levels after only three days on the diet. (Insulin resistance, meaning that cells in the body don't respond to insulin, is a key characteristic of type 2 diabetes.)
Reduced hunger. Many people experience a marked reduction in hunger on a keto diet. This may be caused by an increased ability of the body to be fueled by its fat stores. Many people feel great when they eat just once or twice a day, and may automatically end up doing a form of intermittent fasting. This saves time and money, while also speeding up weight loss.
Other potential culprits, Dr. Ede notes, are grains and legumes, which not only interfere with absorption of brain-healthy nutrients but are also high in lectins and other factors that may pose risks to brain health. Cutting out refined carbohydrates, refined oils, grains and legumes through the low-carb high-fat (LCHF) or ketogenic diet may improve mental health, just as doing so can reverse diabetes and promote weight loss, she notes. 
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Carbohydrates help control blood sugar levels, which are of particular importance for people with diabetes. A study published in May 2018 in the journal Diabetic Medicine shows that while a keto diet may help control HbA1c levels (a two- to three-month average of blood sugar levels), the diet may also cause episodes of hypoglycemia, which is a dangerous drop in blood sugar. Echoing many registered dietitians, the Lincoln, Nebraska–based sports dietitian Angie Asche, RD, says she is “hesitant to recommend a ketogenic diet for individuals with type 1 diabetes.”

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.
Carbs are still the primary fuel for the body during high-intensity exercise. A ketogenic diet may be better suited to athletes performing endurance sports (like marathon running or cycling). Athletes engaged in more intense cardio (like sprinting, hockey, football) may perform better with a higher percentage of carbohydrates. These athletes may experience a decrease in high-intensity output while following a ketogenic diet, but ultimately, a lowered carbohydrate intake as isn’t “dangerous” for athletes.
There are occasional instances of cardiomyopathies (heart muscle diseases, heart failure) and sudden cardiac death–The immediate causes are unclear, though at least some cases are due to severe selenium deficiency. The picture is muddied by the fact that some kids were fed large quantities of corn oil in past as a means of maintaining ketosis. Nonetheless, it suggests further uncertainties with prolonged ketosis.
Finally, wait it out. Certain folks who do everything by the book and follow every bit of good advice may still get a few symptoms of the keto flu. This usually comes in the initial three weeks of entering nutritional ketosis, and things get much better very quickly. Trust that your lull will pass and your energy will increase substantially—usually within a few days.

Now, I know what you are going to say, “I can take a break from the diet anytime.” What do you think happens when you take that “break”? As soon as you start consuming a normal amount of carbohydrates again, you immediately go out of ketosis or the fat burning state, and your body starts storing fat again immediately. In other words, you immediately start gaining weight. So whatever weight you lost on the diet, you gain back right away. How healthy do you think it is for your body to be in a starvation mode, then in a feeding frenzy, making up for lost time?
Keto is not hard to follow at all. See, this is why I took my diet and nutrition into my own hands. I have PCOS and the ketogenic diet has worked wonders for me. I’m finally pregnant at the age of 32 and after 11 years of marriage because the ketogenic diet made me lose over 100 lbs and brought my insulin resistance under control. I feel better than I’ve ever felt. Sometimes doctors don’t seem to know as much as they should, or as much as they assume they do, and that’s pretty disturbing. Just like they’re still using the old school and very inaccurate BMI charts that are just pure bs. I’ll just take care of myself outside of certain situations involving illness or injury. I’m doing great on my own.
Please do not blame yourself for this! There are many things that contribute to children with weight issues. Many of you feel judged (body weight is not an invisible health condition!), but it’s not uncommon for children within the same family to both struggle with gaining weight, and with being over weight – and the parents are doing the exact same thing with all their children.  
Reduces mitochondrial free radial production, which decreases oxidative stress. Research demonstrates that the ketogenic diet reduces free radical levels in the brain. Furthermore, studies in cardiac tissue have suggested that ketones reduce oxidative stress, a pathogenic process implicated in many disorders ranging from atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries) to other diseases more specific to the nervous system.
On the flip side of the previously mentioned side effect, some people might experience minor issues with diarrhea in the first few days. This can simply be a result of your body adjusting to the macronutrient ratio change. In other cases, some people make the mistake of limiting their fat intake along with their carbs, which makes your intake of protein too high and can lead to diarrhea.
Despite its explosive popularity, there’s a lot of confusion about what the ketogenic (keto) diet really is. “Many people think they’re following a keto diet when they’re really just consuming a low-carbohydrate diet,” says Patti Urbanski, MEd, RD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator with St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. “So one person’s ‘keto diet’ may look very different than another’s.”
With fats being my main source of calories, my body and energy levels have never been better. When I educated myself on it and understood the science behind it, it was clear to see why my joints started feeling better, and ailments started to go away. I now have more “oil” lubricating my cells so they’re more receptive/flexible/malleable to the nutrients in my foods. People can loose weight very fast, but honestly the first 10lbs or so is a lot of water weight so that’s really nothing to write home about.
There is also exciting early research suggesting that ketosis may be beneficial for many other conditions, such as reducing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches, reversing PCOS, perhaps enhancing conventional brain cancer therapies, possibly slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, along with potentially helping people live longer, healthier lives.
For me, I chose to become a CDE because I had worked as a Registered Nurse first on a medical unit, then in a Medical ICU. These are the units where most of the people with diabetes are, so I had seen every horrific complication that diabetes can cause. When I had a chance to become a Diabetes Educator…to actually help PREVENT some of those horrible complications…I jumped at the chance!

The keto diet is an extremely effective way to lose weight over a short period of time—even better, according to some research, than low-calorie and low-fat diets. There a few reasons for this: When you’re in ketosis, your body stores less fat. Dieters feel fuller for longer, partly because of the rich food they’re eating, and partly because ketosis changes your hunger hormone levels.
One way to find out if the keto diet is not be ideal for your cardiovascular health is by checking if your total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio is above 4 and/or your LDL-P remains high or increases after starting the keto diet. If this is the case for you, then you may fare better with a low to moderate fat diet with plenty of whole foods, fiber, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats (especially omega 3s), and limited saturated fats.
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.
I’ve been eating LCHF for almost a year. I’ve lost 40 lbs, feel hungry less often, reversed my insulin resistance, have lots more energy but my cholesterol keeps jumping up, not just creeping, but taking huge leaps! It’s in the mid 300’s now and my Dr wants me to go on statin drugs of which I’m very resistant, I don’t feel comfortable taking drugs. I read so often how this diet lowers cholesterol, not me! Any clue as to “why me?”
The understanding of “What is a Keto Diet” has become blurred thanks to the proliferation of Keto Diet “experts”. Many of these “experts” recommend several variants of Keto Diet and lifestyles which they claim can be modified to any walk of life. However, in most instances what they are actually recommending are Low-Carb lifestyle programs. These are neither weight loss programs, nor Ketogenic. With that said, there’s nothing wrong with adopting a Low-Carb lifestyle, but if your goal is weight loss, then changing your eating lifestyle should come after you’ve achieved your weight loss goals.
What makes the the ketogenic diet unique among low-carb diets is that it’s characterized by a drastic reduction in carbohydrates (usually less than 30–50 grams per day, depending on individual goals) and also a significant increase in fats, as opposed to protein. The goal of the KD is to enter the metabolic state of ketosis, which happens after a few days of strict carbohydrate restriction.
The longer you’re in ketosis, the more fat you burn. Unfortunately, you may also start to lose muscle tissue, too. While protein is considered the powerhouse muscle builder, your muscles need carbs for adequate formation and maintenance. Without those carbs, your body may start breaking down muscle. “Since your body starts to eat away at muscles as it enters ketosis, your heart, being a muscle, may also be damaged in the process,” Derocha says.
At the core of the classic keto diet is severely restricting intake of all or most foods with sugar and starch (carbohydrates). These foods are broken down into sugar (insulin and glucose) in our blood once we eat them, and if these levels become too high, extra calories are much more easily stored as body fat and results in unwanted weight gain. However, when glucose levels are cut off due to low-carb intake, the body starts to burn fat instead and produces ketones that can be measured in the blood (using urine strips, for example).
Considered a symptom of the keto flu, your breath on this diet often smells fruity at first. This is because acetone is a by-product of ketosis and is eliminated mostly through the lungs and the breath, according to a study in the journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in February 2014. Acetone is a type of ketone known for having a fruity aroma in smaller concentrations. “It’s hard to say exactly how long it will last as it depends on the person, but it’s common for someone to experience this side effect for a few weeks,” says Asche.
There are various ways to practice intermittent fasting on keto, including some that are less likely to trigger side effects like fatigue or cravings. Crescendo fasting gives you a break from fasting throughout your week, but is still very helpful for achieving the benefits of IMF. Dr. Cabeca and other experts, such as Amy Shah, M.D., advise their patients to check their urinary ketone levels (using ketone strips) and to aim for testing positively for ketones about three days per week.
Oh Mike, I just cried when I read this. Jesus…you are right on so many different levels. For you, this sacrifice is a total game changer. It’s changing every aspect of your life and yes I am very happy you were brave enough to divulge the erectile dysfunction (ED) issue also. It’s one of the biggest (no pun intended lol) issues for teens and men and the reason they get on board quickly with getting back on track! Once they learn their high blood sugars are the actual cause of the ED, they are extremely relieved and happy to learn any way to lower their blood glucose levels!
Hypothyroid Related Issues. Thyroid hormones and cholesterol levels are intimately linked. When our thyroid hormone levels are low, LDL receptors will be less active, leading to high cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease. If you have a history of hypothyroid issues, you may be struggling with unhealthy cholesterol levels — and the keto diet can make them even worse. However, for those of you who are being treated for your hypothyroid condition or who have an autoimmune thyroid condition, you may be able to follow the keto diet without any problems. In fact, many keto dieters with autoimmune thyroid conditions have found that the keto way of eating improves their quality of life more than any other diet.
Many CDEs actually have diabetes…it’s what draws them to choose this career…to help others with diabetes, to share their knowledge. Most already wear an insulin pump and continuous glucose sensors (CGMs) also. When I first became certified on each new pump and CGM, I would wear them (and check my BG 4-6 times per day) for 2-3 weeks, not only to learn the technology really well, but to gain a sense of how my patients must feel having to wear them 24 hours per day. Since, I’ve started a 6 month old baby on a insulin pump and CGM all the way up to a 89 year old…there are no boundaries for people with diabetes!
Holy smokes what a great article! Thank you for such a thorough read. I have been doing a “keto diet” (keeping carb’s under 40 g/day-I use a tracker) since the beginning of January and felt “fluish” at first like you state. That passed and this past week (It is now Feb 11)my weight loss has stalled so I am experimenting with even lower carb’s (15-20g/day). This change has really interrupted my sleep the past 3 nights, hence me typing this at 4:44 in the am after deciding to do some research the past hour. Will this too pass? Or is it time for a Mg supplement? And if so can I use a pill rather than a drink? Between all the water and the bone broth I am unsure how more I will want to drink ha! But if I have to then I will, just thought I would ask. Again, thank you for all you are doing and such a fantastic read!

Some of us experience a rise in BG that’s hard to manage when trying Keto. This is one of the reasons why keto did not work out for me (plus weight gain and feeling lousy). That being said, there could be a lot of other reasons why he’s running high, so I’d highly recommend you work with a medical professional and dietitian if you decide to continue down this path. And if your doctor isn’t supporting you, find one that will.
Ketosis, similarly to fasting or caloric restriction, turns on a group of genes called Sirtuins. When scientists activate Sirtuins in animals, they found that these animals live longer. In addition, Sirtuins can help keep you lean and energetic during the day and sleeping well at night. More research is needed to know if this effect is the same in humans, but evidence seems strong that spending some time in ketosis is beneficial.
There are people who say that keto helps your athletic performance, and those who say it hurts it. "The literature is mixed on how an ultra low-carbohydrate diet like the keto diet affects athletic performance," says Grant Cox, C.S.C.S., head coach at Iron Tribe Fitness. But one thing is pretty clear: "A lot of it points to consistent decreases when athletes are looking for maximal power output (in weightlifting, vertical jumps, sprinting, etc.). Along the same lines, you'd be hard-pressed to put on weight and strength on such a low carbohydrate diet," he says.
In addition, on the day the diet was initiated, diabetes medications were reduced – generally, insulin doses were halved, and sulfonylurea doses were halved or discontinued. Due to the possible diuretic effects of the diet soon after initiation, diuretic medications were discontinued if of low dosage (up to 25 mg of hydrochlorothiazide or 20 mg of furosemide) or halved if of higher dosage. Participants were also instructed to take a standard multivitamin and drink 6–8 glasses of water daily, and were encouraged to exercise aerobically for 30 minutes at least three times per week.

Purnell JQ, Hokanson JE, Marcovina SM, Steffes MW, Cleary PA, Brunzell JD. Effect of excessive weight gain with intensive therapy of type 1 diabetes on lipid levels and blood pressure: results from the DCCT. Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. JAMA. 1998;280:140–146. doi: 10.1001/jama.280.2.140. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
If you are on medication, Dr. Ede recommends you work closely with your psychiatrist or mental health care provider. “Ketogenic diets cause profound shifts in brain and body chemistry rather quickly. These changes are almost always positive and healthy, but they can have a major impact on medication levels, dosages and side effects that require close medical supervision,” she says.
Ben Tzeel is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), holding a Masters in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Ben has lived with Type 1 Diabetes since 1999 and has never allowed it to hold him back from achieving his goals. He is a published fitness model and author who writes about exercise, nutrition, and diabetes.
Yes!! Edward!! I am pre-diabetic myself and have IBS which many doctors have no explanation for many of my questions because IBS triggers everyone differently and with different foods. I have been keto for 6 weeks and have lost 14lbs and have not noticed any symptoms of IBS even when I eat trigger foods (onion/garlic) I am no means 100% keto yet because I have had slip ups here and there but I jump right back in. I can’t imagine not following this way of life moving forward. I immediately feel the difference if I indulge in anything more then I should. Im learning to listen to my body and now see carbs/sugar is what has been causing madness on my body. Keto-on Edward!
It takes more work to turn fat into energy than it takes to turn carbs into energy. Because of this, a ketogenic diet can help speed up weight loss. And since the diet is high in protein, it doesn't leave you hungry like other diets do. In a meta-analysis of 13 different randomized controlled trials, 5 outcomes revealed significant weight loss from a ketogenic diet.
In 2006, Czech researchers placed men on either a diet containing red meat or one without red meat, then had them sweat. Women smelled and rated the sweat. Across the board, the red meat dieters produced less attractive body odor. When they had everyone switch to the other diet, the results persisted: Those who had switched to a no-red meat diet produced better-smelling sweat.
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More recently, a meta-analysis was published in the Journal of Neurology that assessed the impact of the ketogenic diet in treating epilepsy. It included a total of 19 studies with a total of 1084 patients. After analyzing the data, the researchers noted that the patients who stayed on the diet had a 2.25 times greater probability of treatment success (at least a 50% reduction in seizures).
Some athletes swear by the ketogenic diet, not just for weight loss but for improved performance in their sport, as well. But Edward Weiss, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, doesn’t buy it. “I hear cyclists say all the time that they’re faster and better now that they’re on keto, and my first question is, 'Well, how much weight did you lose?'” he says.
In January 2017, at 63 years of age, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I had probably been living with it unknowingly for years. In 2009 my doctor recommended the South Beach diet because I was showing blood-sugar levels that were considered pre-diabetic. I stayed on it for a while but then, as with all other diets I’ve tried in my life, I failed and put all the weight back on, plus some. When I was officially diagnosed last year with type 2 diabetes I was a whopping 284 pounds (129 kg). I was always fatigued, could barely walk a block without getting tired and my health was failing.
Carbs are still the primary fuel for the body during high-intensity exercise. A ketogenic diet may be better suited to athletes performing endurance sports (like marathon running or cycling). Athletes engaged in more intense cardio (like sprinting, hockey, football) may perform better with a higher percentage of carbohydrates. These athletes may experience a decrease in high-intensity output while following a ketogenic diet, but ultimately, a lowered carbohydrate intake as isn’t “dangerous” for athletes.

We are brazilian, living in Brazil. My daughter, Isabel, 21y. o., born in 1996, has syndrome of deficiency of Glut1. She was diagnosed around her first year of life. At that time her baby bottle, her begining diet meal, was 50ml water plus 50ml oil plus vitamin. Since then, which means, for 20 years, she is under this diet. For almost 18 years under 4:1 proportion. At this right moment 3:1. The only problem she had since started the diet were kidney stones in 2002. Nothing else. Grateful to the diet she doesn’t take any kind of medicine to avoid seizures. Her health is perfect, no colesterol at all. We are at your will for any issues related to her health.


If you can’t maintain any eating plan forever due to its level of restriction and burden, it can lead to weight cycling — the process by which you gain a lot of weight and lose a lot of weight when "dieting" versus when you’re off of a diet. That can lead to increased chronic disease risk, not to mention how it can make weight loss more difficult the more often you do it.
When carbohydrate consumption is limited, your body has to use an alternate fuel source to keep your brain going. This is the general premise behind the ketogenic diet. “The ketogenic diet is a high fat diet with low carbohydrate and moderate protein content,” says Gabrielle Mancella, a Registered Dietitian with Orlando Health. “Carbohydrate is depleted to provide an alternative fuel source, known as ketones, to the brain. The body converts from burning carbohydrates to burning fats, known as ketosis.”
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