It builds mitochondria. Mitochondria are the power plants of our cells, transforming incoming nutrients into ATP. The more mitochondria we have, the more energy we can utilize and extract from the food we eat—and the more performance we can wring out of our bodies. Ketosis places new demands on our mitochondria, who adapt to the new energy environment by increasing in number.
In part, keto diet weight loss is a real thing because high-fat, low-carb diets can both help diminish hunger and boost weight loss through their hormonal effects. As described above, when we eat very little foods that supply us with carbohydrates, we release less insulin. With lower insulin levels, the body doesn’t store extra energy in the form of fat for later use, and instead is able to reach into existing fat stores for energy.
Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder and CEO of Wellness Mama, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.
Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder and CEO of Wellness Mama, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Once you’ve stayed on keto for a couple of days, you may notice a new odor coming from your mouth that smells like overripe fruit or nail polish remover. This is an unfortunate side effect of ketosis that occurs when acetone (i.e., the primary ingredient in nail polish remover) is created as a by-product of ketone production. Unfortunately, your body can’t do much with the acetone it makes, so most of it will be excreted with each breath.


In a study of 51 obese people using an extremely low fat low calorie diet (just one gram of fat a day!) the gallbladder was examined by ultrasound before the diet and after one and two months. After one month four of the 51 participants had developed new gallstones. After two months more than one in four (13 people) had new gallstones! This on an almost fat free diet. Three participants needed to have their gallbladder removed during the study.
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.
By now, you've probably heard all about the ketogenic diet, the high-fat, low-carb eating style everyone's talking about. And while the benefits of keto are pretty well-known—weight loss and a suppressed appetite—the downsides are usually minimized by keto advocates. "The positive aspects of a ketogenic diet are spoken about much more than the drawbacks," says Alix Turoff, R.D., C.D.N., C.P.T., a dietitian and personal trainer.
When the body is first deprived of carbohydrates, usually felt at around 50 grams per day or less, the body starts with gluconeogenesis which is the body using stored glucose (glycogen) from the liver and muscles for energy. When the stored glucose can no longer keep up with energy demands, which will happen because there’s limited storage of glucose, the body turns to using ketone bodies for energy.

Like the stress response, ketosis is a natural, physiological adaptation designed for short-term responses. In other words, an acute stress response to some danger or threat that involves increased adrenaline and cortisol release, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and heightened alertness is normal and can even save your life. But, if the stress response becomes chronic, as it may with divorce, prolonged caretaking of an impaired child or demented adult, PTSD, financial struggles, etc., then the stress response can have terrible health implications that include increased risk for Alzheimer’s dementia, heart disease, dysbiosis, inflammation, diabetes, and cancer. The same applies to ketosis: Acutely, ketosis is a normal physiological adaptation that serves us during periods of carbohydrate or calorie deprivation. Chronically, however, peculiar things happen with consequences that range from constipation, to selenium deficiency and cardiomyopathies, to colon cancer.
Nutritionists frequently advise clients to reach for more healthy fats and protein to stay full throughout the day. With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that a ketogenic diet would be about as good as it gets for staying satiated. One study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found this type of low-carb approach was more effective for weight loss and managing hunger than a similar high-protein diet with a greater percentage of carbohydrates. One 2013 study even suggested the eating plan may suppress hunger hormones more effectively than other weight-loss programs.

When the body is first deprived of carbohydrates, usually felt at around 50 grams per day or less, the body starts with gluconeogenesis which is the body using stored glucose (glycogen) from the liver and muscles for energy. When the stored glucose can no longer keep up with energy demands, which will happen because there’s limited storage of glucose, the body turns to using ketone bodies for energy.
Early research suggests that the keto diet may slow the growth of cancerous tumors. “Cancer cells have plenty of insulin receptors on them, making them flourish in environments high in blood sugar and insulin,” says Brandon Olin, host of The Deskbound Podcast, which focuses on overcoming the damage of a sedentary lifestyle. “It’s essentially giving cancer cells a source of fuel to feed on and grow.” The research suggests ketone bodies may provide energy for your body without feeding the tumors.
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.
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.
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Also, to the author I do appreciate you stating you are bias up front, but I do get to indulge with some fruit/berries when I want. You dont give up everything forever but you learn to fit them into your macros. I have learned to make Keto ice cream and fat bombs if the urge comes along. I have learned to take keto friendly foods along to potlucks that everyone loves. Keto can be a way to follow forever but everyone has their own needs for their bodies. I am new to this but finding it easier and easier to remain keto
If the liver is resistant to insulin, that's a bad sign for the rest of the body and could mean there's an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the researchers said. What's more, these results are concerning because overweight patients seeking to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by following a ketogenic diet could unintentionally be increasing their risk for developing the disease, at least in the first few days of their diet. 
As far as the the Ketogenic Diet goes, it is a very personal decision between you and hopefully your physician. I would just recommend working closely with your physician for all the recommended lab tests to make sure you remain healthy while on the diet. That’s really the goal of any “diet” anyway, right? To get healthy? This is why we normally always recommend moderation with everything…moderation in the foods you eat along with moderate amounts of exercise equals a healthy lifestyle that will prevent diabetes or help you control your diabetes if you already have it.
Eating cholesterol has very little impact on the cholesterol levels in your body. This is a fact, not my opinion.  Anyone who tells you different is, at best, ignorant of this topic.  At worst, they are a deliberate charlatan. Years ago the Canadian Guidelines removed the limitation of dietary cholesterol. The rest of the world, especially the United States, needs to catch up.
Early humans probably were on an LCHF diet. But when did humans become the “intelligent” species that they are? Can that be related to invention of agriculture? When humans began settling down on river banks to grow their crop, be it rice or wheat or maize, may be the rich alluvium, elevated mineral contents and higher glucose levels associated with grains might have given them increased brain activity leading to their cultural and intellectual development. My only worry is, this”new found” ketogenic diet shouldn’t push us back to stone age, though on a positive note, that might save our planet from anthropogenic destruction!
"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."
“Some patients may need to supplement with sodium, as long as they do not have blood pressure issues. Some may even need prescription potassium supplementation,” Rahnama said, adding that she begins all keto diet patients on a magnesium supplement, as it’s an electrolyte that can be taken with low risk of overdose. She also said keto dieters may have to up their carb intake if they have continued issues with hydration.
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.)

The keto diet involves getting up to 80 percent of daily calories from sources of healthy fat, a significant change for most of her patients who were accustomed to running on carbs, caffeine and sugar for energy. It became clear that something else had to be adjusted in order to prevent the side effects associated with the keto diet. This is when she came up with the idea to focus on restoring alkalinity first and foremost.
Unfortunately I think Dr. D has too much of a vested interest in distinguishing WB from Keto diet when they actually overlap quite a bit. Especially people practicing keto for overall health, not just weight loss. Having said that, more studies are needed to monitor side effects of keto diets in adults, and it is good to keep in mind that there could be unintended side effects from low carb diets. Fortunately most can be prevented by being aware of them, adjusting to have a well-rounded low carb diet, and taking supplements.
Known primarily as a weight-loss diet, a ketogenic approach will allow your body to use higher-quality food sources for energy, and store less fat. When it comes to carbohydrates, any excess calories will be stored as fat for future use. This will only result in weight gain, and lower energy levels, particularly after the initial sugar rush of energy from simple carbohydrates. More protein in the body will also kickstart the metabolism, which will increase fat-burning potential, particularly if you are eating high-quality fats as a part of the ketogenic diet.
“When I was taught about biochemical fuel-burning, I was taught that glucose was “clean” and ketones were “smokey.” That glucose was clearly the preferred fuel for our muscles for exercise and definitely the key fuel for the brain. Except here’s the dirty little secret about glucose – when you look at the amount of garbage leftover in the mitochondria, it is actually less efficient to make ATP from glucose than it is to make ATP from ketone bodies! A more efficient energy supply makes it easier to restore membranes in the brain to their normal states after a depolarizing electrical energy spike occurs, and means that energy is produced with fewer destructive free radicals leftover.”
A growing body of research is finding that behind many psychiatric and neurological issues — such as bipolar disorder, epilepsy, migraine — are malfunctions in the work of sodium, potassium and calcium ion channels in brain neurons, which pass the electric charge between nerve cells. As noted above, two thirds of the brain’s energy is used to help nerve cells “fire,” or send signals between cells. Another nerve cell signaling chemical (neurotransmitter), called GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) has also been found to be disordered in bipolar, epilepsy and schizophrenia. A 2017 genetic study also found common genetic and biochemical pathways between bipolar disorder and epilepsy that create “excessive circuit sensitivity” in the neurons of both conditions.
Beyond the short-term effects of the keto flu, the diet can also negatively impact your digestion and gut in the long run. One 10-year study conducted on using keto to manage pediatric epilepsy found the following GI side effects over time: constipation, high triglyceride levels, high cholesterol, diarrhea, lethargy, iron deficiency, vomiting, and kidney stones.
And it’s not just this study, either. Several other studies have found  that keto leaves rodents unable to process carbs,[7] leads to insulin resistance,[8] and, more long-term, causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is when your liver accumulates lots of fat and begins to shut down.[9][10] Triglycerides and inflammation go way up, too.[11]
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
As with any diet, precautions need to be taken. Pregnant women and those with kidney disease are not good candidates for this diet, and some people with diabetes may find that the diet increases their insulin resistance. Dairy can often spike blood sugar, so avoiding the dairy in a keto diet and taking a Vitamin D supplement might be a better option for some people. It’s important to pay attention to the way your body responds and realize that no diet is a one-size-fits-all model.
Although many proponents recommend this high fat version of Keto for weight loss, it first gained notoriety as a treatment method for Epilepsy. Going as far back as the 1920’s, medical professionals have recommended high fat Keto Diets as a treatment method for difficult to control seizure disorders. However, a diet that includes a high percentage of fats as part of its eating program increases the daily caloric intake. More calories means slower fat loss. Therefore, the higher calorie count is why this Ketogenic Diet type is considered a slower weight loss model for dieters and is why the Ideal Protein Protocol is a more effective Keto Diet for weight loss.
The key of these miraculous healing effects relies on the fact that fat metabolism and its generation of ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate) by the liver can only occur within the mitochondrion, leaving chemicals within the cell but outside the mitochondria readily available to stimulate powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants. The status of our mitochondria is the ultimate key for optimal health and while it is true that some of us might need extra support in the form of nutritional supplementation to heal these much needed energy factories, the diet still remains the ultimate key for a proper balance.”

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.
"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  
The relation between a high fat diet and cancer is not conclusive. Recent epidemiological studies (17,58–60) could not explain a specific causal relationship between dietary fat and cancer. It has been found that altered energy metabolism and substrate requirements of tumour cells provide a target for selective antineoplastic therapy. The supply of substrates for tumour energy metabolism can be reduced by dietary manipulation (eg, ketogenic diet) or by pharmacological means at the cellular level (eg, inhibitors of glycolysis or oxidative phosphorylation). Both of these techniques are nontoxic methods for controlling tumour growth in vivo (61). Sugar consumption is positively associated with cancer in humans and test animals (58–61). This observation is quite logical because tumours are known to be enormous sugar absorbers. It has also been found that the risk of breast cancer decreases with increases in total fat intake (16). Further studies on the role of a ketogenic diet in antineoplastic therapy are in progress in our laboratory.
In order to stay in ketosis, you have to limit carbs, but also to some extent protein. This is the predominant difference between keto and traditional lower-carb diets like Atkins. By relying on dietary fat for most of your calories per day, you limit fiber-rich sources (like fruit, veggies, and legumes) and sources of lean protein (like fatty fish) — some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
Combine that with the fact that your body is excreting more water, and you have a potential recipe for clogged pipes. You can keep things moving by getting some fiber from keto-friendly foods like avocado, nuts, and limited portions of non-starchy vegetables and berries, says David Nico, PhD, author of Diet Diagnosis. Upping your water intake helps, too.
Instead of thinking about the total carbs you’re eating, assess what those carbs provide to you. Do the majority of your carbs come from fruit and vegetables, with a payload of fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants? Fantastic. Or are you consuming them in the form of added sugars (cookies, candy, soda) or refined flour? If you are, you know what to do.
When your brain uses ketones for fuel, you don’t experience the same energy slumps as you do when you’re eating a lot carbs. On keto, your brain won’t start to panic, wondering when it will get its next hit of energy. When your metabolism is in fat-burning mode, your body can simply tap into its readily available fat stores for energy. The result? No more energy crashes or brain fog.
When you restrict carbohydrates, the body begins to process electrolytes in a different way. This is because, under conditions of low insulin, the kidneys excrete more sodium. Since there is a delicate balance between sodium and other electrolytes in the body, this increase in sodium excretion can have a knock-on effect and disrupt other electrolytes as well.
The keto diet can be an effective way to reduce excess body fat but there are several cons that should be noted by anyone wanting to follow this eating plan, says Ms. Zarabi says. In fact, the keto diet has serious risks. For one thing, it’s high in saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease. Additionally, a nutrient deficiency and constipation could occur since the keto diet is very low in fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Clinical trials that compare various diets’ outcomes among patients with mental health conditions are sorely lacking. For example, while currently there are 2822 clinical trials registered at Clincaltrials.gov for schizophrenia, none of them are examining the ketogenic diet’s impact on this debilitating chronic condition (three however, are examining gluten-free diets.) Likewise, there are NO ketogenic interventions among 1180 clinical trials for bipolar disorder, 2711 studies for anxiety, and 5370 for depression. (Although there are still a number of trials for these conditions that are looking at “low-fat healthy diets” or “Mediterranean diets” with plenty of fruits, grains and vegetables.)
As was described in a recent Diet Doctor post on using ketones for Alzheimer’s Disease, it has long been known that the brain can use two fuels for its energy needs: 1) glucose or 2) ketones. Glucose is the product of the breakdown of carbohydrates that we eat or is made via our liver by a process called gluconeogenesis (literally “new glucose making.”) Ketones are the product of the breakdown of fat to fatty acids, either from fat in our diet or fat stored in our adipose tissue.
In this study, researchers compared the impact of a low-carbohydrate diet and three other diets on blood pressure and other measures of cardiovascular fitness in women. After the 12 month trial, all subjects who successfully completed their respective diet experienced notable reductions in body mass, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. Those in the low-carbohydrate diet group, however, had the best results.
Keto has become synonymous with low carb, but as you have just read, reaching ketosis is much more complex than just eating fewer carbs. Healthy, young active people are taking up ‘the keto diet’ recreationally without any clinical reason in an attempt to lose weight, drop body fat, get a six-pack, or just to follow a trend their friends have taken up.

On the standard keto diet, you plan all meals and snacks around fat like avocados, butter, ghee, fatty fish and meats, olives and olive oil. You need to get about 150 grams a day of fat (the amount in nearly ¾ cup of olive oil and three times what you are likely eating now) in order to shift your metabolism so it burns fat as fuel. At the same time, you need to slash your carbs from about 300+ grams per day to no more than 50 (which is about the amount found in just one blueberry muffin). That means sticking to leafy greens, non-starchy veggies, and low-carb fruits like berries and melon. Finally, you'll eat a moderate about of protein, which is about 90 grams per day or 30 grams at each meal (think 4 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry).


What is the ketogenic diet exactly? The classic ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet plan that was originally designed in the 1920s for patients with epilepsy by researchers working at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Researchers found that fasting — avoiding consumption of all foods for a brief period of time (such as with intermittent fasting), including those that provide carbohydrates — helped reduce the amount of seizures patients suffered, in addition to having other positive effects on body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol and hunger levels. (1)
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