An extensive review published in 2013 looked at the research and evidence of ketogenic diets enhancing fertility (long story short, it looks promising). Studies also show that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can be treated effectively with low-carb dieting, which reduces or eliminates symptoms such as infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, acne, and obesity.


Originally Ole Jørgen took little to no medication for his bipolar illness, now he only carries medication as a safety precaution, in consultation with his doctors. Now he finds that with his ketogenic diet, exercise and good sleep his moods are predictable and stable. In short, life is good. He is reaching out to friends more. “I even met a girlfriend and we have started a good relationship.” He plans to run the New York City Marathon in the fall of 2018, another first for him.


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?)


Thank you so much for this article! My husband and I have been following keto for a little over a month now and we love it! I did a lot of research before starting, and am still doing lots of research because I like to be armed with the best information I can have when friends question my choices. Just yesterday I had a friend tell me that our brains need carbs to function (more than what we get from veggies). I hadn’t heard that before so I didn’t know what to answer. Thanks to your article now I know, and I have lots more answers in case more points come up. 😉
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
The diet is called "keto" in reference to the ketogenic state your body enters when it gets essentially no carbs — its default form of fuel for energy — and instead, uses fat as its source of energy. If you think about it, that's a pretty dramatic shift for your body to make. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that aside from hastened weight loss, keto can bring with it some significant complications.

Jalali says people following the diet have the best chance of keeping the weight off if they stay on it long term. And that’s not always easy to accomplish. The weight may come back if you go back to your regular eating habits. And regaining weight may lead to other negative effects. “Chronic yo-yo dieting appears to increase abdominal fat accumulation and diabetes risk,” notes Clark.


Before the discovery of neuroplasticity, scientists believed that a damaged brain cannot regenerate. However, by improving mitochondria health, reducing inflammation, and stimulating cellular cleanup, ketogenic diets can help a damaged brain repair itself. Thus, the ketogenic diet is almost a miracle for many brain diseases that were thought of as incurable.

This process of burning fat provides more benefits than simply helping us to shed extra weight — it also helps control the release of hormones like insulin, which plays a role in development of diabetes and other health problems. When we eat carbohydrates, insulin is released as a reaction to elevated blood glucose (an increase in sugar circulating in our blood) and insulin levels rise. Insulin is a “storage hormone” that signals cells to store as much available energy as possible, initially as glycogen (aka stored carbohydrates in our muscles) and then as body fat.
Resistant starches can be included as part of a ketogenic diet or as a supplement because it has minimal effects on blood sugar, so it doesn’t disrupt the state of ketosis. Resistant starches not only feed good bacteria in the gut but can also get fermented into substances that are beneficial for health. (Read this post to learn more about the health benefits of resistant starches and how to use them.)
When we look through the research on other conditions, the data indicates that keto can have a positive impact on many important health markers, providing convincing evidence for its safety. Triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar, A1c, and blood pressure, for example, have all been found to decrease as a result of cutting carbs. However, most of these studies last no longer than six months.
Researchers believe that the ketogenic diet can also help patients with schizophrenia to normalize the pathophysiological processes that are causing symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, lack of restraint and unpredictable behavior. One study found that the keto diet lead to elevated concentrations of kynurenic acid (KYNA) in the hippocampus and striatum, which promotes neuroactive activity. Some studies even point to the elimination of gluten as a possible reason for improved symptoms, as researchers observed that patients with schizophrenia tended to eat more carbohydrates immediately before a psychotic episode. (19)

While it's not necessarily dangerous, bad breath is a known side effect of entering ketosis. When you’re taking in a lot of fat, your liver metabolizes it and eventually converts it into smaller ketone bodies. These ketones (including acetone — yep, like nail polish remover acetone) will circulate in your body and diffuse into your lungs. Your body wants balance, so you'll exhale ketones to avoid build-up in your bloodstream. Those compounds are what cause keto breath: a metallic-tasting, somewhat stinky side effect.
Participants were recruited from the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) outpatient clinics. Inclusion criteria were age 35–75 years; body mass index (BMI) >25 kg/m2; and fasting serum glucose >125 mg/dL or hemoglobin A1c >6.5% without medications, or treatment with oral hypoglycemic agents (OHA) and/or insulin. Exclusion criteria were evidence of renal insufficiency, liver disease, or unstable cardiovascular disease by history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. All participants provided written informed consent approved by the institutional review board. No monetary incentives were provided.
This process of burning fat provides more benefits than simply helping us to shed extra weight — it also helps control the release of hormones like insulin, which plays a role in development of diabetes and other health problems. When we eat carbohydrates, insulin is released as a reaction to elevated blood glucose (an increase in sugar circulating in our blood) and insulin levels rise. Insulin is a “storage hormone” that signals cells to store as much available energy as possible, initially as glycogen (aka stored carbohydrates in our muscles) and then as body fat.
Blood specimens were obtained at weeks 0, 8, and 16 after the participant had fasted overnight. The following serum tests were performed in the hospital laboratory using standardized methods: complete blood count, chemistry panel, lipid panel, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and uric acid. A non-fasting specimen was also drawn at weeks 4 and 12 to monitor electrolytes and kidney function.
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)
Another possible nutrient deficiency: potassium, a mineral important for both electrolyte balance and blood pressure control, notes MedlinePlus. “Inadequate intake of potassium is likely when consumption of fruits and starchy vegetables are decreased,” says Asche. She recommends adding lower-carb sources of potassium to the diet, including avocado and spinach — as well as lower-carb sources of fiber, such as chia seeds and flaxseed (be sure to enjoy ground for the best health benefits).
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.” 

Although various short-term studies examining the effect of a ketogenic diet in reducing the weight of obese patients have been carried out (10), its long-term effects in obese subjects are not known (15). Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to investigate the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet on obesity and obesity-associated risk factors in a large population of obese patients.
It’s no secret that the keto diet helps you lose weight, and quickly. That’s one of the main reasons why people are clamoring to try the high-fat, low-carb regime. But the keto diet benefits more than just your waistline. Passing on the bread is also good for your brain and your heart, plus it’ll keep you alive for longer. Read on to discover more about the benefits of the keto diet and how it can upgrade your performance, starting today.

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.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition established that a low-carb approach is far more useful for weight loss than a high-protein diet which is also rich in carbohydrates. Moreover, a study developed in 2013 outlined that the ketogenic eating plan annihilates the function of the hunger hormones much more efficiently than other diets.
I have been working more seriously on my health after a major health crash 5 years ago, possible Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever/Lyme. Organ functions are getting better including heart, liver and gallbladder. Pancreas is at stage 3 insufficiency. I’m concerned about a high fat, protein diet. Still have IBS and gut infections. Thinking that just bone broth and easy to digest foods might be good at this point for healing?
Cutting out a whole food group (or in this case, more than one) is a dietitian’s worse nightmare. It not only makes it a really hard diet to follow, but also stresses the hell out of your body and makes it work a lot harder to keep up. In a US News & World Report’s review of 2018 diet, the ketogenic diet came in last place as a sustainable means to weight loss because of its restrictive nature.
The good news here is no! All the evidence points to the fact that a low carbohydrate diet actually does lower blood glucose and A1c levels and does contribute to weight loss. The problem is we do not yet have enough large studies, over enough sustained years to support evidence that people with diabetes can remain on a highly restrictive Ketogenic Diet for the rest of their life and also not have other consequences to their health.
Lazy keto diet: Last but not least, the Lazy keto diet often gets confused with dirty keto … but they’re different, as the “lazy” refers to simply not carefully tracking the fat and protein macros (or calories, for that matter). Meanwhile, the one aspect that remains strict? Not eating over 20 net carb grams per day. Some people find this version less intimidating to start with or end with … but I will caution that your results will be less impressive.
Dehydration. With fewer water-binding carbohydrates in the diet, the body is less able to hold onto fluids, which can lead to dehydration. Eating more salt can help offset this, but it can also raise blood pressure, creating a whole new set of issues. If you plan to follow a keto diet, hydration is key. To know how many ounces of fluid you need each day, Yancy recommends dividing your body weight in half. Then think of the resulting number as your daily fluid goal in ounces. So if you weigh 200 pounds, strive for 100 ounces of water a day.
Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is dangerous. But it’s usually limited to people with type 1 diabetes, striking when their glucose levels rise due to illness or a missed insulin dose. Without insulin, cells can’t take in glucose, so they burn fat for fuel instead, producing exceptionally high ketone levels—much higher than the amount generated by the keto diet. That, in combination with high blood glucose levels, essentially poisons the blood. “It’s very easy to tell the difference between nutritional ketosis, which has no negative symptoms [aside from ‘keto breath,’ which can smell like nail polish remover], and dietary ketoacidosis, which is an illness that requires hospitalization and causes lethargy, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, and lack of appetite,” says William Yancy, MD, program director at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina.
Studies are emerging that ketogenic diets (in conjunction with other treatments) can either reverse progressive brain disorders or help repair the damage. These include traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The Wahl’s Protocol also utilizes this benefit of the ketogenic diet to help repair neurological damage from multiple sclerosis.
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