After the depletion phase, your body will enter a survival mode where it starts to signal the liver to produce ketones from available dietary fat sources and body fat stores. These ketones will replace glycogen as the body’s fuel source in the absence of glycogen. The body will go back to burning glycogen for energy when you start eating carbs again.
Carbohydrates: Historically, a targeted keto diet consists of limiting carbohydrate intake to just 20–30 net grams per day. “Net carbs” is the amount of carbs remaining once dietary fiber is taken into account. Because fiber is indigestible once eaten, most people don’t count grams of fiber toward their daily carb allotment. In other words, total carbs – grams of fiber = net carbs. That’s the carb counts that matter most.
So my question to all of you is: why do most people trying to improve their health appear to not care at all about how their food choices impact the earth and the future of all our children? (Not to mention the horrific conditions that the great great majority of animals bred for food endure?) Is it because you have not been told or do not believe how bad it is (our society has many many who are in total denial about global warning, for instance), or is it because you truly don’t care?
Healthy fats are crucial on a ketogenic diet, but people who have been following the official dietary advice don’t know what healthy fats are. In short: all natural fats that you find in fish, meat, nuts, olives, coconut, and full-fat raw dairy products are healthy for diabetics. On the other hand, oxidized seed oils and the trans fats in margarine should be avoided. Learn more about good fats vs bad fats here.
Let’s talk about a keto side effect that may not be so sexy: constipation. “Many of the richest sources of fiber, like beans, fruit, and whole grains are restricted on the ketogenic diet,” says Clark. “As a result, ketogenic eaters miss out on the benefits of fiber-rich diet such as regular laxation and microbiome support. The microbiome has been implicated in everything from immune function to mental health.” Indeed, in a long-term study in the Journal of Pediatrics in April 2015, constipation was noted as a very common side effect in children receiving ketogenic diets for epilepsy treatment.
If you’re on a very high fat, very low carb diet – like a traditional Inuit diet – your brain will eventually be able to use fat-derived ketones for about 50-75% of its energy requirements. Most ketones are produced in the liver, but astrocytes in the brain also generate ketones themselves for use by neurons. You think we’d have that kind of set up in our brains if ketones weren’t useful to have around? If all we could do was burn glucose up there, what would be the point of even having localized ketone factories?
But wait, there’s one loophole. Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)? Then the keto diet may help regulate your periods. “Women with PCOS have high insulin levels, which cause sex hormone imbalances,” notes Yawitz. In a small study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, subjects with PCOS following a ketogenic diet for six months noted improvements in their menstrual cycles — and a small number of women became pregnant, overcoming previous infertility obstacles. “This study was very small, so we can’t make recommendations for all women with PCOS based on its findings,” says Yawitz. “And really, any diet that leads to weight loss should help in PCOS.”
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.
The keto diet also calls for an increased amount of fat intake. The diet suggests by cutting carb and increasing fat, the body will begin to burn the fat. However, when the body begins to burn fat, it also begins to burn the muscle tissue as well. For those participating in the diet who have a risk of heart disease or stoke, the fat increase could be put their lives at risk.
In summary, the LCKD had positive effects on body weight, waist measurement, serum triglycerides, and glycemic control in a cohort of 21 participants with type 2 diabetes. Most impressive is that improvement in hemoglobin A1c was observed despite a small sample size and short duration of follow-up, and this improvement in glycemic control occurred while diabetes medications were reduced substantially in many participants. Future research must further examine the optimal medication adjustments, particularly for diabetes and diuretic agents, in order to avoid possible complications of hypoglycemia and dehydration. Because the LCKD can be very effective at lowering blood glucose, patients on diabetes medication who use this diet should be under close medical supervision or capable of adjusting their medication.
In general, men tend to do better on a long term ketogenic diet than women do. From my own research and experimentation, women can follow a keto diet, but with some adaptions. Most women will do well with a cyclical ketogenic diet when they stay on ketogenic diet most of the time and eat starchy carbohydrates occasionally to spike calories and carbs.
Carbohydrate facts: Simple = bad, complex = good? Carbohydrates provide energy for the body, but the health benefits they offer depend on the type of carbs we consume. Complex carbs, found in brown rice, for example, contain more nutrients than simple carbs, such as white rice. Refined carbs, such as sugary drinks, are best avoided, as their nutritional value is low. Read now
“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.”
Examples include non-starchy fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, mushrooms, bell peppers, and berries. The trace minerals and vitamins found in grains can also be obtained at higher percentages in good-quality meats and dairy products. Moreover, compounds such as phytates and tannins in grains hinder the bioavailability of several minerals.13
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.
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.
And that’s the kicker -- most people “going keto,” may not actually be following a true ketogenic diet since it’s hard to know for sure if your body’s in ketosis. Mancella explains that the only formal and valid method of determining if your body is in ketosis is if there are ketone bodies being excreted in your urine. “There are strips for purchase at local drug stores that are available to determine this,” she says. “Otherwise, we’re not actually sure if we’re in ketosis, and we’re just following a ‘low carbohydrate’ diet.”
Carbs turn into glucose (aka sugar) in the body. Eating too many carbs causes your blood sugar to spike. When you switch from carbs to fat for energy, you stabilize your blood sugar. Keto can be particularly beneficial for diabetics, who have high blood glucose levels. The keto diet may even cure diabetes — many diabetics are able to come off their medication when switching to keto. Find out more about keto and blood sugar here.
If you’re wondering about the difference between ketosis and diabetic ketoacidosis, you’re not alone. “The word ketone is scary for most people with type 1 diabetes because they relate ketones to diabetic ketoacidosis,” says Patti Urbanski, MEd, RD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator with St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. “But with the ketogenic diet, we’re talking about a much lower level of ketones.”