On a low-carb ketogenic diet, your largest dietary food source should be healthy fats. Make sure to choose fats from a variety of sources, including oil, butter, fish, nuts, and seeds. Your body needs the different nutrients each type supplies. No more low-fat or non-fat foods! Remember: Not all fat is bad. Healthy fats are non-hydrogenated, cold-pressed, and plant- or seed-based.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Wait, what?! How could a diet rich in meat, butter, and cheese do anything but increase the chances of a heart attack? Well, the tables might be turning in defense of fat. While it’s still unclear how the keto diet impacts heart health long-term, especially for those predisposed to heart disease, research has found that the keto diet may help improve triglyceride, HDL, and LDL levels, and improve overall cardiovascular risk factors. Pass the cheese, please!
And science is now catching up, this review paper on ketogenic diets   as a form of cancer therapy concluded: “Although the mechanism by which ketogenic diets demonstrate anticancer effects … has not been fully elucidated, preclinical results have demonstrated the safety and potential efficacy of using ketogenic diets.. improve responses in murine cancer models”

Another organ that plays an essential role in blood sugar regulation is the liver. It stores excess glucose as glycogen, and when glucose levels are low, glycogen is broken down to provide glucose [6]. This process is regulated by two hormones: insulin and glucagon. Insulin normally promotes glycogen synthesis and interferes with glucose release from the liver.
In order to reach true ketosis, you need to switch to a different metabolic state where you use body fat as a fuel source instead of glucose. Running out of glucose means nutritionally starving as far as your body is concerned, and ketosis is the response. While using excess adipose tissue is generally seen as a good thing, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In addition to breaking down fat cells, your body also breaks down muscle in the form of protein to create glucose. As a long-term side effect, this means that the keto diet eventually decreases lean body mass, which can make it harder to lose weight once the diet has ended.
You eat less than 50 grams of net carbs a day on keto. Cutting down on carbs increases your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol — it turns on anti-inflammatory pathways and protects your heart from disease. The keto diet also lowers blood triglycerides[12] — fat molecules in your bloodstream. High levels of blood triglycerides are linked to coronary heart disease.[13]
If you are pregnant or are nursing, you should not follow a Ketogenic diet. You will not receive enough of the recommended carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients necessary for yourself and your growing baby on this diet. Your obstetrician will recommend how many carbohydrates you should consume per meal and for snacks during each phase of your pregnancy. They will likely refer you to a Certified Diabetes Educator for nutritional counseling as well. Please check out The Diabetes Council’s FAQ’ About Gestational Diabetes for all your gestational diabetes related questions.

After your body enters this carb-deficient state, it begins burning fat to provide energy, and this burning of fat causes a release of ketones. Ketones are dense sources of energy that can stimulate critical parts of the body, such as the brain. By drastically shifting your diet from carbohydrate dependence to fat dependence, you can enjoy a number of impressive health benefits, in addition to weight loss.


Thank you for your wonderful comments Marcia. To share more about me personally with you all…I am not a completely non-diabetic Certified Diabetes Educator. I found out I had Prediabetes 15 years ago when I became a Diabetes Educator. I tested my own A1c and found it was 5.8%. The incredible news? There have been years when my A1c dropped to a normal level of 5.4%…out of the prediabetes range. My last A1c in May was 5.8%, so I still have Prediabetes 15 years later, but not diabetes, and without any medication, just the sensible diet I’ve discussed and exercise, so I really am living with this. I feel it everyday, I wonder what my A1c is going to be just like you every 6 months when I go to have it drawn.
This is ALL so confusing and overwhelming. I am not diabetic. I am trying to be proactive about it. I am borderline obese (by US standards) and obese (by Asian standards). I am 50 years old. I was addicted to fat and sugar (especially combined!) through my teens and twenties. I decided to get healthy in my 30s, so I became a Vegan (but an unhealthy/careless one, so my weight yo-yo’ed a lot in my 20s and 30s). In my 40’s I reintroduced animal products into my diet and a number of my health issues went away, but I am still fat. I am considering Keto/Carnivore, but I am concerned that I may just be falling prey to more extreme diets which could set me up for problems (e.g. diabetes) down the road. I guess I am what most would refer to as pre-diabetic (metabolic syndrome). Should I try keto or am I taking too much of a risk?
Some people have trouble with the concept of high-fat and a moderate amount of protein. I have to admit. It was hard for me to wrap my head around it at first. Now I have even given up artificial sugar substitutes and diet products of any kind. It's even hard for me to call this a diet. After researching this eating style, I've learned it's a way of life.
Two, exercise, perhaps our most reliable and potent booster of mitochondrial biogenesis in the brain, is downright nootropic. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which provides more oxygen and energy but also reduces free radical damage and enhances memory. It stimulates the creation of new neurons and the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a chemical that is instrumental in neuron preservation and formation. Exercise also promotes gene expression that supports plasticity, the brain’s crucial power to alter neural pathways.
Your glycogen stores can still be refilled while on a ketogenic diet. A keto diet is an excellent way to build muscle, but protein intake is crucial here. It’s suggested that if you are looking to gain mass, you should be taking in about 1.0 – 1.2g protein per lean pound of body mass. Putting muscle on may be slower on a ketogenic diet, but that’s because your total body fat is not increasing as much.5Note that in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, both endurance athletes and obese individuals see a physical performance for the first week of transition.
If you want to use a ketogenic diet as a health tool, it would be wise to do so for no more than a few weeks at a time, as nobody knows how long is too long. And, of course, the period of time during which ketosis is safe can vary from individual to individual. Breaking ketosis is as easy as upping protein intake or having a glass of wine or whole piece of fruit.

In order to transition and remain in this state, aiming for about 30–50 net grams is typically the recommended amount of total carbs to start with. This is considered a more moderate or flexible approach but can be less overwhelming to begin with. Once you’re more accustomed to “eating keto,” you can choose to lower carbs even more if you’d like (perhaps only from time to time), down to about 20 grams of net carbs daily. This is considered the standard, “strict” amount that many keto dieters aim to adhere to for best results, but remember that everyone is a bit different.


Ketogenesis has existed as long as humans have. If you eat a very low amount of carbohydrates, you starve your brain of glucose, its main fuel source. Your body still needs fuel to function, so it taps into your reserve of ketones, which are compounds the liver creates from fat when blood insulin is low. This process is known as ketosis: It’s like when a hybrid car runs out of gas and reverts to pure electricity.
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.”

Losing essential micronutrients is another concern raised by keto diet skeptics. People say eating a diet based on fat and protein from animal sources means losing those micronutrients found in higher-carb grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Some also claim low-carb diets contain too little fiber, and thus may cause long-term constipation. That’s inaccurate.
For the ketogenic eating plan, participants were instructed to reduce non-fiber-containing carbohydrates to between 20 and 50 grams a day, with no calorie restriction. The group following the plate method were told to eat their meals on a nine-inch plate, filling half of it with non-starchy vegetables (eg, greens, peppers, broccoli, carrots), ¼ of the plate with whole grains (eg, brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread) and adding lean protein (eg, skinless chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood) to the last quarter of the plate.1
This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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.
The average American eats entirely too much sodium, but on the keto diet, you may struggle to eat enough. “One main concern from a dietary standpoint is an increased risk of dehydration and hyponatremia (low blood sodium), especially when exercising intensely in hot environment,” Fisher says. Low levels of sodium in your body can lead to leg cramps, decreased energy, confusion, and even vomiting. “Add a pinch of salt to every meal,” Dr. Petre says. Sea salt is recommended, as it also provides some traces of minerals. Add a pinch to any one of these 10 keto recipes that are so good they’ll make you forget you’re on a diet.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if little carbohydrate remains in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures.[1] Around half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet.[2] Some evidence indicates that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective.[1] Potential side effects may include constipation, high cholesterol, growth slowing, acidosis, and kidney stones.[3]
Luiza Petre, MD, a board-certified cardiologist and weight management specialist in New York City, suggests focusing on eating more low-carb, fiber-rich foods that can help beat this bowel issue. “Try fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, and cabbage, consume more fat like MCT oil, coconut oil, or ghee, and, as always, drink plenty of water,” she says.
The ketogenic diet may seem like the Jekyll to the Hyde-like low-fat craze of the 1990s. The bulk of current research finds that the middle ground between the two extremes is more beneficial for overall health. Make it easy for yourself: Eat at least two servings a week of fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel) and cook with a variety of quality fats (olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil) throughout the week.

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.
He has been on keto diet for at least 3 years now. I think that he is some proof that yes, it does work. And it may be that some people do need keto. However, I don’t believe that everyone needs keto diet to get reversal. I have had reversal with regular ADA diet in my clinic. Not just a few! Many have reversed. However, I just want for keto dieters to find a clinical trial. We do need more information. We must understand what happens in the long term on keto diet. I personally did Atkins years ago, which was 20 grams. I had a very hard time to stay on it. I lost 20 pounds, and then I did gain it back. I just could not live without some more carbohydrates than this allowed. I don’t know about being on 60 to 70 carbs, and staying in ketosis. It seemed I was out of it at 22 carbs. Anyway, this was not for me. Maybe it is for you. No one is saying that one should never go on a keto diet, but we are wary of it. We need more science behind it. Therefore, I am just going to put this out here now. I will paste it down the page so that others may see it. They are taking participants. If you fit the criteria, please help us to get more than people’s opinion about this diet. Then we can be more positive about it, and recommend it if the science is there. Here is the link to the clinical trial. Thanks for your comments:

The Ketogenic Diet is a low carbohydrate diet, consisting initially of less than 20 carbohydrates per day. Not per meal, yes, you heard me correctly, per day. It is not for the faint of heart and yes I am writing from experience. Of course I have tried it! Hasn’t everybody in America at some point who has wanted to lose weight? Does it work you ask? Of course it does! The problem is how long can you keep it up?

After your body enters this carb-deficient state, it begins burning fat to provide energy, and this burning of fat causes a release of ketones. Ketones are dense sources of energy that can stimulate critical parts of the body, such as the brain. By drastically shifting your diet from carbohydrate dependence to fat dependence, you can enjoy a number of impressive health benefits, in addition to weight loss.
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?
Thankfully, a few keto variations have been developed that are a little more flexible, and easier to stick with long-term. The traditional or standard ketogenic diet puts your body into ketosis: In this metabolic state, you burn fat (rather than carbs) as your primary fuel source, and that promotes fat loss. On a modified keto diet, your body will go in an out of ketosis, but still shed weight and body fat. Check out the guide below to see how each of the four keto diet types work. 
Recently, four studies have re-examined the effect of carbohydrate restriction on type 2 diabetes. One outpatient study enrolled 54 participants with type 2 diabetes (out of 132 total participants) and found that hemoglobin A1c improved to a greater degree over one year with a low-carbohydrate diet compared with a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet [5,6]. Another study enrolled 8 men with type 2 diabetes in a 5-week crossover outpatient feeding study that tested similar diets [7]. The participants had greater improvement in glycohemoglobin while on the low-carbohydrate diet than when on a eucaloric low-fat diet. The third study was an inpatient feeding study in 10 participants with type 2 diabetes [8]. After only 14 days, hemoglobin A1c improved from 7.3% to 6.8%. In the fourth study, 16 participants with type 2 diabetes who followed a 20% carbohydrate diet had improvement of hemoglobin A1c from 8.0% to 6.6% over 24 weeks [9]. Only these latter three studies targeted glycemic control as a goal, and two of these were intensely-monitored efficacy studies in which all food was provided to participants for the duration of the study [7,8]. Three of the studies [6,8,9] mentioned that diabetic medications were adjusted but only one of them provided detailed information regarding these adjustments [9]. This information is critical for patients on medication for diabetes who initiate a low-carbohydrate diet because of the potential for adverse effects resulting from hypoglycemia.
I’m discouraged to see that nowhere in the article nor in the comments is there a mention of a diet’s best fit to genetics. Consider if someone is an APOE E2 carrier and/or has certain polymorphisms of the APO5 gene. These are quite rare in Okinawa but much more prevalent in the USA (12% of the population). According to a number of well-designed studies, these genetic characteristics point to a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet as beneficial and even a “moderate” carb diet as problematic.
Studies since shown that the accumulation of fat droplets, and not carbohydrate stores in the liver and muscle cells, contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. These droplets result from raising levels of saturated animal fats in the blood, like those found in chicken, beef, cheese, dairy and fish. One hit of saturated animal fat can start causing insulin resistance, inhibiting glucose uptake after just 160 minutes (11).

I’m 35 years old and in great health. I follow the low carb keto diet. I eat eggs, chicken is the only meat I eat half boneless skinless chicken breast, no red meat. I eat lots of veggies, Spinach, all types of lettuce yes even iceberg I enjoy it. I eat many types of leafy greens. I also eat zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, all types of onions, carrots, cabbage, avocado, lemon and limes and all types of non-starchy veggies. I also use fresh and dried herbs and spices. I don’t eat potatoes because too much carbs. I sometimes use cheese but no other dairy products. I try to avoid all grains. I don’t eat bread or wheat products. I don’t eat corn products either so no corn tortillas. I sometimes eat very small portions of brown rice or green lentil but never together and I probably only eat that few days a month so not very often. I avoid butter because it has high cholesterol. I use the following oils to cook: 1st choice virgin organic coconut oil. 2nd choice extra virgin olive oil and 3rd choice is peanut oil. I don’t deep fry anything. I don’t eat any sweet tasting fruits. I don’t eat or drink anything that taste sweet. I do drink mostly water and hot tea. Black and green teas made with water nothing added. If I make iced tea I’ll add some fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice. I eat 2 times a day. I have brunch around 10am, dinner at 6pm and then I don’t eat for 16 hours until the next day. I also eat small amounts of nuts and seeds. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts. I also eat raw sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Chia seeds, Ground flaxseeds. In the morning I usually make my usual brunch which consists of a 3 egg omelet with a 1 tablespoon Chai seeds, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds, handful of spinach, green onions, black pepper, salt, and some sriracha sauce. I eat it with some steamed broccoli and a side salad. For Dinner I will cook up a half boneless skinless chicken breast and make different meals with a good amount of fresh veggies. I don’t eat any type of processed foods or snacks. If I ever wanted a snack I usually eat some nuts and seeds and then drink some freshly brewed tea. I limit my daily carb intake to no more than 50grams per day mostly coming from veggies and some nuts and seeds. My daily calorie intake is about 1,000 – 1,200 a day from my (2) meals in total. I’m a thin person. Yes I follow a low carb and low calorie diet. My body creates ketones and burns fats instead of running on carbs. With low carb intake your body won’t have to deal with a large amount of insulin and Glycogen in the body and your body should function optimally. Hope this help somebody. Too many sick people in the United States due to poor eating habits and it doesn’t have to be this way hopefully this will improve someones health. Take my advice and try it! Eat right and live well. MAGA!
The beauty of The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet is that it's completely opposite of the majority of "lose-weight quick" weight loss scams. The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet focuses on FAT LOSS, not weight loss (the difference is explained in the Program Guide). You'll be eating anti-inflammatory foods that promote a healthy, a fast metabolism, and stimulates fat-burning hormones. You'll lose a lot of weight and inches in a short period of time and this time...you'll keep it off.
Technically speaking, you're in ketosis when your blood ketones are higher than 0.5 mmol/L, but the optimal level for fat-burning purposes is 1.5 to 3 mmol/L. Nisevich Bede says that seasoned keto dieters report that they can actually feel a difference in this state, citing that they're less hungry and experience mental clarity once they reach ketosis.
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