While many of the problems that develop with prolonged ketosis may be addressed simply by minding intake of prebiotic fibers, not all are, such as selenium deficiency and stunted growth. (Note that the ideal intake of prebiotic fibers, the level we aim for in Wheat Belly and Undoctored programs, is 20 or more grams per day.) Some have argued that higher beta-hydroxybutyrate ketone levels that develop with a ketogenic diet is all you need to do to maintain healthy bowel flora, but this is a huge extrapolation that does not make sense in light of the newest insights into the microbiome and its metabolites. It ignores the role of hundreds of other microbial metabolites that are required and/or produced that are changed with prolonged deprivation of prebiotic fibers. Also, some have blamed the adverse long-term effects in kids on the seizure medications they take, but the side-effects of, say, drugs such as tegretol, valproic acid, or topiramate do not include the above phenomena.


Ketogenic diet for diabetics is a highly controversial topic, but we will break down everything here for you! As a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I have to tell you from the start I will have a biased view here. Sorry, but I feel that I need to be completely honest right up front! I will however, present all the evidence that is available currently on the subject.
Urine ketone data were missing in a median of 4 participants (range 0–8) at any given visit. The proportion of participants with a urine ketone reading greater than trace was 1 of 17 participants at baseline, 5 of 17 participants at week 2, and similar frequencies at subsequent visits until week 14 when 2 of 18 participants had readings greater than trace and week 16 when 2 of 21 participants had readings greater than trace. During the study, only 27 of 151 urine ketone measurements were greater than trace, with one participant accounting for all 7 occurrences of the highest urine ketone reading (large160).

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.
Second, the ketogenic diet suppresses insulin like growth factor (IGF-1). This molecule is associated with the formation and progression of cancerous cells. IGF-1 levels are increased when we eat more carbohydrates. Because the ketogenic diet is much lower in carbohydrates, scientists suspect that this suppresses IGF-1 production, slowing the formation of cancerous cells.
When your body goes into ketosis, it will start to produce by-products called ketones. This includes acetone—yes, the same chemical found in nail polish remover, which your body actually naturally makes on its own, according to a 2015 review of research. Because acetone is a smaller molecule, it tends to make its way into your lungs. You’ll eventually exhale them out, resulting in “keto breath.” Your mouth might also have a metallic taste, but it won’t last forever as you adjust to the diet. Just be diligent about brushing your teeth!
"On a ketogenic diet, your intake of fruits and vegetables is extremely limited, and we all know how important the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds in fruits and veggies are," says Libby Parker, R.D., a dietitian who specializes in treatment and prevention of eating disorders. It's true: There are a lot of healthy but high-carb foods you can't eat on the ketogenic diet. That's one of the reasons keto is usually pretty low in fiber, which isn't so great long-term. "Fiber is not only protective against many gastrointestinal cancers, it is also a big factor in fullness and weight loss," Parker explains. "Furthermore, constipation is very common on low-fiber diets like the keto diet." (That said, These Healthy, High-Fat Foods Can Help You Feel Full Longer.)

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.


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.
That makes a lot of sense. Keeping up insulin pathways when you aren’t eating carbs would be like keeping the lights on when it’s daytime outside — it’s a waste of energy. You aren’t using insulin on keto, so your body probably downregulates your insulin pathways. As a refresher, insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that tells your cells to absorb glucose to use as fuel. When you eat carbs, insulin production begins. In the absence of carbs, there’s less need for insulin.
There are a number of different causes of acne, and one may be related to diet and blood sugar. Eating a diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates can alter gut bacteria and cause more dramatic blood sugar fluctuations, both of which can have an influence on skin health. Therefore, by decreasing carb intake, it's not a surprise that a ketogenic diet could reduce some cases of acne.
One of the boldest claims about the keto diet is that it can help combat cancer by effectively "starving" cancer cells. It's a claim based on a phenomenon dubbed the "Warburg effect", which, in simple terms, describes how cancer cells are more reliant on sugar than healthy cells. So, the idea is that sticking to a low-carbohydrate diet will make it harder for cancer cells to thrive.
There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Most anyone can safely benefit from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Below, you’ll find a short list of the benefits you can receive from a ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive list, you can also read our in-depth article here >
My point here is that the warnings about the ketogenic principles are well taken and well documented. My concern is implications that this is a fad. I don’t use the word diet with my patients and I’m concerned that the principles behind the label and the real results that these readers have commented on might get minimized. I have found it best to encourage patients to read authors like: Stephen Phinney, Jeff Volek, Patricia Daly, and Charles Gant and the be partners with their doctors and check blood work as they move along. I am not for or against the article. If ketogenic principles offer people enduring, satisfying, and cohesive change then why not read about its potential and flexilbity?
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.

I have great respect for Harvard Medical School. I notice that they support their readers posting comments and I am most appreciative of the article and all the many thoughtful comments by the readers. The readers seem to have the most expertise here and I hope that the doctor who wrote the article will think long and hard about the comments by readers. After 35 years of clinical practice in mental health, I notice that all issues of emotion involve medical issues, nutrition, and the gut bacteria. I would say that these issues and all of the executive brain functions seem to improve with ketogenic principles. For those that apply it in a flexible and smart manner, it appears to improve every area of their lives. I strongly encourage the author of the article to take one class via The Institute for Functional Medicine. If he is open to more learning he can take more classes and get certified. I’m sure a fine doctor, he will be an even better doctor and personally healthier, if he gets more training. Are we all open to new learning(especially us healthcare providers)?


Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...
People With a History of Eating Disorders Going on a strict diet that eliminates food groups could trigger a relapse if you have a personal history of having an eating disorder. And while there’s a growing popularity in treating binge eating disorder (BED) with keto, experts strongly advise against it. Treatment of BED requires regular, adequate food intake without restriction, says Sumner Brooks, MPH, RDN, a certified eating disorder dietitian in Portland, Oregon.
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Lele Jaro has been on a ketogenic diet for over two years to help with her type 2 diabetes, and has successfully got off insulin. She’s been documenting her health journey on Instagram with keto-friendly food ideas, keto tips, and workout motivation. She’s lost over 80 pounds on her journey, and inspires others to try keto to improve their health. Connect with her on her YouTube channel or Facebook.

Unless you’ve already been eating a paleo or primal diet and are somewhat keto-adapted (burning ketones for fuel), it is a good idea “reset” the body in order to regain the metabolic flexibility to go into ketosis or even stay in ketosis despite eating some carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting is one efficient way to do this. During a water fast, ketosis can occur in days instead of weeks or months and often sustains for a while after the fast.

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I started on a strict keto diet one year ago, and it has been the easiest diet I have ever been on. I was prediabetic before the diet, and now am not. My triglycerides are lower ( in normal range) and my good cholesterol is high. I am at lower than normal risk for heart disease because of my cholesterol ratios. I was not overweight to start with, am not now….and have not changed my weight at all. So the good effects are due solely to the diet change and not weight loss, which the author implies throughout the article that it is the weight loss that causes the good effects….not so. I am a veterinarian and believe in good medicine. This diet makes sense biochemically for those with diabetes or prediabetes.
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.
And, it's important to recognize that both study teams acknowledge that as exciting as their findings seem, a large, randomized controlled trial is still needed to more closely assess a variety of components that may be contributing to the successes found in both studies before the findings can be recommended to anyone outside the study groups1,2  he says.
The fact that Keto-Acidosis is used as an argument against the safety of ketosis is really a grand revealer of just how ignorant and lazy some pundits are in attacking the diet.  I can’t help but cringe when I think that the logic displayed here might be as lazy as “well they both have ‘keto” as their root word, ketoacidosis must be the result of ketosis”.  Even more cringe worthy are the numerous cases of TRAINED MEDICAL DOCTORS advising against ketosis out of fear for ketoacidosis.  Com’on society, you can do better than that.
The keto diet involves a very high consumption of dietary fats, and very low carbohydrate consumption. Through these nutritional changes, the body reduces its use of glucose for fuel, and increasingly uses ketones (derived from fats). The diet was first used to control epileptic seizures, but there is growing body of research showing positive effects on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, inflammation1, and diabetes.

Reynolds, AN. "Comment on 'An Online Intervention Comparing a Very Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations Versus a Plate Method Diet in Overweight Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2018; 20(5):e180, May 2018. Available at: http://www.jmir.org/2018/5/e180/  Accessed May 4, 2018.

A second counterintuitive approach to healing the gut for children who are having a hard time gaining is to encourage a nice long ‘fast’ over night.  When the gut is less full, and the body can digest the food that’s in there completely and then it can repair an inflamed or leaky gut better.   If the gut is inflamed, food may be passing right through without being absorbed.  In addition, growth hormone raises during periods of fasting.
The truth is though, her reaction is part of the problem. “I can’t believe your numbers improved so drastically without taking the medication.” THAT is the main problem with our medical community. They have been taught, and most have bought into the lie, that everything is better with medication. Medication is the go to. That is why we have so many health issues in this country. Let’s eat a crappy diet because our government/medical community recommends it…and then when that diet leads to medical complications…let’s throw drugs/medication at it. Many, if not the majority, of the medical issues we have could be done away with if we actually ate as we should. But no…we want cake.
Author’s note: I want to stress again the importance of consulting with your doctor before you try ketogenic dieting. The more I study this area of science, the more I realize that every individual is extremely unique when it comes to health issues and there are a ton of reasons why you should NOT go full-on keto (especially if you are prone to kidney, heart, or gallbladder issues). That being said, for many people this form of eating is life changing, and the amount of scientific research supporting a ketogenic lifestyle is significantly increasing. Subscribe to my newsletter to stay posted when I publish new articles, and I’d appreciate any and all feedback/corrections on the content I’ve written above. Thanks! (Image credit)
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease A small study published in February 2013 in the journal Neurobiology of Aging found that older higher-risk adults on a keto diet experienced better memory functioning after just six weeks. (11) Some experts, like Richard Isaacson, MD, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork–Presbyterian in New York City, support low-carb diets for patients as one way to delay brain aging and possibly Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
The fact is, the stress that you will bring on yourself from constantly restricting every single thing you put in your mouth is far more detrimental to your health. Remember, moderation is the key! You can count your carbohydrates and follow a sensible low carbohydrate diet to control your blood glucose and your weight. Exercise will always be the key component to add that contributes to added weight loss.
Well… what are many people on a Keto diet trying to do? Lose weight right?  I would guess that prior to discovering the Keto diet many of these people were caught in the trap of low fat dieting.  This lead to months or years of low fat intake and consequentially low gallbladder activity.  The gallbladder wasn’t needed to digest fat and so it sat idle and stones were more likely to form.  Once they made the shift to a ketogenic lifestyle and their fat consumption increased upwards of 1000%, the gallbladder kicked into high gear.  If the previous period of low fat dieting had caused stone formation they are going to have to deal with flushing those stones out now while on a high fat Keto diet.

I must tell you when looking at this link they say the American Diabetes Association Guidelines call for 60-75 carbohydrates per meal and that is simply not true. The ADA has recommended since 2013 we use our best clinical judgement in recommending a low carbohydrate diet for people with diabetes, recognizing it needs to be individualized. 60-75 grams is the carbohydrate amount I would give to a very tall, large boned man or perhaps an active teen or young adult. I would never recommend that many carbohydrates for an average size man who was trying to lose weight; he would get 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15-30 grams for snacks. A women trying to lose weight would get 30-45 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15 grams for snacks.

But there is evidence that low-carb diets may increase metabolism, according to a paper published November 14 in BMJ. Researchers found that overweight adults who lowered carbohydrates and added more fat into their diets burned about 250 calories more each day than people on high-carb, low-fat diets. The study is impressive because it's the largest, most expensive, and controlled study of its kind.
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A ketogenic diet could be an interesting alternative to treat certain conditions, and may accelerate weight loss. But it is hard to follow and it can be heavy on red meat and other fatty, processed, and salty foods that are notoriously unhealthy. We also do not know much about its long-term effects, probably because it’s so hard to stick with that people can’t eat this way for a long time. It is also important to remember that “yo-yo diets” that lead to rapid weight loss fluctuation are associated with increased mortality. Instead of engaging in the next popular diet that would last only a few weeks to months (for most people that includes a ketogenic diet), try to embrace change that is sustainable over the long term. A balanced, unprocessed diet, rich in very colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and lots of water seems to have the best evidence for a long, healthier, vibrant life.

The good news is, it is not necessary to stay on a ketogenic diet at all times to reap this benefit. Our ancestors went through fast and feast cycles and the body is designed for flexibility. We may be able to reduce cancer risk, prolong life, improve brain function, and benefit from ketosis otherwise by being in ketosis or fasting a few days a week.
Glucose is stored in your liver and released as needed for energy. However, after carb intake has been extremely low for one to two days, these glucose stores become depleted. Your liver can make some glucose from amino acids in the protein you eat via a process known as gluconeogenesis, but not nearly enough to meet the needs of your brain, which requires a constant fuel supply.
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