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Total carbs is not a precise indicator of the carb content of a food. When you see “total carbs” on a food label, the number beside it represents the cumulative total of grams of dietary fiber, sugar, and sugar alcohol that are in that food item or beverage. Net carb content, on the other hand, relates to the carb content of the food that is digested at four calories per gram and impacts your ketones levels.
The ketogenic diet has recently become very popular, and many food companies want to cash in by putting a “ketogenic” or “low carb” label on a new product. Be very cautious of special “keto” or “low-carb” products, such as pastas, chocolate bars, energy bars, protein powders, snack foods, cakes, cookies and other “low carb” or “ketogenic” treats. Read all labels carefully for natural low carb ingredients. The fewer ingredients the better.
A study of 89 obese adults who were placed on a two-phase diet regimen (6 months of a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and 6 months of a reintroduction phase on a normal calorie Mediterranean diet) showed a significant mean 10% weight loss with no weight regain at one year. The ketogenic diet provided about 980 calories with 12% carbohydrate, 36% protein, and 52% fat, while the Mediterranean diet provided about 1800 calories with 58% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 27% fat. Eighty-eight percent of the participants were compliant with the entire regimen. [12] It is noted that the ketogenic diet used in this study was lower in fat and slightly higher in carbohydrate and protein than the average ketogenic diet that provides 70% or greater calories from fat and less than 20% protein.

So for all the dangers you listed on this, my dietician prescribes this diet to everyone who comes into his office looking for weightloss, he has a stack of packets with standardized information regarding the specific diet. For what it’s worth, most of the side effects you listed, I did go through, although the sugar withdrawal was the worst, but after a couple weeks, that passed too. Now I’m on the same 1200 calorie, <20g carb, 0 sugar diet, and it feels VERY sustainable. The only thing I really miss is pizza, and even then, there are keto friendly chicken based crusts that really hit the spot. I guess one thing that sticks out to me is my doctor told me that the human body doesn't need any sugar to survive, and while he makes the distinction between simple and complex carbs, still cuts them out in a normal keto diet style (no potatoes, corn, most beans in larger quantities, etc). Should I be concerned about my doctor? He came as a referral and has a large track record of long term success with his patients.

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Thanks for the info. Still so CONFUUUUSSED. There is so much info on both sides that sounds perfectly logical (and I am a total sucker for a logical argument.) I remember the not so delicious food change when my parents needed to cut out salt and other stuff for high blood pressure and cholesterol which is now totally wrong. The food pyramid, which is now totally wrong. I’ve been on diets before – Weight Watchers – lost weight (very very very slowly) but felt like I was starving ALL THE TIME; Carb Limiting – lost nothing; No processed foods – lost nothing; Counting calories and food journals – seriously, if you have a job who has time for that; Keto – losing about 2 lbs a week, but think I’d rather just fast than eat this food combo so this is probably not sustainable for me. Isn’t there just a logical, healthy way of eating that requires no counting, no weird food, no avocados (well that’s just me – I think they’re gross), that does all that good stuff like no inflammation, good gut biome, etc. and I can lose weight without feeling so hungry?
While I do appreciate the amount of research that went into this article, I need to weigh in here— no pun intended. I am a 44 year old woman who suddenly and inexplicably gained a lot of weight at about age 20 and pretty much (albeit a few bouts of massive dieting and exercising) have remained fat until the age of 42. I had always been thin without having to give my lifestyle much thought before my sudden weight gain — so I have spent the last 20+ years becoming pretty proficient on learning how the body uses fuel. I have had success losing great amounts of weight a few times in my life — twice reducing my calories the “nutritional counseling” way — using the old school and outdated food pyramid and tons of exercise. It took literally having to spend hours and hours at the gym — being miserably hungry all the time — only to achieve slow progress at the scale. Months and months I would spent this way only to gain the weight right back the minute that I let go of the reins. I’m always hearing about “sustainable lifestyle changes” from you nutritionists— an I believe in daily exercise — but that lifestyle was completely unsustainable in the long term which is why so many people are unsuccessful.

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The only difficulty with some of these studies is that they tend to have small sample sizes, like this one that only has five cyclist participants and the data was largely skewed by the fact that only ONE cyclist experienced a large enhancement of exercise capacity after the keto diet. Their studies also tend to be short term. Back in 2014, Phinney and scientist Tim Noakes wrote an editorial that stated that in the past 31 years, there have only been a handful of studies measuring sports performance and low carb diets. Out of a total of 11, only 3 found exercise improvements.
Fats are an important staple of any keto diet. But it’s the quality of your dietary fat that matters.Saturated fats like coconut oil and grass-fed butter are excellent options for cooking. Oils like extra virgin oil are best reserved for unheated uses, like homemade salad dressings. Nuts and seeds make great snacks, or your can sprinkle them on salads and other veggie dishes. Just watch your nut intake. While they’re high in many healthy fats, some of them also contain a lot of carbs.

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Another thing we know about diets and weight loss is that the results are not easily maintained. I’ve written about this in depth with regards to the participants on the Biggest Loser. This was evident in a study  analyzing 31 long term studies on dieting, which found 2/3 of dieters put back the weight they lost. Other research has reported the failure rate may be as high as 95%. This isn’t specific to the keto diet but rather, any diet that is restrictive and unrealistic may be nearly impossible to sustain.
Jade, congratulations for your keto approach! I’ve had lots of sugar cravings & binging and keto was my solution for “cooling down” and getting back on track. I am also very careful with animal fat and I tend to get the fats from other sources – at least until further notice. I have also made a list of super-foods as I like to call them, vegetables high in micronutrients and low in carbs and also others high in fiber. I actually managed to search these foods in the USDA database and rank them from top to bottom, depending on the micronutrient. This way I know how to get the richest foods that are less calorie dense. I could say I’ve had some revelations along the way.

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The premise of the ketogenic diet for weight loss is that if you deprive the body of glucose—the main source of energy for all cells in the body, which is obtained by eating carbohydrate foods—an alternative fuel called ketones is produced from stored fat (thus, the term “keto”-genic). The brain demands the most glucose in a steady supply, about 120 grams daily, because it cannot store glucose. During fasting, or when very little carbohydrate is eaten, the body first pulls stored glucose from the liver and temporarily breaks down muscle to release glucose. If this continues for 3-4 days and stored glucose is fully depleted, blood levels of a hormone called insulin decrease, and the body begins to use fat as its primary fuel. The liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which can be used in the absence of glucose. [1]
Here’s why. All of these effects take time, but a reasonable explanation as to why the keto diet leads to rapid weight loss is due to the loss of water weight. One of the concerns with the keto diet is the loss of muscle mass and the depletion of glycogen stores. Glycogen, which stores our glucose, also stores water, so when stores are depleted, we flush out excess water. In other words, that rapid weight loss isn’t fat, it’s just water.
Today makes 3 months since I started Keto and I have lost 43 lbs. The way it works for me is by using a meal logging App and sticking to it daily and trying to reach the macronutrient goal percentages as closely as possible. In addition, I have found that “unlimited amounts of protein and fat” does NOT work, for me. Instead, I have to carefully restrict total daily calories and mix in “intermittent fasting” with lots of hydration to get the ketosis going. I also find that if I can eat low-carb high fiber greens like arugula, celery, non-peanut not-hydrogenated no-added-sugar seven-nut butter, walnuts, avocado and lots of water and soups, it helps me avoid constipation. The other benefit is that I have become a careful label reader and I am often surprised at how much sugar is added to packaged foods.
Bulk buy and cook. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this is the best of both worlds. Buying your food at bulk (specifically from wholesalers) can reduce the cost per pound tremendously. Plus, you can make ahead food (bulk cook chicken thighs for pre-made meat, or cook entire meals) that are used as leftovers, so you spend less time cooking.

Today I am sharing the ultimate Keto Food List with a Free Printable Keto Grocery List. These foods will be a massive part of your new LCHF (low carb high fat) lifestyle. Before you change the way you eat, you have to modify the way you look at food. Most of the foods we’ve been told are bad for us are good. Of course, many of the foods we’ve been told are good for us (or are better options) are bad. Make sure you understand the basics behind the keto diet before you begin. That’s the only way you will be successful in making this a lifestyle change, and not just another failed attempt at weight loss.


Slow cooking is also great for those who aren’t comfortable using a stove or an oven as slow cookers typically need minimal preparation and food is all prepared in one pot. This is also a great alternative to other books which typically rely on standard cooking infrastructure such as a stovetop. So, if you are a fan of the crockpot or simply looking to expand your ketogenic cooking repertoire, this is one of the best keto cookbooks you will find. 

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