The BMR is simply a number of calories we burn while our bodies are at rest and from eating and digesting food. Together they form what’s known as TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure. This is the keto calculator’s estimate for your total calories burned per day. If you use a heart rate monitor or third party software to monitor your calories, you can use the custom input in the activity level section for an even more accurate macro profile.

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Once the medical community acknowledged the keto diet’s effectiveness in reducing seizure episodes, they decided to look further and study its impact on neurological diseases in general. Neurological diseases share a common problem – a deficiency in energy production. Ketones provide that energy for normal brain cell metabolism, and may even be a more efficient   when the body is in starvation mode. When patients were put on the keto diet, the number of mitochondria (energy powerhouse) in brain cells increased. Ketones may also act as an antioxidant by inhibiting the formation of reactive oxidant species, which is why they may have promising effects in the treatment of certain cancers in conjunction with chemotherapy. 

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For example, if we told you to eat 50 total carbs rather than 20-30 grams of net carbs, you could be eating anywhere between 0 and 50 grams of net carbs. At 0 grams of net carbs, most people will get into ketosis within the first week and experience deeper levels of ketosis as the weeks progress. On the other hand, while eating 50 grams of net carbs per day, many people will struggle to get into ketosis and sustain higher ketone levels.
Both states are normal to the human body, although many people live without experiencing a state of ketosis. In traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles, people regularly cycled in and out of ketosis. Most of these cultures lacked consistent access to carbohydrates. In seasons where carbs were unavailable, or when food was very scarce, blood sugar levels would plummet.

Our dietary choices remain our most powerful ally in remaining healthy and combating disease. In Keto Diet, Dr. Josh Axe explores the emerging science that is converging around both the threat of carbohydrates and sugar as well as the powerfully salubrious benefits of a diet that augments our utilization of fat, and specifically ketones, to power our physiology. And beyond providing an in-depth exploration of this exciting science, Keto Diet provides the user-friendly tools that will allow every reader the chance to implement changes to regain and safeguard their health.
Hi, I think Keto is a great starting point. I am almost 60 years old and finally feel good, no fogginess or sluggishness. For the first time I have no hippy handles and my tummy is flatter – no bloating or puffiness and I feel more energetic. I have only been doing Keto for about 4 weeks. I am so happy with the results!! I will continue for another 8 weeks or so then I will add more foods back in BUT moderation is key. I will slowly up my healthy carbs and find what is good for me. Happy days everyone!!! =)

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Fortunately, I read your post before I watched your video. I am considering trying the Keto diet and am looking for honest, scientific, and wise counsel about it. Your research seems to be pretty thorough, though missing some facts, but still decent information. I feel like I can make an informed decision based on what I read, plus have a good direction for more research. However, after watching your juvenile and exaggerated video, based on the weirdest things (possibly ONE person actually eats) that “Keto Dieters eat,” I’m not sure what I think of your post. The video completely undermines your believability as a “dietician.” If someone told you they ate dog poop for breakfast, would you have tried that? Come on. Professionalism goes a long way. As a dietician, I would think you would be shooting for credibility. Aside from “seriously pissing off” your viewers, you killed your own voice of credibility.

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This diet is perfect for everyone, but it is not a one-size-fits-all kind of plan. You can’t simply add the foods to your cart go home and eat all you like. You have to know your goals, macros, and have a menu plan. Thankfully, we can help you with all of that. This list was created to give you a starting point, but only you know what will work for you. If you have insulin resistance, you should wait until you reach your goals to incorporate fruits. If you eat 50 grams of carbs a day and are in maintenance mode, you can eat more than the person who is in induction. Please be thoughtful when commenting, especially on other people’s questions or comments. We are all in a different place, and we should be helping each other succeed.

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I think you should take some of your own advice…you are being judgmental and thinking your diet will work for everyone. Look at the scientific facts; your body’s life blood is carbohydrates, the bread of life. Simple carbohydrates are what is killer to American society. Any diet that cuts out junk food like greasy potato chips and ice cream and cake will make you lose weight, not rocket science. Where do you think your body is getting fuel from? Muscle mass! It has to use that because you are depriving it of fuel! Why go on extreme diets when all you need to do is practice portion control and get up off the couch and walk around?
Another great keto flu cure is bone broth! This is also a great healer when you are actually sick with a cold or flu or just want something comforting. Instead of its high carb alternative chicken noodle soup or even worse, store bought chicken broth (which is typically loaded with MSG and other preservative junk), bone broth is a delicious way to alleviate your flu symptoms. Bone broth is a great way to hydrate & it is also packed with electrolytes, good for you sodium and potassium.
Been doing keto since Dec. 26, 2018. I started for weight loss but got a few bonuses so far. Haven’t had a hotflash since starting, sleep so much better, brain fog gone and more energy! I’m perimenopause. I researched a lot before starting…realized the SAD way of eating is horrible. Carbs and sugar are not necessary. Dr. Phinny and Dr. Volek have the science behind this on YouTube (videos). Quite eye opening.
I now eat healthy organic 8-10 cups of greens daily, small amounts of grass fed or organic protein and healthy fats and oils as recommended. My cravings disappeared within a few days of cutting out carbohydrates. My sugar intake was already very low. I do intermittent fasting daily without any hunger pangs. I am happily eating a main midday meal and then having a kale shake around 4pm. I am losing a healthy 1kg a week. This diet is a mood stabiliser because there are fewer insulin spikes. I do not snack and am loving the increased clarity of my mind.
I’m a Registered Dietitian, and I greatly appreciate your overview. I will admit, I felt the exact same as yourself, but I decided to research it further, and then go on it to test it, and I have to admit, it has changed my view of it completely. I believe as dietitians, instead of telling our clients it’s a fad, educate them on how to do it successfully as a lifestyle and not as a fad. I believe that is the key. I highly recommend “What the Fat” book written by both a Registered Dietitian and professor. Great job going into the science and research. https://whatthefatbook.com/product/what-the-fat/

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Thank you for creating this list! I have an article from Bodybuilding.com to advise how to prepare and be successful before giving up on this plan but the food list was quite short. My trainer suggested this eating plan for me so I found your list so I can go purchase the foods now. I believe I have my macro counts right to start so wish me luck! And thanks again for sharing this !! Rebecca
A systematic review of 26 short-term intervention trials (varying from 4-12 weeks) evaluated the appetites of overweight and obese individuals on either a very low calorie (~800 calories daily) or ketogenic diet (no calorie restriction but ≤50 gm carbohydrate daily) using a standardized and validated appetite scale. None of the studies compared the two diets with each other; rather, the participants’ appetites were compared at baseline before starting the diet and at the end. Despite losing a significant amount of weight on both diets, participants reported less hunger and a reduced desire to eat compared with baseline measures. The authors noted the lack of increased hunger despite extreme restrictions of both diets, which they theorized were due to changes in appetite hormones such as ghrelin and leptin, ketone bodies, and increased fat and protein intakes. The authors suggested further studies exploring a threshold of ketone levels needed to suppress appetite; in other words, can a higher amount of carbohydrate be eaten with a milder level of ketosis that might still produce a satiating effect? This could allow inclusion of healthful higher carbohydrate foods like whole grains, legumes, and fruit. [9]
Early research into the topic of starvation and low-carbohydrate dieting found that as few as 15 grams of carbohydrates per day can limit nitrogen loss in the body. And raising carbohydrate intake to 50 grams per day severely limits the need for the body to use amino acids for gluoconeogenesis (which is why I suggested setting daily carbs on the low-carb days of The Ultimate Diet 2.0 at 50 grams). This occurs via at least two mechanisms:
I do not think you are glad this diet was effective for this person. Your video recipe reviews are juvenile at best, and your overall review is extremely negative. My personal experience is wt loss of 60 lbs in 11 mos; three migraines in 11 mos vs minimum of three per month for over 53 years, and all I was trying to do by starting keto was delay type 2 genetic diabetes onset . I am no longer prediabetic and I have taken less sumatriptan in one year than I have historically taken in one month. I sincerely hope your review has not prevented one person from enjoying their life to the degree I have in the past 11 months as a direct result of the keto diet. Shame on you!
Hi Julie, thank you for stopping by. As someone who has been on this diet for over three years, I can tell you that eventually, you will be able to add more fruits into your diet. Remember that once you reach your goal weight you will be in maintenance mode and will have more food options. You may find that bananas cause you to crave sweets and may never eat them again, but I loved adding fruits back in my diet!

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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This was one of the most well researched and balances pieces on keto I’ve read. Nice work! However, your statement of “Carbohydrates make up the life blood of our body’s ability to function” is just not true. Carbs are not an essential nutrient. Since human bodies can convert fat to use as fuel, no amount of carbs are necessary. Also, the diet isn’t as restrictive as you make it out to be. I think that perception stems from the idea that everything we eat has to be amazing, delicious etc. Food is fuel, its health benefits should outweigh the temper tantrums of our tastebuds.
Disagree. I’ve been eating like this for ten months. I still enjoy carbs on the rare occasion but stick to a ketogenic diet most of the time. Ive lost 94lbs. I understand people lose weight in other ways but for me this worked. I eat 10x as many green vegetables as I ever have (at least 2 meals a day). My blood pressure dropped drastically in the first month. My cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar all normalized within the first 90 days. I don’t see any reason not to continue. I find this way of eating empowering and not restrictive. Before you call something a fad, because you obviously don’t fully understand this, you ought to read something from people other than the people you agree with. This is the problem I have with dieticians and most doctors. You don’t think for yourselves. You follow whatever the accepted guidelines are and spout them off without ever asking if they are right. It’s easier to stand with the crowd. I get that. But do not use your expertise as a means to criticize real progress. I would think as an expert your would be a proponent of what works! Have you ever been morbidly obese? Do you know what it is like to think your going to die from a heart attack at a young age? Do you know what it’s like to know your going to get type 2 if you can’t overcome your weight? Eating this way got me out of all of that and gave me my life back. Come down from the Ivory tower… Just maybe a little less judgement, a little more open minded

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Been doing keto since Dec. 26, 2018. I started for weight loss but got a few bonuses so far. Haven’t had a hotflash since starting, sleep so much better, brain fog gone and more energy! I’m perimenopause. I researched a lot before starting…realized the SAD way of eating is horrible. Carbs and sugar are not necessary. Dr. Phinny and Dr. Volek have the science behind this on YouTube (videos). Quite eye opening.

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Great post, Abbey!! Thank you for taking the time to write this and share it with us! This diet may work in some cases as you pointed out but i find it very dangerous, eventhouh i’m not a dietician. I tried it and i felt horrible. I felt depressed, constipated, pain in my right side which i think was my gallbladder. Couldn’t sleep, terrible breath. AWFUL!!
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Thank you SO much for your blog post. My niece went into Ketoacidosis recently and I compared it to what a former RN in my neighborhood has been doing & recommending to everyone (& they believe her because she used to be a nurse, but definitely NOT a Dietitian). Anyway, after reading, I learned they are completely different, however if a healthy person does test for ketones in their blood, what are acceptable levels? (This same nurse tests for ketone levels). I appreciate how much work you put into this write-up and honest feedback! (I work with 2 RDs who agree with you!)
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, for me, “unlimited amounts of protein and fat” does NOT work for me. I have to carefully restrict total daily calories and mix it “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 no-added-sugar seven-nut butter, walnuts, avocado and lots of water and soups, it helps me avoid constipation. I am feeling so much better without the weight, my sleep apnea is gone and edema in my legs is gone but I do have concerns about the saturated fat, my HDL/LDL and I do not like the “nail polish breath”. I have also read many articles on Keto and most are either “all in” or “no way” so I would like to thank you for the “balanced discussion” in this article. It must have taken lots of effort for a nutritionist to examine Keto in a balanced, objective style. Thanks again.

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All I know is that by cutting out foods like bread, that have arguably no nutritional value whatsoever, I’ve lost fat weight and have been able to retain (and grow) muscle through workouts. Not only that, but I am markedly stronger, and I don’t suffer any effects of malnutrition. I don’t want to be one of these people that despite eating a “balanced diet” simply gets fatter as they get older, because of how carbs screw up your insulin resistance levels and cause your body to store fat (particularly visceral fat in men) where it isn’t needed.
DEXA scans are proven to be the most accurate measurement of body fat. They’re commonly available at gyms and some doctor offices when requested. If you don’t have access to this, you can always go the old-fashioned route and use a good quality caliper. The last resort is using a guide to visually estimate – this can sometimes be a little bit inaccurate, so try to over estimate your body fat percentage.

Get Plenty of Sodium. This might sound counter to what you’ve been told before, but your body really needs sodium. It’s one of the ways that your cells transport nutrients in and out of cells. And when you stop eating processed grains and sugar, you often get much less sodium. So when you go keto, just be sure that you’re eating salt or sodium-rich foods. If not, you will often experience fatigue.

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When it comes to meat, there’s not much to avoid. You should always make sure to purchase meat with fat and void lean cuts, as this will not help you lose weight. Remember, fat is your friend. Fat is needed, so your body has fat to burn and not sugar. When you are on a low carb diet, you are not fueling your body with sugar, so make sure you eat plenty of fat. If you don’t have fat to burn, your body will start burning glucose (even if you have fat stores). Your body needs to know that it never has to worry about not having enough fat.

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And by pink salt I mean pink Himalayan mineral salt. I sprinkle this stuff on everything! On my food, in my water – you name it, pink salt is in it. Not only does it make my food taste AMAZING, but the benefits of pink salt are insane, especially when it comes to Keto flu. Pink Himalayan salt contains up to 84 different minerals, a fantastic source of magnesium (almost 80% of people are deficient in!), promotes a healthy PH balance, helps regulate blood sugar levels (this is huge for Keto and staying in ketosis), and helps regulate the body’s natural sleep cycle.

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It’s always good to go into the grocery store with a game plan so you don’t buy things you’ll regret later. I also like to keep things as simple as possible. Going through Pinterest, every recipe seems to have a bazillion ingredients, take hours & a culinary degree to make, or require random ingredients that are annoying to find and super expensive.
The aim is to find the level best suited for you. There are two ways to count carbs - you can either count total carbs or net carbs (net carbs are total carbs minus fibre). According to Volek and Phinney, you should not eat more than 50 grams of total carbs (25-30 grams of net carbs) on a ketogenic diet. If your aim is to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, eating 20-30 grams of net carbs (up to 50 grams of total carbs) is a great way to start. If you want to learn more about total vs net carbs, read this post.
There have been many attempts at studying the link between type 2 diabetes and the keto diet. In one study, a strict low-carbohydrate diet was administered in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. After 14 days of being on the diet, the glucose levels of participants normalized, their hemoglobin A1C decreased from 7.3% to 6.8% and insulin sensitivity improved by 75%. Some of this study’s limitations include the short duration, the small sample size and the weak control group. In another study, 84 obese patients with type 2 diabetes were randomized to either a low-carbohydrate keto diet or a low-glycemic reduced calorie diet. At the end of the study, both groups experienced improvements in glycemic control however the low carb keto group had greater improvements in hemoglobin A1c and higher HDL levels compared to the low-glycemic group. A more recent 2017 study in the journal of Nutrition and Diabetes found that a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet for 12 months led to greater reductions in HbA1c and body weight. These results suggest that low carbohydrate interventions may be effective at improving glucose control.
The reason that people gain weight after they have been on a diet is because they go back to eating carbs. Want to fatten up a cow before slaughter? Feed it grains. Everyone instinctively knows that eating grains makes you fatter, but we dutifully do what we are told. Until we become too sick following the kind of advice that you give and give up and go keto.
My husband has been on keto for 4 months since being diagnosed with Type II diabetes, and it seems to be working very well for his blood sugar issue, his levels have all improved drastically and he has lost so much weight I’m starting to worry about his liver. In the spirit of not making his life hell, I joined him on a modified version. My version still includes fruit and milk, I just gave up added sugars, liquor, and grain flour. Mostly. I definitely haven’t lost weight the same way he has, but I am slowly and steadily losing weight, and eating potatoes or apples doesn’t seem to change that. The biggest thing is that, for the ONLY time in all the many, many times I have tried to change my eating habits, I’m not STARVING. I don’t feel horribly deprived and ready to kill a man for a cookie.
I won’t comment on the diet itself but dietitians do not simply rely on guidelines handed to them, nor on anecdotal cases. This article refers to specific studies all throughout, some that support the diet and others that don’t. The goal of a dietitian is to help clients reach their optimal health while still enjoying a high quality of life. I’m sure Abbey is genuinely happy for those it has helped. That does not mean this diet is best for everyone regardless of their unique circumstances, goals and medical history. Sadly there is not enough high quality research that Keto promotes sustained weight loss in the general population. Maybe there will be in the near future, but right now it would be unethical to recommend such a restrictive diet to the broad audience of a blog. I am truly happy it has worked for some people and I wish them luck on their journey. Thank you Abbey for a great article!
I had high blood pressure, was going into atrial flutter, obese, tired, moody and hurting and miserable, I kept having allergic reactions to the medication for my blood pressure which enhanced the atrial flutter, my doctor and cardiologist suggested that I go off all medication and approach this by getting rid of the problem, being obese. I started with a lower fat version of a Keto diet (I needed the fat on my body to be used before the fat in my diet). I eat small amounts of fruit and about 2 lbs a day of veggies and I manage to stay under 30 g of carbs a day, which works for me. I lost 40 lbs in 10 weeks. Here is the clincher, every 2 weeks by blood work was done by my doctors and everything is improving drastically, also I was getting the bod pod completed every 2 months to check my body weight / fat percentage, and I am not losing muscle, I am losing fat. I noticed that it was mentioned that it is too hard to sustain this way of eating, but there is really only one choice for me..putting that crap in my mouth is just putting poison in my system and I don’t want that ever again. I eat better now that I have ever ate as I am eating real food. I know dietitians were taught and trained to help people lose weight, but like any industry things evolve and change and things progress, and one must be open minded that there are different approaches that work for different people, and that as a professional dietician, I would expect them to see that there is more than one option to help people. Some people do just fine on 100 g carbs a day and I don’t, as I was addicted to carbs / sugar and now I am free of those drugs and I am healthy and happy. Everyone keep an open mind and try adaptations that work for your body and situation.
Thank you for creating this list! I have an article from Bodybuilding.com to advise how to prepare and be successful before giving up on this plan but the food list was quite short. My trainer suggested this eating plan for me so I found your list so I can go purchase the foods now. I believe I have my macro counts right to start so wish me luck! And thanks again for sharing this !! Rebecca

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I also want to add that I absolutely agree with your verdict! As a type 1 diabetic who has experienced the sickening feeling of ketones’ presence, and known about the dangers of ketoacidosis since childhood, the concept of this diet for weight loss has always rubbed me the wrong way and struck me as a bit off (although I know ketosis is a different thing and is alright for the body, its extreme form is ketoacidosis, after all). I also have seen the diet, used for weight loss, cause dramatic results that then rebounded afterwards. I understand it is an incredible revelation in treating some epileptic individuals, and I see how it makes sense and can be helpful for type 2 diabetics or pre-diabetics. But as for a weight-management diet, like with everything else in life, I think we should strive balance. And enjoying summer peaches!

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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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DEXA scans are proven to be the most accurate measurement of body fat. They’re commonly available at gyms and some doctor offices when requested. If you don’t have access to this, you can always go the old-fashioned route and use a good quality caliper. The last resort is using a guide to visually estimate – this can sometimes be a little bit inaccurate, so try to over estimate your body fat percentage.
I achieved my goals without fasting, but fasting is growing to be one of the most healthy ways of eating that are available to a human. The fasting process initiates a lot of systems in the body that remain dormant in a regularly fed human. That, in conjunction with the presence of ketones (which encourage fat consumption for energy), make fasting during ketosis massively effective for both weightloss and a healthy body.
I tried the ketogenic diet and it really helped me even out my energy levels and I don’t grave sugar anymore. I had issues absorbing my B vitamins. I had high candida and l-acidophylis levels. I was also addicted to sugar. I started this 3 years ago, and since about a year ago, I’ve added fruit. Now I enjoy a little rice and potatoes as well. I even had a bite of chocolate cake and didn’t die. I started out at 112, lost 10 pounds within a month and have slowly gained most of it back. I am happy I did it, but I will be more confident to add more carbs, although it will mostly be in the form of more fruit and starchy veggies. Thanks for your article.

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The walking around part is not true in my experience, exercise alone will not help an obese person. I’ve been doing Keto and most things I’ve read have come true, I found this article to be unbiased. I will say this however, I agree I too have been eating many green veggies and the bad stuff I do use I use very little for flavor (like bacon) what I found that is utterly ridiculous on the part of the folks that did the diet rankings was saying Keto was unsustainable. The way I feel from being on Keto is insanely well. I want to keep eating this way! Unsustainable its the only diet I can do intermittent fasting on. I was type 2….

The volumes of knowledge on display here make this book a mainstay in the field of ketogenic dieting.  This also makes it a really great option for anyone who’s interested in this high-fat diet. While this book is a superb document for anyone looking to enjoy the keto diet, don’t be scared as there is nothing too crazy in here! One of the best keto cookbooks for anyone just starting out and looking to learn the ropes.

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