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/
I’ve had many people ask for a Keto Grocery List. At first, I was hesitant because I am a picky eater and tend to stick to the same foods over and over. I know that most people eat a larger variety of foods than I do. At the same time, when I was researching Keto Grocery Lists, so many seemed overwhelming and included many foods that even after almost a year of following a Keto Diet I have never used.
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I think lumping Keto diets in with other carb restriction diets is wrong. The reason (I’ve read) is that if you cut carbs somewhat, the body eventually responds by lowering the resting metabolic rate and you start gaining, but when you cut carbs to nothing (either in keto or fasting) the body keeps the metabolic rate high. It’s a survival mechanism, in a famine, we need energy to find food.
Ketogenic Diet is another excellent resource, focused on beginners and newcomers to the ketogenic diet. Written by Jeremy Stone, this book features 60 really simple recipes, that even the most modest chef can put together. With some basic knowledge of keto dieting, this book offers simple recipes which are easy to put together. More often than not, starting out what may seem like a highly restrictive diet can be very intimidating. However, this book looks to address those nerves.
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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.
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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?
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Having said that, there are also studies suggesting that long term carbohydrate restriction diets (aka. the keto diet) may result in fast short term weight loss but people gain it all back in the long term. An RCT put 63 individuals on a low-fat diet or a low carb diet, and the study found the low carb dieters lost more weight compared to the low fat group by month 3 and 6, but that the weight loss evened out by month 12. This was confirmed by a Meta-analysis which found that while low-carbers lost more weight than low-fat dieters but the differences disappeared by the one year mark.
The last book we’re looking at in this keto cookbook list is Simply Keto: A Practical Approach to Health & Weight Loss by Suzanne Ryan. What’s great about these recipes is that most of the recipes come from a personal place in Suzanne’s heart. This book details her transformation to the keto diet and how her body transformed as she lost over 100 pounds. This was solely due to the lifestyle choices she made as part of this transformation. The book offers a number of recipes which are ketogenic forward (more than 100). It also offers a number of supplementary additions. These additions include helpful tips and hints for those looking to kickstart their life in keto.
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A. When you first start a ketogenic diet, you may temporarily experience flu-like symptoms such as dizziness, brain fog, irritability, stomach trouble, insomnia, and more, as your body switches from burning glucose to burning fat. These symptoms can occur for a few days up to a few weeks and are a natural reaction that you’re encouraged to push through. You can alleviate symptoms by increasing hydration, electrolytes, and natural salt consumption. Get lots of rest and exercise gently. Lastly, consuming activated charcoal binds any toxins stored in the fat you’re shedding and can reduce nasty detox symptoms.
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The only time I wasn’t hungry was on ketosis. I ate meat, healthy fats, nuts, non carb-y veggies. Dropped the diabetes medicine, blood pressure med, and got rid of the brain fog. You didn’t mention the role of inflamation in cholesterol danger. I asked my doctor to test that instead of cholesterol, and when he saw the test results he said I did not need my cholesterol tested.
Cutting out a whole food group (or in this case, more than one) is a dietitian’s worse nightmare. It not only makes it a really hard diet to follow, but also stresses the hell out of your body and makes it work a lot harder to keep up. In a US News & World Report’s review of 2018 diet, the ketogenic diet came in last place as a sustainable means to weight loss because of its restrictive nature.
Reduced Risk of High Cholesterol and Triglycerides. (8) Many doctors originally thought that a diet high in fat might increase cholesterol and triglycerides. However, the opposite has turned out to be the case. Most people see a significant drop in their LDL and triglycerides when on a keto diet, although a small percentage of people do see the opposite effect.
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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This whole post must have taken so much effort and I think it’s incredible that you do this. The issue with these diets is that people hear about it, think it sounds good and do it. No questions! We are so lucky to have dietitians like you actually laying out all the research, the good, the bad, and everything in between about these diets, so THANK YOU!
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. 
A dirty keto diet also follows the standard keto diet but with disregard to the nutrient value or quality of the food consuming. For example, you could go to a fast food restaurant and order a bunless cheeseburger chased down with a diet soda and still be keto. This works if you’re traveling and really have no better options, but is not recommended in the long run because of a host of negative effects, such as the inflammation, cravings, increased blood pressure due to the high sodium, and bloating.
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First off, I will say the ketogenic diet is not for everyone for their individual health reasons. However, reading through many of the posts where it didn’t work for people I would be willing to bet 90% of the time there is an obvious reason and no offense to that person but maybe a little more research would have helped. Something as simple as consciously increasing salt intake, or taking a multi-vitamin to get the minerals you need could help. Everyone’s body is different and some people can’t eat as much cheese for example (like my wife), as others can. If you feel off, or just don’t feel right before abandoning the diet please look up your symptoms and see if there’s a simple fix. It can really be worth it.
I love prepping meat days in advance, so I don’t have to cook meat for every meal. Organic processed meats are quick and easy, but they also cost more than cooking, so it’s up to you. Also, be sure to save bacon grease for cooking other foods. I use bacon grease when I fry veggies (if I need extra fat) and chicken and it tastes great! Avoid sauces unless you are using low carb meat sauces or dips.
After increasing water intake and replacing electrolytes, it should relieve most all symptoms of Keto Flu. For an average person that is starting a ketogenic diet, eating 20-30g of net carbs a day, the entire adaptation process will take about 4-5 days. My advice is to cut your carbs to fewer than 15g to ensure that you are well on your way into ketosis within one week. If you are experiencing any more keto flu symptoms, double check your electrolyte intake and adjust.
Once you know what you will be eating on keto, you will probably be wondering how much of you should eat for each meal. Since meal size depends on the individual and his/her goals, we recommend using a calorie tracking app and our carb tracking guide to help you figure out the macronutrient content of your meals. As you track your macros, you will be able to figure out what adjusts you need to make to your diet to reach your goals.
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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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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.
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’ve lost lots of weight on the keto diet (over 100lbs) so the comment about the weight losses being water is just absurd. And I can sustain it quite easily as long as I have the right foods in the house – just like any dietary ha it you want to maintain. The Mediterranean diet was just ranked as the #1 diet, but I bet if there were Oreos in the house, I couldn’t maintain that diet either. The “low fat” diet that we’ve all been told is so good for us is not based on sound science. It’s based on the lipids theory from the 1930s and has since been denounced due to the researcher’s omittence of any data that didn’t fit his desired model. Also, the idea that somehow because you’re eliminating a macronutrient (carbs are not a food group), you’re also reducing food intake overall, and THAT’S the reason for weight loss, is utterly false. I eat WAY more on the keto diet than I ever did when I wasn’t paying attention. My brain, body, emotions, and weight all run better on ketones than they ever did on glycogen. I actually believe that ketosis is probably the way we were designed (or evolved) to operate. Think about it… agriculture (growing carbs for eating) is only something we’ve done in the last 10,000 years. Before that, we’d eat meat all fall, winter, spring, and early summer, then gorge ourselves on carbs in the late summer to store up fat, and then do it all over again in the fall. Just because we have access to an abundance of carbs doesn’t mean that’s how we are meant to live. And for hose who think that only eating meat is horribly bad for you, look at the Inuits, the aborigines, and other people groups around the world, who until the west interrupted with colonization and exploration, loved solely on high fat animal products. And guess what, they were healthier before we showed them how easy and tasty bread was.
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So where did the ketogenic diet come from? Interestingly enough, this fad diet didn’t spark from a celebrity endorsement or some guy missing a medical license. There’s evidence of the keto diet being used back in the early 1920s to treat severe childhood epilepsy and it’s still being used today for that purpose. Research suggests that the production of ketones may influence neurotransmitter activity in neurons allowing for a reduction in seizure attacks. A recent Cochrane Review demonstrated a 30-40% reduction in seizures compared with non-keto diet controls. One thing to keep in mind, however (which is a theme when discussing the keto diet) is that it’s generally difficult to adhere to and difficult to tolerate for a lot of people. In other words, people go on it and then come off it pretty damn quick.
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2 days from grains my stomach bloat was gone and I knew at that point everything this article and American diet was a lie. I’ve been on keto for over 16 months. Down 50lbs. In 6 months. I am ripped. Haven’t lost any muscle mass. I eat greens protein and healthy fat. I whole juice to get macros and yes I add watermelon or berries fo palatability purposes. I still eat carbs just healthy choices. I’ve become carb tolerant.. your liver will produce all glucose without ever eating 1 carb. This is biased and poor representation of keto lifestyle. When your starving and no carbs to choke keto will still thrive on either or fuel.
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.