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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.

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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]
Some shellfish like oysters and mussels contain some carbohydrates, so take that into consideration when eating out. The easiest thing to do is PLAN. Before you go out, find the restaurant’s menu and nutrition info if possible (if not just read the menu carefully and don’t be afraid to ask questions). This is just another reason to make sure you are using My Fitness Pal to calculate your meals, and if you have the app, you can add them while you wait for your food!

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Two years ago, LeBron James famously lost 25 pounds and upped his late-game endurance by cutting carbs and sugars from his diet. Tim Ferriss, the author of the Four-Hour self-improvement book series, followed a strict keto diet to cure his Lyme disease, and performs a long multi-day fast every four months as a means, he says, of pushing ketosis further and starving incipient pre-cancerous cells of sugar (more on that later). Last summer, Sami Inkinen, the ultrafit co-founder of real estate juggernaut Trulia, rowed with his wife from California to Hawaii in record time on a keto diet, to promote high-fat eating and raise awareness about the dangers of too much sugar. The Keto Diet, say its ardent supporters, is a natural way to literally reprogram your metabolism and transition to an upgraded operating system. You’ll ultimately feel better and perform better, and your body fat will plummet. 

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Excessive ketone bodies can produce a dangerously toxic level of acid in the blood, called ketoacidosis. During ketoacidosis, the kidneys begin to excrete ketone bodies along with body water in the urine, causing some fluid-related weight loss. Ketoacidosis most often occurs in individuals with type 1 diabetes because they do not produce insulin, a hormone that prevents the overproduction of ketones. However in a few rare cases, ketoacidosis has been reported to occur in nondiabetic individuals following a prolonged very low carbohydrate diet. [4,5]
I started Keto 100 days ago after seeing numerous family members losing a lot of weight and inches. They are getting good blood results from their doctors too. I did some research before I started and found many pro’s and con’s but decided the pro’s out weighed the con’s as long as my medical team approves. I have lost 22lbs but more important I’m down many percentage points in body fat (17.35% total now) during this time and have just received the most amazing blood work results I’ve had in years, I’m 60 years old. I told my nurse practictioner and my cardiologist how I’m eating and my N.P. said she doesn’t know enough about it but wants to know all I could tell her and my cardiologist said different diets work for different people but keep doing what I’m doing, they both just want to keep monitoring my progress with blood work and followups. I really feel the best I’ve been in a long while. When I reach a body fat percetage I’m comfortable with I might boost my carbs up to 50grams per day and decrease the fats a bit. My cardiologist says I don’t care what you eat on Friday night but the rest of the week be very mindful of your diet and blood work never lies. I can live with that.

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“Keto diets should only be used under clinical supervision and only for brief periods,” Francine Blinten, R.D., a certified clinical nutritionist and public health consultant in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, told Healthline. “They have worked successfully on some cancer patients in conjunction with chemotherapy to shrink tumors and to reduce seizures among people suffering from epilepsy.”
if this is true how did humans survive before agriculture? high carbohydrate foods simply didn’t exist in abundance before the agriculture age. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution where humans would hunt for their food, and in between hunting eat whatever berries grew nearby….going days at a time or even weeks without food our bodies HAD to evolve into a state where they could conserve and store it’s energy then supply us with that energy burst for when that deer wandered by. Ketones are that energy source. Glucose simply doesn’t last long enough for us to survive and still have the energy to hunt. A little over 10,000 years of agriculture cannot undo hundreds of thousands of years of evolution.
When you eat foods high in carbohydrates and fat, your body naturally produces glucose. Carbohydrates are the easiest thing for the body to process, and therefore it will use them first – resulting in the excess fats to be stored immediately. In turn, this causes weight gain and health problems that are associated with high fat, high carbohydrate diets (NOT keto).
A ketogenic state can change consciousness and elevate intuition, hence its place in spiritual work. It offers profound potential to shift one’s nervous system, and alleviate chronic anxiety, and is also used to bring balance in psychological disorders like autism. It is one way, but not the only way, to experience heightened clarity of the body’s wisdom.

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Noakes’s war on sugar goes back a generation, to when his father developed type-2 diabetes. Type-2 is a disease in which the body gradually loses its ability to regulate blood sugar through the production of the hormone insulin. It’s linked to genetics, but also to diet—particularly sugar and refined carbs—as well as obesity and inactivity. Diabetes experts estimate that the disease speeds up the aging process by roughly a third, damaging the body from the inside out. Too much blood sugar slowly destroys blood vessels, with results ranging from mild—early wrinkling of skin—to catastrophic: heart disease, blindness, stroke, amputations due to poor circulation, and even Alzheimer’s disease (more on that later).

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My Family went on Keto, it works for my son and his wife, but for me not so much. I was so sick for the 6 weeks I was on it, and when my heart started pounding several times a day – seriously thought I was having a heart attack, got weird rashes and my kidneys started hurting, I knew it was time to stop keto. I did loose 15lbs and have been able to still loose a few lbs on the low carb Mediterranean diet in the past 2 weeks, My son lost 25lbs and his wife lost 20lbs so far and they did not have the side effects I had.
Even at what I now refer to my ignorant age of 20 years old — before Atkins became a household word— I remember a nutritionist telling me how the body works, and then telling me I needed to eat carbs and I recall thinking “wait a minute — if my body needs to use the carbs I consume before it begins to dip into my stored fat— why on earth is she TELLING me to eat so many carbs?”

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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!)

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The 30-Day Ketogenic Cleanse offers a step-by-step guide to approaching what some may see as a lifestyle change. The day by day guide is highly informative as each day’s diet is broken into its constituent parts. This further informs readers as to how their day-to-day diet is working to nourish and improve their body. The book breaks down what it takes to go into a ketogenic state while staying healthy and enjoying truly delectable food. From our standpoint, this really is a great resource and truly one of the best keto cookbooks out there.

A useful addition is that of a grocery shopping guide. This is great if you’re unsure as to where to begin when you get to the market. The 30-day meal plan is structured to ensure that you and your family can maintain a monthly rigor to your eating while not getting bored of your food. If you need any additional help from this wonderful author, check out her YouTube channel. She’ll convince you that her book is definitely worth picking up! Definitely one the best keto cookbooks we have read.  

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Hi Hannah! Thanks for stopping by from PJ affiliates. Actually my information is correct. Trust me, I do make mistakes from time to time, but Keto is actually a low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet. You can have fruit on Keto. That’s the great thing about Keto as long as it fits your macros and won’t throw you out of ketosis you can eat a variety of foods and you should! Natural and clean foods are great sources of vitamins and minerals that your bodies need to thrive and survive and while it’s a great idea to go easy on foods that will cause insulin spikes when you first start Keto once you reach your goal weight and entire maintence mode you can add more and more fruits and veggies. What many people don’t understand is glycemic load and glycemic index and that’s something I plan to start talking about here very soon! We aren’t paleo believe me my family wishes we were! Thanks again for the visit and if you’re interested in learning more about how we do Keto keep stopping by!

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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

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I have found eating low-carb, high-fat to be easier than other diets because I feel satiated, and I have good energy and feel warm (I usually feel cold in the winter). I can also skip snacking because I don’t get “hangry”. I totally understand if it’s not for everyone; people are different with different genetic expressions, and their bodies will respond in different ways. But if you’re going to give it a try, it make take a couple of weeks before your body is adapted to burning fat instead of glucose. Make sure to get enough salt, and eat lots of vegetables (if you don’t like spinach salad, roasted cauliflower or fired mushrooms, this diet may not be for you).

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I give you points for not completely bashing the Keto diet but I have to ask you why do you think it is hard to follow? Do you tell vegans that their diet in unsustainable? I know for myself I can go to almost any restaurant and eat a keto meal the same could not be said with vegans. A properly balanced keto diet would require no vitamins or minerals (the reason for Keto “Flu”) the same can not be said for vegans, most vegans have major deficiencies and some vitamins like B12 are near impossible to obtain without supplements.

What carbs should I avoid


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.
The ketogenic diet has been shown to produce beneficial metabolic changes in the short-term. Along with weight loss, health parameters associated with carrying excess weight have improved, such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. [2,7] There is also growing interest in the use of low-carbohydrate diets, including the ketogenic diet, for type 2 diabetes. Several theories exist as to why the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss, though they have not been consistently shown in research: [2,8,9]
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With more than 125 recipes on offer in The Keto Diet: The Complete Guide to a High-Fat Diet by Leanne Vogel, you’ll be certain to have something interesting and delicious to eat every day of the week. This book does not only offer delicious meal options, there are also a number of meal options for those looking to transition into a keto diet or for those already on the plan. The high-fat options in this book are also paleo diet friendly. They avoid products which are highly refined or high in sugar.

With the high intake of fat, are we concerned about the high intake of cholesterol? YEP. A study using the keto diet as a form of treatment for epileptic seizures in children found that after 6 months of administering the diet, triglyceride levels increased, total cholesterol levels increased, and HDL and LDL increased. These results suggest that over time, a keto diet may lead to an increased risk of hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia. In the same ten-year study, 40% of patients developed hypertriglyceridemia and 29% of patients experienced hypercholesterolemia. So, if heart disease runs in your family, you may want to bow out now.


In the first week, many people report headaches, mental fogginess, dizziness, and aggravation. Most of the time, this is the result of your electrolytes being flushed out, as ketosis has a diuretic effect. Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep your sodium intake up.6One of the fathers of keto, Dr. Phinney, shows that electrolyte levels (especially sodium) can become unbalanced with low carb intake.
The ketogenic diet has been shown to produce beneficial metabolic changes in the short-term. Along with weight loss, health parameters associated with carrying excess weight have improved, such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. [2,7] There is also growing interest in the use of low-carbohydrate diets, including the ketogenic diet, for type 2 diabetes. Several theories exist as to why the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss, though they have not been consistently shown in research: [2,8,9]

The Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook by Amanda C. Hughes is a great little cookbook, with recipes broken down into categories by breakfast, drinks and smoothies, snacks, sides, desserts and by protein. If you like Wicked Stuffed, then this is the book for you! More often than not, ketogenic cookbooks can often be quite serious and somber. However, this is a fun and friendly look at how switching to the ketogenic diet can be healthy and wholesome. Definitely one of the best keto cookbooks around, and definitely one of our favorites.


I have never tried a keto diet (don’t like the idea myself) but I am what you could call moderately (or “liberal”) low carb. Around 125g max net per day, which as you likely know is half the RDA of 250g. I get most of the rest of my energy from protein and some for fat. The RDA of protein, around 50g, is only just enough to sustain muscle of a sedentary or low movement individual – and this is proven by the fact that a lot of people who hit the gym eat easily 2-3x the RDA of protein.
This way of eating is a lifestyle and it has never failed, because we are all the same. The only variations are peoples environments/ temperature and food availability. Of course if someone lives in Siberia they will not eat the same as someone who lives in Phillipines; and not everyone has access to the healthiest environment and the healthiest cleanest food.

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I am with you! I have been a WW member and been years without going outside of my suggested guidelines. I would lose weight, plateau, go on one of their plateau breaking diets for two weeks then have to go off and slowly gained weight again. I was teaching my body to live on less. I have been down as low as 800 kcal a day and not losing. Eat more fiber so you feel full was what I was told. Try eating 800 kcal, high fiber and see how balanced your diet is. I am eating between 1800 – 2000 kcal now and dropping 10 – 15 lbs a month on Keto. Long term diuretic user, I no longer have water retention. I am salting and using fat and I am off my blood pressure medicine. I am not hungry so I am wondering why is this not sustainable? I eat mostly carbs from vegetables, I eat a variety of meats, I eat a variety of vegetables, I feel great and my blood tests are better than they have been in 2 decades. I am starting to feel that the carb revolution is because we are told by the government what is good to eat. We all know that vegetables are good to eat but the government subsidizes corn, wheat and soy, not spinach, kale and cucumbers. Do your research, follow your hearts, do what works for you.
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!

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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