One of the latest trends in weight-loss diets, the ketogenic or “keto” diet is so effective for some of its devotees that it may be here to stay. So, what exactly is this diet that you’ve heard so much — or so little — about? Simply put, a keto diet drastically reduces the amount of carbs you eat and increases the amount of healthy fats you consume. A percentage of protein is allowed. This is supposed to put your body in the metabolic state of “ketosis” where it burns fat instead of carbs. Sounds simple enough until you try to eat that way 24/7!
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.

Is it good for your body to be in ketosis


Strict dietary restriction means we may be missing out on crucial vitamins and minerals. With the keto diet, major minerals that are missed include sodium, potassium and chloride which is why they are typically supplemented with a table salt tablet. Other vitamins that might be missed out on include vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc. The lack of vitamin D and calcium puts keto dieters at risk for reduced bone health and increased risk for fractures and long term bone diseases.
Abbey, I appreciate the article, it’s helped me come to a decision on KETO. I’ve been on KETO for over 3 months, I’m a woman of 55 and post menopausal with a good 40 lbs of fat to lose. I work out 3-5 per week at an intense level doing cardio, HIIT and weight training and I have NOT lost any weight (ok, a single pound). I am in Ketosis most of the time (testing often) and I’ve been eating 1,200 to 1,300 cals per day. My carb intake around 15-20 grams per day, Fat around 90 grams and protein was about 45 grams until I increased it after learning I had lost muscle mass confirmed on a SECA scale.

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First of all, don't weigh yourself more than once a week. There are natural fluctuations related to water retention and hormonal balance. If you are a woman, you will notice these fluctuations more often. If you see no movement on the scales or even if your weight goes up, it doesn't mean you are not losing fat. If you exercise, you may even see a little increase in weight, as muscles are heavier than fat. The important thing here is to concentrate on losing body fat. Don’t rely just on scales, use body tape, calipers, belts or clothes to see any changes.

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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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Following a very high-fat diet may be challenging to maintain. Possible symptoms of extreme carbohydrate restriction that may last days to weeks include hunger, fatigue, low mood, irritability, constipation, headaches, and brain “fog.” Though these uncomfortable feelings may subside, staying satisfied with the limited variety of foods available and being restricted from otherwise enjoyable foods like a crunchy apple or creamy sweet potato may present new challenges.

A huge concern with the keto diet is the maintenance and potential loss of muscle mass. Many people will just think: hey, dummy, then just eat more protein. However, some research has shown that even if your protein intake remains constant, a low carb diet may promote muscle loss. A study from the Netherlands confirmed these findings. In the study, participants were given three diets (high carb, moderate carb, low carb) and moderate protein. The study found that those following a low carb diet experienced increased muscle breakdown. This is because when we eat carbohydrates, we produce insulin which promotes muscle growth. This is why athletes depend on carbohydrates (along with protein) to fuel their performance. When we eat carbs, the insulin release “unlocks” our muscles to let the protein in so it can do its job at building our muscles. So, when we skip the carbs all together, muscle glycogen stores get depleted, we lose out on those muscle building opportunities. Forget about high intensity training. A depleted glycogen store also means our workouts will suffer because we just don’t have enough oil left in the tank. This was a again suggested in the recent review looking at many ketogenic studies. The studies found that there was greater lean body mass loss in the ketogenic groups compared to the other diets being studied. 

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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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Truly Dr. Colbert is also a reputable source for more thorough science and modification of previous Keto extremes. The statements about Keto diets with dairy everyday are not true…I am a 66 year old professional (University trained) and have found medical people often very unknowledgable or partially knowledgeable which may be worse. I ask you Abbey to dig deeper…meet Dr. Colbert-not a quack and more in depth than your overview. Personally I am finding switch to more green’s and low glycemic vegetables and fruits with healthy fats, occasional dairy and healthy protein; a way of life that is helping our whole family. Please watch The Magic Pill…the help for family’s caught in old thinking from poor science (ie. Alex Keys) and with autism etc. and so much modern disease is in itself, motivation to search out more truth.

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With that in mind, I created a basic Keto Grocery List as a helpful resource. My goal is to make following a Keto Diet simple. It isn’t necessary to purchase every food item on this list. Consider it a helpful guide when you are at the grocery store. Instead of going out and buying all the foods on this list for the sake of stocking your pantry, I would suggest creating a keto meal plan first. Then, shop weekly for those foods that you need so that you build your keto pantry as needed.
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.
I am Keto proponent. I have been through muscle cramps when missing greens while riding my bike for 100 km in 5.5 hours (and I am going on 64!) Getting kale and spinach and parsley is a must, getting the fruit whole is a must. Consumption of “good” fats like coco, olive, avocado oils definitely does not hurt. Consumption of meat – and of organs, yes, organs – is very important. And finally, monitoring the body reaction and measuring ketones and glucose helps; I am doing observations regularly. What about G=4.2 and K=.3 in the morning? It is not ketogenic state per se, but in the morning my muscles do not need much fuel, and my frontal cortex and red blood cells need only minimum glucose. What about G=5.4 and K=3.6 in the third hour of bike ride, with acetone in the breath high and ketone disposal in urine very low? What about post-exercise levels of G=4.4 and K=1.2, with almost no acetone in breath and urine levels going sky-high because the body needs not ketones any more?

Anyways, I am feeling so much better without the weight, my sleep apnea is gone, my blood glucose is lower and the 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”. Once I reach my goal, I plan to transition to more of a Mediterranean style diet but still with logging and I hope to be able to keep the weight off.

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