In 2014 — for the first time — I discovered a low carb diet called Ideal Protein. It’s different from Keto in that you also keep a low fat intake as well. I can’t speak for Keto as I’ve not done it personally, but I lost 80 pounds on Ideal Protein in 5 months. It fit into my life as a busy mom and returning college student because I didn’t have to spend hours at the gym. I just ate low carb and moderate protein.
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.

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!)
I’ve just spent two weeks on keto, joined a very popular Facebook group in the process and thought I’d finally found the answer! I feel like crap! I’ve lost 8 lbs. but am so bloated and constipated as well. The more I read the postings in the group, the more freaked out I became, guzzling pickle juice and drinking salt water to balance electrolytes, everything slathered in cheese and fat and heavy cream. The baking recipes are garbage! These people must be terrible cooks to begin with because the waffles and pancakes they are raving over taste like garbage, a waste of time and ingredients. They dole out advice on vitamin and mineral supplementation as if they are doctors. Very scary. My jaw dropped open at the posting about hair loss, and everyone saying oh don’t worry, it eventually goes away. So here I am, Monday morning of a brand new week trying to formulate a plan that will work for me. I think for many of us, we are so desperate to lose weight that it’s easy to get caught up into these diet plans.
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.
I’m very glad I found a common sense expert to help sort through some of this Keto fog. I watched “The Magic Pill” which got me curious about a few things. Does their argument that eating Keto is the way to go because our ancestors ate this way and were healthy have any validity? The Paleo diet seems to use this argument too but Paleo is not Keto – or so I read.

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.

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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!
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.

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If you haven’t already jumped on the keto diet bandwagon, I’ll give you a brief introduction. Basically, the ketogenic diet is a super high in fat (65-75% of your diet is fat), a super low carbohydrate (<5% of your diet) and moderate in protein (15-20% of your diet). Surely, not the most balanced of diets considering Health Canada   your diet should contain 10-35% of protein, 45-65% of carbohydrate and 20-35% of fat. So how to you meet that skewed macronutrient distribution? Well, you load up on keto diet staples like meat, fish, butter eggs, cheese, heavy cream, oils, nuts, avocados, seeds and low carb green vegetables. And you cut out all your go-to carb sources like grains, rice, beans, potatoes, sweets, milk, cereals, and fruits. These kinds of restrictive diets tend to make nutrition professionals like dietitians run for the hills but I’m going to give it my honest unbiased account.

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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.

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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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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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As you walk around the store, stick to the outer edges. The outer aisles have the freshest food. Think about your neighborhood grocery store. Most often the deli, the meat counter, and the produce section are all along the sides of the store with the packaged items in the aisles. Once you add more carbohydrate grams to your daily limit, you can start to experiment with low-carb packaged foods.


When you consider what excessive consumption of carbohydrates (and I do consider the RDA of 250g excessive) do to the human body I find it kind of sad that nutritionists still by and large pedal carbs as a hugely necessary forerunner to being a functioning human. The sugar industry pedalled the “fat is bad” lie for decades and the introduction of low fat foods duped millions of people into becoming obese. A lot of people still don’t get, for instance, the difference between blood cholesterol and dietary cholesterol.
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.
Don’t be afraid of a banana. Do be afraid of going over your carbs and calories. The same person that will write a hate comment about banans not being keto will sit and eat 10 handfuls of nuts. Guess what, just because you think nuts are a “keto food” you are eating waaaaaayyyyy more calories than you need and you will not lose weight. Keto is not a miracle diet. The laws of science still apply. 

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Such a thorough article. Thank you! I have a friend who swears by the KETO diet. However, I’m of the same thinking as you are, that cutting out or eating next to nil of any food group, is not what God meant. Discipline in portion size, and perhaps not combining certain food groups (proteins with heavy carbs is a not best for our digestive system), but both can be eaten when not combined, hence no cutting out of any food group. Thanks again!
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.

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