^ Hochachka PW, Storey KB (February 1975). "Metabolic consequences of diving in animals and man". Science. 187 (4177): 613–21. Bibcode:1975Sci...187..613H. doi:10.1126/science.163485. PMID 163485. In the terminal stages of prolonged diving, however, even these organs must tolerate anoxia for surprisingly long times, and they typically store unusually large amounts of glycogen for this purpose.

A systematic review in 2018 looked at 16 studies on the ketogenic diet in adults. It concluded that the treatment was becoming more popular for that group of patients, that the efficacy in adults was similar to children, the side effects relatively mild. However, many patients gave up with the diet, for various reasons, and the quality of evidence inferior to studies on children. Health issues include high levels of low-density lipoprotein, high total cholesterol, and weight loss.[24]
I asked James Fell if he had some practical advice on sustainable dieting. “When it comes to weight loss,” he said, “the only thing that matters is caloric deficit. However, quality of diet affects quantity. A higher quality diet is more likely to be one that allows you to eat a lower quantity of calories and still be satisfied. That being said, there are many different ways to find a high-quality diet.”

On the ketogenic diet I feel very shaky/anxious from when I wake up til about noon. Eating doesn’t really help. It could be electrolyte related but seems possibly more related to excess cortisol/adrenaline as noon is also when I start to crash and get tired on a more normal diet, and because those 3 am awakenings that worsen simultaneously in ketosis seem to also have to do with HPA axis stuff. Does this side effect potentially also have to do with my fasting blood sugar being elevated?

“Certainly, the quality of fat counts,” says Yawitz. “There’s a big difference nutritionally between bacon and almonds. As much as possible, people set on the keto diet should emphasize plant-based, unsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado, which have even been shown to protect the heart.” If you have high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease, you should speak with your doctor before beginning the keto diet. This is because the diet may — but doesn't have to — include large amounts of saturated fat. Some studies have shown increases in cholesterol and triglycerides in people following the diet, while other research reveals that the keto diet may actually decrease heart disease risk as well as saturated fat intake.
And for everyone else, your desire to get slim and toned isn’t going to hold up -- it’s going to hurt you. If or when you get to the body that you believed you desperately desired you’re probably still not going to be answering “why?” with “I want to have a healthy relationship with food” or “I want to be healthy.” Your answer is going to be “I am restricting my eating because I think a certain weight or aesthetic is going to make me happy,” and when that weight doesn’t make you happy (because life is filled with highs and lows that physical attraction cannot control) you’re going to break and return to your previous relationship with food, only then the cravings will be twice as vicious because you have deprived yourself, and because you are ashamed.
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.
I tried a lot of shit to get thin. I used to eat exactly seven almonds to stave off hunger before bed. I finished my last meal at 4pm and my breakfast at noon. I passed on croutons. I worshipped fitness influencers so much that my ex photoshopped a photo of Tim Ferriss and I cooking together. I swore by kettlebelling. I peed on test strips at the drug test clinic I worked at to measure my ketone levels. I put MCT oil and butter in my coffee and avoided bread for nearly three years. I thought about making an Instagram of myself dumbbell lunging on a weight bench with the reps in the description. To some people, I was #goals.

Keep up electrolytes. The major electrolytes in our bodies are sodium, potassium and magnesium. Because a low carb diet (especially a keto diet!) reduces the amount of water you store, this can flush out electrolytes and make you feel sick (called “keto flu”). This is temporary, but you can avoid or eliminate it by salting your food liberally, drinking broth (especially bone broth), and eating pickled vegetables. Some people also choose to take supplements for electrolytes, but it’s best to first consult a doctor that understands and supports keto/low carb lifestyles.

1. If a set number ketones in the blood is an indicator that my body has transitioned to ketosis and not necessarily the cause (the cause being limited access to glycogen because of limited carb intake) then how does using exogenous ketones put me in ketosis as opposed to mimic being in ketosis (because when measuring blood ketones suddenly there are more because I put them there, I didn’t create them)?
This answer made me sad. Having lived in New York all of my life, I from a young age saw loved ones fall victim to spontaneous gluten intolerance and restaurants run to their rescue with accommodating menus.  This is why I get annoyed. What’s a dietary prescription for someone who wants to go to a dinner party and be able to eat a meal that was prepared for them? Keto is cultish not for its members’ radical commitment to a dietary restriction but for their lack of full participation in the outside world.
Awesome info. I’ve been LCHF moderate protein (about 1 g per lean lbs/mass) and 50-100g of carbs for about a year. I’d consume around 2500 cals. I’m active 4-5 days a week (60-90 min cycling sessions) I started using MCT/Butter coffee. It surpressd my appetite and I would only eat whole food at lunch/dinner…still LCHF, but since my appetite was lower I was only takin in about 1800 cals. After about 2 weeks I started to gain body fat. Do you think the reduced caloric intake is the culprit? Should I “force” myself to eat…maybe up the MCT intake to make up the difference?
There’s also some evidence that it might help with type 2 diabetes. “An emerging body of research is finding that a keto plan may have some real benefits thanks to its ability to improve the body’s ability to use insulin and also help control appetite, which can result in easier weight loss,” says Karen Ansel, R.D.N., co-author of Healthy in a Hurry.
Variations on the Johns Hopkins protocol are common. The initiation can be performed using outpatient clinics rather than requiring a stay in hospital. Often, no initial fast is used (fasting increases the risk of acidosis, hypoglycaemia, and weight loss). Rather than increasing meal sizes over the three-day initiation, some institutions maintain meal size, but alter the ketogenic ratio from 2:1 to 4:1.[9]
To get the most benefit from the Keto diet, you should stay physically active. You might need to take it easier during the early ketosis period, especially if you feel fatigued or lightheaded. Walking, running, doing aerobics, weightlifting, training with kettlebells or whatever workout you prefer will boost your energy further. You can find books and online resources on how to adapt Keto meals or snacks for athletic training.

So which MCT to pick? Brain Octane (pure C8) provides the fastest rise in ketones and burns the cleanest, with minimal gut irritation. XCT oil is more affordable but works more slowly with less direct cognitive effects. The capric acid C10 in XCT Oil doesn’t break down into ketones as quickly as pure caprylic C8, but capric acid C10 is more affordable, so you can save money by going with the XCT oil. XCT oil still goes to brain energy, just not as quickly as Brain Octane. Both can be used for energy without processing by the liver, unlike many other fats and oils.
Hi Ben, I have a question about being in ketosis. So from what I understand, a serving of Keto os will keep you in ketosis for about 4-6 hours or so……my question is doesn’t your body have to be in constant ketosis in order to really experience the benefits of using the fat as fuel? Also, if someone is not following the Keto diet, what happens to the glucose they are still consuming if they are supposedly using ketones for energy? Also, do you see any benefit from using Keto os vs. Brain Octane? I ask because there is a significant difference in price. Thank you so much!!
But people who started following the keto diet noticed weight loss for a few reasons: When you eat carbs, your body retains fluid in order to store carbs for energy (you know, in case it needs it). But when you’re not having much in the carb department, you lose this water weight, says Warren. Also, it's easy to go overboard on carbohydrates—but if you're loading up on fat, it may help curb cravings since it keeps you satisfied.
Whether ketosis is taking place can be checked by using special urine test strips such as Ketostix. The strips have a small pad on the end, which the user dips in a fresh urine specimen. Within seconds, the strip changes color to indicate the level of acetoacetate ketone bodies, which reflects the degree of ketonuria, which, in turn, gives a rough estimate of the level of hyperketonemia in the body (see table below). Alternatively, some products targeted to diabetics such as the Abbott Precision Xtra or the Nova Max can be used to take a blood sample and measure the β-hydroxybutyrate ketone levels directly. Normal serum reference ranges for ketone bodies are 0.5–3.0 mg/dL, equivalent to 0.05–0.29 mmol/L.[29]
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.
You’re very welcome, Judy! I’m glad it’s helpful. If you are keto (as opposed to low carb), unfortunately peaches would not allow you to stay in ketosis. You can check my keto food list to help determine what is keto friendly. Of course, there are worse things than fresh fruit 🙂 but in the end our bodies still see the sugar. That being said, it doesn’t mean you sabotaged the whole day. Just pick up again – you got this!! (And for next time, try some fresh berries in moderation when you’re craving fruit.)
The classic ketogenic diet is not a balanced diet and only contains tiny portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, fortified cereals, and calcium-rich foods. In particular, the B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D must be artificially supplemented. This is achieved by taking two sugar-free supplements designed for the patient's age: a multivitamin with minerals and calcium with vitamin D.[18] A typical day of food for a child on a 4:1 ratio, 1,500 kcal (6,300 kJ) ketogenic diet comprises three small meals and three small snacks:[28]
I’m not sure if I really understand the idea of exogenous Ketones putting ones body into a state of KETOSIS, in that their own fat cells will be burned for fuel. Won’t the body just use the exogenous ketones and energy and continue to use glucose sources as well? How does taking ketones, make the body burn it’s own fat stores? I always thought that one would have to be in a state of energy deprivation for the body to actually begin to use the TG in the fat cells to generate ATP. Please let me know what I’m missing…

Great article! As someone who just started a “ketogenic diet” two weeks ago, I am opting to hold off on using ketone supplements for the following reason. You state how “Keto-adaptation occurs when you have shifted your metabolism to relying on fat-based sources, instead of glucose (sugar) sources, as your primary source of fuel.” If the goal is to “switch” our body’s energy supply to ketones and one uses supplemental ketones, how do they really ever know if their body has successfully accomplished this goal if they are using supplemental ketones? Aren’t they getting a false sense of ketosis if their blood or breath tests show them above 0.5 millimolar through the use of the supplements? I understand that it may take me longer to reach ketosis naturally but I guess I see it was worth it to truly reap all of the benefits that you outline in your article.


You indicate that exogenous ketones do not shut down the ability, of your body, to oxidize fat. Is that to say it does not have an effect on your body at all? My specific question is… does my body oxidize less fat, when supplementing with exogenous ketones? I think you indicate in your article that it could. I would expect it to, in that if I supplement then my body would not “need” to oxidize the fat to provide the energy.

A ketogenic diet helps control blood sugar levels. It is excellent for managing type 2 diabetes, sometimes even leading to complete reversal of the disease. This has been proven in studies. It makes perfect sense since keto lowers blood-sugar levels, reduces the need of medications and reduces the potentially negative impact of high insulin levels.


Because the ketogenic diet alters the body's metabolism, it is a first-line therapy in children with certain congenital metabolic diseases such as pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) deficiency and glucose transporter 1 deficiency syndrome,[35] which prevent the body from using carbohydrates as fuel, leading to a dependency on ketone bodies. The ketogenic diet is beneficial in treating the seizures and some other symptoms in these diseases and is an absolute indication.[36] However, it is absolutely contraindicated in the treatment of other diseases such as pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, porphyria, and other rare genetic disorders of fat metabolism.[9] Persons with a disorder of fatty acid oxidation are unable to metabolise fatty acids, which replace carbohydrates as the major energy source on the diet. On the ketogenic diet, their bodies would consume their own protein stores for fuel, leading to ketoacidosis, and eventually coma and death.[37]

In the 1960s, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) were found to produce more ketone bodies per unit of energy than normal dietary fats (which are mostly long-chain triglycerides).[15] MCTs are more efficiently absorbed and are rapidly transported to the liver via the hepatic portal system rather than the lymphatic system.[16] The severe carbohydrate restrictions of the classic ketogenic diet made it difficult for parents to produce palatable meals that their children would tolerate. In 1971, Peter Huttenlocher devised a ketogenic diet where about 60% of the calories came from the MCT oil, and this allowed more protein and up to three times as much carbohydrate as the classic ketogenic diet. The oil was mixed with at least twice its volume of skimmed milk, chilled, and sipped during the meal or incorporated into food. He tested it on 12 children and adolescents with intractable seizures. Most children improved in both seizure control and alertness, results that were similar to the classic ketogenic diet. Gastrointestinal upset was a problem, which led one patient to abandon the diet, but meals were easier to prepare and better accepted by the children.[15] The MCT diet replaced the classic ketogenic diet in many hospitals, though some devised diets that were a combination of the two.[10]
The reason purity matters is that C17 is a byproduct of most MCT oil production processes, and it, along with C6, is a major cause of throat burning and gut irritation. Most MCT’s on the market are manufactured via chemical and solvent based refining, which involves using chemicals like hexane and different enzymes and combustion chemicals, such as sodium methoxide. But ideally, you should get an MCT oil that is made using triple steam distillation in a non-oxygen atmosphere to avoid lipid oxidation and create a purer end-product.
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