"The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. While it also has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. We don't know if it works in the long term, nor whether it's safe," warns registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.
About 20% of children on the ketogenic diet achieve freedom from seizures, and many are able to reduce the use of anticonvulsant drugs or eliminate them altogether.[18] Commonly, at around two years on the diet, or after six months of being seizure-free, the diet may be gradually discontinued over two or three months. This is done by lowering the ketogenic ratio until urinary ketosis is no longer detected, and then lifting all calorie restrictions.[46] This timing and method of discontinuation mimics that of anticonvulsant drug therapy in children, where the child has become seizure-free. When the diet is required to treat certain metabolic diseases, the duration will be longer. The total diet duration is up to the treating ketogenic diet team and parents; durations up to 12 years have been studied and found beneficial.[9]
I think there is a lot more to the story than ketosis or very low carb for everyone. In my own experience, high carb works much better. I tried very low carb for a long without really feeling amazing, I then switched back to high carb and quickly lost weight and leaned out. I still eat high carb and my strength is better and I'm even leaner now. I find it very difficult to overeat (I obviously eat very 'clean diet').
Would highly recommend listening to Tim Noakes and his trail in Cape Town – he was pretty much the trigger for me to switch to LCHF and now I am starting to educate myself on what I need to follow a path that works for me. The information on Verta is giving me more information to enable me to ask my Dr for what I want – I know this will be an uphill battle and this information will help me avoid getting railroaded into the so called norms. It also give the Dr a way out because then I am asking him to help me go down a certain path that he is not responsible for recommending if it bucks the system.
But the physiological impact of low carb wasn’t even my biggest concern about the diet. I asked Craig how he recommends people cope with the social isolation brought on by hyper-specific dietary restrictions. See, food is communal; grandparents cook traditional dishes for their families, friends opt to share a large pizza or pitcher of beer, and so on. Keto doesn’t really allow for spontaneous cheat meals. Craig responded, “I think dietary restrictions are becoming commonplace in today's world,” and then talked exclusively about how restaurant menus can be tweaked.
Hi Mel, Assuming that your ranch dressing doesn’t have sugar added, you don’t need to worry too much about limiting it, but within reason. This is my homemade ranch dressing recipe, which has 0.9g net carbs per 2-tbsp serving. It would be hard to find a store bought one with much less than that, even though some round anything less than 1g down to 0g, which isn’t truly accurate. Also, keep in mind that if weight loss is your goal, some people find that too much dairy can cause a stall. Finally, make sure you aren’t using all your “available” carbs on ranch dressing – have it with some low carb veggies!
Watermelon is a staple summer fruit and another low-carb way to help satisfy your sweet tooth on keto. Each ½ cup of diced watermelon has 5.4 g of net carbs. It’s also an acceptable choice when dieting because of its high water content. The ½ cup serving size of watermelon has about 23 calories and 4.7 g of sugar. This juicy fruit also offers 432 IU of vitamin A, which is 8.6 percent of the DV.
“Given that there is no known detriment to consumption of a high-carbohydrate diet (other than body weight gain due to water retention) and some research reports a benefit, it is recommended that all athletes consume a high-carbohydrate training diet, i.e., at least 60-70% of energy as carbohydrate (7-10 g/kg), and increase this to 65-85% for the few days before competition. Use of a carbohydrate supplement before and during exercise will likely improve performance of intermittent, high-intensity sprints.”
Because some fruits have more carbs than others, knowing which to avoid is key for accelerating weight loss and reaping other possible benefits of keto. Just know that large, long-term, randomized controlled trials on the keto diet are limited, so it’s unclear whether keto is safe and effective to follow for the long haul, according to Harvard Medical School.
It’s tough to find keto criticism in a world of trend-driven search engine optimization, so I was positively delighted to find James Fell’s article “Keto Is the Dumbfuck Diet Du Jour, But That Won’t Last.” Turns out he’s been featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, and Men’s Health, and has committed a decade to diet myth-busting after watching his mother struggle with her weight all his life. I gave him a call after reading his poem “Much Ado About Stuffing.”
Food is your body’s primary source of energy, and three main nutrients in foods supply your body with this energy. These are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Typically after eating a meal, your body will first break down carbohydrates from foods, and then fat and protein.Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that occurs when your body doesn’t have enoughcarbs (or glucose) for energy, so it burns fat instead.
About 20% of children on the ketogenic diet achieve freedom from seizures, and many are able to reduce the use of anticonvulsant drugs or eliminate them altogether.[18] Commonly, at around two years on the diet, or after six months of being seizure-free, the diet may be gradually discontinued over two or three months. This is done by lowering the ketogenic ratio until urinary ketosis is no longer detected, and then lifting all calorie restrictions.[46] This timing and method of discontinuation mimics that of anticonvulsant drug therapy in children, where the child has become seizure-free. When the diet is required to treat certain metabolic diseases, the duration will be longer. The total diet duration is up to the treating ketogenic diet team and parents; durations up to 12 years have been studied and found beneficial.[9]
Would be curious to receive feedback on any of the above! And if anyone is interested in more info on my future Ketone product which will taste great, have 11.7g of BHB, 30 servings and priced lower than all the competitors, then message me on FB under Rhys Kabra, or email [email protected] for status updates on the upcoming new Brand of Ketone products! :)
Hi Ben great science & sound advice. May I share with the group? I’m 42, in australia, have been an alcoholic for 10 yrs. In April 2016 I gave up drinking & started living strictly ketogenic. In 3 months I dropped 25 kilos. I have cheated on weekends but I go through a fast of sorts on Mondays to get back into ketosis by Tues. I work afternoon / evenings so I wake at 10.30am take a pre workout drink with raspberry ketones & a splash of mct oil & all my vitamins as well. I then do weights for an hr then get ready to go to work. I take 2 800ml protein shakes consisting of 20 ml mct & 30grm amino enhanced protein. I work in warehousing so I walk anywhere between 10 km & 5 km a nite. I feel great all the time, thanks largely to your research & advice. If have any thoughts or opinions I’d love hear them.
“Rapid, significant weight loss is a common side effect of the keto diet because of the water losses that occur as carbohydrate stores are depleted,” says Clark. In a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese men following a modified version of the ketogenic diet, with high protein and low carbs, lost about 14 pounds in one month, compared with the control group, which lost about 10 pounds on a high-protein, medium-carb diet.
MCT oil is extracted primarily from coconut oil, and derives unique benefits from its shorter fatty acid chain length. Most dietary fat contains 12 carbons in the fatty acid chain, while MCTs are only 6 - 12 carbon chains in length. Shorter chain length allows for easier absorption and rapid conversion to energy in the liver, specifically caprylic (C8) and capric (C10).
Keto-adaption is a complex set of metabolic processes in which the body shifts from using primarily glucose for energy to using largely ketones and fat for energy. Achieving ketosis doesn’t mean the body is maximizing the use of these ketones; it takes longer than a few days for the body to get used to burning fat and ketones as its predominant fuels.

-Cancer: Numerous studies have found that the risk for cancer increases with high blood sugar, which makes sense, since cancer cells feed primarily on glucose. This includes cancers of the endometrium, pancreas, and colon and colorectal tumors. Tim Ferriss recently hosted a fantastic article by Peter Attia about this very issue, and how ketosis may indeed be a potential cancer cure.


Ideally, you combine supplemental ketones with a relatively low carb diet, especially if metabolic efficeincy is important to you. HOWEVER, you can achieve most of the benefits of ketosis aside from the fat burning efficiency by using exogenous ketones. So it all depends on how lean you are, what's important to you from a performance vs. fat loss standpoint, etc.
C12 is about 50+% of coconut oil, and it requires a pit stop in the liver rather than getting immediately converted into energy like the other MCT’s listed above. This is why it is more accurately described as an LCT, not an MCT like marketers claim. It raises cholesterol more than any other fatty acid. It is also commonly cited as having antimicrobial benefits, which is does – except the shorter chain MCT oils are more effective against candida yeast infections, and even gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Amazing article – gonna have to print it and read it again. To much to break down in one sitting. Thanks Ben – you’ve pulled together so much insight and references that’s given me greater confidence and conviction. I’m 50 and use to be super active and a seasoned athlete but after a few ‘mid life surgical interventions’ I had to find a better way… Ketogenics has been that for me… no more inflammation… I can’t tell you how great it’s been to be pain free! Keep leading from the front.
This article really bothers me in that if you do a few incorrect things with this diet, it will actually do more harm than a full carb diet. I have been in ketosis for a month or so but to what detriment? Based on the “ketosis darkside” list you highlighted, i could be doing any or all of these without realising. Could i share with you my meal plans and see if in your opinion they are beneficial and healthy or if im digging myself an early grave?
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
"The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. While it also has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. We don't know if it works in the long term, nor whether it's safe," warns registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.
-Cardiovascular Disease: High blood sugar has been shown to increase the risk for cardiovascular events, cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular mortality—while lower glucose levels result in lower cardiovascular risk. Coronary artery disease risk has been shown to be twice as high in patients with impaired glucose tolerance, compared with patients with more normal glucose tolerance. The risk for stroke increases as fasting glucose levels rise above 83 mg/dL. In fact, every 18 mg/dL increase beyond 83 results in a 27 percent greater risk of dying from stroke. Incidentally, glucose can “stick” to cholesterol particles and render these particles extremely dangerous from a heart health standpoint, which is why it’s all the more important to control blood sugar levels if you’re eating a “high-fat diet.”
Can’t get enough of avocados? You now have a great excuse to eat more of them. A ½-cup serving of the creamy fruit has almost 12 g of fat and only 2.6 g of net carbs. Avocados are also low in calories (about 138 for the same serving), making them an ideal snack in between meals. One serving also has about 6.4 g of dietary fiber (25.6 percent daily value, or DV), 404 milligrams (mg) of potassium (8.6 percent DV), and only 2.8 g of sugar. Try topping your salad with cubed avocado for a keto-friendly lunch.
"Some people stop working with me because they're not going to be proven wrong. You’re dissing their religion," said Libby, a registered dietician who asked that her full name not be used because of the private hate messages she's received from the community.   “If there was a diet or a pill or something that really was this miracle diet weight-loss thing that lasted and was healthy for you, we wouldn't have all these different diets all the time, there wouldn't be health complications, there wouldn't be so much controversy about it and the first time that you'd be learning about it wouldn't be on a 3pm talk show."
The difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis is the level of ketones in the blood. Ketosis is a physiological adaptation to a low carbohydrate environment like fasting or a ketogenic diet. There are situations (such as treatment-resistant epilepsy) where ketosis can be beneficial to health. Ketoacidosis is an acute life-threatening state requiring prompt medical intervention; its most common form is diabetic ketoacidosis where both glucose and ketone levels are significantly elevated.
Some people group tomatoes with vegetables, but a tomato is actually a fruit. Low in fat but also carbs (with just 2.4 g of net carbs per ½ cup), tomatoes are also keto-friendly. The same serving size of tomatoes contains 2.4 g of sugar and 16 calories. Among their health benefits, tomatoes contain lycopene, which research suggests may help prevent heart disease.
For any long 90+ minute workouts or competitions for which glycogen depletion is a potential issue, use Glycofuse, but use half of the recommended serving of it, and add one scoop of Catalyte electrolytes, one scoop of Aminos, and one serving of medium chain triglycerides in the form of Brain Octane, KetoCaNa or KETO//OS (pick your poison, it’s up to you).
When HVMN Ketone was tested in mice, they performed 38% better on a maze solving challenge, so it's possible there may be a cognitive boost for humans also.9 While following a ketogenic diet, you avoid the energy peaks and troughs that come from quick-energy carbs. Producing ketones from stored body fat provides the brain with a steady, sustainable supply of fuel.
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.
Nutritional ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which your body adapts to burning fat rather than carbohydrates as its primary fuel. It is clinically proven to directly reduce blood sugar (as measured by HbA1c), improve insulin sensitivity (as measured by HOMA-IR) and reduce inflammation (as measured by white blood cell count and CRP). Nutritional ketosis can be induced by following a ketogenic diet. Learn more in our FAQ below!
Since originally publishing this article, I’ve been asked whether elevating blood ketones with exogenous sources could trigger a ketone-induced release of insulin that would theoretically reduce hepatic ketogenesis and perhaps slow fat mobilization. This makes sense since you are putting more energy into the system in general (from exogenous ketones), so there would be less need to draw off your own fat stores.

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.
Hi Ben – Great article. I had trouble at the end figuring out if you were now eating high fat (60-80% of calories), or if you went back to something closer to 50% fat calories and higher carbs and are using exogenous ketones to get int ketosis when needed. Are you doing any carbs at night or a refeed, or just having higher carbs on most days? Thanks
So if your high-fat diet includes a high amount of roasted seeds or roasted nuts, nut butters, heated oils such as heated coconut oil or heated extra virgin olive oil, barbecued meats or meats cooked at very high temperatures, then your triglyceride count is going to go up. You should have triglycerides that are less than 150mg/dL, and a triglyceride to HDL ratio that is no more than 4:1, and in most of the healthiest people I’ve worked with, triglycerides are under 100 and the triglyceride to HDL ratio is less than 2:1. If your ratio is whacked, your ketotic diet isn’t doing you any favors.

First reported in 2003, the idea of using a form of the Atkins diet to treat epilepsy came about after parents and patients discovered that the induction phase of the Atkins diet controlled seizures. The ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital modified the Atkins diet by removing the aim of achieving weight loss, extending the induction phase indefinitely, and specifically encouraging fat consumption. Compared with the ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet (MAD) places no limit on calories or protein, and the lower overall ketogenic ratio (about 1:1) does not need to be consistently maintained by all meals of the day. The MAD does not begin with a fast or with a stay in hospital and requires less dietitian support than the ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are initially limited to 10 g per day in children or 20 g per day in adults, and are increased to 20–30 g per day after a month or so, depending on the effect on seizure control or tolerance of the restrictions. Like the ketogenic diet, the MAD requires vitamin and mineral supplements and children are carefully and periodically monitored at outpatient clinics.[48]


It usually takes three to four days for your body to go into ketosis because you have to use up your body's stores of glucose, i.e., sugar first, Keatley says. Any major diet change can give you some, uh, issues, and Keatley says he often sees patients who complain of IBS-like symptoms and feeling wiped out at the beginning of the diet. (The tiredness happens because you have less access to carbs, which give you quick energy, he explains.)

Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show specific very-low-carb diets help people with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Researchers are also studying the effects of these diets on acne, cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and nervous system diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's disease.
The ketogenic diet is a medical nutrition therapy that involves participants from various disciplines. Team members include a registered paediatric dietitian who coordinates the diet programme; a paediatric neurologist who is experienced in offering the ketogenic diet; and a registered nurse who is familiar with childhood epilepsy. Additional help may come from a medical social worker who works with the family and a pharmacist who can advise on the carbohydrate content of medicines. Lastly, the parents and other caregivers must be educated in many aspects of the diet for it to be safely implemented.[5]
People use a ketogenic diet most often to lose weight, but it can help manage certain medical conditions, like epilepsy, too. It also may help people with heart disease, certain brain diseases, and even acne, but there needs to be more research in those areas. Talk with your doctor first to find out if it’s safe for you to try a ketogenic diet, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.

A survey in 2005 of 88 paediatric neurologists in the US found that 36% regularly prescribed the diet after three or more drugs had failed, 24% occasionally prescribed the diet as a last resort, 24% had only prescribed the diet in a few rare cases, and 16% had never prescribed the diet. Several possible explanations exist for this gap between evidence and clinical practice.[34] One major factor may be the lack of adequately trained dietitians, who are needed to administer a ketogenic diet programme.[31]
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?
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