Meat products make up a big part of the keto diet, but experts stress the importance of choosing quality. "Since the keto diet is based a lot on animal proteins, it's important to buy organic poultry and grass-fed, organic beef," says Aimee Aristotelous, RD. "Not only do organic selections help with limiting environmental toxins, but grass-fed options of red meats even change the composition of fats." The result, she explains, is that your body is able to better absorb those healthy fats.
What are the ideal levels of blood sugar? A blood sugar or blood glucose chart identifies ideal levels throughout the day, especially before and after meals. The charts allow doctors to set targets and monitor diabetes treatment, and they help people with diabetes to self-assess. Learn more about guidelines, interpreting results, and monitoring levels here. Read now
Fairly recently, the diet was introduced as a weight-loss diet by an Italian professor of surgery, Dr. Gianfranco Cappello of Sapienza University in Rome. In his 2012 study, about 19,000 dieters received a high-fat liquid diet via a feeding tube inserted down the nose. The study showed an average weight loss of more than 20 pounds in participants, most of whom kept it off for at least a year. The researchers reported a few minor side effects, like fatigue.
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]
A Cochrane systematic review in 2018 found and analysed eleven randomized controlled trials of ketogenic diet in people with epilepsy for whom drugs failed to control their seizures.[2] Six of the trials compared a group assigned to a ketogenic diet with a group not assigned to one. The other trials compared types of diets or ways of introducing them to make them more tolerable.[2] In the largest trial of the ketogenic diet with a non-diet control[16], nearly 38% of the children and young people had half or fewer seizures with the diet compared 6% with the group not assigned to the diet. Two large trials of the Modified Atkins Diet compared to a non-diet control had similar results, with over 50% of children having half or fewer seizures with the diet compared to around 10% in the control group.[2]
If you remain under your optimal net carbs limit, then you should enter ketosis within 2 to 3 days. But it can take up to 7 days. The fastest way to get into ketosis is to exercise on an empty stomach, in order to accelerate the depletion of glycogen in your body. You can also do a Fat Fast for a few days (eating more fat) to speed up the rate at which you enter ketosis AND start to cut out refined carbs (like sugar) before you go for full ketosis. Another option is to do a water fast, (only drinking water) which also speeds up getting into ketosis.
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Children who discontinue the diet after achieving seizure freedom have about a 20% risk of seizures returning. The length of time until recurrence is highly variable, but averages two years. This risk of recurrence compares with 10% for resective surgery (where part of the brain is removed) and 30–50% for anticonvulsant therapy. Of those who have a recurrence, just over half can regain freedom from seizures either with anticonvulsants or by returning to the ketogenic diet. Recurrence is more likely if, despite seizure freedom, an electroencephalogram shows epileptiform spikes, which indicate epileptic activity in the brain but are below the level that will cause a seizure. Recurrence is also likely if an MRI scan shows focal abnormalities (for example, as in children with tuberous sclerosis). Such children may remain on the diet longer than average, and children with tuberous sclerosis who achieve seizure freedom could remain on the ketogenic diet indefinitely.[46]
There are a few ways of pushing your body into ketosis, including sustained periods of fasting and following a ketogenic diet (as the name so obviously suggests).  Dr. D’Agostino also suggests spending some time in the sun and heat.  Getting out in the sun lowers glucose and raises ketones, and can push you into ketosis, especially if you’ve been fasting.

For someone more interested in health/muscle gain rather than weight loss, should I up the protein and good carb levels a bit? I’m around 10% BF and weigh 220, so I require a higher calorie intake the average. In just a few days striving for a Keto-diet, I’m averaging between 50-60g gross carbs (30g net), 160g protein and 220 fat (8%-22%-70%) DO you think that is a good target or should I try and adjust?


Then one night, it all changed. I poured honey and water into a 42-ounce canister of Quaker oats and kept spooning because there was no other carb source in the house. Something strange had possessed me; I would later hear other binge eaters call this “blacking out,” or feeling such intense relief and disinhibition that you consume ridiculous quantities of food without fully realizing or experiencing it. At the time, I remember thinking something was very, very wrong, but the thing that was wrong was my lack of self-control and that I would be better -- keto!!! -- forevermore. And then I did it again a few nights later. I gained weight. I gave up on dieting eventually, but it took me years to reestablish a healthy relationship with food.
This article is excellent and I’ve actually read it a few times just to make sure I’m absorbing as much as possible. With that said can we talk a bit about protein? Why does it seem like protein is taking a back seat? What about the athlete who needs to maintain and/or increase muscle mass. I don’t want to make any assumptions and with all the research I’ve done along with personal testing into Keto it just seems to me that protein and its benefits are not a discussion point in this diet. Why?
In its 2016 report “Healthy Eating Guidelines & Weight Loss Advice,” the Public Health Collaboration, a U.K. nonprofit, evaluated evidence on low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets. (The Keto diet falls under the LCHF umbrella.) Among 53 randomized clinical trials comparing LCHF diets to calorie-counting, low-fat diets, a majority of studies showed greater weight loss for the Keto-type diets, along with more beneficial health outcomes. The collaboration recommends weight-loss guidelines that include a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet of real (rather than processed) foods as an acceptable, effective and safe approach.
Some people on a keto or low carb diet choose to count total carbs instead of net carbs. This makes it more difficult to fit in more leafy greens and low carb vegetables (which are filled with fiber), so you should only try that if you don’t get results with a net carb method. And, start with reducing sugar alcohols and low carb treats before deciding to do a “total carbs” method.

I talk about that quite a bit here :https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/09/things-your-pee-can-tell-you-about-your-body/ 

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.
3 years ago I was 500 pounds at my absolute worst. Went through a traumatic experience when I was 17 and afterwards the weight just seemed to add on over the years. I'd always been a big guy but it got really bad. Decided to start the keto diet after looking into healthier lifestyles and fast forward two years later (with intermittent fasting and gym training) I had lost 260 pounds. I kept under 1200 calories a day and the best feeling was not constantly being hungry. The last year has been more of a maintenance but with keto cycling.
This is an absolutely necessary function for basic survival. As the body can only store carbs for a day or two, the brain would quickly shut down after a couple of days without food. Alternatively it would quickly have to convert our muscle protein into glucose – a very inefficient process – just to keep the brain going. That would make us waste away quickly. It would also ensure that the human race could hardly have survived all those millennia before we had 24-7 food availability.

When you eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, your body eventually runs out of fuel (blood sugar) it can use quickly. This typically takes 3 to 4 days. Then you’ll start to break down protein and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight. This is called ketosis. It's important to note that the ketogenic diet is a short term diet that's focussed on weight loss rather than the pursuit of health benefits. 


In the US especially, coconut oil and MCT oil manufacturers are legally allowed to claim that lauric acid is an MCT because chemists named it that way, even though it does not act like other true biological MCT oils. If you are relying on plain coconut oil or “MCT-labeled” oil to get enough useful MCTs, think again and check the label: odds are you’re getting very few of the potent, ketogenic shorter chain MCTs (also known as “C8” and “C10”), and instead getting mostly cheaper but ineffective lauric acid.
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.

For example, a key component of safe and lasting fat loss is your capability to tap into your body’s own storage fat for energy. This access to fat cannot happen if your body is constantly drawing on carbohydrate reserves and blood glucose for energy. In the type of moderate- to high-carbohydrate diets you’ve learned are widely recommended by prevailing nutrition science, not only does the utilization of fat for energy become far less crucial (since you’re constantly dumping readily available sugar sources into your body), but your metabolism never becomes efficient at using fat. There is a growing body of evidence proving that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet results in faster and more permanent weight loss than a low-fat diet. Furthermore, appetite satiety and dietary satisfaction significantly improve with a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that includes moderate protein.
This is a wealth of information. My husband and I are starting the keto diet tomorrow and I knew nothing about it. When I sat down to look up information about it, I found this. Thank you! This is everything I need to know in one place. We are not as healthy as we’d like to be and I am optimistic this will help us obtain our goals, along with an exercise plan.
A short-lived increase in seizure frequency may occur during illness or if ketone levels fluctuate. The diet may be modified if seizure frequency remains high, or the child is losing weight.[19] Loss of seizure-control may come from unexpected sources. Even "sugar-free" food can contain carbohydrates such as maltodextrin, sorbitol, starch, and fructose. The sorbitol content of suntan lotion and other skincare products may be high enough for some to be absorbed through the skin and thus negate ketosis.[31]
Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
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.
Ketosis is a metabolic state where most of the body's energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis where blood glucose provides most of the energy. Ketosis is characterized by serum blood concentrations of ketone bodies over 0.5 millimolar with low and stable levels of insulin and blood glucose. However, with ketone supplementation (as you’ll learn about later in this article) ketosis can actually be induced even when there are high levels of blood glucose.
Thanks so much for the reply! One more question about the LivingFuel SuperGreens…I had very bad GI issues with VEGA Protein in 2011 when I tried it (quit after half a container), which scared me away from the vegetarian proteins with greens in them. Is this drastically different from VEGA? Or seeing that pea is the primary source of protein should I look towards something else? Thanks again!
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').
I’m brand new to the Keto scene. Just started the diet on tuesday. There are so many supplements listed here. Is there a place to start? Like only starting with a couple? What about blood testing, do you recommend it it and how often and should i even be testing in the first month. Any help is greatly appreciated. You have the most informative articles I’ve been able to find.
In this study by Dr. Dominic D’Agostino it is also mentioned that your blood brain barrier (BBB) “is relatively impermeable to most hydrophilic substances, such as ketone bodies. Therefore, the transport of ketones across the BBB is highly dependent on specific carrier-mediated facilitated transport by a family of proton-linked monocarboxylic acid transporters”. Basically, what this means is that MCT powder may act as a carrier to shuttle the ketone bodies across the BBB.

In addition, most studies that compare carbohydrate utilization with fat utilization fail to take into account the fact that full “fat adaptation” that allows you to gain all the benefits of using fat as a fuel actually takes time – often more than four weeks – and up to a couple years. But since most studies that compare fat and carbohydrate burning are short-term, you rarely see the benefits of this kind of fat adaptation actually fleshed out in research. Instead, the average research participant begins the study in a non-fat adapted state, gets either a high fat or high carb diet, then launches into exercise. But in an ideal study, that person would have followed either a high-fat or high-carb diet for many months before getting their fat burning capability investigated.
It seems strange that a diet that calls for more fat can raise “good” cholesterol and lower “bad” cholesterol, but ketogenic diets are linked to just that. It may be because the lower levels of insulin that result from these diets can stop your body from making more cholesterol. That means you’re less likely to have high blood pressure, hardened arteries, heart failure, and other heart conditions. It's unclear, however; how long these effects last.

There are a few ways of pushing your body into ketosis, including sustained periods of fasting and following a ketogenic diet (as the name so obviously suggests).  Dr. D’Agostino also suggests spending some time in the sun and heat.  Getting out in the sun lowers glucose and raises ketones, and can push you into ketosis, especially if you’ve been fasting.
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.”

Thank you for this article as it cleared up a bunch of stuff for me. I started trying to get into ketosis back in August and lost 20lbs in about 6 weeks. Then it all stopped but had another 20lbs I wanted to loose. I had a hard time staying in ketosis and gave up about a week ago with the holidays approaching. Anyways I glazed over all the technical and science facts as it makes my head spin and might of missed it but my only question is what is the food portion of the diet like? The drinks are the easy part, do you have a diet plan that is good for someone that hits the gym hard 4-5 days a week for and hour and half. 45 min weights and 30-45 min cardio? It’s what I struggle with most the food and what attracted me to a ketogenic diet in the first place is eating 1 or 2 meals a day and being satisfied.
The Inuit are often cited as an example of a culture that has lived for hundreds of years on a low-carbohydrate diet.[42] However, in multiple studies the traditional Inuit diet has not been shown to be a ketogenic diet.[43][44][45][46] Not only have multiple researchers been unable to detect any evidence of ketosis resulting from the traditional Inuit diet, but the ratios of fatty-acid to glucose were observed at well below the generally accepted level of ketogenesis.[44][47][45][46] Furthermore, studies investigating the fat yields from fully dressed wild ungulates, and the dietary habits of the cultures who rely on them, suggest that they are too lean to support a ketogenic diet.[48][49] With limited access to fat and carbohydrates, cultures such as the Nunamiut Eskimos—who relied heavily on caribou for subsistence—annually traded for fat and seaweed with coastal-dwelling Taremiut.[48]
First, it’s important to understand how keto may help you lose weight. The purpose is to kick your body into ketosis, a natural metabolic state that forces your body to burn fat rather than carbs. This happens because, on the keto diet, you’re usually taking in 50 grams (g) or fewer of carbs per day, says Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, RD, a nutritionist based in New York City. While several types of the keto diet exist, the standard approach to this plan requires you to take in about 75 percent of your calories from fat, 20 percent from protein, and 5 percent from carbs.
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.
People claiming huge benefits of these supplements – despite the lack of solid scientific support – may sometimes have a financial reason to believe in the supplements. Some of these products are sold under a multi-level marketing arrangement, where sales people are paid based on commission. For example, the company Prüvit sells drinkable ketones, called KETO//OS with a multi-level marketing structure.
I see a lot of people say that ketosis is great for insulin sensitivity. BUT, in my experience ketosis causes physiological insulin resistance whereby the muscles and liver are sparing glucose for the brain. Hence, glucose tolerance actually goes down during ketosis. As such, is it possible that post workout carbs could do a lot more damage than they would on a non-ketogenic diet? Or maybe, as Kiefer suggests, glucose uptake post workout is not moderated by insulin at all i.e. muscles soak up glucose regardless of their insulin sensitivity? Or maybe cyclical ketosis doesn’t allow liver glycogen to get low enough to trigger physiological insulin resistance?
Hey Alex, thanks for commenting and great to have you as a new listener! For this kind of thing, because it requires so going into detail, I'd suggest you book a consult with me by going to

Hi Ben, great article. I have been a keto-adapted athlete for over 2 years, all through nutrition (65/25/10). I have recently discovered UCAN, KetoOS and MAP Aminos. So, here’s my question: If I am going out for a 4-hour ride, and I want to fuel myself just on these supplements and my body’s natural fat stores, how and in what order should I take them? If I take them all together, will the aminos in the KetoOS interfere with MAP Aminos? Or should I just make a mix of the UCAN and KetoOS in 10oz of water and use it to wash back my 6 MAP tablets, 15-mins before my ride? Thanks for your advice!
-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.
Some people on a keto or low carb diet choose to count total carbs instead of net carbs. This makes it more difficult to fit in more leafy greens and low carb vegetables (which are filled with fiber), so you should only try that if you don’t get results with a net carb method. And, start with reducing sugar alcohols and low carb treats before deciding to do a “total carbs” method.
-Pancreatic Dysfunction: The beta cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin to help control blood sugar become dysfunctional with high blood glucose, raising the risk for type 2 diabetes. Researchers have discovered that beta cell issues are detectable in people whose glucose levels spike two hours after eating, despite those levels staying within the range considered normal and safe by the medical establishment.