A great deal of exciting research is emerging regarding the application of a ketogenic diet in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. (17) Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by brain insulin resistance, a condition that starves neurons of the glucose they normally need to function correctly. Scientists have found that ketones are an excellent alternative fuel for the insulin-resistant brain. In addition, ketones reduce brain oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, two significant factors in the neurodegenerative disease process.
Look, the good doctor is right – he only forgot to stress “portion control” which is why many fanatical dieters are so kee-jerk reactive to any discussion – odds are you over ate like a hog before your keto diet, and are weak and insecure in your diet plans. Eat EVERYTHING in small amounts, and you will live long and prosper. The only thing to avoid are processed foods. Cook your meals from scratch using quality ingredients.
Chris, I’m missing the logic here. Even when carbohydrates are restricted, the body is going to take fats and glycogen and turn them back into blood sugar, i.e. glucose. Glucose is also the only fuel the brain can use, and when it is too high or too low, all kinds of alarm bells go off, and the body does everything it can to restore normal glucose levels. Ketogenic diet or not, blood sugar is going to stay pretty steady if all the normal regulatory mechanisms are in place. If there is glucose in the blood, there is glucose in the interstitial fluids, and cancer cells are never going to be starved for glucose. So if restricting carbs has any use in cancer therapy, it has nothing to do with preventing cancer cells from getting glucose. If there is no glucose in the blood, you are dead.
Jimmy Moore: I did not say that. You see my Instagram account, you know how much I hate processed boxed food. The mono unsaturated fats are avocados, avocado oil, 100% olive oil … that’s key too, make sure your getting olive oil that you know is 100% olive oil, because they can sneak in some of those omega-six facts into there and not tell anybody. That screws people up trying to avoid those. Of course, nuts have mono unsaturated fats as well. You can get a well rounded amount of fat from varying sources and that is really what’s going to help you in controlling your blood sugar, controlling your cholesterol, and controlling your inflammation.
There were some commonalities among the diets, of course; all these traditional people ate some animal products, and all consumed a fair amount of fat, whether from plant or animal sources. All the food was, of course, locally grown, locally harvested, or locally hunted, since these isolated groups lacked access to the industrialized food of modern “civilization.”

Kidney stones have occurred in about 6 percent of patients and may be increased in younger patients (<3 years of age), and those with hypercalciuria and low urine volume. Oral potassium citrate as a preventative supplement results in urine alkalinization, decreasing the prevalence of kidney stones. Universal supplementation appears to drop the risk of stones to nearly zero.
Gluconeogenesis is the endogenous production of glucose in the body, especially in the liver primarily from lactic acid, glycerol, and the amino acids alanine and glutamine. When glucose availability drops further, the endogenous production of glucose is not able to keep up with the needs of the body and ketogenesis begins in order to provide an alternate source of energy in the form of ketone bodies. Ketone bodies replace glucose as a primary source of energy. During ketogenesis due to low blood glucose feedback, stimulus for insulin secretion is also low, which sharply reduces the stimulus for fat and glucose storage. Other hormonal changes may contribute to the increased breakdown of fats that result in fatty acids. Fatty acids are metabolized to acetoacetate which is later converted to beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone. These are the basic ketone bodies that accumulate in the body as a ketogenic diet is sustained. This metabolic state is referred to as "nutritional ketosis." As long as the body is deprived of carbohydrates, metabolism remains in the ketotic state. The nutritional ketosis state is considered quite safe, as ketone bodies are produced in small concentrations without any alterations in blood pH. It greatly differs from ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition where ketone bodies are produced in extremely larger concentrations, altering blood ph to acidotic a state.

The word "ketogenic" refers to ketone bodies that come from the breakdown of fat. The ketogenic diet is specifically planned to meet all of your child's calorie needs for growth and development, but it does contain high fat, low carbohydrate, and adequate protein. Instead of getting energy from sugar, the brain will get energy from the breakdown of fat. Exactly how this helps to control seizures is not known; both high fat and low carbohydrate may be important for seizure control. About half of the patients on this diet have more than 50% reduction in the number of seizures; about 20-30% may have more than 90% reduction in seizures. Less than 10% of patients on the ketogenic diet may have no seizures at all.
Chris, I’m missing the logic here. Even when carbohydrates are restricted, the body is going to take fats and glycogen and turn them back into blood sugar, i.e. glucose. Glucose is also the only fuel the brain can use, and when it is too high or too low, all kinds of alarm bells go off, and the body does everything it can to restore normal glucose levels. Ketogenic diet or not, blood sugar is going to stay pretty steady if all the normal regulatory mechanisms are in place. If there is glucose in the blood, there is glucose in the interstitial fluids, and cancer cells are never going to be starved for glucose. So if restricting carbs has any use in cancer therapy, it has nothing to do with preventing cancer cells from getting glucose. If there is no glucose in the blood, you are dead.
Preclinical research suggests that a ketogenic diet may also benefit those with Parkinson’s disease. In animal models of Parkinson’s, a ketogenic diet improves motor function, and in humans with Parkinson’s, it improves nonmotor symptoms such as daytime sleepiness and cognitive disorders. (22, 23) While more research is needed, a ketogenic diet may be a powerful intervention well worth a try for both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.
I was a Corpsman (not a corpse-man as some recent somewhat fanatical president would say), and I can tell you many stories of Marines and Sailors who maintained restrictive diets (aka picky eaters). Most obvious was lack of sustaining energy (hypoglycemia) at mile 15 (with 80lbs of gear including a 6.5lb rifle and 200 rnds of ammo, etc.) and depletion of essential vitamins, electrolyte imbalance. They were always the first to collapse and have to hear me scold “see I told you so.” An IV of D5W usually does the trick (D is for dextrose, OMG!)

Here are a few of the most common side effects that I come across when people first start keto. Frequently the issues relate to dehydration or lack of micronutrients (vitamins) in the body. Make sure that you’re drinking enough water (close to a gallon a day) and eating foods with good sources of micronutrients. To read more on micronutrients, click here >
Tapping into consumers’ desire to glean the benefits of ketosis right this minute—or in the next 30 minutes—manufacturers have created powders and other supplements that promise you can enjoy your favorite foods and still get into ketosis. These supplements—called exogenous ketones—aren’t necessarily bad, but neither are they a free pass to indulge and then effortlessly shift into ketosis.
A popular keto supplement are exogenous ketones (popularly called “keto diet pills”) that may help you achieve results earlier as well as remain in that state. (Don’t confuse exogenous ketones with raspberry ketones, as the latter don’t raise ketone levels in the body or mimic endogenous ketones, so you wouldn’t use raspberry ketones in your regimen.)
Therefore, when you’re following a ketogenic diet plan for beginners, your body is burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrates, so in the process most people lose weight and excess body fat rapidly, even when consuming lots of fat and adequate calories through their daily food intake. Another major benefit of the keto diet is that there’s no need to count calories, feel hungry or attempt to burn loads of calories through hours of intense exercise.

The popular belief that high-fat diets cause obesity and several other diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer has not been observed in recent epidemiological studies. Studies carried out in animals that were fed high-fat diets did not show a specific causal relationship between dietary fat and obesity. On the contrary, very-low-carbohydrate and high-fat diets such as the ketogenic diet have shown to beneficial to weight loss.


Studies generally show that about a third of patients will have at least a 90 percent reduction in seizures, and another third will experience a 50 percent to 90 percent reduction. This is remarkable, considering that these patients are generally those whose seizures are not well-controlled with medications. Note that the term "epilepsy" encompasses a group of disorders with different causes that are not all fully understood, which is part of the reason different people respond to different treatments.

The first modern study of fasting as a treatment for epilepsy was in France in 1911.[12] Twenty epilepsy patients of all ages were "detoxified" by consuming a low-calorie vegetarian diet, combined with periods of fasting and purging. Two benefited enormously, but most failed to maintain compliance with the imposed restrictions. The diet improved the patients' mental capabilities, in contrast to their medication, potassium bromide, which dulled the mind.[13]


First of all, myeloma patients, even when diagnosed with an aggressive form, often linger for years before the disease advances. I would never have included such a two-year survivor in One Man Alone, or in any other book I have written or plan to write – unless, possibly, there has been documented significant regression of disease, not apparent in this case. I do include a case of multiple myeloma treated by Dr. Kelley in my monograph, a woman diagnosed with extensive cancer throughout her skeleton with evidence of multiple fractures.
Your current cholesterol levels l is higher than I would personally feel comfortable with. I would consider making a few dietary changes (i.e., increasing fiber and net carbs, reducing saturated fat, and increasing protein), especially given your lack of improved cognition and decreased ability to work out. I wish you the best of luck going forward. - Franziska
The CKD is rich in lipids (90%) and low in carbohydrates and protein, in order to produce ketosis, and simulates a starvation state. It is a rigid diet, mathematically and individually calculated, and medically monitored (Armeno et al., 2014). It must also provide adequate vitamins and minerals. The shift in the energy metabolism from glycolytic energy production to energy generation through oxidative phosphorylation (fatty acid b-oxidation and ketone-body production) is part of the anticonvulsant mechanism of the KD (Bough, 2008; Liu et al., 2018). This is discussed in more detail in the section on the mechanism of action.
The Epilepsy Foundation has acknowledged the KD as a treatment option and provides an educational summary about the diet on its website. It’s encouraging that a major patient advocacy group is willing to publish information about a treatment option far from common practice. The health care professional is responsible for being aware of various patient treatment options so the best care possible is provided.
However, our glycogen supplies in the liver and muscle are quite limited, providing only an 8-12 hour emergency supply. So during a fast, or starvation, or on a diet providing no carbohydrates in any form, we quickly run out of glycogen. In this situation, through a variety of neural and hormonal signaling, our fat cells, or adipocytes, begin releasing free fatty acids into the blood stream. These fatty acids can in turn be used by our cells in the alternate ATP producing process of beta oxidation.
The ketogenic diet is indicated as an adjunctive (additional) treatment in children and young people with drug-resistant epilepsy.[26][27] It is approved by national clinical guidelines in Scotland,[27] England, and Wales[26] and reimbursed by nearly all US insurance companies.[28] Children with a focal lesion (a single point of brain abnormality causing the epilepsy) who would make suitable candidates for surgery are more likely to become seizure-free with surgery than with the ketogenic diet.[9][29] About a third of epilepsy centres that offer the ketogenic diet also offer a dietary therapy to adults. Some clinicians consider the two less restrictive dietary variants—the low glycaemic index treatment and the modified Atkins diet—to be more appropriate for adolescents and adults.[9] A liquid form of the ketogenic diet is particularly easy to prepare for, and well tolerated by, infants on formula and children who are tube-fed.[5][30]
Hi Cyn, The numbers are general guidelines but will vary depending on many factors, such as activity level, insulin resistance, weight and more. There is no single magic number, just conventional recommendations that are a good starting point. I will have a macro calculator coming soon that will help determine what is best for each person, but even then it’s an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to test. If keto is your goal, it’s usually best to start lower and then see if you can stay in ketosis when increasing.
After discharge, caregivers are instructed to check urine ketones daily; if necessary,  the diet is individually adjusted after consultation by telephone or email to maximize seizure control. Weight is monitored by the parents and reported if significantly changed. Periodic laboratory measures are obtained every 3 months in order to monitor for side-effects (for example – lipid profile, electrolytes, anticonvulsant levels, urine calcium/creatinine). The use of a medication called Cytra-K led to a large reduction in kidney stones when provided to all children at one hospital starting the ketogenic diet. Some child neurologists recommend its use for all children on the classic ketogenic diet.
In terms of weight loss, you may be interested in trying the ketogenic diet because you’ve heard that it can make a big impact right away. And that’s true. “Ketogenic diets will cause you to lose weight within the first week,” says Mattinson. She explains that your body will first use up all of its glycogen stores (the storage form of carbohydrate). With depleted glycogen, you’ll drop water weight. While it can be motivating to see the number on the scale go down (often dramatically), do keep in mind that most of this is water loss initially.
Sleep enough – for most people at least seven hours per night on average – and keep stress under control. Sleep deprivation and stress hormones raise blood sugar levels, slowing ketosis and weight loss a bit. Plus they might make it harder to stick to a keto diet, and resist temptations. So while handling sleep and stress will not get you into ketosis on it’s own, it’s still worth thinking about.
Physicians of ancient Greece treated diseases, including epilepsy, by altering their patients' diet. An early treatise in the Hippocratic Corpus, On the Sacred Disease, covers the disease; it dates from c. 400 BC. Its author argued against the prevailing view that epilepsy was supernatural in origin and cure, and proposed that dietary therapy had a rational and physical basis.[Note 3] In the same collection, the author of Epidemics describes the case of a man whose epilepsy is cured as quickly as it had appeared, through complete abstinence of food and drink.[Note 4] The royal physician Erasistratus declared, "One inclining to epilepsy should be made to fast without mercy and be put on short rations."[Note 5] Galen believed an "attenuating diet"[Note 6] might afford a cure in mild cases and be helpful in others.[11]
Blake Donaldson, MD, who ran a general practice for decades on Long Island, New York, began prescribing a ketogenic diet in the 1920s. Donaldson, who was quite familiar with Stefansson’s reports on the Eskimo diet, began recommending an all-meat, high-fat regimen for his patients diagnosed with a variety of complaints such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, though he doesn’t appear to have treated cancer specifically. In his 1961 book, Strong Medicine, Dr. Donaldson summarized his findings and his many years of experience recommending a high fat diet.
Type 1 Diabetes: Lowering carb intake and increasing fat intake is also beneficial for people with Type 1, Type 1.5 diabetes and LADA. A low carb diet can help reduce the number and severity of hypoglycemic episodes, lower HbA1c test results and minimize future diabetic complications. Learn more in The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes e-Book or click on the book cover.  These benefits are also possible for children with Type 1 and their parents should know that they have options.
Aude, Y., A. S, Agatston, F. Lopez-Jimenez, et al. “The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet vs a Diet Lower in Carbohydrates and Higher in Protein and Monounsaturated Fat: A Randomized Trial.” JAMA Internal Medicine 164, no. 19 (2004): 2141–46. doi: 10.1001/archinte.164.19.2141. jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/217514.
Chris, I’m missing the logic here. Even when carbohydrates are restricted, the body is going to take fats and glycogen and turn them back into blood sugar, i.e. glucose. Glucose is also the only fuel the brain can use, and when it is too high or too low, all kinds of alarm bells go off, and the body does everything it can to restore normal glucose levels. Ketogenic diet or not, blood sugar is going to stay pretty steady if all the normal regulatory mechanisms are in place. If there is glucose in the blood, there is glucose in the interstitial fluids, and cancer cells are never going to be starved for glucose. So if restricting carbs has any use in cancer therapy, it has nothing to do with preventing cancer cells from getting glucose. If there is no glucose in the blood, you are dead.
Fat is the primary source of fuel on a ketogenic diet, and supplementing with specific types of fat, particularly coconut oil and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, can help you get into ketosis faster. MCT oil is unique in that it increases ketone levels in a linear, dose-dependent manner and allows for the induction of ketosis with lower amounts of total fat in the diet. (44)
Ketogenic diets often fall into the same processed-food trap as Atkins. Today you’ll find keto bread, cookies, and pasta. You’ll find exogenous ketone supplements that promise you can get into ketosis in 30 minutes. Don’t fall for the hype: Eating a whole foods diet high in quality fats but also nutrient-dense plant foods creates the best avenue to get you into ketosis and promote health.
The Swiss herders did just fine living on raw pastured cow milk and cheese accompanied by a nutrient-dense, whole grain bread. The Polynesian diet centered around coconut in all its incarnations, the milk, meat, and cream, creatively used in a variety of ways, along with fish, some wild animal meat, and fruits. These diets could not be more different; an Eskimo never drank milk or ate a coconut, the Inca descendents never saw a coconut or whale blubber, a Masai never ate coconut or grains, the Polynesians never consumed grains, never drank milk, and never ate cheese.
While I would like to offer a magic bullet for all cancers, a ketogenic diet is not that. The diet does not “cure” cancer. It should not be used to replace traditional treatment. But the diet has shown promise for some cancers especially GBM. So why would a diet help? On a simplistic level, cancer “eats” glucose and needs 20 times more glucose compared to normal cells. Cancer cells cannot make the transition to using ketones, especially in the brain, making them more vulnerable to chemo and radiation.

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?
With this rationale, VanItallie et al. [39, Class III] performed a feasibility study with PD patients and the ketogenic diet. They explored whether PD patients would be able to prepare the ketogenic diet in their homes and remain on it for at least 1 month. Of seven patients enrolled, five completed the study. They were monitored for ketone levels and weekly Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores. All the patients lost weight. Interestingly, the mean decrease in UPDRS scores was 43.4%. A placebo effect is not ruled out, but this result at least suggests that the ketogenic diet was not harmful and certainly invites further study into its role in preserving neuron function in PD and other neurodegenerative diseases. The possibility that the diet may have altered levodopa absorption (and that this factor, rather than an effect of the diet on neuronal function, was responsible for the change) has not been studied rigorously [40].
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