If you’re new or just still learning the ropes for the keto diet food list, your biggest questions probably revolve around figuring out just what high-fat low-carb foods you can eat on such a low-carb, ketogenic diet. Overall, remember that the bulk of calories on the keto diet are from foods that are high in natural fats along with a moderate amount of foods with protein. Those that are severely restricted are all foods that provide lots of carbs, even kinds that are normally thought of as “healthy,” like whole grains, for example.
One of the absolute worst things conventional medicine does is treat type 2 diabetics with insulin. This only exacerbates the problem. The key to treating and reversing type 2 diabetes is to cut down on net carbs, replacing them with high amounts of healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein. Dr. Tim Noakes has researched reversal of type 2 diabetes in South Africans, coming to the same conclusion.
Ketogenic diets (some using calorie restriction) have been associated with decreased tumor growth in animal models of gliomas [10], prostate cancer [25], and gastric cancer [11]. In the context of cancer, ketone bodies may provide an alternative substrate for ATP production in malignant cells, as outlined above. However, other work suggests that glucose is used to produce components critical to proliferative cell growth [26], and it is conceivable that the ketogenic diet may restrict that aspect of malignant cell transformation.
I think we obsess about numbers because we have been given a range that is supposedly the healthy, right range. Unfortunately there are a lot of mechanisms that we don’t know a lot about right now, that could be going on that makes that happen for some people in the mornings. I’ve just talked to too many of the experts, who say “Don’t worry about that. It’s really not the big deal. Keep an eye on your fasting insulin levels in the morning and even if you want to do a five hour glucose tolerance test, it’s call a 5 hour GTT, could go down to your doctor, please don’t drink that crappy glucose serum, because that will mess you up.” I actually did it one time with my co-author, he actually ran it with me … I wanted to see what would happen to my blood sugar and insulin levels when I had a low carb meal.
[57:08] – While the experiment worked, in that it showed a decrease in lipid levels, other markers such as postprandial glucose levels increased. Dave talks about the importance of informing yourself, finding a balance and listening to how the body feels. He also talks about plans to continue experimenting with different levels but taking into account different risk-factors. Ultimately, he prefers a lower ketogenic ratio. (Listen to Emily Maguire talk working about different macros)
The Modified Atkins Diet (MAD) is one of these alternative diets. It is a less restrictive form of the ketogenic diet. Adults and adolescent patients are restricted to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day and children to 15 grams per day. This diet can be easier to tolerate especially in older children and adults who eat a normal diet. In the MAD, there are no restrictions on protein and calories (and the biggest difference is probably the protein compared to the ketogenic diet). Increased fat intake is encouraged to increase ketosis.
[52:25] – How increasing the amount of carbs lead to a decrease in cholesterol levels, but not in the way expected. The relationship was not linear, there was no noticeable difference in cholesterol levels until a certain threshold was crossed. Dave discusses some of the theories behind this. As hyper-responders do we need a certain amount of insulin to bring down total lipid numbers?

We are brazilian, living in Brazil. My daughter, Isabel, 21y. o., born in 1996, has syndrome of deficiency of Glut1. She was diagnosed around her first year of life. At that time her baby bottle, her begining diet meal, was 50ml water plus 50ml oil plus vitamin. Since then, which means, for 20 years, she is under this diet. For almost 18 years under 4:1 proportion. At this right moment 3:1. The only problem she had since started the diet were kidney stones in 2002. Nothing else. Grateful to the diet she doesn’t take any kind of medicine to avoid seizures. Her health is perfect, no colesterol at all. We are at your will for any issues related to her health.
Jimmy Moore: One thing we’ve not talked about, I alluded to a little bit earlier, is LDL particle size. When people hear LDL, they think “Oh that’s one number.” Uh-uh, it’s actually 2 major numbers, it’s a lot more than 2. It’s about 6 or 8 sub-fractions of LDL sizes. Primarily it’s pattern A and pattern B. Pattern A being the large fluffy kind. Pattern B being the small dense kind.
By doing this, HDL prevents cholesterol from accumulating and clogging arteries. Thus, elevated levels of cholesterol are integral in maintaining optimal cardiovascular health. [3] HDL is typically measured through an HDL-C test, which shows the concentration of cholesterol bound to HDL. Clinically acceptable levels of HDL cholesterol are 40-60 mg/dl and 50-60 mg/dl for women. [4] HDL levels above 60 mg/dl are ideal as they lower the risk of cardiovascular illnesses. [4]
In fact, once all our our reserved glucose/glycogen runs out after several days on a low-carb, keto diet, our bodies create compounds called ketone bodies (or ketones) from our own stored body fat, as well as from fats in our diet. In addition, researchers have discovered that ketones contain main benefits, such as fat loss, suppressing our appetites, boosting mental clarity and lowering the risk for a number of chronic diseases.

Mitochondria generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) during their metabolic activities. In normal cells, the production of ROS and their elimination by antioxidants are kept in balance.10 Intriguingly, a higher incidence of errors, or mutations, in mitochondrial DNA have been observed in many human cancers, likely as a result of uncontrolled ROS production and oxidative stress.11


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 

Meat – like grass-fed selections – and fresh veggies are more expensive than most processed or fast foods. What you spend on Keto-friendly foods will vary with your choices of protein source and quality. You can select less-expensive, leaner cuts of meat and fatten them up with some oil. Buying less-exotic, in-season veggies will help keep you within budget.
But what surprised me – and what began to concern others I knew in the medical community – was some time later the deafening silence about the trial’s outcome, and what seemed to be a blackout about the actual data. Eventually, the study results were published indicating that 42 subjects had been ultimately recruited for the trial, not the planned 70, and not a single one of these had responded to the drug.
This uncoupling of glycolysis from the citric acid cycle and electron transport, and the supposed fundamental dependency of cancer cells on anaerobic metabolism, has been studied extensively since Warburg’s day, with many scientists around the world claiming to confirm, then adding to, Warburg’s hypothesis. As Dr. Seyfried correctly points out, in more recent times, cancer researchers have begun drifting away from the study of disordered cellular physiology, enamored as they are of genetic abnormality as the primary and only driving force in cancer formation and growth.
Energy Deprivation. By its nature, the ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates (typically 20 to 50 grams/day) and naturally restricts calorie consumption. This restricts the amount of fuel that cancer cells receive, even for the cancer cells that are able to thrive off of multiple substrates. Furthermore, almost all cancer cells seem to lack the ability to use the ketones produced when carbs consumption is restricted. Thus, cancer patients who are keto-adapted will probably be the most effective at starving cancer cells.
Your glycogen stores can still be refilled while on a ketogenic diet. A keto diet is an excellent way to build muscle, but protein intake is crucial here. It’s suggested that if you are looking to gain mass, you should be taking in about 1.0 – 1.2g protein per lean pound of body mass. Putting muscle on may be slower on a ketogenic diet, but that’s because your total body fat is not increasing as much.5Note that in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, both endurance athletes and obese individuals see a physical performance for the first week of transition.
I'm reading this in disbelief. I feel kind of numb to be honest. I'm in collection for thousands because of all the medical treatments, surgeries, and travel. For nearly 8 years my wife has worked two and sometimes 3 jobs and every time I was well enough I worked two jobs trying to catch up and still we fell behind. Call it pride or stupidity, but we never asked for help of any kind. I take care of older neighbors and spend much of my free time working with disabled veterans. I feel like I've given everything I had to help others my whole life. Thank You one and all!

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]
Further, the authors revealed that only 60 to 65% of patients with epilepsy become seizure free using medication while 35% are resistant to the effects of medication. And they used these statistics to justify this study. They further stated that there has been an “exponential” growth in interest in using the ketogenic diet for the treatment of epilepsy.
Dr. Campos, it is unfortunate that you retain the medical community’s negative stance on the ketogenic diet, probably picked up in medical school when you studied ketoacidosis, in the midst of an obesity and type II diabetes epidemic that is growing every year, especially among populations who will never see the Harvard Health Letter. The medical community has failed in reversing this trend, especially among children, and the public is picking up the tab, in the form of higher health insurance premiums to treat chronic metabolic diseases which doctors cannot cure. The ketogenic diet does not bid its adherents to eat unhealthy processed meats, and the green leafy vegetables that it emphasizes are important in a number of nutritional deficiencies. People lose weight on the ketogenic diet, they lose their craving for sugar, they feel more satiety, they may become less depressed, their insulin receptors sensitivity is improved, and these are all the good outcomes you fail to mention. There is a growing body of research which demonstrates the neuroprotective effects of the ketogenic diet to slow cancer progression, as well as diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, for which there are no effective medical treatments. Please respect your patients by providing them with evidence-based medical outcomes, not opinions.
If you are on, or considering going on, a ketogenic diet, you are probably already aware that it is a hugely powerful way to cut body fat quickly, easily and safely. You may also have read about its other health benefits, including its ability to stabilize blood glucose levels, making you feel energetic all day long and cutting out sugar cravings, as well as helping prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. What you may not have heard about yet, is evidence from a recent study that suggests that a ketogenic diet can prevent cancer, and can slow the growth of existing tumors.
Unfortunately, that path isn’t so clear-cut and will differ among individuals. The transition to a ketogenic diet might also differently affect hormones than maintaining the plan long-term. Hormones are complicated, and other factors beyond diet—including sleep quality, stress levels, circadian rhythm nutrient status, and your overall health—dramatically affect whether they become balanced or unbalanced.
Typically known as the “bad cholesterol” to its healthy counterpart HDL cholesterol, increased levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). [14] Some studies show a strong correlation between LDL cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular diseases in both men and women. [15] Evidence also suggests that decreasing blood levels of LDL-C reduces the risk of CVD. [16]
A recent study found that ketone supplementation extended survival in mice with metastatic cancer. But while it’s true that most cancers have a highly anaerobic metabolism, this in not universal. If proven to be effective, it’s likely that ketone supplementation would be an additional treatment rather than a stand alone treatment for cancer, because of its robust nature.
Additionally, HDL cholesterol may have anti-inflammatory effects. A recent research study published by De Nardo et al shows that HDL may be responsible in reducing inflammatory activity by regulating immune system cells called macrophages. [5] Furthermore, epidemiological studies have noted an inverse association between levels of HDL and certain forms of cancer. [6, 7]
During that first meeting, Kelley described in some detail the tenets of his therapy. In summary, it involved three basic components: individualized diet, individualized supplement programs with large doses of pancreatic enzymes Kelley believed had an anti-cancer effect, and detoxification routines such as the coffee enemas. He fervently believed that each patient required a protocol designed for his or her particular metabolic, physiologic, and biochemical needs, and that one diet would never be suitable for all.
Proponents of the super-high-fat, low-protein approach argue that protein kicks the body out of ketosis by supplying amino acids for gluconeogenesis (simply put, turning non-carbs into fuel); however, research indicates that the impact of dietary protein on gluconeogenesis and glucose flux is nearly negligible, making this argument irrelevant. (42) In my practice, we have found that usual protein intakes (15 to 20 percent of calories) do not have appreciable effects on blood ketone levels. Besides, a super-high-fat, low-protein diet typically has more drawbacks than benefits—it may cause weight gain, muscle loss, fatigue, and chronic hunger. Don’t be afraid of including plenty of protein in your ketogenic diet; protein is a powerful tool that will satiate your appetite while facilitating fat loss and preventing muscle loss.

There is not one “standard” ketogenic diet with a specific ratio of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat). The ketogenic diet typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day—less than the amount found in a medium plain bagel—and can be as low as 20 grams a day. Generally, popular ketogenic resources suggest an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein. For a 2000-calorie diet, this translates to about 165 grams fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, and 75 grams protein. The protein amount on the ketogenic diet is kept moderate in comparison with other low-carb high-protein diets, because eating too much protein can prevent ketosis. The amino acids in protein can be converted to glucose, so a ketogenic diet specifies enough protein to preserve lean body mass including muscle, but that will still cause ketosis.


Here’s what happens when you eat low carb, high fat, keto. The small LDLP number goes way down. Along with the triglycerides dropping, along with the HDL going up, along with all those other great markers that improve that nobody’s paying attention to in the medical profession, your small LDL goes down. The question that comes into play here is “What about the number of total particles?” That’s the debate that nobody’s going to answer until we do some studies on it.
Importantly, cholesterol doesn’t travel around your bloodstream on its own. As a hydrophobic (water-repelling) substance, it must be packaged within lipoproteins to move around the bloodstream. So that means when we talk about blood cholesterol levels, we’re referring to the amount of cholesterol contained in different lipoprotein particles. In addition to cholesterol, these lipoprotein particles also contain special proteins called apolipoproteins, triglycerides and other compounds.
Leanne: Billion. Okay, let’s talk a little bit about Staten, I can’t remember what book it was but they were saying that cholesterol is really important for brain health. You mentioned that too, the cholesterol uses the nutrient and moves it up to your brain, it’s really important. What I was reading is that as we age our cholesterol actually increases slightly to help with that aging process. You often meet people that are in their 40s, 50s, I know a lot of people in my family are now on Staten because their cholesterol is increasing. I always say, “Maybe that’s your body’s way of protecting yourself against aging.”
Type 2 Diabetes:  Although the current mainstream diabetes treatment advice to eat 45-65% of calories from carbohydrate is starting to change, many practitioners are still giving out the old advice. Since carbohydrate is the prime driver of higher blood sugar, this advice is detrimental to diabetic health because it results in blood sugar spikes and crashes, which in turn causes a greater need for medication and insulin. Those high blood sugars also result in the complications of diabetes.  In contrast, a ketogenic diet reduces and in many cases, eliminates the need for diabetic medications and lowers the number of insulin units needed to manage blood sugar.  For people with Type 2 diabetes, ketogenic diets remove the trigger (carbohydrate intake) and reverse the underlying insulin resistance which causes the disease. As a result, long term complications are reversed or avoided.  Learn more in our Conquer Type 2 Diabetes e-Book  or click on the book cover.
“But if you’re a young and healthy adult, I have no safety concerns about removing carbs,” he adds. “It’s really not a radical concept.” You may experience some short-term issues like bad breath, constipation and flu-like symptoms. (Drinking lots of water can help.) But the lasting benefits could range from reduced hunger and increased energy to weight loss. Some preliminary research even hints at memory improvements.
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He’s the author of the books “Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems,” “Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine” and the upcoming “Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease” (February 2019, published by Little, Brown Spark). He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.

As you might suspect, this metabolic theory of cancers is controversial in the mainstream cancer paradigm, but there’s already promising initial evidence to support it, and most traditional cancer specialists concede that this metabolic theory has merit, and it may be a piece of the puzzle. I would say that the dominant paradigm idea right now is that metabolic dysfunction is likely one of the pieces of the puzzle, but that cancer is multifactorial and probably does involve genetic mutations that may be independent of metabolic dysfunction and that there are other causes that may not be directly related to metabolic dysfunction.
Leftovers will be another thing we will take into consideration. Not only is it easier on you, but why put yourself through the hassle to cook the same food more than once? Breakfast is something I normally do leftover style, where I don’t have to worry about it in the morning and I certainly don’t have to stress about it. Grab some food out the fridge, pre-made for me, and head out the door. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?
Short-term results for the LGIT indicate that at one month approximately half of the patients experience a greater than 50% reduction in seizure frequency, with overall figures approaching that of the ketogenic diet. The data (coming from one centre's experience with 76 children up to the year 2009) also indicate fewer side effects than the ketogenic diet and that it is better tolerated, with more palatable meals.[18][50]
The most common side effects are constipation that can be supported with some dietary adjustments and laxatives. Other side effects that may occur that are relatively minor and transient include: kidney stones, low sugars, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sleepiness. There are some reports of longer term side effects that may include higher cholesterol, reduced bone health, kidney stones, slower linear growth velocity and abnormal heart rhythm.
I’m following the ketogenic diet and I find it very easy, pleasant and varied. I can even say that my diet today is more varied than the previous one. I do not intend to leave this diet and I cannot really see why. My initial focus was not to lose weight, I’ve always been lean, but to feel better, well disposed. And I got it! I am very pleased, I have read a lot about it (including scientific literature) and I have influenced other people who need to lose weight or improve some aspects of their health. But from the beginning I went on my own way, without the help of a nutritionist because I did not want to suffer the influence of others’ ideas.
Dr. Luis Caicedo, a pediatric gastroenterologist and director of the Fecal Microbiota Transplant Program at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, who was not involved in the study, called the research "very exciting." It "opens the door for more investigations… and certainly gives you more data on why this ketogenic diet works so [well]" for epilepsy, Caicedo said.
With regard to Dr. Gonzales’ disagreement with Dr. Seyfried regarding ketogenic diets and cancer, it is known that cancer cells use glucose but not fatty acids for energy. Thus depriving cancer cells of glucose by means of a ketogenic diet is a logical approach. Beyond that, at the present time too little known about cancer metabolism to make any definitive statements about proper treatment. As lay people, we will leave the argument to medical professionals.
Nonetheless, enthusiastic oncologists joined with the media, portraying insurance companies as heartless, greedy bullies depriving women with breast cancer of a curative treatment. Not too long after, the trial lawyers got involved, orchestrating a series of lawsuits against various insurance companies on behalf of women wanting a BMT. In a particularly notable and telling case, Fox vs. HealthNet, the jury awarded the plaintiff, a woman diagnosed with breast cancer whose insurance carrier refused to cover the procedure, $89 million, including $77 million in punitive damages.
Ketogenic diet is one of the oldest forms of medical treatment for epilepsy. Most ketogenic diet centres have traditionally specialized in treating children ages 0 to 18 years of age. However, there is growing evidence that shows its usefulness in controlling seizures in adults. In the content below, you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the benefits and challenges of this diet therapy. Please note, the ketogenic diet should never be attempted on your own. It should only be attempted with the support of a trained medical team.
Adhering to a keto diet can be challenging and may be particularly so for cancer patients, many of whom may be enduring side effects from treatment. Entering a state of ketosis requires following a strict diet-plan, comprised of high fat foods such as bacon, heavy cream, and butter, while simultaneously restricting other categories of food, such as starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, whole grains, and certain fruits. This dramatic change in eating habits can lead to nausea and digestive upset in addition to unintentional weight loss and increased risk of malnutrition.
The current body of research on metabolic cancer treatments using a keto diet continues to grow. Keto or metabolic cancer therapy is somewhat different than the treatment for other illnesses, and is discussed in detail in my book Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet, which is based on the metabolic therapy research of Dr. Thomas Seyfried  and Dr. Dominic D'Agostino. The main idea behind the use of a ketogenic diet to treat cancer is to starve cancer cells of the sugar and other fuels they need to survive, and to provide support and protection for normal energy processes in healthy cells. The advantage of this treatment protocol is that it is non-toxic to the body, and in "wait and see" cases, it can provide an major health support advantage to the patient. The book was written for the patient and has all the details and research in an easy-to-use format.
Cyclical ketosis means you’re sometimes in ketosis and sometimes aren’t. A few days each week—the night before workout days to build glycogen stores in your muscles—try increasing your intake of berries, higher complex carb veggies (like sweet potatoes), and non-gluten grains. It might knock you out of ketosis temporarily, but it also provides a wealth of nutrients to keep you lean, healthy, and happy. This is also called flexible ketosis, which creates metabolic flexibility—the holy grail of metabolism management. I’ve also talked about cycling ketosis with intermittent fasting, which provides a win-win strategy to reach your health goals.
As I wrote in my book, “Nevertheless on the therapy [Kelley’s] he slowly began to improve, to the point his mental status normalized and over a period of a year, he progressed from a wheelchair to a walker to a cane.” When I completed my study in 1987, he had survived 5 years and was in excellent health, with no evidence of cancer in his brain or spinal canal.
Over 8–10 mmol/l: It’s normally impossible to get to this level just by eating a keto diet. It means that something is wrong. The most common cause by far is type 1 diabetes, with severe lack of insulin. Symptoms include feeling very sick with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and confusion. The possible end result, ketoacidosis, may be fatal and requires immediate medical care. Learn more
In fact, some researchers believe that the keto diet may be one of the best diets for preventing the growth of most cancers — especially those that are linked to obesity. This is because restricting carbs is a simple and effective way to improve mitochondrial function and protect our cells from the damage and inflammation that can lead to genetic mutation.
The Keto diet emphasizes weight loss through fat-burning. The goal is to quickly lose weight and ultimately feel fuller with fewer cravings, while boosting your mood, mental focus and energy. According to Keto proponents, by slashing the carbs you consume and instead filling up on fats, you safely enter a state of ketosis. That’s when the body breaks down both dietary and stored body fat into substances called ketones. Your fat-burning system now relies mainly on fat – instead of sugar – for energy. While similar in some ways to familiar low-carb diets, the Keto diet’s extreme carb restrictions – about 20 net carbs a day or less, depending on the version – and the deliberate shift into ketosis are what set this increasingly popular diet apart.

The study also found that two types of bacteria, called Akkermansia muciniphila and Parabacteroides, were elevated by the diet. When these two types of bacteria were given in combination to mice that didn't have their own gut bacteria, the anti-seizure effect of the keto diet was restored. What's more, this combination of bacteria protected against seizures even if the mice were fed a nno-keto diet.
In another parallel experiment the mice used did not have cancer at the start, but were bred to have a genetic predisposition toward breast cancer. Almost half of these mice, when fed on the Western diet, showed cancer within the first year (the average life span of these mice is two years). Only one of the mice in this group reached its normal life expectancy, and 70% ultimately died of cancer. Of the group on the ketogenic diet, only 30% ever developed cancer, and over half reached their normal life expectancy or exceeded it.

Stem cells, wherever they may be found, can adapt quite nicely, and are far more flexible than originally believed. In laboratory animals, a liver stem cell placed into the bone marrow starts creating not liver, but bone marrow cells, a bone marrow stem cell transplanted into the liver begins to generate not bone marrow, but liver cells. The environment appears to be the key, ultimately determining the direction of stem cell development.


Cardiovascular Disease – A ketogenic diet is often feared because of its high dependence on dietary fat for energy. This misguided fear is based on the outdated notion that eating fat negatively affects cardiovascular health, in particular, blood lipids. On the contrary, a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet may actually improve blood lipid profiles, including decreased triglycerides and total and LDL cholesterol, and increased HDL cholesterol.39 40 41 A ketogenic diet might also alter the size and volume of the different LDL particles in a beneficial way, shifting from small, dense particles (believed to be atherogenic) to large, fluffy particles. 42 (See the Natural Grocers Customer Literature File Fats— Saturated for more information)
It’s a habit to enjoy a brie cheese for desert instead of a piece of chocolate cake but each are favored deserts in France. I’m personally more satisfied after a 350 calorie sized wedge of brie than the same number of calories of cake.. which will give me sugar crash and .. really I’d like two slices of cake(I’ve got a sweet tooth that once I get going it wants to keep being fed)

Make things yourself. While it’s extremely convenient to buy most things pre-made or pre-cooked, it always adds to the price per pound on items. Try prepping veggies ahead of time instead of buying pre-cut ones. Try making your stew meat from a chuck roast. Or, simply try to make your mayo and salad dressings at home. The simplest of things can work to cut down on your overall grocery shopping.
Then you’ve got "keto-approved" junk foods like cookies, candy, and bread that promise to keep you in ketosis even as you indulge in your favorite comfort foods. The flip side is ketogenic diets that include almost no plant foods, focusing instead on meat, meat, and more meat. Bring on the bacon. Slather your steak in butter. Who needs vegetables? (Hint: You do!) Ketogenic diets are a practical invitation for vegetable-phobic people, and when you skip out on gut-healing plant foods, you create microbiome mayhem.
It starts with limiting carbohydrate intake to just 20–30 net grams per day. “Net carbs” describes the amount of carbs remaining once dietary fiber is taken into account. Because fiber is indigestible once consumed, simply don’t count grams of fiber toward their daily carb allotment. So that means subtracting grams of fiber from total carb games, to give you the total net carbs.
So what, exactly, does “ketogenic” mean? The name refers to a specific type of energy-carrying molecule, called a ketone. “Most people are always in a state of glucosis, meaning they’re burning glucose from carbohydrates for energy,” Westman says. “But you determine what your body burns for fuel based on what you feed it.” By severely restricting carbs and increasing your fat intake, your body can shift into a state of “ketosis,” which means it’s burning fat instead of glucose. “Ketosis used to be considered abnormal, but it can actually be very healthy,” Westman says.
Compared to TBI, the amount of scientific literature documenting the beneficial effects of a ketogenic diet for epilepsy is vast. The ketogenic diet was first introduced as a therapy in the 1920s, when doctors learned it could successfully treat seizures in children with refractory epilepsy. (27) Interest in the ketogenic diet waned when antiepileptic drugs were introduced in the 1960s and ’70s; however, the ketogenic diet has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity in the epilepsy community, particularly among those suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy.
In all fairness, you can do these plans without eating all those processed foods, although (let’s face it!) convenience and cravings mean you’ll likely be tempted to try them. And they tap into that weakness for "cheating" by making these options easily available. Who would refuse comfort food that is "compliant" with a diet? You can have your cake and eat it too, literally. I call this pseudo-dieting. Even then, eating potentially reactive foods like dairy (which is allowed from the very beginning on Atkins) can either aggravate or trigger food sensitivities ("no bueno").

This describes me, too. I am not a doctor, but after months and years of research, have decided to follow the ketogenic lifestyle and the naturopathic cancer treatments prescribed by my physician. It took a few months to find a doctor who embraced this, but he is worth it. Keto had my diabetes under control long before we realized that cancer was trying to get me as well. I take no chemical drugs for anything. Diet, exercise, and a few supplements take care of my health needs. You don’t know me, but three years ago, I needed a walker and a wheelchair. Today at 60, I walk under my own power and ride a bicycle as much as possible. Go as natural as you can, it helps. Stay away from “products” and just eat fresh, whole, natural food. (The article shows these.)
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.
Let’s go back to the research assessing how the low-carb, high-fat diets such as the ketogenic diet affect your LDL levels. In the meta-analysis by Bueno et al., low-carb diets were shown to increase HDL twice as much as low-fat diets after randomized controlled interventions. It also showed that there was a small increase in LDL-C in low-carb subjects compared to low-fat diet subjects who experienced no increase.

Just because your favorite celebrity endorses a program doesn’t mean you should try it. No plan works for everyone, and that goes double for ketogenic diets. As I mentioned before, while they can initially create fat loss, ketogenic diets were never designed to help you lose weight. Especially if you’re eating too many calories—very possible on a high-fat ketogenic diet—you can be in ketosis and not lose weight (or even gain weight). Likewise, many people lose weight just fine without ever "going keto."
However, this doesn't happen in every case or even most cases. In fact, many people see little to no increase in their LDL cholesterol while experiencing beneficial changes in other markers, such as an increase in HDL cholesterol and a decrease in triglycerides, blood sugar, and insulin levels – all of which are associated with reduced risk of CVD.
One review looked at how the KD and modified Atkins diet (MAD) helped with seizure control in adults. Across the 5 studies reviewed, 32% of KD-treated patients achieved ≥50% seizure reduction while a slightly lower 29% of MAD-treated patients hit that same target. Even more drastic was the 9% KD-treated and 5% MAD-treated patients that achieved >90% seizure frequency reduction.4
In their conclusions, they stated that the favorable response could be attributed “in part” to the calorie-restricted ketogenic diet. However, the researchers emphasized that “further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of restricted ketogenic diets, administered alone or together with standard treatment, as a therapy for GBM and possibly other malignant brain tumors.”
Animal research indicates that a ketogenic diet reduces levels of brain amyloid-beta, a misfolded protein that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease, while also restoring mitochondrial function and improving learning and memory. (18, 19, 20) Although fewer studies on a ketogenic diet have been done in humans with Alzheimer’s disease, a recent trial found a ketogenic diet to be both safe and effective for mild Alzheimer’s disease. (21)
The ketogenic diet initially was developed in the 1920s in response to the observation that fasting had antiseizure properties [1]. During fasting, the body metabolizes fat stores via lipolysis and then the fatty acids undergo beta-oxidation into acetoacetate, β-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone—ketone bodies the cell can then use as precursors to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The ketogenic diet, which is very high in fat and low in carbohydrates, is thought to simulate the metabolic effects of starvation by forcing the body to use primarily fat as a fuel source. The ketogenic diet fell out of favor with the development of new anticonvulsant agents, starting with phenytoin in 1938, but it has experienced a resurgence in use over the past 20 years, particularly in the treatment of refractory epilepsy.
And don’t associate yourself with Ralph Moss, the number one promoter of laetrile quackery and make easily refuted claims such as the claim that “chemo and radiation do not cure cancer or extend life, although cancer physicians often make this claim” and that radiation “often does more harm than good to the patient.” Given that all Dr. Seyfried has is a couple of case studies as clinical support for his treatment (see below) and I can produce reams of studies over nearly 50 years demonstrating that chemotherapy can cure specific cancers and prolong life when used appropriately, the “2% gambit” notwithstanding, it’s not a winning proposition, and it sure doesn’t help your credibility to use the language of cancer quacks to promote your idea.
The ketogenic diet appears to enhance mitochondrial function via a number of potential pathways. Given the important role of mitochondrial dysfunction in many neurodegenerative diseases, it is important to outline potential mechanisms of apparent disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. It is unclear whether there is something specific or direct about the ketogenic diet (ie, provision of ketone bodies or fatty acids) or, perhaps more importantly, the metabolic changes it induces.
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.
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Kossoff, E. H., Zupec-Kania, B. A., Ephane Auvin, S., Ballaban-Gil, K. R., Bergqvist, A. G. C., Blackford, R., et al. (2018). Optimal clinical management of children receiving dietary therapies for epilepsy: updated recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group. Child Neurol. Soc. Epilepsia Open 3, 175–192. doi: 10.1002/epi4.12225
Inadequate sleep will rapidly derail your keto efforts by increasing your blood sugar and levels of stress hormones. Getting eight to nine hours of high-quality sleep per night should be a priority. Maintain a regular bedtime schedule and practice sleep hygiene strategies such as keeping your bedroom completely dark at night, lowering the ambient temperature to around 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and avoiding blue light exposure a couple of hours before bed with blue light-blocking glasses.
For an estimated 25 to 30% of people – whether weight loss occurs or not – LDL cholesterol goes up significantly in response to very-low-carb diets, sometimes by 200% or more. Many of these folks seem to belong to a group that Dave Feldman at Cholesterol Code refers to as lean mass hyper-responders (LMHRs). These often healthy people are sometimes shocked to discover that their LDL cholesterol has soared above 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L) after going keto.
Dr. Seyfried does include a chapter toward the book’s end entitled “Case Studies and Personal Experiences in using the Ketogenic Diet for Cancer Management.” Here, Dr. Seyfried provides a description of a pilot study, written by the investigators themselves, discussing the use of the ketogenic diet in children with inoperable brain cancer. However, the authors admit the study was intended only to evaluate the diet’s tolerability and effect on glucose metabolism as determined by PET scanning, not treatment benefit or survival.
In the 1920s, a German biochemist named Otto Warburg observed that most cancers get their fuel differently than normal cells, a phenomenon dubbed the "Warburg effect". The difference, in simple terms, is that cancer cells consume a lot more glucose than healthy cells. So, because cancer relies heavily on glucose, the idea is that putting your body in a state of ketosis — which lowers blood sugar levels — might effectively "starve" cancer cells because there's less glucose to consume.
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.
Dr. Jockers, thank you so much for this clear and detailed article! I began a keto-style diet around August 2019. By late November, I had fallen from 197 lbs. to under 175 lbs., dropped from 28% to 18% body fat, and anecdotally felt much better in all aspects of my health. All of this occurred exclusively due to diet, I believe– I had almost no exercise routine to speak of, and my desk-based job is pretty sedentary. My family practice doc was surprised and happy with the results as well when I met with him in January… until my blood work came back showing total cholesterol at 257, triglycerides at 236, LDL-C at 162, and HDL at 50.
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.
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