Why is the keto diet good for you? A keto diet is one that prioritizes fats and proteins over carbohydrates. It can help reduce body weight, acne, and the risk of cancer. Find out about the mechanisms through which it achieves these benefits and the research that supports it. This MNT Knowledge Center article also discusses the risks of the diet. Read now
Great article! I have been diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia, however, I am not concerned at all. I continue to follow a restricted calorie, zero carb ketogenic diet, that I have been doing strictly for the last year and a half. All of my health markers are excellent, except for LDL particle number and total, and it is the large buoyant type. I am middle-aged (46). I did get both a CT scan and tri-vascular scan, and got perfect scores for both. That alleviated any concerns that I might have previously had. Since this diet has improved my gut issues, bodyfat, blood pressure, insulin, blood glucose, mood, energy, A1C, CRP, etc., - basically every single health parameter I have tested, I am sticking with it! Thank you for clearing up the confusion surrounding LDL!
When she first consulted with Dr. Kelley in 1977 she was in a near terminal state after having failed intensive chemotherapy. Nonetheless, despite her dire situation within a year she had experienced complete regression of her extensive bony lesions, as documented by x-ray studies. Though in subsequent years her compliance with her nutritional regimen would waver and her disease would in turn recur, invariably when she resumed Kelley’s treatment the myeloma would go into remission.
One approach to this question has been to examine the variations in the size of the LDL particles in the blood. With a well-formulated ketogenic diet, we see a shift away from the small dangerous LDL even when the total LDL goes up, so most of this increase is in the ‘good’ or ‘buoyant’ LDL fraction (Hallberg, 2018). Another factor to be taken into account is that during rapid weight loss, cholesterol that you had stored in your adipose tissue (ie, body fat) is mobilized as the fat cells shrink (Phinney 1990). This will artificially raise serum LDL as long as the weight loss continues, but it then comes back down once weight loss stops. To avoid being misled by this, the best strategy is to hold off checking blood lipids until a couple of months after weight loss ceases.

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.
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.
The nutritional world then, as it is today, was surely confusing, with various scientists, physicians, and lay authors promoting one diet or another, often – as in the case of Atkins and Pritikin – offering completely contradictory dietary recommendations. Fortunately, when in 1987 Dr. Atkins offered me a job, I had already found what I thought represented a solution to the dilemma of dueling dietary dogma.
Cancer cells are unlike normal cells in many ways, but one of their traits that is most unique regards insulin receptors. They have ten times more insulin receptors on their cellular surface. This enables cancer cells to gorge themselves in glucose and nutrients coming from the bloodstream at a very high rate. As you continue to consume glucose as your primary diet source, cancer cells will continue to thrive and spread. It is no surprise that the lowest survival rate in cancer patients is among those with the highest blood sugar levels.
After reading Grain Brain by Dr. Perlmutter, I called his office and was able to meet with him in person. When he read my past medical history he confidently prescribed the Ketogenic diet for me and his nutritionist worked to develop just the right set-up for my BMI. It seemed like a big change at first but really it has been much easier than I originally thought it would be. Now, after being on the diet, along with probiotics and supplements, I can say that I have been seizure free for over 4 months for the first time in over 20 years! My whole world is changing! I can work on getting my driver’s license! I can be what my family needs me to be! I believe God has used the Ketogenic diet to heal my epilepsy and I want to make sure everyone out there who is suffering from seizures has the opportunity to know about and try this amazing, risk-free treatment!
Growth Factor Suppression. The ketogenic diet suppresses insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). This molecule is associated with the formation and progression of cancerous cells. It is “upregulated” when you eat more carbohydrates, making it more likely to trigger cancer growth. Because the ketogenic diet is much lower in carbohydrates, scientists suspect that this suppresses IGF-1 production. This ultimately slows the formation of cancerous cells.
Hello, following a Keto diet with IF but cholesterol ratios not proper. Diet fats come mainly from olive oil, avocado oil, once a week beef, no butter, bacon etc. Had to go back on statins. Goal is stay away from drugs. Is there a doctor/clinic in the Boston area that you can recommend that understands/tests what you explain in this article? Please advise.
The end result of the “ketone diet” is staying fueled off of circulating high ketones (which are also sometimes called ketone bodies) — which is what’s responsible for altering your metabolism in a way that some people like to say turns you into a “fat-burning machine.” Both in terms of how it feels physically and mentally, along with the impact it has on the body, being in ketosis is very different than a “glycolytic state,” where blood glucose (sugar) serves as the body’s energy source.
Clearly, ketogenic diets are not ready for prime time as a treatment for cancer, either alone or in combination with conventional therapy. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped it from being touted by all manner of alternative cancer practitioners (i.e., quacks) and others as a cancer cure that “they” don’t want you to know about or saying things like, “…it’s nothing short of medical malpractice and negligence to fail to integrate this type of dietary strategy into a patient’s cancer treatment plan,” as Joe Mercola did. Dr. Seyfried himself has contributed to the hyperbole quite a bit as well. For example:
• High-protein ketogenic diet — This method is a variant of the SKD. In a high-protein diet, you increase the ratio of protein consumption to 10 percent and reduce your healthy fat consumption by 10 percent. In a study involving obese men that tried this method, researchers noted that it helped reduce their hunger and lowered their food intake significantly, resulting in weight loss.11
Another mouse study cited by Seyfried is one in which dietary restriction was reported to promote vessel maturation in a mouse astrocytoma model. Given that tumor angiogenesis is one of my scientific interests and I have a fair number of publications on the topic, I was interested. Unfortunately, I ended up being disappointed. This was another syngeneic model (i.e., a mouse tumor implanted in mice of the same strain from which the tumor was isolated as a cell line, like the one discussed above). Although it showed increased tumor vessel maturation (which is one mechanism by which inhibitors of angiogenesis work), I wasn’t quite convinced, because there was a distinct lack of quantification of the phenomenon, and the microscopy appears not to have been blinded, something that’s critical to avoid unconscious bias in the results. It’s not surprising that this result, which, if more convincing evidence had been obtained, could easily have appeared in Cancer Research, was published in a low tier journal. It’s an OK study, but not fantastic. Certainly it didn’t lead me to smacking myself in forehead and saying, “Of course!”
Jimmy Moore: Quite frankly. They’ve not been trained to teach you how to do nutrition, and then if they turn to nutrition they either leave it to the dietitian who has been trained in low fat, high carb diets or they’ll just “Well, the USDA my plate says blah blah blah.” They’re just parading what someone else has said. They’ve not done their own research. Just assuming that your doctor knows everything about what it takes nutritionally to make you healthy is a bad mistake.
25-30 grams a day is about my max with carbs, which my avocado … when I have avocado, that’s about half of that allotment. I have to be real careful with that. My protein is about 80-100 grams. Doesn’t sound like a lot, I’m 6 foot 3, I’m doing my standing work desk here … 6 foot three in a big guy, 80-100 grams doesn’t sound like a lot but if I go over that I start having that gluconeogenesis kick in, and I can see it on my blood sugar monitor and I can see it on my blood ketone monitor. They go in the wrong direction. You have to be real mindful. Then you’re like, okay you cut the carbs, you moderate the protein, well then what do you eat? Hmm.

Because KD is not a physiological diet, it is necessary to recognize and closely manage AE (Kossoff et al., 2009). Acute AE include dehydration, hypoglycemia, lethargy, metabolic acidosis, and gastrointestinal symptoms. However, most of the side effects involve weight loss, high levels of low-density lipoprotein, and elevated total cholesterol (Liu et al., 2018). Other important AE are gastrointestinal symptoms, which include constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
What we haven’t talked about is what raised inflammation yet. It’s two main things. I call them the twin villains in your health. Number one is, not surprising coming out of my mouth, carbohydrates are dastardly, especially the refined ones. Grains, starches, sugars, they’re just bad news for you and avoid if at all possible because they’re going to raise your inflammation the most. The second one, a lot of my low carb, keto friends are still eating. It disappoints me Leanne, because I think they don’t realize the negative impact that they’re having. It’s in just about every packaged food, even the so called low carb, keto foods. That’s vegetable oils. You really have to eliminate Canola oil, soy bean oil, cotton seed oil, corn oil … I don’t care if the American Heart Association has their stupid heart health symbol on it, it’s not heart healthy. The reason it’s not heart healthy … I’ll tell you why it’s heart healthy in a minute, why they think it is.
Chickpeas are naturally high in carbs — a single cup contains 45 grams of carbohydrates.31 However, you can modify the recipe to make it more nutritious. Try this recipe from Pete Evans, which replaces the chickpeas with beetroot.32 Beware, though, that beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, so consume them in very controlled amounts.
“There is an ion channel in the membrane of neurons which makes membrane less excitable; a potassium channel which is activated specifically by adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The more ATP is generated, the more this channel is active and the less excitable the neuron becomes,” said Pavel Klein, MD, of the Mid-Atlantic Epilepsy and Sleep Center in Bethesda, Maryland. “It has also been shown that ketone bodies also act directly to reduce the release of glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter. When less glutamate is released by a neuron, neighboring neurons are excited less and less prone to generate a seizure.”
Diets aren’t just for weight loss. What, how much, and even when we eat all affect the way our brains work. For people with epilepsy, diet can reduce the likelihood of seizures. Mackenzie Cervenka, a neurologist and director of the Adult Epilepsy Diet Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, explains what the ketogenic diet is and how it can benefit people with epilepsy.
At KetoPet, our mission is to help dogs everywhere live longer, happier lives by teaching pet parents how to feed a raw ketogenic diet. Based on our studies, we believe that a raw ketogenic diet for dogs is the optimal diet for dog health and longevity. Unfortunately, each year about 6 million dogs in the US alone will be diagnosed with cancer. We’re focused on changing those statistics by changing your dog’s diet.
There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Most anyone can safely benefit from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Below, you’ll find a short list of the benefits you can receive from a ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive list, you can also read our in-depth article here >
What is the keto diet? Rather than relying on counting calories, limiting portion sizes, resorting to extreme exercise or requiring lots of willpower, this low-carb diet takes an entirely different approach to weight loss and health improvements. It works because it changes the very “fuel source” that the body uses to stay energized: namely, from burning glucose (or sugar) to dietary fat, courtesy of keto diet recipes and the keto diet food list items, including high-fat, low-carb foods.
Leanne: Yeah totally, chill out. Do a little meditation if you need to get into the zone. Exactly. You mentioned vegetable oils causing inflammation, are there specific fats that will help us, like we’ve talked a little bit about saturated fats, we all know trans fats don’t even go there … the mono poly saturated, unsaturated, is there a certain ratio that we should be aiming for. I know you’re the guy that will just slice off butter and eat it … I am too, a little bit of Himalayan rock salt on there never hurt anyone. Are there specific facts that we should be focusing on?
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