On a “normal” American diet, carbohydrate intake is high (about 40-60% of calories) while fat intake, and especially saturated fat, is limited. In contrast, carbohydrate intake on a keto diet is only about 2-4% of calories. When carb intake is low, meals are delicious and satiating. Hunger goes away, and more importantly, this dietary change has some powerful and beneficial metabolic effects on the human body, in part because it lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. 

In his books and in his office working with his own patients, Dr. Atkins warned that to reap the benefits of his diet, one must reach and stay in a state of ketosis, much like the traditional Eskimos. Even a slight deviation from the diet, some ill-advised cheating with a cookie or candy, could stop ketosis in its tracks, and with it, the value of the diet.


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]
Health Impact News has reported on many of the disease reversing results of the ketogenic (high fat-moderate protein-low carb) diet. Now, a new study is looking at the positive effects of gut bacteria among those following a ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Even though Johns Hopkins used a ketogenic diet for curing epilepsy over 80 years ago, when medical drugs did not help epilepsy effectively, mainstream medicine continues to rely on new and expensive toxic drugs for epileptic children. The “cocktail” combinations of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed often worsens childhood epilepsy. Health Impact News previously published a report on how a four year old child with refractory epilepsy (not treatable with pharmaceutical medications), was treated at the Rochester, Minnesota Mayo Clinic using a ketogenic diet. At first, the child was also kept on pharmaceuticals. The results were poor until he was taken off the medications; then he began healing completely. A new Chinese study on pediatric epileptic cases may even draw the attention of mainstream medical professionals, due to the results seen in children's gut microbiota structure when following a high-fat ketogenic diet.
The mainstay of treatment for epilepsy is pharmaceutical intervention. As I recently noted, more and more we are seeing surgical procedures being performed for those individuals who have not had a significant improvement with drugs. I indicated that at least some individuals are gluten sensitive and may benefit from a gluten-free diet which potentially could keep them from undergoing potentially life-threatening surgery as a treatment for their epilepsy.
A growing body of research indicates that ketogenic diets are more effective than low-fat diets for sustaining long-term weight loss in obese adults. (2, 3) Furthermore, the weight loss observed on a ketogenic diet is primarily visceral fat, the hard-to-lose fat located deep in the abdominal cavity; lean body mass, on the other hand, is preserved. (4)
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.

• Standard ketogenic diet (SKD) — SKD is the type I typically recommend for most people, because it is very effective. It focuses on high consumption of healthy fats: As I explain in my book, "Fat for Fuel," you should aim for having 70 to 85 percent of your total daily calories to come from healthy fats. For your protein intake, the general rule of thumb is to follow the formula of 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of your lean body mass.


Dr. Chris Masterjohn postulates that this ratio is an accurate marker for the amount of time that LDL particles spend in the blood [26]. This is an important thing to take note of because the LDL particles are more likely to become oxidized and cause atherosclerosis when they are in the blood for longer periods of time. This gives us a deeper explanation of why the authors of the 2003 meta-analysis looked at the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio rather than total cholesterol levels.


When there is ample glucose available (derived from dietary carbohydrates), the body will use that glucose as its main fuel source for producing ATP (the body’s main energy currency). Small amounts of glucose can be stored, but once incoming glucose has been used up and those stores run out, the body shifts gears and increases the use of fatty acids (derived from body fat stores or dietary fats) to produce energy. While most cells can directly use free fatty acids in order to produce sufficient energy, fats cannot cross the blood-brain barrier making them inaccessible to the brain as a fuel source. To overcome this, the liver converts fat into acetoacetate, acetone and beta-hydroxybutyrate (a.k.a. ketone bodies or ketones) which can be used by red blood cells and cells of the central nervous system (including the brain) as an alternative energy source when glucose levels are low. Importantly, the vast majority of other bodily tissues can also use ketones to produce energy. In fact, ketone production is a normal part of healthy metabolism and small amounts of ketones are produced regularly—such as during extended exercise or during an overnight fast. If glucose supplies continue to remain low, the body will increase its production of ketones. Using ketones as an alternative energy source reduces muscle protein breakdown, when carbohydrate is low. In addition to being used for energy, ketones have signaling functions that positively regulate genes related to aging, oxidative stress and healthy sympathetic nervous system activity. 6 7

The traditional Atkins’ Diet was certainly high fat, in the range of 70% or more, nearly all from animal sources, and with minimal dietary carbs, less than 10%. Dr. Atkins, famed for his all-encompassing emphasis on ketosis during his early years as a diet doctor, insisted his patients routinely check the levels of ketone bodies in their urine several times a day, using special “ketone strips.”

Our regimen is a modification of the classic ketogenic diet, similar to the Atkins diet. Recent studies have shown that this modified Atkins diet lowers seizure rates in nearly half of adults that try it, usually within a few months. Unlike the ketogenic diet for children, this therapy does not require a hospital stay, an initial fasting period, food weighing, fluid measuring, or calorie counting.
There are theoretically no restrictions on where the ketogenic diet might be used, and it can cost less than modern anticonvulsants. However, fasting and dietary changes are affected by religious and cultural issues. A culture where food is often prepared by grandparents or hired help means more people must be educated about the diet. When families dine together, sharing the same meal, it can be difficult to separate the child's meal. In many countries, food labelling is not mandatory so calculating the proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrate is difficult. In some countries, it may be hard to find sugar-free forms of medicines and supplements, to purchase an accurate electronic scale, or to afford MCT oils.[54]
What was formerly only qualitative has now become quantitative. What was formerly only probable has now become certain. The era in which the fermentation of the cancer cells or its importance could be disputed is over, and no one today can doubt that we understand the origin of cancer cells if we know how their large fermentation originates, or, to express it more fully, if we know how the damaged respiration and the excessive fermentation of the cancer cells originate.”
As far back as the 5th century, Hippocrates noted that fasting reduced seizures, and in the 1920s a diet was developed to mimic changes brought on by fasting that could be maintained long-term, specifically to treat seizures, and thus the ketogenic diet was born.1 This original ketogenic diet was very low in carbohydrates and protein and supplied 80-90% of the calories as fat.2 3 While the original ketogenic diet was successful in treating intractable childhood epilepsy, it fell out of favor when the modern antiepileptic drugs became available. In the 1990s the diet began to see a resurgence as people once again turned to it for difficult-to-treat cases of childhood epilepsy, such as those that do not respond to medication, and as a weight loss tool. The most recent research on the benefits of the ketogenic diet and ketones, in particular, have expanded to examine its possible therapeutic effects on other neurological diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even cancer.

Initial studies indicate that the ketogenic diet appears effective in other metabolic conditions, including phosphofructokinase deficiency and glycogenosis type V (McArdle disease). It appears to function in these disorders by providing an alternative fuel source. A growing body of literature suggests the ketogenic diet may be beneficial in certain neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In these disorders, the ketogenic diet appears to be neuroprotective, promoting enhanced mitochondrial function and rescuing adenosine triphosphate production.
One of the primary culprits of chronic inflammation in our society is a poor diet full of sugars and processed vegetable oils. In fact, blood sugar and measurements of insulin resistance are a much more accurate predictor of heart disease risk. I often look at values such as fasting glucose, HbA1c, and fasting insulin as a means of determining the inflammatory state of someone’s body.

One of the truly exciting new frontiers in nutrition therapy is the study of the high-fat low-carb ketogenic diet, especially in relation to preventing and curing cancer. The ketogenic diet as a therapeutic diet is not new. It has been around at least since the 1920s, when researchers at Johns Hopkins discovered that the diet could cure some children from epileptic seizures where drugs had failed.


Advocates for the diet recommend that it be seriously considered after two medications have failed, as the chance of other drugs succeeding is only 10%.[9][31][32] The diet can be considered earlier for some epilepsy and genetic syndromes where it has shown particular usefulness. These include Dravet syndrome, infantile spasms, myoclonic-astatic epilepsy, and tuberous sclerosis complex.[9][33]
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.
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
One of the truly exciting new frontiers in nutrition therapy is the study of the high-fat low-carb ketogenic diet, especially in relation to preventing and curing cancer. The ketogenic diet as a therapeutic diet is not new. It has been around at least since the 1920s, when researchers at Johns Hopkins discovered that the diet could cure some children from epileptic seizures where drugs had failed.

Over the past two years Feldman, a software engineer with a strong interest in science, has performed several dozen experiments on himself and collected data from a number of other keto and low-carb dieters whose cholesterol levels have increased far beyond the “optimal” range. However, whether this is problematic or not isn't entirely clear, especially since their other biomarkers typically improve or remain stable.
The American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society recommend adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) as the first line of therapy for infantile spasms. The goals for this medication are to completely stop the infantile spasms and improve the abnormal EEG. In some cases, pediatric neurologists prescribe the seizure medication Sabril® (vigabatrin), especially for patients with tuberous sclerosis. Both drugs work well, but your child's doctor will talk with you about which medicine may be the better choice for your child.
Ketosis: What is ketosis? Ketosis is a metabolic process, and it involves the body burning stored fat instead of glucose. Some people try to induce this with a low-carb diet, which can be healthy. However, ketosis also produces acid, and high levels of this can cause severe complications, especially for people with diabetes. Learn more here. Read now

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.


Overall, 12 studies including 1257 patients examined the impact of a VLCKD on HDL cholesterol. When assessing the data, the individuals assigned to a VLCKD achieved an average increase in HDL of 0.12 mmol/L. This was double the average increase in HDL of the low-fat dieters who achieved an average increase in HDL of 0.06 mmol/L. [11] As a result, the authors concluded that carbohydrate-restricted diets confer cardiovascular benefits because they improve levels on HDL in the body. [11] 

Historically, elevated blood cholesterol levels have been linked to atherosclerosis, a condition involving deposits of plaque that cause the arterial lining to thicken and potentially impair blood flow to the heart. The process of plaque deposition is complex but involves white blood cells, calcium, cholesterol, and other substances converging at the site of inflamed or damaged arteries.
In a recent review of studies of the MAD, there were 31 studies completed from multiple centers with a total of 423 children and adults enrolled across those studies. Adding everyone together, 47% of patients had a >50% reduction in their seizures, which is comparable to the results found for the ketogenic diet. It is important to understand that for children under the age of 2 years and those who receive formula-only nutrition the classic ketogenic diet is preferable. For older adolescents and adults, the MAD is often a better option due to increased tolerability.
In fact, a lot of people suffer from low levels of HDL cholesterol, which prevents their body from clearing out cholesterol from the blood. Most Americans don’t have enough HDL to decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease[ix]. Crazy enough, low cholesterol levels are actually associated with increased mortality from stroke and heart disease[x].
A small Feb. 20, 2017, study looked at the impact of a six-week ketogenic diet on physical fitness and body composition in 42 healthy adults. The study, published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, found a mildly negative impact on physical performance in terms of endurance capacity, peak power and faster exhaustion. Overall, researchers concluded, “Our findings lead us to assume that a [ketogenic diet] does not impact physical fitness in a clinically relevant manner that would impair activities of daily living and aerobic training.” The “significant” weight loss of about 4.4 pounds, on average, did not affect muscle mass or function.
No single food can cure cancer, but some research has shown a link between the keto diet and slowed growth of some types of tumors in mice. A few studies in humans with certain types of brain tumors have also shown promise. On the contrary, a very low-fat diet has been found to reduce risk of recurrence for certain types of breast cancer. Some researchers are conducting more clinical trials with cancer patients, looking at how diet affects patients, along with chemotherapy and radiation. We hope that this research, as well as future research, will help us better understand the role that the keto plays in cancer.
H. Guldbrand, B. Dizdar, B. Bunjaku, T. Lindström, M. Bachrach-Lindström, M. Fredrikson, C. J. Östgren, F. H. Nystrom, “In Type 2 Diabetes, Randomisation to Advice to Follow a Low-carbohydrate Diet Transiently Improves Glycaemic Control Compared with Advice to Follow a Low-fat Diet Producing a Similar Weight Loss,” Diabetologia (2012) 55: 2118. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-012-2567-4.
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.
As you’ve looked into the keto diet, you’ve probably read that sugar is our primary fuel source, and this is true — but cancer cells handle glucose a bit differently. At rest, for example, our healthy cells will not produce lactic acid. Conversely, cancer cells have such an issue with normal energy metabolism that it essentially can only burn glucose in a way that produces lactic acid. By producing energy in this way, the cell will become more and more cancerous as it makes itself vulnerable to further mutations without any hope of repair.
Cancer cells need to carefully maintain their “redox status”. Redox status is the balance between oxidants and antioxidants. Oxidants, including free radicals and other “reactive” chemical species, are made continuously in every living cell as a byproduct of metabolic activities. Several antioxidant systems have evolved in our body to specifically counter the harmful actions of these oxidants.
HDL cholesterol transfers the extra cholesterol from the blood to the liver for removal from the body and is also referred to as “good” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol transfers the cholesterol within the bloodstream to the parts of the body where cell repair is needed and also inside the arteries. It is also known as “bad” cholesterol. Total cholesterol is HDL and LDL cholesterol combined (4).
It’s understandable that you may be wondering how to sort out the facts and interpret the latest research. Who is a good candidate for keto, and who should avoid it? How does someone successfully adhere to a ketogenic diet? In this article, I’ll answer these important questions and others so you can make an educated decision about whether keto is right for you.
Whatever the source of protein you consume, make sure they are organic grass fed and antibiotic-free, as they are generally healthier and safer for your body. In one study, researchers indicated that grass fed beef (regardless of cuts) contains more omega-3 acid and conjugated linoleic acid compared to grain-fed beef.21 As for non-meat sources of protein, try to look for organic and pesticide-free varieties.

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! 

Stock up: Jet.com's new City Grocery service (available in select markets) makes it easy to ensure you always have keto-friendly veggies in the fridge. We love their delivery scheduling tool; simply fill your cart, then decide which day and timeframe you'd like your groceries delivered. One of our faves: Urban Roots Green Squash Veggie Noodles are great for whipping up low-carb "pasta" dishes.
When a person first starts onto a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, it takes the body several days to a few weeks to shift from relying on glucose to instead rely on fat. During this transition, people may experience what is sometimes referred to as the “keto-flu”—muscle cramps, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and sugar and carbohydrate cravings.49 There may also be increased urination which can result in a loss of minerals, such as sodium and potassium. To counter these effects one should strive to get more minerals and in particular, more sodium and potassium, drink plenty of water, get some exercise and ensure adequate caloric intake. Once the body becomes keto-adapted, these symptoms largely resolve, and many people report increased energy, decreased cravings and weight loss.
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