Is The Ketogenic Diet Right For You? Nutritionists Weigh In
You may be hearing a lot about the ketogenic diet as a way to slim down while noshing on butter and heavy cream. This way of eating is suddenly hot among venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, who believe it will help them live longer and healthier, CNBC reports. Some praise the high-fat/ultra low-carb plan for helping them to lose weight and have energy all day long. Other advocates say it finally helped them to get control of their body. How does it work and could it help you? We asked Bonnie Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of “Read It Before You Eat It”; and Keri Glassman, nutritionist, registered dietitian and TODAY Tastemaker. To start with, both said they would never advise the ketogenic diet for weight loss. “Cutting out carbs is usually an invitation to overeat them at another point,” Taub-Dix said. “For a diet where you’re looking to lose weight, look good and feel good… I would not recommend a diet like this.” “For safe and effective weight loss, the carb reduction is too extreme,” Glassman added. RELATED: Read inspiring stories of ordinary people slimming down in TODAY's My Weight-Loss Journey Here’s what you need to know: What is the ketogenic diet? It’s a diet fine-tuned in the 1920s to help treat epilepsy. It does help to control seizures in some children, but it’s not recommended for adults “mostly because the restricted food choices make it hard to follow,” the Epilepsy Foundation says. The diet has just recently begun to be touted as a weight loss plan, Glassman noted. She described it as eating “mostly fat with a teeny bit of protein and carbs.” How does it work? Your body normally relies on carbohydrates for energy. It breaks them down into glucose, which is your main source of fuel. If that� Continue reading >>
A Comprehensive Beginner's Guide
What is a Keto Diet? A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It’s referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc. When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin. Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source. Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body. Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates. Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits. Make keto simple and easy by checking out our 30 Day Meal Plan. Get meal plans, shopping lists, and much more with our Keto Academy Program. Looking for Something Specific? There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical appl Continue reading >>
Ask The Nutrition Tactician: What's The Difference Between Low-carb And Keto?
The words "low-carb" and "keto" get thrown around a lot. Are they the same thing? At first glance, it may appear that if you eat one less cup of rice, you can transition from a low-carbohydrate diet to a ketogenic diet. After all, both nutritional strategies place an emphasis on reducing carbohydrates, and both are often followed for their fat-loss potential. Pretty much the same thing, right? Not so fast, ketobro. Although both diets are considered low-carb compared to the standard Western diet—you know, the one made up mostly of processed carbs and mystery ingredients—the similarities stop there, both in philosophy and execution. Here's what you need to know about low-carb and ketogenic diets so you can make an informed choice! The Low-Carbohydrate Diet Defined A low-carbohydrate diet is a pretty vague description in and of itself. After all, "low" is a relative term. But in the most effective versions of this approach, the priority is being more selective about your carbs and where they come from. In many cases, you can still eat fruit, vegetables, and beans, while eliminating or cutting back on grains, baked goods, and processed sugars. This shift from carb-dense sources to low-density ones naturally reduces the daily amount of carbs you take in. However, a low-carbohydrate diet lacks specific classifications of what "low" means, and often neglects protein and fat recommendations. Technically, if you're used to eating 300 grams of carbohydrates per day, and drop to 200 per day, you're following a lower-carbohydrate diet. If you don't replace those lost calories, you'll probably lose some weight, but it may have been the lower calories that caused it, not the lower carbs. Conversely, if you replace those missing calories with either more fat or more protein, you Continue reading >>
Why You’re Not In Ketosis
As the COO of Diet Doctor and low-carb enthusiast for years, you would have thought I’d nailed ketosis years ago. I haven’t, and here’s why. Am I still in ketosis? To get into ketosis, the most important thing is to eat maximum 20 grams of digestible carbs per day. When I went low carb in 2012, I followed that advice to the letter – replacing all high-carb foods like potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, legumes, fruit, juice, soda, and candy, with eggs, dairy, meat, vegetables, fats and berries – counting every carb I consumed. I felt great – effortless weight loss, no stomach issues, tons of energy and inspiration. But over time, something changed – I no longer felt as great as I used to. Until recently, I had no idea why. The journey to find out started with a simple question: Am I still in ketosis? The moment of truth At a Diet Doctor dinner a while ago, our CTO, Johan, gently challenged me. “Bjarte, you’re eating quite a lot of protein. Have you measured your ketones lately?”. “No”, I said, feeling slightly defensive, “I’ve never measured my ketones. Should I?”. It was wake-up time. Johan and I grabbed two blood-ketone meters from a dusty drawer, pricked a finger each, and touched the ketone strips. His results came out first – 3.0 mmol/L – optimal ketosis. He looked happy. It was my turn. The ketone meter made a weird beeping sound and the screen started blinking – 0.0 mmol/L – no ketosis whatsoever. What?! I’d been eating strict low carb for years, how could I not be in ketosis? I felt slightly embarrassed, but mainly relieved. Was this the reason I no longer felt great? Experiment 1: Eating less than 60 grams of protein a day Several of my colleagues agreed with Johan – I was eating too much protein. To test that hypothesis, I s Continue reading >>
Top 15 Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight On A Low-carb Diet
Low-carb diets are very effective. That is a scientific fact. However, as with any diet, people sometimes stop losing before they reach their desired weight. Here are the top 15 reasons why you're not losing weight on a low-carb diet. Weight loss isn't a linear process. If you weigh yourself every day, then there will be days where the scale goes down, other days where it goes up. It doesn't mean that the diet isn't working, as long as the general trend is going downwards. Many people lose a lot of weight in the first week of low-carbing, but it is mostly water weight. Weight loss will slow down significantly after that initial phase. Of course, losing weight is not the same as losing fat. It is possible, especially if you're new to weight lifting, that you are gaining muscle at the same time that you're losing fat. To make sure that you're losing, use something other than just the scale (which is a big, fat liar). Use a measuring tape to measure your waist circumference and have your body fat percentage measured every month or so. Also, take pictures. Take note of how your clothes fit. If you're looking thinner and your clothes are looser, then you ARE losing fat no matter what the scale says. Weight loss isn’t linear and there’s a lot more to weight than just body fat. Be patient and use other ways of measuring than just the scale. Some people are more carb sensitive than others. If you're eating low-carb and your weight starts to plateau, then you may want to cut back on carbs even further. In that case, go under 50 grams of carbs per day. When you go under 50 grams per day then you're going to have to eliminate most fruits from your diet, although you can have berries in small amounts. If that doesn't work either, going under 20 grams temporarily can work... eat Continue reading >>
Bulletproof Vs. Paleo Vs. Low-carb And Ketogenic Diets: What’s The Difference?
I was in my 20s when I started suffering from severe fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. I was 300 pounds, sick constantly, and almost had to drop out of grad school because I couldn’t concentrate. Back then, I thought my inability to think clearly and perform at high levels was some sort of moral failing. I would beat myself up. I would work harder and stay up later, trying to catch up with my peers. I tried every diet imaginable, including raw vegan and years of falling off the low-fat bandwagon. I hit the treadmill for hours every day. Nothing worked. So I took matters into my own hands. The Bulletproof Diet was born after a decade of working with some of the world’s top health and nutrition researchers. Over a span of about 15 years, I devoured thousands of research papers and books on human nutrition. I used my body as a testing ground to determine what worked best for my biology. The result is a diet that has helped thousands of people lose fat and gain the energy and clarity they thought they’d lost forever. So, what differentiates the Bulletproof Diet from other low-carb diets? Read on to find out. For an in-depth plan on how to boost energy and increase brain function in just two weeks, get your copy of Head Strong. Bulletproof vs. Paleo: The Big Picture If you were to map out the most popular diets, you’d see a vast spectrum of practices and plans ranging from low-fat vegan to high-fat, low-carb (HFLC). This deliciously fatty end of the spectrum is where the Bulletproof Diet and the Primal, Paleo, and Atkins diets would lie. The Paleo diet eliminates processed foods and focuses on what our paleolithic ancestors ate – mostly meat, plants, nuts, and seeds. The Bulletproof Diet is similar but designed to maximize your willpower by reducing cravings and m Continue reading >>
5 Most Common Low-carb Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)
A few months ago, I read a book called The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living. The authors are two of the world's leading researchers on low-carb diets. Dr. Jeff S. Volek is a Registered Dietitian and Dr. Stephen D. Phinney is a medical doctor. These guys have performed many studies and have treated thousands of patients with a low-carb diet. According to them, there are many stumbling blocks that people tend to run into, which can lead to adverse effects and suboptimal results. To get into full-blown ketosis and reap all the metabolic benefits of low-carb, merely cutting back on the carbs isn't enough. If you haven't gotten the results you expected on a low-carb diet, then perhaps you were doing one of these 5 common mistakes. There is no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a "low carb diet." Some would call anything under 100-150 grams per day low-carb, which is definitely a lot less than the standard Western diet. A lot of people could get awesome results within this carbohydrate range, as long as they ate real, unprocessed foods. But if you want to get into ketosis, with plenty of ketoness flooding your bloodstream to supply your brain with an efficient source of energy, then this level of intake may be excessive. It could take some self experimentation to figure out your optimal range as this depends on a lot of things, but most people will need to go under 50 grams per day to get into full-blown ketosis. This doesn't leave you with many carb options except vegetables and small amounts of berries. If you want to get into ketosis and reap the full metabolic benefits of low-carb, going under 50 grams of carbs per day may be required. Protein is a very important macronutrient, which most people aren't getting enough of. It can improve satiety and incr Continue reading >>
Low Carb Vs Keto: Why Ketosis Is Different From A Low Carb Diet
Are you making a critical mistake when it comes to ketosis? I’ve been extremely guilty of it in the past. One of the biggest mistakes for people trying to improve their health is the misconception that a low carbohydrate diet equals a ketogenic diet. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and could be killing your efforts to get all of the health benefits you are looking for. There are some critical differences in what people think a “low-carb high-fat” (LCHF) diet is and what a ketogenic diet is. High carb doesn’t mean diabetic. Just like low carb doesn’t mean ketogenic. If you’re not super down with what ketosis is, it is simply a metabolic state of using fats for energy. This provides a lot of benefits that we can get into later, but long story short, there are numerous benefits that you’re going to be missing out on if you are simply “low-carb” and not definitively in ketosis. Your low carb diet can actually be pretty brutal if it is not a ketogenic diet. As evidence, this is a maddening conversation that bubbles up more and more as I won’t shut up about ketogenic diets: Person: “Yeah, I tried ketosis and it sucked, I felt awful. Doesn’t work for me.” Me: “Hmm, that’s weird, did you check your ketone levels?” Person: “No. But, I was low carb. Ketosis isn’t for me. It sucks.” Me: “Well… low carb doesn’t mean you’re burning fats and utilizing ketones, so your body was still probably trying to use carbs as fuel, but you didn’t have enough around eating low carb, which is why it sucked.” Person: “I’m not tracking. Ketosis sucks. And so do you.” This person was low-carb, not keto. There is a huge difference. By why? Time for some definitions: Low-carb: Eating an arbitrarily “low” number of carbohydrates, or just a Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Food List, Including Best Vs. Worst Keto Foods
Ketogenic Diet Food List, Including Best vs. Worst Keto Foods Dr. Axe on Facebook989 Dr. Axe on Twitter23 Dr. Axe on Instagram Dr. Axe on Google Plus Dr. Axe on Youtube Dr. Axe on Pintrest1021 Share on Email Print Article Unlike many fad diets that come and go with very limited rates of long-term success, the ketogenic diet or keto diet has been practiced for more thannine decades(since the 1920s) and is based upon a solid understanding of physiology and nutrition science. The keto diet works for such a high percentage of people because it targets several key, underlying causes of weight gain including hormonal imbalances, especially insulin resistance coupled with high blood sugar levels , and the cycle of restricting and binging on empty calories due to hunger that so many dieters struggle with. Yet thats not a problem with whatson the keto diet food list. Rather than relying on counting calories, limiting portion sizes, resorting to extreme exercise or requiring lots of willpower (even in the face of drastically low energy levels), the ketogenic, 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 ofketo recipes and the ketogenic diet food list items, including high-fat, low-carb foods. Making that switch will place your body in a state of ketosis, when your body becomes a fat burner rather than a sugar burner. The steps are surprising simple: Increase your consumption of healthy fats. Without glucose coursing through your body, its now forced to burn fat and produce ketones instead. Once the blood levels of ketones rise to a certain point, you officially enter into ketosis. Thi Continue reading >>
7 Things Everyone Should Know About Low-carb Diets
Last week, my staff nutritionist Laura Schoenfeld wrote a guest post for my blog called “Is a Low-Carb Diet Ruining Your Health”. Perhaps not surprisingly, it has caused quite a stir. For reasons I don’t fully understand, some people identify so strongly with how many carbohydrates they eat that they take offense when a suggestion is made that low-carb diets may not be appropriate for everyone, in all circumstances. In these circles low-carb diets have become dogma (i.e. a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true). Followers of this strange religious sect insist that everyone should be on low-carb or even ketogenic diets; that all carbohydrates, regardless of their source, are “toxic”; that most traditional hunter-gatherer (e.g. Paleolithic) societies followed a low-carb diet; and, similarly, that nutritional ketosis—which is only achievable with a very high-fat, low-carb, and low-protein diet—is our default and optimal physiological state. Cut through the confusion and hype and learn what research can tell us about low-carb diets. On the other hand, I’ve also observed somewhat of a backlash against low-carb diets occurring in the blogosphere of late. While I agree with many of the potential issues that have been raised about low-carb diets, and think it’s important to discuss them, I also feel it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that low-carb diets can be very effective therapeutic tools for certain conditions and in certain situations. With this in mind, here are 7 things I think everyone should know about low-carb diets. #1: Paleo does not equal low-carb, and very low-carb/ketogenic diets are not our “default” nutritional state, as some have claimed. Some low-carb advocates have claimed that mo Continue reading >>
How I Fixed The Biggest Ketosis Mistakes
The ketogenic diet isn’t always as easy as it seems. I tried for a long time, but not until I dove deep into the research and found out how to fix all of the common mistakes was I able to enjoy the full state of ketosis. This article is to help you avoid those same mistakes. Why Try the Ketogenic Diet First, why would you want to even try ketosis? I truly enjoy trying diets and eating methodologies to research what I like and what works for me. I’ve experimented with low-carb diets, high-carb diets, and everything in between, but I’ve never cut them out to the point to achieve ketosis. What’s most exciting about the ketogenic diet to me is that, yes, it’s amazing for weight loss, but it’s not just a “diet.” Ketosis is literally a state of metabolism. You are either in or you’re out. I wanted to see and feel for myself the benefits everyone is talking about from going full Keto. My Keto Coach has a great line that goes like this: I was sold and needed to try this and commit. If you are new to researching ketosis, a quick review of the popular benefits: Mental Clarity  Fat Loss  Feeling Full  Better Sleep  Better Mood  Better Skin  The list goes on and on, including disease and inflammation reduction, better cholesterol, etc. For my purposes I didn’t care about weight loss or fat loss, I just cared about doing the diet the best I could, and to do that, I needed to prepare accordingly. Preparation Stage – Learning the Keto Basics Here is what I did to educate myself and prepare for six weeks of the Ketogenic Diet. I picked a start date and spent $30 at In-N-Out burger on a massive send-off to carbohydrates. A whole other post could be dedicated to the mistakes I made at In-N-Out. After this epic meal, it was officially time Continue reading >>
Is Ketosis Necessary On A Low-carb Diet? Let’s Ask The Experts!
One of the most asked about aspects of livin’ la vida low-carb has got to the issue of ketosis. There is so much misinformation about there about this very natural state that the body goes through when you are on a low-carb diet (primarily confusing it with a serious condition that diabetics must be careful of called ketoacidosis–NOT the same as ketosis). As such, there may be confusion that lingers out there among my readers who are just learning about this way of eating. In this recent blog post where I provided some “quickie one-liner” responses to some e-mails, I made the following statement: Being in ketosis is like being pregnant–you either are or you’re not; regardless of what the Ketosticks show you, if you are eating less than 30g carbohydrates a day, then you ARE in ketosis.? One of my readers named Charles Fred decided to respond to my statement which he disagreed with and it gets to the very heart of this issue about ketosis. Here’s what he wrote: Your statement reflects today?’s informed opinion, but my article in work, ?Unified Physiology of the Metabolic Syndrome,? has given me an unusual perspective which for the sake of brevity I?’ll state dogmatically. Ketosis need not and should not be part of low-carb eating. Low-carb diets should never be labeled as ?ketogenic? diets. Ketosis appears to be an ?Induction? phase of low-carb eating, but in fact it is a last ditch response to inadequate glucose. As such it is either temporary or avoidable. Low-carb eating is the evolution-derived diet of humans (unlike other primates). Humans are carnivores, hunters, because human evolution happened pre-fire and pre-agriculture when very few carbs were edible. For carnivores, gluconeogenesis in the liver supplies all necessary glucose. But if someone a Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Vs. Low-carb Diet: A Personal Choice
Ketogenic diets (aka keto diets, nutritional ketosis or NK) are currently all the rage, and for good reason. As I wrote in a previous post a few weeks ago, very-low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets (VLCKDs) are extremely effective for weight loss and diabetes, among other things. There's also emerging evidence suggesting they may be beneficial for certain cancers and neurological conditions like Parkinson's disease and ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Having previously worked in a clinical setting with several patients who had the misfortune of contracting these diseases, I find it very encouraging that following a ketogenic might offer some improvement for them, as well as others in the same boat. I follow a VLCKD and receive a lot of great feedback from others who have also experienced overwhelmingly positive results with this way of eating. I love hearing these success stories, so please keep them coming. However, one reader named Michelle had this to say in the comments section of my recent article: "I don't do well on a very low carb diet; I have to have around 50-70 g's of carbs a day to feel well and function. I guess this is still low carb when compared to the standard diet, but find so much prejudice against me because people say 'If you just stuck to eating VLC you would eventually lose weight and feel better'. This just is not the case with me. I've adapted the LC diet for me and I feel great and I am losing weight steadily. Please folks, stop thinking that one size fits all, it does not! Great site. Thank you for all your efforts." I was disappointed to hear that this woman -- who is most definitely following a low-carb diet and having success doing so -- feels that others are judging her for not restricting carbs to ketogenic levels (generally defined Continue reading >>
Can You Burn Fat Without Being In Ketosis?
When you're trying to lose weight, what you really want is to lose fat while preserving your lean muscle mass. Ketosis occurs when the body burns fat at a high rate. Lowering your carbohydrate intake gets you into the fat-burning zone, but you don't necessarily have to be in ketosis to achieve this goal. Video of the Day Ketosis means that your body is burning fat at high enough rates that you have a lot of ketone bodies, waste compounds produced during the burning of fat. These ketone bodies can also be burned for energy by your brain and most of your other body cells. To have ketone levels high enough to be detectable, you need to keep your carbohydrate intake lower than 50 grams per day, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. If you are in ketosis, which can be verified by using urine ketone strips, you can be 100 percent sure that your body is in fat-burning mode. During a study published in 2005 in the "Journal of the American Medical Association," researchers compared different diet plans, finding that people can lose fat without being in ketosis. If your carb intake is too high, your body prioritizes burning these carbs first. You can promote fat burning by decreasing your carbohydrate intake, but you don't necessarily need to go as low as required to be in ketosis. Restrict your carbs slightly to help your body switch into fat-burning mode more easily. You can burn fat even if you're not producing ketones as long as you create a calorie deficit. In other words, if you eat slightly less than your body needs, your body must gain energy from somewhere else, such as the fat in your love handles. To burn more fat, cut down on your portion sizes, especially of carbohydrate-rich foods such as sweets, soft drinks, bread, pasta, rice an Continue reading >>
Is Constant Ketosis Necessary – Or Even Desirable?
162 Comments Good morning, folks. With next week’s The Keto Reset Diet release, I’ve got keto on the mind today—unsurprisingly. I’ve had a lot of questions lately on duration. As I’ve mentioned before, a good six weeks of ketosis puts in place all the metabolic machinery for lasting adaptation (those extra mitochondria don’t evaporate if/when you return to traditional Primal eating). But what about the other end of the issue? How long is too long? I don’t do this often, but today I’m reposting an article from a couple of years ago on this very topic. I’ve added a few thoughts based on my recent experience. See what you think, and be sure to share any lingering questions on the question of keto timing and process. I’ll be happy to answer them in upcoming posts and Dear Mark columns. Every day I get links to interesting papers. It’s hard not to when thousands of new studies are published every day and thousands of readers deliver the best ones to my inbox. And while I enjoy thumbing through the links simply for curiosity’s sake, they can also seed new ideas that lead to research rabbit holes and full-fledged posts. It’s probably the favorite part of my day: research and synthesis and the gestation of future blogs. The hard part is collecting, collating, and then transcribing the ideas swirling around inside my brain into readable prose and hopefully getting an article out of it that I can share with you. A while back I briefly mentioned a paper concerning a ketone metabolite known as beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB, and its ability to block the activity of a set of inflammatory genes. This particular set of genes, known as the NLRP3 inflammasome, has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, and age-related macular d Continue reading >>