The ketogenic diet is based on the principle that by depleting the body of carbohydrates, which are its primary source of energy, you can force the body to burn fat for fuel, thereby maximizing weight loss. When you consume foods that contain carbohydrates, the body converts those carbohydrates into glucose, or blood sugar, which it then uses for energy. (1)
After initiation, the child regularly visits the hospital outpatient clinic where he or she is seen by the dietitian and neurologist, and various tests and examinations are performed. These are held every three months for the first year and then every six months thereafter. Infants under one year old are seen more frequently, with the initial visit held after just two to four weeks. A period of minor adjustments is necessary to ensure consistent ketosis is maintained and to better adapt the meal plans to the patient. This fine-tuning is typically done over the telephone with the hospital dietitian and includes changing the number of calories, altering the ketogenic ratio, or adding some MCT or coconut oils to a classic diet. Urinary ketone levels are checked daily to detect whether ketosis has been achieved and to confirm that the patient is following the diet, though the level of ketones does not correlate with an anticonvulsant effect. This is performed using ketone test strips containing nitroprusside, which change colour from buff-pink to maroon in the presence of acetoacetate (one of the three ketone bodies).
Fairly recently, the diet was introduced as a weight-loss diet by an Italian professor of surgery, Dr. Gianfranco Cappello of Sapienza University in Rome. In his 2012 study, about 19,000 dieters received a high-fat liquid diet via a feeding tube inserted down the nose. The study showed an average weight loss of more than 20 pounds in participants, most of whom kept it off for at least a year. The researchers reported a few minor side effects, like fatigue.
Thank you soooo much for this. I have been a big fan of your recipes for a few months-delicious! I was floundering on my low carb for a while and this holiday season was the first in years that I just ate everything…whatever I wanted. I was left feeling huge, bloated, uncomfortable in my own skin. I had forgotten what I loved about low carb, that it wasn’t complicated and I did get to eat what I loved. Thank you again for reminding that it can be easy and delicious.
Hi Melissa! Thanks for this an awesome resource, thank you so much! A quick question – do you have any suggestions for doing keto with a milk allergy? I’m gluten and dairy free due to food sensitivities, but I’d love to try keto – the only problem is that 99% of the keto recipes/guides/meal plans that I’ve found a full of DELICIOUS but evil cheese! Thanks for your help :)
The keto diet isn’t new, and it’s been around for nearly a century. It was originally developed to treat people with epilepsy. In the 1920s, researchers found that raised levels of ketones in the blood led to fewer epileptic seizures in patients. The keto diet is still used today to treat children with epilepsy who don’t respond well to anti-epileptic drugs.
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There are so many tricks, shortcuts, and gimmicks out there on achieving optimal ketosis – I’d suggest you don’t bother with any of that. Optimal ketosis can be accomplished through dietary nutrition alone (aka just eating food). You shouldn’t need a magic pill to do it. Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat (to make sure your carb and protein intake are correct).
Forget the heavy casserole recipes and try this low-carb pot pie tonight! Nothing says comfort food like a chicken pot pie. This low-carb pot pie recipe skips the traditional gluten-filled dough of chicken pot pies and replaces it with cauliflower for a more low-carb option. I simply suggest switching out the cornstarch with arrowroot or tapioca starch.
Physicians of ancient Greece treated diseases, including epilepsy, by altering their patients' diet. An early treatise in the Hippocratic Corpus, On the Sacred Disease, covers the disease; it dates from c. 400 BC. Its author argued against the prevailing view that epilepsy was supernatural in origin and cure, and proposed that dietary therapy had a rational and physical basis.[Note 3] In the same collection, the author of Epidemics describes the case of a man whose epilepsy is cured as quickly as it had appeared, through complete abstinence of food and drink.[Note 4] The royal physician Erasistratus declared, "One inclining to epilepsy should be made to fast without mercy and be put on short rations."[Note 5] Galen believed an "attenuating diet"[Note 6] might afford a cure in mild cases and be helpful in others.
To produce energy, the body typically uses carbohydrates. But after a few days on the keto diet, with its restrictive carb intake, your body cannot produce enough energy and looks for another source — breaking down stored fat to generate energy in a process called ketosis. It takes about a week for the body to start that shift from using carbohydrates or glucose, to using ketone bodies. The keto diet can help people lose weight. Some studies show those on the keto diet lose an average of five percent of their body weight, however the mechanisms are not clearly established.
When you eat tons of carbs, your blood sugar is consistently elevated, and then so is insulin. Insulin is a hormone that keeps your blood sugar in check by shuttling the glucose into cells, but when there’s a consistently high amount of insulin, your cells become resistant. This insulin resistance makes it easier to store fat, and chronically high levels of insulin also cause excessive inflammation in the body, which contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, and potentially type 2 diabetes.
Achieving ketosis is a pretty straightforward, but it can seem complicated and confusing with all of the information out there.4If you want to learn more about ketosis and the scientific process around it, you can visit a very in-depth discussion about on Dr. Peter Attia’s website. Here’s the bottom line on what you need to do, ordered in levels of importance:
The ketone bodies are possibly anticonvulsant; in animal models, acetoacetate and acetone protect against seizures. The ketogenic diet results in adaptive changes to brain energy metabolism that increase the energy reserves; ketone bodies are a more efficient fuel than glucose, and the number of mitochondria is increased. This may help the neurons to remain stable in the face of increased energy demand during a seizure, and may confer a neuroprotective effect.
Yes, your ketogenic diet menu plan also includes your restaurant meals. That doesn’t mean you will eat less. But eat intelligently so that your colleagues don’t even understand that you are dieting. For the main dish order a fish or meat. Avoid bread or having rice and instead order more vegetables and salad. Ask the cook or the chef to cook your food in olive oil or in coconut oil.
Infants and patients fed via a gastrostomy tube can also be given a ketogenic diet. Parents make up a prescribed powdered formula, such as KetoCal, into a liquid feed. Gastrostomy feeding avoids any issues with palatability, and bottle-fed infants readily accept the ketogenic formula. Some studies have found this liquid feed to be more efficacious and associated with lower total cholesterol than a solid ketogenic diet. KetoCal is a nutritionally complete food containing milk protein and is supplemented with amino acids, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. It is used to administer the 4:1 ratio classic ketogenic diet in children over one year. The formula is available in both 3:1 and 4:1 ratios, either unflavoured or in an artificially sweetened vanilla flavour and is suitable for tube or oral feeding. Other formula products include KetoVolve and Ketonia. Alternatively, a liquid ketogenic diet may be produced by combining Ross Carbohydrate Free soy formula with Microlipid and Polycose.
Its day two for me on you kick start and I love it! Pancakes are the bomb I am in love with them! I have a quick question, I am using MFP to track my nutritions and I had them customized according to the calculator that you mentioned. When I checked my nutrition report at the end of the day yesterday it stated I had gone over my saturated fats should I be concerned with that or disregard it?
My husband is trying to eat more Keto meals and this recipe is made up of his FAVORITE things! I sent him the link to it and he was inspired! Last night, he made himself a big hearty batch of this recipe and thoroughly loved it. He even shared photos of his meal on Facebook and our friends were in awe of his creation and the recipe you provided. I don’t enjoy mushrooms, so I’m reviewing this on my husband’s behalf. It was EXCELLENT!
Help me please! Ketosis is the only thing that has ever helped to alleviate my chronic migraines but it is so hard for me to stick to because all of the plans I can find ( like this 3 day one ) use dairy products to fill most of the fat content. I am deathly allergic to dairy and soy products. How do I stay keto without all of the cheese and cream?!?!
Thanks for all the good info! I continue to come back and re-read some posts to stay motivated and informed. I have been low carb for about 1.5 months and have lost about 18 pounds. But I continue to have awful night sweats and periods of “flashes” during the day. Would that be considered some of the hormonal changes you referred to? They are very aggravating and interrupt my sleep. BUT they are worth it for the positive effects!
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%. 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.
Re-starting keto today after the holidays! My previous stint I was counting carbs until I got used to what foods had (though I may not have been 100% honest with myself) and pick/chose recipes from the internet. It seemed like so much work. I did use a few recipes from IBIH but never realized you had compiled meal plans and shopping lists till my friend mentioned it yesterday! I’m excited to rely on your menu plans for the new year – thanks! (only catch is my husband refuses to eat chili so I may have to substitute for that meal…)
^ Freeman JM, Vining EP, Pillas DJ, Pyzik PL, Casey JC, Kelly LM. The efficacy of the ketogenic diet—1998: a prospective evaluation of intervention in 150 children. Pediatrics. 1998 Dec;102(6):1358–63. doi:10.1542/peds.102.6.1358. PMID 9832569. https://web.archive.org/web/20040629224858/http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/1998/DECEMBER/981207.HTM Lay summary]—JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Updated 7 December 1998. Cited 6 March 2008.
I am excited to try your 3 day kick start and then get into the rest of your menus! The pancakes sound really yummy. How many did you intend for us to each for each of the “breakfasts”. You didn’t indicate a number. Though the recipe says it yields 4 cakes and 1 is a serving. So should I just have 1. I want to make sure I am no going over my 20 carbs. Thanks!
My cousin and his family have been eating this way for a few months and are quite inspiring. I would love to start this, but I am breastfeeding my six month old and plan to continue breastfeeding for at least another six months. Is this way of eating healthy for a breastfeeding mama? If it is, should I expect the same withdrawal symptoms to happen to my baby?
I get many questions about intermittent fasting, the health benefits, the weight loss benefits, and the like. People normally use intermittent fasting for both the energy and mental clarity it can offer. But it’s not just good for that. It can offer breakthroughs of plateaus and even benefits in nutrient uptake in exercise. We go more in depth to intermittent fasting in Week 3 and 4, so keep your eyes peeled!
MY HUSBAND AND I WENT ON LOW CARB IN JANUARY AND DOING WELL. I HAVE BEEN EATING AN APPLE A DAY AND ADDED STRAWBERRIES AND STRAWBERRIE VINAGRETTE DRESSING TO SALADS ,WHICH I LOVE. KEEPING AN EYE ON THE CARBS IN THAT. BUT I HAVE BEEN ON A PLATAU FOR A BIT AND FORGOT HOW KETOSIS WAS SUCH A BIG PART OF THIS, I AM INSPIRED TO REDUCE MY CARBS A BIT MORE AND SEE IF THAT HELPS. THANKS
Hi Stacey, I can’t give medical advice and definitely recommend following your doctor’s recommendations. You can ask him/her if low carb would be better suited for you. Also, you may want to double check with him/her if the kidney concern was related to high protein, because that is a common misconception about keto – it is not a high protein diet/lifestyle.
“Eggs have a lot of vitamins like vitamin A, B complex, D, K, E, calcium, and zinc,” says Ryan Weaver, a personal trainer and keto enthusiast. “That’s why eggs are an excellent choice for breakfast when you follow the keto diet. To avoid getting bored, you can try different ways of preparing the eggs—boiled, fried, or baked. Also, you can combine the eggs with different foods like bacon, ham, cheddar cheese, butter, mayonnaise, so you get a different recipe each day although using the same main ingredient.”
“A lot of folks find that batch cooking once or twice a week saves a tremendous amount of time and keeps you from spending every evening in the kitchen,” Weaver says. “When keto meal planning, you want to follow general good meal planning practices, like shopping for the week’s food all at once, which helps to save money, and prepping your vegetables when you get home. These 10 keto recipes are so good you’ll forget you’re on a diet.
Hi Barb, That can definitely be it. Losing when you are close to goal can be more difficult. It could also be that your body’s healthy weight is a little higher than what you’d like – which doesn’t mean you can’t lose, but makes it more difficult. If just eating Keto foods isn’t working, double check the macros for your weight and see if the amount you’re eating needs to be adjusted. You’ll find more help and support in our support group here.
Mellissa, I didn’t read through all the comments … just half :) Wondering if this will work for someone who’s a diet controlled diabetic? The nutritionist said I should have 45 carb meals and 20 carb snacks … I’ve been gaining weight steadily BUT my blood sugars are awesome! I’m working with a double edge sword here. My biggest issue (other than always feeling bloated) is I have to have a good, hefty snack at midnight each night to keep my blood sugars within range in the morning. Needless to say my waistline no longer exists … buy hey … my blood sugars are good. *rolling eyes*
Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show specific very-low-carb diets help people with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Researchers are also studying the effects of these diets on acne, cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and nervous system diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's disease.
As I understand intermittent fasting, the long period between my early dinner at 6 pm and breakfast at about 8:30 am qualifies. As a past yoga instructor, fasting was something that we were encouraged to do regularly as well as cleansing. I feel so frustrated and helpless at not being able to make any difference no matter what I’ve tried. I am very disciplined and cheating is not an option.
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.
Beyond just fat loss, ketosis has an additional benefit in that it spares muscle when you’re eating at a deficit. On a normal diet, when you eat fewer calories than you need for the day, your body breaks down muscle and fat in nearly equal amounts to make up for the difference. With keto, your body is primed to burn mostly fat, particularly if you’re meeting your protein goal for the day. This results in a better metabolism and more total fat lost. Low carb recipes offer:
Please help!!! Love your plan, it is a dream come true, I’m in ketosis and have lost 10 lbs the first week on the 3 day plan, I’m still in ketosis but have not lost 1 lb in the last 4 days??? Is this suppose to happen or am I doing something wrong…the only thing different from the beginning is that I am not hungry and have eaten alot less, does that matter? Am I suppose to eat high calories to lose? Do I need to move on to the 7 day plan now? And how long is,it safe to stay in ketosis? Do I want to,be there all of the time? Please help I have been so happy on this plan losing this way eating foods I love, I have tried every other diet out there with no success…thank you for all that you are doing to help so many people lose weigjt, eat healthier and feel better…you are my answered prayer
2 years ago I cut suger out of my diet and lowered my carbs. went from 230 down to 192, then I wasn’t so good about being careful and creeped back upto 207 and wasn’t a happy camper about it, but was having problems being good with a bunch of personal & work chaos going on. so a few days ago I really started looking at keto once again, now I’m back at 199 and looking forward to working through the keto flu, god I hate headaches but the scale is telling me to keep going
This reminds me …… just after WWll, when there wasn’t a lot of meat available let alone any *special* foods to enjoy, my MoM used to cook up strips of bacon, then make creamed Mushrooms and supper would be bacon and creamed mushrooms on toast ….. ummmm it was so good! Your recipe not only brought back a memory but has also spurned me to make myself some bacon with creamed mushrooms on toast for my dinner tomorrow night 🤗
You might want to consider using a calprie counter/tool to help you determine the amount of calories, fat, protein, etc in food. I find MY Fitness Pal to be eztremely useful. You put in the type of food and it calculates all those tricky numbers for you. You can even see the macros (percentages) or set your own.it might seem a bit confusing at first but you’ll get the hang of it. Best of luck!
Getting control of your diet is the first and most important step towards lasting health and weight loss. Low carb recipes like these will give you a good blueprint to move forward with permanent changes to the way you eat that will improve your life and health. When filled with healthy, whole foods that are low in carbs and prepared deliciously, the keto diet is an amazing way to create a lasting, positive difference in your life!
Around this time, Bernarr Macfadden, an American exponent of physical culture, popularised the use of fasting to restore health. His disciple, the osteopathic physician Dr. Hugh William Conklin of Battle Creek, Michigan, began to treat his epilepsy patients by recommending fasting. Conklin conjectured that epileptic seizures were caused when a toxin, secreted from the Peyer's patches in the intestines, was discharged into the bloodstream. He recommended a fast lasting 18 to 25 days to allow this toxin to dissipate. Conklin probably treated hundreds of epilepsy patients with his "water diet" and boasted of a 90% cure rate in children, falling to 50% in adults. Later analysis of Conklin's case records showed 20% of his patients achieved freedom from seizures and 50% had some improvement.
One downside to a ketogenic diet for weight loss is the difficulty maintaining it. “Studies show that weight loss results from being on a low-carb diet for more than 12 months tend to be the same as being on a normal, healthy diet,” says Mattinson. While you may be eating more satiating fats (like peanut butter, regular butter, or avocado), you’re also way more limited in what’s allowed on the diet, which can make everyday situations, like eating dinner with family or going out with friends, far more difficult. Because people often find it tough to sustain, it’s easy to rely on it as a short-term diet rather than a long-term lifestyle.