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.1There are scientifically-backed studies that show the advantage of a low-carb, ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet. One meta-analysis of low-carbohydrate diets showed a large advantage in weight loss. The New England Journal of Medicine study resulted in almost double the weight loss in a long-term study on ketone inducing diets.
It usually takes three to four days for your body to go into ketosis because you have to use up your body's stores of glucose, i.e., sugar first, Keatley says. Any major diet change can give you some, uh, issues, and Keatley says he often sees patients who complain of IBS-like symptoms and feeling wiped out at the beginning of the diet. (The tiredness happens because you have less access to carbs, which give you quick energy, he explains.)
For those of you that have claimed to gain or plateau… have no fear! (LOL) I’ve been on some type of low carb/high protein diet since the Atkins diet first showed up in the 70’s… Believe me when I tell you it DOES work!! You just need to stick to it!! The heart association and other organizations will still tell you that fat is bad… IT’S NOT! Here’s some things to remember:
Hi Gigi, Low carb and keto is about the balance of macronutrients eaten (fat, protein and carbs), not specifically meat or lack thereof. Most people on keto do eat meat, though some people do vegetarian keto. Fat is actually necessary for many body processes. There is no issue for the kidneys with a high fat diet, but if you eat too much protein that isn’t great for the kidneys. It’s a common misconception that keto is high protein (it isn’t). Keto is great for diabetics as it naturally helps stabilize insulin. All of this being said, please know I’m not a doctor and you should consult your doctor on any medical questions or before starting any diet. If you have more questions that aren’t medical questions, I recommend our low carb & keto support group here.
Hi Cyn, The numbers are general guidelines but will vary depending on many factors, such as activity level, insulin resistance, weight and more. There is no single magic number, just conventional recommendations that are a good starting point. I will have a macro calculator coming soon that will help determine what is best for each person, but even then it’s an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to test. If keto is your goal, it’s usually best to start lower and then see if you can stay in ketosis when increasing.
Lastly, if you're active, you might need to make some adjustments to take that into account. "For the first one to two weeks, temporarily reducing your exercise load can be helpful as your body adjusts to being in ketosis," he says. "Additionally, for those who have an intense workout schedule, carb cycling may be a good option." Carb cycling essentially means you'll increase your carb intake on the days you're doing exercise, ideally just two to three days per week. "While low-carb days may be around 20 to 30 grams of net carbs daily, high-carb days can range all the way up to 100 grams, although it can vary based on your size and activity level," says Dr. Axe. (Related: 8 Things You Need to Know About Exercising on the Keto Diet.) 
Hi Kimberly – sorry I have no experience with menopause yet! Just follow the plan and you should see results, even if they are a bit slower than when you were younger! If you aren’t seeing good results, it could be the artificial sweeteners in your tea that are the culprit – some people find that to be the case and others don’t have a problem with it. Just be aware of it and try kicking the habit if your weight loss is super slow and see if it helps! But yes, it can stand in for part of your water throughout the day.
“One of the best meal planning tips I’ve ever received is to structure breakfast and lunch so that you don’t have to think too much about it,” says Emily Bartlett, co-founder of Real Plans. “If you’re okay with repetition, it’s ideal to have a simple selection of recipes for breakfast—including some that can be taken on the go. For lunch, go ahead and use your leftovers with a fresh green salad, and be sure to include a dressing that you really love.”

For those of you that have claimed to gain or plateau… have no fear! (LOL) I’ve been on some type of low carb/high protein diet since the Atkins diet first showed up in the 70’s… Believe me when I tell you it DOES work!! You just need to stick to it!! The heart association and other organizations will still tell you that fat is bad… IT’S NOT! Here’s some things to remember:


Wow Gloria, you really do love this – way to to go! We just need to work on portion control now 😉 The recipe states serves 6. All that info is right at the top of each recipe. Don’t worry, many scroll past it eagerly wanting to get to the recipe itself. It is the beginning of summer there, but I will continue to make this throughout summer as my youngest absolutely loves it.
"I recommend only 5 percent of calories coming from carbs, which usually averages out to less than 30 grams," he says. "I understand why people get nervous and panic, thinking 'Can I even eat a salad?' This is why I recommend tracking only 'net carbs', which are total carbs minus fiber. For example, an avocado has 12 grams of carbs but 10 grams of fiber, which means it has 2 grams of net carbs. Also, green leafy vegetables are very nutritious and contain a lot of fiber, so you can almost eat them as much as you want and stay below your limit.

I just want to say THANK YOU for putting together such an informative, encouraging, and realistic introduction to what it means to follow a Keto plan. I have finally decided that I can no longer put off giving myself a food makeover. Started following the Keto guidelines today, and I’m determined to stick with it. Your site gives me the confidence to be able to do it. Thank you!
Yes your are totally right, I meant to take off 500 calories a day to lose 1 pound a week (7 days/week x 500 calories/day = 3500 calories/week = 1 pound of fat/week) or take off 1000 calories to lose 2 pounds a week (7 days/week x 1000 calories/day = 7000 calories/week = 2 pounds of fat/week). Thanks to you, I fixed this little typo 🙂 Thanks a lot!
I am going to give the three day plan a try and then hope to move on to Week 1 and 2. I’ve used so many of your recipes in the past and people absolutely RAVE about them. I just made your Cream Cheese Pancakes and they were really, really good! I am pretty good about eating low carb so I haven’t had anything even resembling a pancake that I didn’t feel guilty about. You are AWESOME!!! I get so tired of eggs! THANK YOU!!!!

Now, what should you eat? There are endless combinations of food and it really depends on your personal preference. I put together a simple 3 day keto menu plan to get you started. This is what works for me, and because my body knows the drill, I can actually get back into ketosis in less than 2 days on this plan. If you are new to low carb, it may take you as long as 4 to 5 days. Don’t despair, it will happen.
In many developing countries, the ketogenic diet is expensive because dairy fats and meat are more expensive than grain, fruit and vegetables. The modified Atkins diet has been proposed as a lower-cost alternative for those countries; the slightly more expensive food bill can be offset by a reduction in pharmaceutical costs if the diet is successful. The modified Atkins diet is less complex to explain and prepare and requires less support from a dietitian.[54]
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.

These affect your brain and spine, as well as the nerves that link them together. Epilepsy is one, but others may be helped by a ketogenic diet as well, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and sleep disorders. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it may be that the ketones your body makes when it breaks down fat for energy help protect your brain cells from damage.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for taking the guesswork out of putting a plan together. Thank you for putting in the time, your dedication and commitment helping people you don’t even know. I get overwhelmed putting a plan together. What I think is healthy is not! I am starting the 3 day kickstart this week. I am putting my shopping list together. While doing so, I find myself asking- are these ingredients enough for 1 person or more? Should I increase the quantity of items to feed the family? I have a family of 5 and we all need to eat healthier. More specifically, my husband and I will be doing Keto. The kids (14, 18 & 20’year olds) will most likely do the dinners and snacks. Thank you for your help with this. Sorry in advance if you already answered these questions. I went through other comments and didn’t notice if it had been addressed. Thanks again!
Hi Mellissa. I am starting your 3 day kick start menu today (again) and was wondering, how do you calculate the carbs in sugar free syrup (with the LC pancakes)? Do you subtract the sugar alcohols the same as you do fiber? I’ve added about 1 Tbsp. to the pancakes but if I don’t subtract the sugar alcohols, it would be around 14 carbs! Help? Thank you!
During the 1920s and 1930s, when the only anticonvulsant drugs were the sedative bromides (discovered 1857) and phenobarbital (1912), the ketogenic diet was widely used and studied. This changed in 1938 when H. Houston Merritt, Jr. and Tracy Putnam discovered phenytoin (Dilantin), and the focus of research shifted to discovering new drugs. With the introduction of sodium valproate in the 1970s, drugs were available to neurologists that were effective across a broad range of epileptic syndromes and seizure types. The use of the ketogenic diet, by this time restricted to difficult cases such as Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, declined further.[10]
OMG! This was so good, and so easy! My husband raved about it, and my 13 and 15 year old son and daughter loved it too! I’ll definitely make it again! I had no clue what I was going to make for dinner–but it had to be fast as I was heading out with a friend to see some live music in the city… so I just googled “Keto ground beef” and found your recipe. Instead of pickles, I put pickled jalapeños on top (my son had once again eaten all of our pickles). I didn’t find that it needed any condiments – we have reduced sugar ketchup on hand, but hubby didn’t feel it was needed. I cut the casserole into 6 servings, and it’s a good thing there are only 4 of us eating as my son and husband had seconds. I found my single portion very filling. The recipe far exceeded my expectations! Will definitely make this again!
So have tried Aitken’s diet (not very seriously) before but never looked into how it actually works and the processes your body goes through with food you eat and energy you use. find Keto fascinating and learning alot…on day 4, ketostix showed ‘traces’ last night. One question, i’m finding it really hard to up the fat content of my food. I like ‘clean’ foods without too many sauces, additives etc, Any tips for keeping protein low but still eating well? Carb cut to sub 10g per day and aiming to keep it at that for first fortnight.
Long-term use of the ketogenic diet in children increases the risk of slowed or stunted growth, bone fractures and kidney stones.[3] The diet reduces levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, which is important for childhood growth. Like many anticonvulsant drugs, the ketogenic diet has an adverse effect on bone health. Many factors may be involved such as acidosis and suppressed growth hormone.[37] About 1 in 20 children on the ketogenic diet will develop kidney stones (compared with one in several thousand for the general population). A class of anticonvulsants known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (topiramate, zonisamide) are known to increase the risk of kidney stones, but the combination of these anticonvulsants and the ketogenic diet does not appear to elevate the risk above that of the diet alone.[38] The stones are treatable and do not justify discontinuation of the diet.[38] Johns Hopkins Hospital now gives oral potassium citrate supplements to all ketogenic diet patients, resulting in a sevenfold decrease in the incidence of kidney stones.[39] However, this empiric usage has not been tested in a prospective controlled trial.[9] Kidney stone formation (nephrolithiasis) is associated with the diet for four reasons:[38]
"Plenty of people jump right in, thinking all they have to do is cut carbs and increase fat. All of a sudden, they hit a wall and get 'keto flu.' They feel tired, lethargic, and experience headaches," Wittrock says. "The primary reason they get these symptoms is lack of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you're deficient in any of these, you'll suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet."
Miss Mellissa…. I was doing *so well* with keto eating last summer and dropped some weight, but all the old (bad, bad) habits started sneaking in and I’m in one heck of a pickle. Just wanted to say “thanks” for this jump-start… Hopefully this will help me remember what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing. Got a long slog ahead of me, but I have hope I can make it. Your site is so, so helpful, and I really appreciate all you do. Thank you.
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.
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?
There are ways around the vitamin K issue and that would be eating the veggies that vit k are found in on a regular, consistant basis then getting your PT/INR levels checkeed every few days until you can reach therapeutic level. Only problem would be if you deviated from how much vit k containing food you ate – if you ate more than usual your blood would be thick and if you ate less than usual your blood would get to thin. So, the key here is establishing the amt of veggies you eat in a day and sticking to that amouth every day :)
I have read all the info on the sight but I am still having trouble understanding how to get the amount of protein, carbs and fats. I get keeping my carbs under 20 grams a day but not trying to determine the rest. Not sure what I am missing or I just don’t get it. If you can give any help it would really be appreciated. Thanks your site is wonderful !!
^ Ketogenic "eggnog" is used during induction and is a drink with the required ketogenic ratio. For example, a 4:1 ratio eggnog would contain 60 g of 36% heavy whipping cream, 25 g pasteurised raw egg, saccharin and vanilla flavour. This contains 245 kcal (1,025 kJ), 4 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate and 24 g fat (24:6 = 4:1).[17] The eggnog may also be cooked to make a custard, or frozen to make ice cream.[36]
Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist, estimates that about 25% of people who try a ketogenic diet experience these symptoms, with fatigue being the most common. “That happens because your body runs out of sugar to burn for energy, and it has to start using fat,” he says. “That transition alone is enough to make your body feel tired for a few days.”
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.[11]

I’ve never really thought of myself as a coach Monica but thank you! (note to self: buy an obnoxious whistle to wear around my neck at all times) I’m so happy to hear that you are excited and optimistic about losing weight with the plans! I am looking forward to hearing about your progress as you move through the weeks! I’m with you on the avoiding bad decisions – if I get too hungry and don’t have on plan stuff available, that’s always a recipe (no pun intended) for disaster!
You rock! Thank you for this, and would love a 7 day menu plan, plus a shopping list. I’m no good at that kind of organization – heck, I’m no good at ANY kind of organization – so a shopping list would be a life saver. I’m sure I could get that from a friend who introduced me to your blog and who is going to do this with you, and I with all of you . Thank you so much!
Normal dietary fat contains mostly long-chain triglycerides (LCT). Medium-chain triglycerides are more ketogenic than LCTs because they generate more ketones per unit of energy when metabolised. Their use allows for a diet with a lower proportion of fat and a greater proportion of protein and carbohydrate,[3] leading to more food choices and larger portion sizes.[4] The original MCT diet developed by Peter Huttenlocher in the 1970s derived 60% of its calories from MCT oil.[15] Consuming that quantity of MCT oil caused abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting in some children. A figure of 45% is regarded as a balance between achieving good ketosis and minimising gastrointestinal complaints. The classical and modified MCT ketogenic diets are equally effective and differences in tolerability are not statistically significant.[9] The MCT diet is less popular in the United States; MCT oil is more expensive than other dietary fats and is not covered by insurance companies.[3]
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.
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