The keto diet (also known as ketogenic diet, low carb diet and LCHF diet) is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. Maintaining this diet is a great tool for weight loss. More importantly though, according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more1-6.On the keto diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. While in ketosis your body is using ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose. Ketone bodies are derived from fat and are a much more stable, steady source of energy than glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates.
Along the same vein, some of my recipes on the blog include hemp seeds, coconut flour, almond flour, and other not so easy to find ingredients – IGNORE THOSE RECIPES (for now). The focus here is, again, simplicity. You will likely be irritable, fatigued, and not feeling awesome during the first three days to a week. Trust me on this – the last thing you are going to want to do is make complicated meals.

Hi Melissa! I’ve been on track for 4 days now and have actually been feeling pretty good except for fatigue. I’ve been follwing the plan to a “T” but after 4 days I don’t think i’m in ketosis yet. Could some people take a few days longer than others? I’m going to test again in a couple days (or how often should you test? Does morning have more ketones than evening?) and hopefully I am up. Sometimes it is hard to read the strips but I know I am negative to minimal ketones at this point.

It is possible to combine the results of several small studies to produce evidence that is stronger than that available from each study alone—a statistical method known as meta-analysis. One of four such analyses, conducted in 2006, looked at 19 studies on a total of 1,084 patients.[22] It concluded that a third achieved an excellent reduction in seizure frequency and half the patients achieved a good reduction.[3]
I love this menu plan! One of the things I find difficult in low carb dieting/eating is that most of the recipes given are so complicated. Yours are not. Another point is that most low carb bloggers and recipe writers? Sometimes forget that people all around the world read your recipes, and a lot of the items listed just can not be bought! Thank you for keeping it nice and simple
Question 2: Half of my family, including me, cannot do spicy. Now when I say spicy, Mild Rotel is spicy to us. So, can you suggest a comparable substitute? For instance, your Classic Buffalo Wings sound absolutely delicious but Frank’s Hot Sauce is way too spicy. When we make wings we usually make them sweet and not spicy. But also in other recipes, spicy spices are utilized so I wondered if there is a comparable spice to use? Again, if you have already addressed this topic, please just point me in the right direction and I will educate myself.
^ 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]
Beverages: It’s common to become dehydrated on the keto diet. Your insulin levels drop when you restrict carbs, and low insulin makes it harder for your body to retain sodium and water.[9] Drink plenty of plain water, and sip on bone broth to replenish electrolytes, especially during the first couple of weeks when your body is adjusting to the new diet.
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.
Hey folks, I am a 55 year old guy whos used to be in good shape, so was wondering if I could use the Keto diet to lose fat and gain muscle, obviously I would have to increase caloric intake as I am weight training and performing cardio so was wondering about supplements, vits and minerals as well whey protein, as I am trying to lose body fat and build muscle I need extra calories.. plus creatine and NO pre work out and a post work supplement…
The ketogenic diet tries to bring carbohydrates down to less than 5 percent of a person’s daily caloric intake – which means eliminating most grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, legumes and sweets. Instead, it replaces those calories with fat. That fat is turned into ketone bodies, which are an alternative energy source: besides glucose derived from carbohydrates, ketones from fat are the only fuel the brain can use.
One of the most common side effects of starting the ketogenic diet is the “keto flu.” This term describes the often unpleasant, fatigue-inducing symptoms that occur as the body adjusts from a high-carbohydrate to a low-carbohydrate diet. During the keto flu, the body’s stored glucose begins depleting, and the body starts adapting to producing and utilizing ketones as energy. (2)

A systematic review in 2016 found and analysed seven randomized controlled trials of ketogenic diet in children and young people with epilepsy.[2] The trials were done among children and young people for whom drugs failed to control their seizures, and only one of the trials compared a group assigned to ketogenic diet with a group not assigned to one.[16] The other trials compared types of diets or ways of introducing them to make them more tolerable.[2] Nearly 40% of the children and young people had half or fewer seizures with the diet compared with the group not assigned to the diet. Only about 10% were still on the diet after a few years.[2] Adverse effects such as hunger and loss of energy in that trial were common, with about 30% experiencing constipation.[16]


When a person goes off the ketogenic diet and regains much of their original weight, it’s often not in the same proportions, says Kizer: Instead of regaining lean muscle, you’re likely to regain fat. “Now you’re back to your starting weight, but you no longer have the muscle mass to burn the calories that you did before,” she says. “That can have lasting effects on your resting metabolic rate, and on your weight long-term.”
I have a question on sugar since I see it’s not allowed. Is splenda or any other sugar subsitute ok? What if one of the ingredients that is required for a keto recipe contains sugar, does it matter? I haven’t really seen any discussion on how some things may already contain sugar (even if in low doses) may affect the keto diet. Should they be avoided altogether?
Thank you for your reply! I kinda thought that was the case, just wanted to double check. I found a site that may make our lives even easier! You paste the recipe, enter the original recipe serving size, then enter how many servings you need and then convert! Check out this site http://mykitchencalculator.com/recipeconverter.html . Super helpful! Got the groceries, now wish me luck! Eek, I’m so excited. Thanks again 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]
The easiest macro to calculate in the ketogenic diet is fat. Once you've got your carbs and protein set, simply fill the rest of your daily calorie needs with fat sources. If you find yourself wanting to gain a bit of weight, add approximately 500 calories, or 55 grams. If you want to lose weight, cut down on your fat intake by 200-500 calories, or 22-55 grams.
The popular low-carb diets (such as Atkins or Paleo) modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? "They're everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work," McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. "But again, we don't know about the long term," she says. "And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return."
First off I just want to say thank you for the 3 day meal plan to get started. I stumbled across Keto about a week ago and I have been reading and reading and reading and then essentially got super confused and though that this was not for me! But then I came across your website and my my you break it down for people like me who are just looking for guidance to get started. I am hoping to start soon as I do go on a business trip begging of next week and I am afraid to start and then boom off the band wagon. My goal is to start next Thursday…..(fingers crossed this works) everything else has failed and dieting has been a struggle since I had a hysterectomy due to cancer. Now my weight is out of control and I am the biggest I have ever been! 251 pounds and I am 5′ 2″ and none of my clothes fit!! Makes it hard to get excited in the morning when getting ready to endure the day!
The keto diet does provide short-term benefits, but the long-term benefits are still unknown. Researchers caution that a very low  carb diet can be difficult to maintain long term, leading to “yo-yo” dieting and increased weight gain. Researchers suggest that the keto diet can be used to kick start weight loss, but should be followed up with healthy eating plans that can be sustained long term.
But if no carbs are available, our bodies start burning fat as a primary fuel source and producing ketones in the liver, which the body can turn into energy. This metabolic state, called ketosis, is what happens when someone is starving. But it's also how Harper's body works every day. His system relies on fats like butter, oil, and lard as a primary energy source instead of packing them on as in-case-of-emergency poundage.

Also, when you eliminate sugar and high-carb foods from your daily diet, "your body is able to heal itself and detox from the accumulated inflammation that it is constantly fighting," That means less brain fog, improved cognition and brain health. Consequently, the improved mental clarity makes it easier for you to make smart food choices, adds the nutritionist.
Some people on a keto or low carb diet choose to count total carbs instead of net carbs. This makes it more difficult to fit in more leafy greens and low carb vegetables (which are filled with fiber), so you should only try that if you don’t get results with a net carb method. And, start with reducing sugar alcohols and low carb treats before deciding to do a “total carbs” method.
I’ve never heard of this program, but am definitely willing to try it. I do have a question, however; in my faith, we do not eat pig meat in any way, shape or form, so can I eat turkey bacon or sausage instead (for breakfast meats)? I’m not a day person, having worked the midnight shift for almost 20 years, so the meat/breakfast just isn’t relevant–I’d prefer to eat dinner-type foods instead–but if it has to be done in order to lose (a huge amount of) weight, I’ll adjust.
I was real proud of myself this morning. I adapted your your pancake recipe to make an awesome tasting bread for sandwiches. I left out the sugar and cinnamon and added a couple twists from my Italian seasonings grinder. I was sooooo good. Tasted like a Italian sandwich wrap. My husband loves it cause he really misses bread sometimes. Thank you for the recipe. I think I will have pancakes for breakfast. YUM!
Thanks for the prompt reply! I’ve successfully conquered day two and looking forward to seeing if the keto stix work in my favor on. Monday. I lost a fair amount doing ideal protein but the thought of going back to powdered foods is completely unappealing. I’m so happy to have a plan in place! We had the buffalo wings tonight and oh my gosh (!!!) they were delicious!! My husband wants me to make them again. The recipe couldn’t be more simple. Thank you for sharing your wonderful knowledge and amazing recipes!!!
I too started Atkins years ago- back in the ‘80’s. I did well as long as i stuck to it. But, it’s a tough road and restaurants and snack food companies are not very low carb friendly. It’s all too easy for me to grab something quick & the donuts in the break room do me in everytime!!! I read your post this morning & It inspired me. I also am 57 and have been discouraged lately with my weight and lack of ability to stay away from carbs. But, I am going at it again – and this time with a vengeance. Thanks again for your post – very inspiring & appreciated. By the way – I found that Mellissa’s website the best for keto. Her recipes are simply delicious and not over complicated or time consuming. She also has a great sense of humor. It’s nice to know she goes through the same trials we do – and what it’s like to mess up !! !!. Thank you Mellissa for your articles, recipes, humor and your perseverance!!
Probably, and there are a few reasons why, Keatley says. For starters, people usually reduce their daily caloric intake to about 1,500 calories a day because healthy fats and lean proteins make you feel fuller sooner—and for a longer period of time. And then there’s the fact that it takes more energy to process and burn fat and protein than carbs, so you're burning slightly more calories than you did before. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.
Love this! So glad I found you! Your menus are great, you make it easy with the shopping lists, (now if I could just find someone to do the shopping for me ;-)) I usually fall off the wagon to easy, my usual excuse not knowing what to make, but with your menus and lists it gives me no excuse. I just started and am anxious to see how it goes. I have also started my exercise again!
The original therapeutic diet for paediatric epilepsy provides just enough protein for body growth and repair, and sufficient calories[Note 1] to maintain the correct weight for age and height. The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was developed for treatment of paediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and was widely used into the next decade, but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant medications. This classic ketogenic diet contains a 4:1 ratio by weight of fat to combined protein and carbohydrate. This is achieved by excluding high-carbohydrate foods such as starchy fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta, grains and sugar, while increasing the consumption of foods high in fat such as nuts, cream, and butter.[1] Most dietary fat is made of molecules called long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). However, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)—made from fatty acids with shorter carbon chains than LCTs—are more ketogenic. A variant of the classic diet known as the MCT ketogenic diet uses a form of coconut oil, which is rich in MCTs, to provide around half the calories. As less overall fat is needed in this variant of the diet, a greater proportion of carbohydrate and protein can be consumed, allowing a greater variety of food choices.[4][5]
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.[9] 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[18] and includes changing the number of calories, altering the ketogenic ratio, or adding some MCT or coconut oils to a classic diet.[3] 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.[18] 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).[44]
Gary D. Foster, Ph.D., Holly R. Wyatt, M.D., James O. Hill, Ph.D., Brian G. McGuckin, Ed.M., Carrie Brill, B.S., B. Selma Mohammed, M.D., Ph.D., Philippe O. Szapary, M.D., Daniel J. Rader, M.D., Joel S. Edman, D.Sc., and Samuel Klein, M.D., “A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity — NEJM,” N Engl J Med 2003; 348:2082- 2090. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022207.
The ketogenic diet has been studied in at least 14 rodent animal models of seizures. It is protective in many of these models and has a different protection profile than any known anticonvulsant. Conversely, fenofibrate, not used clinically as an antiepileptic, exhibits experimental anticonvulsant properties in adult rats comparable to the ketogenic diet.[57] This, together with studies showing its efficacy in patients who have failed to achieve seizure control on half a dozen drugs, suggests a unique mechanism of action.[55]

Children who discontinue the diet after achieving seizure freedom have about a 20% risk of seizures returning. The length of time until recurrence is highly variable but averages two years. This risk of recurrence compares with 10% for resective surgery (where part of the brain is removed) and 30–50% for anticonvulsant therapy. Of those that have a recurrence, just over half can regain freedom from seizures either with anticonvulsants or by returning to the ketogenic diet. Recurrence is more likely if, despite seizure freedom, an electroencephalogram (EEG) shows epileptiform spikes, which indicate epileptic activity in the brain but are below the level that will cause a seizure. Recurrence is also likely if an MRI scan shows focal abnormalities (for example, as in children with tuberous sclerosis). Such children may remain on the diet longer than average, and it has been suggested that children with tuberous sclerosis who achieve seizure freedom could remain on the ketogenic diet indefinitely.[45]
Magnesium citrate is an osmotic laxative, which relaxes your bowels and draws water into your intestines. It's an important mineral to help your organs function. Magnesium is obtained from green vegetables, nuts and whole-grain products. It's important to eat as many green vegetables and nuts as you are allowed to as your intake of whole-grain foods on the ketogenic diet will be severely limited.
Net carbs is simply total carbs minus fiber and non-digestible sugar alcohols, like erythritol. (This doesn’t apply to high glycemic sugar alcohols, like maltitol.) We don’t have to count fiber and certain sugar alcohols in net carbs, because they either don’t get broken down by our bodies, are not absorbed, or are absorbed but not metabolized. (Read more about sugar alcohols here.)

The nerve impulse is characterised by a great influx of sodium ions through channels in the neuron's cell membrane followed by an efflux of potassium ions through other channels. The neuron is unable to fire again for a short time (known as the refractory period), which is mediated by another potassium channel. The flow through these ion channels is governed by a "gate" which is opened by either a voltage change or a chemical messenger known as a ligand (such as a neurotransmitter). These channels are another target for anticonvulsant drugs.[7]
The first signs of ketosis are known as the “keto flu” where headaches, brain fogginess, fatigue, and the like can really rile your body up. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of waterand eating plenty of salt. The ketogenic diet is a natural diuretic and you’ll be peeing more than normal. Take into account that you’re peeing out electrolytes, and you can guess that you’ll be having a thumping headache in no time. Keeping your salt intake and water intake high enough is very important, allowing your body to re-hydrate and re-supply your electrolytes. Doing this will help with the headaches, if not get rid of them completely.

So happy I found your site, out of all the keto sites I’ve clicked on yours is the best!! You actually give us a plan to get started and I love your humor :) I’ve tried living keto before but it was the diet along with a lot of supplements and nasty shakes…it wasn’t for me! I don’t like drinking my snacks and meals just to get into ketosis! Looking forward to trying this again and trying your recipes!
After increasing water intake and replacing electrolytes, it should relieve most all symptoms of Keto Flu. For an average person that is starting a ketogenic diet, eating 20-30g of net carbs a day, the entire adaptation process will take about 4-5 days. My advice is to cut your carbs to fewer than 15g to ensure that you are well on your way into ketosis within one week. If you are experiencing any more keto flu symptoms, double check your electrolyte intake and adjust.

On the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are restricted and so cannot provide for all the metabolic needs of the body. Instead, fatty acids are used as the major source of fuel. These are used through fatty-acid oxidation in the cell's mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell). Humans can convert some amino acids into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, but cannot do this by using fatty acids.[56] Since amino acids are needed to make proteins, which are essential for growth and repair of body tissues, these cannot be used only to produce glucose. This could pose a problem for the brain, since it is normally fuelled solely by glucose, and most fatty acids do not cross the blood–brain barrier. However, the liver can use long-chain fatty acids to synthesise the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. These ketone bodies enter the brain and partially substitute for blood glucose as a source of energy.[55]
The nerve impulse is characterised by a great influx of sodium ions through channels in the neuron's cell membrane followed by an efflux of potassium ions through other channels. The neuron is unable to fire again for a short time (known as the refractory period), which is mediated by another potassium channel. The flow through these ion channels is governed by a "gate" which is opened by either a voltage change or a chemical messenger known as a ligand (such as a neurotransmitter). These channels are another target for anticonvulsant drugs.[7]
Wow – that’s a lot of dairy! I’m gluten and dairy free, but I’ll watch your recipes to see what I can use. The thing that concerns me about the dairy is that casein in cheese has a molecular structure similar to gluten, difficult for my system to break that down. I wouldn’t be surprised if others with gluten issues also have the same problem. I, too, had the impression that fat = bad… but boy, am I really enjoying salads more with real vinaigrette, homemade with healthy oils. I’ve been low carb and almost sugar free for about two years because of a gut issue. But, I want to get back to cutting out the sugar… so I’ll be eager to see what you share.
I have the same addiction…. I strongly recommend switching to Zevia, a carbonated beverage that is sweetened with stevia and comes in caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions. The taste won’t compare to your full sugar sodas, it’s more like a diet drink but without the harmful sugar substitutes that diet sodas use. It is only available at a handful of groceries, and is slightly more expensive but well worth it.
When you’re eating the foods that get you there (more on that in a minute), your body can enter a state of ketosis in one to three days, she adds. During the diet, the majority of calories you consume come from fat, with a little protein and very little carbohydrates. Ketosis also happens if you eat a very low-calorie diet — think doctor-supervised, only when medically recommended diets of 600 to 800 total calories.
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