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]

Still, it can be hard to get enough fat when you first start this diet. Butter, nuts, coconut and olive oils, and fatty cuts of meat are all on the menu. However, don't go overboard with polyunsaturated fats like soybean, corn, or sunflower oil. Keto dieters who increase their intake of those fats often end up with gastrointestinal distress that causes them to jump ship.
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.
There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Most anyone can safely benefit from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Below, you’ll find a short list of the benefits you can receive from a ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive list, you can also read our in-depth article here >
Implementing the diet can present difficulties for caregivers and the patient due to the time commitment involved in measuring and planning meals. Since any unplanned eating can potentially break the nutritional balance required, some people find the discipline needed to maintain the diet challenging and unpleasant. Some people terminate the diet or switch to a less demanding diet, like the modified Atkins diet (MAD) or the low-glycaemic index treatment (LGIT) diet, because they find the difficulties too great.[41]
Selecting the right food will be easier as you become accustomed to the Keto approach. Instead of lean meats, you’ll focus on skin-on poultry, fattier parts like chicken thighs, rib-eye steaks, grass-fed ground beef, fattier fish like salmon, beef brisket or pork shoulder, and bacon. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers, make healthy vegetable choices (but you’ll avoid starchy root foods like carrots, potatoes, turnips and parsnips). You can work in less-familiar veggies such as kohlrabi or daikon.
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.
Selecting the right food will be easier as you become accustomed to the Keto approach. Instead of lean meats, you’ll focus on skin-on poultry, fattier parts like chicken thighs, rib-eye steaks, grass-fed ground beef, fattier fish like salmon, beef brisket or pork shoulder, and bacon. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers, make healthy vegetable choices (but you’ll avoid starchy root foods like carrots, potatoes, turnips and parsnips). You can work in less-familiar veggies such as kohlrabi or daikon.
Other forms of ketogenic diets include cyclic ketogenic diets, also known as carb cycling, and targeted ketogenic diets, which allow for adjustments to carbohydrate intake around exercise. These modifications are typically implemented by athletes looking to use the ketogenic diet to enhance performance and endurance and not by individuals specifically focused on weight loss.

A small Feb. 20, 2017, study looked at the impact of a six-week ketogenic diet on physical fitness and body composition in 42 healthy adults. The study, published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, found a mildly negative impact on physical performance in terms of endurance capacity, peak power and faster exhaustion. Overall, researchers concluded, “Our findings lead us to assume that a [ketogenic diet] does not impact physical fitness in a clinically relevant manner that would impair activities of daily living and aerobic training.” The “significant” weight loss of about 4.4 pounds, on average, did not affect muscle mass or function.


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!
Hi Valerie, I was the same way with coffee until I figured a way to wean mysel off of it by slowly adding decaf to my regular coffee. each day I would add more decaf and less regular coffee until eventually I would have a cup of decaf. it tastes the same but the caffeine effect is different Im not sure with soda though, but at least now you can try the half and half with regular soda and diet sodas in a cup. It may taste too sweet at first but you have to allow yourself to get used to it and gradually decrease the regular soda in the cup and add more diet soda. You can also lower your intake of it as well. These days they also have caffeine free soda as well so you have some weaning options instead of cold turkey. Your soda mixture will have just enough caffeine in it to prevent a migraine, but allow you to consume less caffeine eventually until you might try adding some water to your soda to wean yourself completely off of it. It’s worth a try.
I wanted to put it out there that I made this meal plan specifically with women in mind. I took an average of about 150 women and what their macros were. The end result was 1600 calories – broken down into 136g of fat, 74g of protein, and 20g net carbs a day. This is all built around a sedentary lifestyle, like most of us live. If you need to increase or decrease calories, you will need to do that on your own terms.
I am in ketosis!!!! I got the keto test strips and did the test this morning!! I am so excited!!! I have been on/off of the diet since my birthday on Aug. 11th when the kids took me out to eat! But I got back on the ball, did the soup diet again, and the 3 day kickstart and by golly it worked. I am now going to skip to week 2 of the meal plans coz there are so many fresh veggies at the food pantry and out in my garden. I can’t wait to taste the jalapeno popper soup! I am a little leery about the jalapeno and cheese muffins. I’ll post my thoughts after I try them. A little rest and then I will get to doing the prep. I really wanted to do that on Sunday after shopping but it just didn’t work out that way.

The brain is composed of a network of neurons that transmit signals by propagating nerve impulses. The propagation of this impulse from one neuron to another is typically controlled by neurotransmitters, though there are also electrical pathways between some neurons. Neurotransmitters can inhibit impulse firing (primarily done by γ-aminobutyric acid, or GABA) or they can excite the neuron into firing (primarily done by glutamate). A neuron that releases inhibitory neurotransmitters from its terminals is called an inhibitory neuron, while one that releases excitatory neurotransmitters is an excitatory neuron. When the normal balance between inhibition and excitation is significantly disrupted in all or part of the brain, a seizure can occur. The GABA system is an important target for anticonvulsant drugs, since seizures may be discouraged by increasing GABA synthesis, decreasing its breakdown, or enhancing its effect on neurons.[7]
I am in ketosis!!!! I got the keto test strips and did the test this morning!! I am so excited!!! I have been on/off of the diet since my birthday on Aug. 11th when the kids took me out to eat! But I got back on the ball, did the soup diet again, and the 3 day kickstart and by golly it worked. I am now going to skip to week 2 of the meal plans coz there are so many fresh veggies at the food pantry and out in my garden. I can’t wait to taste the jalapeno popper soup! I am a little leery about the jalapeno and cheese muffins. I’ll post my thoughts after I try them. A little rest and then I will get to doing the prep. I really wanted to do that on Sunday after shopping but it just didn’t work out that way.
Early studies reported high success rates: in one study in 1925, 60% of patients became seizure-free, and another 35% of patients had a 50% reduction in seizure frequency. These studies generally examined a cohort of patients recently treated by the physician (what is known as a retrospective study) and selected patients who had successfully maintained the dietary restrictions. However, these studies are difficult to compare to modern trials. One reason is that these older trials suffered from selection bias, as they excluded patients who were unable to start or maintain the diet and thereby selected from patients who would generate better results. In an attempt to control for this bias, modern study design prefers a prospective cohort (the patients in the study are chosen before therapy begins) in which the results are presented for all patients regardless of whether they started or completed the treatment (known as intent-to-treat analysis).[18]

One thing many people love about keto diet meal plans is that tracking your food is optional. "One of the biggest benefits of the ketogenic diet is that there's no need to meticulously track your calories like you may in other diets," notes Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of DrAxe.com, best-selling author of Eat Dirt, and cofounder of Ancient Nutrition. "Because you're filling up on fat and protein, you're more likely to feel satisfied and energized all day long, which causes you to naturally eat less." This isn't to say that food tracking on keto is discouraged. "Some people may find calorie counting a useful tool to be more mindful and aware of what they're eating, but it's not necessary on the ketogenic diet," says Dr. Axe, but there's no need to get too stressed about hitting a certain caloric goal, especially if you're not trying to lose weight. (Related: The #1 Reason to Stop Counting Calories)
Well, I am going to give this another try. I have great difficulty in eating greens , or drinking them, also I am not fond of fats, years and years of low fat diets have totally screwed my metabolism,and taste buds. I will read this page every day to keep my mind focused. Start tomorrow when I get up …… I work nights which can cause me problems as well. When I tried this diet before, I got terrible cramp, now I realise I wasn’t drinking enough water. Anyway.here goes.
Short-term results for the LGIT indicate that at one month approximately half of the patients experience a greater than 50% reduction in seizure frequency, with overall figures approaching that of the ketogenic diet. The data (coming from one centre's experience with 76 children up to the year 2009) also indicate fewer side effects than the ketogenic diet and that it is better tolerated, with more palatable meals.[3][49]

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]
I am in ketosis!!!! I got the keto test strips and did the test this morning!! I am so excited!!! I have been on/off of the diet since my birthday on Aug. 11th when the kids took me out to eat! But I got back on the ball, did the soup diet again, and the 3 day kickstart and by golly it worked. I am now going to skip to week 2 of the meal plans coz there are so many fresh veggies at the food pantry and out in my garden. I can’t wait to taste the jalapeno popper soup! I am a little leery about the jalapeno and cheese muffins. I’ll post my thoughts after I try them. A little rest and then I will get to doing the prep. I really wanted to do that on Sunday after shopping but it just didn’t work out that way.
You’re so welcome Jessica – you and me both! I’m looking forward to feeling good again and having my clothes fit right will be nice too! ha ha! Thanks to all of your feedback I’ll be posting 7 day menu plans every Saturday, and we’ll all hopefully be reporting our pounds lost so far progress in the comments. I’m so looking forward to it – hope you’ll join us!!!

I don’t know how much cheese is ‘too much’ as I’m sure it varies for everyone, but I know that on the Atkins plan they recommend only having 3-4 ounces per day, as cheese does have carbs, anywhere from .4g/oz. (cheddar) to .9g/oz. (parmesan). So, I would just make sure that you’re accurately calculating the carbs and keep your daily total under 20g. Hope that helps!
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

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.[55]
Another difference between older and newer studies is that the type of patients treated with the ketogenic diet has changed over time. When first developed and used, the ketogenic diet was not a treatment of last resort; in contrast, the children in modern studies have already tried and failed a number of anticonvulsant drugs, so may be assumed to have more difficult-to-treat epilepsy. Early and modern studies also differ because the treatment protocol has changed. In older protocols, the diet was initiated with a prolonged fast, designed to lose 5–10% body weight, and heavily restricted the calorie intake. Concerns over child health and growth led to a relaxation of the diet's restrictions.[18] Fluid restriction was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of constipation and kidney stones, and is no longer considered beneficial.[3]

My husband and I started Ideal Protein last July and had lost about 60 pounds each by November. We decided to take a break for the holidays, and unfortunately, our holidays are still going. Like you mentioned, we both have 10 to 15 pounds we keep gaining and losing, and we can’t seem to get back the momentum we had last fall. I am so excited about your meal plans! I think we could actually be satisfied enough to stick to these plans and get back on track. They look really tasty, and I love how the ingredients are pretty easy to find. Thank you for your time and effort!


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?!?!

You may have heard by now that I finally wrote and published a “real” book called Keto for Life!!!  The reviews are in and people are loving it!  Already a best seller, you can learn more about what you’ll find inside Keto for Life by clicking here!  OR head over to Amazon to check out the reviews of Keto for Life before snagging a copy for yourself!


In 1921, Rollin Turner Woodyatt reviewed the research on diet and diabetes. He reported that three water-soluble compounds, β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone (known collectively as ketone bodies), were produced by the liver in otherwise healthy people when they were starved or if they consumed a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.[10] Dr. Russell Morse Wilder, at the Mayo Clinic, built on this research and coined the term ketogenic diet to describe a diet that produced a high level of ketone bodies in the blood (ketonemia) through an excess of fat and lack of carbohydrate. Wilder hoped to obtain the benefits of fasting in a dietary therapy that could be maintained indefinitely. His trial on a few epilepsy patients in 1921 was the first use of the ketogenic diet as a treatment for epilepsy.[10]
The ketogenic diet is calculated by a dietitian for each child. Age, weight, activity levels, culture and food preferences all affect the meal plan. First, the energy requirements are set at 80–90% of the recommended daily amounts (RDA) for the child's age (the high-fat diet requires less energy to process than a typical high-carbohydrate diet). Highly active children or those with muscle spasticity require more calories than this; immobile children require less. The ketogenic ratio of the diet compares the weight of fat to the combined weight of carbohydrate and protein. This is typically 4:1, but children who are younger than 18 months, older than 12 years, or who are obese may be started on a 3:1 ratio. Fat is energy-rich, with 9 kcal/g (38 kJ/g) compared to 4 kcal/g (17 kJ/g) for carbohydrate or protein, so portions on the ketogenic diet are smaller than normal. The quantity of fat in the diet can be calculated from the overall energy requirements and the chosen ketogenic ratio. Next, the protein levels are set to allow for growth and body maintenance, and are around 1 g protein for each kg of body weight. Lastly, the amount of carbohydrate is set according to what allowance is left while maintaining the chosen ratio. Any carbohydrate in medications or supplements must be subtracted from this allowance. The total daily amount of fat, protein and carbohydrate is then evenly divided across the meals.[36]
I’m thinking about trying Keto for the very first time in order to help my hormone levels and lose some weight. As I scrolled through your menu plan, I clicked on some recipes. I noticed that they included fruits/veggies that weren’t included in the menu. For example, there are strawberries with your cream cheese pancakes and chocolate mousse. There is also red pepper with the chilli and lettuce with another item (maybe the chilli or the tuna?) Are these items calculated in the carb count for the plan? I have NO CLUE how to calculate net carbs or even calculate carbs using fresh fruits/veggies. Are there any fresh fruits/veggies that are freebies like lettuce or cucumbers? I really don’t want to botch this and feel even worse or lengthen the keto flu. Finally, do I need to factor in vitamins that I’m taking (Magnesium, B complex, and D3? Do they have any carbs that I wouldn’t expect? TIA for any insight you can provide.

A review of multiple studies in the journal Nutrients found that ketogenic diets are connected to significant reductions in total cholesterol, increases in “good” HDL cholesterol levels, dips in triglycerides levels and decreases in “bad” LDL cholesterol; there are questions as to whether diets high in saturated fat negate these benefits. The same paper reports that a ketogenic may slightly reduce blood pressure, but science is still very scant on this point.
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!
You’ll just have to search for some recipes that are low carb and dairy free! Week 5 of my keto menu plans is mostly dairy free and easily made completely dairy free. I have also started a pinterest board where I’m collecting low carb recipes that are also dairy free and I’ll be working on adding more recipes to that. You might also try searching for Paleo recipes, many of them are dairy free and can easily be made low carb as well! Hope that helps!
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.

The removal of many grains and fruits with such a large emphasis on fats can bring about its own set of gastrointestinal side effects. Keto constipation and diarrhea aren't uncommon. “If not done properly — with most of your carbohydrates coming from fiber-rich vegetables — you may not be getting enough fiber, which can lead to constipation,” says Chris Mohr, PhD, RD, a sports dietitian based in Louisville, Kentucky, and co-owner of MohrResults.com. (5)
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!

The ketogenic diet has recently become very popular, and many food companies want to cash in by putting a “ketogenic” or “low carb” label on a new product. Be very cautious of special “keto” or “low-carb” products, such as pastas, chocolate bars, energy bars, protein powders, snack foods, cakes, cookies and other “low carb” or “ketogenic” treats. Read all labels carefully for natural low carb ingredients. The fewer ingredients the better.
Well, apart from following this diet chat, you need to have some snacks every two hours that will help your system run properly. For the snacks, include nuts and berries, baby carrots, boiled eggs, a fruit, slices of apple fried in almond butter, beef steak made at home, any leftovers of previous night. All these will enhance the positive levels in your Ketogenic diet menu plan.
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.”
Hi, I know this is an old post but I did a very strict keto based diet back in May and lost 30 pounds in 2 months which was great, now I’m trying to keep this pounds off, especially after the holidays. I came across your site a while back and remembered an email that a friend sent me. The menu here is great but I wanted to know if there was an alternate to the cream cheese pancakes (not a big pancake fan). Thank you!!!
A systematic review in 2018 looked at sixteen studies on the ketogenic diet in adults. It concluded that the treatment was becoming more popular for that group of patients, that the efficacy in adults was similar to children, the side effects relatively mild. However, many patients gave up with the diet, for various reasons, and the quality of evidence inferior to studies on children. Health issues include high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high total cholesterol, and weight loss.[23]
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]
Hi Tammy, I still have to try the muffin tin method to ive you a better response. Why don’t you make the recipe using exact ingredients for one bread multiplied x 9-10 and divide between 12 muffin tin slots? I think this will work better. This way we are not changing the amount of eggs. If you use less eggs, the bread will be more dry, since it is gluten-free.
You want to keep your cheats to none. Be prepared, make sure you’re eating what you need to be satiated (“full”), and make sure you’re satisfied with what you’re eating. If you have to force yourself to eat something, it will never work out in the end. This is just a guideline on how you can eat on a ketogenic diet, so you’re very welcome to change up what kind of foods you eat!
My husband and I started Ideal Protein last July and had lost about 60 pounds each by November. We decided to take a break for the holidays, and unfortunately, our holidays are still going. Like you mentioned, we both have 10 to 15 pounds we keep gaining and losing, and we can’t seem to get back the momentum we had last fall. I am so excited about your meal plans! I think we could actually be satisfied enough to stick to these plans and get back on track. They look really tasty, and I love how the ingredients are pretty easy to find. Thank you for your time and effort!
I’ve only one question. I work in shifts and at 4.30 in the morning I can not eat my breakfast (lazy – I manage to get out of bed and into my car in 30 minutes ;-). Not even if I make it the day before…I just can’t swallow the stuff. But I have to eat something because I’m in my car for more than a hour. Can I have a liquid breakfast at those times?
Because people with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, there’s a specific concern that the saturated fat in the diet may drive up LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels, and further increase the odds of heart problems. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor before attempting a ketogenic diet. They may recommend a different weight-loss diet for you, like a reduced-calorie diet, to manage diabetes. Those with epilepsy should also consult their doctor before using this as part of their treatment plan.
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