The Keto Diet for Type 2 Diabetes (How effective is it?)


The conventional approach for Type 2 Diabetes is to manage the condition with medications and diet, based on the American Diabetes Association guidelines, which still includes a lots of high carb foods, along with a low-fat diet and processed vegetable oils. Unfortunately, both science and real-life results show that this protocol just simply does not work. At best, this approach may be better than a junk food diet (but not much better), and have a small shift in blood glucose and other diabetes blood markers if the person has really been abusing their body with junk foods. However, diabetes drugs can often have harmful side effects, and research tells us that the damage to the blood vessels can still occur, even with glucose-lowering diabetes drugs.

While most of general public still keep their bodies fueled on glucose in the form of processed grains, starches, and sugar, (Standard American Diet), others have begun to adopt reduced carb Paleo–and even ketogenic diets that actually reprogram their bodies to the fat burning/fat-fueled machines that our ancestors once had. These kinds of diets are very effective in lowering the amount of glucose circulating in the body, and bringing back insulin sensitivity once again.

What is the difference between a Paleo diet and a Keto diet?

The Paleo diet has been popular the last few years and it is generally a reduced carbohydrate diet compared to the standard Amercian Diet, however “paleo” is only a template for healthy eating, and doesn’t have a specific ratio of carbs like Keto does. However, paleo emphasizes eating foods that our primal ancestors ate: no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no processed foods, and no refined sugar. Paleo does however allow some carbs in the form of sweet potatoes, fruits, starchy vegetables, natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and dates. Paleo diets also include grass-fed pastured meats, poultry, eggs, wild caught fish, game and healthy saturated fats.

Is a Paleo diet effective for type 2 diabetes? It is a far cry from the ADA-recommended low-fat/high carb diet and far healthier with its emphasis on fresh veggies, naturally raised proteins, and unprocessed foods, but the Paleo diet can contain variable amounts of carbohydrates and natural sugars, depending on the types of paleo foods you choose to eat. Many versions of Paleo diets include sweet potatoes, or desserts sweetened with dates, honey, molasses, or maple syrup. So, yes, a Paleo diet is a much better choice over the SAD diet, or even the ADA recommended diet, but it’s not always the absolute best choice to lower blood sugar and insulin, depending on the quantity of carbs one chooses to eat on a paleo diet.

On the other hand, the ketogenic diet takes Paleo a step further by restricting carbohydrates to a much larger degree. A keto diet restricts most carbohydrates and all sugar, keeping the resulting glucose in the body consistently low, and forcing your body to burn fats for energy instead of carbs. Keto diets are even more restrictive than Paleo diets as far as carbs go, so in many ways, a keto diet is almost a perfect diet for a diabetic. A keto diet generally allows 20-50 grams of carbohydrates per day. While that is super low compared to the average diet, it can be done, and is easier than you may think.

How a ketogenic diet works for type 2 diabetic

Type 2 diabetes starts when a person is eating large amounts of sugar and carbohydrates. This in turn elevates the body’s serum glucose, creating an increased need for insulin. Over time, the body’s insulin cannot effectively lower the circulating glucose in the body, creating ever higher levels of glucose, insulin, increased body weight, and rising levels of triglycerides. Higher than normal levels of glucose damage blood vessels causing heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and other health issues.

How does a keto diet affect insulin and blood sugar?

When we look at one of the best ways to manage type 2 diabetes, the best and healthiest method is to lower blood sugar by restricting carbohydrates and sugars, in addition to increasing antioxidants and other nutrient-dense foods.

Since a keto diet is a very low carb, low sugar diet, blood sugar stays low, people generally lose weight and the body once again becomes more sensitive to insulin. A keto diet, in comparison to a Paleo diet, allows less carbohydrates and proteins, and adds in more high-quality fats. Because of this drastic dietary transformation, the body quits requiring glucose for energy and instead becomes more efficient in breaking down both dietary fats along with body fat to utilize for energy.

There are many variations on a Paleo diet, but in general a keto diet contains these components:

  • 60-75% of calories from fat (or even more)
  • 15-30% of calories from protein
  • 5-10% of calories from carbohydrates.

The ketogenic diet is not a new dietary fad; it has existed since the 1950’s as a treatment for epilepsy and other health issues. It has recently gained popularity as a way to improve health, increase physical stamina, and lose body fat. A few scientific studies have been conducted on ketogenic diet and diabetes already. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The first study was performed by researchers at Duke University in 2005. Researchers recruited 28 participants with type 2 diabetes who were also overweight. The study lasted 16 weeks. The subjects consumed a low carbohydrate keto diet, aiming for less than 20 grams carbs per day. Diabetics also reduced their medications with medical supervision. There were twenty-one subjects who successfully completed the study. Here’s what they found after only 16 weeks:

  • HbA1c 16% decrease
  • Average 20 lb weight loss
  • Triglyceride levels 42% decrease
  • Ten patients reduced medications, seven stopped medication.

The conclusion of the study was that at keto diet is highly effective at lowering blood glucose, but there should be medical supervision to adjust medications accordingly.

A second study conducted by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek, who wrote The Art and Science of Low Carb, showed the positive effects of low carb diet as well. This particular trial shows convincing evidence that a low-carb diet improves blood sugar levels and helps speed weight loss in adults with type 2 diabetes. In almost 60% of participants, diabetes medication was decreased or stopped altogether.

The study, conducted at Indiana University, and published in Journal of Medical Internet Publications, looked at 262 people with type 2 diabetes who were overweight. Participants cut carb intake to 30g a day, while increasing their fats and protein. Patients were also provided nutritional and behavioral counseling, along with digital coaching and medical supervision for medications. Findings after only 10 weeks:

  • HbA1c had a 6.5% decrease
  • BMI decreased by 7%
  • 112 reduced diabetes medications, 21 totally eliminated diabetes medications

Another study of 84 people, looked at the effectiveness of a low-glycemic diet compared to a ketogenic diet, and after 24 weeks looked at key diabetes markers of fasting blood glucose, body mass index (BMI), weight, and Hb A1C. While a low carb, low-glycemic diet is good for controlling diabetes, obviously a keto diet is better.

Low-calorie group

  • Fasting glucose down 16%
  • BMI decreased by 3, average 15lb weight loss
  • .5 reduction in HbA1c

Keto group

  • Fasting glucose down 20%
  • BMI decreased by 4, average 24.5lb weight loss
  • 5 reduction in HbA1c

And this study of 363 overweight or obese participants in the United Arab Emirates looked at the effects of a ketogenic diet on weight loss and diabetes symptoms. 102 of the subjects had type 2 diabetes. One group consumed a low-calorie diet and the other consumed a keto diet. Both groups had nutritional trainer and exercise.

Study subjects were measured on:

  • Body weight
  • BMI
  • Waist circumference
  • Blood glucose
  • HbA1c
  • Cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides
  • Uric acid, urea, creatinine

After 24 weeks, both groups had improved in all metrics but the keto group had far more significant results. Diabetic medications were decreased to half and some were discontinued for those on the ketogenic diet.

It is important to note for those beginning a ketogenic diet, the drop in glucose can be quick, so it is very important to monitor blood glucose frequently and to have a physician monitor the diabetes medications.

Ketogenic diets are higher in saturated fats, something the American Diabetes Association actually warns diabetics to avoid.  Research, however, shows favorable lipid results on a high fat diet.

In another study, researchers looked at 83 subjects who were divided into three groups of equal calories. One group followed a very low-fat diet, one group followed a diet high in unsaturated fats, and the third group ate a very low carb and high saturated fat diet.

At the end of the 12-week study, all three groups had lost similar amounts of body fat and weight. However, the Low Carb Ketogenic diet group also had the lowest triglyceride levels, higher HDL, and lower glucose and insulin levels.

Very Low-Fat Group:

  • Triglycerides decreased by 4%
  • Insulin levels decreased by 15.1%

High Unsaturated Fat Group:

  • Triglycerides down by 9.6%
  • Insulin levels decreased by 18.7%

Ketogenic Diet Group:

  • Triglycerides decreased by 40%
  • Insulin levels decreased by 33.6%

Key results indicate that ketogenic diets do not increase the risk of heart disease or high cholesterol. Keto diets have shown to significantly decrease harmful lipids including triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, compared to other equal calorie/low fat diets.

Conventional Diabetic Diets vs. Ketogenic Diets  

In spite of all the positive research on ketogenic diets for diabetes, most doctors and dietitians still recommend high carb diets to manage diabetes. A typical medically supervised diet recommended for a type 2 diabetic would include 45-60g carbohydrates at every meal, plus 15-30g of carbs for snacks. Seriously??

Most dietitians and doctors feel that even though the ketogenic diet is effective, most people will not be able to stick to it. And yes, this is somewhat true, although with the emerging popularity of the ketogenic diet, more and more options are available, including recipes, books, blogs, cooking classes, etc. that feature delicious keto meals and snacks. The nature of a keto diet is to keep blood sugar in a low and stable range, and because of this, it is much easier to control appetite and the “munchies”.

Ketogenic diets can be crucial to the successful healthy management of type 2 diabetes. In a recent critical evaluation of literature on carbohydrate restriction and diabetes, a group of 26 leading researchers compiled 12 points of evidence published in the January 2017 Journal of Nutrition, pointing to the use of low carbohydrate diets as the primary dietary treatment of type 2 diabetes. Key points include:

  • Dietary carbohydrate restriction has the greatest effect on decreasing glucose levels.
  • The current epidemic of obesity and diabetes has been caused almost entirely by an increase in carbohydrates.
  • Type 2 diabetics can adhere to a ketogenic diet at least as easily as they can most other diets, and often better.
  • Measured saturated fats in the blood are affected more by dietary carbohydrate intake, than dietary lipid intake.
  • Dietary carbohydrate restriction is the most effective way to reduce serum triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol.

Bottom line is that lowering glucose by strictly reducing carbohydrate intake in a ketogenic diet has the most positive effects on diabetes markers, without any of the negative side effects of pharmacological treatments.

All of the available evidence thus far suggests that a keto diet is one of the safest and most effective ways to control or reverse type 2 diabetes. Diabetes patients should always notify their physicians of dietary changes and have medications and blood sugar monitored closely.

Following a strict carbohydrate-restricted, ketogenic diet is key initially, but once your body is adept at fat burning, you may be able to ease up slightly on the daily carbohydrate count. Generally, following a strict keto diet for about 2 months will help your body adapt to burning fat. Rather than stressing out about keeping carbs consistently below 20-30g, it may be easier to give yourself a safe zone to follow. Perhaps one day you eat less, another day you eat more. As long as you generally stick to low carbohydrates, (below 50-60g per day) your body will continue to be fairly efficient in burning fat for energy and keep blood glucose low.

The end result is a healthier body, weight loss and a clear head.  Note that while transitioning to a higher fat ketogenic diet for a type 2 diabetic, you must work closely with your physician to monitor and consistently lower your insulin needs.  With less carbs, you’ll need less insulin.  If you follow keto closely and keep limiting carbs, most Diabetics can get off all medications at some point in time, but it needs to be carefully monitored.

References
https://www.perfectketo.com/keto-diet-vs-paleo-diet-ketosis-better-paleo/

https://www.marksdailyapple.com/keto-and-type-2-diabetes/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report: Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.
American Diabetes Association. “Nutrition Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes–2006 A position statement of the American Diabetes Association.”Diabetes care 29.9 (2006): 2140-2157.
Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration. “Diabetes mellitus, fasting blood glucose concentration, and risk of vascular disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of 102 prospective studies.” The Lancet 375.9733 (2010): 2215-2222.
O’Gara, Patrick T., et al. “2013 ACCF/AHA guideline for the management of ST-elevation myocardial infarction: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 61.4 (2013): e78-e140.
Aguiree, Florencia, et al. “IDF diabetes atlas.” (2013)
“Update 2014”. IDF. International Diabetes Federation. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
Geiss LS, Wang J, Cheng YJ. Thompson TJ, Barker L; Li Y, Albright AL, Gregg EW. Prevalence and incidence trends for diagnosed diabetes among adults aged 20 to 79 years, United States, 1980-2012. JAMA 2014; 312:1218-1226.
Yancy Jr, William S., et al. “A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes.” Nutr Metab (Lond) 2 (2005): 34.
Westman, Eric C., et al. “The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Nutr Metab (Lond) 5 (2008): 36.
Hussain, Talib A., et al. “Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes.” Nutrition 28.10 (2012): 1016-1021.
Noakes, Manny, et al. “Comparison of isocaloric very low carbohydrate/high saturated fat and high carbohydrate/low ‘saturated fat diets on body composition and cardiovascular risk.” Nutrition & metabolism 3.1 (2006): 7

A Beginner’s Guide to the Ketogenic Diet: An Effective Way of Optimizing Your Health


Many Americans suffer from various chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and the main culprit is usually the food they eat. The standard American diet contains excessive amounts of protein and carbohydrates, neither of which is good for your health because they eventually cause you to develop insulin and leptin resistance. As a result, you gain excess weight, develop inflammation and become prone to cellular damage.

To avoid this problem, significant changes in your diet are necessary, and the best way is inducing your body into a state of nutritional ketosis, a condition where your body burns fat as its primary fuel instead of sugar. In order to reach nutritional ketosis, you must follow a ketogenic diet. But what exactly is a ketogenic diet?

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about a ketogenic diet — how you can apply it to your lifestyle and what positives you can reap from it.

The Various Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is a dietary approach that focuses on minimal carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and high healthy fat consumption — the three keys to achieving nutritional ketosis. In fact, it’s what I recommend for most people who would like to optimize their health.

There are many reasons why you should try a ketogenic diet. It can be very beneficial for people suffering from chronic conditions, or for people who would simply like to be healthier. You’ll be excited to know that a ketogenic diet can help with the following:

Weight loss: If you’re trying to lose weight, then a ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to do it because it helps to access your body fat so that it can be shed. Obese people, in particular, can benefit from this method. In one study, obese test subjects were given a low-carb ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet. After 24 weeks, researchers noted that the low-carb group lost more weight (9.4 kilograms; 20.7 pounds) compared to the low-fat group (4.8 kilograms; 10.5 pounds).1

Even my own body was able to feel the benefits of following a ketogenic diet. I was able to drop my weight from 180 to 164 pounds, despite eating 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day. Since then, I have increased my consumption to 3,500 to 4,000 calories just to maintain my ideal weight.

Anti-inflammatory: The human body can use sugar and fat as fuel sources. However, the latter is preferred because it is a cleaner, healthier fuel, as it releases far fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals. By eliminating sugar from your daily food consumption, you’re decreasing your risk of developing chronic inflammation throughout your body.

Increasing muscle mass: Jeff Volek, Ph.D., is a registered dietitian specializing on how a high-fat, low-carb diet can affect health and athletic performance. In one of his books, he states that ketones have a similar structure to branched-chain amino acids that can be useful for building muscle mass. Ketones spare these amino acids, leaving higher levels of them around, which can help promote muscle mass.

Reducing appetite: Constant hunger can cause you to consume more calories than you can burn, which can eventually lead to weight gain. A ketogenic diet can help you avoid this problem because reducing carbohydrate consumption can reduce hunger symptoms. In one study, participants who were given a low-carbohydrate had reduced appetites, helping them lose weight easier.2

Lowering insulin levels: When you consume carbs, they are broken down into sugars in your body. In turn, this causes your blood sugar levels to rise and leads to a spike in your insulin. Over time, you may develop insulin resistance, which can progress to Type 2 diabetes.

By altering your diet to a ketogenic approach, you can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, researchers noted that diabetics who ate low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets were able to significantly reduce their dependency on diabetes medication, and may even reverse it eventually.3

The Ketogenic Diet May Help Lower Your Risk of Cancer

Cancer is a devastating disease and is one of the leading causes of death all over the world. To make things worse, the medical profession has practically ignored evidence that indicates cancer as a metabolic and mitochondrial problem, causing conventional cancer treatment methods to fall short on their promises.

I believe (as well as the numerous experts I have interviewed) that over 90 percent of cancer cases are either preventable or treatable. The key here is to view cancer as a metabolic dysfunction, allowing you to gain control over this dreadful disease. Simply put, the right foods and strategies may help suppress cancer growth while simultaneously pushing it into remission.

What most people don’t know is that cancer cells are mainly fueled by glucose. In this regard, the ketogenic diet may be the best answer. By depriving them of their primary source of fuel, as well as protein restriction, cancer cells will literally starve to death.

In addition, research regarding the ketogenic diet in relation to fighting cancer has grown over the years, and the data indicates that aside from being a form of cancer prevention, the ketogenic diet may help complement common cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.4

Different Types of Ketogenic Diets You Can Try

There are several variations of the ketogenic diet based on specific needs:

Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): SKD is the type I typically recommend for most people because it is very effective. It focuses on the high consumption of healthy fats (70 percent of your diet), moderate protein (25 percent) and very little carbohydrates (5 percent).5

Keep in mind that there’s no set limit to the fat, because energy requirements vary from person to person, depending on their daily physical activities. However, the majority of your calories still need to come from fats, and you still need to limit your consumption of carbohydrates and protein for it to become a standard ketogenic diet.6

Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): TKD is generally geared toward fitness enthusiasts. In this approach, you eat the entirety of your allocated carbs for the day before and after exercising. The idea here is to use the energy provided by the carbs effectively before it disrupts ketosis.7

If you’re following this approach, I recommend that you eat carbs that are easily digestible with a high glycemic index to avoid upsetting your stomach. Then, when you’re done exercising, increase your intake of protein to help with muscle recovery, then continue consuming your fats afterward.8

Cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD): Whereas TKD is focused on fitness enthusiasts, CKD is focused more on athletes and bodybuilders. In CKD, you cycle between a normal ketogenic diet, followed by a short period of high carb consumption or “re-feeds.”The idea here is to take advantage of the carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen lost from your muscles during athletic activity or working out.10

If you’re a high-level athlete or bodybuilder, CKD may be a viable method for you. It usually consists of five days of SKD, followed by two days of carb-loading. Again, this method isn’t recommended for most people who do not have a high rate of physical activity.11

High-protein ketogenic diet: This method is a variant of the SKD. In a high-protein diet, you increase the ratio of protein consumption to 10 percent and reduce your healthy fat consumption by 10 percent. In a study involving obese men that tried this method, researchers noted that it helped reduce their hunger and lowered their food intake significantly, resulting in weight loss.12 If you’re overweight or obese, this may help you at first, then you can transition to SKD after you normalize your weight.

Restricted ketogenic diet: As mentioned earlier, a ketogenic diet can be an effective weapon against cancer. To do this, you need to be on a restricted ketogenic diet. By restricting your carbohydrate and calorie intake, your body loses glycogen and starts producing ketones that your healthy cells can use as energy. Because cancer cells cannot use these ketones, they starve to death.13

As of the moment, there is no industry standard as to how many calories should be consumed in a restricted ketogenic diet, but there are published studies that provide estimates. In one example, a 65-year-old woman who was suffering from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive type of brain cancer, was put into a restricted ketogenic diet that started with water fasting and then proceeded to consume 600 calories a day only.

After two months, her weight decreased and the ketones in her body elevated. Furthermore, there was no discernable brain tumor tissue detected using magnetic resonance (MRI) or fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging scans.14

In another study that involved mice with brain tumors, administration of 65 to 75 percent of the recommended daily calories helped reduce tumor growth by 35 and 65 percent among two different test groups. Total carb consumption was restricted to 30 grams only.15 A different mice study strictly limited carb consumption to 0.2 percent only, which helped reduce the growth of glucose-fermenting tumors.16

In a pilot trial published in Nutrition & Metabolism, a 70-gram carbohydrate restriction combined with a ketogenic diet may help improve quality of life among patients affected with late-stage cancer. However, more trials will need to be conducted regarding its effectiveness against cancer progression, according to the researchers.17

At any rate, if you wish to undergo a restricted ketogenic diet for specific health reasons, consult with your doctor first. They may be able to help you figure out the optimal number of calories to consume and carbohydrates to restrict for maximum effectiveness.

Popular Low-Carb Diets Versus the Ketogenic Diet: How Do They Compare?

Of course, the ketogenic diet is not the only low-carb diet out there, and you may have heard of other popular eating strategies that may help improve your health. So how do they stack up against the ketogenic diet?

Atkins Diet Versus Ketogenic Diet

The Atkins diet is a low-carb eating program promoted by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, who wrote about it back in 1972.18 In essence, the diet is all about restricting carbohydrate consumption while emphasizing protein and healthy fats as sources of fuel, as well as high-fiber vegetables to help promote weight loss.19

Similar to the ketogenic diet, you will have to avoid starchy and sugary sources of carbohydrates like bread, pasta, noodles (including wheat-based noodles like udon) and potatoes, as well as processed meats and junk foods. Instead, you will have to consume more grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, cheese and fatty fish. 20

One key difference that sets the Atkins diet apart from the ketogenic diet is that it allows unlimited consumption of protein, which can cause a significant drawback to your health.21 Research suggests that excessive protein consumption can stimulate your mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, accelerating aging and cancer growth.

Paleo Diet Versus Ketogenic Diet

The Paleo diet is another popular eating trend based on the habits of our Paleolithic ancestors. Its foundation focuses on eating lean meat, seafood, fresh fruits, and nonstarchy vegetables. You must also remove processed foods, drinks, grains and sugar from your eating habits for the Paleo diet to have a positive effect on you.

While research suggests that the Paleo diet may benefit your health, one foreseeable problem with this eating regimen is that it consumes too much protein, which can negatively affect your health in the long run. Instead, I believe it is far better to moderate your protein intake and increase consumption of healthy fats.

How Many Carbs a Day Should You Get While on a Ketogenic Diet?

When determining the ideal max carbs on keto, I believe that the following amounts can be effective for most people:

  • 70 percent healthy fats
  • 25 percent high-quality protein
  • 5 percent carbohydrates

Ideally, your keto carb limit should be kept to under 50 grams a day, or 4 to 10 percent of your daily calories. This will help you transition to burning fat for fuel. However, this number may change depending on various factors. For example, if you have Type 2 diabetes, you will have to restrict your carb intake to as little as 20 grams per day. All in all, you will have to rely on your body’s feedback to help you identify the ceiling amount for your carb intake.

How to Get Started on the Ketogenic Diet?

Taking your first step into the ketogenic diet is an exciting phase for your health. But before coming up with an actual ketogenic diet food list, it’s important to first take a look at what you’re eating now and take out anything that’s unhealthy. This means that you have to remove sugars, grains, starches, and packaged and processed foods from your diet. Basically, anything that won’t add to your new eating regimen has to go. This is what I call a “pantry sweep.”

Furthermore, avoid drinking milk because it contains the carbohydrate galactose — drinking just one glass can basically eat up your entire carb allotment for the day. In addition, avoiding milk helps lactose-intolerant people to implement the ketogenic diet. The table below provides a good overview of many other foods that are surprising sources of sugar. If you have any of the following in stock, I encourage you to take them out immediately:

Condiments Beverages Snacks Meals
• Salsa• Ketchup

• Packaged salad dressings

• Lattes• Flavored kefir

• Commercially prepared smoothies

• Fresh or dried fruits• Flavored yogurt

• Peanut butter with added sugar

• Frozen dinners• Many Thai and Vietnamese dishes, such as Pad Thai

Hydrogenated fats, such as canola and sunflower oil, must also be avoided, as they’re typically high in omega-6 fats, which can easily throw off your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Another thing that you should work on is improving your skill in reading product labels, particularly total carbohydrates. This will be your most important indicator to help you compute your overall carbohydrate consumption, allowing you to create your ketogenic diet.

The Ideal Keto Diet Foods to Eat

When it comes to the core of an actual ketogenic diet, remember that you need to consume only moderate amounts of protein, or about one-half gram per pound of lean body mass, each day. In addition, carbohydrates must be minimized and high-quality fats increased to serve as your new fuel source.

To ease yourself into a ketogenic diet meal plan, I recommend adding C8 medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil into your food. It’s typically more expensive than other types of MCT oil, but I prefer it because it converts into ketones more effectively.

You can start with 1 teaspoon per day, then gradually increase your consumption to 2 to 3 tablespoons. If your stomach does not agree with MCT oil, you can try MCT powder, which is easier on your stomach. From there, you can start adding more healthy fats to your diet using the keto food list below:

Fats

As mentioned earlier, the bulk of your daily calorie consumption (around 70 percent) should come from healthy fats. This will help your body switch from burning sugar to fat for energy in the long run because you’re removing the majority of carbohydrates from your system. To get you started on the right path, you can refer to the table below:

Coconut oil Animal-based omega-3 fats from healthy sources such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, and krill Olives and olive oil (make sure they are third-party certified because most olive oils are diluted with vegetable oils)
Raw, grass-fed butter Raw nuts, such as macadamia, almonds, and pecans Various seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, cumin and hemp
Avocados Grass-fed meats Lard and/or tallow
Ghee (clarified butter) Raw cacao butter Organic pastured eggs

For dairy-based healthy fats, make sure that they are made from raw, grass-fed milk. This ensures that you’re getting the best nutrition possible because grain-fed sources may potentially harm your health due to pesticide exposure. To help compute your daily fat calorie requirements, you can use an app like MyFitnessPal, which has a large database of foods. Make sure to enter the correct food and track your servings properly.

Protein

The ideal protein intake should be one-half gram per pound of lean body mass per day. This will help you maintain enough muscle mass without triggering your mTOR. Excess protein can stimulate this pathway, which may increase your risk of cancer. Common sources of protein include red meat (beef and pork) and poultry (chicken). To find out how much protein you’re consuming, follow this handy guide:

  • Red meat, pork, and poultry contain 6 to 9 grams of protein per ounce
  • One egg contains 6 to 8 grams of protein
  • Seeds and nuts average 4 to 8 grams of protein per quarter cup
  • Cooked beans have 7 to 8 grams of protein per cup

Whatever the source of protein you consume, make sure they are organic grass fed and antibiotic-free, as they are generally healthier and safer for your body. In one study, researchers indicate that grass-fed beef (regardless of cuts) contains more omega-3 acid and conjugated linoleic acid compared to grain-fed beef.22 As for non-meat sources of protein, try to look for organic and pesticide-free varieties.

Vegetables

Veggies play an important component in the ketogenic diet because they are low in carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber, a nutritional component that can help promote better digestion and overall gut health. Research indicates that fiber can offer various health benefits, depending on what type you consume:

Soluble fiber: This type of fiber helps you feel full longer, which can prevent you from overeating, as well as hindering the breakdown and digestion of dietary cholesterol, which may help normalize your cholesterol levels. It also helps slow down the rate of carb digestion, which may control blood sugar spikes.

Insoluble fiber: Commonly found in vegetables, this type of fiber adds bulk to your stool, which can help facilitate regular waste elimination. In addition, it may reduce the risk of bloating, pain and constipation.

Digestive-resistant starch: This type of fiber ferments in your large intestines, nourishing your gut bacteria to support optimal health.

Leafy vegetables are great sources of fiber (as well as various nutrients and antioxidants), such as:

Broccoli Spinach Kale
Parsley Swiss chard Collard greens
Arugula Beet greens Brussels sprouts

You may also consider adding these other low net carb vegetables to your regular meals:

Asparagus White mushrooms Cucumber
Tomatoes Cauliflower Eggplant

It’s important that you strictly consume the vegetables recommended above, as they are low in carbohydrates. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes,23 sweet potatoes,24 corn25 and artichokes26 are high in carbohydrates, making them unfit for the ketogenic diet.

Nuts

Real nuts, which come from trees, are great for helping you meet your fat requirements. They also make for great keto-friendly snacks if you suddenly feel the need for a quick bite. There are several healthy options to choose, such as:

MacadamiaOut of all nuts, macadamia nuts have the highest fat and low protein and carb content. They’re also rich in other nutrients such as manganese, thiamin, and magnesium.

PecanThis type of nut comes close to macadamia’s fat content, and has high magnesium and manganese content, too.

WalnutConsuming this nut can help boost your omega-3 intake, as well as your copper, biotin and manganese levels.

Brazil nutsThese nuts are known for their selenium content, which possesses effective antioxidant capabilities. They also have a good combination of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Fruits

While fruits are generally healthy for you, the majority of them should be avoided in a ketogenic diet because of their high amounts of sugar. This includes healthy (but sweet) ones such as bananas, apples, mangoes, and grapes. However, certain citrus fruits and berries are safe to eat in moderate quantities, because they are rich in antioxidants that can support your health.

  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Cranberry
  • Limes and lemons (You can add a few slices to your drinking water)
  • Grapefruit (eat a few sections in lieu of vegetables)

Beverages

As for beverages, there are several you can choose from. The most important is high-quality filtered water, but you may also drink organic black coffee (without any sweeteners or milk), which is rich in antioxidants. Coconut milk can be consumed, as well as herbal teas because they are rich in various antioxidants and nutrients.

Make sure to stay away from sweetened drinks and carbonated sodas, as their sugar content can throw you off ketosis. Not to mention, they are simply unhealthy for your body in general. Avoid alcohol consumption as well.

Spices

Spices are an easy way of adding more flavor, vitamins, and antioxidants into your food. Furthermore, they are low in carbohydrates. Make sure that you’re using fresh, organic spices for maximum flavor and nutrients. Some spices sold in packets found at the local grocery should not be used, as they often contain fillers that can increase your carbohydrate consumption, thus putting you out of ketosis.27 For a list of keto-friendly spices you can use, you may refer to the table below:28

Sage Black pepper Basil
Cayenne pepper Chili powder Cilantro
Cinnamon Cumin Oregano
Parsley Rosemary
Thyme Turmeric

Beware of Lectins When Eating Vegetables

Lectins are sugar-binding plant proteins that can attach to your cell membranes, which can cause weight gain and ill health even if you eat a nutritious diet. They’re found in plenty of plant foods, including eggplants, tomatoes, and squash. However, complete avoidance of lectins is neither possible nor ideal because you would be missing out on other nutrients in vegetables. Instead, here are some effective ways you can reduce lectins from your diet:

Peeling and deseeding your fruits and vegetables: The skin, hull, and seeds tend to contain the highest amounts of lectins.

Sprouting: Seeds, grains, and beans will deactivate lectins when sprouted. However, there are exceptions such as alfalfa, where the inverse actually happens.

Fermenting: Fermented vegetables not only have reduced lectin content, but also an improved nutritional profile.

Using a pressure cooker: Lectins are effectively neutralized when using this household appliance. Avoid using slow cookers because they can actually raise the lectin content due to the low cooking temperature.

As you can see, the list of foods you can eat is quite extensive. But what does an actual day of following a ketogenic diet look like? To help you ease into it, here’s a sample one-day eating plan that can guide you:

Sample One-Day Ketogenic Meal Plan

As you start your day: Measure your glucose level when you wake up. You can have a cup of coffee or tea with 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter, coconut oil or MCT oil melted into it.

Breakfast: As hunger begins to set in, start consuming mostly protein and fats together, such as two pasture-raised eggs cooked in 1 tablespoon of ghee and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Alternatively, you may cook one egg with two strips of organic bacon.

Time-pressed individuals can make a smoothie using the following ingredients:

Unsweetened almond milk Unsweetened protein powder Organic cream
1 tablespoon of coconut milk or a teaspoon of MCT oil Two strawberries or a small handful of blueberries Stevia to taste

Lunch: Lunch is best taken when your glucose reading is 80 or lower, or a few hours after your first meal. Start with 2 to 3 cups of salad greens along with half an avocado. An ideal amount of protein should also be consumed (chicken, fish or lamb), plus 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of white wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons of a hard cheese grated over the top.

Dinner: Ideally dinner should be eaten three hours before bedtime. If you eat at night when your energy levels are low, you risk flooding your mitochondria with reactive oxygen species (ROS). This last meal for the day should have a smaller portion of protein cooked in high-quality fat. A serving of vegetables drizzled with olive oil or coconut oil must also be added. Keep in mind that your overall serving should be lighter than your breakfast or lunch.

Snacks: Fat-rich foods light on your stomach such as macadamia nuts and pecans are keto-friendly snacks. Celery, avocado and my Fat Bomb recipe below are great choices as well.

Ketogenic Recipes You Can Try

Oftentimes, people underestimate the potential a healthy diet can bring to your overall well-being. In truth, the food you eat contributes to 80 percent of your overall health, with the remaining 20 percent dependent on various lifestyle factors. Now that you’re aware of what the ketogenic diet can be capable of, the question is: How do I start making ketogenic meals in the first place?

In my book “Fat for Fuel,” I sought to educate readers about the benefits of using healthy fats as a catalyst to bring about improved mitochondrial function, thus allowing you to achieve better health. In essence, the book answers WHY it is important for you to consume healthy fats. However, you still need to know HOW to prepare the right ketogenic foods in an appetizing way.

That’s why I co-wrote the “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook” alongside renowned Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans. This book combines research-backed medical advice with delicious, kitchen-tested recipes that will help make shifting to fat-burning much easier. Whether you’re just a budding cook or a master chef, there’s a delicious meal waiting to be prepared that’ll take your health to the next level.

I also encourage you to try these keto-friendly recipes below, which I use in my daily routine. They’re not included in the book, but they serve as a good introduction to the ketogenic diet.

Dr. Mercola’s Chocolate Fat Bomb Recipe

Ingredients:

Procedure:

  1. Let the black sesame, flax, pumpkin, and black cumin seeds soak overnight (roughly 14 hours) in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour water to desired consistency — it can range from a liquid to pudding texture.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blend for two to five minutes for desired consistency.
Dr. Mercola’s Keto Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces ground organic lamb
  • 1/3 red onion
  • 1 whole avocado
  • 2 to 4 ounces sunflower seed sprouts
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 pieces anchovies (packed in salt, not oil)
  • A handful of oregano to your desired flavor (cut finely)
  • 2 to 4 ounces fennel bulb and/or leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (chopped finely)
  • 100 grams red pepper
  • A handful Malabar spinach
  • 1 habanero pepper (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon salmon fish roe
  • 2 to 3 ounces grass-fed pastured butter
  • 3 ounces fermented vegetables
  • 4 to 7 shakes Himalayan pink salt
  • 10 to 20 shakes ground pepper (depending on your preference)

Procedure:

  1. Gently heat the coconut oil in a frying pan.
  2. Add onions and ground organic lamb at very low heat for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, cut and mix the remaining ingredients.
  4. After 25 minutes, add the onions to the salad and then mix it well.
  5. Rinse salt off the anchovies and soak them for five minutes.
  6. Split each anchovy into three pieces and add to the salad.
  7. Add the organic lamb to the salad.
Dr. Mercola’s Macadamia Nut Fudge Recipe

Ingredients:

Procedure:

  1. Mix the butter and oils under low heat for three to five minutes.
  2. Once the mixture cools, add the stevia and the vanilla extract.
  3. Pour the fudge into 8-ounce wide ball jars.
  4. Spread the nuts evenly across all jars.
  5. Refrigerate until the fudge reaches the desired consistency

This recipe makes eight servings.

Are These Other Foods Ketogenic?

Aside from the various keto-friendly foods mentioned in this article, you may be wondering if there are other options that may help support your ketogenic diet. If you find that the ketogenic diet is limiting when you start out, don’t worry. There’s actually a lot you can add to your diet that’s “keto” as long as consumption is controlled. Here are some commonly asked questions:

Is Hummus Ketogenic?

Hummus is a spread or dip made by grinding chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil together. Other spices like red pepper may be added as well to alter the flavor.29

Chickpeas are naturally high in carbs — a single cup alone contains 45 grams of carbohydrates.30 However, you can modify the recipe to make it more nutritious. Try this recipe from Pete Evans, which replaces the chickpeas with beetroot.31 Beware, though, that beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, so consume them in very controlled amounts.

Is Popcorn Ketogenic?

If you’re just starting out with the ketogenic diet, you may be wondering if this popular snack can fit into your new eating plan. The answer: It depends on your carbohydrate consumption.32 According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 cup of oil-cooked popcorn contains 6.29 grams of carbohydrates.33 Since I recommend that people usually limit their net carb consumption to under 50 grams per day, a single serving of popcorn may throw you off ketosis.

If you choose to add popcorn to your ketogenic diet, I recommend making your own at home to minimize carb intake by using organic corn kernels. Using healthy fats to cook the kernels will also increase the ketogenic profile of the meal.

Is Spaghetti Squash Ketogenic?

Spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a long, oblong-shaped yellow vegetable. When cooked, its flesh separates into thin noodles that resemble the beloved Italian dish. In this regard, the vegetable is sometimes called “squaghetti.” If you want to try it, here’s a recipe that you can follow. But is this food keto-friendly? Similar to popcorn, the answer depends on your needs. A single cup of spaghetti winter squash contains 6.98 grams of carbohydrates, which is well within the limit of your ideal daily net carb intake.34

Is Peanut Butter Ketogenic?

Peanuts (and peanut butter) are high in omega-6 fatty acids, so consuming too much of this food can throw off your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.35 Peanuts also contain lectins, which may exacerbate symptoms in people who have autoimmune diseases.36

Despite conflicting information, it is still possible to add peanut butter to your ketogenic diet, but I don’t generally recommend it, even when used sparingly. If you still want to push through with eating peanut butter, make sure that it is homemade by soaking the nuts overnight before production to reduce the lectin content.

Also, calculate your servings accordingly to prevent going over your daily net carb intake to prevent throwing you off ketosis.37 Lastly, avoid commercial peanut butter, because the peanuts used are heavily sprayed with pesticides.

Is Cheese Ketogenic?

Certain types of dairy are recommended as part of the ketogenic diet, and cheese is one of them. That’s because it’s rich in healthy fat that may help augment your health, similar to other fat-rich foods. When choosing cheeses, make sure they’re made using raw grass-fed milk to get all the healthy fats. Remember, the longer a cheese has been aged, the lower the carb content.38

Is Honey Ketogenic?

Raw honey is a natural sweetener with various potential health benefits, such as fighting microbes and boosting immune system function. However, it is filled with fructose that can throw you off ketosis, even when taken in small amounts. It is recommended that you avoid honey if you want the ketogenic diet to truly benefit your health.39

Is Almond Milk Ketogenic?

Almond milk is a viable alternative to dairy milk for the ketogenic diet, and it’s also ideal for lactose-intolerant individuals. In addition, research suggests that the fatty acids found in almond milk may help reduce the risk of heart disease.40 If you want to add almond milk to your diet, do not purchase the ones made with pasteurized nuts, as they may harm your health. Instead, make your own using raw, unpasteurized almonds.

Is Butternut Squash Keto?

Butternut squash is a type of winter squash with more carbohydrates than summer squash. In light of this, adding it to your ketogenic diet isn’t recommended. However, you may still consume this vegetable, but in very small, controlled amounts. Make sure you closely monitor your carb consumption to prevent going off ketosis.41

Are Tomatoes Ketogenic?

According to the USDA, a 100-gram serving of red tomatoes has 3.89 grams of carbohydrates.42 You may add this fruit to your ketogenic diet safely and gain its beneficial nutrients, particularly lycopene. Researchers from Ohio State University suggest that this antioxidant may help protect your skin from sun damage, which may result in a lowered risk of skin cancer tumors.43

Remember to always cook tomatoes to improve their nutritional value. Research shows that cooked tomatoes have increased lycopene content, as well as total antioxidant activity. In one study that heated tomatoes to just over 190 degrees Fahrenheit for two, 15 and 30 minutes, results indicated that:44

  • Beneficial trans-lycopene content increased by 54 percent, 171 percent and 164 percent, respectively
  • Levels of cis-lycopene (which is a form easily absorbed by your body) rose by six, 17 and 35 percent, respectively
  • Overall antioxidant levels increased by 28, 34 and 62 percent, respectively

Who Should Not Be on a Ketogenic Diet?

Based on published studies, a ketogenic diet can be beneficial for optimizing your health. However, not everyone should follow this eating plan due to certain factors. If you fall within any of the following categories, I recommend that you do not push through with a ketogenic diet for safety reasons:45,46

Pregnant: During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes that require nutrients from various sources. Therefore, severely restricting yourself from healthy carb sources may negatively impact your baby’s health.47 Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding women should avoid a ketogenic diet throughout the child’s breastfeeding phase.That’s because women need oxaloacetate, a compound essential for creating lactose for breastmilk, which is essential for their baby’s growth.
An athlete who’s about to start a new season: Athletes can greatly benefit from the energy produced by ketones, but it takes around four to six weeks for your body to achieve ketosis.During this time, your body has not yet adapted to using fat as an energy source, which may impede your performance in upcoming athletic events.

If you wish to take advantage of the ketogenic diet, give your body time to adapt by planning ahead during the offseason.

Had a gallbladder removed: Your gallbladder collects and concentrates bile, allowing your digestive tract to absorb dietary fat properly.Without it, dietary fat won’t be absorbed as much, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies, since a ketogenic diet largely relies on fat for nutrients.
Has a history of kidney stones: If you have developed kidney stones before, a ketogenic diet may increase your chances of getting them again.That’s because ketones are naturally acidic, which increases the production of uric acid and the formation of stones.

On the other hand, kidney stones may be prevented while on a ketogenic diet if you increase your consumption of potassium from leafy greens and other high-fat foods such as avocado.

Staying hydrated throughout the day also helps lower your risk of developing stones.

Your body is still growing: In one study, epileptic children experienced a reduction in symptoms and improved cognitive performance when a ketogenic diet was introduced.48However, this may have a negative effect on the growth of their bodies in the long run, according to a study published in the journal Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.49

Researchers believe that a ketogenic diet reduces the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGFT-1), a hormone essential in the development of the bones and the muscles of kids and teenagers.

If your child absolutely needs to be on a ketogenic diet, consult with a doctor first to discuss any potential growth issues.

Naturally thin: Naturally thin people with a body mass index (BMI) of 20 or less should avoid a ketogenic diet because it may induce further weight loss, which can be detrimental to your overall health. Have rare metabolic disorders: Disorders such as Gaucher disease, Tay-Sachs, Niemann-Pick, and Fabry disease can interfere with fat metabolism, thus affecting energy production.50If you have any of the aforementioned disorders, a ketogenic diet is not recommended as it relies largely on fat for energy production.
Struggling with anorexia: Anorexics may suffer from rapid starvation if they follow a ketogenic diet because they already limit their calorie consumption and have an extreme fear of eating fat, which a ketogenic diet has lots of.If they embark on a ketogenic eating plan, they may also suffer from low energy, because a ketogenic diet relies on dietary fat as the main source of fuel.

However, their overall well-being may benefit from ketones through careful medical and psychiatric supervision.

Pancreatic insufficiency: Pancreatic insufficiency is a condition where your pancreas does not produce enough enzymes to help break down and absorb nutrients in your digestive tract.If you have an enzyme deficiency, I suggest having it treated first before embarking on a ketogenic diet, because your digestive system will have a hard time absorbing dietary fats.

The Side Effects of a Ketogenic Diet

Starting a ketogenic diet can help optimize your health tremendously in many ways. But like any major dietary changes, it can have several undesirable (but not alarming) side effects, such as:

 

Bad breath: Once you start on a ketogenic diet, you may notice that your breath will have an undesirable odor due to the increased acetone levels in your body. Acetone is a ketone produced during ketosis, which is expelled in your urine and partly your breath.On a positive note, detecting acetone in your breath is a good indicator that your ketogenic diet is working.51 You can brush your teeth and/or rinse your mouth with coconut oil to help remove the bad breath.
Short-term fatigue: You may begin to feel fatigue at the start of a ketogenic diet. It’s actually one of the main reasons why many people choose not to continue with this approach long before they can enjoy the benefits.52The reason why you get tired at the start is your body is adapting from using carbohydrates for energy to healthy fats. The transition doesn’t happen overnight, and it may take you anywhere between seven to 30 days before your body achieves full ketosis.53
Frequent urination: During the first few days of implementing a ketogenic diet, you may notice that you’re using the bathroom more often. That’s because your body is dumping the glycogen in your liver and muscles as urine. Furthermore, as the insulin level in your blood begins to drop, excess sodium is expelled in the form of urine as well.54
Digestive problems: A huge shift into any dieting method can increase your risk of digestive problems, and the ketogenic diet is no exception. Constipation is commonly reported among those who are starting out on a ketogenic diet, but it may disappear in a few weeks once your body gets used to the healthier food you’re eating.55
Sugar cravings: You may develop intense sugar cravings as your body switches from sugar to fat for fuel. However, I encourage you not to give in to temptation. You can practice various relaxation method such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques or yoga to take your mind away from sugary foods.56
Hair loss: You may notice more strands of hair getting stuck on your brush during the first few days of your ketogenic diet. Don’t worry because this is not a big cause of concern since hair loss can result from any major dietary changes in general. It will stop once your body achieves ketosis.57

 

Is the Ketogenic Diet Safe?

Based on published research, the benefits of the ketogenic diet are clear and defined. Weight loss, lowered insulin levels and reduced appetite are health improvements that most people will enjoy in the long run. That being said, there are some side effects that you may experience when you first start out, such as those mentioned above.

In addition, you may experience “carb flu,” a condition that mimics flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and headaches. This generally occurs during the onset of the ketogenic diet because your body will have to adjust after relying on carbohydrates for fuel for so long.58 The symptoms typically last less than a week (or two) only. If carb flu does happen to you, here are some things you can do to feel better while you’re transitioning into ketosis:59

  • Increase water intake
  • Slightly increase your consumption of healthy fats and proteins
  • Avoid sugar-free foods

Once you feel better, you can regulate your intake of water, fats, and proteins into a full-fledged ketogenic diet. Aside from carb flu, be warned that staying in long-term, continuous ketosis may have drawbacks that may actually undermine your health and longevity. To stay on the safe side, I recommend undergoing a cyclic ketogenic diet. The “metabolic magic” that ketosis brings to the mitochondria actually occurs during the refeeding phase, not during the starvation phase.

What Are Keto Sticks and Strips?

Keto strips and sticks are useful tools in helping you figure out whether you’re in ketosis or not. There are three common ways to achieve this objective:60

  • Blood ketone meter: The most accurate tool, but is generally expensive
  • Urine stickIt will provide a Yes/No answer to whether you’re in ketosis or not, but it will not provide a measurement of your current ketones
  • Breath ketone meter: More accurate than a urine stick, but the accuracy of results can vary61

Blood ketone strips are considered the best testing tool, but they can be financially exhausting in the long run. To help minimize costs, you can check for ketones every few days instead of daily.

The Ketogenic Diet Can Positively Transform Your Health

Going into nutritional ketosis by following a ketogenic diet is one of the most radical but highly beneficial lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health. As with most dietary changes, always remember to listen to your body. If you feel any side effects other than the ones listed above, then necessary adjustments to your food intake may be needed.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Ketogenic Diet

Q: Is the ketogenic diet healthy?

A: As numerous studies have indicated, the ketogenic diet may potentially benefit your health in numerous ways. However, long-term ketosis may have unwarranted negative effects on your health, so it’s better to cycle out of ketosis once in a while for safety reasons.

Q: How do I go into nutritional ketosis?

A: To enter into a state of nutritional ketosis, take a look at what you’re currently eating and remove any unhealthy items such as sugary drinks and processed foods. The next step is to consume whole, organic foods that are high in healthy fats, have moderate protein and only minimal carbohydrates.

Q: How long does it take to get into ketosis?

A: Each person reacts differently to a ketogenic diet. You may experience a few side effects in the first seven to 30 days, such as constipation, fatigue, and urination. But once your body normalizes, you will start feeling the benefits.

Q: How many carbs can I consume to be in a state of ketosis?

A: It’s generally recommended that only 5 percent of your daily diet is allocated to carbohydrates because if you consume more than that, your body gets thrown off ketosis. However, this is only for SKD or the standard ketogenic diet. If you’re an athlete or a bodybuilder, you can consume more carbs without affecting ketosis by following a targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) or a cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD).

Q: How long does it take before ketosis shows results?

A: The results of ketosis can be felt as early as the first week when your body begins to dump water and carbohydrates, but the weight loss will only be minor.62 As time goes on, your body will begin to consistently shed excess fat, provided you stick to your ketogenic program.63

Q: What is the keto flu?

A: Keto flu, or carb flu, is a possible reaction your body may experience as a result from switching to fat for fuel from carbs. Issues like muscle soreness, fatigue, headaches, and general fogginess may occur.64

Q: Why am I not losing weight on keto?

A: There are a few possible reasons why you’re not undergoing ketosis, such as 65

  • Eating too much fruit: Fruits contain fructose that can throw you off ketosis when consumed too much.
  • You’re consuming hidden carbohydrates: Certain vegetables, dairy, and nuts have high carb content, so make sure that you review the carb content of the food you’re eating.
  • You’re eating too much: Consuming too much healthy fat can drastically increase your daily caloric intake, preventing you from losing weight.
  • You’re eating too little: Consuming too few calories can slow down your metabolism, making your body conserve itself in response to inadequate energy levels.

Q: What is keto coffee?

A: Keto coffee is simply coffee with MCT oil and raw, grass fed butter, which gives the drink not only energy-boosting but also fat-burning properties.

Q: Is the ketogenic diet safe long-term?

A: Long-term ketosis may be unhealthy, so you should switch to a cyclical ketogenic diet to introduce appropriate amounts of carbohydrates into your body once in a while.

Q: How many carbs a day should you consume on a ketogenic diet?

A: Limiting your net carb intake to under 50 grams per day can help transition your body into burning fat for fuel.

Q: How much weight can you lose on a ketogenic diet?

A: There’s no specific answer to this question, as it is dependent on many factors. However, you may be able to spot improvements right away. In a study that tested the ketogenic diet on obese people, researchers noted that after 24 weeks, the test subjects lost around 14 kilograms (30.8 pounds) of excess weight, going from an average 101.03 kilograms to 86.67 kilograms (222.7 pounds to 191 pounds).66

Q: Can you eat beans on keto?

A: It’s possible to eat beans, but only during the initial stage of the ketogenic diet. That’s because they’re high in net carbs, making them ideal only when you begin cycling in and out of ketosis. Beans should be consumed during your carb “feasting” days.

Q: Do calories matter on keto?

A: Counting your calories on a ketogenic diet is important as it will dictate your weight goals. In my case, I had to increase my caloric consumption in order to maintain my ideal weight. If you’re trying to lose weight, cutting back on your calories may work to your benefit.

Q: Can you drink alcohol on a ketogenic diet?

A: In general, I don’t recommend that you drink any form of alcohol, especially when you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Fat for Fuel: A Radical Approach to Achieving a Healthier You

If you’ve been experiencing weight problems or dealing with other health issues for a long time and you’re struggling to become healthier, you’ve come to the right place. In my new book, “Fat for Fuel: A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy,” I will show you many helpful strategies that can boost your health, such as:

  • Shifting your body from burning sugar to fat for energy
  • Controlling your weight by changing what and when to eat
  • Eliminating sugar cravings
  • Optimizing your mitochondrial health
  • Starving cancer cells

And a whole lot more!

‘No one should be doing the ketogenic diet,’ says top U.S. cardiologist


Ketosis is known to work wonders in terms of short-term weight loss. But what about the diet’s effects over the long term?

 

The ketogenic diet is one of the latest dietary fads to sweep the U.S., promising rapid weight loss, enhanced brain function and sustained energy throughout the day. These effects are achieved by replacing high-carb foods with fatty, protein-rich foods that will eventually put the body in ketosis: a natural metabolic state in which the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.

Ketosis is known to work wonders for short-term weight loss. But what about the diet’s effects over the long term?

According to Dr. Kim Williams, former president of the American College of Cardiology, no one should adopt the ketogenic diet over the long term—unless weight loss is more important than lifespan.

“I like the idea, the basic concept: you change your dietary habits and you change something,” Williams told Plant Based News. “Unfortunately, the science of it is wrong. If all you wanted was short-term weight loss—and short-term could be a year or two—if that’s all you’re looking for, great.”

Williams’ argument is based on a 2013 systematic review of 17 studies that found low-carbohydrate diets to be associated with an increased chance of death, with particularly increased risks to cardiovascular health.

“So I was talking about that and making sure everyone was hearing about that, and then there was one the Journal of the American Heart Association published a few years later that isolated the people who had had a heart attack in the past, the cardiology population that we’re seeing, and they were doing a ketogenic diet,” Williams told Plant Based News. “It was a 53 percent increase in mortality. No one should be doing this.”

The authors of the 2013 systematic review offered similar advice:

“Given the facts that low-carbohydrate diets are likely unsafe and that calorie restriction has been demonstrated to be effective in weight loss regardless of nutritional composition, it would be prudent not to recommend low-carbohydrate diets for the time being. Further detailed studies to evaluate the effect of protein source are urgently needed.”

The ketogenic diet can pose long-term health risks because “low-carbohydrate diets tend to result in reduced intake of fiber and fruits, and increased intake of protein from animal sources, cholesterol and saturated fat, all of which are risk factors for mortality” and cardiovascular disease, wrote the authors of the review.
What foods can you and can’t you eat on the keto diet?

It’s worth noting that the review focused on low-carbohydrate diets, which are not always ketogenic. To be sure, there are balanced ways to adopt the ketogenic diet, and it can beneficial to some. In addition to its proven weight-loss effects that can be especially helpful for obese people, the diet is also a proven treatment for children with epilepsy. That’s because the state of ketosis produces a natural chemical called decanoic acid, which can reduce seizures.

But if you’re looking for a safe diet that you can rely on over the long term, you might follow the advice given by Dr. Marcelo Campos in an article posted on the Harvard Health Blog:

“Instead of engaging in the next popular diet that would last only a few weeks to months (for most people that includes a ketogenic diet), try to embrace change that is sustainable over the long term. A balanced, unprocessed diet, rich in very colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and lots of water seems to have the best evidence for a long, healthier, vibrant life.”

Watch the video discussion. URL:https://youtu.be/VNW_5EqqWoo

A Beginner’s Guide to the Ketogenic Diet: An Effective Way of Optimizing Your Health


Story at-a-glance

  • This guide will tell you everything you need to know about a ketogenic diet – how you can apply it to your lifestyle and what positives you can reap from it
  • Before coming up with an actual ketogenic diet food list, it’s important to take a look at what you’re eating first and take out anything that’s unhealthy

Many Americans suffer from various chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and the main culprit is usually the food they eat. The standard American diet contains excessive amounts of protein and carbohydrates, neither of which is good for your health because they eventually cause you to develop insulin and leptin resistance. As a result, you gain excess weight, develop inflammation and become prone to cellular damage.

To avoid this problem, significant changes in your diet are necessary, and the best way is inducing your body into a state of nutritional ketosis, a condition where your body burns fat as its primary fuel instead of sugar. In order to reach nutritional ketosis, you must follow a ketogenic diet. But what exactly is a ketogenic diet?

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about a ketogenic diet — how you can apply it to your lifestyle and what positives you can reap from it.

The Various Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is a dietary approach that focuses on minimal carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and high healthy fat consumption — the three keys to achieving nutritional ketosis. In fact, it’s what I recommend for most people who would like to optimize their health.

There are many reasons why you should try a ketogenic diet. It can be very beneficial for people suffering from chronic conditions, or for people who would simply like to be healthier. You’ll be excited to know that a ketogenic diet can help with the following:

Weight loss: If you’re trying to lose weight, then a ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to do it, because it helps access your body fat so that it can be shed. Obese people in particular can benefit from this method. In one study, obese test subjects were given a low-carb ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet. After 24 weeks, researchers noted that the low-carb group lost more weight (9.4 kilograms; 20.7 pounds) compared to the low-fat group (4.8 kilograms; 10.5 pounds).1

Even my own body was able to feel the benefits of following a ketogenic diet. I was able to drop my weight from 180 to 164 pounds, despite eating 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day. Since then, I have increased my consumption to 3,500 to 4,000 calories just to maintain my ideal weight.

Anti-inflammatory: The human body can use sugar and fat as fuel sources. However, the latter is preferred because it is a cleaner, healthier fuel, as it releases far fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals. By eliminating sugar from your daily food consumption, you’re decreasing your risk of developing chronic inflammation throughout your body.

Increasing muscle mass: Jeff Volek, Ph.D., is a registered dietitian specializing on how a high-fat, low-carb diet can affect health and athletic performance. In one of his books, he states that ketones have a similar structure to branched-chain amino acids that can be useful for building muscle mass. Ketones spare these amino acids, leaving higher levels of them around, which can help promote muscle mass.

Reducing appetite: Constant hunger can cause you to consume more calories than you can burn, which can eventually lead to weight gain. A ketogenic diet can help you avoid this problem because reducing carbohydrate consumption can reduce hunger symptoms. In one study, participants who were given a low-carbohydrate had reduced appetites, helping them lose weight easier.2

Lowering insulin levels: When you consume carbs, they are broken down into sugars in your body. In turn, this causes your blood sugar levels to rise and leads to a spike in your insulin. Over time, you may develop insulin resistance, which can progress to Type 2 diabetes.

By altering your diet to a ketogenic approach, you can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, researchers noted that diabetics who ate low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets were able to significantly reduce their dependency on diabetes medication, and may even reverse it eventually.3

The Ketogenic Diet May Help Lower Your Risk of Cancer

Cancer is a devastating disease and is one of the leading causes of death all over the world. To make things worse, the medical profession has practically ignored evidence that indicates cancer as a metabolic and mitochondrial problem, causing conventional cancer treatment methods to fall short on their promises.

I believe (as well as the numerous experts I have interviewed) that over 90 percent of cancer cases are either preventable or treatable. The key here is to view cancer as a metabolic dysfunction, allowing you to gain control over this dreadful disease. Simply put, the right foods and strategies may help suppress cancer growth while simultaneously pushing it into remission.

What most people don’t know is that cancer cells are mainly fueled by glucose. In this regard, the ketogenic diet may be the best answer. By depriving them of their primary source of fuel, as well as protein restriction, cancer cells will literally starve to death.

In addition, research regarding the ketogenic diet in relation to fighting cancer has grown over the years, and the data indicates that aside from being a form of cancer prevention, the ketogenic diet may help complement common cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.4

Different Types of Ketogenic Diets You Can Try

There are several variations of the ketogenic diet based on specific needs:

Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): SKD is the type I typically recommend for most people, because it is very effective. It focuses on high consumption of healthy fats (70 percent of your diet), moderate protein (25 percent) and very little carbohydrates (5 percent).5

Keep in mind that there’s no set limit to the fat, because energy requirements vary from person to person, depending on their daily physical activities. However, the majority of your calories still need to come from fats, and you still need to limit your consumption of carbohydrates and protein for it to become a standard ketogenic diet.6

Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): TKD is generally geared toward fitness enthusiasts. In this approach, you eat the entirety of your allocated carbs for the day before and after exercising. The idea here is to use the energy provided by the carbs effectively before it disrupts ketosis.7

If you’re following this approach, I recommend that you eat carbs that are easily digestible with a high glycemic index to avoid upsetting your stomach. Then, when you’re done exercising, increase your intake of protein to help with muscle recovery, then continue consuming your fats afterward.8

Cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD): Whereas TKD is focused on fitness enthusiasts, CKD is focused more on athletes and bodybuilders. In CKD, you cycle between a normal ketogenic diet, followed by a short period of high carb consumption or “re-feeds.”9 The idea here is to take advantage of the carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen lost from your muscles during athletic activity or working out.10

If you’re a high-level athlete or bodybuilder, CKD may be a viable method for you. It usually consists of five days of SKD, followed by two days of carb-loading. Again, this method isn’t recommended for most people who do not have a high rate of physical activity.11

High-protein ketogenic diet: This method is a variant of the SKD. In a high-protein diet, you increase the ratio of protein consumption to 10 percent and reduce your healthy fat consumption by 10 percent. In a study involving obese men that tried this method, researchers noted that it helped reduce their hunger and lowered their food intake significantly, resulting in weight loss.12 If you’re overweight or obese, this may help you at first, then you can transition to SKD after you normalize your weight.

Restricted ketogenic diet: As mentioned earlier, a ketogenic diet can be an effective weapon against cancer. To do this, you need to be on a restricted ketogenic diet. By restricting your carbohydrate and calorie intake, your body loses glycogen and starts producing ketones that your healthy cells can use as energy. Because cancer cells cannot use these ketones, they starve to death.13

As of the moment, there is no industry standard as to how many calories should be consumed in a restricted ketogenic diet, but there are published studies that provide estimates. In one example, a 65-year-old woman who was suffering from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive type of brain cancer, was put into a restricted ketogenic diet that started with water fasting and then proceeded to consume 600 calories a day only.

After two months, her weight decreased and the ketones in her body elevated. Furthermore, there was no discernable brain tumor tissue detected using magnetic resonance (MRI) or fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging scans.14

In another study that involved mice with brain tumors, administration of 65 to 75 percent of the recommended daily calories helped reduce tumor growth by 35 and 65 percent among two different test groups. Total carb consumption was restricted to 30 grams only.15 A different mice study strictly limited carb consumption to 0.2 percent only, which helped reduce the growth of glucose-fermenting tumors.16

In a pilot trial published in Nutrition & Metabolism, a 70-gram carbohydrate restriction combined with a ketogenic diet may help improve quality of life among patients affected with late-stage cancer. However, more trials will need to be conducted regarding its effectiveness against cancer progression, according to the researchers.17

At any rate, if you wish to undergo a restricted ketogenic diet for specific health reasons, consult with your doctor first. They may be able to help you figure out the optimal number of calories to consume and carbohydrates to restrict for maximum effectiveness.

Popular Low-Carb Diets Versus the Ketogenic Diet: How Do They Compare?

Of course, the ketogenic diet is not the only low-carb diet out there, and you may have heard of other popular eating strategies that may help improve your health. So how do they stack up against the ketogenic diet?

Atkins Diet Versus Ketogenic Diet

The Atkins diet is a low-carb eating program promoted by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, who wrote about it back in 1972.18 In essence, the diet is all about restricting carbohydrate consumption while emphasizing protein and healthy fats as sources of fuel, as well as high-fiber vegetables to help promote weight loss.19

Similar to the ketogenic diet, you will have to avoid starchy and sugary sources of carbohydrates like bread, pasta and potatoes, as well as processed meats and junk foods. Instead, you will have to consume more grass fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, cheese and fatty fish. 20

One key difference that sets the Atkins diet apart from the ketogenic diet is that it allows unlimited consumption of protein, which can cause a significant drawback to your health.21 Research suggests that excessive protein consumption can stimulate your mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, accelerating aging and cancer growth.

Paleo Diet Versus Ketogenic Diet

The Paleo diet is another popular eating trend based on the habits of our Paleolithic ancestors. Its foundation focuses on eating lean meat, seafood, fresh fruits and nonstarchy vegetables. You must also remove processed foods, drinks, grains and sugar from your eating habits for the Paleo diet to have a positive effect on you.

While research suggests that the Paleo diet may benefit your health, one foreseeable problem with this eating regimen is that it consumes too much protein, which can negatively affect your health in the long run. Instead, I believe it is far better to moderate your protein intake and increase consumption of healthy fats.

How Many Carbs a Day Should You Get While on a Ketogenic Diet?

When determining the ideal max carbs on keto, I believe that the following amounts can be effective for most people:

70 percent healthy fats

25 percent high-quality protein

5 percent carbohydrates

Ideally, your keto carb limit should be kept to under 50 grams a day, or 4 to 10 percent of your daily calories. This will help you transition to burning fat for fuel. However, this number may change depending on various factors. For example, if you have Type 2 diabetes, you will have to restrict your carb intake to as little as 20 grams per day. All in all, you will have to rely on your body’s feedback to help you identify the ceiling amount for your carb intake.

How to Get Started on the Ketogenic Diet

Taking your first step into the ketogenic diet is an exciting phase for your health. But before coming up with an actual ketogenic diet food list, it’s important to first take a look at what you’re eating now and take out anything that’s unhealthy. This means that you have to remove sugars, grains, starches and packaged and processed foods from your diet. Basically, anything that won’t add to your new eating regimen has to go. This is what I call a “pantry sweep.”

Furthermore, avoid drinking milk because it contains the carbohydrate galactose — drinking just one glass can basically eat up your entire carb allotment for the day. In addition, avoiding milk helps lactose-intolerant people to implement the ketogenic diet. The table below provides a good overview of many other foods that are surprising sources of sugar. If you have any of the following in stock, I encourage you to take them out immediately:

Condiments Beverages Snacks Meals

Salsa

Ketchup

Packaged salad dressings

Lattes

Flavored kefir

Commercially prepared smoothies

Fresh or dried fruits

Flavored yogurt

Peanut butter with added sugar

Frozen dinners

Many Thai and Vietnamese dishes, such as Pad Thai

Hydrogenated fats, such as canola and sunflower oil, must also be avoided, as they’re typically high in omega-6 fats, which can easily throw off your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Another thing that you should work on is improving your skill in reading product labels, particularly total carbohydrates. This will be your most important indicator to help you compute your overall carbohydrate consumption, allowing you to create your ketogenic diet.

The Ideal Keto Diet Foods to Eat

When it comes to the core of an actual ketogenic diet, remember that you need to consume only moderate amounts of protein, or about one-half gram per pound of lean body mass, each day. In addition, carbohydrates must be minimized and high-quality fats increased to serve as your new fuel source.

To ease yourself into a ketogenic diet meal plan , I recommend adding C8 medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil into your food. It’s typically more expensive than other types of MCT oil, but I prefer it because it converts into ketones more effectively.

You can start with 1 teaspoon per day, then gradually increase your consumption to 2 to 3 tablespoons. If your stomach does not agree with MCT oil, you can try MCT powder, which is easier on your stomach. From there, you can start adding more healthy fats to your diet using the keto food list below:

Foods Rich in Healthy Fats

The table below should comprise the bulk of your ketogenic diet foods:

Coconut oil Animal-based omega-3 fats from healthy sources such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies and krill Olives and olive oil (make sure they are third-party certified because most olive oils are diluted with vegetable oils)
Raw, grass fed butter Raw nuts, such as macadamia, almonds and pecans Various seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, cumin and hemp
Avocados Grass fed meats Lard and/or tallow
Ghee (clarified butter) Raw cacao butter Organic pastured eggs

Ideally, your healthy fat consumption should comprise 70 percent of your daily requirements, so be sure to incorporate the aforementioned foods adequately into your daily meal plan.

Fiber Is Important

Fiber, an essential component found in fruits and vegetables, plays an important role in the ketogenic diet. Research indicates that fiber can offer various health benefits, depending on what type you consume:

Soluble fiber: This type of fiber helps you feel full longer, which can prevent you from overeating, as well as hindering the breakdown and digestion of dietary cholesterol, which may help normalize your cholesterol levels. It also helps slow down the rate of carb digestion, which may control blood sugar spikes.

Insoluble fiber: Commonly found in vegetables, this type of fiber adds bulk to your stool, which can help facilitate regular waste elimination. In addition, it may reduce the risk of bloating, pain and constipation.

Digestive-resistant starch: This type of fiber ferments in your large intestines, nourishing your gut bacteria to support optimal health.

Leafy vegetables are great sources of fiber (as well as various nutrients and antioxidants), such as:

Broccoli

Spinach

Kale

Parsley

Swiss chard

Collard greens

Arugula

Beet greens

Brussels sprouts

You may also consider adding these other low net carb vegetables to your regular meals:

Asparagus

White mushrooms

Cucumber

Tomatoes

Cauliflower

Eggplant

Most Fruits Should Be Off Limits

While fruits are generally healthy for you, the majority of them should be avoided in a ketogenic diet because of their high amounts of sugar. However, certain citrus fruits and berries are safe to eat in moderate quantities, because they are rich in antioxidants that can support your health.

Blackberry

Blueberry

Cranberry

Limes and lemons (You can add a few slices to your drinking water)

Grapefruit (eat a few sections in lieu of vegetables)

Watch What You Drink

As for beverages, there are several you can choose from. The most important is high-quality filtered water, but you may also drink organic black coffee (without any sweeteners or milk), which is rich in antioxidants. Coconut milk can be consumed, as well as herbal teas because they are rich in various antioxidants and nutrients.

Beware of Lectins

Lectins are sugar-binding plant proteins that can attach to your cell membranes, which can cause weight gain and ill health even if you eat a nutritious diet. They’re found in plenty of plant foods, including eggplants, tomatoes and squash. However, complete avoidance of lectins is neither possible nor ideal because you would be missing out on other nutrients in vegetables. Instead, here are some effective ways you can reduce lectins from your diet:

Peeling and deseeding your fruits and vegetables: The skin, hull and seeds tend to contain the highest amounts of lectins.

Sprouting: Seeds, grains and beans will deactivate lectins when sprouted. However, there are exceptions such as alfalfa, where the inverse actually happens.

Fermenting: Fermented vegetables not only have reduced lectin content, but also an improved nutritional profile.

Using a pressure cooker: Lectins are effectively neutralized when using this household appliance. Avoid using slow cookers because they can actually raise the lectin content due to the low cooking temperature.

As you can see, the list of foods you can eat is quite extensive. But what does an actual day of following a ketogenic diet look like? To help you ease into it, here’s a sample one-day eating plan that can guide you:

Sample One-Day Ketogenic Meal Plan

1. As you start your day: Measure your glucose level when you wake up. You can have a cup of coffee or tea with 2 tablespoons of grass fed butter, coconut oil or MCT oil melted into it.

2. Breakfast: As hunger begins to set in, start consuming mostly protein and fats together, such as two pasture-raised eggs cooked in 1 tablespoon of ghee and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Alternatively, you may cook one egg with two strips of organic bacon.

Time-pressed individuals can make a smoothie using the following ingredients:

Unsweetened almond milk

Unsweetened protein powder

Organic cream

1 tablespoon of coconut milk or a teaspoon of MCT oil

Two strawberries or a small handful of blueberries

Stevia to taste

3. Lunch: Lunch is best taken when your glucose reading is 80 or lower, or a few hours after your first meal. Start with 2 to 3 cups of salad greens along with half an avocado. An ideal amount of protein should also be consumed (chicken, fish or lamb), plus 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of white wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons of a hard cheese grated over the top.

4. Dinner: Ideally dinner should be eaten three hours before bedtime. If you eat at night when your energy levels are low, you risk flooding your mitochondria with reactive oxygen species (ROS). This last meal for the day should have a smaller portion of protein cooked in high-quality fat. A serving of vegetables drizzled with olive oil or coconut oil must also be added. Keep in mind that your overall serving should be lighter than your breakfast or lunch.

5. Snacks: Fat-rich foods light on your stomach such as macadamia nuts and pecans are keto-friendly snacks. Celery, avocado and my Fat Bomb recipe below are great choices as well.

Ketogenic Recipes You Can Try

 

Oftentimes, people underestimate the potential a healthy diet can bring to your overall well-being. In truth, the food you eat contributes to 80 percent of your overall health, with the remaining 20 percent dependent on various lifestyle factors. Now that you’re aware of what the ketogenic diet can be capable of, the question is: How do I start making ketogenic meals in the first place?

In my book “Fat for Fuel,” I sought to educate readers about the benefits of using healthy fats as a catalyst to bring about improved mitochondrial function, thus allowing you to achieve better health. In essence, the book answers WHY it is important for you to consume healthy fats. However, you still need to know HOW to prepare the right ketogenic foods in an appetizing way.

That’s why I co-wrote the “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook” alongside renowned Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans. This book combines research-backed medical advice with delicious, kitchen-tested recipes that will help make shifting to fat-burning much easier. Whether you’re just a budding cook or a master chef, there’s a delicious meal waiting to be prepared that’ll take your health to the next level.

I also encourage you to try these keto-friendly recipes below, which I use in my daily routine. They’re not included in the book, but they serve as a good introduction to the ketogenic diet.

Dr. Mercola's Chocolate Fat Bomb Recipe

Dr. Mercola’s Chocolate Fat Bomb Recipe

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of flax seeds

1 tablespoon of black cumin seeds

1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon of organic psyllium

1 tablespoon organic psyllium

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 scoop Dr. Mercola’s Organic Greens

1 teaspoon calcium from ground-pastured eggshells

1/2 ounce cocoa butter

1 whole avocado

1 to 2 tablespoons medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil

1 drop Stevia

Filtered water

Procedure:

1. Let the black sesame, flax, pumpkin and black cumin seeds soak overnight (roughly 14 hours) in a mixing bowl.

2. Mix the remaining ingredients.

3. Pour water to desired consistency — it can range from a liquid to pudding texture.

4. Using an immersion blender, blend for two to five minutes for desired consistency.

Dr. Mercola's Keto Salad Recipe

Dr. Mercola’s Keto Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

2 ounces ground organic lamb

1/3 red onion

1 whole avocado

2 to 4 ounces sunflower seed sprouts

1 to 2 tablespoons Dr. Mercola’s coconut oil

6 pieces anchovies (packed in salt, not oil)

A handful of oregano to your desired flavor (cut finely)

2 to 4 ounces fennel bulb and/or leaves

2 sprigs rosemary (chopped finely)

100 grams red pepper

A handful Malabar spinach

1 habanero pepper (chopped)

1 tablespoon salmon fish roe

2 to 3 ounces grass fed pastured butter

3 ounces fermented vegetables

4 to 7 shakes Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt

10 to 20 shakes ground pepper (depending on your preference)

Procedure:

1. Gently heat the coconut oil in a frying pan.

2. Add onions and ground organic lamb at very low heat for 20 to 25 minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, cut and mix the remaining ingredients.

4. After 25 minutes, add the onions to the salad and then mix it well.

5. Rinse salt off the anchovies and soak them for five minutes.

6. Split each anchovy into three pieces and add to the salad.

7. Add the organic lamb to the salad.

Dr. Mercola's Macadamia Nut Fudge Recipe

Dr. Mercola’s Macadamia Nut Fudge Recipe

Ingredients:

300 grams cocoa butter

200 grams Dr. Mercola’s coconut oil

200 grams raw, organic-pastured butter

300 grams macadamia nuts

8 full droppers of stevia (you can use Luo Han as a substitute)

1 teaspoon Dr. Mercola’s organic vanilla extract

Procedure:

1. Mix the butters and oils under low heat for three to five minutes.

2. Once the mixture cools, add the stevia and the vanilla extract.

3. Pour the fudge into 8-ounce wide ball jars.

4. Spread the nuts evenly across all jars.

5. Refrigerate until the fudge reaches the desired consistency

This recipe makes eight servings.

Are These Other Foods Ketogenic?

Aside from the various keto-friendly foods mentioned in this article, you may be wondering if there are other options that may help support your ketogenic diet. If you find that the ketogenic diet is limiting when you start out, don’t worry. There’s actually a lot you can add to your diet that’s “keto” as long as consumption is controlled. Here are some commonly asked questions:

Is Hummus Ketogenic?

Hummus is a spread or dip made by grinding chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil together. Other spices like red pepper may be added as well to alter the flavor.22

Chickpeas are naturally high in carbs — a single cup alone contains 45 grams of carbohydrates.23 However, you can modify the recipe to make it more nutritious. Try this recipe from Pete Evans, which replaces the chickpeas with beetroot.24 Beware, though, that beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, so consume them in very controlled amounts.

Is Popcorn Ketogenic?

If you’re just starting out with the ketogenic diet, you may be wondering if this popular snack can fit into your new eating plan. The answer: It depends on your carbohydrate consumption.25 According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 cup of oil-cooked popcorn contains 6.29 grams of carbohydrates.26 Since I recommend that people usually limit their net carb consumption to under 50 grams per day, a single serving of popcorn may throw you off ketosis.

If you choose to add popcorn into your ketogenic diet, I recommend making your own at home to minimize carb intake by using organic corn kernels. Using healthy fats to cook the kernels will also increase the ketogenic profile of the meal. Here’s an easy popcorn recipe I suggest you follow.

Is Spaghetti Squash Ketogenic?

Spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a long, oblong-shaped yellow vegetable. When cooked, its flesh separates into thin noodles that resemble the beloved Italian dish. In this regard, the vegetable is sometimes called “squaghetti.” If you want to try it, here’s a recipe that you can follow. But is this food keto-friendly? Similar to popcorn, the answer depends on your needs. A single cup of spaghetti winter squash contains 6.98 grams of carbohydrates, which is well within the limit of your ideal daily net carb intake.27

Is Peanut Butter Ketogenic?

Peanuts (and peanut butter) are high in omega-6 fatty acids, so consuming too much of this food can throw off your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.28 Peanuts also contain lectins, which may exacerbate symptoms in people who have autoimmune diseases.29

Despite conflicting information, it is still possible to add peanut butter to your ketogenic diet, but I don’t generally recommend it, even when used sparingly. If you still want to push through with eating peanut butter, make sure that it is homemade by soaking the nuts overnight before production to reduce the lectin content.

Also, calculate your servings accordingly to prevent going over your daily net carb intake to prevent throwing you off ketosis.30 Lastly, avoid commercial peanut butter, because the peanuts used are heavily sprayed with pesticides.

Is Cheese Ketogenic?

Certain types of dairy are recommended as part of the ketogenic diet, and cheese is one of them. That’s because it’s rich in healthy fat that may help augment your health, similar to other fat-rich foods. When choosing cheeses, make sure they’re made using raw grass fed milk to get all the healthy fats. Remember, the longer a cheese has been aged, the lower the carb content.31

Is Honey Ketogenic?

Raw honey is a natural sweetener with various potential health benefits, such as fighting microbes and boosting immune system function. However, it is filled with fructose that can throw you off ketosis, even when taken in small amounts. It is recommended that you avoid honey if you want the ketogenic diet to truly benefit your health.32

Is Almond Milk Ketogenic?

Almond milk is a viable alternative to dairy milk for the ketogenic diet, and it’s also ideal for lactose-intolerant individuals. In addition, research suggests that the fatty acids found in almond milk may help reduce the risk of heart disease.33 If you want to add almond milk to your diet, do not purchase the ones made with pasteurized nuts, as they may harm your health. Instead, make your own using raw, unpasteurized almonds. Here’s how to make almond milk at home.

Is Butternut Squash Keto?

Butternut squash is a type of winter squash with more carbohydrates than summer squash. In light of this, adding it to your ketogenic diet isn’t recommended. However, you may still consume this vegetable, but in very small, controlled amounts. Make sure you closely monitor your carb consumption to prevent going off ketosis.34

Are Tomatoes Ketogenic?

According to the USDA, a 100-gram serving of red tomatoes has 3.89 grams of carbohydrates.35 You may add this fruit to your ketogenic diet safely and gain its beneficial nutrients, particularly lycopene. Researchers from Ohio State University suggest that this antioxidant may help protect your skin from sun damage, which may result in a lowered risk of skin cancer tumors.36

Remember to always cook tomatoes to improve their nutritional value. Research shows that cooked tomatoes have increased lycopene content, as well as total antioxidant activity. In one study that heated tomatoes to just over 190 degrees Fahrenheit for two, 15 and 30 minutes, results indicated that:37

Beneficial trans-lycopene content increased by 54 percent, 171 percent and 164 percent, respectively

Levels of cis-lycopene (which is a form easily absorbed by your body) rose by six, 17 and 35 percent, respectively

Overall antioxidant levels increased by 28, 34 and 62 percent, respectively

Who Should Not Be on a Ketogenic Diet?

Based on published studies, a ketogenic diet can be beneficial for optimizing your health. However, not everyone should follow this eating plan due to certain factors. If you fall within any of the following categories, I recommend that you do not push through with a ketogenic diet for safety reasons:38,39

Pregnant:  During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes that require nutrients from various sources. Therefore, severely restricting yourself from healthy carb sources may negatively impact your baby’s health.40

Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding women should avoid a ketogenic diet throughout the child’s breastfeeding phase.

That’s because women need oxaloacetate, a compound essential for creating lactose for breastmilk, which is essential for their baby’s growth.

An athlete who’s about to start a new season: Athletes can greatly benefit from the energy produced by ketones, but it takes around four to six weeks for your body to achieve ketosis.

During this time, your body has not yet adapted to using fat as an energy source, which may impede your performance in upcoming athletic events.

If you wish to take advantage of the ketogenic diet, give your body time to adapt by planning ahead during the offseason.

Had a gallbladder removed: Your gallbladder collects and concentrates bile, allowing your digestive tract to absorb dietary fat properly.

Without it, dietary fat won’t be absorbed as much, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies, since a ketogenic diet largely relies on fat for nutrients.

Has a history of kidney stones: If you have developed kidney stones before, a ketogenic diet may increase your chances of getting them again.

That’s because ketones are naturally acidic, which increases the production of uric acid and the formation of stones.

On the other hand, kidney stones may be prevented while on a ketogenic diet if you increase your consumption of potassium from leafy greens and other high-fat foods such as avocado.

Staying hydrated throughout the day also helps lower your risk of developing stones.

Your body is still growing: In one study, epileptic children experienced a reduction in symptoms and improved cognitive performance when a ketogenic diet was introduced.41

However, this may have a negative effect on the growth of their bodies in the long run, according to a study published in the journal Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.42

Researchers believe that a ketogenic diet reduces the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGFT-1), a hormone essential in the development of the bones and the muscles of kids and teenagers.

If your child absolutely needs to be on a ketogenic diet, consult with a doctor first to discuss any potential growth issues.

Naturally thin: Naturally thin people with a body mass index (BMI) of 20 or less should avoid a ketogenic diet because it may induce further weight loss, which can be detrimental to your overall health.

Have rare metabolic disorders: Disorders such as Gaucher disease, Tay-Sachs, Niemann-Pick and Fabry disease can interfere with fat metabolism, thus affecting energy production.43

If you have any of the aforementioned disorders, a ketogenic diet is not recommended as it relies largely on fat for energy production.

Struggling with anorexia: Anorexics may suffer from rapid starvation if they follow a ketogenic diet, because they already limit their calorie consumption and have an extreme fear of eating fat, which a ketogenic diet has lots of.

If they embark on a ketogenic eating plan, they may also suffer from low energy, because a ketogenic diet relies on dietary fat as the main source of fuel.

However, their overall well-being may benefit from ketones through careful medical and psychiatric supervision.

Pancreatic insufficiency: Pancreatic insufficiency is a condition where your pancreas does not produce enough enzymes to help break down and absorb nutrients in your digestive tract.

If you have an enzyme deficiency, I suggest having it treated first before embarking on a ketogenic diet, because your digestive system will have a hard time absorbing dietary fats.

The Side Effects of a Ketogenic Diet

Starting a ketogenic diet can help optimize your health tremendously in many ways. But like any major dietary changes, it can have several undesirable (but not alarming) side effects, such as:

Bad breath: Once you start on a ketogenic diet, you may notice that your breath will have an undesirable odor due to the increased acetone levels in your body. Acetone is a ketone produced during ketosis, which is expelled in your urine and partly your breath.

On a positive note, detecting acetone in your breath is a good indicator that your ketogenic diet is working.44 You can brush your teeth and/or rinse your mouth with coconut oil to help remove the bad breath.

Short-term fatigue: You may begin to feel fatigue at the start of a ketogenic diet. It’s actually one of the main reasons why many people choose not to continue with this approach long before they can enjoy the benefits.45

The reason why you get tired at the start is your body is adapting from using carbohydrates for energy to healthy fats. The transition doesn’t happen overnight, and it may take you anywhere between seven to 30 days before your body achieves full ketosis.46

Frequent urination: During the first few days of implementing a ketogenic diet, you may notice that you’re using the bathroom more often. That’s because your body is dumping the glycogen in your liver and muscles as urine. Furthermore, as the insulin level in your blood begins to drop, excess sodium is expelled in the form of urine as well.47

Digestive problems: A huge shift into any dieting method can increase your risk of digestive problems, and the ketogenic diet is no exception. Constipation is commonly reported among those who are starting out on a ketogenic diet, but it may disappear in a few weeks once your body gets used to the healthier food you’re eating.48

Sugar cravings: You may develop intense sugar cravings as your body switches from sugar to fat for fuel. However, I encourage you not to give in to temptation. You can practice various relaxation method such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques or yoga to take your mind away from sugary foods.49

Hair loss: You may notice more strands of hair getting stuck on your brush during the first few days of your ketogenic diet. Don’t worry because this is not a big cause of concern, since hair loss can result from any major dietary changes in general. It will stop once your body achieves ketosis.50

Is the Ketogenic Diet Safe?

Based on published research, the benefits of the ketogenic diet are clear and defined. Weight loss, lowered insulin levels and reduced appetite are health improvements that most people will enjoy in the long run. That being said, there are some side effects that you may experience when you first start out, such as those mentioned above.

In addition, you may experience “carb flu,” a condition that mimics flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and headaches. This generally occurs during the onset of the ketogenic diet because your body will have to adjust after relying on carbohydrates for fuel for so long.51 The symptoms typically last less than a week (or two) only. If carb flu does happen to you, here are some things you can do to feel better while you’re transitioning into ketosis:52

Increase water intake

Slightly increase your consumption of healthy fats and proteins

Avoid sugar-free foods

Once you feel better, you can regulate your intake of water, fats and proteins into a full-fledged ketogenic diet. Aside from carb flu, be warned that staying in long-term, continuous ketosis may have drawbacks that may actually undermine your health and longevity. To stay on the safe side, I recommend undergoing a cyclic ketogenic diet. The “metabolic magic” that ketosis brings to the mitochondria actually occurs during the refeeding phase, not during the starvation phase.

What Are Keto Sticks and Strips?

Keto strips and sticks are useful tools in helping you figure out whether you’re in ketosis or not. There are three common ways to achieve this objective:53

Blood ketone meter: The most accurate tool, but is generally expensive

Urine stick: It will provide a Yes/No answer to whether you’re in ketosis or not, but it will not provide a measurement of your current ketones

Breath ketone meter: More accurate than a urine stick, but the accuracy of results can vary54

Blood ketone strips are considered the best testing tool, but they can be financially exhausting in the long run. To help minimize costs, you can check for ketones every few days instead of daily.

The Ketogenic Diet Can Positively Transform Your Health

Going into nutritional ketosis by following a ketogenic diet is one of the most radical but highly beneficial lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health. As with most dietary changes, always remember to listen to your body. If you feel any side effects other than the ones listed above, then necessary adjustments to your food intake may be needed.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Ketogenic Diet

Q: Is the ketogenic diet healthy?

A: As numerous studies have indicated, the ketogenic diet may potentially benefit your health in numerous ways. However, long-term ketosis may have unwarranted negative effects on your health, so it’s better to cycle out of ketosis once in a while for safety reasons.

Q: How do I go into nutritional ketosis?

A: To enter into a state of nutritional ketosis, take a look at what you’re currently eating and remove any unhealthy items such as sugary drinks and processed foods. The next step is to consume whole, organic foods that are high in healthy fats, have moderate protein and only minimal carbohydrates.

Q: How long does it take to get into ketosis?

A: Each person reacts differently to a ketogenic diet. You may experience a few side effects in the first seven to 30 days, such as constipation, fatigue and urination. But once your body normalizes, you will start feeling the benefits.

Q: How many carbs can I consume to be in a state of ketosis?

A: It’s generally recommended that only 5 percent of your daily diet is allocated to carbohydrates because if you consume more than that, your body gets thrown off ketosis. However, this is only for SKD, or the standard ketogenic diet. If you’re an athlete or a bodybuilder, you can consume more carbs without affecting ketosis by following a targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) or a cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD).

Q: How long does it take before ketosis shows results?

A: The results of ketosis can be felt as early as the first week when your body begins to dump water and carbohydrates, but the weight loss will only be minor.55 As time goes on, your body will begin to consistently shed excess fat, provided you stick to your ketogenic program.56

Q: What is the keto flu?

A: Keto flu, or carb flu, is a possible reaction your body may experience as a result from switching to fat for fuel from carbs. Issues like muscle soreness, fatigue, headaches and general fogginess may occur.57

Q: Why am I not losing weight on keto?

A: There are a few possible reasons why you’re not undergoing ketosis, such as:58

Eating too much fruit: Fruits contain fructose that can throw you off ketosis when consumed too much.

You’re consuming hidden carbohydrates: Certain vegetables, dairy and nuts have high carb content, so make sure that you review the carb content of the food you’re eating.

You’re eating too much: Consuming too much healthy fat can drastically increase your daily caloric intake, preventing you from losing weight.

You’re eating too little: Consuming too few calories can slow down your metabolism, making your body conserve itself in response to inadequate energy levels.

Q: What is keto coffee?

A: Keto coffee is simply coffee with MCT oil and raw, grass fed butter, which gives the drink not only energy-boosting, but also fat-burning properties.

Q: Is the ketogenic diet safe long-term?

A: Long-term ketosis may be unhealthy, so you should switch to a cyclical ketogenic diet to introduce appropriate amounts of carbohydrates into your body once in a while.

Q: How many carbs a day should you consume on a ketogenic diet?

A: Limiting your net carb intake to under 50 grams per day can help transition your body into burning fat for fuel.

Q: How much weight can you lose on a ketogenic diet?

A: There’s no specific answer for this question, as it is dependent on many factors. However, you may be able to spot improvements right away. In a study that tested the ketogenic diet on obese people, researchers noted that after 24 weeks, the test subjects lost around 14 kilograms (30.8 pounds) of excess weight, going from an average 101.03 kilograms to 86.67 kilograms (222.7 pounds to 191 pounds).59

Q: Can you eat beans on keto?

A: It’s possible to eat beans, but only during the initial stage of the ketogenic diet. That’s because they’re high in net carbs, making them ideal only when you begin cycling in and out of ketosis. Beans should be consumed during your carb “feasting” days.

Q: Do calories matter on keto?

A: Counting your calories on a ketogenic diet is important as it will dictate your weight goals. In my case, I had to increase my caloric consumption in order to maintain my ideal weight. If you’re trying to lose weight, cutting back on your calories may work to your benefit.

Q: Can you drink alcohol on a ketogenic diet?

A: In general, I don’t recommend that you drink any form of alcohol, especially when you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Ketogenic Diet May Be Key to Cancer Recovery



 Story at-a-glance
  • Many cancer patients have reportedly overcome the disease by adopting a ketogenic diet, which calls for eliminating carbohydrates, replacing them with healthy fats and protein
  • Animal studies have shown that mice fed a carb-free diet survived highly aggressive metastatic cancer even better than those treated with chemotherapy
  • Your normal cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. Cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility, so when you eliminate carbs, which turn into sugar, you effectively starve the cancer
  • Eating fat is NOT bad for your heart. Particularly beneficial fats include coconut oil, butter, organic pastured eggs, avocado and raw nuts. Most people need as much as 50-70 percent healthful fat in their diet to optimize health

To some, a ketogenic diet amounts to nothing less than a drug-free cancer treatment. The diet calls for eliminating carbohydrates, replacing them with healthy fats and protein.

The premise is that since cancer cells need glucose to thrive, and carbohydrates turn into glucose in your body, then cutting out carbs literally starves the cancer cells.

This type of diet, in which you replace carbs with moderate amounts of high quality protein and high amounts of beneficial fat, is what I recommend for everyone, whether you have cancer or not. It’s simply a diet that will help optimize your weight and health overall, as eating this way will help you convert from carb burning mode to fat burning.

Ketogenic Diet May Be Key to Brain Cancer Recovery

The featured video shows Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D, who is one of the leaders in teasing the details of how to treat cancer nutritionally. I am scheduled to interview him shortly and hope to have that interview up later this year. In the video, Professor Seyfried discusses how, as a metabolic disorder involving the dysregulation of respiration, malignant brain cancer can be managed through changes in the metabolic environment.

“In contrast to normal neurons and glia, which transition to ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrate) for respiratory energy when glucose levels are reduced, malignant brain tumors are mostly dependent on non-oxidative substrate level phosphorylation due to structural and functional abnormalities in mitochondria. Glucose and glutamine are major fuels for malignant cancer cells.

The transition from glucose to ketone bodies as an energy source is an ancestrally conserved adaptation to food deprivation that permits the survival of normal cells during extreme shifts in nutritional environment. Only those cells with a flexible genome, honed through millions of years of environmental forcing and variability selection, can transition from one energy state to another.

We propose a different approach to brain cancer management that exploits the metabolic flexibility of normal cells at the expense of the genetically defective and metabolically challenged. This evolutionary and metabolic approach to brain cancer management is supported from studies in orthotopic mouse brain tumor models and from case studies in patients.

Calorie restriction and restricted ketogenic diets (R-KD), which reduce circulating glucose levels and elevate ketone levels, are anti-invasive, anti-angiogenic, and pro-apoptotic towards malignant brain cancer.”1

Current conventional cancer treatment typically involves chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is a cytotoxic poison, and radiation is devastating to the human body. More often than not, the treatment is what eventually kills the patient. This can no longer be accepted as “the best we can do.” As Dr. Seyfried says:

“The reason why we have so few people surviving is because of the standard of care. It has to be changed, if it’s not changed, there will be no major progress. Period.”

Metabolic Therapy/Ketogenic Diet Being Investigated as Cancer Treatment

CBN News recently published an article on the ketogenic diet.2 Clearly, many people are realizing that what we have been doing in terms of fighting cancer is simply not working, and we cannot afford to continue in the same way. Prevention must be addressed if we ever want to turn the tide on the growing incidence of cancer across all age groups. But even more astounding, in terms of treatment, is that cancer may respond to diet alone.

“Dr. Fred Hatfield is an impressive guy: a power-lifting champion, author of dozens of books, a millionaire businessman with a beautiful wife. But he’ll tell you his greatest accomplishment is killing his cancer just in the nick of time,” CBN News writes. “The doctors gave me three months to live because of widespread metastatic cancer in my skeletal structure,” he recalled. “Three months; three different doctors told me that same thing.”

Dr. Hatfield was preparing to die when he heard of metabolic therapy, also known as the ketogenic diet. He had nothing to lose so he gave it a try, and… it worked. The cancer disappeared completely, and at the time of his interview (above), he’d been cancer-free for over a year.

The video above also features Dr. Dominic D’Agostino who, along with a team of researchers at the University of South Florida studies metabolic therapy. They found that when lab animals were fed a carb-free diet, they survived highly aggressive metastatic cancer better than those treated with chemotherapy. CBN reports:

“‘We have dramatically increased survival with metabolic therapy,’ [Dr. D’Agostino] said. ‘So we think it’s important to get this information out.’ It’s not just lab mice. Dr. D’Agostino has also seen similar success in people – lots of them. ‘I’ve been in correspondence with a number of people,’ he said. ‘At least a dozen over the last year-and-a-half to two years, and all of them are still alive, despite the odds. So this is very encouraging.'”

How Does Ketogenic Diet Starve Cancer Cells?

Dr. D’Agostino explains how the ketogenic diet can have such a dramatic (and rapid) effect on cancer. All of your body’s cells are fueled by glucose. This includes cancer cells. However, cancer cells have one built-in fatal flaw – they do not have the metabolic flexibility of your regular cells and cannot adapt to use ketone bodies for fuel as all your other cells can.

So, when you alter your diet and become what’s known as “fat-adapted,” your body starts using fat for fuel rather than carbs. When you switch out the carbs for healthy fats, you starve the cancer out, as you’re no longer supplying the necessary fuel – glucose – for their growth. As D’Agostino explains:

“Your normal cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. But cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility. So we can exploit that.”

I’ve previously discussed ways to “starve” cancer, and eliminating sugar/fructose and grains (ie carbohydrates) is at the very top of the list. It’s the most basic step without which few other dietary strategies are likely to succeed. In order to be effective, you must first STOP doing that which is promoting cancer growth (or poor health in general), and then all the other preventive strategies have the chance to really have an impact.

What Makes for a Cancer-Fighting Diet?

Carbs also raise your insulin and leptin levels, and keeping your insulin and leptin signaling healthy is imperative if you want to avoid chronic disease of all kinds, including cancer.

Processed foods may also contain trans fat – the only type of fat you really need to avoid like the plague. They are also loaded with omega-6 fats which the featured otherwise excellent video failed to mention. Increasing the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is another potent way to increase your risk of cancer cell proliferation.

What About Protein?

One of my primary mentors in the importance of insulin and leptin, Dr. Rosedale. was one of the first professionals to advocate both a low-carb and moderate protein (and therefore high quality fat) diet. This was contrary to most low-carb advocates who were, and still are, very accepting of, if not promoting, high protein, as a replacement for the carbs.

If you or someone you know is challenged with cancer, the healthiest option may be to replace the carbs with beneficial fats, and limit your protein to high quality organic/pastured sources only. Dr. Rosedale advises 1 gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass which for most people will be about 50 grams of protein a day (or 0.5 grams per pound of lean body weight). While you can take carbs to very low levels in ketogenic diets, you must have some protein every day to replace your body’s requirements. The key is to add healthy fat to replace the carbs and excess protein.

Olives and Olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Organic raw nuts, especially macadamia nuts, which are low in protein and omega-6 fat Organic pastured egg yolks and pastured meats Avocados

The Fallacies of Fats and Carbs

Coincidentally, Dr. Robert Lustig – another expert on the dangers of high carb diets – was recently interviewed by NPR radio’s Science Friday segment.2 His new book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, tackles the persistent myths about fat that is endangering the health of millions. It’s difficult to know just how many people have suffered poor health because they followed conventional low-fat recommendations, but I’m sure the number is significant.

The fact is that you’ve been thoroughly misled when it comes to dietary advice. Still today, many doctors, nutritionists, and government health officials will tell you to avoid saturated fat and keep fat consumption to below 10 percent while keeping the bulk of your diet, about 60 percent, as carbs. This is madness, as it’s the converse of a diet that will lead to optimal health. As an example, you’ve probably seen the whole grain label, which is certified by the American Heart Association3 of all things. Do whole grains support heart health? Hardly. The following outtake from the transcript addresses this head on:

“Flatow: …there’s something that came out yesterday released from Harvard… and it talks about one of the most widely used industry standards, the wholegrain stamp. [It] actually identified grain products [bearing the stamp] were higher in both sugars and calories than products without the stamp.

Lustig: Absolutely. And to be honest with you, wholegrain doesn’t mean much… Basically what it means is you start with a whole grain; that is the starch on the inside, the kernel, or the husk or the bran on the outside, and then whatever you want to do with it is perfectly fine. It’s still a whole grain. So if you pulverize it and add sugar to it, hey it’s still a whole grain because that’s what you started with. But you know what? All the benefits you get from whole grain are gone as soon as you pulverize it. So…. what it means is irrelevant because the definition is not helpful.”

Other Lifestyle Factors that Influence Your Cancer Risk

Other lifestyle factors that have been found to have an impact on chronic disease and cancer include:

Vitamin D: There’s overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. You can decrease your risk of cancer by more than half simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure or a safe tanning bed. And, if you are being treated for cancer, it is likely that higher blood levels – probably around 80-90 ng/ml – would be beneficial. To learn the details on how to use vitamin D therapeutically, please review my previous article, Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency. In terms of protecting against cancer, vitamin D has been found to offer protection in a number of ways, including:

Regulating genetic expression

allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)

Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells

Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)

Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous

Getting proper sleep: both in terms of getting enough sleep, and sleeping between certain hours. According to Ayurvedic medicine, the ideal hours for sleep are between 10 pm and 6 am. Modern research has confirmed the value of this recommendation as certain hormonal fluctuations occur throughout the day and night, and if you engage in the appropriate activities during those times, you’re ‘riding the wave’ so to speak, and are able to get the optimal levels. Working against your biology by staying awake when you should ideally be sleeping or vice versa, interferes with these hormonal fluctuations.

There’s a spike of melatonin that occurs between midnight and 1am that you don’t want to miss because the consequences are absolutely spectacular. Melatonin is not only a sleep hormone, but it also is a very powerful antioxidant. It decreases the amount of estrogen your body produces, and boosts your immune system. It also interacts with other hormones. So, if you go to bed after 10, it can significantly increase your risk of breast cancer.

Effectively addressing your stress: The research shows that if you experience a traumatic or highly stressful event, such as a death in the family, your risk of breast cancer is 12 times higher in the ensuing five years. I believe energy psychology tools are ideal to address stressors in your life. My favorite is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), but there are many others available as well.

Exercise: If you are like most people, when you think of reducing your risk of cancer, exercise doesn’t immediately come to mind. However, there is some fairly compelling evidence that exercise can slash your risk of cancer.

One of the primary ways exercise lowers your risk for cancer is by reducing elevated insulin levels, which creates a low sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells. Additionally, exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. Your immune system is your first line of defense against everything from minor illnesses like a cold right up to devastating, life-threatening diseases like cancer.

The trick about exercise, though, is understanding how to use it as a precise tool. This ensures you are getting enough to achieve the benefit, not too much to cause injury, and the right variety to balance your entire physical structure and maintain strength and flexibility, and aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. This is why it is helpful to view exercise like a drug that needs to be carefully prescribed to achieve its maximum benefit. For detailed instructions, please see this previous article.

Additionally it is likely that integrating exercise with intermittent fasting will greatly catalyze the potential of exercise to reduce your risk of cancer and stimulate widespread healing and rejuvenation.

You CAN Beat ‘the System’…

Cancer is the second most lethal disease in the US after heart disease (not counting iatrogenic mortality, aka “death by medicine”). We all know that the war on cancer has been a dismal failure. Tragically, conventional wisdom is blind when it comes to cancer prevention and treatment and hundreds of thousands die prematurely every year as a result. They have little to no appreciation of the concepts discussed in this article. But you don’t have to fall into that trap as you know better and can take control of your health and ability to treat cancer in your own hands.

The ketogenic diet, which can be summarized as a high-fat, moderate-protein, no-grain-carb diet, has brought many back to health, even after being diagnosed with aggressive cancer, and given no hope of survival. Hopefully, research by the likes of Dr. D’Agostino will become more widely known. Until then, do your own research and take control of your own health, and that of your family.

Severely limiting sugar/fructose, processed foods of all kinds, sweetened beverages (as well as diet versions), and replacing carbs with healthy fats and high quality protein can do what no medicine can – it can prevent disease from setting in, and may even be the U-turn you’re looking for if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or other chronic disease. Add to that appropriate sun exposure, sleep, effective stress management, and regular exercise, and you’ll be well ahead of the rest of the population.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/sBjnWfT8HbQ

Source:mercola.com/

Ketogenic diet stops seizures when epilepsy drugs fail .


jackson-small.jpg
A special diet helped Jackson Small eliminate his epileptic seizures.
SMALL FAMILY

 

When Jackson Small began having seizures at 7, his parents hoped and assumed at least one of the many epilepsy drugs on the market would be enough to get things under control. But one seizure quickly spiraled to as many as 30 a day.

“He would stop in his tracks and not be aware of what was going on for 20 or 30 seconds or so,” his mother Shana Small told CBS News. Jackson was eventually diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, a type of epilepsy characterized by brief but often frequent muscle jerking or twitching.

But a number of medications typically prescribed to patients with this type of epilepsy were not effective. And so the quest to help Jackson gain control over his seizures led the family from their home in Orlando, Florida, to the office of a registered dietician at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in New York City.

They were there to discuss the medical benefits of heavy cream, mayonnaise, eggs, sausage, bacon and butter.

A lot of butter.

The plan was to treat Jackson with a diet that is heavy in fat, low in protein and includes almost no carbohydrates. It’s known as the ketogenic diet and has long been in the arsenal of last-resort options for patients with epilepsy who are unresponsive to medication. Doctors may recommend a patient go on this special diet after unsuccessfully trying two or three prescriptions.

The diet works by putting the body in a “fasting” state, known as ketosis. “When we’re fasting the body needs to find fuel so our body will break down fat storage and break down their own fat and enter a state of ketosis,” Courtney Glick, the registered dietician who coordinated and fine-tuned Jackson’s diet plan, told CBS News. “But with this diet, instead of breaking down the body’s fat, the body breaks down dietary fat.”

The ketogenic diet consists of as much as 90 percent fat. Some patients who feel they can’t make such an extreme change adopt a modified Atkins diet, which is between 65 and 70 percent fat. It can be nearly as effective for controlling seizures, though every patient is different.

New research published Wednesday in the journalNeurology reviewed nearly a dozen studies that examined the benefits of ketogenic and modified Atkins diets. The researchers found that overall, 32 percent of people treated with the ketogenic diet and 29 percent of those on the modified Atkins diet experienced improved seizure control by as much as 50 percent. In some patients, the results were even more dramatic: Nine percent in the ketogenic treatment group and five percent in the modified Atkins group saw a 90 percent or greater reduction in seizures.

Though experts don’t know everything about why this diet is effective for seizure control, they do know that eating mostly fat causes the body to fuel on ketones rather than glucose, which ultimately lowers insulin levels. This can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and may prevent seizures by calming the brain, said Glick.

One study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School found that a child’s ability to stave off seizures is tied to a protein that affects metabolism in the brain. The protein, called BCL-2-associated Agonist of Cell Death, or BAD, also regulates metabolism of glucose. The researchers discovered that by modifying this, they switched metabolism in brain cells from glucose to ketone bodies, which are fat byproducts.

Glick said the diet plan didn’t work for Jackson until he tried the most strict version, which was a 4 to 1 ratio of fat to protein and carbohydrates. Each day, he ate approximately 160 grams of fat, 8 to 10 grams of carbohydrates and 30 grams of protein, all of which amounted to about 1,700 calories a day.

Four months into the program, Jackson was seizure-free. He remained on the strict diet for two years with no return of seizures. His mother prepared foods from special recipes such as “keto” pizza made with a macadamia nut crust or chicken nuggets with coconut flour.

Over the summer — after receiving a green light from his doctors — Jackson, now 10 years old, began to wean himself off the diet, and his mother has slowly introduced foods such as breads and ice cream. He has maintained seizure-free and takes very little anti-seizure medication.

Research has found that for pediatric patients the anti-seizure effects of the diet often continue long after the child stops following the food plan, though the reason why remains unclear. This is typically not the case for adults, who may need to stay on the diet for life in order to control seizures.

“We’ve probably seen more kids go on the diets than adults, and adults are really set on their eating patterns,” said Glick, adding that social obligations can make the diet difficult to fit into a grown person’s lifestyle.

Jackson’s mother said his doctors are hopeful that in the near future he may no longer need medication — or a keto diet — to stay seizure-free. “I think it’s taught him a very important lesson about how food is as important as medicine, and how food affects the chemistry of your body,” she said.

Ketones, Cancer, and Eating Right.


The ketogenic diet goes against conventional wisdom asserting that we should consume a diet that is high in carbohydrates, and instead recommends a system based on the idea of putting the body in a state of “ketosis”. Ketosis is defined as a state of elevated ketone bodies in the human body. Ketone bodies are defined as three different water-soluble, biochemicals that are produced as by products when fatty acids are broken down in the liver for energy. Ketosis is achieved by reducing the daily amount of carbs in one’s diet, to 50 grams or less of carbohydrates. The premise being that your body will use fat and ketone bodies for energy, rather than glucose. Glucose is one of the main forms of energy that the body uses, and when carbohydrates enter the body, they are converted into glucose. So with the ketogenic diet, the goal is to essentially switch the body from a carb burning machine to a fat burning machine.

human

Controversy 

The controversy has been around since physician and cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins(1930-2003) has been preaching a low carb diet. This kind of diet flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which says that carbs are needed for energy, eating fat makes you fat, and weight loss is simply a calories in, calories out equation. As far back as 1973, the chair of Harvard’s nutritional department, went on record before a US Senate committee and denounced the Atkins diet. In 2003 the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicinecame out against the Atkins diet, claiming that high fat, carbohydrate-restricted diets lead to increased risk of chronic health diseases and health problems. These same claims have been made for decades, and numerous medical associates and groups have spoken out against the Atkins diet, including the American Medical Association, American Dietetics Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, The Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, The American Kidney Fund, American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Institute of health. Of course, there also exists plenty of evidence showing that a high carb diet can itself be harmful.

While the arguments for and against the low-carb, ketogenic diet are many, possibly the most common argument(and misconception) is in regards to what is referred to as ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a condition in which abnormal quantities of ketones are produced in an unregulated biochemical situation. The amount of ketones produced during a ketogenic diet are far lower than in ketoacidosis, which is something that mainly affects patients with type 1 diabetes. This simple similarity in terms has led to a confusion regarding a low carb diet being dangerous.

Health Benefits of The Ketogenic Diet

There has been research done in the topic of using a ketogenic diet to treat cancer. Dr. Thomas Seyfried has published a book called, “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer”, and in it he brings together methods and findings regarding the sources and prevention of cancer that he spent many years working on at Boston College and Yale University. In the book, he writes “Emerging evidence indicates that impaired cellular energy metabolism is the defining characteristic of nearly all cancers regardless of cellular or tissue origin.” The main idea behind using a ketogenic diet as a cancer treatment, is to deprive the cancer cells of the glucose and other fuels they need to survive, and to provide support for the mitochondrial respiration process in healthy tissues. The obvious advantage to using the diet as a treatment, is that there are no harmful side effects that are so commonplace in conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. The treatments have not always been successful, but newer research is showing that ketosis can be beneficial for many cancer cases.

Take the case of Dr. Fred Hatfield, a former power lifting champion, author of over a dozen books, and millionaire businessman. After being diagnosed with metastatic cancer in his skeletal system, he was given only three months to live by his doctors. He was preparing himself to die when he heard about an anti-cancer diet, so with nothing to lose he gave it a try. To his amazement, the diet worked, and his cancer is gone. “The cancer was gone! Completely. To this day there’s no trace of it, and it’s been over a year.” Important to note when undertaking this diet is that your body will need supplemental salt (NaCl) to offset the water retention lost during the change from a high carb to a low carb diet.

Another exciting development in the ketogenic diet it’s success at treating seizures of individuals with epilepsy. Several studies have shown the effects of the ketogenic diet with epileptic patients, and each study showed and massive improvement in most of the patients and even complete elimination of all seizures from some of them. Whether the ketone diet is always applicable or useful is a different question, but it seems clear that we can be healed or harmed through our nutrition.

Ketogenic Diet in Combination with Calorie Restriction and Hyperbaric Treatment Offer New Hope in Quest for Non-Toxic Cancer Treatment.


Story at-a-glance

  • A mounting body of research suggests most cancers are highly responsive to therapeutic ketosis—a natural physiologic state induced during prolonged states of decreased glucose—in combination with calorie restriction
  • One way to achieve this is to use a ketogenic diet that retains non-starchy vegetable carbohydrates, replacing them with high amounts of healthy fats and adequate amounts of high-quality protein
  • Healthy cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. Cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility, so when you eliminate carbs, which are metabolized to glucose, you effectively starve cancer of its primary fuel source.
  • Intermittent fasting, where you gradually restrict the window of time during which you eat food down to about six to eight hours per day aids in the transition from burning carbs to burning fat
  • The ketogenic diet by itself can extend survival in animal models of metastatic cancer, but recent research shows that when it’s combined with hyperbaric oxygen therapy three times per week, there is a significant additive effect.
  • ketosis

Cancer is now so common it affects about one of two of us and most will face it at some point in their lives, either personally or through a friend or relative. Compelling research indicates that the answer to our burgeoning cancer epidemic could be far closer than previously imagined, in the form of a ketogenic diet.

Personally, I believe this is an absolutely crucial facet of cancer prevention and treatment, for whatever type of cancer you’re trying to address, and hopefully, some day it will be adopted as a first line of treatment by mainstream medicine.

A ketogenic diet calls for eliminating all but non-starchy vegetable carbohydrates, and replacing them with high amounts of healthy fats and low to moderate amounts of high-quality protein.

The premise is that since cancer cells need glucose to thrive, and carbohydrates turn into glucose in your body, then lowering the glucose level in your blood through carb and protein restriction literally starves the cancer cells to death. Additionally, low protein intake tends to minimize the mTOR pathway that accelerates cell proliferation and lowers the amount of one particular amino acid, glutamine, which is also known to drive certain cancers.

This type of diet is what I recommend for everyone, whether you have cancer or not, because it will help you convert from carb burning mode to fat burning, which will help you optimize your weight and prevent virtually all chronic degenerative disease.

The Ketogenic Diet—An Excellent Approach to Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Dr. Dominic D’Agostino, PhD is an assistant professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine.

He teaches courses in molecular pharmacology and physiology, and maintains involvement in several studies researching metabolic treatments for neurological disorders such as seizures, Alzheimer’s, ALS, and cancer—all of which are metabolically linked.

His entry in to this field began when, in 2007, the Office of Naval Research funded his study into seizures related to oxygen toxicity experienced by Navy SEAL divers using closed-circuit breathing apparatus. At this juncture, he came across the ketogenic diet, which has already been confirmed as an effective treatment for epilepsy and a variety of seizure disorders.

“I came across the work of Thomas Seyfried,” he says. “I found a large amount of evidence that suggested that cancer was metabolically unique. Genetically, it was very heterogeneous. There are a host of different genetic anomalies in the cancer cells, but one characteristic is that it had this ubiquitous metabolic phenotype, which was aerobic glycolysis.

Even in the presence of oxygen, it was shown that cancer cells continue to pump out lactate, suggesting that they’re fuelling their metabolism from excess glucose consumption.

From my perspective, the only reason cancer cells would be pumping out lactate and deriving energy from glucose at such a high rate would be because they are metabolically compromised with mitochondrial deficiency.”

A mounting body of evidence suggests cancer is responsive to therapeutic ketosis—a natural physiologic state induced during prolonged states of decreased glucose. Nutritional ketosis involves restricting carbohydrates in order to decrease the availability of glucose. Restricting carbs also increases production of ketone bodies from your liver. Nearly all of your normal cells have the flexibility to readily adapt to using ketone bodies for fuel in lieu of glucose, but cancer cells do not have this metabolic flexibility. Hence, they effectively starve to death while all your normal cells actually operate more efficiently than before.

Another Key Component for Cancer Prevention and Treatment: Calorie Restriction

When you restrict carbohydrates, you prevent spikes in blood sugar, insulin and IGF-1 from occurring. These spikes are actually very pro-inflammatory, and can activate oncogenes (genes that contribute to the conversion of a normal cell into a cancerous cell), and enhance both cancer cell proliferation and the metastatic process.

But here’s a key point: While carb restriction will reduce these spikes, it will not have a major impact on baseline levels of blood glucose, unless you also restrict your calorie and protein intake. So for cancer prevention and treatment, carb restriction must be combined with calorie restriction and moderate protein restriction in order to effectively “starve” cancer cells of their preferred fuel (glucose and glutamine).

“The ketogenic diet is, I think, a very good strategy to make calorie restriction tolerable,” Dr. D’Agostino says. “Because when your brain in particular is craving glucose, and, say, for example, you go on a calorie-restricted diet, but it’s a high-carbohydrate diet, you’re still getting fluctuations in blood glucose. Your brain goes through these intermittent periods of glucose deprivation and you get very hungry. It’s not a very comfortable feeling.

Nutritional ketosis, which occurs with carbohydrate restriction and is further enhanced with calorie restriction, forces the physiological shift from a glucose-based metabolism to a fatty acid and ketone metabolism. When your body is, shall we say, keto-adapted, your brain energy metabolism is more stable and your mood is more stable. It may take a few weeks to adapt physiologically to this. But nutritional ketosis can be maintained and sustained with carbohydrate restriction and is further enhanced with calorie restriction.

The total calories really need to be restricted, and also protein. Protein is gluconeogenic. There are gluconeogenic amino acids in protein. If protein is at, say, for example, two or three grams per kilogram per day that is probably going to feed in through the gluconeogenic pathway and contribute to glutaminolysis. It will be hard to deplete your glycogen stores, which is necessary to drive the ketogenesis in your liver.”

How Much Protein Is Advisable?

So to summarize, in order to maintain and sustain nutritional ketosis, you need to decrease both carbohydrates and protein. But how much protein is enough, or too much?

As Dr. D’Agostino mentions above, eating two to three grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight—which translates to 100-300 grams of protein per day for some people—is an enormous overload. Many bodybuilders will consume this much though, and many non-athletes as well. The bodybuilding industry has fostered the idea that you need tons of protein to build muscle, but as Dr. D’Agostino explains, if you restrict protein, and replace both the lost protein and carbs with healthful fats, the elevation in your blood ketones will have a protein-sparing, or anti-catabolic, effect.

“It will help you preserve lean body mass and a physical performance during a calorie deficit. This is why the ketogenic diet is an effective strategy for losing weight and retaining muscle, especially if it’s complemented with resistance exercise or some kind of physical activity,” he says.

Your end goal needs to be taken into consideration here though. A bodybuilder’s purpose for embarking on a ketogenic diet will be different from someone with cancer or a seizure disorder. In the latter case, you’d need to be far more strict with reducing protein in order to achieve and maintain ketosis.

Personally, I’m intrigued with the concept promoted by one of my mentors, Dr. Ron Rosedale, who advocates restricting protein to one gram per kilogram of lean body mass. Typically, for someone like myself, that amounts to about 50-70 grams of protein per day. The reason he promotes this so much is because of the stimulatory effect protein (branch-chained amino acids specifically) has on mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)—a pathway that seems to be largely responsible for the pathology seen in cancer growth.

When you reduce protein to just what your body needs, mTOR remains inhibited, which helps lessen your chances of cancer growth.

“I agree that mTOR is an important signal once you have cancer,” Dr. D’Agostino says. “The amino acid leucine is a powerful activator of the mTOR pathway, and stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis. Now, if a normal healthy person consumes boluses of leucine [a branch-chained amino acid], say five grams a couple of times a day, which a lot of bodybuilders and athletes do, can this enhance cancer growth?

This is an interesting question, and one that I’ve been researching. We’re about to set up a study where we give large doses of branch-chained amino acids in a metastatic model of cancer. My opinion is that branch-chained amino acids, which activate mTOR, in a normal healthy person are not counterproductive. They do not increase one’s susceptibility to cancer and may even prevent muscle wasting (e.g. cachexia) associated with cancer.”

The ‘Meat’ of the Ketogenic Diet—FATS

Most people who follow a ketogenic diet inadvertently restrict their calories without actually reaping the metabolic benefits of a calorie deficit, which include reductions in blood glucose, insulin, and triglycerides. The reason for this is that they don’t replace the carbs (and protein) they’ve eliminated with high enough amounts of healthy fats.

“Paradoxically, when you’re eating more fat, your blood fats will go down, due to a calorie deficit, and HDL [so-called ‘good’ cholesterol] goes up. Almost everyone that I see on these high-fat ketogenic diets has improved HDL levels,” Dr. D’Agostino says.

Now, when we say increase the fat, we’re not talking about the most common fat that people eat, which are primarily highly processed vegetable oils that are full of omega-6 fats, or trans fats found in French fries and doughnuts. We’re talking about high-quality fats like avocados, butter, coconut oil, macadamia nuts, and olives. These types of fats, which Dr. Rosedale believes are metabolically neutral because they don’t tend to trigger hormonal signaling events like leptin, insulin, and the mTOR pathway.

“I think a lot of the fats can be used in place of protein. And fats are very protein sparing, decreasing your need for protein,” Dr. D’Agostino says.

Bear in mind that while a traditional ketogenic diet calls for quite a bit of dairy products, dairy can actually be problematic and may prevent many of the health benefits that you can get from the ketogenic diet described by D’Agostino and Seyfried. Lactoseis a sugar made from galactose and glucose that is found in milk, making up anywhere from two to eight percent of milk by weight. These extra sugars can be problematic when seeking to lose weight or treat cancer, even if from raw organic sources. Dairy fat is acceptable (e.g. sour cream, butter, etc.), but foods high in dairy protein or lactose should be minimized or avoided.

Why You’d Want to Become a Fat-Burner

Your body can burn two types of fuel: fat and carbs. In my estimation, I suspect about 99 percent of Americans are adapted to burning carbs as their primary fuel. It’s important to realize that when your body is adapted to burning carbs, you’re quite inflexible, metabolically speaking. Without fail, your body will be screaming for food about every two to three hours. These kinds of hunger pangs vanish once you become fat adapted, however. Then you can go all day and not be hungry, because you have far more fat in your body to burn than glucose.

So how do you achieve this metabolic switch-over?

In my experience, intermittent fasting, where you gradually restrict the window of time during which you eat food down to about six to eight hours, is one of the most effective ways to make this transition.

“I think from a practical standpoint, the important question is what’s a person going to follow? From my perspective, the biggest hurdle here is compliance; compliance to a dietary strategy that makes calorie restriction feasible and possible. And you know, carbohydrate restriction, high-fat diet, and intermittent fasting is one way to achieve that,” Dr. D’Agostino says.

“There are a lot of advantages to this pattern of intermittent fasting. I think that it is a good strategy to promote metabolic health and to maintain nutritional ketosis, if you can adapt to it. In some lifestyles, people cannot readily adapt to it. But I’ve found that most people can if they give it a try for at least several weeks. Most people are resistant. Even with people that are resistant- once they try it, they’re amazed at how much better they feel.”

It’s not an ideal course for everyone, however. As a general rule, intermittent fasting is contraindicated if you’re:

  • An elite athlete
  • Pregnant
  • Suffer with adrenal stress
  • Already at a low BMI (< 19)

Hyperbaric Treatment Works Synergistically with Ketogenic Diet Against Cancer

Dr. D’Agostino recently published a paper in the journal PLoS One, titled “The Ketogenic Diet and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Prolong Survival in Mice with Systemic Metastatic Cancer1.” Most people who die of cancer die from the metastatic process, rather than from the tumor itself. There’s really no treatment or cure for metastatic cancer. Dr. D’Agostino’s team has demonstrated that the ketogenic diet by itself can extend survival in animal models of metastatic cancer, but when it’s combined with hyperbaric oxygen therapy three times per week, there is an additive effect2.

“You get a significant reduction in tumor growth, decrease in tumor size, and significant extension of life when the therapeutic ketosis achieved through the ketogenic diet is combined with hyperbaric oxygen,” he says.

“Tumors thrive in a low-oxygen environment. As a tumor grows, it exceeds its ability to supply oxygen to the center of the tumor. That low level of oxygen, called hypoxia, further activates the oncogenes; cancer promoting genes. It activates things like HIF-1-alpha and VEGF. IGF-1 signaling goes up. Hyperbaric oxygen can reverse tumor hypoxia intermittently. In doing that, it can actually turn off the oncogenes. There are published reports on this.

… [T]he tumor thrives in a low-oxygen environment, and it’s adapted to that low-oxygen environment. When you saturate a tumor with oxygen, because the mitochondria are damaged, it overproduces oxygen free radicals in the form of superoxide anion. This oxygen-induced increase in free radicals can actually cause the tumor to kill itself.”

How to Determine if You’re in Ketosis

To help you determine if you’re in ketosis, you can purchase a blood ketone and glucose meter, both of which are available in most drug stores. Amazon.com also sells them. Dr. D’Agostino recommends the Precision Xtra by Abbott Labs. Their ketone test strips are called Precision Xtra. Glucose meter strips typically sell for about 50 cents per strip, while ketone strips can range from $3-6 each.

 “Another option is the CardioChek meter. This is an interesting meter, because it can measure glucose, ketones, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and a number of things.”

By testing your glucose and ketones, you can monitor your response to a nutritional intervention, and then adjust your calories and the macronutrient ratios to optimize your body to be in what Dr. D’Agostino calls the “metabolic zone.” The metabolic zone is defined as sustained hypoglycemia (55-75 mg/dl) with elevated blood ketones (>2 mM).

“If you can produce sustained hypoglycemia with carbohydrate and calorie restriction and simultaneously elevate blood ketones, it actually makes the hypoglycemia tolerable,” he explains. “The ketones replace the glucose as the primary energy fuel for your brain. It basically keeps your brain metabolism optimized and prevents fluctuations in your mood and your energy levels, if you can sustain therapeutic ketosis with a properly balanced ketogenic diet.”

As you implement the ketogenic diet, you can just check your glucose and ketones once a week if you find the cost of the strips to be prohibitively expensive for more frequent testing. Typically, if your blood glucose stays at 75 or below with carbohydrate restriction, there’s a good chance that you’ll be in nutritional ketosis, which is where you want to be.

If you’re in ketosis by evidence of ketones in your urine, you’re in a situation where you likely have depleted glycogen stores in your liver. This means you’re maintaining a low blood glucose, which is good. The driver for hepatic ketogenesis is low blood glucose and low glycogen levels in the liver, as this means your body is depleted of glycogen. Your body will not really make adequate ketones (>2 mM), and they won’t spill over in your urine, unless you’ve achieved that level of glycogen depletion. So remember, when your levels of blood ketones are 1-3 millimolar (mM) that’s a good biomarker of nutritional ketosis.

More Information

While Dr. D’Agostino does not treat patients, he has plenty of resources to offer for anyone interested in learning more. If you have cancer, you could bring these resources to your oncologist for discussion. For everyone else, a ketogenic diet is an excellent way to optimize your health and prevent chronic diseases of all kinds. Helpful books and websites where you can learn more include:

  • KetogenicDietResource.com3. This site is maintained by a friend of Dr. D’Agostino. Here you can also find a ketogenic diet handbook for cancer patients called Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet
  • Dr. D’Agostino’s website KetoNutrition.org4 contains a wide variety of therapy resources for patients
  • Miriam Kalamian, EdM, MS, CNS offers ketogenic diet consulting services for cancer patients. For information, see dietarytherapies.com5
  • The book, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer, by Thomas Seyfried
  • The book, The Cantin Ketogenic Diet: For Cancer, Type I Diabetes & Other Ailments, by Elaine Cantin, which specifically outlines a dairy-free ketogenic diet

Last but not least, ketoresearchchem.com6 is a resource for scientists interested in ketone research. Please note that the ketone supplements offered there are strictly for research only, and are NOT available for sale to cancer patients.

The Ketogenic Diet for Optimal Health and Disease Prevention

I firmly believe the ketogenic diet can be a tremendously beneficial strategy for optimizing your health and disease prevention and treatment plan, including cancer. It’s already a well-established first line of treatment against many seizure disorders. While most of your body’s cells have the metabolic flexibility to use either fat or sugar for fuel, cancer cells differ in that they cannot use fat (ketones) to survive—they need glucose, and a low-oxygen environment.

Back in the 1930’s, Dr. Otto Warburg actually received a Nobel Prize for his discovery that sugar is the primary fuel substrate for cancer cells. The “Warburg effect” in cancer cells is the basis of positron emission tomography (18-FDG PET), a medical imaging technique to visualize cancer. Oncologists have ignored this vital information for over 80 years and don’t use it therapeutically, which in my view is just reprehensible malpractice… So many people suffer needlessly because they don’t have access to this simple nutritional therapeutic strategy, which, in a nutshell, takes advantage of this intrinsic metabolic differential between healthy and cancerous cells.

Your body has a limited storage of sugar, stored in the form of glycogen, typically in your muscles and liver. These glycogen stores are depleted in about 12 hours or so, at which point your body has to switch to burning fat. This is part of what makes intermittent fasting so beneficial, because by not eating for 12-18 hours or longer each day, your body shifts into this fat-burning mode. While frequent hunger is a major issue for most people who are reliant on burning carbs for energy, fat-burners can go all day, or a number of days if necessary, without food, since most of us have plenty of fat to be used for fuel.

While most people can still eat some carbs, along with moderate amounts of high-quality protein, those with cancer need to be far more strict. Cancer patients also need to combine a ketogenic diet with calorie restriction to achieve glucose depletion that will effectively starve the cancer cells. Recent research also shows that adding hyperbaric oxygen treatment will dramatically reduce cancer growth and shrink tumors. All in all, I can find no drawbacks to eating this way, which is why I highly recommend it for everyone.

Source: mercola.com

 

‘Fat’ drug could treat epilepsy.


A substance made by the body when it uses fat as fuel could provide a new way of treating epilepsy, experts hope.

Researchers in London who have been carrying out preliminary tests of the fatty acid treatment, report their findings in Neuropharmacology journal.

They came up with the idea because of a special diet used by some children with severe, drug resistant epilepsy to help manage their condition.

The ketogenic diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrate.

The high fat, low carbohydrate diet is thought to mimic aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.

 “Start Quote

The identification of these fatty acids is an exciting breakthrough”

Simon WigglesworthEpilepsy Action

Although often effective, the diet has attracted criticism, as side-effects can be significant and potentially lead to constipation, hypoglycaemia, retarded growth and bone fractures.

By pinpointing fatty acids in the ketogenic diet that are effective in controlling epilepsy, researchers hope they can develop a pill for children and adults that could provide similar epilepsy control without the side-effects.

In early trials, the scientists, from Royal Holloway and University College London, say they have identified fatty acids that look like good candidates for the job.

They found that not only did some of the fatty acids outperform a regular epilepsy medication called valproate in controlling seizures in animals, they also had fewer side-effects.

But many more tests are needed to determine if the treatment would be safe and effective in humans.

Prof Matthew Walker, from the Institute of Neurology, University College London, said: “Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide and approximately a third of these people have epilepsy that is not adequately controlled by our present treatments.

“This discovery offers a whole new approach to the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsies in children and adults.”

Simon Wigglesworth, deputy chief executive at Epilepsy Action, said: “We know the ketogenic diet can be a highly effective treatment for children with difficult to control epilepsy and it is starting to be used for adults.

“The diet is high in fats and low in carbohydrates and the balance of the diet needs to be carefully worked out for each child. Although some children manage the diet very well, others find the diet unpleasant and difficult to follow. Children can also experience side-effects including constipation and weight loss.

“The identification of these fatty acids is an exciting breakthrough. The research means that children and adults with epilepsy could potentially benefit from the science behind the ketogenic diet without dramatically altering their eating habits or experiencing unpleasant side-effects.

“We look forward to seeing how this research progresses.”

Source:BBC

A Supplement to Stop Seizures


Most people know how hard it can be to stick to a diet. But for children with epilepsy, maintaining a restrictive high-fat, low-carbohydrate regimen known as the ketogenic diet is far more difficult than any weight-loss plan. Someday, however, they may be able to control seizures with a simple supplement instead, if a new finding in mice holds up in humans.

Almost a third of epilepsy patients, many of them children, don’t respond to antiseizure drugs. For reasons that are not well understood, the ketogenic diet can prevent seizures for some of these children. But it’s by no means an easy fix. Patients need to eat 80% to 90% of their daily calories as fat, usually in the form of vegetable oil or butter. Only some versions of the diet allow any carbohydrates at all, and sugary desserts are off-limits. “Eating a cookie can break the effect of the diet, resulting in a seizure,” explains Karin Borges, a neurobiologist at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, in Australia.

Hoping to design a more palatable alternative to the ketogenic diet, Borges and her colleagues began experimenting with a synthetic oil often found in antiwrinkle creams and other cosmetics. The compound, called triheptanoin, is already used to treat certain metabolic disorders; researchers believe it works because it replenishes specific molecules needed to produce the energy-carrying molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Borges reasoned that these metabolites, which are also the building blocks for certain chemical messengers in the brain, might be depleted by the flurry of brain activity that occurs during a seizure. Lower ATP levels in the brain can destabilize neurons, triggering more seizures. Borges hoped that a diet supplemented with triheptanoin would replenish the brain’s supply of metabolites and boost ATP production, helping to control epileptic bursts.

She and her colleagues tested this hypothesis in mice. Some of the rodents ate a normal laboratory diet, but others were fed a diet in which 35% of the calories came from triheptanoin. After 3 weeks, the researchers induced seizures in the mice using either a drug injection or electrical stimulation of the brain. It was more difficult to produce seizures in mice on the 35% triheptanoin diet, the team reports in this month’s issue of Neurobiology of Disease. The supplement had effects similar to those of some antiseizure drugs currently on the market, says Borges.

The team also found that triheptanoin restores some of the brain’s missing metabolites. But Borges cautions that there is a lot more research to do before her team knows for sure why the supplement acts as an anticonvulsant. The next step will be preparation for a clinical trial, she says, to see if what works for mice will be safe for people.

For humans, a diet composed of one-third triheptanoin adds up to almost 800 calories. Borges is hoping epilepsy patients won’t need quite such a high dose, however. If the compound works for them, she says, they should be able to resume a normal diet; they would just need to add the flavorless compound to their food, possibly by mixing it into sauces and salad dressings.

Targeting metabolites specifically, says Susan Masino, a neurobiologist at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, “is a new concept in epilepsy therapy.” She believes that a dietary supplement like triheptanoin could make metabolic therapy more realistic for more people.

Adam Hartman, a pediatric neurologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, agrees. Borges’s research, he says, establishes that putting metabolites back into the brain is a viable technique for treating epilepsy. And, because triheptanoin has been used to treat humans in the past, the outlook for conducting a clinical trial is good.

source: science now