" "

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if little carbohydrate remains in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures.[1] Around half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet.[2] Some evidence indicates that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective.[1] Potential side effects may include constipation, high cholesterol, growth slowing, acidosis, and kidney stones.[3]
About 20% of children on the ketogenic diet achieve freedom from seizures, and many are able to reduce the use of anticonvulsant drugs or eliminate them altogether.[18] Commonly, at around two years on the diet, or after six months of being seizure-free, the diet may be gradually discontinued over two or three months. This is done by lowering the ketogenic ratio until urinary ketosis is no longer detected, and then lifting all calorie restrictions.[46] This timing and method of discontinuation mimics that of anticonvulsant drug therapy in children, where the child has become seizure-free. When the diet is required to treat certain metabolic diseases, the duration will be longer. The total diet duration is up to the treating ketogenic diet team and parents; durations up to 12 years have been studied and found beneficial.[9]
Kidney stones are a well-noted potential side effect of the ketogenic diet. Research published in the Journal of Child Neurology observed that among children following the keto diet as a treatment for epilepsy, 13 out of 195 subjects developed kidney stones. Children supplementing with potassium citrate in the study noticed a decreased likelihood of kidney stones. Speak with your healthcare practitioner about supplementing if kidney stones are a concern.

The Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) is widely considered one of the world’s top go-to resources for cutting-edge exercise and nutrition science advice – which is probably why Gatorade vending machines dot the campus here, and the majority of the kids seem to be walking around campus with a never-ending big gulp-sized cup full of sports drink.
Great article! As someone who just started a “ketogenic diet” two weeks ago, I am opting to hold off on using ketone supplements for the following reason. You state how “Keto-adaptation occurs when you have shifted your metabolism to relying on fat-based sources, instead of glucose (sugar) sources, as your primary source of fuel.” If the goal is to “switch” our body’s energy supply to ketones and one uses supplemental ketones, how do they really ever know if their body has successfully accomplished this goal if they are using supplemental ketones? Aren’t they getting a false sense of ketosis if their blood or breath tests show them above 0.5 millimolar through the use of the supplements? I understand that it may take me longer to reach ketosis naturally but I guess I see it was worth it to truly reap all of the benefits that you outline in your article.
There’s not enough of it to matter in coconut oil, it tastes bad, and it often results in stomach/gastric upset, but it does get converted quickly into ketones. If your MCT oil brand of choice makes your throat burn or has a weird flavor, one reason may be that the distillation did not remove enough of the C6. There are other reasons this can happen too, discussed below.

Great post!! I’m a 41 year old Master CrossFit athlete, been in keto / LCHF Primal lifestyle for the past 9 years. I feel that my performance has improved a lot and continues to improve pretty significantly. I was a top 200 Master Open Qualifier on 2016 and 2017 and I’m usually on the podium of local competitions so my performance is really not bad…and I’m totally fat adapted. I follow sort of a TKD where I sometimes eat carbs at night during the week, but never above 100g so It doesn’t even kick me out of ketosis due to activity level. I’ve been playing with some measurements and I noticed that my BG reading after high intensity training sessions is really high (up to 180mg/dl). But it goes down fast (sometimes it goes down to 50mg/dl but I show no side effect of hypo, function completely normal). From my research, the high glucose post high intensity is normal and due to the stressful response of the exercise and also because my liver is producing the glucose from gluconeogeneses to provide it for the workouts, when needed. This only happens when the workouts are long, above 30 minutes.
Alison Moodie is a health reporter based in Los Angeles. She has written for numerous outlets including Newsweek, Agence France-Presse, The Daily Mail and HuffPost. For years she covered sustainable business for The Guardian. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she majored in TV news. When she's not working she's doting on her two kids and whipping up Bulletproof-inspired dishes in her kitchen.
Intermittent fasting is another way to achieve ketosis. This doesn’t suggest going days without food, but rather intermittent fasting. You can eat for eight hours and then fast for 16 hours, or eat a low-calorie diet for a few days (about 1,200 daily calories if you’re a woman and 1,500 daily calories if you’re a man). As you take in less food, your body uses more of its fat stores for fuel.
Perhaps you fall into the category of Olympic athletes who would dope with damaging drugs, even if they knew it would kill them. However, if you desire a long, high-quality life, you don’t want to be a washed up ex-exerciser with diabetes, or you don’t want to experience joint, nerve and brain inflammation, damage and degradation, you may need to adjust your lens.
Ketosis is an option for many people with type 2 diabetes because they still produce insulin, which helps their body maintain a safe level of ketones in the blood. If you’re considering trying ketosis or the ketogenic diet with type 2 diabetes, be sure to consult your healthcare provider first to ensure it’s safe for you. This eating approach may interfere with some types of diabetes medication or be inappropriate for you if you have certain diabetes complications, such as kidney damage.
The original therapeutic diet for paediatric epilepsy provides just enough protein for body growth and repair, and sufficient calories[Note 1] to maintain the correct weight for age and height. The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was developed for treatment of paediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and was widely used into the next decade, but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant medications. This classic ketogenic diet contains a 4:1 ratio by weight of fat to combined protein and carbohydrate. This is achieved by excluding high-carbohydrate foods such as starchy fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta, grains, and sugar, while increasing the consumption of foods high in fat such as nuts, cream, and butter.[1] Most dietary fat is made of molecules called long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). However, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)—made from fatty acids with shorter carbon chains than LCTs—are more ketogenic. A variant of the classic diet known as the MCT ketogenic diet uses a form of coconut oil, which is rich in MCTs, to provide around half the calories. As less overall fat is needed in this variant of the diet, a greater proportion of carbohydrate and protein can be consumed, allowing a greater variety of food choices.[4][5]
Have you heard all the buzz about the keto diet and want to know more? Did a friend tell you they’re “in ketosis” and you got interested? Here’s everything you need to know about ketogenic diets and being in ketosis for fat loss, brain function, satiety, and performance. Editor’s Note: This article is being updated … Continue reading The Keto Diet: Next Big Thing or Dangerous Fad?
The ketogenic diet reduces seizure frequency by more than 50% in half of the patients who try it and by more than 90% in a third of patients.[18] Three-quarters of children who respond do so within two weeks, though experts recommend a trial of at least three months before assuming it has been ineffective.[9] Children with refractory epilepsy are more likely to benefit from the ketogenic diet than from trying another anticonvulsant drug.[1] Some evidence indicates that adolescents and adults may also benefit from the diet.[9]
Would highly recommend listening to Tim Noakes and his trail in Cape Town – he was pretty much the trigger for me to switch to LCHF and now I am starting to educate myself on what I need to follow a path that works for me. The information on Verta is giving me more information to enable me to ask my Dr for what I want – I know this will be an uphill battle and this information will help me avoid getting railroaded into the so called norms. It also give the Dr a way out because then I am asking him to help me go down a certain path that he is not responsible for recommending if it bucks the system.
After 2 years in ketosis suddenly I find my blood glucose has risen to high levels even while in ketosis. I thought it was the dawn phenomenon, stress hormones like cortisol but now I am beginning to think I am eating too many exongenous keytones like too much MCT oil? I am not taking exogenous keytone supplements but wondering if too much oil/ fat in the diet generates exogenous keytones which inhibits the livers production of endogenous keytones. I have read if the liver is producing endogenous keytones it is not at the same time producing glucose through gluconeogenisis?

"Muscle loss on the ketogenic diet is an ongoing area of research," Clark told Everyday Health. "Small studies suggest that people on the ketogenic diet lose muscle even when they continue resistance training. This may be related to the fact that protein alone is less effective for muscle building than protein and carbohydrates together after exercise."
Hi Ben…first, I have learned so much from you, thank you! I’m interested in using exogenous ketone supplements and I have a question for you. I just read the transcript of an interview Dave Asprey did with Dr. Richard Veech (episode 299). He advises against them, and says they can even be harmful. I was disappointed to read this, and wanted to ask you about it, since I respect your opinion greatly….thank you.
Then there’s medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s). Most dietary fat has to be converted into water soluble molecules that then need to enter the liver via your lymph system. Your liver then converts these molecules to fatty acids and ketone bodies. But unlike most other forms of dietary fats, MCT’s can enter your liver directly without having to go through your lymph system. This means that consuming MCT’s gives your body an opportunity to quickly produce ketone bodies.
There’s not enough of it to matter in coconut oil, it tastes bad, and it often results in stomach/gastric upset, but it does get converted quickly into ketones. If your MCT oil brand of choice makes your throat burn or has a weird flavor, one reason may be that the distillation did not remove enough of the C6. There are other reasons this can happen too, discussed below.
2) I'm currently using Ketocana and in that section you state "Similar to the BHB salts and MCT’s from the KETO//OS I discuss above, powdered forms of ketones are excellent if you don’t want to completely eliminate carbohydrates or fat or eat copious amounts of fats, but want to simultaneously maintain high levels of blood ketones." – How would eating copious amounts of fat be a negative? Wouldn't that help contribute to a ketogenic state?
Peak fat oxidation was 2.3-fold higher in the LC group (1.54 ± 0.18 vs 0.67 ± 0.14 g/min; P = 0.000) and it occurred at a higher percentage of VO2max (70.3 ± 6.3 vs 54.9 ± 7.8%; P = 0.000). Mean fat oxidation during submaximal exercise was 59% higher in the LC group (1.21 ± 0.02 vs 0.76 ± 0.11 g/min; P = 0.000) corresponding to a greater relative contribution of fat (88 ± 2 vs 56 ± 8%; P = 0.000). Despite these marked differences in fuel use between LC and HC athletes, there were no significant differences in resting muscle glycogen and the level of depletion after 180 min of running (−64% from pre-exercise) and 120 min of recovery (−36% from pre-exercise).
In other words, I personally found that while following “strict ketosis”, things became eerily similar to the days in college when I was a competitive bodybuilder pursuing sub-3% body fat percentages. I simply wasn’t the most fun guy to hang out with in social situations due to my extreme dietary restrictions, the intense self-control became nearly exhausting, and when I traveled, I missed out on many culinary experiences, such as homemade ravioli in Rome, freshly baked crostinis in the Basque regions of Spain, and Korean rice bowls in Seoul.
Ben – curious about your thoughts on this. I went into ketosis (using LOTS of coconut oil) but it raised my cholesterol and doc was worried about my lp(a) level (17mg/dL on VAP) even though crp was 0.5, trigs 51 and a1c was 5.2. Advised a low fat diet. Have you seen this before with folks on a lchf/ketosis diet and is there anything to be concerned about? Off to read your coconut oil article. Thank you!
My question is: what if I want to be in ketosis for all the reasons mentioned in the Life Extension article and because I don't feel a strong urge to eat in between meals when I go lower carb and if I up carb intake I get hungrier more frequently and get urges . . . BUT on the flip side, I don't seem to digest fat all that well(dairy in particular is a no-no) and constipation is an issue and starchy carbs seem to help with that. It's a bit of a catch-22.
Ben, great article! I recently did my own ketosis experiment and didn’t catch the 100-200g advise until later than I should have, I’m guessing. Great results for 1-2 months but after 3 months I quit sleeping through the night and would wake after about 4 hours of rest each night. My guess is that the extra carbs at night coupled with iodine supplements should allow me to “have my cake and eat it too?” Any other suggestions on the sleep issue? I’ve gone back to High Fat/Low Carb, have improved sleep but I do miss nutritional ketosis and want to try again once my sleep is stable. Thank YOU!!!
You state that many athletes and very active people could benefit from 100-200g of carbs a day, and be back in ketosis in a few hours. Any particulars on which kind of activities or say how long/many training sessions would benefit from this to balance hormones. I train mma 3-4 days a week and also do lots of hiit and strength training as well. Just trying to see if this is a situation where i would benefit from your suggestions. Thanks!
You state that many athletes and very active people could benefit from 100-200g of carbs a day, and be back in ketosis in a few hours. Any particulars on which kind of activities or say how long/many training sessions would benefit from this to balance hormones. I train mma 3-4 days a week and also do lots of hiit and strength training as well. Just trying to see if this is a situation where i would benefit from your suggestions. Thanks!
Hello, I have a quick question. I’ve been on keto since March 2017. Already lost about 45 pounds, down to 140 at 5’7 and about 16.4% fat. I take a magnésium cap each morning to be sure I got enough and eat at least 1 serving of baby spinach a day with olive oil or fatty dressing that have no carbs. My last meal is always between 5 and 9 pm (mostly around 6) and I don’t eat back before 12pm the next day on week days and not before next dîner on week end. Fasting isn’t something new to me and when I read it help getting in ketosis I continued.
As you may know, "keto diet" is short for ketogenic diet, because who has the time to say "genic." It is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet with approximately 80% of your calories from fat, 15% from protein, and only 5% from carbohydrates. The goal of the diet is to induce ketosis in your body. The theory is that typically your body may rely on burning the carbs that you eat rather than the fat stores in your body for energy. The thinking is that by severely restricting the amount of carbs in your diet your body may then be forced to burn your body fat instead. Breaking down this fat then results in ketones, which is not some acapella group, but instead organic compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. One type of ketone produced is acetone, which is in certain types of nail polish removers. This accumulation of ketones may result in "keto breath", which is a rotten fruit or metallic smelling bad breath that can smell a bit like, surprise, surprise, nail polish remover.

Note that urine measurements may not reflect blood concentrations. Urine concentrations are lower with greater hydration, and after adaptation to a ketogenic diet the amount lost in the urine may drop while the metabolism remains ketotic. Most urine strips only measure acetoacetate, while when ketosis is more severe the predominant ketone body is β-hydroxybutyrate.[36] Unlike glucose, ketones are excreted into urine at any blood level. Ketoacidosis is a metabolic derangement that cannot occur in a healthy individual who can produce insulin, and should not be confused with physiologic ketosis.
Ideally, you combine supplemental ketones with a relatively low carb diet, especially if metabolic efficeincy is important to you. HOWEVER, you can achieve most of the benefits of ketosis aside from the fat burning efficiency by using exogenous ketones. So it all depends on how lean you are, what's important to you from a performance vs. fat loss standpoint, etc.
Early studies reported high success rates; in one study in 1925, 60% of patients became seizure-free, and another 35% of patients had a 50% reduction in seizure frequency. These studies generally examined a cohort of patients recently treated by the physician (a retrospective study) and selected patients who had successfully maintained the dietary restrictions. However, these studies are difficult to compare to modern trials. One reason is that these older trials suffered from selection bias, as they excluded patients who were unable to start or maintain the diet and thereby selected from patients who would generate better results. In an attempt to control for this bias, modern study design prefers a prospective cohort (the patients in the study are chosen before therapy begins) in which the results are presented for all patients regardless of whether they started or completed the treatment (known as intent-to-treat analysis).[19]
But wait, there’s one loophole. Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)? Then the keto diet may help regulate your periods. “Women with PCOS have high insulin levels, which cause sex hormone imbalances,” notes Yawitz. In a small study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, subjects with PCOS following a ketogenic diet for six months noted improvements in their menstrual cycles — and a small number of women became pregnant, overcoming previous infertility obstacles. “This study was very small, so we can’t make recommendations for all women with PCOS based on its findings,” says Yawitz. “And really, any diet that leads to weight loss should help in PCOS.”
×