Ketogenic diets allow you to eat real foods in the form of natural fats and protein (meat, fish, poultry) but severely restrict the amount of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) you are allowed each day.
On a “normal” American diet, carbohydrate intake is high (about 40-60% of calories) while fat intake, and especially saturated fat, is limited. Diets high in carbohydrate have the effect of elevating blood sugar and a hormone called insulin over time. The chronically higher levels of blood sugar and insulin result in a condition called insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome which can result in constant hunger, weight gain and a long list of disease outcomes.
In contrast, carbohydrate intake on a keto diet is only about 2-4% of calories. When carb intake is low, meals are delicious and satiating. Hunger goes away, and more importantly, this dietary change has some powerful and beneficial metabolic effects on the human body, in part because it lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. On this website, I’ll talk about how the diet works, and share details on the correct implementation of the diet. The bottom line here is that you can increase your energy and improve your health simply by changing the way you eat.
As mentioned, the diet limits carbohydrates (sugar and starch). When these foods are digested, they are broken down into blood sugar (glucose) in the body. More carbohydrate intake results in higher blood sugar. If we reduce carb intake and instead eat more fat and protein, it results in a switch in metabolic pathways from using sugar as a primary fuel to burning fat instead.
As more fat is burned, some of it is converted in ketone bodies. As blood glucose and insulin levels drop and ketone levels rise, the heart, muscle and brain switch to using more fat and ketones to fuel themselves. This state of "nutritional ketosis" has some powerful benefits. There is strong research evidence that low carb, high fat keto diets are effective for the following medical conditions:
Cancer: the current research on metabolic cancer treatments using a keto diet are extremely promising. The keto diet for cancer therapy is somewhat different than the treatment for other illnesses, and is discussed in detail in my e-Book Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet, which is based on the work of both Dr. Thomas Seyfried and Dr. Dominic D'Agostino. The main idea behind the use of a ketogenic diet to treat cancer is to starve the cancer cells of the glucose and other fuels they need to survive, and provide support for the normal mitochondrial respiration processes in healthy tissues. The huge advantage of this treatment protocol is that it is non-toxic to the rest of the body, and in "wait and see" cases, can provide an huge health support advantage to the patient.
The new third edition of Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet is also available in paperback form on Amazon.
Diabetes: The current ADA recommendations for carbohydrate intake in diabetes treatment is detrimental to diabetic health because it results in blood sugar spikes and crashes, which in turn causes a greater need for medication and insulin. A ketogenic diet reduces and in many cases, eliminates the need for diabetic medications and lowers the number of insulin units needed to manage blood sugar. For people with Type 2 diabetes, ketogenic diets reverse the underlying insulin resistance which causes the disease and reverse many of the long term complications. In many cases, just a change in dietary choices can result is lower medication costs. Learn more in our "Conquer Type 2 Diabetes e-Book or click on the book cover at left.
Type 1 Diabetes: Lowering carb intake and increasing fat intake is also beneficial for people with Type 1 diabetes and can help lower the number and severity of hypoglycemic episodes, reduce HbA1c scores and minimize future complications. Learn more in "The Ketogenic Diet for Type 1 Diabetes e-Book" or click on the book cover at right. These benefits are also possible for children with Type 1 and their parents should know that they have options.
Weight Loss: Low carb, high fat keto diets have been proven in study after study as the best diet for weight loss because the diet works with your biochemistry instead of against it. To help readers implement the diet correctly, check out our web app My Keto Plan, a tool designed by Ellen Davis and Austin Voss to help people achieve fast, healthy weight loss with a ketogenic diet. It's a great teaching tool for understanding how to create meals which are consistently within ketogenic ratios. Note that the program is very strict, but for people who are ready to do what it takes to get weight loss results, it works.
Alzheimer's disease: Ketones help replenish brain energy pathways and support brain health, and this results in better memory and thought function. My colleague Amy Berger has pulled together the latest research and written a unique ebook detailing how a low carb, high fat diet is the best way to protect and restore brain health. The Alzheimer's Antidote book is a one-of-a-kind resource. If you want to know to avoid or treat dementia or cognitive issues with a dietary solution, I highly recommend this book.
There is a great of science based evidence which shows the following conditions can be reversed or greatly improved on a keto diet:
The bottom line here is that the ketogenic diet is a powerful metabolic tool for treating a wide range of illnesses. It is not a fad diet, and if it is implemented correctly, it corrects metabolic function at the cellular level. The result is improved health and wellbeing.
A typical ketogenic meal includes a 3-5 ounces of protein, usually cooked in natural fats (for example, butter, lard, duck fat, cream, olive oil, beef tallow, or coconut oil) with the addition of non-starchy or green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, summer squash, or kale.
If you are ready to get started, check out the keto diet plan page, or the low carb food list. You can read about the benefits of the diet, or see some recipes and meal plans. Or just peruse the navigation bar on the left and click on what interests you.
In addition, Well Being Journal (WBJ) published an article I wrote about the health effects of keto diets in their July/August 2012 issue. It includes a detailed overview of the benefits of ketogenic diets.
You can also read my hypoglycemia and low carb diet myths articles which were published in the 2012 Nov/Dec issue of Well Being Journal.
My Keto Plan
a new tool designed to help people achieve fast, healthy weight loss with a ketogenic diet.
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