It seems like everyone is talking about the keto diet — the high-fat, low-carb eating plan that promises to turn your body into a fat-burning machine. For that reason, keto has surged in popularity over the past year as a lose-weight-fast strategy. Thank Hollywood A-listers and professional athletes like Halle Berry, Adriana Lima, and Tim Tebow who’ve publicly touted the diet’s benefits, from shedding weight to slowing down aging. Here’s everything you need to know about going keto.
This is ALL so confusing and overwhelming. I am not diabetic. I am trying to be proactive about it. I am borderline obese (by US standards) and obese (by Asian standards). I am 50 years old. I was addicted to fat and sugar (especially combined!) through my teens and twenties. I decided to get healthy in my 30s, so I became a Vegan (but an unhealthy/careless one, so my weight yo-yo’ed a lot in my 20s and 30s). In my 40’s I reintroduced animal products into my diet and a number of my health issues went away, but I am still fat. I am considering Keto/Carnivore, but I am concerned that I may just be falling prey to more extreme diets which could set me up for problems (e.g. diabetes) down the road. I guess I am what most would refer to as pre-diabetic (metabolic syndrome). Should I try keto or am I taking too much of a risk?

I do know a little bit about nutrition (what heavy person doesn't?). I wanted a plan that followed sound nutritional guidelines and had some research to back it up. This one does. Marla does a great job of explaining why the things I learned about nutrition in my 20s aren't working for me in my 40s, and then lays out, clearly, concisely, and with menus and recipes, what *will* work...and it did. I was nervous about cutting down on grains--I attempted the Atkins plan a few times and it just made me sick--but I felt fine. The menu plans are satisfying and tasty, and Marla has really helped me to re-frame the way I think about food.
Body Fat Reduction. According to the current research literature, both visceral and subcutaneous fat play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. [22] To keep our fat cells from fighting against us, we must adopt a healthier lifestyle that prevents us from being in a calorie surplus and gaining weight. The keto diet is one lifestyle change that has been proven time and time again to help us lose fat and improve metabolic health.  [24]

Hi Cyn, The numbers are general guidelines but will vary depending on many factors, such as activity level, insulin resistance, weight and more. There is no single magic number, just conventional recommendations that are a good starting point. I will have a macro calculator coming soon that will help determine what is best for each person, but even then it’s an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to test. If keto is your goal, it’s usually best to start lower and then see if you can stay in ketosis when increasing.


Some people feel better supplementing the already active T3 (sometimes prepared from pig thyroid glands), as it can give a stronger effect than the T4 hormone, but its effect is often harder to control. Swedish healthcare rarely prescribes or offers such T3 treatment, as it often lacks advantages and may pose a risk when doses are high for an extended period of time.
The following weekend I was looking for a book on this diet at Barnes & Noble in Colonie Center. A title caught my eye, “The Mediterranean Diet Plan,” written by Susan Zogheib. After reading the book’s introduction I quickly skimmed through the background of the diet and stopped at the diet plans. I smiled. I thought to myself, “I could totally do this!” I skipped ahead to the recipes. At that moment I knew I had found my diet plan! The book has four, four-week diet plans complete with recipes for every meal that are structured on the level of comfort you have with making the switch. One month of meals AND recipes, I couldn’t wait!
WH verdict: It’s still a diet by any other name, but props to Weight Watchers for acknowledging that there’s more to being healthy than ‘weight’. The new platform really does consider all aspects of wellness. And with plans to partner with Alexa and Google Assistant to help track your progress, WW could be to 2019 what Weight Watchers was to the early noughties.
Trim Portions. If you did nothing else but reduce your portions by 10%-20%, you would lose weight. Most of the portions served both in restaurants and at home are bigger than you need. Pull out the measuring cups to get a handle on your usual portion sizes, and work on paring them down. Get instant portion control by using small bowls, plates, and cups, says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating. You won't feel deprived because the food will look plentiful on dainty dishware.

Day 2’s lunch consists of a serving of hummus with sliced veggies of your choice; celery, carrots and bell pepper made good accompaniments. Use a round of whole-wheat pita for dipping, too, and finish the meal with an orange or kiwifruit. The next day, have a bowl of lentil soup with whole-grain crackers, and top the bowl with crunchy pomegranate seeds and a dollop of plain yogurt. Lentils supply protein and fiber in one satisfying package; a cup has 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber. Make a big pot and have this soup again on day 4, or try a different soup like minestrone sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.
Starting on a ketogenic diet can influence your exercise performance in multiple ways, both positive and negative. During the first 1-2 weeks (the “adaption period,” which I will get back to later), you will most likely see a decrease in energy and athletic performance across the board while your body adjusts to the new diet. This is perfectly normal and should NOT be a cause for concern or make you abandon the diet.

In conclusion, these three meta-analyses indicate that low-carb isn’t a “miracle diet,” but it may be one of the best, if not the best diet, for the management of type 2 diabetes and reversal of the condition in some cases. When people with type 2 diabetes follow a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, their health improves, weight is lost, blood sugar and HbA1c levels drop, and other health parameters improve significantly. Even studies that put healthy individuals on a ketogenic diet found similar improvements.


The crazy thing is it is not hard, if it matters. Sure I can see it being hard for someone who does it to lose weight, then when they get closer to their ideal, they want to have treats, etc. Well, for a type one diabetic there’s no end in sight, this is it, and it’s a relatively complication free life (many people reverse their complications when they bring their A1C down to normal) vs. one with inevitable complications. So, perhaps it was too hard for you after a year (you didn’t say, but I assume you are not a type one diabetic), but that is a choice you can make. Not I.
In this meta-analysis, the researchers looked at the results from a total of 20 randomized controlled trials with more than 3,000 subjects, most of whom had type 2 diabetes. [16] Although the authors concluded that low-carbohydrate, low-GI, Mediterranean, and high-protein diets should all be considered as a dietary strategy for diabetes management, the low-carb diet proved itself as being superior in 6 of the 8 studies.
The basal metabolic rate per gram of body weight is seven times greater in mice than in humans. Organisms with large mass-specific metabolic rates typically show relatively large deviations from "normal" values because of a weak capacity to maintain homeostasis. Mice, which have a higher mass-specific metabolic rate, have a weak capacity to maintain cellular homeostasis; humans have a lower mass-specific metabolic rate, and a strong capacity to maintain cellular homeostasis. Mice are not small people, and "everyone else did it" is not a sound experimental design rationale.

Thank you SO much for this! My husband approached me about the Mediterranean diet being good for depression and suggested I give it a try. But I already knew this was not the best term to describe what I needed, even before reading your article on the subject. However, I did have an idea of what they meant and I have struggled to find recipes that fit the bill. Too many well-meaning people have made it more “healthful” by cutting back on the fat. ANYWAY . . . This little meal plan is going to be immensely helpful to me and I am poking all around the site and your social media. Thank you for sharing!
Great article! Sustainability is key and Keto diet is extremely restrictive compared to others. Many of the comments I see don’t understand the importance of many years of research before stating something has a “significant difference” than the recommendations that are already in place. Also, understanding the pro/carb/fat balance in each meal instead of focusing on just carbohydrates. We have practiced the same modified Mediterranean diet at my practice where someone can enjoy life, eat complex carbohydrates and years later they are still successful and hundreds of pounds have been lost for good 🙂 Thank you for the reminder (and the comparison of Adkins supported research).
Control Your Environments. Another simple strategy to help cut calories is to control your environment -- everything from stocking your kitchen with lots of healthy options to choosing the right restaurants. That means avoiding the temptation by staying away from all-you-can-eat restaurants. And when it comes to parties, "eat a healthy snack before so you won't be starving, and be selective when you fill your plate at the buffet," suggests Ward. Before going back for more food, wait at least 15 minutes and have a big glass of water.
How can you lower your A1C levels? A1C blood tests measure how well the body is maintaining blood glucose levels. They can help diagnose diabetes and monitor diabetes treatment plans. Study results show that lowering A1C levels can reduce the risk and severity of diabetes complications. In this article, we explain how people can lower their A1C levels. Read now
In her book, Susan highlights one of the major problems with dinner time today: quality time. Does everyone else remember when dinner time was family time? When we would all sit down together, share our day, talk, laugh, and leave when the meal was done? Susan and I shared our childhood dinning experiences when we discussed her call for embracing the the Mediterranean lifestyle — incorporating exercise, relaxation, and family meals back into our daily routines. This book is looking for someone who is looking to make a lifestyle choice. The way that you eat, sitting down with your families at the dinner table. No more meals on the go, no more meals with the TV. I wanted to bring back the importance of food in our households,” noted Susan.
The DASH diet is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. As you can probably guess, this eating plan was originally developed to help people lower their blood pressure. But it can do a whole lot more than that: The DASH diet has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity. Studies have also suggested that following a DASH diet plan can reduce the risk of serious health issues such as stroke, kidney stones, and diabetes. It's no wonder why so many doctors recommend the DASH diet to their patients and why the plan has been ranked as the "best overall diet" by US News & World Reports for eight years in a row.
Your body needs a certain amount of essential vitamins and minerals to function properly. What happens when you don’t get enough of them? What happens when you eat too little food, or when the food you eat isn’t sufficiently nutritious? Perhaps our bodies catch on and reply by increasing hunger levels. After all – if we eat more, we increase the chances of consuming enough of whatever nutrient we are lacking.
As I wrote in op-eds for the Wall Street Journal61 and Medscape,62 the Lancet Public Health study is based on very thin data. The questionnaire underlying the report left out questions regarding popular foods, such as pizza and energy bars, and did not consider alcohol consumption. Moreover, the “low-carb” diet group in this study included people eating up to 37% of calories as carbohydrates—not low-carb according to the latest science. Ultimately, this is the kind of data that can show association but not establish causation, which means it is the kind of data one can use to generate hypotheses but not prove them. This kind of data would never be considered sufficient to approve a drug, for instance. The same standards should be applied to diet. Quite a few researchers, including myself, had our critiques published in Lancet Public Health.63 The authors replied but did not respond to most of the criticisms.
Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much. Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others. Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.
Of the 1,580 survey participants, more than half reported staying on a low-carb diet for at least one year, and 34% reported more than two years. Further, those on the diet for two years or more said that they had largely maintained their weight loss. This is a self-selected sample, with an obvious bias for people who are experiencing success (dieters are less inclined to report on their failures). However, this data does show that long-term adherence is possible.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LCKD) in overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes over 16 weeks. Specifically, we wanted to learn the diet's effects on glycemia and diabetes medication use in outpatients who prepared (or bought) their own meals. In a previous article, we reported the results observed in 7 individuals [10]; this report includes data from those 7 individuals along with data from additional participants enrolled subsequently.
Luckily today, we do not have to treat any type of diabetes with this barbaric method. There are so many healthy food options for most people today in modern society. In America, most of us are blessed to have access to healthy food options. I did see the research that Dr. Westman has completed at Duke University and did reference one of his articles above (reference #7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1325029/). I have no doubt the diet works, I’ve done it and lost weight really fast, so I know from firsthand experience that it works. You will lose weight which will have wonderful effects on every aspect of your health. The problem I have is, can anyone go the rest of their life without consuming anything white EVER? Do you think every author of all those books actually does that? I would offer to put them all on a lie detector to prove that they haven’t lived 40 years without consuming one white thing or one fruit or anything with sugar in it. My question is, what quality of life do they really have if they have? I for one will NOT be giving up my or my family’s birthday cake!

You say keto is a highly controversial topic. For those of us following a keto diet, there is no controversy whatsoever because the diet proves itself efficacious very quickly. I think the real controversy comes in because the ADA has been recommending dangerous levels of carbs for decades now, and they would lose face if they had to change their recommendation and admit they’ve been wrong for so long. You say there are not many studies on the keto diet, and I disagree with you. You’ll find the evidence if you look for it. Eric Westman, Steve Phinney, Jeff Volek and many other researchers have written volumes about this.

The food options available on the DASH diet closely mirror the eating plan recommended in the US Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate, with a focus on whole foods, such as fruit and veggies; fat-free or low-fat dairy; whole grains; and lean meats, like fish and poultry. (3) Meanwhile, the plan requires cutting back on, or preferably eliminating, processed foods, like sugary drinks and packaged snacks, and limiting red meat, which in excess has been linked to poorer heart health and heart failure, according to a study published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. (4)
Also, to the author I do appreciate you stating you are bias up front, but I do get to indulge with some fruit/berries when I want. You dont give up everything forever but you learn to fit them into your macros. I have learned to make Keto ice cream and fat bombs if the urge comes along. I have learned to take keto friendly foods along to potlucks that everyone loves. Keto can be a way to follow forever but everyone has their own needs for their bodies. I am new to this but finding it easier and easier to remain keto
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
×