In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis). Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones.
Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
If you’re new or just still learning the ropes for the keto diet food list, your biggest questions probably revolve around figuring out just what high-fat low-carb foods you can eat on such a low-carb, ketogenic diet. Overall, remember that the bulk of calories on the keto diet are from foods that are high in natural fats along with a moderate amount of foods with protein. Those that are severely restricted are all foods that provide lots of carbs, even kinds that are normally thought of as “healthy,” like whole grains, for example. 

On the other hand, the types of foods you’ll avoid eating on the keto, low-carb food plan are likely the same ones you are, or previously were, accustomed to getting lots of your daily calories from before starting this way of eating. This includes items like fruit, processed foods or drinks high in sugar, those made with any grains or white/wheat flour, conventional dairy products, desserts, and many other high-carb foods (especially those that are sources of “empty calories”).
Use our premium meal planner tool (free trial) to access tons of weekly meal plans, complete with shopping lists. You can adapt the plans to your liking, skipping any meal, choosing how many people you’re cooking for, and the shopping lists adapt. You can even start a new plan from scratch (of from pre-existing ones), tailor them completely and save them.
Similar to our results, three studies noted that diabetes medications were reduced in some participants[6,8,9], although details were provided in only one study. We also discontinued diuretic medications during diet initiation because of concern for additional diuresis incurred by the diet. This concern was based on the theoretical effects of the diet [17], observed effects of the diet on body water by bioelectric impedance [18], and practical experience with the diet [19]. Until we learn more about using low carbohydrate diets, medical monitoring for hypoglycemia, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities is imperative in patients taking diabetes or diuretic medications.

If you want something that feels a little more indulgent, you can recreate gnocchi with just two ingredients: egg yolk and shredded mozzarella. In fact, as the Primitive Palate discovered when creating the recipe, while it’s a little more time consuming (you’ll need about a half hour from start to finish) making gnocchi this way is considerably easier than the traditional method.
My favorite sugar-free low carb BBQ sauce is a family recipe that I tweaked to make keto friendly. It is simple to prepare without a lot of added ingredients that aren’t necessary. You can find my recipe here. If you are looking for convenience, there are several brands that make a sugar-free variety that can be ordered from Amazon or you may find in your local stores. The only brand of store-bought sugar-free bbq sauce I have tried is by G. Hughes. They offer several different varieties, but I prefer hickory. I might be a little partial, but my homemade BBQ sauce makes this recipe taste much more authentic and flavorful.
"The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. While it also has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. We don't know if it works in the long term, nor whether it's safe," warns registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Ketosis means that your body is in a state where it doesn't have enough glucose available to use as energy, so it switches into a state where molecules called ketones are generated during fat metabolism. Ketones can be used for energy. A special property of ketones is that they can be used instead of glucose for most of the energy needed in the brain, where fatty acids can't be used. Also, some tissues of the body prefer using ketones, in that they will use them when available (for example, the heart muscle will use one ketone in particular for fuel when possible).
Things have changed. I discovered Keto a year ago, and it has made a significant improvement in my health – WHEN I follow it. It’s not that easy sometimes. I need inspiration and support, as we all do. I know this is your business but it also seems like a life mission. Some days when I am tempted to consume stuff that I know will make me feel bad later, I think of you and all the resources you provide and all the good stuff that will make me feel more energetic, alive, and able to do my part in the world.
There are so many tricks, shortcuts, and gimmicks out there on achieving optimal ketosis – I’d suggest you don’t bother with any of that. Optimal ketosis can be accomplished through dietary nutrition alone (aka just eating food). You shouldn’t need a magic pill to do it. Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat (to make sure your carb and protein intake are correct).
So here is the deal, all of my clients tell me they want to eat more vegetables, but they are short on time and really don’t enjoy spending half their Sunday in the kitchen doing meal prep. And I HEAR YOU! So I’m trying to find new exciting ways to enjoy vegetables without spending hours in the kitchen. My solution, this low carb pasta recipe with only 3 ingredients. It’s ready in under 10 minutes!
As with cold cereals, your best bet for a low-carb breakfast cereal comes in the form of whole grains. Oatmeal is an excellent choice because it is high in fiber and contains a substance called beta-glucan, which slows down the digestive process. That means you will stay full throughout the morning. Bran cereals can also be eaten hot, and whole grains such as quinoa or grits can be flavored to be either savory or sweet. Quinoa goes especially well with walnuts and raisins, dates or dried figs. It is is also scrumptious when flavored with a little bit of coriander and served with a poached egg on top. Grits are also a natural partner for eggs, but they are also delicious with pecans and fresh blueberries. Drizzle a bit of honey, agave or real maple syrup on top for sweetness. This will increase the carb count a bit, but the nutritional benefits of starting your day with a hearty, hot breakfast are more than worth the few extra carbs.
If you’re someone who loves to bake, you may think that starting a low carb diet means your favorite pastime is now off-limits. You can’t have flour and you can’t have sugar, so you can’t possibly make muffins and cakes and cookies, right? Well sure, if you want to define baking in those narrow, high carb terms, then I suppose you might be right. But if you’re ready to explore a whole new world of healthy low carb ingredients, stay with me.
I’m discouraged to see that nowhere in the article nor in the comments is there a mention of a diet’s best fit to genetics. Consider if someone is an APOE E2 carrier and/or has certain polymorphisms of the APO5 gene. These are quite rare in Okinawa but much more prevalent in the USA (12% of the population). According to a number of well-designed studies, these genetic characteristics point to a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet as beneficial and even a “moderate” carb diet as problematic.
The ketogenic diet is a medical nutrition therapy that involves participants from various disciplines. Team members include a registered paediatric dietitian who coordinates the diet programme; a paediatric neurologist who is experienced in offering the ketogenic diet; and a registered nurse who is familiar with childhood epilepsy. Additional help may come from a medical social worker who works with the family and a pharmacist who can advise on the carbohydrate content of medicines. Lastly, the parents and other caregivers must be educated in many aspects of the diet for it to be safely implemented.[5]
I too have been following you for a long time, trying your recipes and loving most of them. I am 4 days into the keto diet. I have not looked at the scale yet, but I kinda feel like my clothes fit a bit better. I am not in ketosis though…I was glad to hear that it took you a bit longer to get there so I don’t feel like I am doing it wrong. I am 62 and 5 foot 2 and I just can’t seem to keep my protein low enough. Too much meat I am guessing. I am trying to stay at 1330 calories, 105 grams of fat, 20 carbs, and 76 protein. I am very interested in learning what you eat in your typical meals for the day. I use the free version of My fitness pal.
There are several different types of flour made from seeds. Flaxseed meal is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and can be used in muffins, pancakes and other baked goods as an oil or butter substitute. A 1/4-cup serving has 8 grams of carbohydrates. Although more difficult to find, sunflower seed flour is very low in carbohydrates with less than 6 grams per 1/4 cup.
I guess the closest would be almond flour/ground almonds but there is not a direct substitution because wheat flour behave totally differently because it has gluten. Great question to ask and I am so glad you are starting low carb. Begin by baking an established low carb recipe first. All the hard recipe development has been done for you. Enjoy, and welcome.
Prior to the advent of exogenous insulin for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in the 1920's, the mainstay of therapy was dietary modification. Diet recommendations in that era were aimed at controlling glycemia (actually, glycosuria) and were dramatically different from current low-fat, high-carbohydrate dietary recommendations for patients with diabetes [1,2]. For example, the Dr. Elliot Joslin Diabetic Diet in 1923 consisted of "meats, poultry, game, fish, clear soups, gelatin, eggs, butter, olive oil, coffee, tea" and contained approximately 5% of energy from carbohydrates, 20% from protein, and 75% from fat [3]. A similar diet was advocated by Dr. Frederick Allen of the same era [4].
I’ve tried a ”ton” of low carbs foods...so trust me when I tell you how good this stuff is. If your low carb or keto...Sola products are sanity in a bag with a taste authenticity comparitative to their high carb counterparts. You won’t be disappointed so go ahead and order extra. I like to put it in my yogurt, cottage cheese, protein shakes, sugar free pudding, etc. It’s the jam with almond milk by itself too.
Providing additional support Paoli et al. (17) examined the effect of a modified KD diet (~55% fat, 41% protein, and 4.5% CHO) on performance and body composition in gymnasts. In a crossover design, researchers compared independent 30-day dietary regimens consisting of “normal diet” (WD; 46.8% CHO, 38.5% fat, and 14.7% protein) and modified KD in nine elite male gymnasts. There were no significant changes from pre to post during either dietary intervention for measures of physical performance, indicating the absence of significant dietary CHO did not negatively impact physical ability. The post-KD measurements, however, saw a significant decrease in fat mass (pre: 5.3; post:

Rod, With a ketogenic lifestyle, the point is to stay within your macros, so if you’re not gluten-intolerant and the flour fits into your macros, you should be fine. Have you calculated what your macros should be? We have a post talking about which macro calculators we like best, if you’re interested: https://theketoqueens.com/macro-calculator-review/ Additionally, a doctor can help you figure out the macros that will work best for your health and fitness goals. Best of luck and welcome to the keto family!
When you’re limiting carbs, cereals with dried fruit mixed in are best left on the shelf, because fruit increases the carb grams. Nuts are low in carbohydrates, so they add crunch and flavor without boosting the carb count. Three nutty cereals from Nutritious Living are lower-carb choices. Dr. Sears Zone Cereal in the honey almond flavor has 16 grams per ½-cup serving. It contains multiple grains and is sweetened with honey, molasses and evaporated cane juice crystals. Hi-Lo cereal comes in two nut-wielding flavors -- vanilla almond and maple pecan -- both with 13 grams of carbs per ½-cup serving. Like the regular flavor, these Hi-Lo cereals get their sweetness from an artificial sweetener, sucralose.
Rod, With a ketogenic lifestyle, the point is to stay within your macros, so if you’re not gluten-intolerant and the flour fits into your macros, you should be fine. Have you calculated what your macros should be? We have a post talking about which macro calculators we like best, if you’re interested: https://theketoqueens.com/macro-calculator-review/ Additionally, a doctor can help you figure out the macros that will work best for your health and fitness goals. Best of luck and welcome to the keto family!
If you are like me you were brought up eating sugary cereals like frosted flakes and if the truth were told I do miss them! However now that we are eating keto they just don’t figure anymore, so this low carb recipe has been great to find. You are using coconut flakes and sweetening them, so you still have the sweet taste and crunchy texture that we all remember!
The Keto diet is high in fat, moderate in protein and extremely low in carbs. It’s a highly effective diet as it takes into account accurate tracking of your meals, to find the right body balance, followed by charting your goals! I’m a big fan of the low-carb diet. Not only has it been shown to be more effective than a low-fat diet, but it bestows many additional health benefits over a typical diet.
When you eat foods high in carbohydrates and fat, your body naturally produces glucose. Carbohydrates are the easiest thing for the body to process, and therefore it will use them first – resulting in the excess fats to be stored immediately. In turn, this causes weight gain and health problems that are associated with high fat, high carbohydrate diets (NOT keto).
A Cochrane systematic review in 2018 found and analysed eleven randomized controlled trials of ketogenic diet in people with epilepsy for whom drugs failed to control their seizures.[2] Six of the trials compared a group assigned to a ketogenic diet with a group not assigned to one. The other trials compared types of diets or ways of introducing them to make them more tolerable.[2] In the largest trial of the ketogenic diet with a non-diet control[16], nearly 38% of the children and young people had half or fewer seizures with the diet compared 6% with the group not assigned to the diet. Two large trials of the Modified Atkins Diet compared to a non-diet control had similar results, with over 50% of children having half or fewer seizures with the diet compared to around 10% in the control group.[2]
In this single-arm, 4-month diet intervention, an LCKD resulted in significant improvement of glycemia, as measured by fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c, in patients with type 2 diabetes. More importantly, this improvement was observed while diabetes medications were reduced or discontinued in 17 of the 21 participants, and were not changed in the remaining 4 participants. Participants also experienced reductions in body weight, waist circumference, and percent body fat but these improvements were moderate and did not predict the change in hemoglobin A1c in regression analyses.
I just made these and followed the advice of another comment. I added a scoop of vanilla whey protein and a scoop of sour cream. I did not have a donut pan so used my regular sized muffin tins. I buttered the tins very generously. I filled half full and it made 10. I shortened the baking time to 13 minutes which was perfect. I made a glaze of heavy whipping cream and powdered swerve for half and the cinnamon sugar combination for the other half. They are fabulous!
So, recently when I was craving Monterey Chicken and didn’t have time to wait for the chicken to cook in the crockpot, I made a low carb skillet version that turned out just like the one I remembered. It was extremely flavorful and delicious! All in all, it took about 25 minutes from start to finish since I had already cooked the bacon earlier in the day and my homemade low carb sugar-free BBQ sauce was already in the fridge.
Shirataki noodles are available in many shapes -- spaghetti, fettucini, macaroni -- and can be purchased plain. Products like Miracle Noodle and NoOodle Noodles sell this type, which tends to be extra-slippery, nutritionally void (they are mostly made up of water) and close to calorie-free. Other brands, like House Foods and Nasoya's Pasta Zero blend the yam flour with tofu or chickpeas, which adds just a few calories and grams of carbohydrates and fiber.
These low carb egg noodles have the texture of homemade egg noodles. Although they aren’t gluten free they have 0 carbs for a generous serving. They are easy to make with just three ingredients! Use them any way you’d use regular pasta; in soups, casseroles, and with any low carb pasta sauce. They are especially good with the easy Alfredo Sauce recipe right here on Lowcarb-ology.
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.1There are scientifically-backed studies that show the advantage of a low-carb, ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet. One meta-analysis of low-carbohydrate diets showed a large advantage in weight loss. The New England Journal of Medicine study resulted in almost double the weight loss in a long-term study on ketone inducing diets.
The popular belief that high-fat diets cause obesity and several other diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer has not been observed in recent epidemiological studies. Studies carried out in animals that were fed high-fat diets did not show a specific causal relationship between dietary fat and obesity. On the contrary, very-low-carbohydrate and high-fat diets such as the ketogenic diet have shown to beneficial to weight loss.

Using almond instead of wheat-based flour keeps these breakfast beauties lower in carbs without sacrificing the tiniest bit of taste. Whip up the batter with a blender for a quicker breakfast, or use a bowl and whisk—either option yields delicious results. Add berries for some color and a fruity zing. Oh, and trust us one this one—make an extra batch to freeze for a busy morning.
The main limitations of our study are its small sample size, short duration, and lack of control group. That the main outcome, hemoglobin A1c, improved significantly despite the small sample size and short duration of follow-up speaks to the dramatic and consistent effect of the LCKD on glycemia. For other effects, however, such as the rises in serum LDL and HDL cholesterol, the small sample size might be the reason statistical significance was not reached. Future studies of larger samples and containing a control group are needed to better address questions about the effect of the LCKD on serum lipids in patients with type 2 diabetes.
So, recently when I was craving Monterey Chicken and didn’t have time to wait for the chicken to cook in the crockpot, I made a low carb skillet version that turned out just like the one I remembered. It was extremely flavorful and delicious! All in all, it took about 25 minutes from start to finish since I had already cooked the bacon earlier in the day and my homemade low carb sugar-free BBQ sauce was already in the fridge.
I literally need a vegan keto cereal in my LIFE. I know this recipe is NOT vegan, but I would love to try making this with flaxseed meal instead of the egg white! Anyways, I most certainly ADORE cereal and can easily eat it by the handful. Granola is even MORE dangerous because the serving sizes are smaller and the flavor and crunch factor are just addictive!

Bulk buy and cook. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this is the best of both worlds. Buying your food at bulk (specifically from wholesalers) can reduce the cost per pound tremendously. Plus, you can make ahead food (bulk cook chicken thighs for pre-made meat, or cook entire meals) that are used as leftovers, so you spend less time cooking.
Thanks to the use of turmeric in this amazing keto porridge, the cereal has a lovely golden color and can be a great filling cereal to have to get your body off to a good start in the morning. This sugar-free recipe also uses bee pollen which has proven anti-inflammatory properties and can actually help if you suffer from hay fever, especially if you can source a supply of local pollen.
There’s nothing like pouring a bowl of low carb cereal with almond milk for an easy morning breakfast. These low carb granola and low carb muesli recipes are made from nuts and seeds resulting in a nourishing sugar free, gluten free, and grain free breakfast option. Because they are very nutritionally dense, enjoy a small portion. Enjoy a spoonful on full fat Greek yogurt or ice cream.
Donuts were never a food we had around the house growing up. Even though my parents were far from low carb, they did eat real food and didn’t buy much that was processed. I’m not going to lie, though. I would have happily eaten donuts elsewhere whenever given the chance. It’s too bad that a keto low carb donuts recipe like this one wasn’t an option back then!
I have great respect for Harvard Medical School. I notice that they support their readers posting comments and I am most appreciative of the article and all the many thoughtful comments by the readers. The readers seem to have the most expertise here and I hope that the doctor who wrote the article will think long and hard about the comments by readers. After 35 years of clinical practice in mental health, I notice that all issues of emotion involve medical issues, nutrition, and the gut bacteria. I would say that these issues and all of the executive brain functions seem to improve with ketogenic principles. For those that apply it in a flexible and smart manner, it appears to improve every area of their lives. I strongly encourage the author of the article to take one class via The Institute for Functional Medicine. If he is open to more learning he can take more classes and get certified. I’m sure a fine doctor, he will be an even better doctor and personally healthier, if he gets more training. Are we all open to new learning(especially us healthcare providers)?
Participants were recruited from the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) outpatient clinics. Inclusion criteria were age 35–75 years; body mass index (BMI) >25 kg/m2; and fasting serum glucose >125 mg/dL or hemoglobin A1c >6.5% without medications, or treatment with oral hypoglycemic agents (OHA) and/or insulin. Exclusion criteria were evidence of renal insufficiency, liver disease, or unstable cardiovascular disease by history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. All participants provided written informed consent approved by the institutional review board. No monetary incentives were provided.
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