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Ketosis is the metabolic process of using fat as the primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates. This means your body is directly breaking down its fat stores as energy instead of slowly converting fat and muscle cells into glucose for energy. You enter ketosis when your body doesn’t have enough glucose (carbohydrates) available. The prime function of the ketogenic diet is to put the body in ketosis.
Note: Because you'll be excluding some major food groups on the keto diet (grains, many fruits) you should definitely think about taking a multivitamin—especially one that contains folic acid, which helps your body make new cells and is often found in enriched breads, cereals, and other grain products, says Julie Upton, R.D., cofounder of nutrition website Appetite for Health.
Long-term use of the ketogenic diet in children increases the risk of slowed or stunted growth, bone fractures, and kidney stones.[18] The diet reduces levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, which is important for childhood growth. Like many anticonvulsant drugs, the ketogenic diet has an adverse effect on bone health. Many factors may be involved such as acidosis and suppressed growth hormone.[38] About one in 20 children on the ketogenic diet develop kidney stones (compared with one in several thousand for the general population). A class of anticonvulsants known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (topiramate, zonisamide) are known to increase the risk of kidney stones, but the combination of these anticonvulsants and the ketogenic diet does not appear to elevate the risk above that of the diet alone.[39] The stones are treatable and do not justify discontinuation of the diet.[39] Johns Hopkins Hospital now gives oral potassium citrate supplements to all ketogenic diet patients, resulting in one-seventh of the incidence of kidney stones.[40] However, this empiric usage has not been tested in a prospective controlled trial.[9] Kidney stone formation (nephrolithiasis) is associated with the diet for four reasons:[39]
This article is excellent and I’ve actually read it a few times just to make sure I’m absorbing as much as possible. With that said can we talk a bit about protein? Why does it seem like protein is taking a back seat? What about the athlete who needs to maintain and/or increase muscle mass. I don’t want to make any assumptions and with all the research I’ve done along with personal testing into Keto it just seems to me that protein and its benefits are not a discussion point in this diet. Why?
It’s easy to get caught up on the “low-carb” part of the diet and not give enough attention to the “high-fat” part. Fat is what makes you full, gives you energy (when in ketosis), and makes food taste delicious. For most people this figure should be north of 70 percent of daily calories. Keep carbs under 20g, hit your protein goal, and eat fat until you’re full.
Fuels and feeds your brain: Ketones provide an immediate hit of energy for your brain, and up to 70% of your brain’s energy needs when you limit carbs.[6] Fat also feeds your brain and keeps it strong. Your brain is at least 60% fat, so it needs loads of good fats to keep it running.[7] Essential fatty acids such as omega-3s help grow and develop the brain, while saturated fat keeps myelin — the layer of insulation around the brain — strong so your neurons can communicate with each other.
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]
What would your advice be to a high raw vegan who wants to try an HRV keto diet? The supps you recommended above look vegan, but aren’t the results based on those of omnis? Would they work the same way on vegans? Also I heard you mention in the recent Keto Summit that SE Asians need a little more carb and I happen to be one. I’m a petite 39-YO female and I’ve been raw for the past 11 years. I have been practicing intermittent fasting in the last 7 years and try to eat only twice a day. Up to how many grams of carbs can I consume to get into ketosis?
If you’re serious about maximizing the benefits of ketosis, then forego coconut oil, MCT liquid oil, olive oil, etc. and instead use Brain Octane as your oil of choice for recipes like bulletproof coffee, or in teas, salad dressings, or as a sushi or entrée flavor enhancer. For a slightly less expensive, but not quite as effective form of MCT, use XCT oil.
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.
I am curious if someone takes any or too much MCT oil (5-10 tablespoons/day) or Exogenous Ketones will the liver slow/stall or shut off endogenous ketone production as you are providing the ketones exogenously and thereby you may NEED to supplement ketones to maintain ketone levels or you may suffer a short term ketone deficit while the liver adjusts to making them on its own again. A parallel I am thinking of is exogenous testosterone supplementation and the hypothalamus/endocrine system slowing/stopping endogenous testosterone production (seen in bodybuilders).
If you remain under your optimal net carbs limit, then you should enter ketosis within 2 to 3 days. But it can take up to 7 days. The fastest way to get into ketosis is to exercise on an empty stomach, in order to accelerate the depletion of glycogen in your body. You can also do a Fat Fast for a few days (eating more fat) to speed up the rate at which you enter ketosis AND start to cut out refined carbs (like sugar) before you go for full ketosis. Another option is to do a water fast, (only drinking water) which also speeds up getting into ketosis.
^ Klein MS, Buttchereit N, Miemczyk SP, Immervoll AK, Louis C, Wiedemann S, Junge W, Thaller G, Oefner PJ, Gronwald W (February 2012). "NMR metabolomic analysis of dairy cows reveals milk glycerophosphocholine to phosphocholine ratio as prognostic biomarker for risk of ketosis". Journal of Proteome Research. 11 (2): 1373–81. doi:10.1021/pr201017n. PMID 22098372.

During the 1920s and 1930s, when the only anticonvulsant drugs were the sedative bromides (discovered 1857) and phenobarbital (1912), the ketogenic diet was widely used and studied. This changed in 1938 when H. Houston Merritt, Jr. and Tracy Putnam discovered phenytoin (Dilantin), and the focus of research shifted to discovering new drugs. With the introduction of sodium valproate in the 1970s, drugs were available to neurologists that were effective across a broad range of epileptic syndromes and seizure types. The use of the ketogenic diet, by this time restricted to difficult cases such as Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, declined further.[10]
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]
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.

The presence of abnormally high levels of KETONES in the blood. These are produced when fats are used as fuel in the absence of carbohydrate or available protein as in DIABETES or starvation. Ketosis is dangerous because high levels make the blood abnormally acid and there is loss of water, sodium and potassium and a major biochemical upset with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, and, if the condition is not rapidly treated, coma and death. Mild ketosis also occurs in cases of excessive morning sickness in pregnancy.
Normal body cells metabolize food nutrients and oxygen during cellular “respiration”,  a set of metabolic pathways in which ATP (adenosine triphosphate), our main cellular energy source is created. Most of this energy production happens in the mitochondria, tiny cell parts which act as powerhouses or fueling stations. There are two primary types of food-based fuel that our cells can use to produce energy:
Watermelon is a staple summer fruit and another low-carb way to help satisfy your sweet tooth on keto. Each ½ cup of diced watermelon has 5.4 g of net carbs. It’s also an acceptable choice when dieting because of its high water content. The ½ cup serving size of watermelon has about 23 calories and 4.7 g of sugar. This juicy fruit also offers 432 IU of vitamin A, which is 8.6 percent of the DV.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Kossoff EH, Zupec-Kania BA, Amark PE, Ballaban-Gil KR, Bergqvist AG, Blackford R, et al. Optimal clinical management of children receiving the ketogenic diet: recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group. Epilepsia. 2009 Feb;50(2):304–17. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01765.x. PMID 18823325
Net carbs are what we track when following a ketogenic diet. This calculation is pretty straightforward. Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Fiber. For example, one cup of broccoli has 6g of total carbs and 2.4g of fiber. That would mean one cup of broccoli has 3.6g of net carbs. We count Net Carbs  because dietary fiber does not have a significant metabolic effect. 
The diet is extremely regimented and very difficult to stick to, as just one baked potato and one slice of bread could hold an entire day’s worth of carbohydrates. While this is a deterrent for many, Christy Brissette, RD, a private-practice dietitian in Chicago, notes that many of her patients like the diet because of its strictness. “Some of my clients feel that the keto diet works for them because it doesn't involve any calorie counting and the rules are simple to understand,” she says. “They feel they have strict parameters that can take the guesswork out of dieting.”
If you would like to read more on ketogenic diets and ketosis, Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney discuss the new method of checking blood ketones in their book "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance", and they also offer another good book "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living", which is a good book for those who need an introduction to the science of ketogenic diets. 
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