Low-carb diets may improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglyceride values slightly more than do moderate-carb diets. That may be due not only to how many carbs you eat but also to the quality of your other food choices. Lean protein (fish, poultry, legumes), healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and unprocessed carbs — such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products — are generally healthier choices.


The ketogenic diet, lovingly referred to as "keto" by most who follow it, is a high-fat, very low-carbohydrate dietary plan whose goal is to change your metabolism. The main objective is to kick-start ketosis, which is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy (instead of carbohydrates). While many people turn to the ketogenic diet to lose extra pounds, the benefits of ketosis reach beyond weight loss.
"Your body will often shift metabolism when you do something different to it -- but it equalizes -- you see a rapid shift and a return to normal -- and the longer-term studies show normal results in this area," says Sondike. Still, he tells WebMD it's a "smart idea" to take a calcium supplement beginning at the start of your low-carb diet to safeguard against a possible deficiency. Tofu can also be a good source of calcium.
In addition to keeping you adequately hydrated -- which can also help alleviate constipation -- drinking lots of water can also help offset still another low-carb diet problem: bad breath. The ketones produced during the diet can lead to what is sometimes described as a fruity odor although it is often described as having an almost "chemical" odor similar to acetone or nail polish remover.

Although it’s true that your brain has high energy demands and requires some glucose, when you’re in ketosis, there are plenty of ketones to supply a good portion of its fuel. Fortunately, your liver will always make the small amount of glucose your brain needs, even under conditions of complete starvation. This process, known as gluconeogenesis (literally “making new glucose”), can also provide glucose for other structures that need it, such as the red blood cells and a portion of the kidneys.
By contrast, others may be able to eat quite a bit of protein without experiencing any changes in ketosis. For example, when Diet Doctor’s Bjarte Bakke conducted several n=1 experiments to see how much protein he could eat and still remain in ketosis, he found that keeping net carb intake below 20 grams per day was what ultimately mattered regardless of his protein intake.
Test blood ketones in the late morning or afternoon. Blood and urine ketones vary throughout the day, as well as from person to person. Many people find that their blood ketone levels are usually lowest right after waking up. Try testing later on, preferably a few hours after eating. Even if you’re only in ketosis for a portion of the day, you’re still getting some benefits, as discussed in this talk by Dr. Steve Phinney: Achieving and maintaining nutritional ketosis.
Ketoacidosis occurs mainly in people with type 1 diabetes if they do not take insulin. In diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), blood sugar and ketones rise to dangerous levels, which disrupts the blood’s delicate acid-base balance. People in ketoacidosis feel extremely ill and experience profound dehydration, vomiting, abdominal pain, and weakness. DKA requires hospitalization so that IV fluids and insulin can be given to gradually and safely lower blood sugar.
Doctors can measure levels of inflammation in the body using blood tests for high-sensitivity C-reactive proteins (hsCRP) and white blood cell (WBC) counts. In Dr. Phinney's study, "patients experienced a hsCRP reduction of 39 percent, and white blood cells were reduced by 9 percent," Dr. Phinney says. "Similar results were demonstrated in a two-year study, which showed a 29 percent decrease in hsCRP following a low-carbohydrate diet." Inflammation, Dr. Phinney notes, is directly associated with many different health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune conditions. "It is very possible that reducing inflammation through nutritional ketosis could improve a whole host of conditions," he says. These 10 keto diet recipes are reason enough to give it a try.
The ketogenic diet, lovingly referred to as "keto" by most who follow it, is a high-fat, very low-carbohydrate dietary plan whose goal is to change your metabolism. The main objective is to kick-start ketosis, which is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy (instead of carbohydrates). While many people turn to the ketogenic diet to lose extra pounds, the benefits of ketosis reach beyond weight loss.
The keto diet cuts your daily carbohydrates to less than 20 grams; for people with diagnosed diabetes, this may help them manage the condition. A one-year study found that putting people with type 2 diabetes into ketosis dramatically improved their blood sugar control. Also, reports study author Steve Phinney, MD, PhD, chief medical officer of Virta Health, a type 2 diabetes reversal treatment, "Patients were able to lose on average 12 percent of their body weight, about 31 pounds." Doctors want you to know these 13 things about the keto diet.
×