First reported in 2003, the idea of using a form of the Atkins diet to treat epilepsy came about after parents and patients discovered that the induction phase of the Atkins diet controlled seizures. The ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital modified the Atkins diet by removing the aim of achieving weight loss, extending the induction phase indefinitely, and specifically encouraging fat consumption. Compared with the ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet (MAD) places no limit on calories or protein, and the lower overall ketogenic ratio (approximately 1:1) does not need to be consistently maintained by all meals of the day. The MAD does not begin with a fast or with a stay in hospital and requires less dietitian support than the ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are initially limited to 10 g per day in children or 20 g per day in adults, and are increased to 20–30 g per day after a month or so, depending on the effect on seizure control or tolerance of the restrictions. Like the ketogenic diet, the MAD requires vitamin and mineral supplements and children are carefully and periodically monitored at outpatient clinics.
Initially you may be surprised that on keto diets you eat less frequently. That’s because the fats are pretty satisfying. But as you normalize and adjust into a ketogenic state, that may change and your appetite may increase. That’s fine and completely normal. Use whatever diet you decide to follow as a starting point – it should be “written in pencil” so that you can make changes along the way. Consider adding an extra meal, marginally increasing the size of the meals or just adding a shake between meals. It’s up to you – just listen to your body. For example for me, I added a low-carb “green powder” shake supplement to my regimen along with either flax seed oil or some nuts in order to satisfy my hunger.
Saturated fat is not harmful in the context of a low carb diet. This study from Johns Hopkins Medical School confirms this. The ketogenic diet plan is healthier because the higher saturated fat intake increases your HDL cholesterol, and at the same time, a lower carb intake decreases your triglycerides levels. These two factors are the major markers for heart disease, and the closer your triglyceride/HDL ratio is to 1, the healthier your heart. In reality, the cause of heart disease is a chronically high carbohydrate consumption, not a high saturated fat and cholesterol intake. I think the best way to learn this is to get a full blood test before you start a ketogenic diet plan, then do the diet faithfully for 3 months. Then have your blood work checked again. You'll see the difference and discover how much better you feel.
A ketogenic diet plan improves your health through a metabolic switch in the primary cellular fuel source to which your body and brain are adapted. When your metabolism switches from relying on carbohydrate-based fuels (glucose from starch and sugar) to fat-based fuels and fat metabolism products called ketones, positive changes at a cellular level occur, and this translates into better overall health.
In terms of weight loss, you may be interested in trying the ketogenic diet because you’ve heard that it can make a big impact right away. And that’s true. “Ketogenic diets will cause you to lose weight within the first week,” says Mattinson. She explains that your body will first use up all of its glycogen stores (the storage form of carbohydrate). With depleted glycogen, you’ll drop water weight. While it can be motivating to see the number on the scale go down (often dramatically), do keep in mind that most of this is water loss initially.
Be flexible. We don’t know your personal goal, your budget, your cooking skills, what your favorite foods are or what foods you don’t like to eat so we cannot personalize the meal plan just for you. This plan is just to give you ideas of what to cook for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. So please feel free to adjust and personalize it to make it work for you.
For another science-based resource on ketogenic diets, I highly recommend visiting the site that Raphael Sirtoli and his team over at Break Nutrition have put together. They have good content about low carb and ketogenic diets, and they offer more information on how to kick-start a ketogenic diet, measure your ketones and there's a great post on the benefits of ketogenic diets for inflammation.
Insulin is needed to help cells absorb nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and amino acids (protein). In fact, almost every nutrient is influenced by insulin. Potassium is needed for energy, for balancing sodium in the body, and for all kinds of other important things. We need amino acids for our hair, nails, skin, joints and muscles. We need magnesium for a healthy heart. See where I am going?
After about two to seven days of following this eating routine, you go into something called ketosis, or the state your body enters when it doesn't have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. Then it starts making ketones, or organic compounds that your bod then uses in place of those missing carbs—and oh, it also burns fat for more energy, says Beth Warren, R.D., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living A Real Life With Real Food.
Its simple, eat this; lose weight. I feel like I’ve finally amassed enough recipes to create several simple keto meal plans. AKA you print out a couple of recipes, hit the store, and you can know you’ll be doing keto right. If you’re not familiar with keto, its a low carb, high fat, medium protein diet designed to put your body into ketosis. Once in ketosis, your body burns fat instead of sugar and you’ll see accelerated weight loss as a result. The ideal ratio of fat to protein to carbs is 65% / 30% / 5% and you also want to keep your maximum net carbs at less than 20g a day. Net carbs = carbs – fiber.
Meal prepping is the secret to eating on a tight budget. It allows you to buy the items that are on sale, in bulk, and prepare them for quick access throughout the week. The meal prep detailed here took us about 2 hours of “active time” and another 3 hours of “passive time”. The passive time was mostly waiting for the chicken to cook/cool. The items we prepped for this meal plan are:
Fillenworth suggests Brami beans as a great snack for keto dieters, especially since most legumes tend to be too high in carbohydrates. With only 60 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and a whopping 7 grams of protein per 25 beans, these Brami beans are an excellent way to boost protein intake (especially if you need a break from meat). (Related: Is a Vegetarian Keto Diet Healthy?)
A ketogenic diet focuses on minimal plant-based carbs, moderate amounts of clean protein, and high healthy fat consumption – the three keys to achieving nutritional ketosis. In ketosis, you’re essentially converting yourself from a “sugar burner” to a “fat burner.” With 40g or less net carbs per day, you’ll feel satisfied instead of hungry. The lower sugar helps reduce inflammation and fight chronic disease while keeping your insulin levels in tact, too. Great for people suffering from chronic conditions or anyone who wants to feel their best.
So why is social media blowing up with all things #keto, all the time? Well, most of us eat too many carbs to begin with. About half of our calories should come from carbs, according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That's about 250 grams per day for a 2,000 calorie diet. When you consider all of the grain-based foods and sneaky sources of added sugar, it's easy eat a lot more than the recommended amount.
We don’t use prepackaged foods in the meal plans, so you do have to cook, but I’m all about convenience and saving time! And, the plans are designed for that. You’ll re-purpose leftovers and meal prep for lunch, so you don’t have to make your lunch from scratch on a daily basis. Dinner will be a fast, easy recipe each night, with one night for either going out or leftovers. For breakfast you’ll have the option of making a meal prep recipe, drinking coffee or fasting, because we’re split on that in the low carb and keto community.
In many developing countries, the ketogenic diet is expensive because dairy fats and meat are more expensive than grain, fruit and vegetables. The modified Atkins diet has been proposed as a lower-cost alternative for those countries; the slightly more expensive food bill can be offset by a reduction in pharmaceutical costs if the diet is successful. The modified Atkins diet is less complex to explain and prepare and requires less support from a dietitian.
For patients who benefit, half achieve a seizure reduction within five days (if the diet starts with an initial fast of one to two days), three-quarters achieve a reduction within two weeks, and 90% achieve a reduction within 23 days. If the diet does not begin with a fast, the time for half of the patients to achieve an improvement is longer (two weeks) but the long-term seizure reduction rates are unaffected. Parents are encouraged to persist with the diet for at least three months before any final consideration is made regarding efficacy.
We seem to have breakfast, lunch and dinners figured out. But what about snacks? What about those moments where you’re sitting at your desk, or watching a movie, and your normal snacking is out the window with these low-carb dieting? Thankfully, Keto snacks are some of the best Keto-specific recipes out there. You’ll not only squash your cravings, but you’ll also be refueling with healthy fat snacks that will keep you going until dinner.
A ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a very low carbohydrate eating plan that forces the body to use fat rather than glucose as a primary energy source. When you follow the plan, you build meals around fatty foods and significantly restrict your intake of carbohydrates and protein. As a result of that macronutrient balance, acids called ketones are produced in the body. When ketone levels are high enough, the dieter is in a state of ketosis.
You should check with your physician if you have any concerns about starting a ketogenic diet plan with pre-existing health conditions, especially if those conditions involve kidney or heart problems. People with kidney disease should definitely consult with their physician about starting a ketogenic diet. Other contraindicated conditions and health issues are listed here. Make sure you check this list and rule these out before starting the diet.
Achieving ketosis is a pretty straightforward, but it can seem complicated and confusing with all of the information out there.4If you want to learn more about ketosis and the scientific process around it, you can visit a very in-depth discussion about on Dr. Peter Attia’s website. Here’s the bottom line on what you need to do, ordered in levels of importance: