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Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss and Health

Updated on July 14, 2023

The Ketogenic Diet

Strictly speaking, the ketogenic diet is a diet that creates ketones. Ketones are made in the liver when energy is needed and carbohydrates and sugar are not available. The idea is to teach your body to use fat as a primary source of fuel instead of carbohydrates.

I like doing keto when trying to lose weight. I have gone a full day without eating anything and be fine, and frequently go 16-20 hours. When I am taking in carbs, I always feel I am half-full, never fully satisfied.


Some theorize that most of mankind evolved eating mostly ketogenically. Until fairly recently, Inuit and Native Americans ate mostly ketogenic. This was not for health reasons so much that it was the food that was available to them. Also of note, ailments like diabetes and heart disease were unknown to Inuit(eskimo) and Native American until the influence of the white man.

The ketogenic diet was further developed as a treatment for epilepsy. In the study, the majority of compliant participants were able to decrease or eliminate medication for seizures. A significant portion of them were able to return to a normal diet without recurrence, or decreased occurrence/severity. A side effect of the diet is that participants began to lose weight. In fact, researchers were worried that participants were losing too much weight, and the diet is approached with much caution in most circumstances, since the participants in the study were children.

Lifesaving Bacon

What to expect

Bad breath and stinky urine. This is especially prevalent if you are new to keto. The body isn't too good at utilizing ketones for energy initially, so there is an adjustment period where excess ketones are excreted through the urine and are detectable on the breath.

Expect a sudden and quick drop in weight. This will mostly be water weight, and depends on how much extra water weight you are currently carrying. This can be a couple pounds, but as much as 10 pounds. This is not true fat loss, but it sure is encouraging! This sudden weight loss is what people gain back after they return to a normal, carbohydrate based diet.

The keto "fog" will probably hit as well. This is usually a few days to a few weeks long in which the body is still adapting to ketones. Expect to feel slower mentally, and less energetic. This is temporary and will clear once you have adapted.

Once adapted, energy goes back to normal, or even improves. I tend to be more calm and even keeled, less prone to irritation and anger - something my wife enjoys.

Of course, it may just be that I am eating steak, eggs, bacon, and hot dogs all the time. That will put anyone in a good mood!

Calculating Macros

Calculate your maintenance from one of the many calculators available on line.

I've used this one before:

It is important to understand that fat has 9 calories per gram, protein and carbohydrates 4 calories per gram.

When you are calculating how many grams of fat you are to eat per day in this diet, take your total calorie goal and multiply by .65, then divide by 9

When you are calculating how many grams of carbohydrates you are to eat per day in this diet, take your total calorie goal and multiply by .05, then divide by 4

When you are calculating how many grams of protein you are to eat per day in this diet, take your total calorie goal and multiply by .30, then divide by 4

Standard Ketogenic Diet

The standard ketogenic diet generally is 65% fat calories, 30% protein calories, and 5% carbohydrates.

Hopefully these carbohydrates will consist of vegetables and fiber mostly, as well as incidental carbohydrates from dairy.

Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

The cyclic ketogenic diet consists of the same 65% fat, 30% protein, 5% carbohydrates as the Standard Ketogenic Diet.

The difference is, with the cyclic ketogenic diet, you are having a "carb up" every week, two weeks, or whatever period of time you choose. Usually this carb up will last between 24 to 48 hours. Prior to the carb-up, a depletion workout is performed. This can be any sort of high intensity workout, meant to deplete glycogen stores in your muscles somewhat, but not completely. Weightlifting or high intensity interval training (HIIT) are preferred.

During this 24-48 carb up, you have the same 30% protein you would have eaten, but focus on lean meats like chicken breast, turkey, sirloin steak. You swap your fat and carbohydrate macros, eating 65% carbohydrates and 5% fat(if possible)

Generally, you will gain some water weight during this carb up, but it will quickly be released once you transition back.

The CKD carries the advantage of better hormone regulation, specifically leptin. It also allows for better athletic performance since glycogen stores in your muscles will not be continually depleted.

If you are not exercising, it is unnecessary metabolically. However, an occasional carb-up may help the SKD practitioner psychologically

Targeted Ketogenic Diet(TKD)

The Targeted Ketogenic diet requires a bit more micromanagement than the other two. It is aimed mainly at those concerned with Athletic performance. With TKD, you have approximately 25-50 grams of carbohydrates before and after workouts. The Standard Ketogenic Diet is followed otherwise, although you can have a carb-up periodically. A carb-up is generally done less frequently than someone who is doing a strict CKD.


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