Ketogenic diets

Please check out our science blog on the topic: . I don’t really agree with Dr. Seyfried that it is a tricky, dangerous, medical procedure. There’s this tradition in the medical community of treating it like a complicated, expert-level medical procedure, and of worrying about all these hypothesized possible negative side-effects. But, none of those possible negative side-effects turn out to be real when investigated. I think the whole “medicalized keto diet” thing is the wrong paradigm. Instead, I think it is just a simple, easy, and eminently healthy way of eating. Just don’t eat any carbs. You’ll be fine. We have written a lot more on the topic:

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The stomach will reject anything without the right amounts of the right carbs. “Just don’t eat any carbs” means either “just don’t eat,” or “just do vomit up anything you eat.” Suicidal.

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a walk?
To the bakers, right?

This was a real advert from about a decade ago, hung in many a Scottish bakers window and did, in fact, induce me to say ‘aye’ tae many a pie.


MarjaE: That’s not true. In fact, I’m not even sure if you are serious. Plenty of people just don’t eat any carbs, and they do not vomit, nor die.


Poe’s law at play? Maybe this person tried the diet and got really sick from some bad meat or something?

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You probably want the Twinkie diet, then.

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Linked from The Guardian comments, a rather good article, though mostly dealing with cancers and the Ketogenic Diet.

If I try to eat something without carbs, or with the wrong carbs, I vomit. So at least for me “just don’t eat any carbs” does mean either “just don’t eat,” or “just do vomit up anything you eat.”

I mean you’re telling me that not just some people’s bodies, but all people’s bodies including mine work completely differently from how mine works. Seems suspicious.


It’s a sensation now, but the diet is not new. See Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat, which shows that doctors in the middle of the 19th had already discovered two things: 1) carbohydrates make people fat, especially if they’re genetically predisposed to directing consumed foods to adipose storage, and 2) all meat diets (yes, all meat) cause people to lose weight rapidly with few side effects (and those that do occur can generally be managed by increasing salt intake via a few cups of broth daily until metabolism is sorted).

See also Nina Teicholz’ Big Fat Surprise.

Some of these books sound conspiratorial, but all I can do is suggest one reads them. They’re sourced and persuasively written, and I really have come to think that our current dietary habits (see the USDA food pyramids still recommending carbs as the largest single part of a “healthy” diet) will be regarded by people of the near future in the same way we now think of bloodletting.

The annoying thing is that some serious medical folk seem to think carbs (especially refined sugars) are not merely hard to avoid in a modern society but actually addictive. If these two things are indeed true—carbs are acutely fattening and addictive—then we’ve engineered a peculiarly-cruel state of affairs in the modern world, from agricultural norms and subsidies on up to dietary traditions.


I’ve been on a keto diet for a while now, and while it hasn’t taken off much weight, it has done wonders for my blood sugar and cholesterol levels (I’m diabetic), much more so than the medications I’m on, to the point that my doctor has started taking me off them. As with any other diet or exercise regimen, it’s crucial to pay attention to what you’re doing with your body (what you make it do or put into it), what happens as a result, and how it makes you feel, and quantify that to the greatest possible extent. And change it if it doesn’t work or stops working!


And you’re telling people that the way your body works is the same way everyone’s body works, comparing a low carb diet (that, if you read the studies, has many health benefits) to bulimia, which is just not supported by science. While your body is yours and I wager you probably know it best, I don’t think your experience is common. And I certainly don’t think it warrants your alarmist tone.


The only times in my life I’ve ever been able to lose a substantial amount of weight have been when following programs like this. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to sustain forever - I’ve never been able to last longer than about 6 months at a time - and once the carbs come back, so does the weight.

Wonderful while it lasts. You really miss fruit, though.

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I’m looking forward to reading your blog. My (US) doctor is trying to turn overseeing ketogenic dieting into a profit center. I suspect that has something to do with the “tradition in the medical community of treating it like a complicated, expert-level medical procedure.”

Not the same as Atkins. Not even the same as the induction phase, though it’s close. Someone on a ketogenic diet would eat a balance of something like 25g of net carbs, 85g of protein, and 200g of fat per day. Atkins, even in induction, isn’t quite that far into the fat-eating side of the scale.

The diet has been around since at least the 1920s.

Some doctors now suggest trying Atkins in place of it for epileptics, since the Atkins diet is much easier to keep up, especially for parents of young epileptic children, and in some cases, has a comparable effect in preventing seizures.

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Zero science to back that up. Is there even any anecdotal evidence besides yours?

I have a book called “Leben ohne Brot” (“Living without Bread”) by Austrian doctor and nutritional scientiest Wolfgang Lutz. It advocates what is pretty much a Ketogenic diet and was written in 1967.

I have done the diet a couple of times, last time was this summer, and always felt fantastic. I am always at an “ideal” weight anyway, but when I don´t eat any carbs whatsoever, my body feels much tighter, less bloated. Muscle definition starts to show more, I´m less tired after eating and get less hungry in between.
I am aware that such a fat and meat-rich diet would be impossible to maintain for a majority of the world´s population, but purely nutrition-wise, I can´t see a downside to it.

Why do I always return to carbs after a few months? Because of cake, pizza, pasta …mmmmh, carbs.

Nothing new. I have been doing this for almost 50 years. I’ve had a special name for it: “food”.

A friend was on a Ketogenic diet for bodybuilding. His sweat was rancid and weirdly oily, and he ended up having liver failure. This is an anecdote to ask, was this a “real” Ketogenic diet? I think he may have been eating only meat, and not necessarily organic or vegetarian-fed either. Not sure if this is the same thing, but it scared the shit out of me.

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Well, for me, “the stomach rejects anything without enough carbs, or without the right carbs,” seems as obvious as “pain hurts,” and “cuts bleed.”

This covers nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, but notes that carb consumption correlates with less nausea and vomiting:

Citation needed.