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Low carb ketogenic diet.


Up To Date 2017: "In brief, the findings from the trials show that very low-carbohydrate diets are safe with regard to serum lipids and are more effective for short-term weight loss than low-fat diets. However, the impact of macronutrient composition on long-term weight loss remains a contentious area."


I am not an advocate of a life-time low carb diet, but I believe it might be one of the very efficient temporary tools used for weight management. It is very useful to contain the appetite and to facilitate relatively easy loss of few extra pounds. I think it is one of the best diets to start with, but then I suggest to rotate it with with healthy carbohydrates as described in rotating diet days. I am an enemy of bad carbohydrates, but I am not against good carbohydrates in general. In opposite, I think that good carbohydrates, as a part of fruits and vegetables, are extremely good for us and should be a main staple of a healthy balanced diet. But, having said that, if you are         on low carb diet, all carbs, both bad and good need to be avoided.


I think everyone interested in weight management should at least learn the basics of low carb diet. Not everyone can tolerate it, in fact many people would not stick with it no matter what. I think that the main benefit of low carb diet is that it resets appetite and helps to get get rid of food cravings. I recommend to go back to at least few days of this diet when you feel that your hunger is out of control. In the same time, I do not believe that a life time low carb diet is a way to go. It should be used as one of temporary tools to accomplish the short term goals.


Low carbohydrate diet have been very popular over the last few decades. Dr. Berstein, Dr. Atkins, Dr. Dukan, Dr. Agatston (South Beach diet), Dr. Gundry are some of the authors of different publications based on low carb diet principles. It almost predictably results in significant original weight loss. It is well known to be very easy to start with but often difficult to be compliant with over extended periods of time.


What is so attractive about low carb diet? Most people like a  promise for almost unlimited food as long as you restrict the amount of carbs only. During this diet you have to drastically restrict both bad and good carbohydrates. When you try this diet, you will realise that at times it might seems like you can have unlimited proteins, but eventually the reasonable portion control is still needed.


If you follow low carb diet for more than three days to a week, it will reset appetite and switch metabolism into ketotic state. It may be contraindicated for people with some medical conditions. 


It consists of a lot of protein, liberal healthy fats preferably of non-animal origin, low carbs (less than 20g/day, see carb counting section next). Some authors believe that proteins might be unlimited as long as carb portions are controlled. I think that unlimited proteins are Ok for the first few days only, when the food cravings are the worst, but then they should be reduced to controlled portions - less than four palm size portions of lean proteins or even less for fatty proteins. While on this diet nothing should be eaten with sweet taste, no matter how healthy you think it is. Remember - a lot of healthy food is not good for weight loss. No legumes. No potato or bread. No grains. No rice.



Lean meat, avoid animal fat, eggs, fish, seafood, cheese and yogurt (count carbs), aged cheeses less 1 cubic inch(count carbs), leafy salads, most non starchy veggies (count carbs), olive/vegetable oil, low carb/no carb salad dressings.



Plenty of water, target 2 glasses with each meal, around 6 glasses or more a day total. Do not drink soda, juices, milk, avoid alcohol. Tea and coffee are not restricted as long as they are sugar and milk free.


Do not eat

Anything with a sweet taste, carbs, starches, honey, juices, fruits, dessert, bread or anything bread like, pasta, pizza, chips, nachos, tortilla chips, pierogies, pancakes, sauces with sugar (most of them do, look at labels), breading from breaded meat or fish, tempura, rice, all grains, fruits, jams, and marmalade. No potatoes or starchy veggies. Limit vegetables with significant carbohydrate content, which would include all seed bearing parts of vegetables and cooked root vegetables, if not sure, look at online resources about carbohydrate content and use it in total carb calculations. Anything that looks or tastes similar to potatoes - skip it. No sauces. No Milk.  You need to have less than 20g of carbs a day. No fruits are allowed while on low carb diet. You can stick to proteins only.



The most important thing to understand is that as soon as you consume any significant amount of carbs, whether good or bad (carbs are carbs while on low carb diet), everything is ruined. Consuming otherwise healthy carbs is THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE some people make. Even a single apple might ruin the whole low carb diet day. During this stage, your body metabolism changes to using ketones (products of protein and fat degradation) as a main source of energy. As soon as you cross the threshold for carbs, your metabolism switches to “usual” carb driven metabolism. Your unlimited protein, instead of being wasted, starts to be utilised efficiently, the weight loss stops and appetite return back to the “crazy hungry” stage. Carbs, even good ones, are your enemy in this stage. Use spices liberally as most of them have no carbs and help to produce satiety. Soy sauce is OK, but watch for salt. Watch for carbs in meat and seafood sauces, many potentially healthy otherwise restaurant or fast food proteins might have tons of carbohydrates from marinating, processing and especially from added sauces with often astrounomical amount of carbs, like teriyaki, barbecue and rib sauces. Most places would be glad to offer a lettuce burger wrap and skip the sauces on your request. Mayonnaise is usually low in carbs and is potentially acceptable while on low carb diet. Remember that you calculate mostly, carbs not calories while on this diet. I personally do not disregard calories while on this diet and I feel that term unlimited should not be taken literally. To obtain the best result combine low carb diet and calorie counting. Most people find much easier to control the calories while on low carb diet as appetite is usually suppressed. Any alcohol while of low carb diet should be counted as carbs and consumption of more than one drink should prompt to combine this diet with calorie restriction.

This diet may last as long as you can tolerate it. You may consider adding small amount of healthy grains and legumes if you decide to stay with it for extended time, might slowly increase carbs to 50 g/day.

Consider multivitamins.


Negative side of low carb diet


1. WHO officially listed read meats in category 2A as "probably cancerogenic to humans" (means there is limited evidence) and processed meats in category 1 as "cancerogenic" (means there is sufficient evidence). Both tobacco smoking and asbestos are listed in category 1 as well. WHO link. Long term effects of low carb diet are unclear at this stage.

2. Vitamin deficient, unbalanced, somewhat limited food choices.

3. Difficult to adhere over extended period of time.

4. Some people get a false impression that carbs in general are bad after following this diet. Restricting carbs is only beneficial when you want to accomplish a low carb ketotic state. Good carbs are generally good for us and do not need to be avoided in ideal healthy diet and other days during Rotating Diet Days.

4. Body secretions, including sweat, breath and urine may become kind of stinky because of ketotic state

5. Bad for brain as it loves glucose as a source of energy, do not start this diet when you need high mental acuity

6. Causes constipation

7. Somewhat elevates bad cholesterol LDL, but also elevates good cholesterol HDL as well, most of the time net effect is beneficial. Eating more seafood kind of proteins might increase chances of beneficial results.

8. A good portion of original weight loss is from water losses, but eventually it will be from fat. As you get off this diet, the first few ponds might come back rather quickly as you will be replenishing glycogen stores and 1 g of glycogen holds around 4 g of water (see protein metabolism section).

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