Ketodontst Podcast Episode 02: Guest Interview with Luis Villasenor of KetoGains

Hey gang!  Welcome back to another episode of the Ketodontist Podcast.  Here in episode 2 we interviewed Luis Villasenor of Ketogains.

You can listen to the episode here:



Google Play:

You can watch the video of this episode here:

Episode 02 w/ Luis Villasenor

Luis has always been passionate about fitness due to a personal interest in improving his own physique. Always curious in learning the “whys and how’s” of how it all works, he has been studying and researching nutrition and strength training since he was 17.

Upon discovering ketogenic diets in 2001, Luis has been on a low carb regime ever since, which he has used to favorably recomposition his body and improve his health,

Due to this, Luis decided to develop KETOGAINS as  to share his experiences and knowledge and help people attain their health and fitness goals.

Luis is regarded as one of the most experienced and knowledgeable persons on Low-Carb / Ketogenic dieting, and is the “go to guy” when applying a Low-Carb diet for Bodybuilding and Strength Training by well-known and respected insiders, leaders, influencers of the low carb/paleo and general fitness community


  • Elite Trainer – International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • Specialist in Fitness Nutrition (SFN) – International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) – International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • Fitness / Exercise Therapist (SET) – International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • Currently studying for Corrective Exercise Specialist (SCE) – International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • Bayesian Bodybuilding Personal Training Certification
  • Currently studying for the Primal Health Coach Certification
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer (CF-L1 Trainer) – CrossFit
  • Evolution Nutraceutical Company – Sponsored Athlete
  • Bachelor in Business Administration & Marketing – Universidad Iberoamericana (MX)


In Part 1 of 2 we cover:


  • How Luis got started in health and nutrition
  • Why he gravitated toward ketogenic diets and why he has stayed in ketosis for over 15 years
  • Why resistance training is the most optimal form of exercise to transform your body
  • Why you can lose weight eating tons of calories on keto…. To a point
  • Why if you carb load you might not be able to get your skinny jeans on the next day
  • How to calculate the amount of protein you need to be consuming
  • Why if you already have many pounds of excess fat, you may want to skip the buttered coffeee
  • And more!

Hulk Gainz Smoothie:

157 Calories • 6g Carbs (4g Fiber) • 3g Fat • 27g Protein
Ketogains Hulk Smash Smoothie Ingredients for 1 smoothie:
1 smoothie • 157 Cal
200 ml Pure Almond milk
30 grams Isopure Creamy Vanilla
2-3 Ice cubes
60 grams Spinach
25 grams Cucumber
2.7 grams Ginger
1 gram Tumeric
1 serving Natural Stevia Sweetener
This blended beverage will help you balance your meals with a combination of nutrient-rich spinach combined with a boost of protein and the spicy kick of fresh ginger. HULK GAINZ!!!
Directions are for 1 smoothie
1. Blend protein with milk, water and ice.
2. With blender on low, add cucumber, spinach tumeric, and ginger.
3. Increase speed to high and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.
4. Become HULK as the green smoothie surges trough your veins and gives you GAINZ.

Ketogains Main Website:

Ketogains Facebook Group:


Ketodontist’s Book Review: Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf





This book is the next step in the evolution of the paleo template (pun intended). This should be considered Paleo 2.0. Robb has done a great job of taking the base of his experience and success from his previous book The Paleo Solution and has cranked it up to 11. In that book he does a great job explaining the rationale of a diet based on a template of ancestral health, and gives a very good outline and structure on how to do so. And that’s great… for a start.


But, why do so many fail, even with a good template?  Why is it some people who were eating sweet potatoes on their paleo plan have great results, and others just could not see the scale budge (not saying that the scale is all that great of a measure for health, but still)?  Why is it that some could cut out the refined sugars as easy as putting on their socks, and others were at risk of being found in the basement broom closet stuffing a bag of Snickers bars in their face at 3 in the morning?  Have you yourself ever found yourself innocently snacking on a handful of potato chips and the next thing you realize you’re holding the bag above your head trying to catch and crumbs or dust that might be settled at the bottom?   This book is an answer to these questions.

You see, as Robb describes wonderfully in this book, it turns out that we humans have a lot or responses and triggers built into our internal circuitry. And this science isn’t necessarily cutting edge. This stuff has been around for a while, but the folks that have been most keen on the research aren’t necessarily health professionals or public health servants, but the corporations and marketers selling cheap, refined food stuffs, alcohol, and even our apps and social media.  


What I really respect about Robb is his keen ability to take seemingly completely different areas of science and show how it’s all related.  An example of this is Chapter 3: Mosquitos, Appetite, and Hyperpalatable Food.  In this wonderful chapter he shows how genetic mutation and wiring (in this example the advantage of Sickle Cell Anemia and it’s advantage in areas plagued by malaria), to hacking our appetite through variety of flavors and textures (aka hyperpalatability) and how that plays with the hedonistic (pleasure) centers of our brain.  He even draws a super interesting parallel between this overstimulation to porn, another form of “supernormal” stimuli.


He then goes on in the first part of the book to cover a bit of digestion, the gut microbiome, and these can play with glucose metabolism as well.  The need for quality sleep, lots of movement, and a sense of community are also covered in JUST enough detail for it to be useful, but not to waterlog you with an unnecessary amount of density.   The book being broken up into 2 parts, the first part is all about the WHYs of tying all of this together.  The second part is all about the HOW.


Part 2 really kicks off the more typical diet book how-to application of what you learned in part 2.  This includes the good ol’ standby: the 30 day meal plan.  In this book the 30 day plan has two options, the first being more of a standard paleo diet and the second being an autoimmune option.  I thought this was smart as some folks with autoimmune disorders can’t handle some foods allowed in a typical paleo diet such as eggs and nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc).  


What separates Wired to Eat from the other diet books is what comes AFTER the 30 day meal plan.  Now that the 30 days have gone by and the palate has had a chance to reboot to a more natural state of being, this is the point where we can really geek out: The 7 Day Carb Test.  Here Robb takes you through a protocol where you eat a different prescribed form of carbohydrate, you track using pretty inexpensive methods, and you get a sense of how your body handles different forms of carbohydrates.  Some folks might find that eating a sweet potato gives them a nice stable blood sugar and energy, but they may absoultely spike and crash when they eat oatmeal.  Others might be just fine with the oatmeal,  but find that black beans really jack with their blood sugars.  Or, you could be like me, and find that almost all of them wreck you.This form of individualized nutrition is, in my opinion, the way we need to be going from here on out.


Robb rounds out part two with my favorite chapter, Chapter 14: Hammers, Drills, and Ketosis.  He does a great little highlight of what nutritional ketosis is, how it can be used therapeutically in different situations such as diabetes (type 1 and 2), cancer, Alzheimer’s/dementia, and (of course) weightloss.  Remember when I talked about that person who basically was wrecked in all forms of carbs during the 7 day carb test?  You might really want to read and re-read this chapter.  


So there you have it.  As I said, I think this book acts greatly as both a sequel to his first book and as a new, stand-alone work. This is really the next step we need to take in order to customize our nutrition to fit our specific, individual needs.  All that being said, I don’t think this book is going to change any minds if you already have an issue with this ancestral health template.  If you already think paleo is bulls*&t, think it’s only about calories in vs calories out, and that the Twinkies Diet proves that nutrient quality doesn’t matter, I’ve got a ball you can have and a highway you can play catch in.  For those really looking to take the reigns on their metabolism and are ready to play the long game, this book is for you.  

Ketodontist Podcast- Episode 01- Guest: Marty Kendall of Optimising Nutrition

Click here to listen to this episode!

*Youtube is being grouchy, I’ll link to the video once it finally goes through*

Hey gang!  We have a GREAT interview for you today.  We go into keto, low-carb, paleo, fasting, diabetes, you name it!


Marty is an engineer whose interest in nutrition was spawned out of necessity trying to better manage his wife’s Type 1 diabetes as well as his own family history of type 2 diabetes and obesity.  


In early 2015 he started blogging at  He tries to provide clarity around many of the confusing and conflicting issues in nutrition, often using a quantitative approach.  


While his blog posts can sometimes go deep on a topic, he has also worked to develop a shortlist of optimal foods to suit different goals by balancing the sometimes-competing parameters of nutrient density, insulin load and energy density.   


His most recent project is the Nutrient Optimiser which consolidates his thinking into an automated system that reviews a person’s current diet to provide a shortlist of recommended foods to provide the nutrients they are not getting enough of while supporting their goals, whether they be diabetes control, weight loss, bodybuilding or athletic performance.  



Resources mentioned in show:

Marty’s Blog:

Marty’s Nutrient Analyzer:

Marty’s Facebook Group: Marty Kendall’s Nutrient Optimiser

Brad Pilon’s book Eat Stop Eat:

Ori Hofmekler’s book The Warrior Diet:

Robb Wolf’s book Wired to Eat:


Get the Transcription for this Episode Here:


Ketodontist Podcast- Episode 00- Intro and What is Ketodontist?

Welcome to the Ketodontist podcast with your host Dr. Matt.  We’re here to explore the worlds of low carb and ketogenic diets, primal and paleo lifestyles, and oral and whole-body health.  We’re taking the best information from the leading minds in health and wellness and making those worlds collide!  This is the Ketodontist podcast.

Click here to listen to this episode

You can Click Here to watch the Video Version of this Podcast:

This first episode is all about introducing myself, sharing my vision and goals with this podcast, and really opening up about my journey up to this point.

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Marty Kendall’s Optimising Nutrition Website and Blog:


Marty’s epic blog post on Protein Sparing Modified Fast:


Louis Villasenor and his site:

Ketogains Facebook Group:


Start with Why by Simon Sinek:


Dr. Standridge’s Dental Office:

Instagram: @ketodontist

Twitter: @ketodontist

Ketodontist Facebook Page:

Get the Transcription for this Episode Here :  Ketodontist_Podcast_Episode_00_Audio_Introductions_and_What_Is_Ketodontist

Day 7 of 90 Day N=1

Hello again!  Dr. Matt here checking in for the end of week 1.  It’s been a pretty great week far.  Other than on Wednesday, I really didn’t have any problems with cravings, and at no point did I have experience any real hunger.

As far as exercise this week, I didn’t really do too much.  Monday I did a my body weight circuit which consists of the Primal movements outlined in the Primal Blueprint (which I highly recommend picking up the newest version, which you can get here).  That workout looks like this:

Standard Push-ups: 3 sets of 10

Air Squats: 3 sets of 20

Pull-ups: 3 sets of 10

Plank: 4 sets of 30 second holds

Now, my starting at 330 lbs, I had to modify.  I did as many regular push-ups as I could do until I started to fail, and would finish on my knees.  I had no problems with squats, just need to work on my depth.  Pull-ups are being done with resistance bands right now.  Once I get down to 260, I’ll start doing assisted pull-ups.  And plank is being done on my hands, and not my forearms.

That was Monday’s workout.  The rest of the week I tried to get as much walking in as I could over my lunch break, but I didn’t really get another workout in until yesterday (Saturday).  I woke up and did a 30 minute DDPYoga Workout.  That was it for real exercise, but I will tell you that the rest of my Saturday was spent taking stuff out of storage and moving all day.  We cleaned out the back of my dental office getting ready for the remodel that starts tomorrow, and we had to move stuff that looked like it’d been in that building for the last 60 years.  It was kind of cool the old-old school dental equipment (I’m surprised it wasn’t belt driven with a foot pedal), but that stuff was HEAVY to move.  After my team and I finished with that, then I went to help my folks move stuff out of their storage unit.  Which ended up taking 4 truck loads.  So yesterday was a VERY active day.

Alright, so with all that let’s take a look at where I’m at.


Boom! Down over 12 lbs in less than a week.  Now let me be clear, a lot of this is water weight.  I want to make sure both you and I are fully aware of this.  The reason why a lot of folks lose a ton of water weight when beginning primal, LCHF, or keto diets is because of two things:  insulin and glycogen.   As noted by the American Journal of Physiology [1], when insulin levels are lowered the kidneys start getting rid of excess sodium from the body.  Lower insulin can also help improve blood pressure as also noted in that study.

Next up is glycogen.  It’s been said that a healthy adult can store around 400 grams of glycogen in the liver, and about 100 grams in the muscle.  This is the conventional wisdom, but I’m having trouble locate the actual scientific sources of this, so take it with a grain of salt.  But let’s say the conventional wisdom is correct.  (Edit:  Busted out my Textbook of Medical Physiology by Guyton & Hall 11th edition, and they state that liver cells can store up to 5-8% of their weight in the form of glycogen and muscle cells can store 1-3%.  Page 832 of this edition if you want to check it out).

So that’s roughly 500 grams of glycogen storage.  And each gram of glycogen caries 3 grams of water [2].  So that means if you deplete you glycogen stores, you can be losing 1.5 kg or 3.3 lbs in water weight.

So of the 13 lbs I lost this week, was it ALL water weight?  Doubtful, but I’m sure it played a part.  What will be interesting is from this point forward.  Do I have that much more excess water weight to lose?  If not, how will it effect the rate at which I lose? Also, I’ll be picking up a blood pressure cuff to use so I can start reporting that as well.

Ketone level:

Getting closer!  Still not quite to a state of nutritional ketosis, but I’m on my way.  A normal person can enter nutritional ketosis relatively quickly, 2-4 days usually.  Here it’s taken me over a week.  That goes to show how insulin resistant I truly am.  It also shows how I need to be super diligent.  If I were to slip up or have a “cheat”, it could take me a whole week to get back into ketosis!  Not worth it.

That’s it for week 1!  Stay tuned as I’ll chime in mid-week for a quick check in.

Day 3 and 5 of the 90 day Experiment

Hey gang,  I wanted to give a quick update.  Things have been going pretty well.  Days 1 and 2 went without a hitch.  Day 3 I had a pretty big dip in motivation and energy.  Unsure if it was because of diet or just because Tuesday was a tough day at the office and wiped me out.   That being said, still sticking 100% to the meal plan.  No problems with hunger so far.  Did have some wicked Diet Coke cravings on Wednesday, but I was able to fight them off.

Day 3 reading

As you can see, no change in the meter yet.  Which doesn’t worry me too much, it can take a few day.

Day 5 reading

Slight uptick, but still not into nutritional ketosis.  That takes a reading of 0.5.  But we’re getting there.  Will take another reading, and my next weigh in, on Monday.

Day 1 of my 90 day N=1 Keto experiment

Today, February 6th (EDIT: I know, this wasn’t posted until 2/7; but it WAS written on 2/6), marks my 1st day under a fairly strict, 90 day self-experiment.  I will fully admit, I have not been practicing what I preach lately.  I have not been eating primal (booze and diet soda isn’t considered primal in case if you were wondering), and I haven’t been sticking to whole foods like I should be.  I’ve been using the transition with the offices and all the travel lately as an excuse.  And yes, while being on the road 4 out of the 5 weekends (New Year’s included) in January wasn’t a big help, there still isn’t a legit excuse.  Now that I’m done traveling so much and things are settling down at the office, I can do a deep dive into getting my nutrition on point and healing my body.


So here’s the deal:


For the next 90 days, I am going to be strict primal and keto.  Meaning no processed foods (other than some vitamins and supplements I’ll describe later), and I will be testing my BLOOD ketones using my newly acquired Precision Xtra blood glucose and ketone meter.


Starting point:

Weignt: 329 lbs

Waist: 55″

Day 1 Blood Ketone reading:  0.1 mmol (ie NOT in ketosis, remember nutritional ketosis is generally considered 0.5-3 mmol)




For my breakdown in calories, I used the Ketogains macro calculator.  This is IMO one of the best nutritional calculators on the Internet, especially if you’re wanting to be in ketosis.   You can find it here:


My breakdown is like this:  1860 calories (shooting for a 25% deficit).  Shooting for about 150 grams of protein, 25 grams or less of carbs, and 125 grams of fat.


Meal plan and supplements:

In the morning after any recordings needed for the day, a Keto OS shake.  Keto OS is an supplement that is a supply of exogenous (made outside of the body) ketones in the form of beta hydroxybutyrate.  I’ve been reading some interesting stuff from folks like Dr. Peter Attia and Dr. Dominic D’Agostino  on the therapeutic benefit of exogenous ketones that I’m going to give it a try.  We’ll see how it goes.  That being said, I AM NOT RELYING on this.  No pill, powder, or potion will make up for a crappy diet.   Total calories: 41-100 depending on the form and flavor.  I’ll be alternating between Max Maui Punch and Orange Dream.


1st meal of the day: 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, black coffee or tea.  280 calories


2nd meal of the day:  Large salad with either a can of Tuna or Sardines with a high quality dressing.  650-800 calories.


3rd meal of the day:  Fatty cut of meat and green leafy or non starchy veggies.  ~700 calories.



As far as exercise goes, I’ll be doing some bodyweight work (pushups, squats, pull ups, and planks), along with some yoga and kettlebell swings.  And I’m going to try to get out for a walk over my lunch hour if the weather permits.  This exercise is really for general health, strength, and flexibility.  It’s not really to lose weight, as many studies have shown that exercise is ineffective for weight loss


There you have it.  I’ll be checking in at least once a week, but ideally I’ll be posting when I measure blood ketones which I’ll be doing every other day.  I’d do every day, but those strips are damn expensive.


Stay tuned!


Review: The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes’ new book shows that sugar and its industry’s tale is not a sweet one.

You may have heard of Gary Taubes and his writings before.  This is not his first rodeo in upsetting the status quo and rattling the cage of conventional wisdom when it comes to diet and nutrition.  Gary first made waves back in 2002 when he wrote an article for the New York Times called “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?”  In this piece he questioned some cornerstones of conventional wisdom by asking what if fat wasn’t the dietary devil it was made out to be, and what if carbohydrate consumption wasn’t as benign, either.  This article laid the groundwork for his 2007 tome Good Calories Bad Calories.  This 640 page behemoth was as persuasive as it was dense.  This book opened up the debate on whether a calorie is truly a calorie, or if there were other factors, namely the hormone insulin, at play.  It also peeled back the curtain on the history of nutrition science, as well as the political pressures and policies that lead to where we are today. In 2011, Taubes followed up GCBC with a lighter, condensed, more casual reader-friendly version called Why We Get Fat.

In his 3rd outing of nutritional journalism, The Case Against Sugar, he argues that the sweet powder we put in so many of our daily indulgences is the smoking gun that traces back to epidemics of chronic diseases (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer) that plague societies worldwide today.  In this book, he makes the case that sugar, namely sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, is uniquely toxic and its consumption leads to a cascade of possible and unfortunate events of ill health.  He shows this through two ways.  First, he dives into the science and research, both past and present, behind dietary consumption of sugars, as well as the metabolic effects of its consumption.  Second, much like in his previous books, he goes into the history of the rise of sugar, the industries that rose and profited, and pressures from both politicians and corporations that lead to weak science and biased nutritional guidelines.  As he states as almost a mission statement of the book: “…I hope to continue to restore this history to the discussion of how our diets influence our weight and health, and to do so in the context of the vitally important question of sugar in the diet.”

Let’s be clear right out of the gate:  this book does not show with 100% certainty that sugar is toxic or that it is the sole trigger that started the snowball of metabolic derangement leading to the epidemiological buffet of chronic diseases we now face.  And that is because it is 100% IMPOSSIBLE to do so.  The type of science that would be needed to achieve this feat would be insanely expensive, and would have to span decades and over multiple generations.  In other words, if you’re waiting for this causation level evidence to come before making up your own mind about whether sugar is uniquely detrimental to our health, don’t hold your breath.  I do give Taubes credit where credit is due, he addresses this elephant in the room right away, and without hesitation.  What Taubes does do is gives thorough evidence that very few others, even leading experts in the respective fields, have before.

If you have read either of his previous two books, you will see some overlap here.  But if you haven’t, don’t fear that you need a primer on his other works as this book stands fine on its own. Taubes goes on to lead the charge against sugar by focusing on two of the biggest health crises we face today: obesity and diabetes.  How did conditions that were at one time very rare, especially diabetes as documented in the 1800s and early 1900s, become so prevalent today?  How did we go from 10 patients out of 35,000 being diagnosed with diabetes (as documented by famed physician William Osler in his textbook The Principles and Practice of Medicine) to 1 out of every 7 to 8 adults according to the CDC in 2012?  Some have blamed dietary fat.  Some have pointed the finger at technological advances reducing the need for physical labor, transportation methods leading to less movement, and longer commute times.  Taubes believes it is the consumption of sugar, and the argument he lays out in this book is a particularly strong one.

I’m not going to ruin some of the surprises that his book holds, but I have to give a couple of head-nods.  The history of the intertwined fates of the sugar and tobacco industries was fascinating and was one I had never been exposed to before.  Secondly, as a practicing dentist, I appreciated the clinical, anthropological, and epidemiological evidence showing sugar consumption to be the chief cause for tooth decay.  Yes, that is old hat to a lot of folks, but for some reason its importance is lost on the masses, probably because cavities (dental caries) are so common.  But it’s important to note that just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s normal.  One of my favorite quotes from the book summarizes this well:

“‘It would be an extraordinary coincidence,’ as Peter Cleave wrote and we’ve already quoted, ‘if these refined carbohydrates, which are known to wreak such havoc on the teeth, did not also have profound repercussions on other parts of the alimentary canal during their passage along it, and on other parts of the body after absorption from the canal.'”

I will admit that I almost felt bad for Taubes when Good Calories Bad Calories came out.  Yes, he was praised by many for his unapologetic take down of mainstream nutritional thought.  To those people who felt estranged by the government’s dietary guidelines, and their healthcare providers’ sincere but misguided advice to “eat less and move more,” his book was breath of fresh air.  However, it did not come without its critics.  Health professionals, nutrition professors, and government officials booed in unison as Taubes broke the cardinal rule of questioning the official dietary guidelines and the dogma of conventional wisdom.  And some of these criticisms got ugly, attacking Taubes on a personal level.  Well, now I don’t feel so sorry for Gary.  He has moved from the position of David taking on Goliath to one of hardened authority whose sole purpose is slapping the wrist of those who cling to the notion “a calorie is a calorie” and that sugar is nutritionally benign or even beneficial.  This book will certainly be less controversial most people will agree that excess consumption of refined sugar is not a good thing.  I’m sure his advice to abstain from all sugar consumption (except those small trace amounts naturally occurring in vegetables and fruits) will fall on deaf ears.

At the end of the day, this book will add fuel to the anti-sugar movement’s fire, but it is unlikely to change otherwise decided minds.  If a person already believes sugar is the devil, this will cement their opinion further.  If a person has already toed the “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” line and believe calling sugar a “toxin” is sensationalism, like suggested in The Gluten Lie by Alan Levinovitz, this book is unlikely to sway their beliefs.  True change will come from those folks who are on the fence about the “Calories In, Calories Out” hypothesis and are open to new evidence.  The real question is: Will the newfound knowledge of the evidence lead to personal change, or will people shrug their shoulders and proceed to put that hip Sugar in the Raw into their Starbucks?  Will people go back to consuming sugar as long as it’s in “moderation”, or will people adapt an abstinence like they might from tobacco?  That is up to the individual.


What is Ketosis? Pt. 3

Welcome back to part 3 of our basic series explaining what ketosis is and how it can be beneficial.

In parts 1 & 2, we reviewed what ketones are, how our body makes them, and how they are used as a fuel source.  Today, we will talk about the $10,000 Question:  Why would a person want to be in ketosis?  This answer is multifactorial, as people have used nutritional ketosis for a myriad of different reasons.  Most people dip their toes into the “Keto Diet” because they want to lose weight.  However, there are numerous other reasons people adapt to a ketogenic lifestyle.  Some use it to help mitigate various symptoms of inflammation such as arthritis or acne.  Some people use it for an advantage in sports performance, namely endurance sports like marathons, cycling, triathlons, etc.  Some people use it to help their mental clarity and mood.  And some folks find better sex drive and fertility (Note: I’ve been working on a post for resources and scientific studies about these very topics.  Feel free to keep an eye out as the list continues to grow).

As I stated in part one, a ketogenic diet (aka “keto”) is a low carbohydrate diet.  However, it differs from other popular low carb diets like Atkins ( and Protein Power (  Where those are indeed lower carb compared to the Standard American Diet (SAD), they may not be low enough in carbohydrates to induce ketosis.  The 1st phase of Atkins is very low carb (under 20 net grams) to promote ketosis, however in the actual Atkins guidelines this phase is only meant to be done for 2 weeks.  This differs from a truly ketogenic diet, as this carb restriction is meant to last indefinitely (unless utilizing a modified keto diet like the cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets, which we’ll explain later).


When carbohydrates are reduced enough (sometimes 5% or less of calories consumed) and more natural fat is consumed in its stead, your body enters the metabolic state of ketosis.  This state causes your body to become more efficient at using fat as a fuel source (instead of just constantly storing it).  Also, the liver coverts fats into ketones (as we explained in Part 2) that can act as an alternative source of energy for the brain (1,2).  Ketogenic diets have shown to help lower and improve blood sugar and insulin levels.  Also, the increased levels of ketones have shown to have other health benefits as well.  (1,3,4,5)


Side Note:  If you want to geek out on science and metabolism of ketones/ketosis, I’m going to recommend you check out Dr. Peter Attia’s blog over at The Eating Academy.  He does a deep dive that I think science enthusiasts will really appreciate.  These two articles are of significant value:

The studies cited above (and more that I haven’t linked to) have shown to be an effective strategy for losing weight and reducing disease risk.  Also, there are numerous studies showing that the ketogenic diet out performs low-fat diets (6, 7, 8, 9).  In fact, a ketogenic diet has shown that it’s possible to lose weight without cumbersome calorie counting or food journaling as shown in a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ( in 2008 (8).   A 2007 study published in Diabetic Medicine (the journal of the British Diabetic Association; showed that those on a low carb, ketogenic diet lost 3 times more weight than those on the Diabetes UK’s recommended diet.  That is pretty darn substantial!

Yet another study showing significant results is a 2003 study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism ( (11).  This study showed that participants lost 2.2 times more weight and 2.4 times more body fat than those on the calorie restricted, low-fat diet.  This study also had another interesting finding, as stated in the discussion section:

” Another unexplained, but important, observation was the spontaneous restriction of food intake in the very low carbohydrate diet group to a level equal to that of the control subjects who were following a prescribed restriction of calories. This raises the possibility that the very low carbohydrate diet may have been more satiating”


In a nutshell, what this observer is saying is that the participants did not feel the need to eat regular full meals, possibly even refusing to finish what was in front of them, because they didn’t feel the need to continue eating; they were full.  And what they did end up eating during the day counted up to about the same number of calories as the others who were restricting their calorie intake.


Ok, its effectiveness in losing weight has been covered.  But HOW do you DO the keto diet?  A buddy of mine and fellow ketonian, Larry Lustig, summed it up well in one sentence:  “Replace the carbohydrates you eat with fat.”


The following is going to be MY recommendation based on what I’ve learned from studying the topic, as well as my personal experience.  Other Keto proponents might disagree with what I say, and that’s perfectly fine.

It’s important to remember that each person is different, so these ratios of fat:protein:carbs needs to be individualized.  The breakdown of a typical keto diet is about 70-75% calories from fat, 20-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrates.  It can be beneficial to count calories and track your food when you first start, as there can be hidden carbs and sugars in foods that you wouldn’t expect (sugar in cured meats for example).  I for one HATE counting calories, so now that I’ve been doing this long enough, I have a good grasp on the macros of the foods I generally eat.  I don’t count calories or journal; I just go by hunger levels and how I feel.


Note that it can take an average of 21 days to become keto adapted!!! Some folks take less time, some can take more.  And it can take a few days to a week of strict carb restriction before you start turning those pee sticks (Ketostix) colors. These are used to monitor ketosis when you first start out. When you do start going into ketosis, you are going to lose retained water and with that you will lose sodium.  It’s important to make sure you are getting enough salt.


Example meal plan when I was eating 3 times a day:

Breakfast:  3 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, 1/2 of an avocado

Lunch: BAS (Big Ass Salad) with bleu or feta cheese, whatever full cut meat I wanted (usually what I had for leftovers, just diced up.  Do NOT go for lean meats.  You need the fat.), and a high-quality dressing, like something from Newman’s Own or my new favorite by Primal Kitchen (

Dinner:  Grilled Pork Steak and Green Beans or Broccoli cooked in Butter


Now that I’m keto/fat-adapted, my hunger is blunted, so I usually only eat lunch (my new Break-Fast) and dinner.  I might have a Keto drink (a shake or coffee with exogenous ketone supplement, another subject for another day) in the morning, but often I’m just not hungry.


Common mistakes I see (and have learned from experience):


Not enough salt:  When going from fat-burning after being a sugar-burner for so long, you will lose water and sodium.  Some people report a feeling of brain fog and fatigue.  Often this is because they are low on salt.  Feel free to add salt to your meals, and consider a cup of bullion or bone broth once every 1-2 days.


Too much protein in relation to your amount of activity and/or level of insulin resistance: This is more likely for highly insulin-resistant folks like myself.  Excess protein cannot be stored, and will be broken down to glucose via gluconeogenesis.  This rise in glucose can kick you out of ketosis.  You might not have that problem with your training, but it’s something I had to learn the hard way. Please note that, IN MY OPINION, excess protein is only a problem if you are SEVERELY insulin resistant (like yours truly).  If you have less than 50 lbs to lose, of if you’re doing a lot of strength or muscle work like bodybuilding, strongman training, or Crossfit, this is unlikely to be the case.  This area of study is still in its infancy, and there seems to be a lot of disagreement in the LCHF camp.  My $0.02:  If you are not morbidly obese and you live a semi-active lifestyle, you’re probably not going to be consuming too much protein.  If you are very insulin resistant and are sedentary, you can skip the 20 oz steaks and protein shakes.


Too many carbs:  Carb levels are so individualized that it’s almost moot to talk about.  Some folks can stay in ketosis around 100 grams of carbs a day.  Some folks do better on 50 grams.  I, myself, because of my insulin resistance, must stick between 20-30 or fewer grams. A general guideline is the more weight you need lose, the lower your carb count needs to be.  I’m a rip-the-band-aid-off kind of guy, so I’m all about just dropping down to 20 grams, get adapted, and then play with number of carbs based on YOUR situation.


Side Note:  In the low carb community, a constant debate is how to count carbs.  Some people count Net carbs (Total carbs – fiber- sugar alcohols = net).  This is what Dr. Atkins recommended in his protocols.  However, I am in the count total carbs camp.  If you look at some of these “low carb” treats and protein bars, you might see a bar have 23 grams of total carbs, but, after subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols, it might only have a net carb count of 6.  I’ve had trouble with this for a couple reasons.  First, this type of leniency can lead to overindulgence of these foods.  Second, sugar alcohols can still raise the blood sugar of some people and kick them out of ketosis, lead to cravings, or both (which was my personal experience as well).


“I feel kinda crappy for the first few days, so it must not be good for me”:  What a ridiculous excuse. Personal note:  I used to smoke, and it sucked quitting.  I was irritable, I’d get headaches, blah blah blah.  Doesn’t mean it was BAD for me, my body was just in transition.  Same thing here.  When you are changing the fuel that your body utilizes (fat burner vs sugar burner), it’s going to take an adaptation process (we talked about how your body needs to get better at creating beta-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase in Part 2).


So what CAN you eat?   Check this list out for a good breakdown of Low Carb Approved Foods

Basically it comes down to plenty of meat (don’t shy away from the fatty cuts), and green leafy or non-starchy vegetables.   Also remember that you want to keep your net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) under 20 grams starting out. And if you’re more insulin resistant (like yours truly),  you may need to keep TOTAL carbs under 20 grams.

 So there you have it:  Why a person can benefit from nutritional ketosis and how to do it.  That was a long post, thanks for hanging in there with me.  I hope that it brought you a lot of value.  In my next post, I will be discussing the effect of ketosis on special situations such a diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and more.  Also, I’ll be working on a book review for Gary Taubes’s new book, The Case Against Sugar.   Stay tuned!











8:  (This one shows can lose without Counting Calories or food journaling)


10:  (lost 3x more weight than Diabetes UK’s recommeneded diet)

11: (showed keto lost 2.2 times more weight than CR, Low fat; along with improved Tri and HDL levels)