Books on keto diet

The 7 Best Keto Books of 2019

Another risk? The diet can strain the kidneys if they’re already damaged. “If you already have kidney issues, the diet is not going to be right for you,” says Hultin. Beyond that, people at risk for heart disease will probably want to avoid the diet, or consult their doctor before trying it, because many foods on a ketogenic diet are high in saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat because it raises your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, which increases your risk for heart disease. People with type 1 diabetes, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and individuals whose gallbladder has been removed are among the other people whom dietitians advise to avoid the keto diet.

RELATED: 11 Health Conditions the Keto Diet May Be Able to Help — and 6 It Definitely Won’t

Despite the potential dangers of the keto diet, the craze over the approach isn’t going away anytime soon — and more and more people are trying this philosophy for weight loss and other purported health benefits. “I think people are attracted to the diet because you often lose a lot of weight in the beginning, but it’s actually water weight at first,” says Pegah Jalali, RDN, a registered dietitian at Middleberg Nutrition in New York City.

“Also, if people do have weight loss success on the diet — which is very restrictive — many people don’t have a plan for what’s next, after that phase,” says Jalali. “And when you start to add carbs again and return to how you ate in the past, you’ll likely start gaining weight,” she says. So-called yo-yo dieting, studies show, can be harmful to your health — even upping your risk for a heart attack, according to an April 2017 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

While there’s ample research on the perks of the diet for epilepsy, there’s limited research on humans when it comes to other touted health benefits, says Jalali. The trials haven’t covered long periods of time, and often people are in the same place, weight loss–wise, as those on other diets after six months, Jalali says.

RELATED: 15 Burning Questions About the Keto Diet, Answered

Thus, Jalali says, it’s an effective diet for people with epilepsy who can take advantage of the health benefits and have medical supervision and a lifetime motivation to stay on the plan. But people who don’t have a medical reason to be on the ketogenic diet may want to reconsider it.

“I think there’s a more sustainable way to lose weight, even for people who have a lot to lose, such as with plant-based diets, the Mediterranean diet, and the DASH diet,” says Hultin. “I don’t recommend the ketogenic diet for anyone unless it’s medically necessary.”

Regardless, 2019 is sure to be a popular year for the ketogenic diet, considering its rise to the No. 1 diet search term in the United States on Google in 2018 (per the search engine’s annual report), along with the ever-expanding crop of keto bloggers and keto Instagrammers. Not to mention the growing number of books on the keto diet hitting the shelves.

Here, discover seven of the most talked about keto books for 2019 and learn what dietitians think about them.

The Best Keto Diet Books 2019

This is our updated 2019 version of the best keto diet books that everyone who is serious must read.

If you want to jump straight to purchasing them and reading the reviews just click the links below.

The Best Keto Diet Books List

  1. The Art and Science of Low Carb Living (hands down the most concise)
  2. Keto Clarity (by a guy that’s done it)
  3. The New Atkins for a New You (by the authors of the two above)
  4. Real meal Revolution (Not technically keto but a must read by the man who founded the sports science institute of South Africa)
  5. Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution by Dr Andreas Eenfeldt. (we’ve all heard of him if you haven’t read this)

When it comes to Diet and Nutrition, nothing is stronger than knowledge itself. We’ve shared the 5 best Keto Diet Books that we think everyone should own.

Ketogenic books that we own, read and reference often. They’re all written by leading Scientists and Doctors from all over the world.

The best way to gain knowledge is through research and life experiences. We believe we’re very knowledgeable about Ketogenic Dieting and live it. But we are guided by the research of leading scientists in the world of diet and nutrition.

Copies of our keto books that we reference often

While we always listen to our peers and their opinions are valued. We always follow it up by looking to the best scientific research available.

Naturally, we gravitate to those at the top of the Keto Diet and Nutrition food chain (The Scientists).

So without further delay, here are our 5 best Keto Diet books updated for 2018.

#1 The Art and Science of Low Carb Living

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living written by Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek. The Art And Science Of Low-Carb Living is a comprehensive guide on Ketogenic Dieting and is our number one keto book.

With thorough direction on getting into a state of ketosis and staving off keto flu. This book has just about everything you need to know about ketogenic dieting.

The Best Ketogenic Diet Books for Professionals and Dieters

The Art and Science of Low-Carb Living was initially written as a guide for health professionals. But it is an excellent companion for anybody following or contemplating the Ketogenic Diet.

Written in plain English for everybody to understand.

It debunks common myths surrounding the need for carbohydrates.

Full of sound advice on how a ketogenic diet should be done properly step by step.

Everything that should be included and omitted from your diet is right here.

We keep this book by our sides and reference it often.

Who is Jeff Volek?

Dr. Jeff Volek is one of the foremost experts on low carbohydrate (keto) dieting in the world. He is a Professor at the Ohio State University in the United States.

Jeff Volek is a New York Times Best Seller and the author of many ketogenic diet books. Notably “The New Atkins For A New You”. Jeff Volek has done extensive research on keto diets positive effect on Type 2 Diabetes as well as Metabolic Syndrome.

The next time someone gives you their uneducated opinion on the evils of high-fat diets. Refer them to Professor Jeff Volek and hand them a link to his keto book, The Art and Science of Low Carb Living.

Who is Stephen Phinney?

Dr. Stephen Phinney is a Scientist with over three (nearly four) decades of studying nutrition. Dr. Phinney has a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from MIT, University in the United States, an MD from Stanford University and Post Doctoral from Harvard.

He is also a New York Times Best Seller. He has co-authored books The New Atkins for a New You with Dr. Jeff Volek and is considered one of the foremost experts in the world on low carbohydrate eating.

This is one of the keto books we find ourselves turning too and referencing most. It gets our number one pick as the best book on LCHF ketogenic dieting.

#2 Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet

Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet written by Jimmy Moore and Dr Eric C. Westman.

This is one of the keto diet books that is perfect for those wanting to understand from a dieter’s perspective.

It stresses the fact that a low carbohydrate diet is not merely enough to reap the greatest benefits of low-carb, high-fat nutrition.

In Keto Clarity, Jimmy and Dr. Westman get down into the essential details on the importance of being in a state of nutritional ketosis to reap the greatest rewards in health and well-being.

Keto Diets Impact on Disease

They explain the real benefits, research completed and further being undertaken of keto’s impact on disease. Such as: type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Which makes complete sense to us. We already know that ketogenic diets have been used to control seizures in people suffering from epilepsy.

This Ketogenic Diet Book Debunks Fake News

Keto Clarity fantastically points out how some in the media report on incomplete nonscientific studies to bolster their arguments against Ketogenic Diets.

Many health professionals struggle to cope with ideas and studies that conflict with their own advice.

Instead of growing and moving in the right direction, ego gets in the way and they repel the truth. Ignoring solid research completed under proper scientific guidelines.

Keto Clarity Is Also Available As An Audiobook (try it you get two Audiobooks for FREE) which we really like. We love listening to our ketogenic diet books while exercising or driving.

We have just gotten through the Audiobook version of Keto Clarity which is a brilliant way for those who are short on time or just don’t like reading, Jimmy makes a great narrator.

We love this book, we love science and we love facts presented in a straightforward, no-nonsense, easy to understand manner. Spoken with the everyday “Joe” in mind. We highly recommend it.

This is one of those keto diet books for people wanting to understand what it’s all about.

Listen to it FREE with an Audible Free trial or Subscription here!

#3 The New Atkins For a New You

The New Atkins For a New You is another of the ketogenic diet books by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney.

This time also co-authoring is Dr. Eric C. Westman a professor with expertise in diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance. He is also co-author of “Keto Clarity, a Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low Carb, High Fat Diet”. That we list as number two must-have keto diet books.

A Greater Focus on Weight Loss

Again they discuss the science and benefits of low carbohydrate, high-fat and moderate protein eating. This time, they’ve authored a keto book directed at the broader community.

Focusing more on weight loss and keeping it off, with meal plans and new keto recipes.

Though we find The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living an easy enough to read.

A Ketogenic Diet Book For Lighter Reading

This book is for those who are less interested in the finer details and history of the ketogenic diet. It’s a book for those who enjoy a lighter reading approach that gets straight to the point.

Keep this keto diet book on hand and it will see you in good stead for a successful diet that is super easy to maintain.

It’s hard to argue with the science of ketogenic dieting after reading this. Especially when it’s presented in a ketogenic diet book by three of the world’s leading Professors in metabolic medicine.

#4 The Real Meal Revolution: The Radical, Sustainable Approach to Healthy Eating

The Real Meal Revolution: The Radical, Sustainable Approach to Healthy Eating is probably one of the most disruptive, most talked about books on diet and nutrition in South Africa if not worldwide.

Due to the fact that the author Professor Tim Noakes has been dragged before the Health Professionals Council of South Africa by the President (at the time) of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) for giving unprofessional advice (A bit odd for an association sponsored by Kelloggs). Update: Tim Noakes was cleared of misconduct.
We wrote at the time: It seems by all due accounts that they wish they hadn’t. The trial will resume in October 2016.
The evidence and research being presented by Tim Noakes and other experts in his defense have made these “health professionals” look a little silly.

While the Banting Diet that Tim Noakes advises as being ideal is not exactly a Ketogenic Diet (because it recommends small portions of fruit).

Banting is still a very low carbohydrate, high fat, and moderate protein diet.

Being responsible and hungry for the facts on nutrition we recommend and follow Tim Noakes closely as his research is sound, thorough and well-tested.

We never ignore good science, so we include this on our must-read ketogenic diet books list.

Tim Noakes co-founded the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. He has published several books documenting his research.

Read the Real Meal Revolution and follow Tims trial in the news, it is looking like the outcome of it could be a Revolution of its own.

Tips to get a Free Copy of these Keto Diet Books on Audible or Kindle

  • You can sign up for a free an Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial on Kindle here select your book and if you don’t like it just cancel. I’m willing to bet you’ll keep it though, they’re all great references to have on hand.
  • If you prefer to listen to Audiobook versions you can try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks, cancel anytime. I like to listen to audiobooks in their entirety while I’m exercising or driving and keep the paperback or kindle edition as a reference guide.

Concluding The Best Keto Diet Books of 2019

It was (and still is) our continued thirst for educating ourselves by reading books by experts, research real science by real scientists.

That led us to switch toward an LCHF ketogenic diet and away from the food pyramid in the first place.

We were initially looking at ways to tackle binge eating and cravings. Obstacles that prevent so many people from maintaining calorie-restricted diets.

What we found, not only made complete sense. I was also backed by over a century of continued research and studies by highly regarded Professors and Doctors.

We swallowed our pride, ditched our ego’s (along with the carbs) and boarded the ketogenic diet train. It was a hard pill to swallow, the realization that we were wrong for so long.

But we knew only what we had learned previously, you can’t blame us for that.

Nobody should find shame in changing their well-intended ways when better, more sound science is presented.

That is how you grow and become great at what you do.

We guarantee that we will continue studying the sciences of nutrition and evolve as it does. To become rusted on to an old idea just “because” is simply self-defeating and unprofessional.

That is why we handpicked the best ketogenic diet books around to get you on your way, “no bro-science”.

Sharing is caring!

Another thing we liked about the book is that it allows you to slightly adjust the diet for you personally. You have chapters such as ‘Find your cab tolerance levels’ or ‘Determine your personal protein threshold’.

In these chapters, you will learn how to lower your carb intake so that your body gets into keto mode, but also how to slightly increase carbs to a level that your body is comfortable with. And the same goes for protein intake.

This is really important because you will be able to stick to it easier for long periods of time. These are the most practical and valuable chapters of the book, from an implementation point of view.

Dr. Jimmy More also suggests a very unique and interesting way of combining the keto diet with intermittent fasting which is not that common in other similar products.

The book contains quite a few success stories, a list of foods to shop for when dieting, and an exhaustive list of FAQ and answers.

If you are about to start your keto journey this product might be just the right one for you. If you already have a solid grasp of what keto is and you want to get more advanced, the book doesn’t really add that much value.

What we liked

  • Easy to read and understand
  • Backed up by many physicians and keto researchers
  • Very practical and implementation oriented

What we didn’t like

  • Limited to beginners only
  • Not as information-packed as expected


2) The Ketogenic Cookbook: Nutritious Low-Carb, High-Fat Paleo Meals to Heal Your Body

The Ketogenic Cookbook is co-authored by the same Dr. Jimmy More together with Maria Emmerich. As the name suggests it is a collection of keto recipes to get you started on the diet.

However, this is not your average cookbook. All the recipes are really good, tasty and flavored. It doesn’t really feel like you are dieting at all. On top of that, all the recipes in there will pave your way to achieving optimal health, while eating good food and losing weight at the same time.

The first thirty-something pages of the book are more like an introduction to keto dieting. So you will find those really helpful if you don’t know that much about keto. But if you really want to learn more subtle details about keto you will probably need to look for more information elsewhere.

Turning regular recipes into low carb, low protein and high-fat meals is most of the time impossible, so getting a keto cookbook is a smart thing to do if you plan on sticking to your diet. You would be amazed at how foods such as pancakes, pizza or even bread can be turned into low-carb keto-foods.

Eating foods that are not tasty or that you don’t enjoy eating are the number one thing for not following a diet. You are very unlikely to have this issue with The Ketogenic Cookbook. There is no way you cannot find recipes you will enjoy eating, no matter how picky you are about your food.

Each recipe is very well explained, includes mouthwatering pictures and just amazes with how tasty diet food can be. Most of the foods in the book take as little as 5 to 10 minutes to prepare before putting them in the oven.

What we liked

  • Out of the box foods
  • Tasty and flavored recipes
  • High quality photos
  • Low prep time

What we didn’t like

  • Lacks general information on keto dieting


3) The Keto Diet: The Complete Guide to a High-Fat Diet

Authored by Leanne Vogel, this is another keto diet cookbook containing more than 125 keto recipes and 5 meal plans to choose from. Leanne struggled with health and weight issues for many years, until 2014 when she discovered the keto diet.

This is one of the most compelling keto books with 448 pages of packed and well-structured information. Even if you are not new to keto you will still have a lot to learn from the book.

Besides the recipes, Leanne gets into a lot of detailed information about the keto diet and how it helped her overcome amenorrhea, hypothyroidism, fixing hormone levels and gaining self-confidence. You can really tell there is a real person behind the book sharing not only knowledge, but her own personal life experiences.

Leanne gets very personal in the book and I believe a lot of females readers will click with her story and with the book. The Complete Guide to a High-Fat Diet has a less ‘scientific’ approach to it. This can be viewed both as an advantage – it is super easy and fun to read. But also as a disadvantage – it might lack the credibility that other professional keto researches have behind them.

The recipes are high in healthy fats and fibers, and of course low in carbs. But what differentiates it from other keto recipe books is that most recipes are also gluten-free.

Another differentiator of this book is that it puts more focus on whole foods and timing carbs based on each individual’s needs or health status. So you will find recipes with different carbs amounts which you can use at different times depending on your own personal conditions.

As mentioned, this book is really long so if you are just starting out with keto dieting it might be overwhelming. It would be a better decision to start off with a less in-depth book and then take it from there.

On the other hand, if you want to skyrocket your keto knowledge this is could be a good read.

What we liked

  • Shares a personal story
  • The meal plans
  • The gluten-free recipes

What we didn’t like

  • Doesn’t really have any professional keto researchers backing it up
  • The amount of information can be overwhelming


4) Quick & Easy Ketogenic Cooking

Written by Maria Emmerich this is book can be looked at as different version of ‘The Ketogenic Cookbook’.

The book is full with a lot of keto diet information as well as a few charts on how much fats and proteins are in different cuts of meats. Then you also have an exhaustive chart with plants and their nutritional information.

Once you get to the recipes part you will be amazed by how many brilliant ideas the book contains. You can’t really tell it’s a diet book. All the recipes are super tasty and easy to prepare. You don’t even need to be good at it and you will be able to cook delicious meals.

Maria included little icons next to each recipe to flag under what category each food falls into. You have egg-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, net-free, and many, many more categories. This will make it very easy to browse through all the recipes and pick the one you want.

Some of the recipes also include links to instructional videos, which are easy to follow along even if you are new at cooking your own food. They made it really simple for the reader.

The book also includes a section which will get you started on the keto diet right away. In this section you will find several meal plans you can choose from:

  • 7 days weight loss
  • 7 days maintenance
  • 30 days weight loss
  • 30 days weight loss dairy free

Though I doubt you can lose that much weight in as little as 7 days, so maybe the first meal plan is not the best approach.

To make things even easier, you also get a shopping list for the 7-day meal plans. All the meal plans are based on the recipes from the book of course. Maria suggests using the left-overs from certain day the following day so you save both time and food.

If you want to be super strict with your diet you can do so by tracking the calories and macros. Each recipe has the nutritional information written down at the bottom of the page. So you have no excuse for not tracking them.

A little bit of a downside of the book is that for most recipes you will need ingredients which are not that common. You will need to do a little bit of shopping and some of the ingredients might be on expensive.

What we liked

  • Detailed nutritional information
  • Nice design and tasty recipes
  • Well structured

What we didn’t like

  • Some ingredients are hard to find and expensive


5) The 30-Day Ketogenic Cleanse

Lastly but not least, The 30-Day Ketogenic Cleanse is another popular keto book by Maria Emmerich. You can expect the same exact level of quality and detail as in the Quick & Easy Ketogenic Cooking.

You will find here a lot of nut-free and dairy-free recipes. These are great if you have any kind of intolerance to these foods or if you are simply bored with the same old standard keto recipes.

As the name suggests, this book is built around a 30-day meal plan which should help you get started with keto.

Get ready for some serious cooking though. If you plan on following Maria’s meal plan you will spend a lot of time in the kitchen. You will need to cook 2-3 different recipes for each meal.

This can be viewed as both an advantage – if you like cooking a lot, or a disadvantage – if you lack time. So, for really busy people this might be a little bit impractical do to and day to day basis.

If you are in the latter category, you will probably benefit more from the recipes presented in The Ketogenic Cookbook co-authored with Dr. Jimmy More. Most of the recipes in there are super quick, but you will need to re-design the 30-day meal plan yourself. Anyways, both books are great, you will just need to decide for yourself which suits you better.

The 30-day Ketogenic Cleanse book is also packed with a lot of details on keto in general. Both beginners and advanced people will have a lot to learn from it. On top of that Maria Emmerich is very good at make things sound so simple. Her explanations are straight to the point all the time and easy to understand regardless of your background with keto or any other type of diet for that matter.

A little bit on the downside of the book is that several readers reported that days 29 and 30 are missing from the printed version. The author took care of it by posting the missing day on the Facebook group she runs.

The 30-day meal plan is accompanied by weekly shopping lists to make things super easy for everybody. Most of the ingredients used are reasonably priced and easy to find in the supermarkets, but based on here you live you might encounter difficulties in finding some of them. Nevertheless, there are plenty of recipes to choose from so you can easily make adjustments that suit you better from this point of view.

What we liked

  • Information presented is very easy to understand
  • Lots of recipes to choose from

What we didn’t like

  • Many of the recipes are time consuming
  • Printed version might miss days 29 & 30


Over to You

There is no doubt that from a weight loss point of view, the Ketogenic diets work.

There are hundreds of thousands of people if not more that are the living proof of that. Lowering your carb intake will make you drop a lot of body weight. Some of it might be just water weight, but for sure you will lose fat as well.

The question that you need to ask your self is: Is this diet the right one for me? Allow us to help you with an answer to this question.

Keto diets are great for the average sedentary people. They are also particularly good for people that have Type II diabetes, are overweight, have acne issues or insulin resistance. If you find yourself in any of these situations, keto dieting might be the best thing that could happen to you.

On the other hand, if you are an active, healthy individual which puts a lot of effort into working out, your diet should be high in carb and protein. This is the exact opposite of what keto suggests, so make the decision based on your personal situation.

If you made the decision on following a keto diet, getting a ketogenic book will probably add more value to your knowledge, implementation and meal diversity.

Which out of the 5 books presented above is the best though?

You are the only one who can answer that.

And there is no right or wrong answer. All of them are packed with great information, and can be of great value. You just need to pick the right one based on how in depth you want to learn about keto and how much time and effort you are willing to put into it.

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I Spent 3 Weeks on the Keto Diet—Here’s What It’s REALLY Like

Rimma Bondarenko

If you’re reading this article you’ve probably heard something about the keto diet—the low-carb, high-fat way of eating that has been linked to better brain health and lower cholesterol, and of course weight loss (here’s what our nutritionist thinks of it).

Also known as the ketogenic diet, it was originally created in the early 1900s to treat epilepsy, but the diet has recently blown up. And so, after several of my friends couldn’t stop talking about how they lost weight, had more energy, and felt amazing, I decided to test the claims myself.

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I also was intrigued by what I’d read on the diet’s effects for folks with Type 1 diabetes (the kind you’re born with). My fiancé, Nick, has to deal with all the pin pricks and blood sugar crashes that come with having Type 1, and isn’t much of a dieter. But he decided to try the diet with me, and we gave ourselves a goal of three weeks—not forever, but long enough (I figured) to notice a difference.

Full disclosure: We had two totally different experiences.

The goal of the keto diet is to put the body in a state of ketosis, where the body is starved of carbs and sugar (traditional forms of energy) and has to begin breaking down fat for fuel.

Keto dieters are allotted no more than 20-50g of carbs per day, depending on their body weight, height, and lifestyle. I used a keto calculator app to determine that I should have about 20g net carbs a day, which is calculated by subtracting fiber from carbs (for example: a cup of eggplant has 4.8 carbs and 2.5g of fiber, so your net carbs would be 2.3g).

What We Ate

An extensive Google search revealed that many healthy foods we love and eat daily (such as yogurt, oatmeal, quinoa, beans, corn, and pretty much all fruit) were off limits. But, cheese, meat, ranch dressing, and green veggies all get a green light.

This feels really counterintuitive. What kind of diet lets you eat a double quarter pounder with cheese (sans bun), but not an apple?

Cooking Light’s Food and Nutrition Director Brierley Horton, MS, RD, is not a fan, so when I told her abut my plan, she suggested I give it a pass. “I’m cautious of any diet that eliminates entire food groups, such as fruit,” she explained, “because you won’t be getting the key nutrients your body needs. It’s not a sustainable diet for the long run.”

I ignored Brierley for the sake of journalism (sorry, Bri!), and got to cooking.

Step one: I prepped several keto-friendly recipes for the week, and went shopping. One day I made a sheet pan dinner with sausage, Brussels sprouts, onions, mushrooms and herb butter. Another, I made kale salad with chicken, macadamia nuts, and lots of Parmesan. For lunches, I ate things like tuna salad-stuffed avocado. And to satisfying my pasta craving, I cooked zoodles with meatballs and low-carb marinara sauce. For my mashed potato cravings, I subbed in mashed cauliflower with lots of shredded cheese.

During the diet I also enjoyed steak, fish, and chicken, with a regular rotation of veggies. And eggs, oh my God, I ate SO MANY EGGS.

Image zoom Jaime Ritter

Since things like butter and cheese weren’t “off limits,” eating on the keto diet was super flavorful, and finding options at restaurants wasn’t difficult at all (almost anywhere has protein and greens, or a salad with lots of cheese). A favorite of mine was the Five Guys bacon cheeseburger with a lettuce “bun.” I could feel Brierley cringing, but hey, it was at least delicious.

Our Weight Loss Goals

Here’s the thing: It really does work for weight loss—we both lost more than a pound a week, while counting no calories, and eating all the butter and fat we wanted (more than I wanted, actually). I lost about 3.5 pounds in the three weeks that I was on the diet (though I gained a bit back toward the end, as you’ll see) and Nick lost more than 5 pounds, as well as gaining some other health benefits, which I’ll talk about below.

How We Felt

I had heard the transition to ketosis was supposed to be a little rough, but my friends all said they felt amazing after being on it for a few days, so I was unsure how I was going to feel. Unfortunately, it was more than just a little rough.

For the first few days I constantly had the grossest sensation of grease covering my mouth. I brushed my teeth at least two or three times a day to get rid of it. I blame it on all the extra fat I was eating from sources like butter, cheese, eggs, ranch dressing, fatty meats, and mayo. I also felt like there was no way I was losing weight—all the fat and dairy I was eating made me feel super bloated (in hindsight, I think it was all of the sodium.)

Then there was the worst part: The keto flu. The transition to ketosis involved a major energy drain caused from carbohydrate withdrawal. Keto flu hit me like a truck on day 2 and lasted until about day 4. During that time I felt super tired, achy, and slightly drunk. I was so foggy at work, I could barely concentrate. Nick had keto flu around day 3, and it lasted until day 5.

Related: How to Safely and Effectively Come Off the Keto Diet from Shape

Our keto flu was coupled with intense carb cravings (after this diet, I truly believe the research purporting that carbs and sugar behave the same way as cocaine and heroin.) Let me tell you, we were SUPER fun to be around during that first week, and our text messages looked something like this:

Image zoom Jaime Ritter

And guys, the sugar and carb cravings were so, so real. I wanted a cake donut so badly I would have thrown a rock through a Dunkin Donuts if I’d had the energy, and don’t really even like them that much—I know what’s in them. Meanwhile, Nick was craving a smoothie. A smoothie! In the three years we’ve been dating, I’ve seen him eat fruit a sum total of two times.

On night three, I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up a wedding gift for a friend, and I saw an elderly man licking a soft serve ice cream cone. I had taken three steps toward him before I realized I was contemplating ripping it out of his hand, and knocking him down, just so I could take a bite. I had to turn around and leave immediately. I’m not proud of this.

I felt like an absolute monster, and immediately Googled “keto flu cures.” Turns out eating lots of potassium helps, as well as guzzling water, so Nick and I upped our intake of foods like avocado, leafy greens, and salmon, which helped tremendously (I didn’t threaten any more old men.)

How Nick Fared

Nick lasted the entire three weeks, and had great success on the keto diet. Not only did he lose 5.3 pounds, but he had a far easier time controlling his type 1 diabetes. During the three weeks, he barely had to take any insulin on top of his basal (read: baseline) amount, which is incredible.

The day after we finished, he went to the doctor to get his 3-month average blood sugar percentage tested—what’s called the A1C levels. Someone without diabetes will an a1c level of 5.7 or lower—but Nick’s usually hovers around 8 or 9, which isn’t great.

3 months ago, his A1C was an 8.6. He had it tested the day after we finished the keto diet, and it was 7.6—an entire point lower! That’s a huge deal for diabetics, and Nick credits a low-carb diet for the changes. He says he wants to stay on the keto diet because it’s helping him manage his diabetes better, plus he’s losing a good bit of weight on it.

How I Fared

I, on the other hand, did not last the entire three weeks—but, hear me out. I made it 20 days on the keto diet, but the final weekend I attended my best friend Holly’s wedding.

I had been a perfect low-carb angel the entire wedding weekend. I pushed my mashed potatoes to the side during dinner, limited my cocktails, and made sure to eat lots of fat (gross, I know).

But Holly’s mom made her wedding cake—a gorgeous lemon curd and vanilla bean cake that was better-than-bakery quality. You could smell the bright lemon and creamy vanilla from across the room, and I knew that I was toast. I tried to hold strong when our server brought us all out slices, until Holly’s mom asked if I was going to try a piece.

She had traveled all the way from Ireland for her daughter’s wedding, and made the cake herself, and I just couldn’t resist any more—nor did I want to! I thought about it and decided that life’s too short not to eat the cake at your best friend’s wedding. So I ate every glorious bite of that carb-y, sweet cake, and I had zero regrets.

…that is, until I got super sick the next day. Apparently, when you give up carbs and sugar for weeks and then dive head-first into a massive slice of cake, your body doesn’t like it.

I’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say if you’re coming off keto, tread lightly. Otherwise, you’ll suffer.

Despite ending on a low note, keto wasn’t all bad. I was down 3.5 pounds until I had the cake, though I still ended up losing 2.8 pounds.

Plus, the diet forced me to become way more conscious of what I was putting in my body. I now realize that before starting keto, I was eating way too many carbs.

Though I realize there’s room for an occasional bagel at breakfast or a slice of wedding cake in a balanced diet, I definitely think I’ll continue cutting back on my carb intake. It was amazing—and kind of scary—to see the effect that cutting out carbs—and reintroducing them—had on my body.

Not all carbs are bad (in fact, you need carbs to live), but I realize that I was eating too much of the processed junk. So even though Nick and I had two very different experiences on the keto diet, I think we will both continue to eat more leafy greens, lean protein (we need a break from all the beef), and slash our carb intakes. And I think Brierley will be happy to hear that, too.

Beginner’s guide to the keto / high-fat diet

Why is it called ‘keto’?

If you eat according to the keto diet, your body should go into a state where it is constantly burning fat. As the fat burns, it releases by-products called ketones. Dr Atkins explains: “When this happens, you are enjoying a state called ketosis.”

What about exercise?

One of the things that Dr Atkins outlines in his book is that exercise is non-negotiable. “Not only does it elevate your metabolic rate while you’re exercising, but it keeps your calorie-burning meter cranked up for significant periods after you’re through. This means you continue burning calories at a good clip even though you’ve stopped moving.”

Sample eating plan


Two scrambled eggs

Two turkey sausages


Greek salad made with romaine lettuce, half a tomato, feta cheese, olives, and dill vinaigrette

Small can of tuna


Broiled steak

Oven-baked turnips

Rocket and round lettuce salad


Ten to twenty olives

Keto as a vegetarian

Many think that vegetarianism and ketogenic diets are incompatible, but the truth is that ketosis can be achieved without eating meat. Here is recipe from Dr Atkins’ book Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution that is both vegetarian and keto-friendly:

Aubergine Parmesan

In this easy-to-make update of the classic version, un-breaded aubergine is grilled, not fried, and then baked. Less work; less mess – and just as delicious.

Prep time: 45 minutes

Bake time: 30 minutes

6 servings

2 medium aubergines, about 680 g (1 and a half lbs in total)

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

340 g (12 oz) low-carb tomato sauce (without added sugar)

110 g (4 oz) thinly sliced mushrooms

10 large basil leaves, torn in pieces

225 g (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

60 g (2 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Slice aubergines into 1 cm (1/3 in) thick rounds. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 30 minutes for bitter juices to drain. Rinse and pat dry.

2. Heat grill. Arrange aubergine slices in a single layer. Brush each side with oil. Grill 13-15 (5-6 in) from heat source 2 to 3 minutes per side until browned.

3. Heat oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5); lightly oil a 23 x 33 cm (9 x 13 in) baking dish; set aside. Combine tomato sauce, mushrooms and half the basil in a saucepan and bring to boil. Cook 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Spread one half of the sauce on bottom of baking dish. Top with eggplant slices, mozzarella slices and remaining basil. Spread remaining sauce over layers. Sprinkle surface evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake 30 minutes until bubbling.

Total carbohydrates per serving: 15 grams (count only 10 ‘digestible’ carbs when doing Atkins); protein: 12 grams; fat: 16 grams; calories: 239

Dr Atkins’ book Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution breaks down the latest research into ketogenic diets, provides you with weekly meal plans, and countless keto recipes.

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