Low Carb Ketogenic Diet For Weight Loss and Diabetes Control–Getting Started

Quick start Low Carb Ketogenic Diet guide:

In a nutshell: It’s about insulin.  Insulin has two main functions.  1. It enables glucose to enter cells so they can utilize it for energy. 2. It promotes the deposition of fat into the body’s fat stores. The higher the insulin level, the more fat is deposited into and locked into fat stores.  Carbohydrates are the primary food type that stimulates insulin release. Eating foods very high in sugar and refined carbohydrates causes significant spikes in insulin levels which not only cause more storage of the food you just ate into fat but also adversely affects your liver and muscle tissues over time causing these organs to become resistant to insulin.  This insulin resistance then requires the pancreas to secrete more and more insulin to overcome this resistance which leads to higher and higher insulin levels which lead to more and more deposition of fat into fat cells resulting in obesity as well as metabolic syndrome which entails diabetes, hypertension, and vascular disease, ie heart disease, and strokes.  See Gary Taubes “Why We Get Fat” video below. Eventually, the pancreas is no longer able to keep up with ever-increasing insulin resistance in the liver and muscle and sugar levels start to rise causing diabetes.  The only way to reverse this and get insulin levels reduced to the point where they no longer keep fat locked into the fat cells is to lower the primary food type that causes insulin to rise, carbohydrates. If carbohydrates are removed from the diet or drastically lowered, the insulin levels begin to fall, eventually falling to the point where fat is no longer trapped in fat cells and is released into the blood to be available to be used by the body for fuel.  Your brain can’t tell if this fat in the blood came from something you just ate or fat stores.  This is why you aren’t hungry on a low-carb diet.  Weight loss results.  In diabetics, this weight loss improves insulin sensitivity resulting in improvement and often a reversal of diabetes.  See Eric Westman, MD and Sarah Hallberg, MD videos below. Basically, with a carbohydrate-restricted diet, you are reversing the basic causes of obesity and diabetes namely sugar and carbohydrates raising insulin which causes fat deposition and storage.  Years of eating foods high in carbohydrates especially sugar and refined carbohydrates, with resultant high spikes in insulin, over time cause the development of insulin resistance which leads to chronically elevated insulin levels and resultant metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Cutting carbohydrates reverses all this.

Why carbohydrate restriction rather than total calories or fats?


Limit all sugar: sweets, desserts, sodas, sweet tea, and juice, all juice!  Liquid sugar ie sugar sodas and juice are absolutely the worst offenders in causing obesity and diabetes.  Fructose, half of the molecule sucrose in table sugar is the main cause of fatty liver.

Limit starches and starchy vegetables: bread, potatoes, rice, noodles, corn, grains, flour, beans (baked, butter), peas, butter beans, field peas, cornbread, grits, cereal, fruit (yes fruit), and milk.

What you can eat: meat (any kind: beef, pork, poultry, fish, lamb), eggs, cheese, nuts (1 to 2 oz per day), and “green vegetables” ie broccoli, cauliflower, collards, okra, cabbage, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, string beans, onions, mushrooms, olives, pickles, etc.

It’s called low carb, high fat for a reason.  You replace carbohydrate calories with fat calories (not protein).  This diet keeps you in ketosis for enhanced weight loss and performance, as well as cancer-fighting properties.  See books and video references below.  Add butter to vegetables and dry meats instead of gravy, which has flour.  Cook collards and turnip greens with ham hocks, fatback, pigtails, and bacon grease like your grandmother did.  Eat regular not lean meat and regular ground beef, not a lean hamburger.

It’s ok to fry food in healthy fats like lard, butter (grass-fed if you can afford it–not margarine), beef tallow, (again like your grandmother did), or coconut oil rather than artificially processed vegetable oils like corn, safflower, soy, canola.   The vegetable oils, except olive, avocado, and coconut, are too high in omega 6 fats and are harmful, and cause cancer.  That’s right, the opposite of what the government has been telling you for the past 40 years, namely to substitute saturated animal fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Well, it was the wrong advice.  See Nina Teicholz video below.  Just don’t batter the food first.  Remember nothing with flour.

Grass-fed beef and dairy, ie butter, is best.  Higher in omega 3 oils, vitamin K2, more natural.

Milk has carbohydrates namely lactose so it needs to be limited.  Watch the carbs 11 to 12 gm per 8 oz portion.  If you do drink some milk make it whole, not reduced fat.  Fat-free milk causes far more weight gain than whole milk.

Yogurt is made from milk and the label will list the carbohydrate content of the milk it was made from, again 11 to 12 gm per 8 oz serving.  But yogurt is made with active bacterial cultures which ferment the lactose to lactic acid hence the bitter taste, as a result, the carbohydrate content is not the same as the original milk.  That is, it has been reduced by bacterial fermentation.

What about alcohol?– beer: way too much carbohydrate; wine: better but limited; hard liquor: ok, very little carbohydrate in hard liquor.

What about diet drinks? — Best to limit these too.  The brain senses sweetness and sends a message to the pancreas to release insulin and the insulin then drives ALL the calories you just ate, carbs, fats, and proteins into your fat stores. It’s best just to drink water.

Try to keep total carbs or at least net carbs (total carb grams minus fiber grams) under 20 grams per day.

Test urine daily with urine keto sticks to be sure you are in ketosis which usually correlates with weight loss.

Key books to read:

1. Any version Atkins diet books, esp “New Atkins for New You” By Eric Westman, Steve Phinney, and Jeff  Volek.

2. “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes

3. “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Tubes

4.  “The Case Against Sugar” by Gary Taubes

5.  “The Salt Fix” by James DiNicolantonio

6. “The Art and Science of Low Carb Living” by Phinney and Volek.

7. “Big Fat Surprise Why Butter Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet” by Nina Teicholz.

7. “The Great Cholesterol Con”  by Malcolm Kendrick.

8. “Cholesterol Clarity” by Jimmy Moore.

9. “Keto Clarity” by Jimmy Moore.

10.  “How Statin Drugs Really Lower Cholesterol and Kill You One Cell at a Time” by Hannah and James Yoseph.

11. Always Hungry by David Ludwig.

Key Articles:

Copy and paste the web addresses to your address bar

1. Dietary Carbohydrate Restriction as the First Approach in Treatment of Diabetes http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(14)00332-3/abstract

2.Gary Taubes New York Times:  “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?”: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html

3. Low Carb Diet Recommended for Diabetics by Bob Shepard.


4.  Carbohydrate restriction should be the basis of treatment of diabetes.

5.  Article by Osma Hamdy, medical director obesity program, Joslin Clinic Harvard Medical School. “The era of recommending low fat, high carbohydrate diets to treat diabetics should come to an end.”  The Harvard Joslin Clinic has been the premier diabetes research center in the world for over 80 years.


Key On Line Videos –all searchable on Youtube:

Key On Line Videos –all searchable on Youtube:

Eric Westman’s video on how to do a low carb diet.

Eric Westman, MD, professor of lifestyle medicine ,Duke University Medical School.  Excellent video on the science of low carb diets to treat diabetes.

Eric Westman: the science behind low carb high fat diets to treat diabetes:

Sarah Hallberg discusses the Virta Project, a large project studying the use of low carb, ketogenic diet to treat diabetes.  The results are so impressive that insurance companies as well as the VA are paying for patients to participate in it.

Sarah Hallberg: Reversing diabetes with low carbohydrate high fat diet.

Steve Phinney physiology and clinical aspects of low carb diets.  Recent developments part 1

Steve Phinney Recent developments part 2

Gary Taubes Youtube “Why We Get Fat”

Gary Taubes talk on his book, The Case Against Sugar.

Still believe fats and cholesterol cause heart disease?  Watch this video.

The American Heart Association says you should limit salt intake….Wrong!   Watch these videos.

Ketogenic diets to treat cancer.

Phinney and Volek Jumpstart full interview:

Jeff Volek: The Many Facets of Keto Adaptation:

Steve Phinney: The Art and Science of Low Carb Living and Performance

Steve Phinney: The Aboriginal Argument:

Jeff Volek: How your blood panels respond to a ketogenic diet:

Tom Naughton: Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds

Dr. Dominic D’Agostino ketogenic diet for cancer

Robert Lustig, MD “The Bitter Truth”