The Hidden Dangers Of A Low Carbohydrate Diet

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Articles, Low Carb & Ketogenic Diet

If you're a frequent visitor to this website, or listener to the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast, you've probably gotten the idea that I'm a pretty big fan of limiting your carbohydrate intake.

And you'd be right.

To understand why low carbohydrate eating can bestow some significant health and performance advantages, check out my Perfect Health Diet interview with Paul Jaminet, or listen to the perils of constantly elevated blood sugar levels in this episode with Nancy Appleton: Which Foods Contain Hidden Sugar That You Didn’t Even Know About.

Or go read about how physically active individuals may be able to actually benefit from strategic low carbohydrate intake in my article 4 Reasons To Think Twice About Eating Carbohydrates Before A Workout or (if you're a Rock Star Triathlete Academy member) you can read 5 Ways to Get A Big Carbohydrate Restricting Performance Advantage.

In a nutshell, pun intended, as you begin to increase carbohydrate consumption above the levels that you need for survival or periods of intense physical activity, you lose your ability to rely on fat burning mechanisms, and you experience the damaging effects of chronically elevated blood sugars, including neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), retinnopathy (eye damage), increased cardiovascular disease risk, potential for cancer progression (tumor cells feed on sugar) and bacterial or fungal infection.

Unfortunately, whether due to a misinterpretation of what low carbohydrate dieting actually is or an “all-or-nothing” approach to restricting carbohydrates or perhaps the influence of low-carbohydrate-done-wrong diets like Atkins, many people (and especially athletes) try or attempt to try a low carbohydrate diet and end up messing the whole thing up, experiencing the hidden dangers of a low carbohydrate diet and hurting their bodies.

So what are the hidden dangers of a low carbohydrate (AKA “ketogenic”) diet?

Here are the low carbohydrate risks, in ten steps:

1. Your body stores carbohydrate, mostly in your liver and muscles, in the form of glycogen. Depending on your size, you can store roughly in the range of 1500-2000 calories of storage carbohydrate (although that number is fairly variable based on your fitness and size).

2. If you're sedentary and don't really exercise much (which I don't encourage), this amount of storage carbohydrate is more than sufficient to get you through a typical day. Really, your body only needs a maximum of 600 calories of carbohydrate to survive each day – and that carbohydrate can be derived from diet, or from you own storage glycogen.

3. But if you're active and at the same time consuming a low carbohydrate diet, you can easily burn through your liver and muscle glycogen stores in anywhere from 2 days to a couple weeks. The nice part about this, if you're trying to lose weight, is that since glycogen carries up to four times it's weight in water, a low carbohydrate diet can quickly shed 5-10 pounds (or more), which seems quite satisfactory. But the problem is, most of what you've lost is A) energy to sustain intense physical activity and B) water.

4. So now you have very little storage carbohydrate and are potentially dehydrated. If you're an athlete or a physically active individual, this means that you're limited to utilizing fat as a fuel for energy. Fat, through a process called “beta-oxidation”, can provide tens of thousands of calories of readily utilizable fuel, but the problem is that it burns far more slowly than carbohydrate.

5. This means that if you're on a strict low carbohydrate diet, you can say goodbye to intense weight training, track intervals, or just about any activity that would be consider “tempo”, “threshold”, or “intervals”. And this is the stuff that adds lean muscle to your body, boosts your metabolism and gets you fit fast – compared to a slow and sluggish slog in your “fat-burning zone”. This is not negotiable by your body. It is simple physiology. When you deplete muscle glycogen, there is a directly proportional increase in muscle fatigue, and also an increase in muscle catabolism (direct metabolism of your body's own muscle protein, or conversion of that protein into glucose via gluconeogenesis). Many people on a low-carbohydrate diet simply stop exercising, because it can suck so much.

6. As you lose muscle mass, your already handicapped metabolism drops even more. I will acknowledge that muscle fibers don't burn as many calories or boost your metabolism as much as we all like to think, but this is still an important consideration for those trying to maintain lean muscle mass or tone.

7. For active people, this trouble may all be “in vain”. Since physically active individuals and athletes are far more sensitive to insulin and less susceptible to blood sugar fluctuations, any attempt to eat low carbohydrate in conjunction with exercise, for the pure purpose of “controlling blood sugar levels” could be a mostly unnecessary endeavor anyways.

8. Low carbohydrate diets, if implemented improperly, result in low fiber intake from a sharp reduction in plant-based food consumption, which can increase risk of digestive cancers and cardiovascular disease, and also leads to constipation and bowel issues. In addition, a drop in fruit, vegetables, legume and grain consumption can result in inadequate phytonutrient, antioxidant, vitamin C and potassium intake. Many (but not all) low carbohydrate diets have these problems.

9. Typical “low carbohydrate” meal replacement bars and shakes, ice creams or ice cream sandwiches, and other low carb or sugar-free snacks often contain potentially unhealthy ingredients like maltitol, and are chock full of preservatives and highly processed ingredients. If your low carbohydrate diet involves boxed, wrapped and packaged food, it probably falls into this category.

10. There can be long term health issues as your body is chronically carbohydrate depleted over extended periods of time. Your liver is exposed to extra stress as it is forced to assist with manufacturing glucose from fats and proteins, potentially toxic amounts of ammonia are produced as proteins are converted into glucose, your body has a more difficult time producing mucus and the immune system becomes impaired as risk of pathogenic infection increases, and your body loses the ability to produce compounds called glycoproteins, which are vital to cellular functions.

So is it possible to “do a low carbohydrate diet right”?


And later this week, I'll be posting more about low carbohydrate diets, potential benefits, and how to do a low carbohydrate the right way.

But until then, feel free to leave your questions, comments and feedback below.

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197 thoughts on “The Hidden Dangers Of A Low Carbohydrate Diet

  1. Daz says:

    Like anything, if you take it to extremes it is very easy to cause harm. However, a low carb diet does not have to be unhealthy or cause issues. Of course people need to be aware of their body and re-assess if they have issues. When I hear about someone having chronic stomach pain or fatigue for weeks on end and STILL sticking with the low carb I wonder what the hell they are playing at.

    Some people are taking low carb way too seriously. There is no need. I bet most people would benefit if they just halved or quartered their carbs. There is no need for most to go absolutely nuts with the diet.

  2. Brian says:

    Could you cite some sources for any of your claims? Research studies, medical handbooks, etc?

  3. Sunshine says:

    Good day all,

    This has been the second time I’ve responded to an article. I’m currently working on my master’s in Nutrition. I strongly suggest everyone read a book called, “Understanding Nutrition” by Whitney & Rolfes. 15th Edition. You will be quite surprise and become more knowledgeable with the truth. Furthermore, if there has not been any scientific testing/ proof to back what anyone has written, chances are, it’s false. Stick to basically edu./ peer reviewed, gov., and some scholars articles where real test have been accomplished. Those who have been to college know you can’t turn in any papers without reliable sources for references or write your own personal experience as facts. Moreover, as a reality for everyone else. Two areas we have the most control over are our diet and exercise. These can both have huge effects on overall health, and can be some of the main factors in preventing disease and other complications later in life. Dietary needs differ for every person. We are all different and unique in our own way. What works well for one might cause serious harm to another especially if you are dealing with other issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, low/high cholesterol, etc. The answers to all your questions are in this book. I’ve learned so much and from facts, not opinions. Also, take a look at (help consumers better understand their eating and activity choices) and (learn about the different diets and how they can benefit you). Oldways advocates for the healthful pleasures of real food.

    1. Ave Joe says:

      All science programs should include Philosophy 101 and part of the curriculum.

      @sunshine – Regarding you statement ‘become more knowledgeable with the truth’…..there is nothing (and I mean NOTHING) that can be classified as “truth” in science. It all depends on the definition and (the reciprocated) understanding of the question!

      The question “is a low carb diet bad for you?” can mean many different things. It depends on the capacity in which you are asking and/or answering the question.

      If this were not the case then why do two “experts”, given the same set of data, come up with two differing conclusions?

    2. Tom Clayton, MD says:

      May I suggest that you finish your nutrition studies FIRST and read more widely than just “Understanding Nutrition” by Whitney & Rolfes? Your inexperience and limited understanding of disease results in grossly incorrect statements like this:

      “What works well for one might cause serious harm to another especially if you are dealing with other issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, low/high cholesterol, etc.”

      Did I miss where you went to medical school, residency training, or have done PhD research and have experience in the field before you decided to be a nutritionist? You are still only a student and I don’t mean lifelong learning students like me who have many years of experience, I mean you are still learning the basics. You are in no way qualified nor can you support the statement above because you don’t know what you don’t know.

      What works well for humans who do not have unusual genetic abnormalities or other “outlier” diseases (a tiny percentage of the total) works well for all of them; I worked for Joseph Goldstein in medical school (elevated LDL causes CAD) but now I am completely the opposite now that it is known that it is not LDL; decades of nutritionists, doctors and other healthcare professionals got it wrong and many people have died prematurely or had to suffer from otherwise avoidable morbidities because of this.

      It is now clear that the LCHF diet works for everyone regardless of individual disease processes. In most if not all cases of chronic diseases, it cures them. Certainly LCHF for one will NOT cause serious harm to anyone else.

      1. Dee-Dee says:

        Actually, This diet caused harm to my liver and I killed off all my good digestive enzymes using this diet. I was on HFLC for 3 years and over the past 8 months, I became sererely and chronically ill. Resulting in me throwing up bile, and literally excreting grease in my stool. After two months of every test, scan, scope and MRI, they found my liver was not breaking down fats anymore and had somehow turned into mostly a fatty liver.

        I went on this diet to help with my autoimmune issues (Lupus, Crohns, alopecia, tarlov cyst on my back…ect). Unfortunately this did not work for me. I am still, however, a fan of HFLC diets, but happen to agree witht the first comment on here. What is right for one, may not be right for all!

    3. Y. Walker says:

      I enjoyed the initial article. I believe that low carb diets may have their disadvantages. There could be imbalances when removing an entire food groups such as the natural healthy grains, legumes etc., that God has created. Scientist sci have benefited us with so much of there work and studies. However, they can be wrong too such as the teaching that humans evolved from animals (apes, gorillas, primates, whatever) when the Bible teaches that God created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. So we shouldn’t automatically believe every single thing that is written in books, or consider to be ‘documented truth’ because we keep learning things all the time. And things that were practice medically back in past centuries have now been proved to be inaccurate. So, we can’t say that this man can’t possibly be onto something because every revelation has It’s beginning!:) think about how they developed penicillin! All I know is that I I am not sure that removing or deleting an entire food group from your diet is a good idea. Especially because these things were created and came from the earth for our health and nutrition. Not to say that we don’t need to use some discretion according to our individual needs. But please, don’t come down so hard on the guy. 💚

    4. Francie says:

      just as you’d have others read the published articles from nutritional enthusiasts, I’d like to encourage you to follow some of the most recognized physicians, researchers and clinicians who have stretched others to consider diets which have had very positive effects on patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ADHD, depression, migraines and various other ailments. You might familiarize yourself with Dr Perlmutter, Dr Bredesen, Dr Ludwig … and so many more. You just might find the science quite intriguing.

  4. Tyler says:

    This article is utterly false and almost everything you listed was your own anecdotal opinion that was absolutely not backed up by any science, whatsoever.

    For example, who is the person that told you that you lose strength when you deplete your glycogen stores and why are you taking advice from a person who doesn’t know what they’re talking about? Furthermore, why are you basing a “fitness article” on hearsay?

    I’d be embarrassed if I ever wrote a piece of tripe like this.

  5. PaulJohnson says:

    It is better for diabetics to eat slow burning carbs: potatoes, peanut butter, vegetables, breads, dairy products, etc. VS. fast burning carbs: candy, sugared soda, cakes, ice cream, anything high in sugar. Just know what your carb/insulin ratios (how much insulin you have to give yourself for the amount of carbs you are intaking) are. Adjust according to the amount of carbs(sugars) you are intaking. And, you should be fine. Natural sugars are better than processed sugars.

    1. Keith says:

      Ben -unfortunately your posits are wrong….most of the audience that you are referring to are NOT athletes that burn 5,000 calories per day, so you should’ve stated that upfront. Rather the average american that does an average workout 30mins-1 hour a day only burn about 500 -1,000 calories. If you add that to a typical caloric intake of about 1,500 -2500 /day, its well below the need for addl “carb loading”. You also fail to mention that after your carbs are depleted your body starts to burn its fat stores “Ketosis” which is a more efficient fuel source than glucose, especially for the brain. (Pls refer to the research done by the NIH).
      Also, Keto diets have been recognized for decades as being more efficient for energy production, as you only need to follow the diets prescribed by epileptics, yes, Keto diet. Its widely believed that epilepsy is caused by the decrease in energy from neuron signal transmission. Which is also being researched and linked to most neuro-cognitive diseases; Alzheimers, Dementia, etc..

    2. Tom Clayton, MD says:

      No, it is better for diabetics to eat NO refined or starchy carbs. In contrast to the older blurb (below) from the ADA, it has now embraced the LCHF diet. The idea that bread and potatoes are “slow burning” carbs therefore OK is absurd; fine particles of ground wheat are quickly absorbed and the breakdown of potatoes is not far behind. Rice whether long or short grain is the same. For years the ADA did not want to offend it’s corporate sponsors, who were wedded to the LFHC diet and had spent a lot of money developing products that we now know are killing us.

      “According to the American Diabetes Association, examples of foods with low GI values — below 55 — include most fruits and nonstarchy vegetables, sweet potatoes, barley, rolled or steel-cut oats, oat bran, 100-percent stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, and pasta. Examples of foods that have a medium GI value — 56-69 — which are still considered slow-burning, include whole wheat, quick oats, brown rice, wild rice and couscous. Foods that have a high GI value — 70 or above — should be avoided. They include white bread, corn flakes, instant oatmeal, short-grain white rice, macaroni and cheese, saltine crackers, pretzels, rice cakes and popcorn.”

      1. Eric says:

        Hi Tom,

        Have you done any research in to the effect of a ketogenic diet with fungal or SIBO infections? Curious as I’ve read ketones fuel fungal overgrowth. I’ve seen conflicting reports on that.

      2. Brenda says:

        Popcorn is a whole grain ?

  6. Regina Gradys says:

    I’ve spent the last 10 years eating basically only meat and vegetables. I started drinking milk last year and the weight piled on. Too many carbohydrates! I don’t believe for a minute that a huge vegetable consumption is bad for your health. I cut out the milk and lost eight pounds! And my fasting blood sugar went down to 70. So I know this works.

    1. M Page says:

      Shawn Baker proves this article is garbage. Eat high fat meat, drink water= thrive

      1. Jim Peters says:

        Yea Shawn Baker is the lion king of nutrition!
        He lifts heavy things so must be right!
        Science is for Pussies… Doh!

      2. Thales says:


  7. sara says:

    I gained more calories once I completed low carb diet, I’d suggest only trying it for a couple of weeks at most and then transferring to a longer-term, lower-fat diet that includes a wide range of foods, including carbs

  8. Chase says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about this article. I’ve cut out carbs and occasionally allow myself a cheat day to where I will have some carbs. I did the keto diet and lost 20 lbs within the first few weeks. I’m now at a total loss of 35 and have been doing this for 4 months. I’ve noticed a significant change in endurance and strength. My arms, legs, back and chest are more defined. It is taking a while for my stomach to get defined but it’s definitely thinner as I have lost 2 pant sizes and need to purchase a new belt. I feel that my low carb diet goes in line almost perfectly well with my workout. I do those low-carb meal replacement shakes from one stop nutrition and it makes a difference. If I’m doing this wrong, someone please let me know. I’d rather not have kidney failure or develop any form of cancer from this lifestyle change.

    1. Chase, check out the Kion community on Facebook. Because I get so many questions like this and it's impossible for me to respond to everyone individually, I built this community of like-minded people who both have advice and are seeking advice!

    2. Hal says:

      Been keto now for 3 months. The goal was to reduce systemic inflammation (& joint pain) and so far, my psoriasis is 90% gone AND, greatly reduced joint pains… I can now feel good about wearing shorts this summer for the 1st time in decades. Can do weight training with good intensity. It’s about carb ‘timing’ around the workouts and I’m not talking ‘more’ carbs.
      Whenever someone says I can’t do this long term without dire health consequences, my reply is this:

      “You mean if I don’t start eating bread, pasta, rice & oatmeal again, I’ll get sick?” …… end of conversation.

      I laugh at the idea low carbs are dangerous. My now gone psoriasis is the canary-in-the-cave analogy that I’m on the right track and that the high carb myth is nothing but funded baloney by the people who make the most profits off you buying those food groups.

  9. Chris says:

    I’ve been doing ketogenic diet for over 5 years. I lift weights 5 days a week. I know several others in the same boat as me. I eat over 3,000 calories a day – sometimes up to 4,000, and I’m at 12% body fat at age 38. There’s a lot of misinformation in this article; if you would like to know where you’re wrong, feel free to contact me.

    1. Keith says:

      Agreed. The information in this article is misleading at best.

    2. Lorette says:

      Hi Chris. I am a 42 yr o female and overnoast year lost almost 60kgs on a low carb lifestyle. I am adjusting it now to full on keto but all whole foods no packaged or bottled or preservative stuff except for my whey protein. I drink a lot of water and am wanting to start going to gym more. I would appreciate tour input on whT type of meals to eat before a gym session like cardio and weights respectively? Thanks in advance! Lorette

      1. Verland says:

        Yes that is my question also.. I’m going to continue to listen to suggestions …

    3. Paolo says:

      Hi Chris! I would be interested.

    4. Riajoy says:

      Hello cris

      After 2 months i give birth i start keto diet,i am not breast feeding . My question is ,it is good or safe for me?

      Thank you


    5. c says:

      I am doing a 80% fat, 10% carb, and 10% protein. Is this too low?

      1. Lynda Stone says:

        You should up your protein and lower your fat intake. The protein will help with building and repairing lean muscle, also with brain function. That high of fat intake can lead to cardiac issues and kidney problems. Good Luck!

      2. kammy says:

        If your doing a keto diet, not too low. Keto is more like 75/5/20, though. It’s Not my style of a sensible meal plan. Good luck. As mercola says just cut back on your carbs and you’ll lose weight, if that is what you want to do.

    6. Donald Gillmore says:

      I’ve had similar experience. Low carb for about 5 years, very low carb and Primal for almost 3 years now. For the last couple of years I trained hard as a bike track sprinter, I’ve set records, won medals, and these days I lift weights including squats 3x/week plus 1x/week sprinting (run) on the track. Today after a few warmups, I ran 4 x 200m intervals at max effort. In my 20s when high carb I was on the national cycling team riding track, I did not have as much energy to train as I do now, at age 51. Often I would have an energy crash at least once during the day, often in the afternoon, and it would be hard to get out of that funk to go out and train. Now I have much more reliable energy levels. I believe that we are meant to eat very low carb some of the time, but at the same time, aren’t meant to go out and train hard every day, or even 3 days in a row. I let my body recover naturally and know that Gluconeogenesis will take care of my glycogen stores for the next workout. In fact, come to think of it, one of the key benefits to a low carb style of eating, for people like me, is that it helps govern the amount of training volume at high intensity.
      to a reasonable level, still more than enough to get the beneficial effect though. With unlimited access to carbs (unlikely for our ancestors) we are free to indulge in the most ridiculous training schedules which the human metabolism is probably not designed to handle long-term because our ancestors did not waste energy like that.

  10. Chet says:

    I did the ketogenic diet for 10+ weeks with no cheats. By week 6, I was registering 2.0+ mmoLs fasted each morning, however I developed really bad anxiety/ borderline depression. I pushed through for another 4 weeks thinking electrolytes, micronutrients, etc. were out of whack but had blood work done and all came back back normal. I never experienced anxiety like this before and there was absolutely no reason for it. I adjusted everything except the diet duriing weeks 6-10 to try and eliminate stress to no avail. I have slowly introduced carbs again, but no more than 50g pre and post workout. It seems to have helped some, but not totally with the anxiety. I have noticed that when I have a meal with extremely high fats the anxiety seems to creep up. Has anyone had issues like this with keto? I can’t find any papers on this, but have seen some forums with people saying the same thing.

    1. Al says:

      I tried a candida diet which is a low to no carb diet. It causes severe anxiety because the candida in our systems start to die off and release toxins that affect the brain in several negative ways. Candida feeds on carbs and sugar. So by doing a low carb after many years of building candida, you start the die off process.

      1. James Watson says:

        I have been in ketosis on five separate occasions. The last time I ate so little carbs that i had panic attacks and severe anxiety. After four days of this I googled, “can low blood sugar cause anxiety?”
        I got a yes on this so I mixed up a green smoothie and added a cup of blueberries for carbs (one cup). Drank it, fell asleep for an hour, woke up, no anxiety. I never had it again. It seems that too a low a level of carbs ingestion was my problem.
        I am adapted to burning fat and follow a modified Ketogenic diet. I eat 30% protein, 15% carbs and 55% fat. i intermittent fast 14 hours a day and do fine on this program.

    2. Fred_Flintstone says:

      Yes. How much protein are you getting? I have the issue when I have too much protein and not enough fat/good carbs. I get anxiety, heart palpitations, some trembling/nervousness. For me, I can usually get out of it by putting some carbs back into my diet. You may need to check your Blood Sugar when you have those feelings to see if it is low. I started tracking this recently to see if I could come up to a real reason for the anxiety and found that my BS if very stable (75-95 any time I take it, usually higher in the am and stable to low in the pm). I also found that I bottom out within an hour or so after a meal, especially large meals. I had my two worst anxiety attacks within an hour of eating a meal….I checked my BS the second time and it was 60mg/dl. I was on 18-20g carbs with a little too much protein during the second event (very similar to my first event) and also not getting my required sodium and potassium. It is critical to monitor all of your nutrient/micronutrient intake. It is also critical to pay attention to your body and if you are not feeling right you need to adjust. Good luck!

    3. Kris says:

      I’ve only been restricting carbs since Sunday night and tonight is Tuesday. About 15 mins after eating high protein and fat, I a, sweating almost profusely. Today, my 2nd full day, I couldn’t drink enough water! I was SO thirsty all day and chugged bottle after bottle of water. During the sweat spells I do feel a bit anxious but I also have an anxiety disorder. You could be having low blood sugar, when I get that, I shake uncontrollably and have a ravenous appetite, almost animal like! I will eat or drink something with carbs and the attack shuts down fully within 10 mins, but my body will feel exhausted as if I’d gone swimming all day.

      Back to the sweating and thirst, is that normal detox symptoms?

      1. Lynda Stone says:

        This is called the Keto Flu. It usually passes within a week.

    4. Andrea says:

      Yes I have. I have terrible anxiety and I can even feel it in my right leg if that makes any sense. However all my numbers are very good. I have wondered if it is withdrawal symptoms. I have no evidence to back that up. Some processed foods contain highly addictive chemicals.

  11. Jami says:

    I tried low calorie / low fat for years. Couldn’t lose any weight. My body, and I’m sure others as well, don’t process glucose properly. THe only thing that works is low carb. My body fat, blood pressure and fasting glucose ( HAD Metabolic Syndrome) all WNL now. Not ever going back to high carb consumption. I will pick now and then at a chip or two or have a little more berries or tomatoes than I should, but I won’t be trying to starve myself ever again to lose weight. Calories in Calories out is a lie.

  12. Jennifer says:

    wheres a link to the alluded to article? im currently on a candida cleans diet: aka low or no-carb diet. i also lean towards paleo, which can put me high protein. we are definately high GOOD fat tho, and try to make most of our food by scratch. Im interested in your guide to doing this low carb right. im currently suffering from depression and mood swings. this may be due to candida, or hormonal. But i remember that being a side effect of the atkins diet too.

  13. Milo says:

    Hi, I notice that this article and some comments have mentioned that the liver manufactures glucose from fats. Isn’t this totally untrue? I thought it manufactured ketones from fats and those were converted into ATP? I know protein is converted to glucose but I thought fats converted to ketones, not glucose, and ATP is made from the ketones and not glucose at all.

    1. Mark says:

      You are correct, this article has too many flaws to mention, but I gave up before finishing. Low carb diets must include the High Fat hence LCHF, and not high protein. Once in Ketosis, you will have plenty of energy for an intense workout as well.

  14. Tomeca Tollar says:

    I have been doing the keto diet for about 3 weeks now and I feel great. I also take magnesium and potassium supplements daily to make sure my electrolytes are okay..

    I just watched a video on YouTube of a young girl doing keto for one month and she passed out. Her doctor said it was because depleted all of her glycogen stores and that her brain and heart were not functioning properly because of this.. She said the doctor told her this is unsafe and could cause a heart attack, and that a heart attack at such a young age wold mean death, so she should stop the diet, or do it underr professional care.

    Is this true? I would also like to know if there is anything I can do to prevent this?

    1. Milo says:

      Hi, it sounds like your friend may be one of those that cannot adequately function on a ketogenic diet, there are some such as diabetics that will die if they go on a keto diet! That being said, just look up ketogenic diet therapies for Epilepsy. It’s the most mainstream use of a ketogenic diet in a clinical setting. It’s a prescribed therapy that sometimes is the only solution for tough cases of Epilepsy. Furthermore, it’s almost ALL children that are prescribed this diet. And this is in major hospitals and legitimate health practitioners. It’s not junk science or hype. So if your friend was on the verge of a heart attack, they may well be one of the few who cannot support a keto diet. And this is indeed very dangerous and fatal to those who’s body’s cannot support keto. I know some diabetics fall into that category but not sure what others. Hope this helps. For clinical settings/hospitals, it’s stated that the person on the diet should always be monitored by a doctor. But many including myself do keto without clinical monitoring. I haven’t had issues.

      1. Milo says:

        Hi I just saw it was a video you saw, not a friend lol. Anyway, if you’ve been okay for 3 weeks, it seems impossible to me that you are one of the rare cases that cannot do keto. I’m not a doctor but it seems like it’s totally fine for you. You’d know if you were in acidosis by now, you would have died already. lol.

    2. It sounds like she was on a medical ketogenic diet which is far different than a “normal” ketogenic diet. I am a big fan, for these reasons, of things like cyclic ketosis and nightly carbohydrate refeeds, along with not combining ketosis with very high levels of physical activity.

    3. Richard says:

      I know this is an old post, but the “keto flu” or problems like what were described are probably due to insufficient electrolyte intake. Phinney and Volek talk about this in both of their books (Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living and Performance). More than likely the girl was also restricting sodium intake (because we were told to be afraid of salt, too), which is fairly normal when going low-carb, since many foods people eat, like sandwiches, burgers, pizza, processed foods, contain tons of sodium. So, when you cut those foods out . . . I’ve been on keto for 6 months and once I upped my sodium and potassium (and magnesium and calcium) intake to the levels recommended by Phinney and Volek, I started doing better all around, especially with exercise performance.

    4. Ryan says:

      I would want to know the age of the young girl. Children and adolescents have to have carbs to build a human. Adults are different… we aren’t growing bones at the rate a young person is.

  15. Matthew says:

    Hi Ben,

    I was very interested in your comment about mucus production. Throat cancer treatment from 3 years ago left me with impaired salivary function. I went on a keto diet about a month ago, and about a week later got a sore throat that wouldn’t go away. A strep test came back negative, and i have no other viral symptoms. Could this be simply irritation from dryness? Can you point me to more information about how mucus production becomes difficult in ketosis?

      1. Matthew says:


  16. Wilma Mahne says:

    I cannot see anything wrong with eating meat, fish, chicken and vegetables. This is good clean eating… and naturally weight loss will occur. I have lost 25kg on a keto diet and there were not any wrinkles on my face because of the natural fats, i.e. butter, cream etc. I cannot agree with you… it is not a all or nothing approach as they state you have to introduce carbs after two weeks…

  17. There'sa says:

    Dear Ben,

    Like your article. I have been working the keto diet since February. At first just low carb and pretty much no fiber. I had irratic stools for about 6 weeks. Now normal. I did realize I need the big 3 in my diet and alot from vegies. I do eat a lot of vegies like asparagus ,zucchini, cauliflower pretty much all above ground vegies. I cheat and make roasted turnips as a sub for potatoes really works satiate that craving.

    So, I do work out with weights. Interestingly have been picking up weight amount by about 30 lbs over diet period. I lost initial 10 pounds, but no more. I have lost inches all over. Look better , feel better.

    My new go to food is hemp hearts!!!

    1. Mary Buchanan says:

      When you say you’re picking up weight amount, does that mean you’re gaining weight? Or does that mean you are able to lift more weight?

      I am very skinny and would like to try to maintain or gain weight on the ketogenic diet. If you are gaining weight can you tell me specifically what foods to eat to help you gain weight? It might seem like a contradiction to do this diet to gain weight, but I heard it was good for Lyme disease I have Lyme disease.

  18. nisga says:

    I had to stop low-carb because of marked gastrointestinal side effects. Within days of added carb/fibre from grain (whole grain primarily) and cut back meat and fat, my system began to normalize. I have gained most of the weight which was, of course, water. And that lack of water in my system was creating terrible illness in me. I am now eating about 100-150 grams carbs a day, which includes two (2) small bran muffins (which I prefer to cereal), pasta or rice a couple times a week, and cutting out bacon (loaded with nitrates anyway and so expensive) and cruciferous which I seem unable to digest without heightening IBS symptoms.

    I really don’t think I can go back on low carb. I have diverticulitis and impacted gall bladder, so it’s complex. I refuse to use laxatives, which I did have to for a couple times. That’s not healthy. I also learned eating breakfast (with fibre and carbs) was essential to regular and predictable peristalsis, which is also healthy. I really didn’t like doing that either, because I don’t like to eat breakfast. I’ve worked that out by eating very early morning. By 10 or so I can exercise. Do you have any suggestions? I am 75.

    1. nisga says:

      …3 litres water a day, while low-carbing, but it made no difference to gastrointestinal distress. I have also added back legumes, in small amounts, and usually with some meat protein.

    2. It sounds to me like you may have a small intestine bacterial overgrowth.
      This is the type of deep dive I usually do a consult for. I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

      Check this out for starters <a href="http:// :” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://:” target=”_blank”>:
      Also there is an entire hidden chapter of my book beyond training devoted to that ;)

      I am not a doctor and this is not to be taken, interpreted or construed as medical advice. Please talk with a licensed medical professional about this. These are just my own personal thoughts and not a prescription or a diagnosis or any form of health care whatsoever.

      1. Chalom says:

        I did keto for 8 weeks and lost some weight but in the process my exercise started to get really painful and getting worse I use to be able to run 10 miles with no issues but not 3 to 4 miles is painful. I stopped keto for over a month and eat normally lots of fruits i dropped 12 pounds during keto (164 to 152) but i cannot get my exercise back to what it was i take vitamins and even tried iron supplements but nothing is working… :( did i damage my metabolism? What you describe in the above article and to apply to me how do I fix it? I still run but its very difficult and requires a lot of mental energy to go out and exercise. Any advice would be helpful and appreciated

        1. I'd launch into a bit more of a cyclic ketogenic diet, then look into a DUTCH test for hormones <a href="http:// (” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(” target=”_blank”>( to see what is going on with your hormones. For a deep dive, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to and then choose a 20, 30 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

        2. Mary Buchanan says:


    3. Tammie Spence says:

      I just found out this week that I have some Diverticulitis, fatty liver, pre-dibetic, cysts, my gallbladder is thicking and the stuff hooked to it, and I am really consipated… I am also overweight, 46 years old.. I need to find a diet plan that will work for me. Keto was subjested.. but reading this and other side effects.. Could this help me if I added power fiber to some drinks?? With diverticulitis I have read that high fiber diet is important but adding more fiber via grains products also raises your sugar intake.. Any subjestions? Oh my fatty liver is not from alchol, it’s from high carb diet..

      1. John Smith says:

        Try eating flax. It’s high fat (Omega 3), and extremely low carb (nearly zero net carbs). Chia is also a good option. Here’s a few recipes that will help u get your fiber in on this diet without eating those nasty grains.

        Focaccia style Flax Bread:

        Dry ingredients (medium bowl)

        2 Cups Ground Flax meal (measure like flour, do not pack)

        1 Tsp Salt (or lite salt w/ potassium)

        1 Tbsp Baking Powder

        Wet ingredients (large bowl)

        5 L/XL Eggs

        1/3 Cup Olive Oil

        1/2 Cup Filtered water

        Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 15×10″ bar pan with parchment paper (everything but ends are covered), and then butter paper. Mix dry ingredients with whisk. Mix wet ingredients with whisk. Pour dry ingredients into wet bowl, and quickly mix together with whisk. Quickly pour mixture into pan, and level. Bake for 30 minutes, let cool, then cut into 12 pieces (refrigerate in large zip-lock bag).

        N’oatmeal (Not Oatmeal) hot cereal

        3/4 Cup Ground Flax Meal

        3/4 Cup Chia seed (divided, grind 1/4 cup of it, rest whole seed)

        3/4 Cup Unsweetened shredded coconut

        6 Tbsp Erythritol sweetener

        Mix together, store in an airtight container. Scoop 1/2 cup serving into cereal bowl. Add 1.5 cups of unsweetened almond or coconut milk and stir out clumps. Microwave for 2 to 2.5 minutes. Take out and stir out clumps again. Add several drops of either toffee or maple flavored stevia. Enjoy… Makes about 5 servings.

        I’d give you my chocolate flax muffin recipe, but it’s a bit too involved, and a bit more advanced.

        Anybody that says that an Atkins style (ketogenic) diet has no fiber in it, doesn’t know how to do the diet correctly in the first place. You NEED fiber for this diet. Not only for proper digestion, but it’s a very convenient way to get the needed fat and other needed vitamins and minerals. It is also the only way to have a baked good without the carbs

        For example. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, and other calciferous vegetables are extremely low carb/calorie, and make a good conveyance for things like butter, Alfredo sauce, or hollandaise sauce. I won’t even go into the cauliflower mashed “fauxtatoes” or fried radishes.

        HINT: I eat upwards of 1/2 pound of brussel sprouts or broccoli at supper, liberally doused with Alfredo sauce, which I use like a condiment around here. That, along with a big fist sized helping of fauxtatoes (google it). Pretty close to a pound of fiber in just one meal.

        Take a look around (google it). You’ll find plenty of high fiber ketogenic recipes out on many many web sites.

  19. Brooke Ochoa says:

    I started a strict low carb diet in January and have lost 40 pounds in 3 months. I see a difference but not a 40 pound difference. It makes sense now that it may be a significant amount of water weight I’ve lost. Thank uou. I was curious if you could tell me if I am depriving myself long term. My diet is simple, I only eat fish, green vegetables, berries, pecans, cheese, and milk. I snack on pork rinds and beef jerky occasionally and have coffee and tea a couple times week. I am diabetic and this diet has helped tremendously. I also have had liver problems in the past and don’t want to damage it anymore if I may be doing that. Thanks for this article and your response. Sincerely.

    1. It is highly possible that you are indeed depriving yourself but I would need to dig into your diet and a bit more detail to see. I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  20. Jackie says:

    I am counting calories and have lost an average of 2-3 pounds a week for the last month. My boyfriend started the Atkins diet (just meat, eggs and cheese) he eats no veggies at all, and dropped 8 pounds in one week. Very discouraging for me since i’m walking 5 miles a day and eating an 800-900 calorie diet daily. He is not exercising and dropping in a week what takes me a month !.. I tried his diet for a couple weeks and still only lost 2 pounds a week and my cholesterol numbers went threw the roof (never had cholesterol problems before) so I stopped it. Why does it seem easier for men to lose weight vs woman. ? My bf has dangerously high blood pressure always for years but when he is on Atkins his blood pressure goes to normal.? I just feel this is not a healthy way for him to lose weight but he loves the fast results. Am I wrong do not want to encouraging to continue his diet long term ?

    1. Hey Jackie, everyone responds to diets differently. I would start by reading through these:… and this:… and then if you want to go into detail feel free to book a consult at <a href="” target=”_blank”> and choose 20 or 60 minutes and we'll get you scheduled to go into detail in a Skype consult. Hope that helps!

    2. Annie says:

      I just started a low carb diet today as I’m finding low cal too hard right now. I am a 65 year old female and work out at least 4 day a week including weight training. I’m fit but need to lose 20 lbs. I’ve read that you should have no more than 20 or 30 g of net carbs per day, depending on the website. Today I am doing yogurt, strawberries, egg, ground steak, salad, chicken, other veggies and some cheddar. Net carbs 21. Looked at the calories as well and they are just over 1200. How many net carbs should I be getting since I workout?

      1. Hey Annie, I would have a read through this:… and then let me know if you have any questions!

    3. Kayla says:

      You are only eating 900kcal a day??!! The lowest you should be eating is 1200kcal and even that is too low. I eat 1800kcal a day and have been losing weight and I am 169lbs 5’9 and 30 and I am on a months vacation so I am very sedentary! Your body needs fuel to metabolize properly, you are INFACT starving yourself with that amount of calorie intake. You’re metabolism cannot work with such limited intake! I seriously suggest increasing calorie intake. Calories in calories out is not the answer!

  21. Aaron J. says:

    I run a Modified Ketogenic Diet and have no problem performing sprint intervals or heavy weight training. It’s a matter of adapting your body under whatever nutritional protocol you’re working with.

    1. Lobelia Andrews says:

      What exactly is a “modified” ketogenic diet? To me that would be like saying I’m partially pregnant.

      1. Ziad says:

        I have been running 10 miles daily and do 1 hour of weight training on Keto. My body fat is now stable at about 7% and my weight is also stable at 72.5 kg down from 80 Kg and 16% body fat (relatively muscular body). The bulk of the fat loss was on Keto and the first easier part of the loss was on low carb.

        As for running, I eat a medium banana in 5 equal portions during my run and drink 12oz low carb electrolyte . I also take a Gu but split it in to 4 portions. I do feel that my muscles are a little less bulky which I don’t mind but my strength is either the same or slightly higher.

        I eat more greens than ever before. I no longer take or need my constipation supplements. The nutritional information I gained in preparation and while on Keto are perhaps the most valuable of my Keto experiment.

        Many live on Keto, I personally do not believe it is normal to stay on Keto indefinitely. Maybe 4-6 weeks at a time is fine if you are a healthy person.

        I am almost hooked now on Keto. Once in, I do not want to get out. I will soon get out though but only after I test the boundaries of eating carbs and proteins before, while and after training.

        My only problem now is to remember to eat :)

      2. It means it's a ketogenic diet that allows for more calories than a simple extremely low carb ketogenic diet designed to manage something like epilepsy or disease.

  22. Hillary says:

    I’m 24 and worried that I could have done long term damage to my body. I was very low in carbs for 2-3 years and have slowly started adding some more in. Right now I’m at 80 a day and plan to add in more. Is there anything I can do to get my body back on track from being depleted from carbs for that long? I noticed an increase in energy when going from 20-40 a day. Will I continue to feel better going towards 100 or 200?

    1. Yep, but it can take up to a year to fully recover from adrenal fatigue, long term depletion, etc. – however, I'd shoot for 100-150g/day minimum if you're training hard.

  23. Mindy Leff says:

    Please comment on the right way to do a low carb diet. How many grams assoc with what activity level.
    Thank you

    1. Mindy, I would read this:…

      And if you want to go into detail feel free to book a consult at <a href="” target=”_blank”> and choose 20 or 60 minutes and we'll get you scheduled.

  24. The point you made about glycogen stores is important, acrbs are required for all body functions like powering the cells, signalling and everything which happens in the body.

    So i don’t believe in Low carb diet , low fat diet or a low protein diet, we need to balance our diet in a fashion to receive all required cellular nutrition.

    After a thorough working I could understand there are four major causes for type 2 diabetes

  25. Nicole says:

    In a much earlier reply to comment, you stated that low carb/high protein is a mistake, especially for women. Can you please elaborate on this? I think this is a mistake I may be making.

    1. Have a read through the section on females here:…

      And let me know if you have any questions!

  26. Paul Schultz says:

    I disagree with 4., 5., and 6., and forgive me for not reading “How to do low carb right.” I’m fat adapted, and doubled-down about 3 weeks ago to limit carbs to 50g or less per day while increasing fat. I’ve lost 5 pounds too without feeling hungry- I haven’t seen 143 pounds on the scale in a decade and have recently. I eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. I’m not dehydrated. I ran a 4×400 interval workout yesterday in typical lap time (1:27 in 80 degree heat in direct sun) which is the pace I ran for intervals on 100g-200g/day of carb (including gels and sweet potato refeeds) when training to BQ last fall on much cooler days. I did a Murph on Memorial Day with the 20 lb. vest in 49:34, which is at least as good as other CrossFitters my age (I’m not a regular CrossFit guy). A Murph isn’t so much about intensity as it is pace, assuming one is conditioned. I continue to lift heavy and haven’t lost any performance in the gym and my weekly 30 miles of running is not impacted by low carb. In my n=1 experiment I can claim that my athletic performance hasn’t suffered nor has my health.

  27. Martin Stehlik says:

    Hi Ben,

    question with regards to glycogen stores in muscles. Say you use all glycogen you have during your workout. How long does it take for our body to replace it? Does body have a mechanism to replace that glycogen from fat stores or does it come only from food intake (e.g. starches etc.). Can you recommend any reading on this topic?

    Thanks a lot!


    1. About 8 hours if you "load" with glycogen like potatoes yams, etc. Otherwise, 24 hours of eating ad libitum.

  28. rgew says:

    Glucose from fat ? What a nonsense, body start tu uses ketones when carb are off for a certain period of time and of course you eat enough fat.

    1. Jami says:

      Fat in the presence of Dietary glucose is no good. Your body creates ketones, which are broken down into glucose if you take in more protein than is needed. THis is a slow process, however. You need to watch your macros.

  29. Liliana says:

    Ben, now that I have come across your site, I have hope. I started Atkins 2 months ago. I feel horrible although I have lost 40 pounds. I thought in time, my body would regenerate and feel better. A flight of stairs makes me have to sit and catch my breath. I copied your recipe for the smoothly. I am 59, out of shape, have liver disease and some disability but this will not stop me from succeeding. Is it possible to get a meal plan. May be just a couple days work. I will be traveling soon and need to get 50 more pounds off and feel some energy. Yes I am smaller now, but I feel like crap. THANKYOU in advance for whatever you van share with me via email- [email protected]

    1. Yes, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  30. Irsan Yanuar says:

    Hello Ben,

    I am 52, Asian, 168cm/ 80kg on Keto diet. I do combination of weight training (2x a week) and HIIT sprints on weekends. My goal is to increase growth hormone.

    Am I doing it right considering my goal? or is there better way to increase growth hormone? Thx.

    1. This would be a great question to call into the podcast: natural ways to increase growth hormone. Here's how you can call this into the podcast: go to and try and keep it under 1 min!

  31. r calciano says:

    I was looking at the superhuman food pyramid and it just states # of servings per day but im confused as to how much you deem a serving of the recommended foods. Where can i find those amounts. Thank you

    1. In this case, it's exactly what the US government database lists as a serving for that particular food group.

  32. Jeff says:

    So where’s the article on how to due a ketogenic diet properly and avoid the pitfalls?

  33. Christine says:

    I’m have insulin issues and need to be on a low glycemic (which is low carb) diet. This article worries me that I’m doing it wrong. I don’t really eat much fruit because it its sugar content. I eat eggs and a whole grain English for breakfast, a Greek yogurt for snack, usually an all protein lunch or a salad and for dinner protein, green veg and a tiny bit of a brown carb or just a big salad. I’m I doing okay??

    1. If it were me, I get rid of the whole grains… And I'd also introduce more healthy natural fats and fewer proteins. If you read my book at , you'll find plenty of meals and resources there.

  34. j says:


    1. Yep, I know Sami. And he mitigated many of the risks by using the techniques I describe in this article.

  35. P Pilot says:

    please correct the spelling errors was logged on via phone and vpn to home computer


  36. P Pilot says:


    The assertion that “a high fat or high protein diet produces just as much insulin as a high carbohydrate.” is not supported in any of the research you provided above.

    The only study offered above – and its a stretch- that comes close to supporting your claim is the last article. However, it really doesn’t support your claim. This study doesn’t really tell us much of anything other than whey protein in this study had a pro-insulinogenic effect that is greater than white bread in this study. The study should be considered an outlier and can;t be used to extrapolate more that what is stated. Most people are not choosing whey protein over white bread and diets effect on body chemistry is more complicated than this very simplistic study. Note –high protein can cause higher insulin in the absence of carbs due to glucogenesis. Yet this does not happen with fat.

    If you were to compare a Ketogenic “diet” to a traditional american high carb “diet” you would find very different results to your claim. In that the Keto Diet would produce a much lower amount of insulin that the high carb diet.

    Further Non of the studies you offered say anything about fat producing as much insulin as a high carbohydrate diet. Which fat does not.

    I would encourage you to discuss your claim with Drs, Peter Attia, Dom D’Agostino, Jeff Volek, or Steve Phinney and would be very interested in seeing their response.

    Thanks for reading.

      1. JJ says:

        However, the effects of fat intake on insulin action and glucose metabolism in humans are less clear

        Thats what the bottom article said. We are not “lab rats”. Bad study or comparison.

  37. Ken says:

    Also im 45 yrs old and have a young family which is why im adking for help my test injections ate only to help yhe muscle around my spine and I take diasapan and tramoset for pain relief, its hatd on my back but I do work hard and need to lose weight as fast as possible before an op next year, like I say any help would be greatfull..

    1. Kenny, book a consult and we can go through everything. Go to <a href="” target=”_blank”> and chose 30 or 60 mins and we can go from there!

  38. Ken says:

    Hi Ben, I may be a pain but im stuck and need help, I thought I was on a carb free diet for s month and after reading all this I may have not, iv had chicken, fish n veg but know bread tatts or rice n pasta, am I ok as I weighing 16/9 st and im in the gym every and have six bust discs, its hard training but I push through with painkillers and s course of testosterone, im fighting the fat back but some help losing the weight and still gaining muscle would help me alot, please guide me on email if possible mate and thank you for reading this, regards kenny ward

    1. Sure thing – go to and choose between 30 and 60 minutes and we'll get you sorted.

  39. Dawn says:

    Hi Ben,

    I am type 1 diabetic of 46 years and a personal trainer. I’m quite active, however wish to bring my fat % down to approx 16. I am 5’6″, 130 lbs., BF 18.2, A1C of 5.1, with fat around obliques. My dailey intake of carbs is 20-25 g because it helps keep my sugars more stable. My nutritionists says I may not be able to lose the fat around my middle due to my insulin intake. I am also trying to find a shred diet for someone like myself. I burn approx. 4000 cals per week due to my consistent workouts. I love your confirmation regarding low carbs but currently at a standstill for myself.

    Can you suggest a nutrition plan for someone with my goals. Thanks,

    1. Hi Dawn,

      I cover that a little in this podcast:…

      If you'd like to schedule a one on one consult or nutrition plan you can go to, choose 20 or 60 mins, or a nutrition plan and we can get you scheduled after that!

  40. Julia says:

    Thank you so much for the information.

    I play Softball, at least 4 days a week and often every weekend all day.

    I recently went on a low carb to lose weight but also to sort of get my body back to basics. I lost 10 lbs in 2 weeks. Great news Except I have for the first time ever sustained 2 leg injuries, same leg. 1 pulled muscle in the groin, and the other (happen last night whilst running to 3rd base) I pulled a hamstring.

    I have been playing for about 7 years and never had a problem, know how to warm up etc.. I didnt think its a coincidence that this happened at a very similar time.

  41. marwitta says:

    hello. i really need your help in this. I have been on a protein diet now for 3 months..eating exactly everyday: oatmeal(1 egg, 2 tbl spoons oats, and 2 table spoons zero fat yogurt) with cheese and thyme and 1 tbl spoon olive oil and coffee with zero fat creamer for breakfast… grilled chicken breast for lunch… and 2 grilled eggs for dinner..some times i add another cup of coffee with creamer or cadbury highlight…. i have lost 6 killos… which is a lot for me as i am only 54kg now so i wasn't fat just chubby…i still have 2 to 4 killos i wanna lose but i am kind of facing plateau… i m an athletic person doing cardio training… yesterday i started doing weight lifting and will be stopping cardio for a month ( a program i got from… i wanna build muscles and burn the last few kilos of fat..but i am afraid of my diet as i dont take carbs… will i be able to do so by staying on this diet? i want to note that first my metabolism is a mess as i spent my life dieting…and if i should eat carbs now how should i do that..since as u know after a long protein diet any little amount of carbs will be stored easily… and i really cant gain back weight…i did a very hard job losing those kilos…plz hekp me..thank you

    1. You should check out a few links: This one about building muscle on a low carb diet… This one about how much protein you need… and this one on building muscle while losing fat…

  42. Cindy Malone says:

    Thank you for the low carb. Article. I have a neighbor friend that has been on the Atkins diet for over 15 years. He used to cook sausage 3xweek and I talked him into the 1xwk or less because of the high content of fat. He is now diagnosed with severe depression. Didn’t know if their might be a correlation.

    1. It would really depend on the quality of the sausage! The stuff I make from the venison I hunt is very different from you stuff people buy at Walmart.

  43. Samuel says:

    Hi, Ben. I’ve been on an extremely low-carb diet for two weeks, eating 1000-1200 calories per day. I lost 10 pounds in the first week, and am now 138 pounds. I’m a 6ft tall, 18-year-old male. For months I had been compulsively overeating sugary foods, going from 98 pounds to 155 pounds in just a few months. Now I’ve quit cold turkey, but realize from your article that this type of deprivation can be injurious to my health. Have I done too much damage already in 2 weeks, or does my metabolism have yet to significantly slow down?

    1. You likely haven't done too much damage yet but I would encourage you to read this… and then follow a diet more like this… and if you really want to get some help sorting things out, you can always book a consult with me, one-on-one style, at

  44. lchfmaniac says:

    Low carb high fat diet have one more problem. I think this is the big problem. I had before couple of months of a strickt LCHF diet for about 3 years. I do hidrocolontherapies once a year. My therapist says that people that eat too much meat and protein as all have big chances to stick foot in the gut or colon. We need to eat potatoes/starches/ only for one reason , our body cant digest starch and the main purpuse of the gut is to remove these starches from the body. And the starch is used as transport for the other food that is in the gut. Also other foods are not digested and used for transport – cellulose, onions and others.
    Ben, i think will be good if you make one podcast with theme hydrocolon therapies. This is the first step for everyone that want to be healty and want to live longer. With these therapies the body is cleaning at cellular level! And after that the body digest and absorb better and more micro and macronutrients at all.

    1. I covered enemas in the post (and a couple podcasts as well)… . What you are talking about is called resistant starch. You might enjoy this –…

  45. Curt says:

    After being a total butt towards my family for the past week and sick. I realized it was this low carb diet that did it. I would never recommend the keto/atkins diet to anyone ever again . I would rather be healthy happy than thin and unhealthy.

    1. Ha ha! Well, depending on how much of a carb burner you are, there is certainly an adjustment period. Once you get through that, you will find your mood is improved greatly and is much more stable. You may also enjoy looking at this…

  46. sammousse says:

    Hi–I'm 2 weeks into a ketogenic diet prescribed by my doctor (traditional western medicine, believe it or not!) in an attempt to help my lipid profile, without increasing my statin dose. I have a familial dyslipidemia problem and the women in my family die before 60 of sudden cardiac death, so. . . I'm willing to do this. I've always eaten quite low carb (~100g/day) but all this fat is very new to me.

    I'm doing tons of research trying to weigh risks and benefits of this approach. Once I'm sure I've keto-adapted (i started spilling ketones pretty quickly after starting –I think b/c I've been low carb so long and workout hard), I think I'll try doing some kind of carb cycling–for my workouts (Crossfit–which sucks bad right now), if nothing else.

    But right now, my question is about the information about long-term ketosis being dangerous for our immune systems. You write:
    "our liver is exposed to extra stress as it is forced to assist with manufacturing glucose from fats and proteins, potentially toxic amounts of ammonia are produced as proteins are converted into glucose, your body has a more difficult time producing mucus and the immune system becomes impaired as risk of pathogenic infection increases, and your body loses the ability to produce compounds called glycoproteins, which are vital to cellular functions."

    I haven't been able to find an research on this–can you provide some links to the studies that explain this and document the evidence for it?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Sure, the best place to start is here:… and here… – and if necessary, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. We can schedule ASAP after you get that.

      1. Jenn says:

        Do you have actual scientific research? .com and blog sites are not scholarly sources. I’m not trying to be rude. I just truly want to read the research. Thanks!

        1. On which topics specifically are you looking for scientific research?

          1. Marc says:

            I think the issue was concerning the claim that keto causes liver damage – or to be more precise: “our liver is exposed to extra stress as it is forced to assist with manufacturing glucose from fats and proteins…”

            Any scientific evidence to back up this claim?

            And I’m not trying to be rude, either :-)

          2. It would be primarily if combined with excessive exercise stress…

  47. kenny says:

    Ben my girlfriend has just dumped me and is a no carb diet. She has become emotional for no reason at all. Does this have anything to do with the diet?

    1. Hard to say. The "carb flu" can make people emotional if they aren't compensating correctly. Especially if she was VERY addicted to carbs and went cold turkey. Or maybe you are looking for a scapegoat? Jus sayin'…

  48. Carol says:

    My husband and I are starting a diet which is only going to involve lean protien (chicken, turkey mostly) and only getting carbs from vegetables that we will blend in our ninja blender. I know we must stay hydrated but I was told to only drink distilled water with electrolytes such as Smart water. Is distilled water best?

    1. Smart Water? The stuff made by the Coca-Cola company? No… don’t drink that. Take a look at these articles:… and… I would also make sure you are getting a decent amount of healthy fat from somewhere if you are only eating lean protein.

  49. Andrea says:

    Hello. I am a 34 year old female and suffering from the effects of a low-carb diet. My naturopathic doctor put me on the Paleo diet due to me being insulin resistant. After four plus months of following this diet, I weigh 100 pounds and am dealing with anxiety attacks, depression, low immunity (just trying to get over the cold/flu), no energy (no exercise), etc. I am now eating carbs such as rice bread, baked potatoes, millet, oatmeal and of course fruits and vegetables. Any further advice on how I can reverse the effects of this terrible diet? Thank you.

  50. Debbie says:

    I spoke with a doctor last December 2011, cosmetic surgeon, and she suggested 30g of carbs per day for women over 55 years old like me trying to lose weight with no success. I resent her suggesting that since I've been reading that could've caused serious complications and bad side effects like kidney stones. What are your views and can any damage from being on this regimented diet be reversed? I eat more carbs than that now but was restricting carb intake, from fruits mainly and whole grains, for several months.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    1. The kidney stones would only be an issue if you replaced that carb intake with PROTEIN rather than fats…you simply need to ensure that you are eating a high fat, moderate protein, low carb, and not traditional "Atkins style" high protein.

  51. Malin Ahlberg says:

    I long should it take to remedy the "see-through" skin problem. I am 40 years old. I have now started eating plenty of good carbohydrates and drinking lots of water. (I have to admit that I was not drinking much water at all earlier so I think my skin got severely dehydrated) Can I get my skin back and hide my veins again?

    1. Malni Ahlberg says:

      I meant HOW long should it take, not I long….

  52. Malin Ahlberg says:

    I have a question. I did a low carb diet for about 3 months and I lost 4 kilos. I work out a lot, running and weight lifting. After about 3 months all my veins started showing really bad. It looks awful and I hate it. (I am a female) It is like my skin has turned into glas, all veins show. I also feel that my muscles are less toned. Why is this? How can I fix it and get my body back ? Please help – I am desperate!!

  53. Mathew says:

    You are wrong on some very key points here Ben. Carbs are not required by the body to survive, and you are not going to "run out of glycogen" as your body will make more. What you are saying might be true for elite athletes, but for the "average joe", even an active one, it's simply false.

    There are plenty of elite athletes who do not eat carbs and who survive just fine, including Triathelete Jonas Colting.

    The fact is if you are eating a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet your body will run just fine, even doing training that you have suggested would be impossible.

    1. Mathew, I'm afraid YOU are wrong. The body does need glucose for several small organ functions (although not as much as common nutrition advice would lead us to believe). Re-read my article. I didn't say you need much glucose, but you do need trace amounts from dietary sources.

      1. matt says:

        thats why you do a carb up on the weekend

      2. phil says:

        Thats what gluconeogenesis is for. What on no carb high fat low protein your body converts proteins and fats into a very small amount of glucose for your brain. This is called gluconeogenesis and it is done so without eating any carbs so ben you are wrong

        1. There’s a reason why the breastmilk of all mammals contains anywhere from 5-20% sugar.

      3. cvankomen says:

        Yes, like the brain….specifically.

  54. Mike says:

    Looking forward to your article on Friday. I am 13 weeks out from IMAZ (are you doing that race btw?) and would like to drop 10-15 lbs before then. I did the TIm Ferriss slow carb diet from Oct to Feb of last year and lost 30 lbs and dropped 25 minutes off my half marathon time. Is that diet good for IM training? I did a lot of beans, mixed nuts, chicken, eggs, etc.

    1. Hi Mike…slow carb diet works pretty well for Ironman Training. I'm a bigger fan of this, though:…

  55. @ynottri says:

    Thanks for this Ben! I am a relatively new female triathlete who is 5'5" 117, pretty lean to begin with. I just started Paleo this week and lost 3 pounds in 3 days. I like the diet, but am concerned that I may lose too much. Any ideas you might have for the lean endurance athlete eating paleo? What types of high-fat foods might make more sense to be sure to include daily? Thanks again!

    1. Most of what you lost is glycogen/water weight. That's pretty typical! Don't worry – that rate of weight loss will subside after 5-10 days. I'll be posting more on this Friday about high fat foods, etc.

  56. Lindsey says:

    Great article, Ben. I trained for an NPC Bikini competition last year following traditional wisdom, you know, oatmeal, lots of protein shakes filled with chemicals, depleting water, etc and got down to 112 lbs at 5'3" and felt like death. Afterward, I went carb crazy and gained back 5 pounds by New Years. Back in the spring, I was reading a lot about low-carb Paleo and started doing that. I didn't lose an ounce. If fact, I got up to 130 lbs, all the while doing HIIT and weight training 5 days per week. After a couple months, I started eating more plant foods and cutting back on the protein and fat. I feel much better now, but I can't lose any weight. I've been at 134 lbs for over two months now and my digestive tract is not what it used to be either. (I'm taking digestive enzymes for that.) I feel like my body just went haywire on low-carb. Is it possible that some people just are not meant to "run on fat" like the Paleo crowd preaches?

    1. Sounds to me like you went low-carb, high-protein rather than low-carb, high-fat. Bad news. Especially for females.

  57. HK Sparky says:

    From your comment #4, you seem to insinuate that your body prefers to burn carbs for fuel and will do so as a priority until the carbs are depleted, after which it will resort to burning fat for fuel. I came across a similar insinuation during a lecture in my Human Biology class the other night as well. This confuses me. I had thought if you're in an aerobic state your body would burn fat for fuel and not resort to burning carbs until you're in an anaerobic state. If carb stores are full, lipid stores are full and protein stores are full what fuel source does your body choose when in resting up to aerobic state.

    1. the body does prefer to burn carbs as fuel *once you go to anaerobic threshold on up*. Up to that point, fats will do just fine and are preferred.

    2. themanu83 says:

      Our bodies are usually burning both glucose and fatty acids SIMULTANEOUSLY, however, glucose left free in the bloodstream is toxic (which is why insulin-dependant diabetics go blind, lose a foot or require dialisis), so the body prioritizes using available glucose first, shutting down fat burning in the meantime.

  58. Mark Oha says:

    Looking forward to your podcast, I did Atkins and it worked for me loosing weight, the second wind of energy comes I think after week of being on it, and you are spot on with having limited energy reserves I did notice this. I mixed up my meat with lots of veg and did my best to stay hidrated, the whole thing seemed right but wrong at the same time and something aimed more up the middle and balanced is probably the answer to this kind of fueling for the body.

  59. John says:

    Interesting opinion, but that's all it is, and it's full of problems. You say low carbers suffer from high amonia byproducts because they produce too much glucose, yet they suffer debilitating effects from not getting enough glucose. Both sides are rubbish and abviously both can't be true. Produce one case of too much amonia please. Our bodies need very little glucose, and burning fat is not that slow. It does become slow when you overload yourself with insulin, but that;s why HFLCers do what they do. They become fat burning engines. Many athletes are now converting, and nobody is shrivelling away. Grok on! The hardest argument to take is your disease card. There's absolutely no proof that fiber does anything but make you poop more often and smell more. There's no proof that fat causes heart disease. There's no proof that fiber reduces cancer risks. Nothing! On top of that, you'll find that most low carbers eat much more plant fiber than the average person. It's not all bacon.

    1. Afraid you have it wrong, John. I never said ammonia byproducts were from producing *too much glucose*, but rather breaking down *too much protein*. I also acknowledged in beginning of article that you only need 600 cal of glucose per day, whether from glycogen sources or diet.

      Next, a high fat or high protein diet produces just as much insulin as a high carbohydrate. I encourage you to do your research on that matter.

      Finally, if you go read or listen to anything I've written on fat, I have already pointed out that fat does not cause heart disease. And there are literally hundreds of research studies that demonstrate chronic disease reducing benefits of fiber.

      Like I said (and you would realize if you had actually read my article carefully, instead of skimming and jumping to the comments) – there is a way to do a low carb diet right. But lots of people don't do it right, especially athletes.

      1. NCL says:

        >>Next, a high fat or high protein diet produces just as much insulin as a high carbohydrate. I encourage you to do your research on that matter.

        A high fat diet results in just as much insulin as a high carbohydrate diet. Are you sure about that, it's counter to everything else I've read regarding low carb diets?

          1. chad says:

            Article not found.

          2. Sinvanor says:

            That article says ZERO about fat produces insulin. Also the studied participants were on a mostly carbs, somewhat fat and low protein diet. Not keto. The body produces it's own glucose only through carbs and protein not fat and insulin can be spiked with protein and carbs because of this. Fat and carbs are pretty much the only things the body uses. Carbs cause issues as humans aren't built for the intake we get with the level of average activity of a human being.

            The only real dangers with keto is if you already have or family has a history of heart and/or liver problems definitely consult with doctor first or just lower carb intake, but don't do keto if you want to lose weight. And most importantly DRINK LOTS OF WATER. You need to flush out excess ketones to avoid ketoacidosis. Which is a type of insulin resistance such as diabetes II presents.

    2. danny says:

      Top answers John. So much error in some peoples understanding of low cabs… or should I say Crap Carbs ? As not one of the Low Carb guys including Atkins say to you need to be Carb free, just mainly crap processed carb fee, and things like High Fructose Corn Syrup. I have been a Low Carber now for 12 years, and at 61, 6 feet tall, I weigh in at 175 lbs and have a 35" waist. I have no illnesses at all and my blood pressure is just 110/70.
      So keep up the good work of standing on what you believe to be a good diet of natural food that does nto kill or maim you.

    3. mistgodess says:

      Many people who are on low carb diet experience constipation,incluidng me,7 days constipated and I was not eating THAT low in carbs,around 80 grams of carbs daily.
      It is impossible to eat more plant fiber than the average person when you are on low carb,I know I am using something that counts all my carbs and etc.Even though I will still eat less carbs than the average person,I will not go very low in carbs because it seems that many people including me had very bad experiences.Moderation is the key.

      1. Chris says:

        Mistgoddess, my mag needs go up dramatically when I have more dairy (which I do on low-carb to boost calories), when I’m exercising more (which I do on low-carb since I feel so much better), when I’m either getting more sun or supplementing with vit D, and during the week before menstruation.

        First sign of low magnesium: constipation. Sign it’s way to low for me is an itchy crampy feeling in my right thigh. Usually I catch the first sign and add extra magnesium for a couple days, either orally or via magnesium “oil” used topically.

        Hope this helps.

      2. Magnus says:

        I’ve found using curry sauce (I can find it in the ethnic section of my supermarket pre-made) with something like ground beef or chicken (I like to make curry based low-carb burritos with MIssion low-carb tortillas) completely eliminated my constipation problems with a low carb diet. I was completely normal and the variety of curry sauce flavors is interesting. Before I tried curry sauce, I found that constipation made the diet unbearable and no amount of fiber supplement helped one bit. But curry is a natural laxative and the difference was amazing.

      3. Steve says:

        Fun fact: undigestible fibre can actually cause constipation. Most constipation is from poor digestion related to gut flora and enzymes. Also, LCHF diets simply do not need to be low in fibre.

        1. karuna says:

          what do you mean LCHF do not need to be low in fibre? If one is not eating carbs, how are they getting their fibre then?

          1. Cameron says:

            The body doesn’t process fiber for energy, so “total carbs – fiber carbs = net carbs”. .so a good HFLC Keto diet has plenty of veggies & fiber! This article is highly suspect, but may apply more to an Atkins (high protein, low fat) type of diet.

          2. Cameron says:

            Sorry, replying to my own comment already. He does mention at the beginning that he’s referring to Atkins-type diets. .I skimmed over that part and dialed into the lack of explanation on high fat versions like keto. .which he was apparently saving for his follow-up article about how to do low carb diets the right way.

    4. Paul. S says:

      I have to second John on the veggie consumption point. Most low carbers absolutely eat more veggies than the average person. Having been back and forth between low and high carbing for many years, I can tell you that without a doubt I eat at least 2 or 3 times the vegetables on low carb that I do when I’m not low carbing. I know this is just an n=1 experiment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a common tendency among low carbers. It honestly makes me wonder how well informed Ben is on what low carbers actually eat. Most of us longer term low carbers that are not just “dropping 10 lbs to look good for that big occasion” are well aware that we cannot live on pork rinds, low carb protein bars and shakes. To me its just common sense that man can and has thrived on a very low carb diet and that if there are any “side effects” or dangers involved, they are not an indication of the dangers of ketosis or a diet low in carbohyrdate, but rather an indication of how far our bodies have come from a state that was very natural for us and how much we’ve screwed them up through bad nutrition.

  60. alan says:

    great topic. looking forward to the article and would love a podcast on what YOU think on the matter. my attempt at low carb is very high in vegetables, which hopefully limits the carb depletion you have talked about. excited to hear what you have to say! keep up the great work

  61. Reka says:

    Very interesting, and a topic I would love to hear more about (especially in the context of losing fat while maintaining muscle and improving strength)

  62. tririg says:

    Great article Ben! I would love to see you do an entire podcast just on this topic!

  63. Tomasz says:

    I understand that people who are into triathlons and marathons may need more carbs, but what about people who have brief moments of intense training like cross-fitters?

    The main focus for them is high insensitivity weight training and many of them are on ketogenic diets.
    Isn't then this type of diet more beneficial for people who are skinny-fat and want only to get leaner and more muscular and do not care about competing in endurance sports?

    1. Yes, but muscle glycogen is required for Crossfit intensity, unless you want to be a "back of the packer". You gotta be burning carbs to do well at Crossfit, at least acutely (during your WOD).

      1. Steve says:

        Wrong. In fact “burning carbs” isn’t even a thing that can happen. Your body can produce all the glucose (and thus glycogen) that you need from Fats and Protein.

        1. karuna says:

          Steve, can you provide some links and documentation showing this? Greatly appreciated, thanks.

          1. Morgan says:

            I would like that too. Any references would be the thing to do, if you’re refuting him.

        2. Matt says:

          Hi Steve, you may be forgetting that the fastest and thereby most efficient pathway for your body to produce energy is through the production of ATP and the production of ATP is linked to the oxidation of glucose in the mitochondria. Burning Carbs as it is referred to by non biologists is far more efficient for an athlete than burning fats or proteins. Yes, if your goal is weight loss than you are correct in saying that your body can produce all the glycogen it needs from protein and fats. However, if your goal is to train intensely and get stronger then a balanced diet including Carbs for training energy and proteins for recovery is the way to go. I cant imagine any tour de France riders or power lifters in training (not cutting down before a show) having a no carb diet. Checkout or search the citric acid pathway and the processes of the ATP production in the mitochondria before making sweeping statements about what is “wrong”.

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