You can have a completely smooth transition into ketosis, or…not. While your body is adapting to using ketones as your new fuel source, you may experience a range of uncomfortable short-term symptoms. These symptoms are referred to as “the keto flu.” Low-sodium levels are often to blame for symptoms keto flu, since the kidneys secrete more sodium when you’re in ketosis, says Volek. A few side effects:
A reduced availability of dietary carbohydrates leads to an increased liver production of KBs. The liver cannot utilize KBs because it lacks the mitochondrial enzyme succinyl-CoA: 3-ketoacid (oxoacid) CoA transferase (SCOT) necessary for activation of acetoacetate to acetoacetyl CoA. KBs are utilized by tissues, in particularly by brain. KBs enter the citric acid cycle after being converted to acetyl CoA by hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase (HBD), succinyl-CoA: 3–CoA transferase (SCOT), and methylacetoacetyl CoA thiolase (MAT). Modified from Owen (2005), Paoli et al. (2014).
This recipe is from our e-book, 20 Low-Carb Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipes. In the e-book we call it “Better Than Crack Chicken”, which it really is! We switched up the seasoning a little (omitted the Ranch mix and added our own keto-friendly seasonings), and this takes it over the top in terms of deliciousness. Our e-book is now on sale on Amazon for just $4.99!
The wildly popular Crack Chicken is actually pretty simple in its ingredient list: chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, scallion, and Ranch seasoning! The end result is creamy and rich, and packed with flavor. It’s proof that a recipe doesn’t have to be complicated to taste great. Crack Chicken is deliciously addictive, which is where the name comes from.
I should note that I fully believe the key to success on a keto diet is to be prepared.  If you precook your meals, you are setting yourself up for success.  You are only choosing to do keto once a week when you prepare your food. If you have no keto food at your house and its 9 pm on a Wednesday, then you are just asking to revert back to something easy like chinese food or pizza.  However, if all you need to do is pull a premade meal out of the fridge and microwave it, you are much better off. Make sure to pick up some rugged, microwaveable containers to store your food. Now then, lets get started!

Karen, We haven’t tried this recipe using the Ranch packets, but yes, it should work fine! To do so, we would omit the following: vinegar, chives, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, dill, salt, and black pepper, and add 2 (1 oz) packets of dry Ranch seasoning. Yes, it would probably be delicious served over white rice. If you try this recipe using the Ranch packets, please let us know how it goes!
So how does this work? A quick run-through: The first tip was to eat low carb. This is because a low-carb diet lowers your levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, allowing your fat deposits to shrink and release their stored energy. This tends to cause you to want to consume less calories than you expend – without hunger – and lose weight. Several of the tips mentioned above are about fine-tuning your diet to better this effect.

Jump up ^ Lockyer, Christina (1991). "Body composition of the sperm whale, Physeter cation, with special reference to the possible functions of fat depots" (PDF). Journal of the Marine Research Institute. 12 (2). ISSN 0484-9019. Retrieved 2014-04-25. The significant levels of carbohydrate, probably mostly in the form of glycogen, in both blubber and muscle, may represent an instant form of energy for diving via anaerobic glycolysis.
The Inuit are often cited as an example of a culture that has lived for hundreds of years on a low-carbohydrate diet.[42] However, in multiple studies the traditional Inuit diet has not been shown to be a ketogenic diet.[43][44][45][46] Not only have multiple researchers been unable to detect any evidence of ketosis resulting from the traditional Inuit diet, but the ratios of fatty-acid to glucose were observed at well below the generally accepted level of ketogenesis.[44][47][45][46] Furthermore, studies investigating the fat yields from fully dressed wild ungulates, and the dietary habits of the cultures who rely on them, suggest that they are too lean to support a ketogenic diet.[48][49] With limited access to fat and carbohydrates, cultures such as the Nunamiut Eskimos—who relied heavily on caribou for subsistence—annually traded for fat and seaweed with coastal-dwelling Taremiut.[48]
Nutritional ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which your body adapts to burning fat rather than carbohydrates as its primary fuel. It is clinically proven to directly reduce blood sugar (as measured by HbA1c), improve insulin sensitivity (as measured by HOMA-IR) and reduce inflammation (as measured by white blood cell count and CRP). Nutritional ketosis can be induced by following a ketogenic diet. Learn more in our FAQ below!
Being in optimal ketosis for a prolonged period of time (say, a month) will ensure that you experience the maximal hormonal effect from eating a low-carb diet. If this doesn’t result in noticeable weight loss, you can be certain that too many carbs are NOT part of your weight issue and not the obstacle to your weight loss. There are, in fact, other causes of obesity and being overweight. The next three tips in this series might help you.

Hunger and satiety are two important mechanisms involved in body weight regulation. Even though humans can regulate food intake by will, there are systems within the central nervous system (CNS) that regulate food intake and energy expenditure. This complex network, whose control center is spread over different brain areas, receives information from adipose tissue, the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), and from blood and peripheral sensory receptors. The actions of the brain's hunger/satiety centers are influenced by nutrients, hormones and other signaling molecules. Ketone bodies are the major source of energy in the periods of fasting and/or carbohydrate shortage and might play a role in food intake control.
Positive science on ketosis coupled with personal successes passed by word-of-mouth have driven more people to explore the ketogenic diet, says Volek. More recently, the keto diet hints at having a promising therapeutic role in cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Research is still early in many areas, but Volek suspects there will more definitive answers on the wider scope of the diet’s benefits within the next decade.
Hi Gigi, Low carb and keto is about the balance of macronutrients eaten (fat, protein and carbs), not specifically meat or lack thereof. Most people on keto do eat meat, though some people do vegetarian keto. Fat is actually necessary for many body processes. There is no issue for the kidneys with a high fat diet, but if you eat too much protein that isn’t great for the kidneys. It’s a common misconception that keto is high protein (it isn’t). Keto is great for diabetics as it naturally helps stabilize insulin. All of this being said, please know I’m not a doctor and you should consult your doctor on any medical questions or before starting any diet. If you have more questions that aren’t medical questions, I recommend our low carb & keto support group here.
^ Jump up to: a b Sinclair, H. M. (1953). "The Diet of Canadian Indians and Eskimos" (PDF). Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 12 (1): 69–82. doi:10.1079/PNS19530016. ISSN 0029-6651. It is, however, worth noting that according to the customary convention (Woodyatt, 1921 ; Shaffer, 1921) this diet is not ketogenic since the ratio of ketogenic(FA) to ketolytic (G) aliments is 1.09. Indeed, the content of fat would have to exactly double (324 g daily) to make the diet ketogenic (FA/G>1–5).
Hi there. Thanks for your feedback! I document on my disclaimer page ( that I use MyFitnessPal for calcs, and that these are my calcs. No one should EVER use my calculation as their own. You should always calculate your own macros in accordance to the brands that you use. If you send me an email at I would happy to send you a screenshot from MyFitnessPal, but again, this probably won’t be helpful because you should calculate your own. I post it on my recipes as a ballpark. You are citing a difference of 70 calories, which is completely reasonable and appears materially accurate.
So how does this work? A quick run-through: The first tip was to eat low carb. This is because a low-carb diet lowers your levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, allowing your fat deposits to shrink and release their stored energy. This tends to cause you to want to consume less calories than you expend – without hunger – and lose weight. Several of the tips mentioned above are about fine-tuning your diet to better this effect.
In the 1920s, doctors began to realize that when fed a high fat and extremely low carbohydrate diet their patients began to notice a remarkable reduction in frequency and severity of seizures. They found that the breakdown of dietary fat caused the body to produce ketones which have GABAergic and glutamatergic effects causing a reduction in nerve impulses thus having an anticonvulsant effect. The ketogenic diet was used as the mainstream therapy until the development of new anticonvulsant medications in the late 1930s.

Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
In ketogenesis, two acetyl-CoA molecules instead condense to form acetoacetyl-CoA via thiolase. Acetoacetyl-CoA momentarily combines with another acetyl-CoA via HMG-CoA synthase to form hydroxy-β-methylglutaryl-CoA. Hydroxy-β-methylglutaryl-CoA form the ketone body acetoacetate via HMG-CoA lyase. Acetoacetate can then reversibly convert to another ketone body—D-β-hydroxybutyrate—via D-β-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase. Alternatively, acetoacetate can spontaneously degrade to a third ketone body (acetone) and carbon dioxide, although the process generates much greater concentrations of acetoacetate and D-β-hydroxybutyrate. When blood glucose levels are low, ketone bodies can be exported from the liver to supply crucial energy to the brain.[28]
High blood sugar levels coupled with high blood ketones, on the other hand, will mean that you have a pathologically low level of insulin – something non-diabetics do not suffer from. This can lead to ketoacidosis – a potentially life-threatening condition. If this happens, you’ll need to inject more insulin; if you’re at all unsure of what to do, contact a medical professional. Coveting really high blood ketones for weight control is not worth the risk for type 1 diabetics.
For the purpose of this keto meal plan, you will be making food for Monday morning through Sunday night.  This should provide a full, 7 day comprehensive meal plan for you to follow. On Sunday you will make breakfast and lunch for the 5 day work week as well as the first dinner.  Then mid week you will make a second dinner.  The weekend is more of a free for all with less set parameters. This is the time to experiment and try new things. I am going under the assumption that you have more time to cook and prepare on the weekend and also that you might have leftover food from the week.  If your weekends are totally slammed, consider just premaking all 7 days of food by tweaking the quantities in the recipes.

We've tested this recipe upwards of 10 times and have never had the burn warning come on; however, several readers have had the warning come on, so we want to give a tip. In step 1 of the Instructions above, after removing the bacon from the pot, we recommend adding a splash of water, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom to deglaze the pan. After that, continue on with step 1 and press "Cancel" to stop sauteing.
As a matter of fact, in animal models intracerebroventricular injections of long-chain FA reduced hypothalamic expression of NPY. NPY is an important orexogenic neuropeptide that is a downstream target of leptin and insulin in the hypothalamus. In some forms of hyperphagic obesity, characterized by elevated plasma leptin and insulin levels, the lack of action of insulin on NPY expression could explain the pathological condition. Central administration of oleic acid, fatty-acid synthase, or CPT-1 inhibitors prevents the rise in hypothalamic NPY mRNA induced by fasting (Obici et al., 2003). But glucose level is also involved in KD's food control mechanisms. According to glucostatic theory (Mayer, 1955) data indicates that ketosis did not influence FA glucose but instead stimulated the elevation of post-prandial glucose (Sumithran and Proietto, 2013) in non-diabetic subjects, while in diabetics there was a reduction of fasting glucose (Westman et al., 2008). It is important to note that carbohydrate availability may increase cellular levels of long-chain FA-CoA through an increase of malonyl-CoA, which inhibits oxidation of FAs.
One area where food tracking can be especially helpful, though, is ensuring that you're hitting the right ratios of macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat. "The most researched version of the ketogenic diet derives 70 percent of calories from healthy fats, 20 percent from protein, and only 10 percent from carbs," explains Charles Passler, D.C., nutritionist, and founder of Pure Change. "In the ideal world, each keto meal and snack should have that same (70/20/10) ratio of macronutrients, but studies have shown that you'll still achieve great results even if each meal varies slightly from that ratio, just as long as you don't exceed 50 grams per day of carbs, or eat those carbs in one sitting," says Passler. In order to achieve these ratios without a preset meal plan from a dietitian or doctor, some food tracking is probably going to be necessary. But once you get the hang of things, you may not need it anymore.