What makes some need/require Keto?

(Matt) #1

What makes some people need Keto? What makes carb okay for others? Was thinking about this last night, that Keto ain’t for everyone, but still I’m happy as hell I’ve found it.

I know plenty of people from ages 20-84 that have by a carbs-are-bad mantra horrific diets and yet seemingly healthy and mentally functional. This includes people I’ve known for years and some who even consume a number of bottles of beer each night at local bars and have done since yikes early 2000s - whilst me was clearly suffering - everything from fat, mental fog, days sick, binge carb consumption cycles, distended stomach and so. Granted, there are obviously some people, that 10 days into Keto, I recognize that their weight and sluggish is highly likely to carb central diet but it’s like 10% - tl;dr - most people seem fine without Keto.

I heard the argument “well they probably have a layer of internal fat that is slowing suffocating their organs” so it will effect them eventually, or “insulin resistance will take years to develop” and “tell them to naysay and enjoy it now but save for hospital bills in the future” and so on, but I simply don’t believe based on my observations that any of these people are suffering physically or mentally (beyond what Dr. government read-from-textbook says) or driving themselves into a grave. Granted they aren’t atheltic but they don’t have all the issues that drove me to Keto from never shift weight, brain fog, and a cycle of carb loading through eating and boozing…

Which leads me to think that perhaps there are certain err… conditions that lead people to benefit or require a Keto based diet, or rather conditions where carb exposure is expontential worse to some people than others? What are they? I use the word “require” because many of us, myself included, have tried dozens of diets over the year and all failed, I’m 10 days in and it’s like the world has kept a secret from me for 20 years, I feel f’ing amazing.

In Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Lustig, he talks about a 10% of the population have the ability for their cells to divide to consume more sugar so they aren’t effected, but look around it’s like in my observations 10% of people are effected and 90% seem fine with their carb-heavy diets.


(*) % may vary by country/continent, observations based on Thailand but still sugar is in everything in SE Asia, sometimes difficult to find even Kimchi without HFCS

(Tracy) #2

I believe Keto is meant for all humans, but some have survived without it. For me, I gave myself diabetes by abusing my pancreas with food. It’s nothing short of a miracle that Keto quickly reversed my diabetes and other health problems.


It’s very complicated. Of course.
And there are so many various people. Some people need a high-carb diet to function properly. Some people need keto and even a stricter version of it… Some people are fine on any diet that gives them proper nutrition, I mean, all the necessary nutrients.
What if we are just fine on high-carb except it makes us overeat or not satisfied? It eventually leads to problems, if not physical because we are “strong” and avoid overeating even if we feel starving, then other types of problem may arise.

Not everyone feels unhealthy who chooses keto. I surely didn’t, low-carb was pretty nice for me. But I still can improve. Simple keto wasn’t enough but I can tweak it…

Many conditions are bad combined with high-carb. We all know such ones. Diabetes comes to mind first, I think.

My reason to do keto was I want to lose fat eventually. In the few years since I went keto first (I am a low-carber and do on/off keto and I think it never will change but my average carb intake will get lower and lower), I couldn’t do it but I think I found the way now. I can get satiated with way less food than before. But I feel a tad better with less carbs anyway. And if keto couldn’t lower my food intake, at least it effectively kept me from overeating. If I eat less carbs, I eat less fat and my calories drop. And I need that as I eat enough on the lowest-carb diets to lose fat in a healthy way.
In retrospection, my first goal was fat adaptation.
But I usually simply want to eat less, feel better, enjoy my food more. I have these goals whenever I change my woe. I don’t have a very strong need, I want a more ideal woe.

If you read about ketosis, you see the reasons why it is good for the body. It’s just, as you see as well, not as simple for everyone. Ketosis is more useful for some people as for others, to put it lightly.

We have these differences on keto too. Some people eat big salads every day and some people touch some little vegetable and gets unwell for days.

And there is the interesting thing that we don’t all need to stay on keto all the time to keep enjoying the most important benefits… I had this with keto and carnivore, it’s surreal sometimes. My low-carb days are nothing like my old low-carb days even if I eat the same as back then. We change.

(Bunny) #4

I like Keto because it is awesome for my brain, I really cannot understand these people that say ‘they notice no difference‘ which makes me question are they doing something wrong?

My entire neurological system has been re-wired to something that I still don’t quite understand, I think it is the Kundalini and Transcendental Meditation combined with the Ketogenic Diet that did it = Longer Telomeres? …lol

As far all the sugar and junk carbohydrates people eat, they simply eat too much of it and too often, it is that simple as to why they are fat; the older you get the less you eat of it unless you can maintain mitochondria, (and more) muscle to adipose cell volume to deal with it?

You can only eat as much sugar as your muscle and mitochondria in that muscle can handle at once, same with mitochondria in adipose tissue; when you start losing mitochondria and you keep filling up muscle glycogen then it gets stored in adipose tissue. Wish there were such a thing as a dietary sugar to muscle volume calculator…lol

Ever notice how you feel invincible ready to conquer the world when you were young? And as you get older you can barely move anymore or jump around like it’s nothing? That’s because you lost a lot of mitochondria and have shorter telomeres.

If you want longer telomeres; breath more; synchronize your thoughts with your breathing?

Wim Hof does it all the time and people think it’s a joke and I’m here to tell you it is not, and lots of solid science to back it up also!


People are different. I am still quite young, only 44 in the end of the months but I never noticed energy change. Sure, as a very little kid I had energy but I had low-ish energy when I was 15 and 25 and 43…

People can say “you do it wrong” but it doesn’t change that ketosis itself makes not much noticeable change in some of us. Some of us needs extra strictness and restrictions, elimination… Keto isn’t enough. I think we know this very well in this forum as we read enough stories.
And high-carb vs keto is vastly different from some pretty healthy low-carb vs keto. My big change happened when I went low-carb. Another when I tried carnivore. Low-carb -> ketosis, that wasn’t really noticeable. Maybe the fact I ate more fat before keto than on keto has some effect on things too?
And there are so many other factors. If we wished to compare the changes between 2 different persons, we should give them the same keto diet, at least… But their past matters too. If I change my keto to some other style of keto, I may have drastic changes. It happened.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #6

If that’s what you see, then you aren’t very observant. The world is currently in the depths of a trifecta of metabolic related disease: T2 diabetes, CVD and obesity. The entire world, not just USA, not just NA, not just Europe… Virtually every country in the world is experiencing the highest rates of obesity ever in their history.

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 38 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2019.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year.

The “Diabesity” epidemic (obesity and type 2 diabetes) is likely to be the biggest epidemic in human history. Diabetes has been seriously underrated as a global public health issue and the world can no longer ignore “the rise and rise” of type 2 diabetes.

(Jane) #7

Some people are blessed by genetics to be able to eat a carb-heavy diet and never gain weight or develop diabetes their entire lives.

Open up any high school yearbook from the 50’s 60’s or 70’s. Obesity was rare and we didn’t eat keto. We ate 3 meals a day with rare snacks or processed foods. Oatmeal or bacon and eggs for breakfast. Sugary cold cereal was a treat in my house - not a staple. Same with sodas.

(charlie3) #8

What got my attention 2+ years ago was the CDC claim that 1 in 3 Americans are pre-diabetic and 84% don’t know it and the percent is increasing. Those are terrible odds. The only thing so many people could have in common is diet. It doesn’t take much research to conclude that too much carbs is the culprit. I’ve learned to enjoy the food I eat now more than what I used to eat. Everything in my cart at checkout has only one ingredient, whole food, low carb. That doesn’t garrantee anything but probably improves my chance to avoid diabetes and probably some other things. Examine the evidence, make some choices. I know a few people who would rather die younger than give up their current favorite foods. My goal, stay healthy so I die at home instead of some nursing home.

(Give me bacon, or give me death.) #9

Carbohydrate tolerance varies considerably from person to person. Dr. Phinney estimates that perhaps as many as 20% of the population might never need a ketogenic diet, despite a carb-rich diet that would have many of the rest of us in a diabetic coma. Dr. Phinney has also said that, while our ancestors’ diet throughout much of human evolution was ketogenic, it is not guaranteed that the current foods available to us are healthy if we were to eat ketogenically over the long term. We need more data.

There are a number of factors at play here. Dr. Phinney said in a private conversation at Ketofest 2019 that he is more and more convinced that systemic inflammation is the real culprit behind metabolic dysfunction, a view that I am starting to hear now from a number of other keto experts. If you are highly insulin sensitive for whatever reasons, you might well be able to handle a large carbohydrate load without ever developing metabolic disease, but it is hard to know who is likely to be permanently healthy, and who is likely to be healthy—but only for now. (The late Dr. Joseph Kraft was convinced from his study of diabetes that many, many people are actually diabetic a couple of decades before diagnosis by the standard criteria. He felt he could show from the results of certain tests which people were undiagnosed diabetics and which were not.)

As an example, I used to have the kind of metabolism that allowed me to eat whatever I wanted, but it shifted in my mid-thirties, and I ended up pre-diabetic and close to 300 lbs. over the next 25 years. To look at me at age 30, you would never have guessed my later problems. To look at me at age 55, you would never have guessed that I was always a skinny kid. To look at me today, you would say I desperately need a ketogenic diet, not seeing the 60-85 pounds I’ve lost, the reversal of all markers of pre-diabetes, my lowered blood pressure, and my completely normal lipid numbers. Sure, I’d like to lose another 60-80 pounds, but I’ll take what I’ve got, thanks.

While we cannot say with any certainty that eating a ketogenic diet will help stave off the onset of metabolic disease (there are plenty of thin people with visceral fat and metabolic dysfunction, after all, not to mention all the metabolically healthy obese people out there), what we can say for sure (because we have the data already) is that a well-formulated ketogenic diet can mitigate and sometimes even reverse the effects of metabolic disease.

Thanks for a thought-provoking question. I think the best we can say at this point is that a ketogenic diet is a pretty good thing for most people, that some people really need it, and that some others probably do not. Metabolic and nutrition research are so difficult to do that we may never be able to gather the data necessary to say much more than that. I doubt anyone needs carbohydrate in their diet, but it is clear that many people can tolerate a carbohydrate-rich diet, even though many others cannot.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #10

And, the new elephant in the room: seed oils and PUFA ω6/3 ratio.

The following video was first offered here for our delectation:


Some people are thriving on high-carb and feels awful on low-carb, I know this much. A part of them surely need much carbs as they can’t tolerate huge amounts of fat (I don’t mean 200g but significantly more. people with huge energy needs but not being able to live mostly on fat without problems)… At least it sounds believable to me. My SO can’t even try low-carb as most fatty low-carb meals leave him feeling so bad he won’t try such ones again for years. We never will know what would he do on a low-carb diet long term (not okay short term is pretty normal, that says nothing. even I felt awful on keto right out of high-carb and it was great and smooth when I tried again later). Theoretically, as a seemingly very healthy person, he is supposed to be tolerate low-carb… Maybe some people are different but the healthy human body should be fine in ketosis. Eventually. I very rarely hear about people who do keto for months and keep feeling awful. Of course, most people don’t even try keto, the majority of the people who feels great on their carby diet has little reason to try it…


Well, if memory serves me, the ketogenic diet was a method by which physicians in the 1920’s would treat epilepsy. There are medications that exist now which control the seizures, but the diet itself had been effective back in the day.

edit. I started writing this reply around 530 am. Just got home from work and saw that I had forgotten to post it.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #13

The ‘nutshell’ history:

More from Dr Phinney’s observations on indigenous diets:


Impaired glucose metabolism is due to blood type, genes and heavy metal poisoning.

Mercury impairs glucose metabolism. One reason why those with amalgam fillings can’t tolerate carbs.

Mercury is also found in high fructose corn syrup.

(Give me bacon, or give me death.) #15

A form of ketogenic diet is still used to treat epileptics to this day, since not all of them benefit from medication. The diet for seizure-prevention, however, is so low in protein and so high in fat, that it has caused problems in many growing children. (This is why people think keto is bad for children. But a properly formulated non-epileptic keto diet provides enough protein for growing children.)

It is also caused by excessive carbohydrate intake in many people.


I :heart: Paul’s answers.


Insulin resistance and personal fat threshold are two conditions to research.

As @amwassil Michael noted the industrial seed oils and their participation in creating an inflamed body state through the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) when the mitochondria attempt to process them into cellular energy are a focus at the moment.

Dr Cate Shanahan spoke about the seed oils recently on the Peak Human podcast.


I’m 2023 days in and feel the same way. There were times when eating the standard recommended diet I thought I was healthy. But I didn’t know. Really, I was just not sick. On this way of eating I can understand what it is like not to be hungry. I can work all day on passion inspired projects without feeling tired, I feel energised. Some aches and pains I didn’t realise I had, as they were part of the ‘normal’, went away, and that’s how I identified them…

This is the key part to your post. n = 1. You have found that it benefits you. Work with that and congratulations. :smile: KCKO

(Todd Chester) #19

I am a little late to this conversation.

I am Keto, also know as the “Historically Human Appropriate Diet”, because I am a T2 Diabetic. T2 is caused by sustained consumption of unnatural high glycemic carbohydrates that are not found in nature. This is also known as the SAD diet (Standard American Diet). “Healthy Carbs”, of which there is no such thing, is what did me in. I though I was doing the right thing, but I did not realize that that bowl of brown rice was the worse that eating a bowl of table sugar.

With the help of a bit of Vanadyl Sulfate and Mark Sison’s advice, I have been entirely drug free (any drug) for the last eight years. This morning’s blood glucose was 89 mg/dL.

I got word two weeks ago that an acquaintance’s brother with T2, who did the Drugs, Carbs, and Allopaths route, had died in surgery to cut his legs off.

So to make a long story short, okay maybe not, if I do not stay on the “Historically Human Appropriate Diet”, I will die.

Oh, after three weeks of withdrawal (it was weird), my sense of taste returned. I thought I was losing it because old age sucks , but it was part of the addition. I am eating brussels sprouts and salmon as I write this. I am in hog heaven! My major problem with Keto is that the food tastes SO GOOD, I EAT TOO MUCH.

Good luck with your keto!

(Liz Carr) #20

I’m sure the answer is very complicated but A simplified answer that I’ve heard Floated around: people with normal metabolic processes can eat carbs whereas people with messed up metabolic system’s can’t. Makes sense. :slight_smile: