The Ketogenic Diet


Low-carbohydrate diets continue to be popular and more and more research supports their having a benefit. However, such diets are still clouded in a haze of myth, lore and outright lies. The Ketogenic Diet is the only book to take an objective scientific look at all aspects of low-carbohydrate from physiology and metabolism to training and how to set up different types of low-carbohydrate diets.

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About the Book

Very low-carbohydrate (aka ketogenic) diets such as The Atkins Diet, Protein Power and The South Beach Diet have come and gone repeatedly over the years and there is currently great research and real-world interest in their effects. Unfortunately, altogether too much misinformation exists regarding them.

Folks who are pro-low-carbohydrate diets tend to present them as the quick and easy solution to everything including obesity. Easy weight loss without hunger or calorie counting is promised but never seems to pan out as well as we might hope.

At the other extreme are the anti-low-carbohydrate folks who tend to present low-carbohydrate diets as nothing short of a nutritional disaster being perpetrated by a bunch of con men.

The truth, of course lies somewhere in the middle. While low-carbohydrate diets aren’t for everyone and have their pros and cons, the research is clear: they have major benefits under certain circumstances and can be as healthy (and sometimes healthier) than ‘standard’ carbohydrate based dieting.

The Ketogenic Diet is the first and only book to objectively examine in-depth the scientific evidence regarding low-carbohydrate/ketogenic diets. It is meant to be a reference manual for low-carbohydrate diets; it is unlike any other book on low-carbohydrate diets that you have ever read or seen.

Covering every topic in extreme detail, The Ketogenic Diet addresses everything from the basic physiology of how the body adapts to a low-carbohydrate intake, the details of human fuel utilization, the impact of low-carbohydrate diets on body composition and many, many more.

Of course, none of the above is useful without practical application guidelines. Details on how to optimize low-carbohydrate diets for different goals (such as fat loss, bodybuilding and endurance performance) are discussed along with three distinct types of low-carbohydrate diets. In addition, the book includes a complete discussion of resistance, aerobic and anaerobic exercise physiology along with specific training programs for different goals and different levels of trainee

At 325 pages and containing over 600 scientific references, this will be your complete reference for ketogenic diets.

Please note: this book does not include information on the ketogenic diet for adolescent epilepsy (the topic is discussed briefly). I highly suggest The Ketogenic Diet: A Treatment for Epilepsy, 3rd Edition (Paperback) by Freeman, Freeman and Kelly (link will take you to page).

Table of contents

Section I: Introduction

  • 1. Introduction to the ketogenic diet
  • 2. History of the ketogenic diet

Section II: The physiology of ketosis

  • 3. Fuel utilization
  • 4. Basic ketone body physiology
  • 5. Adaptations to ketosis
  • 6. Changes in body composition
  • 7. Other effects of the ketogenic diet

Section III: The diets

  • 8. Setting calorie levels
  • 9. The standard ketogenic diet (SKD)
  • 10. Carbs and the ketogenic diet
  • 11. The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD)
  • 12. The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD)

Section IV: Other topics for the ketogenic diet

  • 13. Breaking fat loss plateaus
  • 14. Ending a ketogenic diet
  • 15. Tools for the ketogenic diet
  • 16. Final considerations

Section V: Exercise physiology
17. Muscular physiology and energy production

  • 18. Aerobic exercise
  • 19. Interval training
  • 20. Weight training
  • 21. The effect of exercise on ketosis
  • 22. Exercise and fat loss

Section VI: Exercise guidelines

  • 23. General exercise guidelines
  • 24. Aerobic exercise
  • 25. Interval training
  • 26. Weight training

Section VII: Exercise programs

  • 27. Beginner programs
  • 28. Intermediate programs
  • 29. The advanced CKD workout
  • 30. Fat loss for pre-competition bodybuilders

Section VIII: Supplements

  • 31. Supplements


Excerpt from The Ketogenic Diet, Chapter 11: The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

Having examined glycogen levels and glycogen depletion in the last chapter, the details of the first ‘modified ketogenic diet’ can now be discussed. The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) is nothing more than the standard ketogenic diet (SKD) with carbohydrates consumed at specific times around exercise. This means that the general guidelines for constructing a SKD in chapter 9 should be used with the exception that more carbohydrates are consumed on days when exercise is performed. If fat loss is the goal, the number of calories consumed as carbohydrates should be subtracted from total calories, meaning that less dietary fat is consumed on those days.

The TKD is based more on anecdotal experience than research. Invariably, individuals on a SKD are unable to maintain a high training intensity for reasons discussed in chapters 18 through 20. However, for a variety of reasons,some dieters choose not to do the full 1-2 day carb-up of the CKD (discussed in the next chapter). The TKD is a compromise approach between the SKD and the CKD. The TKD will allow individuals on a ketogenic diet to perform high intensity activity (or aerobic exercise for long periods of time) without having to interrupt ketosis for long periods of time.

Weight training is not generally limited by the availability of blood glucose. Studies giving carbs prior to resistance training have not found an increase in performance (1). However, almost without exception, individuals on a SKD who consume pre-workout carbs report improved strength and endurance and an ability to maintain a higher intensity of training during their workout. Anyone following a ketogenic diet who wishes to perform high intensity training can benefit from the TKD approach.

Reader Feedback

“I have been looking for a diet book like this for years. Since I’ve been involved in weight lifting I have tried to read as much as possible about various diet methods. When low-carb diets became popular I was skeptical, but wanted to learn more. I read through the material I could find online and just finished “The Greenwich Diet”. In all cases I found myself totally unsatisfied with everything I read. Every book pitched it’s particular take on the low carb diet as a miracle cure and didn’t provide much information about what was really happening to your body. I decided to give The Ketogenic Diet a try and was stunned — it is the most complete diet book I have come across. I finally understand how many types of diets work (not just low carb diets).

McDonald begins with a history of ketogenic diets and then goes into a detailed explanation of how various nutrients (both macro and micro) affect your body. After this explanation he presents three versions of the ketogenic diet, with two of the diets aimed at athletic individuals who are looking to maintain their exercise performance while on one of these programs. Each diet is accompanied by detail information about how to implement the diet.

As I have said, the material in this book is incredibly detailed and completed, but what really makes this book worth 5 stars is that the information is presented in a non-biased way. According to the introduction, McDonald wrote this book to clear confusion about ketogenic diets, not to champion them. Much of the material is accompanied by research references and McDonald clearly states where research is lacking or where he is offering his own opinion.

Overall, “The Ketogenic Diet” will make an excellent addition to any dieter’s collection of reading. Also, if you are considering a ketogenic diet this will gives you an unbiased view of how they really work.”

Douglas – Seattle, WA

“People that opted for a low-carb lifestyle are actually making a life-or-death decision on their own lives. It does not help that there are a lot of misinformation around it, specially suggesting that you will have all sort of health complications because of it.

This is a very complete book on the subject. It explains the physiology around a ketogenic diet. It’s well researched and full of references. It leans toward athletes but anyone could learn a lot from it.

This book does not tell you how to follow a Ketogenic diet. For that purpose I would recommend “Protein Power”.

I’ve read literally tens of books on low-carb diets. This one is the only one that really explains what happens in your body. I highly recommend this book for anyone that want to know more on how a low-carb diet works.”

Mauro – Sao Paulo, Brazil

“The Ketogenic Diet is the ultimate resource on low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets. You will learn the physiology of ketosis, basic and effective nutrition and training concepts, and how to set up various ketogenic diets depending on your goals whether you are involved in sports, looking to lose fat without losing muscle, or even to achieve peak conditioning for bodybuilding/fitness competitions or photo shoots. Rather than glorifying the ketogenic diet, Lyle McDonald gives you the scientific foundation and practical guidelines allowing you to determine when and why to use this diet. By virtue of its 34 chapters and over 600 references, this is truly the only book you will ever need on the subject.” – Borge (aka Blade) – Norway – MyoRevolution

“The amount of misinformation circulating about ketogenic diets is dumbfounding. This book is the most thorough investigation of all medical research regarding ketogenic diets that has ever been assembled. The references are impressive, to say the least.

Although quite technical, I had no problems understanding any of it. Lyle presents a clear, no-nonsense/no-hype explanation of what a body goes through in ketosis. A must-read for anyone on a ketogenic diet or considering one. Everyone should bring an extra copy to their physician to stave off the “misinformed speech” problem.”

Denise – California



Additional information

Weight 3 lbs

PDF, Softcover, Softcover + PDF

3 reviews for The Ketogenic Diet

  1. David Barry

    Literally, the first book with regards to diet or exercise that truly states both sides of the coin. Lyle doesn’t paint the perfect picture as most do when discussing a particular method of eating.

    In contrast, he shows both the positive and negative aspects of the ketogenic diet so that the reader can make an informed decision.

    Additionally, Lyle not only explains the science but also tediously makes sure to back up what he’s saying with references. As a result, The Ketogenic Diet is a must-have for anyone from a beginner to the advanced trainee.

  2. Becky M

    I read this book after I had been on a keto diet for a while and wished I’d read it first! It’s got tons of info, more references to scientific studies than I’ve seen anywhere else, and although I thought myself already well informed, I learned a lot was new to me. There is also good info about how to incorporate carbs for fitness goals. What I like best though is the informal and entertaining writing style. Lyle manages to make a lot of densely packed info readable and interesting. I dont really use keto anymore, so I was glad to see he’s got more current books .. especially Flexible Dieting that are great too, but I still think this is a good read even if you never go keto and just want to understand nutrition better.

  3. Adam Oetting

    Still the most comprehensive explanation of the ketogenic diet, reasons for application and accurate depiction of what you can expect and why.

    Despite its age, it will open your eyes to the marketing of “keto” presently passed as education vs real outcome expectations.

    Great for the collection like all of Lyles work.

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