The Ketogenic Diet


The Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Guide


The Ketogenic Diet
A Complete Guide for the Dieter and Practitioner

First Edition


Number of Pages: 323


Show me my purchase options




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


Show me my purchase options


The following is from 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.

Show me my purchase options

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


Purchase Options

The Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Guide can be purchased in one of three formats.

The first is as a PDF e-book download for $37.00. You will receive a link for immediate download from my shopping cart and the book can be read with any free PDF reader (i.e. Preview Adobe Reader, Foxit) or printed.

The second is as a hardcopy book for $42.00 + Shipping/Handling. Your order will be sent to my print on demand company, printed and shipped to you. Orders typically arrive in 3-6 days within the United States but can take up to 4 weeks internationally.  Due to the delay in overseas shipping along with high shipping rates, I strongly suggest the e-book option for International purchasers.

Finally, there is a hardcopy/e-book bundle. For only $10 more than the hardcopy book itself ($52.00 plus Shipping/Handling), you’ll get the e-book for immediate download as well as receiving a hardcopy book from Vervante.

You can add your chosen version to your shopping cart with the buttons below.

Add The Ketogenic Diet E-book to Cart
E-book: 37.00
Add The Ketogenic Diet Hardcopy to Cart
Add The Ketogenic Diet Bundle to Cart

48 thoughts on “The Ketogenic Diet

  1. I have been obese for over 15 years. I am no longer grossly overweight. I am 48 years old now, 5′ 9″, and now weigh 223 pounds. I started my weight loss journey, with my wife, almost 7 years ago at a weight of 315 pounds. The first half of my diet involved calorie restriction and severe hunger. In fact, the BIGGEST problem was hunger control, even almost a year after my “normal” non ketogenic diet.

    Then I hit a plateau, and couldn’t get below around 230 pounds. I needed a hunger solution FAST! This is it. Three weeks ago, I was pushing 233. Three weeks later on a ketogenic diet, I’ve lost 10 SOLID pounds! And believe me it’s not water. The bottom line is, with two multi vitamins, a a mineral pill, along with 3 6 and 9 Omega Fatty Acid pills, along with a rather severe ketogenic diet, my hunger is non existent even on 1600 calories! And I lose 0.2 to 0.3 pounds per day, sometimes a little more. All hunger free. Which in my opinion, is the number one reason that keeps fat people, fat, like me!

    My rather briilliant wife asked a question about the diet, despite both of us trying this diet about 5 years ago. She asked “WHY the FAT” in the low carb diet? That led me to search high and low for an answer to a question that is CRITICAL to understand why eating high fat content is crucial to LOSING fat! It’s protecttive. That’s all I can say. Buy the book, take blood tests, and enjoy a newer healther you!

    Note: This book does NOT ADVOCATE a ketogenic diet. It’s merely a study of the ketogenic process. But I DO!

  2. Hey, would this book be applicable to a ketosis diet achieve via meal replacements? I am currently in ketosis via meal replacements (shakes, bars, meals) and want to find out more about ketosis. Will this book be relevant to me? Thank you in advance for your response.

  3. Hi Lyle,
    Bought this wonderful book from you a few years ago (I think it was a 3rd printing of the first edition). I have been rereading it recently.

    Just wondering if the current edition/version has any (significant) changes to the one I have.



  4. Lyle I have read your book and there is a lot to take in, I was wondering if you could steer me in the right direction. I take full responsibility – so any information you give me is without liability on your part. I weigh 294 llbs am 5ft 4 ins – healthy, not taking any durgs 54 year old female. BMI 50 I am looking for guidance on daily recommendations, would I be right in saying 30-100 grams carbs per day 800 – 1200 calories per day 150grams protein. I want to lose fat permantly. Thank you I loved the book it made a lot of sense.

  5. I have been looking for sample meal plans on the keto diet but having trouble finding any that makes sense to me. I am average bodybuilder out of contest shape by 35 pounds and want to try something different.Like what is the best protein(liquid) and do I need to stay in ketosis for 5 days straight,what if it I dont get into ketosis until the fourth day and the bounce out on the 6 day.Any advice?

  6. I live in Brisbane but I can’t find any stores that sell this particular book. Would you kindly tell me where to buy it?

  7. hi lyle i am one of you followers ,thank you very much for this awsome book of ketogenic diet ,since ive read it from you and leant it from you i never looked back for other diet ,for me the ketogenic diet is by far the better diet ever developped in fact its the natural state for human body for loosing fat ,with this diet i lowered my body fat to 6% ,thanks to you who did the research ,dan duchaine ,and all the other before you that i dont know

  8. Hi Lyle, My son has type 1 diabetes and we are managing on diet alone, just fruit, vegetables and good sources of protein. Just trying to find out more information and wondering if your book would have anything relative to my situation on how to manage a low carb diet with t1 diabetes? Or if you could tell me of anyone that could help as not many people doing it this way! Thanks

  9. Type I diabetics have totally different issues going on since they can adjust their insulin dose. I talked a bit about it in my book (only that Type I diabetics will have to adjust their dose if they go to zero carbs) but beyond that it is not my area of expertise. Talk to your primary care provider.

  10. this looks like a good book, im considering ordering it, but i pretty much get the Ebook versions for the connivence, im a personal trainer and its handy having everything on my reader, is there a reason why you decided not to offer it it ebook format?

  11. This is a post that I left on in response to your “Research Review: An In-Depth Look Into Carbing Up On The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet With Lyle Mcdonald” I then saw the link for your website after I posted my question, so here it is officially.

    I have a question for the carb-up. My weekly routine ends on Saturday afternoon with a leg day. I am 170 lbs lean, making my first 24-hour carb-up 765g carbs, 72g fat, and 161.5g protein, and my second 24-hour one 381.5g carbs, 37.5g fat, and 153g protein. Your article states that you can shorten the carb-up to minimize fat gain, which I would like to do(12 hour). My question is this: Should I be consuming the macronutrient amount from Figure 1 in the first carb-up (Saturday afternoon and throughout the rest of the night) AND THEN the Figure 2 carb-up throughout Sunday, or should I just extend the Figure 1 carb-up from after my Saturday afternoon workout through all of Sunday and begin ketosis on Monday again? (In essenence, should I split them into two 12 hour carb-loads[Figure 1 and Figure 2] or into one 24 hour[Figure 1 only] carb load?)

    Thanks for the great article

  12. Good morning,I have done some research and I have just ordered your book this week, should be in today. My son & law who weight trains with me is going with, eat to live by Joel Thurman. I have NOT read is commentary but apparently he is really negative towards the Ketogenic diet.
    Your thoughts would be appreciated

  13. Can’t really make commentary without knowing what his specific criticisms of the diet are. In my experience, most criticisms of the ketogenic diet are based on a poor understanding of what happens in ketosis and during the diet. That was a big part of what I set out to correct with my book.

  14. hello. my name is sash. I am a returning elite athlete, 5000m runner. I have been doing the targeted keto diet but I am not so sure how this works as i also live with hypoglycemia? The hypo is more under control now and i cope better than ever as i am a lot more informed about my condition but i do still have bouts of extreme hypoglycemic reactions when i happen not to balance my diet with my training properly, which happens now and again. Do you have any tips or comments that may help, please? Thank you so much for your time.
    ps. every time someone with a good heart and knowledge helps me I am one step closer to my Olympic goal in 2012 and or 2016

  15. I’m going to order your book as I respect anyone who puts this much effort into a single subject with the goal of dispelling myth and misinformation. I was, however, under the impression that Gary Taubes motives were no less sincere. I’ve read his book and the BS link you provided above and don’t see why his hypothesis is taken as being at odds with the tenants of a keto diet?

    Not looking to make a thing out of it, just trying to understand. He seems like a well meaning guy whose book seems to make a lot of sense.

    I’d appreciate your opinion on the matter.

    Many thanks

  16. For the longest time, I’ve had crashes (extreme drowsiness) after having carbs(interestingly enough, the same occurs to me after having coffee).

    Additionaly, I’ve found that it takes an extremely long time for me to lose weight (I’ve adjusted coloric intake, cardio, etc., all while keeping a 2-3 yr diary).

    Would this book help me address these problems?

  17. Very good book and now that I have read it I fully understand The Ketogenic Diet. At first when I tried it I didn’t understand the loading at all. In fact, I didn’t even understand that the first two weeks you are not supposed to load your carbs. However, I should note this diet might not be for everyone. Just remember if you are going to try it, it would be recommended that your prepare yourself for 2 weeks of mood swings while your body adjust. The third time I cut weight though diet wasn’t to bad.

    Oh yeah runners and cardio people might find this diet not suiting their diet, but that is just because it is a low carb diet.

  18. Lyle, your Ketogenic Diet book sounds interesting. I’m interested in learning how to lose a little more weight (fat mostly) and keep it off.

    I’ve been on a self taught low-carb diet since OCT 2010 (15 + months). I’ve lost 52 lbs in that time, most of it in the first 6 months, but it’s gaining on me. I’ve gained 5 pounds back and I’m in panic mode. I’ve only gained 5 lbs back, but I feel like my body fat has come back more than just the 5 pounds, especially around my middle.

    I’m just not sure where to go from here. I’ve always exercised, but never lost weight until I experimented with a low carb lifestyle. Currently I am doing 30-60 min of cardio 4-5 days a week and some weight training.

    What step should I take next in my weight/fat loss efforts? Which of your books would be a help for some one in my situation? Im 54, 5’6″ and weigh 158. I feel like my body is fighting me to get back to my former weight. Thanks so much for responding.

    By the way, since I’ve lost weight I’ve felt so good, I feel 5 years younger, my cholestoral is down, blood pressure is down, I am much healthier and I can now run a few miles without stopping. I just don’t want to lose the health I’ve gained.

  19. Hi 🙂
    Ive been reading a lot about LCHF diet,and several sites recommends your book.But..I live in Serbia,Europe..can it be shipped there? 🙂

    p.s.would you be interested in publishing the book in Serbia?

  20. Hello Kathy,

    I cannot speak for Lyle but I can tell you that his books are extremely valuable in understanding and applying a low carb/ketogenic diet. I highly recommend them to you.

    On top of what Lyle may recommend, I would urge you to also look at your training and try to see if you can improve it. Since you have not been specific with regards to your exercising, many trainees who embark on diets (including ketogenic) tend to not use exercise in an optimal manner. It goes without saying that you should be doing full body weight training exercises if your health allows and that you should be using weight training as an integral part of a holistic approach to losing fat and gaining better health.

    All the best.


  21. Hi Lyle,

    I am a vegetarian and my siblings and I are very interested in your book and the ketogenic diet but all of the research I have done shows its nearly impossible for vegetarians to get the right kind of protein in our diets.

    Does your book include vegetarian options? Thanks for your time.

  22. Fascinating book. I think the first time I heard about ketogenics and ketones, was from someone who was really into the paleolithic diet. When our ancestors were hunter gatherers they might have been able to fell a wild animal, and they were then able to eat the meat. However, in the case that they weren’t able to eat very much fat, some of the protein was converted by our bodies into ketones… a type of fat, so that our brains and hearts still had fuel. Did I get that right?

  23. I was a ketogenic/no carb dieter for several years. I lost 102 lbs in 2004 (and was ‘too skinny’ from others pov’s) and kept it off by only eating no carb foods for 8 years. I fell off the wagon 18 months ago and have gained back 75 lbs. I got back on the wagon 27 days ago and am down 14.5 lbs already. I’m walking a lot too. 3 miles, or 1 hour, every morning before breakfast to help burn the fat before breaking the fast. My biggest question that I just can not find an answer to, because every place I go to contradicts the other, is about muscle loss – Why do they call it muscle loss? it’s not the muscle tissue that’s going anywhere, it’s the glycogen and water in the muscles. So what’s the big deal? All I really want to know is if I’m doing myself any favors with the power walking twice/day, or am I actually hurt myself. Common sense tells me it’s good for my muscles to get them working hard like I am, after having been sedentary for more than a year, and it’s good for the fat burning process as well. Am I right? or am I wrong???

  24. Hi Lyle, please can you let me know if TKD Book is best for me – am menopausal, 43yo and a yo-yo dieter. Used to be very active now complete opposite as am a carer for disabled mother. Initially looking to lose at least 10lbsof fat through keto. Is this possible without training using TKD book please? Thank you

  25. I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian who also eats fish, for religious reasons. How can I get enough of the right kind of protein without consuming mammal flesh?

  26. Gary Taubes hypothesis bullshit? That’s the best approach to lose already educated keto practitioners. I will move on for sure.

  27. I bought this book many years ago and it sat on my bookshelf until this year when I decided to read it. I am so happy I did. This is not the usual fluff diet or bodybuilding book. Can’t recommend it highly enough. The CKD was successful for me. Thanks, Lyle.

  28. I understand that about 30 grams of protein per meal is optimal but wouldn’t that vary per person i.e. a 120 lb moderately active woman versus a 185 lb. male athlete?

    Thank you for your feedback

  29. Lyle,

    I have been a big fan for many years. In 2012 I attempted your Ultimate Diet 2.0 (however I was nowhere near the low body fat it said I should be at for the diet, I just felt like doing something intense) and regardless of the results (which were good) I learned so much about how my body works.

    With regards to a ketogenic diet, I have a question you may or may not have not heard before.

    It is common knowledge that the metabolites of THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana) is stored in the fat cells. Because of this, do you think a ketogenic diet would be superior in detoxing from these metabolites than other diets? Many people say to eat low fat because “eating new fat will build a layer on top of the old fats and you won’t detox,” however I have shrugged this off as stoners just being clueless.

    Any insight from you onto this matter would be appreciated as you are basically the source I trust most with regards to nutrition/body work.

    Due to the nature of this discussion, if you would like to email me a response instead of responding here feel free :).

    Best regards,

Leave a Comment