Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting, How to Start

I recommend ow carb/ketogenic diet as your basic healthy diet, whether you are healthy, having a weight problem or having other chronic health problems.  This article will get you started on Ketogenic Diet.

For those with weight problems or other chronic diseases (hyperglycemia, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, autoimmune disease, etc.), I highly recommend that you start strictly on a ketogenic diet for at least ~ 3 months.  Once you are adapted to the keto diet, then you can modify it a bit to suit your lifestyle: to enjoy life but not at the expense of our health.

During this adaptation period (the first 3 months or so), I highly advise you to keep a daily record of your weight, blood glucose (for diabetic patients) , blood pressure (for hypertensive patients), and urinary ketone (for everyone else).

  • Total calories (calorie), depending on your body weight.
    • For a person without obesity, the total calories are recommended to be around~ 1600-1800 calories.
    • For weight loss, I recommend to even go lower, 1000-1500 calories daily.
    • Fats should accounts for ~ 70-80% of the total calories.
    • Protein is ~ 1 g / kg of body weight or ~ 10-15% of total calories.
    • Carbohydrates: refers to all high starch, high sugar foods such as rice, wheat products, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn, etc.
    • You can search for the nutrition content of a food product, if you are not sure if you can eat it or not.
    • Urine ketone test: How do you know if you are doing right on a ketogenic diet (in other words, are you in ketosis)? We usually recommend a simple and inexpensive urine ketone test.  If you are at least moderately positive on a urine ketone test, then you are doing right. We usually recommend that you check your urine ketone twice a day, fasting urine ketone in the morning, and in the afternoon.  Do this for a few weeks to 2-3 months until you have set a new routine of your diet.
    • More on Ketogenic Diet: 
  • Ketogenic Diet:

    Vegetables: My general rule is that my lunch is my first meal of the day. I will have a hearty lunch. First, I will try to eat more vegetables. I try to get a lot of vitamins, minerals and nutrients from vegetables. By vegetables, we mean non-starch, usually leafy vegetables. I recommend salad. Try not to cook these vegetables as the cooking process usually destroys vitamins.  Do not overcook vegetables.  I try to fill my stomach with these vegetables to 60-70% full. Then I eat foods that contain healthy fats. Fat pork, beef, lamb or eggs (especially egg yolks), cream, cheese, nuts (such as macadamia nuts), avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. My lunch is like this: first eat a lot of green leafy vegetables, I may eat 2-3 pieces of braised pork cooked with no/little sugar. Yes it may make you feel greasy. With such a fatty greasy meal I actually don’t even feel hungry at dinner time.

  • Intermittent fasting

There are several ways but I personally find the following easy to practice:

  • 2 meals a day, within a 6-8-hour window: I usually intentionally skip breakfast and eat only 2 meals  a day at lunch (12-1 pm) and dinner (5-7 pm) times.
    • If you must eat breakfast (such as 7-8 am), the second meal then can be from 12 to 2 pm. After 2 pm, you will not eat any foods containing calories. You can drink water, tea, etc., but don’t add sweetened milk, etc. You can drink vegetable soup, eat vegetables.
  • Once a week, fast for 24 hours. After Friday’s dinner, I usually don’t eat until Saturday dinner time, that’s about 24 hours without any calories.  I will drink coffee, tea and water, however.  I don’t add any sugar or milk into my drinks.

In the past few years, I have been eating two meals (without breakfast, lunch and dinner 6 days a week. On Saturday, I do not have breakfast and lunch, and only eat dinner (that’s ~24-hour fasting). Not eating breakfast is not difficult for many people, especially Americans. So for me, skipping breakfast is not a big challenge. Fasting once a week is not a big challenge either.


  • Exercise: 

  • Any exercise is fine. But I found group exercises are more fun and usually last longer.  Group exercises are not just exercises but also socializing.
  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Exercise) is recommended, here is how to:

Warm up for 15 minutes, adding a few 20-second bursts at the end to prepare for the workout. Run, bike, or row for 30 seconds at a nearly all-out effort. Take three minutes active recovery and repeat the 30 on/3 off pattern five or six more times. Finish with a 10-minute cool-down.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Cheng


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