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Keto and Body Composition: What Our Study Showed

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  Published on October 22nd, 2023
  Reading time: 23 minutes
  Last modified October 22nd, 2023
Tracking keto's effects on body composition

Key Takeaways on Keto and Body Composition

  • Criticism rather than peer review has grown too great among the scientific community.
  • Encourage pilot and groundbreaking studies and results; skepticism is preferable to cynicism.
  • Results of past studies can be expanded upon or augmented by current studies employing better technology and understanding than was previously available.
  • Recent studies comparing the effects of ketogenic and western diets on lean body mass have revealed incredible and unique results.

“If you want to avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing.” – Aristotle

Critiquing a study based on the abstract is like reading the back of a book and trying to tell someone the details of what happens. There’s much more than what meets the eye. However, this tends to happen far too often. Just because you read an abstract or a second-hand critique of a study doesn’t mean you should go around making bold claims and opinions of a study. In the same fashion, just because you read that Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey embark on a physical love affair does not mean you know what happens in 50 Shades of Grey… or at least that’s what I’m told…

Our job as scientists is to solve problems. We identify problems through observations, form questions and hypotheses, conduct experiments, analyze the data, and draw a conclusion based on that data. In short, employ the scientific method. Meanwhile, our job as educators is to make sure that the science/information is translatable, understandable, and practical for the world to interpret and utilize. I know several incredible scientists who are not the best educators. I know many educators who know very little about actual science. The ability to bridge that gap between science and application is not an easy feat, but certainly one that needs to be crossed more often.

Social media has provided an opportunity for more people to become “educators,” which is an amazing tool when used correctly but a dreadful one when abused by those who lack the context and understanding. With that being said, the point of this article is to properly translate the research for easy application. In doing so, you will notice that by no means will I ever ridicule anyone for a misunderstanding. That’s not how I operate, and it is not how those around me operate. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and that is a freedom I hold dear myself. However, if our goal is to truly try and educate the masses, then ad hominem attacks certainly won’t accomplish that. Within this article, I hope that we can educate and bridge that gap for a recently published study in which I was a co-author, titled, “The Effects of Ketogenic Dieting on Body Composition, Strength, Power, and Hormonal Profiles in Resistance Training Males.” By doing so, I hope you take away not only the important findings of our study, but also our call for far more collaboration rather than division in the scientific community.

Why We Studied Keto’s Effect on Body Composition

When we first initiated this project, only one other study had ever been done using resistance “trained” athletes. Sure, there had been plenty of work done on endurance athletes and other applications of the ketogenic diet, but why had no studies ever been done on resistance-trained subjects following a ketogenic diet? Paoli et al. (2012) examined 8 gymnasts who were on a 30-day modified ketogenic diet and found that they had no decrements in strength, yet they lost nearly 4.2 pounds of body fat during that time. [1] No significant changes in lean body mass were found, which was expected because there was no training intervention, only dietary. However, one major caveat was that the individuals on the modified ketogenic diet had substantially more protein, which could have been the driving force behind the changes. Although, previously published work by Dr. Joey Antonio has demonstrated that “consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/day) does not significantly affect body composition (i.e., no statistically significant change in fat-free mass, fat mass or % body fat) in trained individuals who do not substantially change their exercise regimen.” [2] For argument’s sake, let’s say that the results seen in Paoli’s study were driven by the extra protein intake despite no changes in their exercise regime. This study was the first to show that a modified ketogenic diet may serve as a valuable tool in lowering body fat without compromising strength or power in gymnasts or other athletes to whom the strength and power to bodyweight ratios matters tremendously.

Despite these findings, no study had looked at a ketogenic diet that matches for protein intake in a well-controlled, resistance-training environment. Thus, we set out to look at what happens under these conditions. Quite honestly, going into this study, I initially thought that the ketogenic diet group might lose some more fat mass, but likely wouldn’t be able to gain as much muscle as the western diet group. I was told my entire life that I needed to drink weight gainers to put on weight. Even in college while I was playing baseball, my coaches would harp on me to “slug down” two, 1,500 calories, 250-gram carbohydrate-based weight gainer shakes on top of all my meals to put on some more size. In my head, this was the only way to increase muscle mass. But, as a reasonable scientist, I was open and excited to see the results of our study.

Keep in mind, this study wasn’t run yesterday. Let me pause for an educational tidbit on how the publishing process works. Though this study was recently “published,” it had been in the peer review process for over a year. The typical process is as follows: 1) design the study, 2) run the experiment, 3) gather and analyze data, 4) write up the report, and 5) submit to a journal. From here is where a large disconnect can occur. From the outside, it might appear that the paper gets reviewed, denied or accepted, and published two months later. While that does occur, it is atypical and differs by journal, by reviewer, by submission, and several other factors. That’s not to say one journal process is better than another, but the process itself is often misunderstood by those who have never published. The process could go something like this: 1) design the experiment, 2) run the experiment, 3) gather and analyze data, 4) write up the report, 5) submit to a journal, 6) receive revisions from reviewers four months later, 6) work on revisions for one month and resubmit, 7) receive minor revisions from reviewers four months later, 8) work on revisions for one month and resubmit, 9) receive acceptance of publication four months later, and 10) article gets published online 6–8 months later. This common scenario serves as a teaching moment for what the peer review and publication process can entail. In total in this example, from the time the study was completed to the time it was available online would be roughly two years. Keep that in mind when you read journal articles or publications, and hopefully you will get a better understanding of the peer review process (i.e. you are on their time, not yours with “whenever the reviewer gets to it”).

Our Study on Keto, Body Composition, and Performance

We looked at several different aspects in this study. First, the primary endpoint of the study was to examine what impact a long-term (10-week) ketogenic diet (KD) would have on body composition and performance compared to a western diet (WD) in resistance-trained young adults. A secondary purpose of our study was to determine the effects of the KD in this population on blood lipid profile, blood biomarkers of health, and anabolic hormone status. Lastly, a tertiary purpose of our study was to observe the effects of carbohydrate refeeding following ketogenic diet adaptation on body composition and performance (weeks 10–11). In essence, you could look at these as three different studies all wrapped into one design. This is essential to understand before going into more detail on the design. Why would we do this? Why have three endpoints to look at for a study:

  1. No studies had ever looked at body composition and performance utilizing a resistance-training program combined with a longer-term ketogenic diet.
  2. No studies had ever examined blood markers of safety, lipids, and hormones in a population on a ketogenic diet in combination with resistance training.
  3. As stated in the introduction, the role of carbohydrate reintroduction following ketogenic diet adaptation is poorly understood. Thus, we wanted to see what happens when you reintroduce individuals to carbohydrates after they have been on a ketogenic diet for 10 weeks (i.e. the 10–11-week data).

We studied 25 resistance-trained subjects who were relatively well trained (average squat of 1.56 times their body weight and an average of 5.5 years of training experience). We randomized these individuals into two groups, a KD group (N=13) and a WD group (N=12). Following this, each group met with a registered dietitian to discuss what foods were acceptable, which foods were not, and individualized meal plans using the Mifflin St. Jeor equation. The WD consisted of 20% calories from protein, 55% from total carbohydrates, and 25% from fat. The KD consisted of 20% calories from protein, 5% from carbohydrates including fiber, and 75% from fat. Each diet was based on the individuals’ caloric needs rather than a uniform diet since we had people working with the subjects daily to keep them on track.

Following these criteria, individuals were told to continue their normal training and focus on their diet for two weeks. As you might imagine, there were still questions that arose among both groups regarding the acceptably of specific foods. For anyone who has ever implemented a dietary intervention with study subjects before, you know exactly what I mean. Both groups received coaching for two weeks to make sure they could dial-in on their diet before they even started the structured training program. This is not typical of most research, as the vast majority of studies will NOT do this. It is easy to hand someone a non-tailored plan and say “you can only eat these foods and not these foods. I’ll see you in eight weeks.” We could have easily done that, and I might have spent more time on my own training rather than helping our team sift through people’s MyFitnessPal or LoseIt accounts every day. If we were going to truly do this study the right way, we needed to make sure both groups had their diet on track before we implemented any kind of training and that’s exactly what these two weeks did.

This brings us to the training program. This is where I begin to take a backseat and let some of the other members of the team operate. I can dial it in on anything nutrition or supplementation related, but creating training programs is not my specialty. However, I can promise you one thing: Dr. Jacob Wilson knows more about proper programming, training variables, and inducing growth than anyone I have ever met, period. There is a reason why professional athletes fly from all over the world to come to meet with him on training and for related topics on which he has over 200 published papers and abstracts. With that, he and some of the research team designed an intense 7-week training program, followed by a 1-week taper (then retest), and then finished with the refeed + taper (then final testing at Week 11).

“For all criterion lifts, subjects were given a target repetition range based on a percentage of their 1RM. All subjects either reached their target repetition scheme or failure by the final set. The load utilized for weeks 3–6 ranged from 65–95 % of each subject’s initial 1RM. However, these loads were increased by 2–5 % for the final 7–9 weeks of training depending on subject’s ability to perform the prescribed repetitions during weeks 3–6. For the final two weeks, subjects tapered by decreasing volume by 40–50% through decreasing sets on auxiliary lifts on Monday and Wednesdays, and only performing 1RM testing on Fridays.”

Below are sample workouts. Note these varied from week-to-week in intensity and repetition range. As you can see, the training program was extensive.

Throughout the study, the other variables we looked at were DXA determined body composition (Week 0, Week 10, and Week 11), ultrasonography determined muscle thickness (Week 0, Week 10, and Week 11), Wingate power and 1RM (Week 0, Week 10, and Week 11), cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and glucose (Week 0, Week 10, and Week 11), markers of safety (Week 0 and Week 10), testosterone (Week 0 and Week 11) and ketones (weekly).

What We Found in Our Study

Lean Body Mass (LBM)

For some reason, people tend to focus intently on the body composition results. So in summary, what we found is:

  1. From weeks 0–10, both the ketogenic diet and western diet groups increased lean body mass (LBM). The KD group increased by 2.4% while the WD group increased by 4.4%, but there were no significant differences between groups.
  2. From weeks 10–11 (the carbohydrate reintroduction week), only the KD group increased in LBM (4.8%).
  3. When looking at the study from weeks 0–11, both the KD (+7.3%) and the WD (+3.6%) increased in LBM from baseline with no significant differences between groups.

Takeaway: You can gain muscle on a ketogenic diet. Both the KD and WD groups gained LBM to the same extent.

When reintroducing carbohydrates, DXA determined LBM only went up in the KD group. Does that mean in that week they just packed on pure muscle mass? Absolutely not. However, as we mention in the discussion:

“It has been demonstrated that reintroduction of carbohydrates after restricted carbohydrate intake increases muscle glycogen levels above baseline, a phenomenon termed “glycogen supercompensation.” However, even with this effect, we can speculate, based on the glycogen storage capacity of muscle, that likely only 1.0–1.5 kg of LBM would be accounted for by increases in intramuscular and liver stores of glycogen and water. Thus, it is probable that the abrupt, yet not unexpected, changes in LBM were primarily driven by drastic changes in water flux during the last week of the study. It is important to emphasize that there are profound changes in renal handling of sodium, which would drive a great deal of water retention in all tissues following reintroduction of carbohydrates. Given the probable nature of these assumptions, it is therefore likely that both groups gained similar amounts of muscle mass throughout the entire study.”

Retrospectively, I think it would have been a great idea to add in a measure that examines total body water like the InBody. However, at that time, we didn’t have the device nor was it a thought. Nevertheless, future research in these areas should certainly try to incorporate this.

Remember, our study was the first to investigate the response of carbohydrate reintroduction following a long period of restriction (i.e. 10–weeks on a KD). We clearly showed robust increases in body weight, though the mechanisms behind this are up for discussion. As mentioned in the above paragraph, we did not attribute this LBM gain to primarily muscle or calories. We stated that much of the LBM was driven by water flux. Clearly, calories were not the primary driver in changes in mass in this case. Moreover, our results are certainly in line with weight-restricted sports, in which the range of weight loss and regain reported in a 72-hour period ranges from 2 to 6 kg in combat sport athletes. [3]

Additionally, here is a fantastic excerpt from Adel Moussa at the distinguished scientific blog, SuppVersity (http://suppversity.blogspot.com), where he provided a cogent breakdown of this aspect of our study as well:

“Only after the increase in carbohydrate intake in Week 11, that was not all-too-different from the glycogen loading protocol in a recent study by Bone et al. (2016), the KD group caught up and overtook the WD group. The ~2kg (~3% of baseline lean mass) extra lean mass in the ketogenic vs. western diet group, however, is pretty much identical to the 2.0 ± 0.9 % increase in DXA-measured lean mass Bone et al. observed in response to a similar glycogen loading protocol in their study.” [4]

Fat Mass

  1. From Weeks 0–10, both the ketogenic diet (−4%) and western diet (−13%) groups decreased fat mass. These differences were significantly different between the groups.
  2. From Weeks 10–11 (the carbohydrate reintroduction week), only the KD group increased in fat mass (5.6%).
  3. When looking at the study from Weeks 0–11, the KD (−4%) and the WD (−6.2%) lost the same amount of fat mass.

Takeaway: The KD lost significantly more fat mass than the WD from Weeks 0 to 10. However, following the reintroduction of carbohydrates (CHO), these significant differences no longer existed since the KD gained fat mass with the rapid reintroduction of CHO.

This was stated clearly in the discussion as well:

“To our knowledge, the current study is the first to investigate a ketogenic diet while controlling for training, calories, and protein intake on body fatness in resistance-trained males. From Weeks 1–10 of training, we found that the overall decrease in body fat was significantly greater in the KD group compared to the WD group. However, after the reintroduction of carbohydrates, the KD group gained body fat. This resulted in no differences between groups at the end of Week 11.”

We can only speculate as to why these changes occurred, but it is unlikely that it was all driven by lipid accumulation. Rather, it is possible that the rapid changes in water flux attributed to this as well.

As we point out in the discussion:

“Recent research indicates that the ability to utilize carbohydrate in skeletal muscle is down-regulated via an inhibition of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex.”

How many people come off a ketogenic diet and go straight into a high-carb diet for an entire week? What about competitors coming out of a show who drastically increase the carbs they have restricted for the past several months? They tend to find themselves up numerous pounds in just the course of a couple of days (and sorry to break it to you, but it is not all muscle). Personally, this was a very interesting finding and one of the reasons I am glad we did reintroduce carbohydrates. Clearly, the rapid reintroduction (1g/kg carbohydrate for 2 days, then 2g/kg carbohydrate for the next 2 days, and finally 3g/kg carbohydrate for the last 2 days with an isocaloric (same calories) decrease in dietary fat before final testing) was too much. This hopefully lends support for further research in areas such as cyclic ketogenic dieting or even targeted ketogenic dieting and how it may or may not have similar challenges.

For clarification on the carbohydrate intake at the end of the study, an example would be an 80kg person (176 lbs.) would consume 80 grams of carbs for 2 days, 160 grams for 2 days, and 240 grams for 2 days. This still is not close to the amount of carbohydrates consumed by the WD during this same period (an average 50 grams more still upon completion of the reintroduction).

Other Findings

Other aspects of the study were interesting, but for the sake of your time, a summary is:

  1. Performance: No significant differences between groups for strength. Only the WD increased Wingate peak power from Weeks 0–10, while the KD group increased Weeks 10–11. However, these differences were not significant from each other.
  2. Safety: No significant differences between groups.
  3. Hormones: Total testosterone increased significantly in the KD group (+118 ng/dl).
  4. Cholesterol: No significant differences, but trend (p=0.08) for higher HDL in the KD group.
  5. Triglycerides: No significant differences from Weeks 0–10, however following the reintroduction of CHO in Week 11, the KD group saw a significant increase.

How Is It Possible to Gain Muscle on a Ketogenic Diet?

I’m sure you are aware of the fact that it is possible to gain muscle on a ketogenic diet. Point in case, Dr. Jeff Volek has found that overweight men assigned to a ketogenic diet (KD; <50 g carbs per day) plus resistance training lost 7.7 kg of fat mass and gained 1kg of LBM. [5] Additionally, this same group found that normal-weight, non-exercising men placed on maintenance calories with a ketogenic diet have lost 3.4 kg of fat mass while gaining 1.2 kg of lean mass. [6]

Why is the resistance exercise component so important? Previous research by Dr. William Kraemer found that overweight men who consumed a low-calorie, high-fiber, low-fat diet lost approximately 9.5 kg (nearly 21 pounds) in 12 weeks. [7] However, those individuals who just made dietary changes had 69% of that weight lost as fat. Meanwhile, those who added weight lifting lost almost exclusively fat (97% of weight loss), also stated by Volek et al. (2010). [5]

“The combination of a low-carbohydrate diet and resistance training appears to be additive in the sense that it maximizes fat loss while preserving/increasing lean body mass. In other words, a low- carbohydrate diet combined with resistance training produces the greatest reductions in percent body fat.”

Fast-forward to a study published in 2013 by Klement and colleagues. Twelve subjects (7 males, 5 females, age 24–60 years) transitioned to a ketogenic diet for 38 days. They found that “the drastic reduction of carbohydrates had no statistically significant influence on running performance judged by the time to exhaustion, VO2 max and respiratory compensation points. Estimated improvements in body composition were a decrease of 3.4 kg of fat mass and gain of 1.3 kg of fat-free mass.” Further, if you just look at the 5 individuals in that study who did any type of strength training, they lost about 3.1 kg of fat mass and gained 1.8 kg of LBM on average over 5–6 weeks. [8] Now the naysayers and skeptics might say: “That’s great and all, but the only reason they saw those responses were because they consumed more protein.” Fair point, though as we mentioned previously, some data indicate that if there are no alterations in a training program, extra protein does not do much in terms of fat mass or LBM. But, for argument’s sake, let’s again assume that it’s the protein.

Are there any studies done with equal protein contents of the diet?

Without our current study, there is a perception that no studies have been done showing a ketogenic diet is beneficial for body composition when protein is matched for. That statement is false. Let’s review:

Case 1:  Young et al. (1971) – protein and calories matched; diets differed in CHO and Fat intake. [9]

KD group: −0.7 kg LBM, −14.9 kg of fat mass

WD group: −2.8 kg of LBM, −8.4 kg of fat mass

Case 2:  Gregory et al. (2017) – no significant differences in protein or calories in CrossFit athletes. [10]

KD group: −0.37 kg LBM, −2.83 kg fat mass

WD group: +0.09 kg LBM, +0.06 kg fat mass

Case 3:  Roberson et al. (2018) – no significant differences in protein or calories in Cross training athletes. [11]

KD group: N/C LBM, −3.47 kg fat mass

WD group: N/C LBM, −0.06 kg fat mass

Thus, of the studies of which I am aware, our study can be classified as the fourth confirming the thought that a well-formulated ketogenic diet, when adjusted for protein, can have unique benefits for body composition.

How is this possible?

Though we cannot point to one exact mechanism, we describe some potential reasons on how this might be the case in the Introduction:

“We recently conducted the first acute and chronic resistance training studies under ketogenic dieting conditions using a rodent model. For the acute model, we found that basal and short-term rises in protein synthesis and breakdown were the same in KD and WD rats following a resistance training bout. In our second study, rats voluntarily exercised daily using resistance-loaded running wheels for 6-weeks with no differences in voluntary training volume. Moreover, both the WD and KD groups demonstrated similar increases in hind-limb muscle mass.”

Takeaway: There were no differences between KD and WD rats’ ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Further, we have even more recent data that ketones themselves may trigger MPS, which confirms previous research by Nair et al. (1988), which found that BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate)) decreases leucine oxidation and promotes protein synthesis in humans. [12]

Context and Perspective

As with any study, you can view this study with a different perspective, even though at the end of the day, the data are what they are. For example:

  • Perspective 1: The KD gained just as much muscle as the WD, and they did not have greater fat loss (from the perspective of Weeks 0–11).
  • Perspective 2: The KD gained just as much muscle as the WD, yet lost more fat (from the perspective of Weeks 0–10).
  • Perspective 3: The KD gained fat while the WD did not (from the perspective of Weeks 10–11)
  • Perspective 4: The KD gained LBM while the WD group did not (from the perspective of Weeks 10–11)

Unfortunately, people tend to view things with personal bias and are unwavering in seeing the big picture; actually looking at the details of the study and make conclusions based on the true data.

We could sit here and do this with any study that has been conducted. For example, I could take a simple study like Stone et al. (1999) that supplemented creatine for 5-weeks in D1 AA football athletes. He found that these athletes (who already had a high starting LBM) gained 5.3 kg in 5-weeks (or a rate of lean tissue accretion of 1.06 kg per week) while supplementing with creatine. [13] Someone might easily look at that data and say, “that’s unbelievable, I have never seen anything like that before.” Instead, we could take a different perspective and say that the placebo group gained 1.4 kg LBM in 5-weeks, which goes to show you how intense the training and dietary protocol of the study were. These were high-level athletes and, being familiar with the work by Stone et al., you can bet that the training program was of the highest quality.

One perspective I am not particularly open to accepting however is:

  • Perspective 5: These results are impossible.

Clearly, that perspective is just incorrect because the results occurred. This fallacy is often labeled as an argument from incredulity, concluding that because you cannot or refuse to believe something, it must be untrue, improbable, or flawed. Whatever way you want to spin it, the results are what they are.

Without boring you, scientists wrote entire dissertations on how it was impossible to run a sub-4-minute mile. Literally used the terminology “impossible.” In their eyes, it was… until Robert Bannister did it on May 6, 1954. Now, high-school students frequently run sub-4-minute miles, and it has been done thousands of times.

In sum, it is common to immediately start making accusations and scream “impossible” when it does not fit a specifically held paradigm. To be honest, it is quite sad that, as a scientific community, we are holding ourselves back, bickering internally about nonsense, and “sticking to our guns” about what we “feel” is right. Rather, we need more studies that push the envelope of human performance and progress the cumulative knowledge base forward. It is our job as scientists to study what is possible Without pushing the limits, how can we say that we are honestly moving the bar forward?

The depth in which this needs to be addressed is far beyond this article, but we (the scientific community) need to start studying more of what is going on in the real world rather than refuting evidence that such findings are “impossible” because we have never seen it before. We have never seen it before because we have never studied it. For example, the results of a recent publication (Wilson et al., 2014) have been compared to “steroid-like” gains [14] because we have never seen these improvements in LBM before in literature. (Please see Wilson, Jacob M.; Lowery, Ryan P.; Joy, Jordan; Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 30(10):e11-e14, October 2016 for clarification [15] ). We are currently putting together an extensive paper on what has been done in past literature versus what we see in the real world (practical application) as far as LBM gains. The differences are frightening (to the degree that we are studying individuals with up to 20–30 kg less LBM than what is typical amongst strength and power athletes today). As a teaser, not only will this information include several past studies which have found greater gains in LBM than Wilson et al. (2014), [14] but it will include recent data with athletes who had greater training experience and lean body mass than in our previous studies. Yet, when exposed to intensified training, these athletes consistently gained as much or more LBM than most previous research (without ANY supplementation). In addition, we will also present some case-study findings of what is possible with true “anabolic supplementation” combined with a well-structured resistance training program (which is still missing from current literature). Here is a sneak peak of a person who was training for the NFL Combine (projected to go in the second round of the Draft) and trained at our facility for just under 6-weeks. With six weeks of hard training, proper nutrition (all meals were pre-made), and supplementation including only BCAAs, protein shakes, and fish oil, this individual gained nearly 12 pounds of lean mass, though his training status far exceeds 99% of studies currently in literature. This is just one of many examples that this paper will mention, thereby effectively eliminating the conjecture that you cannot gain lean mass at a rate that matches and often exceeds that which has been seen in previous literature.


In closing, the purpose of this article is not to go on a tangent about our study or any future studies, but rather bring about a call to action moving forward. It greatly frustrates me to see ad hominem attacks arise in a scientific community of some of the most acclaimed individuals in the world. Unfortunately, many of these “scientists” have never run a study or been through the rigor of the peer review process before.

What alarms me even more are individuals who utilize red-herring tactics; arguments not even relevant to the issues being discussed. A “red-herring tactic” is defined as attempting to redirect the argument to another issue not relevant to the primary issue. For example, an argument might be made that a paper “should have never gotten published since these gains are unrealistic.” Yet, in the argument, a red herring is to point out a grammar or reference error in a paper that is not even in its final edited version (note some journals publish papers before final edits, hence the term “published ahead of print”). What does a grammar error have to do with the argument that the results are unrealistic? How do exogenous ketones even get brought into the conversation when exogenous ketones were not even on the market when this study was conducted? Lastly, if there were an “agenda” or “bias” towards favorable results, why would negative changes in fat mass and triglycerides be reported during the carbohydrate reintroduction, which in my opinion is clearly discussed in the manuscript itself.

As both a scientist and an educator, if you can look yourself in the mirror at night and know you have done everything to the best of your ability, with honesty, respect, and integrity, then you can lay your head to bed at night confidently. I am fortunate to be able to do so every night despite having worked on nearly 100 papers and abstracts over the course of the last seven years. There is no one who can vouch for this more so than one of my best friends and greatest colleagues, Shawn Wells. He will be the first to tell you and describe the moments when I have told him that the pilot and explorative studies he has funded found absolutely nothing. Zero. Zilch. Regardless of pulling for him to find positive results, the scientific process slammed the door on it. No matter how much people may think you want a certain outcome, if a study is conducted appropriately, the data points are what they are.

Despite attacks or insults, you will never see anyone on our team call out individuals and belittle them for their false accusations. Rather, these people are misinformed, and our job as educators is to do what we can to inform people appropriately; slander is certainly not the way to do it. We have enough hate in this world, and I truly mean it when I say that I am on a mission to make positivity louder. With that, I would like to make a call to action for current and future scientists and educators. Being a “millennial,” I feel it is important to help groom the next generation of scientists and science educators, especially within my field (sports nutrition, exercise, and supplementation). I encourage you to be skeptical. However, there is a large difference between skepticism and cynicism. Rather than attempt to denigrate someone on social media, how about reaching out to them and getting a better understanding of their study design, methods, and findings first? How about then taking that information and performing the study yourself using the same methodology to engage in the peer review process? That is the type of scientific future of which I hope to see more.

Here is my call to action for current and future scientists and educators

  • Be the change you wish to see in the world.
  • Progress humanity and science forward. Change the game.
  • Let your “why” outweigh any negativity that may come your way.
  • Make positivity louder.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and if you have any questions I would be more than happy to answer them. Further, if you want to come see where and how some of these studies are conducted, visit the Applied Science & Performance Institute in Tampa, FL.

Keep changing the world.

Dr. Ryan P. Lowery is the CEO of ketogenic.com, author of The Ketogenic Bible, President of the Applied Science and Performance Institute and KetoPhD™. His mission  is to spread awareness around the Ketogenic Lifestyle and its’ many benefits beyond body composition. He earned his BS and MS in exercise physiology and exercise and nutrition science from the University of Tampa and completed his doctorate work at Concordia University in Health and Human Performance with a focus on “The Effects of a Well-Formulated Ketogenic Diet and Exogenous Ketone Supplementation on Various Markers of Health and Body Composition in Healthy and Diseased Populations.” Over his career, Ryan has published over 150 papers, abstracts, and book chapters on human performance and sports nutrition and has dedicated his life to educating the masses. In his free time, Ryan enjoys spending time with his best friend, Scoot the Keto Pup, jet skiing, and traveling around the world. The way to his heart is through a good glass of wine and Keto desserts.



Paoli, A., Grimaldi, K., D’Agostino, D., Cenci, L., Moro, T., Bianco, A., & Palma, A. (2012). Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 34.


Antonio, J., Peacock, C. A., Ellerbroek, A., Fromhoff, B., & Silver, T. (2014). The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(1), 19.


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