Registered Dietitian Nutritionist's Book Club Review: The Keto Reset Diet


Registered Dietitian Nutritionist's Book Club Review: The Keto Reset Diet

04, October 2018 5:28 PM

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist's Book Club Review: The Keto Reset Diet

In September 2018, the Silicon Valley Registered Dietitian Nutritionist book club reviewed the Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson with Brad Kearns. The premise of this book is eating  a specific diet to “reprogram your genes back to the original factory setting of being fat-and keto-adapted”.

Keto is a shorthand term for ketosis, which the authors describe as a state of metabolic efficiency where you burn stored body fat in the form of ketones so you are no longer dependent on high-carbohydrate meals to sustain your energy. The book includes step-by-step guidance, daily meal plans and a recipe section with over 100 "keto-friendly" recipes.

For those not yet schooled in the keto concept, let’s begin with some basic facts. To put your body into ketosis, your carbohydrate intake level needs to be under 50 grams for the entire day. To put that into perspective, 15 French fries and one banana provide about 50 grams of carbohydrates. During our training to become dietitians, we learned how to plan ketogenic diets since they are a common treatment for people with epilepsy

The diet plan in Sisson’s Keto Reset Diet proposes a three step process.

1. Begin with a less restrictive 21-day reset diet which permits for up to 150 grams of carbohydrate per day. This eating pattern allows more vegetables, and even small quantities of dairy, than a traditional keto diet.

2. The next phase of the diet is to engage in intermittent fasting

3. After the 21 days reset diet and practice with intermittent fasting, if the reader still wants to lose weight and they have adopted enough lifestyle changes (exercising, adequate sleep, eating whole foods versus processed foods) then they are directed to launch into the traditional keto diet. During this six week period, dieters are directed to eat no more than 50 grams of carbohydrate per day, or just 20 grams per day without excercise.

Areas of Agreement

  • Recommendations to cut sugary foods from the diet, exercising, sleeping right and managing stress 
  • Cooking with whole foods rather than processed foods 
  • Longer periods of time between eating, especially extending the hours between the last evening eating opportunity and breakfast. Simply reducing the number of eating opportunities can reduce overall calories.
  • Take a step-wise approach to adopt a new eating pattern and lifestyle. Taking on just one thing at a time increases the odds of success. 

Where We Differed 

  • Removal of entire food groups such as Fruits and Grains, while severely restricting Dairy sets the user up for long term nutritional shortfalls. The intent of the food grouping system is to get nutritional balance by eating foods from all groups. 
  • The claim that the keto diet is the natural, ancestral eating pattern is questionable. For more information see a previous book club blog on the Paleo Diet
  • The keto diet is used to manage epilepsy so it clearly has some impact on human biochemistry. Are there unintended consequences for the non-epileptic person?
  • Where is the evidence? There are no references in the book to back up claims that this diet will reprogram your metabolism to burn fat. 

Bottom Line

Although this book contains some tasty and nutritious recipes and contains solid advice to cut back on sugary foods while exercising and getting adequate sleep, we cannot recommend a book that excludes multiple food groups. Very restrictive diets are difficult to follow and tend to be short term endeavors. 


Maureen Bligh, MA, RDN
Director, Resource Development and Marketing

Kristal Shelden, MPH, RDN
Project Manager, Nutrition Sciences

Maureen and Kristal are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Tags: balanced eating food groups healthy dietary patterns Healthy eating keto ketosis Kristal Shelden Maureen Bligh registered dietitian book club

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