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Keto Diet for Seniors: Benefits, Tips, and Considerations


People who reach the age of over 60 years are considered seniors. This increasing age is accompanied by weight gain, a loss of muscle mass, and a higher risk of problems affecting your heart, memory, and more (*). You may have heard about the keto diet for seniors to promote health.


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The keto diet, which is a very low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat eating plan is being used by many individuals to achieve weight loss and address a variety of diseases. Given that keto follows a particular set of rules, which can be challenging in the beginning, you might be wondering if the benefits are worth it.

In today’s guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the keto diet for older adults. Find out its advantages, risks, considerations, and success strategies.

Potential Benefits of Following a Keto Diet for Seniors

Cutting carbs to less than 50 grams and prioritizing your intake of protein and healthy fats puts you in a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketone bodies such as beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) produced during ketosis have anti-inflammatory effects (*). Furthermore, eating enough protein and fat can boost your function, plus lower your cravings, especially for sugar.

Here are the benefits of keto for seniors backed by research:

Weight loss

It becomes harder to lose weight as you get older due to a slowed metabolism, reduced physical activity, and hormonal changes (low testosterone in men and low estrogen in women).

Healthy weight loss after the age of 60 can be achieved through a keto diet. By reducing carbs, your body burns energy in the form of stored fat, instead of glucose. A review done on 13 randomized controlled trials found that overweight and obese individuals achieved long-term reductions in their weight. The effects were even greater compared to low-fat diets (*).

It’s important to note that healthy weight loss in seniors can lead to reduced joint discomfort and improved mobility (*).

Muscle mass preservation

The loss of muscle mass is another consequence of aging. Muscle mass decreases up to 8% each decade after 30 years old and the decline becomes greater after the age of 60 (*). Preserving muscle has many benefits, such as reduced body fat, increased strength, and improved brain function (*).

Being a diet that’s almost high in protein, the keto diet promotes muscle protein synthesis. Furthermore, research shows that ketone bodies may prevent the breakdown of muscle mass during aging or when on a low-calorie diet (*).

Blood sugar reduction

According to the National Institute on Aging, millions of older Americans have prediabetes — a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but do not yet qualify for diabetes (*). However, if not addressed, prediabetes can increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

The keto diet is supported by scientific research as a tool for improving blood sugar control. Findings from different studies have shown a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose and HbA1c (average blood sugar over the past 3 months) (*).


Join 90k+ people who are losing weight with Keto Kickstart, our doctor-developed program designed to give you real weight loss results.

A word of caution: Talk to a knowledgeable and experienced healthcare provider about your intention to start a keto diet. If you’re already taking glucose-lowering medications, they may need to be adjusted to prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low.

Prevents nutrient deficiencies

Optimal nutrition becomes more important as an individual reaches old age. A reduced appetite is common in seniors due to changes in their digestion, sense of smell, and taste. Unfortunately, these factors contribute to decreased food intake, ultimately affecting their nutritional status (*).

Following a keto diet can prevent micronutrient deficiencies that could lead to cognitive decline. Examples of these nutrients affecting cognition include vitamin C, B complex, calcium, magnesium, and zinc (*).

There are plenty of nutrient-dense foods available on the keto diet. Replacing high-carb foods (e.g. grains, potatoes, pasta, and other starchy veggies and fruits) with options like meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, avocados, and green leafy veggies, ensure that you get enough vitamins and minerals.

Potential Risks of Following a Keto Diet for Seniors

Older adults may experience unpleasant side effects while starting keto for the first time. These side effects are known as the keto flu because they mimic flu symptoms. Watch out for symptoms, such as fatigue, brain fog, increased sugar or carb cravings, muscle cramps, and digestive issues within the first few days of keto.

Keep in mind that keto flu is only temporary. It goes away after a few weeks of sticking with the keto diet. Make sure that during your transition, you take electrolytes and eat lots of healthy fats.

Is keto diet safe for seniors taking medication? Note that another potential risk is hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar) and hypotension (abnormally low blood pressure) for seniors who are on blood glucose and blood pressure medications. Be sure to seek advice from a doctor who’s experienced in adjusting medication on a low-carb diet.

Things to Consider When Trying Keto for Older Adults

While the keto diet can be effective for older people, some considerations should be made to implement it properly:

  • Existing medical conditions: We recommend consulting with a healthcare provider if you’re currently diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, and kidney disease. Note that the absolute contraindication to a keto diet is when you have a condition that doesn’t properly digest fats.
  • Health and fitness goals: Are you doing keto to lose weight? Manage your blood sugar? Identifying specific goals will allow you to track your progress along the way.
  • Access to keto-friendly foods: Affordable low-carb items that can be found at your nearest grocery include eggs, chicken thighs, and frozen veggies (e.g. broccoli, mushrooms, riced cauliflower)
  • Long-term adherence: While there are different ways to approach the keto diet — examples are the standard keto diet, cyclical keto diet, pescatarian keto, and vegetarian keto — the most important thing is consistency.
  • Tracking your progress: Revisit your goals as you go along this journey. Use a blood ketone meter or urine strips to check ketosis. Get support from a healthcare provider. Check your health markers for improvements. Do journaling to become aware of your eating habits.

Tips for Success on the Keto Diet After 60

Pursuing a keto diet over 60 is a great goal, but before you get started, here are a few essential things to take into account:

  • Know your keto macros: Use a free keto calculator to determine the amount of carbs, fat, and protein you need each day to reach and maintain ketosis. The average carb count is usually 30 grams, but you can decrease it further or increase it to 50 grams.
  • Get enough electrolytes: Prevent dehydration by taking a keto-friendly electrolyte drink. These are especially helpful for overcoming the keto flu. Note that seniors are at a greater risk of dehydration, which makes electrolyte intake a priority.
  • Have a list of foods to eat and avoid: In general, choose foods that have very few carbs. All animal-based foods (except for highly processed ones) are keto-friendly, including non-starchy veggies and fruits like leafy greens, broccoli, berries, and avocados.
  • Incorporate cardio and strength training: Maintaining physical activity is one of the best things seniors can do as part of their keto diet. Cardiovascular exercises, such as brisk walking, build endurance. On the other hand, strength training exercises, such as squats and using dumbbells to work their arms, boost their muscle mass and stability.
  • Have keto-friendly snacks on hand: Snacking for seniors ensures that they obtain adequate nutrients. The best low-carb options include boiled eggs, cheddar cheese slices, almonds, and cashews.

The Bottom Line

Even at the age of 60, remember that it’s never too late to get healthier! By switching to a lower carbohydrate eating pattern, such as the keto diet, you can lose weight and lower your risk of disease.


Join 90k+ people who are losing weight with Keto Kickstart, our doctor-developed program designed to give you real weight loss results.

Keto can be difficult to start, especially if you’ve been eating huge amounts of carbohydrates for years. Get familiar with keto-friendly foods and incorporate other lifestyle practices, such as exercise. Remember to consult a healthcare provider who can help you adhere to this diet as safely as possible.

11 References

Mayo Clinic Staff. Aging: What to expect

Yun-Hee Y et al. The ketone metabolite β-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasome–mediated inflammatory disease. 2015 February 16

Victoria M et al. Nutritional Ketosis for Weight Management and Reversal of Metabolic Syndrome. 2019 September 1

Steven M et al. Weight Loss through Lifestyle Intervention Improves Mobility in Older Adults. 2022 August

Elena V et al. Muscle tissue changes with aging. 2010 January 12

Anne-Julie T et al. Association of Low Muscle Mass With Cognitive Function During a 3-Year Follow-up Among Adults Aged 65 to 86 Years in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. 2022 July 1

Prof. Antonio P et al. Ketogenic Diet and Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy: A Frenemy Relationship? 2019 August 2

National Institute on Aging. Diabetes in Older People

Raghad A et al. Effects of the Ketogenic Diet on Glycemic Control in Diabetic Patients: Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. 2020 October 5

Damanpreet K et al. Nutritional Interventions for Elderly and Considerations for the Development of Geriatric Foods. 2019 May

Damanpreet K et al. Nutritional Interventions for Elderly and Considerations for the Development of Geriatric Foods. 2019 May


37 thoughts on “Keto Diet for Seniors: Benefits, Tips, and Considerations

  1. thank you for this information it has been very helpful also. can you go back and fourth between a low carb diet and a high protect in diet and how much time should you give inbetween

  2. Been on keto for 3 months and now have issues w eggs and some dairy, gut issues (taking enzymes and probiotics now) and only lost 12 lbs, in 2 weeks when I did intermittent fasting and bulletproof coffee but stalled again for past two months and not sure what to do. I’m 60 and cannot get the calories nor protein in so I’m at about 800 calories a day w two meals. I’m ramping up frequency of exercise but not sure WHAT ELSE TO DO? Is my metabolism that slow due to age and a few traumas ( such as spinal surgeries?) The macros set by these programs seem unrealistic when for the first time in I don’t want food! Help.

    1. Hi Lisa, it is very common to hit a stall after such a drastic drop in weight and there could be many different reasons for this – increased stress, not enough calories, lack of sleep, etc. You may need to address these one at a time and see how your body responds.

  3. The military taught me that 3 hours of sleep with one or two 20 minutes naps have kept me going from 18 years old to now 67 years old. I have been watching what I eat for the last twenty years and kept my 22 years old weight. 2 years ago, I lost my retirement, and that stress has put on 25 pounds I cannot take off. I am on full KETO regimen for the last two years and nothing has gone down. I take supplements, 2x Alacer Emergen C, 10 000 D3, 200 mg Ubiquinol, 2 ounces of Kefir to swallow the pills down, 2 ounces of Whole milk Greek yogurt with 2 ounces of Blueberries, and 16 ounces of Bulletproof coffee, with 1 Tbsp of Kerry butter and 1 1/2 Tbsp of ultra pure coconut oil. For breakfast. lunch is 2 ounces of grass-fed beef with 2 ounces of spinach and 2 ounces of multi color peppers with one teaspoon of coconut oil and two ounces of shredded cheese to top it all. Turmeric, cumin and basil, with fresh ground pepper for taste. At night, 5 thin slices of ham, 2 big slices of swiss cheese as bun, a fresh salad of spinach.
    My only sin is my chocolate, or my macaroons. 2 ounces of chocolate, ( darkest unsweetened, and 2 macaroons only).

  4. I’m 78 years old male. Lost 35 lbs on keto in 5 months while basically sedentary. Now 179 lbs, same as age 21. Still on it for 4 more months and maintaining. Supplemented with acacia fiber, magnesium, Vitamins D, B Complex, probiotics and alpha lipoic acid per Drs. Perlmutter, William Davis and Mercola. Lipids now all normal. I sleep better and deeper, joint pains gone, have much more energy and mental focus. Eat frozen berries for my daily carbs, along with salad and green veggies (brussels and broccoli). I use olive oil instead of coconut oil to maintain fat macro. I feed sugar jones with sugar free jello and small amounts of sugar free dark chocolate. Waist went from 41 to 35, no more belly fat. The list of plusses goes on.

  5. Ketogenic diet is the best thing that I have ever done. I started at 71 years old, have lost 55lbs (without exercise, just some walking), off stomach and cholesterol meds, and feel great. It’s rather expensive to change over on a fixed income, but well worth it. I’m never hungry so it’s easy to stay on Keto. I hate calling it a diet, because that would mean a temporary change and this is a life style change. I encourage people of all ages to try this way of eating and see how much better they feel.

    1. Thank You Linda, I’m 71 also and started the Keto Diet yesterday. I appreciate hearing it works for you!!

  6. I am 71 year old female , diabetic, take metformin and have just started ketogenic diet. I have lost no weight and feel fatigued. I find it very hard to get adequate protein in. , but could easily overdo fats. I want to start an exercise program but not sure on what to do. Also would like tips on how to get adequate protein without overdoing the fats

  7. Carole Noyes, give yourself time to adapt. In any diet change I’ve found a brief period (about 3 to 5 days) where I feel like crap, almost flu-like symptoms, while my body adjusts. As for exercise, I would suggest waiting a while until you FEEL like moving your body around. And start slowly like a 15 minute walk a day, gradually increasing the time, speed, and distance as stamina builds. Have patience. You didn’t get this way in a day and reversing it will take a bit of time, too. Don’t give up!

  8. I am 62 and was about to give up and accept my reality of being an obese ex career grandmother with a pretty face, when my daughter talks to me about Keto. I started June 6 and have lost 12 lbs by 6/30. I monitor my macros 10%C/25%P/65%F with MFP app. It takes patience and staying on top of nutrient levels i.e. when I began experiencing dizziness and tingling in my arm I checked and saw my potassium level was too low. My energy has returned and brain fog is gone! I laugh and engage more in family gatherings. Classy, sassy is coming back lol. Keto works for mature adults as long as we are intentional, responsible and patient. Best and blessings to all.

  9. I am 60. My husband has done very well on me to. I, however, have bad leg cramping and have lost muscle which I fear I will not get back. I am unsure of what to do. I like the idea of no sugars and flours.

  10. Rosalinda Mercado, Fantastic results! Are you counting total carbs or net carbs? I start tracking on 6/16/18 LoseIt [67/M/5’8″] SW:224//CW:202//GW:165 my current macros 28%P/64%F/8%C. How did you check your potassium level? Many blessing for continuing health.

  11. I am a 72 year old male. 35 lbs overweight. Just starting Keto diet with 2 800mg pills taken 2x day with meal.
    My concern is I am on warfarin (blood thinner) and blood pressure medication as I have a stent in my heart following a heart attack 7 years ago. No issues since with my meds, but wondering if the Keto diet will have a negative affect on my heart/clotting concerns.
    I do have my INR blood work checked every 30 days at the Veterans Admin Clinic.
    Everyone says, just exercise and get on a healthier diet, but that has never worked long term for me. So I’m ready for this.
    Any advice from someone with similar concerns or experience is appreciated.

  12. 65 years young! At least that is the way Keto makes me feel. Energy, never hungry, lost 20 lbs in 4 months! I had my thyroid removed a couple of years ago, I was foggy and tired before the surgery and afterwards. Started a vitamin regimen mainly trying to get my energy back! Endocrinologist continued to encourage me to loose some weight all to no avail. Enter KETO and oh my!… needless to say it is a game changer! Yes sleep is better, pain is better, life is better! Give it a try, you will not be disappointed. Stick with it, it really works!

  13. I got my Dad (80 years of age) onto keto, just ONE (1) week ago…

    Already his arthritic inflammation is down at least 50% (and more); his widow’s hump is completely gone so he looks a couple of inches taller, and is in fact standing an inch taller; and though he hasn’t been, he looks like he’s been doing weights! He has put on a healthy kilo, but he looks like he’s put on five ~ five kgs of muscle, that is! His skin is tightening and – unbelievably – it is already noticeable!

    He is remarkably healthy for his age (blood-work better than most 40 year olds, and twice as fit), but he was getting a bit too thin, and while his BP and blood-glucose is perfect, he has Dementia. No improvement in the latter yet, but MANY noticeable improvements, seemingly in every other system of his body.

    I am truly amazed.

    Here’s to lamb’s fry and bacon!

  14. Thank you this has been very informative for me. I have just bought the book and will start hopefully this week. Hoping to get results just from diet as I am not good at remembering pills!

  15. THANK YOU! I recently began cooking keto meals for my aging father who was addicted to sugar. He is completely off sugar and processed carbs. He’s doing 100% better but I had my concerns over his fatigue as well as his complaint that he was no longer hungry. It turns out that this is totally normal between the leptin and the ghrelin in his brain, two hormones that regulate appetite. After explaining this to him, he now knows it’s safe as well as it being a healthy option for him. His inflammation is down and he sleeps better.

  16. 65 male no colon cancer so no bowl just a bag… ileostomy 6ft 2 and after the opp put on 40 lbs !!!! So Keto 22lbs down and stall No I don’t take medications as such. Keto No alcohol 20g carbs and calories 1200 ish and staalllllllllll now so week off and no real weight gain perhaps a 1lb so back to the diet Tuesday after Easter 2019 and hope to see another drop. But 4 inches smaller in the waist T-shirt’shirts fit and joints much better…I do walk a mile a a day + walking my 6 dogs I just got my pilots licence back and also had a new knee last year.

  17. i have been on Keto from Jan to May 1. I went from 233 to 215 and feel better. No sleeping problems and NO JOINT PAIN AT ALL!!!!

    I lifted weights for a long time and still do at 63. I see and absolutely feel a body change coming on.

    i want to lose 70 more pounds. Believe me and Joe Weider can get that done. I MISS the carbs but hate my body size. I am 5 foot 7. 215 thats too much. It makes my feet hurt literally

    Joe Weider , Keto and myself have a target date of Christmas to get to at least down to 170. Ultimate goal is 150. Hey. I only weighed 112 when I got married. I was a maniac with weight lifting but never gained weight until I got married.

    I went from 112 to 185 in one year. Went to the gym about a year after I got heavy Six months after aroung 160 for the next thirty years.

    i quit smoking at 175 and gained 60 pounds in the following year. MY FEET HURT!!!

    Started keto at 233 in Jan 2019 and by May 1 I was at 215. I want skinny again. so keto on Joe Weider

  18. I am 71. Tried keto for six weeks. Didn’t lose a pound, not one. Was very strict. Was full all the time, ate between 500-800 calories a day. Began having terrible stomach pains. Had to quit. I have never been able to lose weight and had great hopes for this. Very sad.

    1. There are a ton of reasons why you may not be losing weight on a keto diet. This could be:
      1. Calorie intake is too high
      2. Calorie intake is too low
      3. You aren’t getting enough water and electrolytes
      4. You aren’t in ketosis. Make sure you are testing and tracking
      5. What you are eating. It may fit your macros but it may not be right for you.
      I included some links below that you may find helpful:

      For meals, you might want to check this link

  19. I am 67 years old and have been trying to follow Stephanie Laska’s Lazy Dirty Keto. Do any of you every get dizzy? This happened to me last year too when I tried to do the Keto diet. And after ten days of switching to very low carbs, I started sweating profusely from my forehead and getting really dizzy this evening. After I sip some bone broth and sit down for a while, it subsides, but I have to tell you that it’s scary. Any thoughts on this.? Thanks.

  20. 65 – Husband down 50# 2 years ago on low-fat.. Me – Atkins 30 years ago; 17# weight lost, then 40# weight gain!! Taking tyhroid med wrong & another 15# gain!! Most grains & potatoes eliminated 2 years ago, started reducing sugars & walking Nov 2018, lost about 4#. Keto March 2019, lost 2# per week, then 1#; stalled at -16#, Down 1 clothing size & have reduced 1 BP med by half. Have sister (68) who started cutting carbs & able to reduce insulin…5# weight loss.

    1. Talk to your doctor first before starting any diet especially if you have any condition that will make you second guess. 🙂

  21. I lost 6 pounds my first week but the scale hasn’t moved in 3 weeks. I do enjoy a Skinnygirl vodka daily; vodka, soda water and a slice of lime. I haven’t cheated but could my little indulgence really do that much harm? I don’t want to be the pretty but pudgy grandma anymore.

  22. Trying Keto at 40g carbs for 2 meals which I will reduce to OMAD and 20 carbs per day-I am still working and drink Keto Feast for breakfast then eat a meal between 3-5pm on work days-should I be watching the sat fats? I eat nothing with trans fat but I notice meal subs like Keto feast contain sat fat-how safe is that for the heart? When I eat scrambled eggs I use one yolk and 2 egg whites twice per week-do you have any suggestions? Losing all over but not the belly ????

  23. I’ve lost 10 lbs on keto and overall enjoy keto after years of non fat lowfat foods. Lately however, I have been very tired and sleeping alot and napping. Where is that keto energy I was experiencing?

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