Gary Brecka Keto Diet Recommendations & Science [2024]

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If you’re interested in optimizing your health and exploring the potential benefits of a ketogenic diet, you’ve likely come across the Gary Brecka keto diet.

As a popular biohacker and human biologist, Brecka has been at the forefront of researching and experimenting with keto for over a decade.

In this post, we’ll examine Gary Brecka’s current stance on keto and discuss how to implement this powerful dietary tool strategically.

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What is Keto?

Gary Brecka Keto diet, steak, meat

First, let’s define what we mean by a ketogenic or “keto” diet. In essence, keto is a very low carbohydrate, high fat eating pattern.

By drastically reducing carb intake, the body shifts into a metabolic state called ketosis, where it efficiently burns fat for fuel instead of glucose.

This can lead to a host of potential benefits, from enhanced weight loss to improved cognitive function.

Gary Brecka Keto Recommendation

Gary Brecka Keto Recommendation

In his early years as a biohacker, Gary Brecka was an enthusiastic proponent of a long-term, strict ketogenic diet.

He would often recommend that his clients stay in a state of nutritional ketosis perpetually in order to maximize fat burning, mental clarity, and disease prevention.

However, as his clinical experience broadened and new research came to light, Brecka began to question if keto was truly an optimal permanent lifestyle.

While he still acknowledges the profound short-term benefits of a ketogenic diet, especially for certain conditions, Brecka no longer advocates keto as a one-size-fits-all lifetime approach.

Brecka has shared, “I’ve seen miraculous changes in clients who have done keto reset diets…but prolonged keto, I’ve changed my stance on. I don’t think keto is a permanent lifestyle choice.”

Gary Brecka Keto Benefits

Gary Brecka Keto Benefits

So what are the potential benefits of a ketogenic diet that Brecka still endorses?

Based on his work with thousands of clients, he’s seen keto lead to:

1. Rapid fat loss. By switching the body into fat-burning mode, keto can lead to swift and significant weight loss, especially in the first few weeks.

2. Reduced inflammation. Brecka asserts that keto is “the lowest inflammatory diet on the planet.” Lowering inflammation can have far-reaching effects on everything from joint pain to brain health.  

3. Treatment for drug-resistant conditions. Brecka points to the work of researchers like Dr. Palmer at Harvard, who has used keto to successfully treat epilepsy and psychiatric disorders that don’t respond to medication. 

4. Optimized mitochondrial function. Here’s where Brecka’s unique perspective as a human biologist really shines.

He explains that when you’re in ketosis, your cells produce a higher ratio of “deuterium depleted water.”

This allows the mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of the cell, to generate ATP more efficiently, potentially leading to better energy and cellular health.

Gary Brecka’s Current Recommendations for Keto

While Brecka no longer recommends a never-ending ketogenic diet, he still sees it as a powerful tool when used strategically.

His current approach is to use keto for targeted 12-week “resets,” especially in individuals with high blood sugar and insulin resistance.

During this 3-month period, he advises pairing a strict keto diet with intermittent fasting to accelerate results.

After the reset, Brecka recommends transitioning to a cyclical keto approach.

This means eating higher carb on certain days of the week or month, rather than staying in ketosis indefinitely.

Alternatively, Brecka has worked with high-profile individuals like UFC President Dana White on a 72-hour water fast.

He’s found this helps restore insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance while still tapping into the benefits of ketosis periodically.  

Potential Downsides of Long-Term Keto

Why has Brecka shifted away from recommending continuous keto?

As he began collecting more data from clients, especially younger women, he noticed some concerning patterns from long-term strict keto, including:

  • Disrupted menstrual cycles and other hormonal imbalances 
  • Hard-to-reverse glucose intolerance and insulin resistance
  • Lack of essential micronutrients found in nonstarchy vegetables and low-glycemic fruits

While short-term keto seems to be well-tolerated and beneficial for a wide range of people, Brecka urges caution in using it as a lifelong dietary approach without careful monitoring of bloodwork and adjusting course as needed.

How to Implement Gary Brecka’s Keto Strategy

Inspired to try out Brecka’s keto reset for yourself? Here are some guidelines:

1. Consider a 12-week keto reset if you are significantly overweight, have high blood sugar (a hemoglobin A1c over 5.4), or have been diagnosed with insulin resistance. 

2. Track key bloodwork before, during, and after your keto reset.

The markers Brecka recommends monitoring include fasting glucose, fasting insulin, hemoglobin A1c, triglycerides, LDL particle size, and inflammation markers like HS-CRP.

3. During your reset, stick to a clean keto diet of mostly nonstarchy vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, and high-quality proteins.

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Ensure you are staying hydrated with proper electrolytes. Eliminate all sugar, grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables.

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4. If tolerated, add in a 12 to 16 hour daily fasting window (for example, eating only between 12pm and 8pm).

5. After 12 weeks, slowly add back in nutrient-dense carbs like sweet potatoes, squash, beets, and low-glycemic fruits.

The best practice is to monitor your blood sugar response and aim to include carbs several times a week while still dipping back into ketosis on lower-carb days.

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Key Takeaways

Gary Brecka’s perspective on the ketogenic diet is nuanced, research-backed, and constantly evolving.

While he acknowledges the profound benefits a short-term keto reset can have, especially for people with insulin resistance and inflammation, he no longer recommends it as a one-size-fits-all permanent lifestyle. 

By using keto strategically and cycling in healthy carbohydrates, you can tap into the power of this tool without risking the potential endocrine and metabolic downsides of long-term carb restriction.

If you experiment with keto, be sure to track your bloodwork, listen to your body, and adjust your approach as needed.

With careful implementation, keto can be a potent ally in your quest for optimal health and vitality.


How do I know if a keto reset is right for me?

Consider a 12-week keto reset if you are significantly overweight, have high blood sugar (a hemoglobin A1c over 5.4), have been diagnosed with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, or are struggling with chronic inflammation.

What can I eat on a keto reset?

During a keto reset, focus on nonstarchy vegetables, healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados, and high-quality proteins like pastured eggs, wild-caught fish, and grass-fed meats. Eliminate sugar, grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables.

How long does it take to get into ketosis?

Most people enter a state of nutritional ketosis within 2-4 days of restricting carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day. You can measure your ketone levels using urine strips, a breath meter or blood ketone meter.

Will I lose muscle on keto?

No, a well-formulated ketogenic diet with adequate protein (0.8-1.2 grams per pound of lean body weight) and strength training will preserve lean muscle mass. Some studies even show an increase in muscle mass on keto.

Should I track macros on keto?

While you don’t necessarily need to track every morsel of food on keto, it can be helpful to track your macronutrient ratio when first starting out. Aim for 70-80% of calories from fat, 15-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbs.

What supplements should I take on keto?

Helpful supplements on a ketogenic diet include electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium, MCT oil to boost ketones, omega-3 fish oil, vitamin D, and digestive enzymes with HCL and lipase.

Can I drink alcohol on keto?

While it’s best to avoid alcohol during a keto reset, very dry red and white wines or hard liquors can be worked in occasionally. Avoid beer, cocktails and mixed drinks which are high in sugar and carbs.

How will I feel during a keto reset?

The first week on keto, you may experience flu-like symptoms including fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps and irritability as your body adapts to burning fat for fuel. This passes quickly and most people report increased energy, mental clarity and reduced cravings by the second week.

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About the Author

Drew Wilkins is a fitness and nutrition expert with a Master's in Biokinesiology (emphasis in Sports Science) from the University of Southern California and over a decade of experience as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and wellness coach. An avid surfer and soccer player, he brings a unique perspective to his research, advocating for a balanced approach to health that includes physical fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being.

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