KetoFlex 12/3 Diet

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The KetoFlex 12/3 diet is a specific plan that we have encouraged many of our clients at BTF to adopt in order to combat inflammation and insulin resistance. It is a very specific diet based on Dr. Dale Bredesen’s protocol for optimal brain health and reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.  The KetoFlex 12/3 diet is mostly a plant-based and low-protein ketogenic diet. The keto in the ketoflex 12/3 diet refers to ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood or urine. Ketosis is a normal response to low glucose (sugar) availability, such as with low-carbohydrate diets or fasting. Mild ketosis is optimal for cognitive function. This is not your standard ketogenic diet because it emphasizes only small amounts of animal proteins.
Main Components of the KetoFlex 12/3 Diet:
  • whole, predominantly plant-based foods
  • low carb and no sugars
  • 8-15 servings of non-starchy vegetables/day
  • healthy fats (nuts, seeds, MCT, coconut & olive oil)
  • small amounts of lean protein (cold-water, low-mercury fish)
  • low-glycemic fruit (berries)
The KetoFlex Diet Avoids:
  • all processed foods
  • large amounts of animal products
  • simple carbs such as refined bread, crackers, pastries
  • simple sugars
  • gluten
  • dairy
To promote ketosis, you combine a low-carb diet, moderate exercise, and fasting for at least 12 hours between your last meal of the night and your first meal of the next morning. The 12 in the ketoflex 12/3 diet means that you will fast for at least 12 hours every day. This isn’t very long considering that if your last meal is at 7pm and you sleep from 10pm till 6am, you can eat again at 7am. Consuming fats such as coconut or MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride oil) or unsaturated fats such as olive oil or avocado or nuts also promotes mild ketosis. This will switch your metabolism from carb-burning and insulin resistant, which promotes inflammation, to fat-burning and insulin sensitive, which helps prevent it. The 3 in the ketoflex 12/3 diet refers to 3 hours as the minimum time from your last meal till you go to bed. If you plan to go to bed at 10pm, your last meal needs to be completed before 7pm.
MCT & Cocunut Oil
Keto Diet Tip: When you shift from a predominantly carb-burning diet to a fat-burning one, you may have some cravings or feel lethargic for a few days. If so, take medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil as capsules (1 gm) or liquid (1 tsp). Alternatively, you can take coconut oil, which is a solid, anywhere from 1tsp to a Tbsp 3 times per day (careful as this can cause diarrhea if too much consumed too quickly!). The flex in the ketoflex 12/3 diet refers to a flexitarian diet. This is largely a plant-based diet with an emphasis on vegetables, especially non-starchy ones. Include both uncooked (salads) and cooked veggies and choose as many colors as possible. Some fish, poultry and red meat are fine, but meat is a condiment, not a main course. Ideally, you would limit your meat consumption to just a few ounces per day.
Examples of Ketoflex Friendly Foods
1. You will be eating 8-15 servings of vegetables a day.
Examples include:
2. Low glycemic fruits should be eaten in moderation.
  • wild berries
  • lemons and limes
  • olives
  • avocados
  • cherries
  • grapefruit
3. Mushrooms
While often considered vegetables, mushrooms are actually edible fungi known for their medicinal, anti-microbial and viral properties.
4. Prebiotic and Probiotic Foods

Prebiotics (types of food fiber that colon bacteria eat, such as onion & jicama) and Probiotics (especially fermented foods like live culture sauerkraut and kimchi) are good to add to your diet. 

5. Good Fats
Because this is a low animal protein diet, most of these good fats will come from plants. Buy all oils cold-pressed to avoid highly processed and damaged fats.
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • avocados and avocado oil
  • MCT oil
  • macadamia nut oil
  • walnut oil
Avoid all seed, grain, and bean oils. These are heat-extracted and often GMO-refined oils. Avoid soy, corn, canola, safflower, cottonseed, peanut, and palm kernel oil. Avoid all trans-fats and processed foods as well. This includes cookies, chips, crackers, microwave popcorn, margarine, and fast-food. When cooking with oils, choose oils with high “smoking” points. Good choices include avocado and coconut oil. Cook foods at a low-heat to reduce oxidative damage.
6. Herbs and spices
Contain antiviral and antimicrobial properties and are extremely high in essential nutrients. Examples include:
  • turmeric
  • ginger
  • cayenne pepper
  • cinnamon
  • garlic
  • peppermint
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • cilantro
7. Complex carbohydrates and resistant starches
Resistant starches are more easily digestible (feeding the bacteria in your gut). They also do not have lectins and other potentially enzymes that can be harmful to your gut. Moreover, they serve as excellent fuels and help us feel full. Examples include:
  • Taro Root
  • Plaintain and Banana Flour
  • Sweet Potato
Avoid refined carbohydrates and gluten. This includes wheat bread, anything processed like crackers, white potatoes, and more.
8. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds should be eaten in moderation. Examples include:
  • macadamia nuts
  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • pecans
  • Brazil nuts
  • hazelnuts
  • pine nuts
  • cacao (raw nibs or powder) – amazing for brain health due to flavanols and polyphenols. Dark chocolate over 85% is also good.
  • hemp seeds
Peanuts are not a nut, but actually a legume. Walnuts have been especially associated with brain health because of their high omega-3 fatty acid content but should be consumed raw.
9. Protein
The Ketoflex 12/3 diet is not too high in protein (4-8 ounces/day).
  • 4-8 ounces of cold water fish like sardines & salmon, pastured chicken or grass-fed beef
  • 4-5 eggs
  • Seaweed and Algae are also a great source
10. Legumes
Legumes are helpful for vegetarians and vegans for their protein, mineral and fiber content. It is important, however, to prepare beans properly by soaking and sometimes sprouting; otherwise, they can be problematic because they contain lectins, phytates, and enzyme inhibitors, which contribute to inflammation and impair digestion/nutrient absorption.
11. Drinks
  • Tea (oolong, black, and green)
  • Water (always drink lots of H2O!)
Alcohol is NOT recommended on the diet, but 2 glasses of red wine per week are allowed.
Summary for the KetoFlex 12/3 Diet
#1: Fast for at least 12 hours between the end of dinner and the beginning of breakfast: Fasting allows for a fat-burning state that produces ketones which also contributes to increased insulin sensitivity and detoxification. On the Ketoflex diet, you should be waking up in a mostly fasted state. Fast for at least 3 hours prior to going to bed. #2: Eat Fats and Veggies First It will be easier to stay in ketosis (a fat-burning state) by eating fats first. Start your morning with several servings of vegetables, olive oil, avocado etc.. #3: Minimize simple carbohydrates!  Bread, sugar, candy, and cakes are all a BIG no-no on this diet. Rather, eat complex and resistant-starches, such as sweet potatoes or taro root. #4: Eat Whole Food, Mostly Plant-Based.  The majority of your diet should be comprised of non-starchy vegetables with some limited starchy vegetables. If you’re ready to change your diet, the doctors at Back to Function can help. Give us a call at 310-534-1900 or email us at
Dr. Chad Moreau
About Dr. Chad Moreau

Dr. Chad Moreau is the President of Back to Function, a sports chiropractic office dedicated to providing elite quality care for athletes and athletic-minded clients. He is Certified in Postural Restoration by the Postural Restoration Institute. His positions include: Chiropractic Consultant for the University of Southern California Athletics (2020-2022) & Team chiropractor for the Los Angeles Kings (NHL) from 2012-2020, Los Angeles Dodgers 2017-2019 and the Los Angeles Lakers 2020. He can be contacted at