On a ketogenic diet, you’re generally eating a diet that’s high in fat (roughly 70 percent of your total calories come from fat), moderate in protein (about 20 percent of your calories), and low in carbohydrate (about 5 percent of calories). By limiting carbohydrates (to usually less than 45 grams for the average person), your body lacks the glucose (from carbs) that it normally uses for energy, so it eventually switches over to burning fat as its primary fuel source instead; through a metabolic process called ketosis, the liver converts the fat into fragments of fatty acids called ketones, which power the brain and other organs and tissues.
In addition, carbs are easy to come by in any diet - they tend to be found in the form of sugar and refined grains in just about any processed or junk food option you can think of. They are also found in just about anything that grows out of the ground and many dairy products. And because of this, it's easy to get too many. And when you eat more carbs and calories than your body needs, the remaining are often stored as body fat. By cutting down on your carbs, your body is less likely to store them as fat.
Legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentil, peanuts, etc). Apart from peanuts, legumes are relatively high in carbs and should be avoided. Apart from their high carb content, legumes contain lectins and phytates which makes them hard to digest. They have been linked to leaky gut syndrome, PCOS, IBS and Hashimoto's. When it comes to peanuts, some people avoid them while others use them in moderation. If you are considering peanuts, make sure you read this post first: Peanuts on a Ketogenic Diet: Eat or Avoid?
I am SO very thankful that I found your post because it answered so many questions, especially the whole uterus part. I was a little freaked! lol … I am new to Keto and I must say that I have been a little frustrated because I started this new keto lifestyle since the second week of February and I’ve been loosing and gaining the same freakin 5 lbs! I now realize that I have been overthinking the whole change and overwhelming myself. Thank you for all the great information and meal plans :)
It works similarly to how a low-carb diet would for people with diabetes. Optimizing blood sugar levels (which is what this has done for me) is vitally important for diabetics. Make sure you are seeing a medical professional who knows the importance of shifting doses of insulin/medications as your diabetes improves on a low-carb/NK plan. Check ’em out here: http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com
Vegan ketogenic diet or vegetarian diet: Yes, both are possible. Instead of animal products, plenty of low-carb, nutrient-dense vegan and/or vegetarian foods are included. Nuts, seeds, low-carb fruits and veggies, leafy greens, healthy fats and fermented foods are all excellent choices on a plant-based keto diet. There’s also a similar plan called ketotarian, which combines keto with vegetarian, vegan and/or pescatarian diets for supposedly greater health benefits.
A lot of people take their macros as a “set in stone” type of thing. You shouldn’t worry about hitting the mark every single day to the dot. If you’re a few calories over some days, a few calories under on others – it’s fine. Everything will even itself out in the end. It’s all about a long term plan that can work for you, and not the other way around.
"Plenty of people jump right in, thinking all they have to do is cut carbs and increase fat. All of a sudden, they hit a wall and get 'keto flu.' They feel tired, lethargic, and experience headaches," Wittrock says. "The primary reason they get these symptoms is lack of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you're deficient in any of these, you'll suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet."
Thank you for such a wonderful informative article. You give everyone all this knowledge for free & people still want more. Give me printable versions of food list & protein charts. Come on people do a little leg work yourself, show some initiative. If you can’t your not going to be disciplined enough to make this diet work. There are links above to get free meal plans & more keto info. I’ve lost 60 lbs in 10 months & changed my life. My single best piece of advise? Buy a good keto info & recipe book. Key word in last sentence is “GOOD”. Hard copy for instant reference. Worth its weight in gold.
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Chelsea is the site editor and nutritionist for Ultimate Paleo Guide and Paleo Meal Plans. In 2016, Chelsea graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine with a Master’s degree in Nutrition. When she’s not working for Ultimate Paleo Guide or coaching CrossFit, Chelsea enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, and eating. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @chelsbrinegar and LinkedIn.
This plan is very high on protein. I’ve learned that high healthy fat is what’s needed, not high protein.. as I am now kicked out of ketosis due to high protein intake (insulin’s fault). Given the fact i didn’t eat a bowl of salad per day (my tummy doesn’t digest salad well at all – i get bloated), but i do eat broccoli (i don’t get bloated from those strangely enough), cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms… tomatoes (rarely, though). So, my question is… are you in ketosis following the menu you’ve presented? I’m 5 months into Keto and the last 3 weeks i am not in ketosis. My carb intake is 20-30g… but my protein is pretty high.
Jimmy, your newsletters are terrific, very helpful & informative. I am Type 2 diabetic & for 6 mos have been on an eating lifestyle of low carb/mod protein/hi fat. In 6 mos I lost 48 # and bg went from 340 to a daily average of between 80 and 99. I don’t understand ketones very well. How do you measure ketones so accurately? Is it a special meter? What is the goal with measuring ketones? What do you “feel” that is so special or what happens when your ketones are optimal?
A final guideline: Even if you’re keto, portions of fat still matter, says Jill Keene, RDN, in White Plains, New York. “How much you specifically eat depends on your calorie needs and goals, but overconsuming fat can cause weight gain,” she says. Also, considering fat is your body’s main fuel source on a keto diet, she advises spreading out your fats evenly throughout the day.
Is sour cream keto? If you are able to tolerate dairy, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to add sour cream to just about everything you eat. It’s such a rich source of fat while providing amazing flavor and luxurious texture to anything you eat. I’ve put sour cream on top of steak, eggs, even vegetables. Just a couple of tablespoons of sour cream will give your fat intake the boost it needs to help you get into that glorious state of nutritional ketosis. I use the full-fat versions of either Breakstone’s or Daisy, depending on which is on sale. They go on something I eat just about every day. Enjoy!
Carol- so sorry to hear about your stroke. I am not sure most doctors would approve of this diet due to most not being taught much on nutrition in med school, and most still believe in the old school high carb low fat way of eating. My experience has been a dramatic drop in my blood pressure in only a few weeks after starting this diet (172/105 down to 144/95!). I suggest giving it a trial of a few months to see how it may work for you.
2) Since this is an older blog… I will tell you that Coconut Oil is “the miracle ingredient”! It goes RIGHT to your liver and is metabolized as ketones… it is what’s called an MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride, kinda of a “good” saturated fat) I have been eating 2 – 3 tbls a day since I started back with a vengeance and will tell you not only has it helped me to be more consistent in my weight loss, but it has even improved my complexion… I am 57, and was starting to get sun spots on my cheeks… but they are actually fading after only a month.. I’ve lost 15 lbs in this first month and feel 35 again…
When you eat a ketogenic diet, you switch your body’s fuel source to fat rather than the body’s usual source, glucose (1). From this fuel source switch, the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, is reduced which causes your appetite to decrease (1). Because of the reduction in appetite, it is easier to adopt an intermittent fasting approach or an approach that lessons unwanted eating behavior outside your desired hours (AKA curbs the late night munchies). Therefore, I recommend eating 4 bigger meals rather than 6 small meals on a Ketogenic Meal Plan.
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He’s the author of the books “Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems,” “Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine” and the upcoming “Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease” (February 2019, published by Little, Brown Spark). He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.
A ketogenic diet helps control blood sugar levels. It is excellent for managing type 2 diabetes, sometimes even leading to complete reversal of the disease. This has been proven in studies. It makes perfect sense since keto lowers blood-sugar levels, reduces the need of medications and reduces the potentially negative impact of high insulin levels.
Even after irradiation (the industry standard sterilization process that also destroys any antioxidants and health benefits), spices and herbs can spoil in your home, and often harbor aggressive mold toxins. To spice up your dishes the Bulletproof way, use high-quality, fresh or recently opened herbs and spices. Spices with especially high mold toxin risk include black pepper, powdered garlic, nutmeg, and paprika. Apple cider vinegar is the only vinegar permitted in the Bulletproof diet, as other vinegars and yeasts introduce toxins, and promote yeast growth in your gut.
Stir frys are incredibly easy meals to prepare, require very few net carbs and typically only require one skillet. Plus, frozen vegetables (and frozen seafood, for that matter) work great in stir fry recipes. Purchase a bag of frozen mixed veggies and keep on hand — you’ll be able to prepare a delicious dinner, even when you forgot to grocery shop.
Net carbs is simply total carbs minus fiber and non-digestible sugar alcohols, like erythritol. (This doesn’t apply to high glycemic sugar alcohols, like maltitol.) We don’t have to count fiber and certain sugar alcohols in net carbs, because they either don’t get broken down by our bodies, are not absorbed, or are absorbed but not metabolized. (Read more about sugar alcohols here.)
You’ll quickly find that eggs are a staple for breakfast in low carb diets. Eggies are a simple solution for days of healthy breakfasts. Simply beat 8 eggs in a bowl, add in cheese and vegetables, and pour into muffin tins that have been lined with a strip of bacon. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. Store in baggies for breakfast for up to 5 days.
Hi Sam, it won’t work. You will be incredibly hungry and you won’t have any energy. The idea of the keto diet is to get your body used to use fat to burn energy not carbs. Since you won’t be eating carbs energy has to come from “something” and it can’t be protein. I can’t recall what happens when you have too much protein when doing Keto but it was something scary. In general, I do not recommend the Keto diet without some sort of supervision by your doctor or nutritionist that can watch your process and progress.
Try Googling “TDEE Calculator”. Once you plug in your stats, the site will calculate your total daily energy expenditure. This is a useful guide in determining how many calories to eat. From there, if you are trying to lose weight, just reduce your caloric intake, increase your expenditure (through exercising more), or use a combination of the two.
When you said the following my inhibitions dropped to zero. Probably because I just could not stop laughing, and the reality at the base of your putting it this way -“Don’t obsessively plan everything and overwhelm yourself so it feels harder than it has to. This may be controversial for some, but I’m here to tell you not to worry about calories, or nitrates, or Omega 3 vs Omega 6, or if the meat you’re eating skipped about on acres of lush pastureland, while being hand fed organic vegan feed by the tiny perfect hands of 1000 virgin milkmaids.”
Hi Stacey, I can’t give medical advice and definitely recommend following your doctor’s recommendations. You can ask him/her if low carb would be better suited for you. Also, you may want to double check with him/her if the kidney concern was related to high protein, because that is a common misconception about keto – it is not a high protein diet/lifestyle.
The Keto diet emphasizes weight loss through fat-burning. The goal is to quickly lose weight and ultimately feel fuller with fewer cravings, while boosting your mood, mental focus and energy. According to Keto proponents, by slashing the carbs you consume and instead filling up on fats, you safely enter a state of ketosis. That’s when the body breaks down both dietary and stored body fat into substances called ketones. Your fat-burning system now relies mainly on fat – instead of sugar – for energy. While similar in some ways to familiar low-carb diets, the Keto diet’s extreme carb restrictions – about 20 net carbs a day or less, depending on the version – and the deliberate shift into ketosis are what set this increasingly popular diet apart.
There are vegetables that are high in carbs and others low in carbs. The keto diet recommends sticking to the ones low on carbs but encourages you to eat a lot of them. Best vegetables are all green ones to make it easy. And vegetables that grow above the ground (e.g. lettuce) are always better than the ones that grow below the ground (e.g. potatoes)
Remember to follow your macronutrient ratios for each meal. Meal planning tools such as food diaries or MyFitnessPal can help you track your carb/protein/fat consumption throughout the day and keep you in ketosis. Be sure to weigh your food to ensure you are getting accurate measurements of your carbohydrate intake. You may be surprised to find out what an actual single serving of cheese is once you've measured it out. (Spoiler alert- it's probably less than you think!)
Now is the time to forget the 1980s strategy of low-fat/reduced-fat/fat-free. When you're assembling your keto diet food stash, go full-fat. And don't stress over the dietary cholesterol content, a factor of how much animal protein you eat, suggests a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. For the healthiest blood cholesterol levels, instead focus on consuming a higher ratio of unsaturated fats (flaxseed, olive oil, nuts) to saturated fats (lard, red meat, palm oil, butter).
You can have a completely smooth transition into ketosis, or…not. While your body is adapting to using ketones as your new fuel source, you may experience a range of uncomfortable short-term symptoms. These symptoms are referred to as “the keto flu.” Low-sodium levels are often to blame for symptoms keto flu, since the kidneys secrete more sodium when you’re in ketosis, says Volek. A few side effects:
Hi Barb, That can definitely be it. Losing when you are close to goal can be more difficult. It could also be that your body’s healthy weight is a little higher than what you’d like – which doesn’t mean you can’t lose, but makes it more difficult. If just eating Keto foods isn’t working, double check the macros for your weight and see if the amount you’re eating needs to be adjusted. You’ll find more help and support in our support group here.
The only way you can know how you respond to dairy is by slowly adding it to your meals. If you eat dairy and don’t notice any issues, you will probably be okay using dairy as a great source of fat. If however, you find that after eating yogurt or cheese you feel bloated, have cramps, get diarrhea or start vomiting, you will want to eliminate dairy until you figure out the cause. In some cases, people who were previously lactose intolerant have been able to add dairy into their diets after eliminating carbs, so you just never know. Food allergies are a tricky thing.
Remember, the point of the ketogenic diet is to enter ketosis by limiting your carbohydrate intake to about 5% of your total calorie needs and consuming about 75% of your calories in the form of fats. Vegetables and fruits naturally contain carbohydrates, and the ones included in the list above are lower in carbohydrates while not skimping on nutrients.
Carolyn over at All Day I Dream About Food is a diabetic who eats low carb and blogs low carb recipes. She would know a lot more about that then I would since I don’t have personal experience with it! She may even have some articles on her site – you should check it out! If you are monitoring your own blood sugar you could try this and see how you feel – just be super careful! Also, on the r/keto site there are some threads about diabetics who have gotten off their meds by going keto – which would indicate that it’s possible. If you head over just search diabetics and you should be able to get more information. Hope that helps!!!
Along the same vein, some of my recipes on the blog include hemp seeds, coconut flour, almond flour, and other not so easy to find ingredients – IGNORE THOSE RECIPES (for now). The focus here is, again, simplicity. You will likely be irritable, fatigued, and not feeling awesome during the first three days to a week. Trust me on this – the last thing you are going to want to do is make complicated meals.
I love you guys! I never miss an email- something good in every one (usually recipes). I printed out the sweetener list and put it on the fridge. This is wonderful today, will print asap. We started low carb in April. In 2 months I lost 40 pda and my hub lost 28! When I went in for my 3 month A1C my count had dropped from 7.2 to 5.8!! My Dr was as thrilled as I was! I still have 160 pds to go but this is the easiest diet I have been on. Weekends are hardest though. We want to eat out the time- you have any suggestions??
You might want to consider using a calprie counter/tool to help you determine the amount of calories, fat, protein, etc in food. I find MY Fitness Pal to be eztremely useful. You put in the type of food and it calculates all those tricky numbers for you. You can even see the macros (percentages) or set your own.it might seem a bit confusing at first but you’ll get the hang of it. Best of luck!
When it comes to starting the keto diet (or any diet for that matter), there's one thing all experts agree on. You *must* have a plan. "Never try to wing a keto diet," says Julie Stefanski, R.D.N., C.S.S.D., L.D.N., a dietitian based in York, PA, who specializes in the ketogenic diet. "Set a start date and get prepared by reorganizing your pantry, planning out meal and snack options, and purchasing appropriate foods and dietary supplements," she says. "The biggest reason people have a hard time sticking with keto is that people don't have enough interesting foods to turn to, and high-carb favorites win out over good intention. If you didn't buy foods at the grocery store that fit the guidelines, there won't be an easy option in the fridge when you really need it." (A great place to start is this List of High-Fat Keto Foods Anyone Can Add to Their Diet.)
Another benefit of meal prepping is that it greatly reduces your time spent in the kitchen. That’s right… you no longer have to work as a short order cook for 2 hours a day! This budget meal plan will make use of all the items we prep as well as the rest of the items on the shopping list. There is still some cooking required, but it will only be about 10-15 minutes a day, and is mostly just cooking broccoli/cauliflower. I would encourage you to check out this keto on a budget meal prep video we’ve put together as it was made specifically for this meal plan:
I am on a ketogenic diet from last 9 days but no change in my weight.I also walk briskly for an hour on treadmill and cycle apart from some exercises.i take three meals in d day comprising of eggs (2)and cottage cheese in the morning with green tea with coconut milk,Red meat 2pieces or chicken with tomatoes or spinach cooked in olive oil in lunch and egg scramble and 1 piece of meat in evening.please suggest me what should I do to go into ketosis immediately