Within the first two weeks of starting keto, some individuals experience adverse effects known as “keto flu.” This is the result of the sudden removal of carbohydrates from the brain and body. These are minor but uncomfortable symptoms that might include:
Planning is your key to success on the ketogenic diet. Knowing which foods to eat (and which to avoid), meal prepping and following a keto meal plan will help you reach your macro goals and stay in ketosis.
This is caused by the loss of electrolytes so it’s important that you continue to replace them throughout the day. Keeping your sodium (don’t hesitate to salt things up) intake up throughout the day can prevent all of these side effects.
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Jump up ^ Mastriani KS, Williams VC, Hulsey TC, Wheless JW, Maria BL. Evidence-based versus reported epilepsy management practices. J Child Neurol. 2008 Feb 15;23(5):507–14. doi:10.1177/0883073807309785. PMID 18281618
Option 3: Spicy guacamole with raw zucchini slices. The foods you choose between meals should still be keto-friendly and may even mimic an upcoming dinner, just in a smaller portion size, says Stefanski. “Since carbs are minimal, it’s important to spend your carbs on high-nutrient foods like vegetables.”
Below you’ll find a list of vegetables based on how low carb they are, so if you need help finding a certain one use the Find function (Ctrl + F). These are based on 1/2 cup (~4 oz.) or 100g servings, which is the general recommended serving size for vegetables.
Most of you are familiar with Bulletproof coffee aka BPC – Instagram and other social media are flooded with pictures of mugs filled with frothy coffee. For those who are new to it, it’s a blend of coffee and healthy fats, including grass-fed butter (more omega 3s than grain-fed) and MCTs.
Jump up ^ Ketogenic “eggnog” is used during induction and is a drink with the required ketogenic ratio. For example, a 4:1 ratio eggnog would contain 60 g of 36% heavy whipping cream, 25 g pasteurised raw egg, saccharin and vanilla flavour. This contains 245 kcal (1,025 kJ), 4 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate and 24 g fat (24:6 = 4:1). The eggnog may also be cooked to make a custard, or frozen to make ice cream.
This is by far my favorite week because it most closely resembles how I eat on a daily basis. I normally set a window of 6 hours for myself to eat in. From waking up until 5pm, I fast. After that, I am open to eating until 11pm. This is where the real fun begins. Eating copious amounts of food and being full all the way through the next day.
I went to a baseball game with my partner last week and was really badly craving garlic fries because, well, garlic fries. French fries used to be my favorite food, to the point that I would regularly make meals out of them (like carne asada fries). So, I decided to just try one and see if its still the amazing nectar of the gods I always knew it to be, and spoiler alert: it wasn’t. I’ve come to realize this with all my old carby favorites. French fries don’t taste like much except for salt. I lost my love for them almost immediately, which ya ok this is great from a keto perspective of course, but internally it made me sad that I was hooked on something for my entire life and have only now realized its not that great (hello emotional relationship with food).
If you’ve decided to move forward in trying the keto diet, you will want to stick to the parameters of the eating plan. Roughly 60 to 80 percent of your calories will come from fats. That means you’ll eat meats, fats, and oils, and a very limited amount of nonstarchy vegetables, she says. (This is different from a traditional low-carb diet, as even fewer carbs are allowed on the keto diet.)
Organic coffee: Coffee is actually one of the leading contributors of disease-fighting antioxidants in the American diet. Research shows that an average cup of coffee might even contain more polyphenol antioxidants than cocoa, green tea, black tea and herbal tea! (8)
What’s more, it’s especially important to make sure your diet is well-planned when you’re eating keto-style, because the foods you can choose from are limited. In addition to checking in with a dietitian if you’re able, Stefanski recommends that you “talk to your doctor and make sure she or he is aware that you’ll be starting a diet that completely changes how your body metabolizes energy.” You might also want to check your most recent bloodwork levels for things such as cholesterol, vitamin D, and other indicators of health because these can change while on keto. That’s because for some people, a prolonged keto diet can result in certain nutritional deficiencies or even high cholesterol. But most experts will tell you that the ketogenic diet is not a permanent lifestyle change (as could be the case for something like the 80/20 approach to eating or a Mediterranean eating style).
That last item may surprise you, but for many people, it makes all the difference. Why? When carbs are cut, we rapidly deplete glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrate. For every gram of glycogen we lose, we lose 3 grams of water. Addition of the bouillon will help prevent dehydration and improve the way you feel on the diet. Water isn’t enough on keto; you need enough sodium, too.
What is a keto food? What does a keto meal look like? Here are some examples of high-fat low-carb foods on the ketogenic diet food list you can expect to eat lots of if you’re following the ketogenic diet:
Avoid eating synthetic ingredients in processed foods. Also try to limit “low-carb foods” that are still unhealthy and difficult to digest, even those that many ketogenic diet programs might recommend or include. These include cold cuts, processed meats (especially pork) or cured meats, bacon, and processed cheeses.
The first signs of ketosis are known as the “keto flu” where headaches, brain fogginess, fatigue, and the like can really rile your body up. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of waterand eating plenty of salt. The ketogenic diet is a natural diuretic and you’ll be peeing more than normal. Take into account that you’re peeing out electrolytes, and you can guess that you’ll be having a thumping headache in no time. Keeping your salt intake and water intake high enough is very important, allowing your body to re-hydrate and re-supply your electrolytes. Doing this will help with the headaches, if not get rid of them completely.
But the keto diet can be effective over time. One review suggested the keto diet can spur fat loss in obese people when used for a couple of weeks and up to one year. (1) A meta-analysis noted that one reason for weight loss is likely that keto diets suppress hunger. (2)
The original therapeutic diet for paediatric epilepsy provides just enough protein for body growth and repair, and sufficient calories[Note 1] to maintain the correct weight for age and height. The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was developed for treatment of paediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and was widely used into the next decade, but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant medications. This classic ketogenic diet contains a 4:1 ratio by weight of fat to combined protein and carbohydrate. This is achieved by excluding high-carbohydrate foods such as starchy fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta, grains and sugar, while increasing the consumption of foods high in fat such as nuts, cream, and butter. Most dietary fat is made of molecules called long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). However, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)—made from fatty acids with shorter carbon chains than LCTs—are more ketogenic. A variant of the classic diet known as the MCT ketogenic diet uses a form of coconut oil, which is rich in MCTs, to provide around half the calories. As less overall fat is needed in this variant of the diet, a greater proportion of carbohydrate and protein can be consumed, allowing a greater variety of food choices.
Brain Octane Oil (also available in the UK) from Bulletproof is made with pure C8. It provides a quick source of energy and maximum cognitive benefits. I could tell the difference when I started adding it in my coffee and smoothies, as I experienced an immediate energy boost which can be really helpful if you just started following the ketogenic diet and feel tired (remember, it take 3-4 weeks to get keto-adapted). I don’t use it every day but it helps having some before going to gym or when I need to work and concentrate.
Feel free to add sweetener and spices to this if you’re not the biggest fan of the taste. Cinnamon, stevia, vanilla extract. Whatever you’d like to make it great tasting. You can even switch up the taste each and every day so you don’t get bored!
At this point your brain begins to tell you that, “YOU NEED IMMEDIATE ENERGY NOW OR YOU’RE GOING TO DIE”! This is when you have intense sugar cravings. Luckily, once you begin to produce ketones for energy this panic response calms down.
“There are a lot of “fat bomb” recipes you can find on the Internet,” Wittrock says. “These are very good at satisfying your sweet tooth, and a great way to increase fat consumption without going over on protein. Also, I’m a huge fan of salted pumpkin seeds and salted sunflower seed kernels. Believe it or not, pork rinds are also a very good keto snack.”
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Put another way, keeping your protein intake too high could end up having the same effect as eating too many carbs. That said, once you gain more experience with your personal levels of ketosis, you can start playing with how much protein you consume in a day. Wittrock says he stays right around 20 percent.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e Hartman AL, Gasior M, Vining EP, Rogawski MA. The neuropharmacology of the ketogenic diet. Pediatr Neurol. 2007 May;36(5):281–292. doi:10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2007.02.008. PMID 17509459
Jump up ^ Allen BG, Bhatia SK, Anderson CM, et al. Ketogenic diets as an adjuvant cancer therapy: History and potential mechanism. Redox Biol. 2014 Aug 7;2C:963–70. doi:10.1016/j.redox.2014.08.002. PMID 25460731
Nutrition data from the 1970s told us saturated fats are bad, causing the United States to enter the era of low fat. During this time, obesity in America soared while consumption of fat (particularly saturated fats) plummeted. Fad, low-fat diet products became the norm at grocery stores as a high-carb, low-fat diet became the preferred method for weight loss. Yet, people kept gaining weight.
So last month, reading any print book size or smaller I HAD to have my glasses. Now I can read pretty well without them. I don’t need them for general web browsing now at all, and a game I was considering quitting playing (Star Trek Online) cause of the font size is now pretty okay, even without glasses.
Option 1: Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, chicken breast, bacon, and Parmesan. “Rich in protein and super filling, this is the perfect meal to round out your day,” says Dr. Axe. “Pair it with an olive oil dressing and plenty of cheese to up the fat content.”
“I recommend only 5 percent of calories coming from carbs, which usually averages out to less than 30 grams,” he says. “So, I understand why people get nervous and panic, thinking ‘Can I even eat a salad?’ This is why I recommend tracking only ‘net carbs’, which is total carbs minus fiber. For example, an avocado has 12 grams of carbs but 10 grams of fiber, which means it has 2 grams of net carbs. Also, green leafy vegetables are very nutritious and contain a lot of fiber, so you can almost eat them as much as you want and stay below your limit.”
On a side note, frozen vegetables are usually cheaper than fresh vegetables. If you buy greens in bulk but throw them out often, consider buying frozen. Surprisingly, frozen vegetables are sometimes more nutritious to their fresh counterpart – farms typically freeze greens at peak ripeness, ensuring nutrient density. You may have to cook excess water out occasionally, but it normally isn’t a problem in the final dish.
The best way to monitor your ketone levels is through testing, which you can do from home. When you eat a ketogenic diet, excess ketones spill over into several areas of the body. This allows you to measure your ketone levels in various ways:
Most carbs you consume are broken down into sugar that enters the bloodstream. When you rein in carbohydrates on the keto diet, you have lower levels of blood glucose (high blood glucose can lead to diabetes). A study in the journal Nutrition reveals that a ketogenic diet improves blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics more significantly than a low-calorie diet and can also decrease the dosage of your diabetes meds.
The idea with keto coffee is that give your body fuel that is rich in nutrient-dense, blood sugar–stabilizing fat. When I say “fat,” I’m talking about the following: grass-fed butter, coconut oil or MCT oil, and collagen powder made from bone broth.
The keto flu can often be shortened or avoided completely by taking one of our ketone supplements, which help switch the body into ketosis instantly. They make the transition period much shorter and easier.
Although there can be many different side effects that manifest while becoming keto-adapted, many of them stem from similar underlying issues. In this article, I outline what those underlying issues are, their related keto side effects, and simple strategies to overcome them so you can become keto-adapted as smoothly as possible.