Standard: This version—the type we’re discussing in this article—is consistently low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat, and the one that has been the most widely studied and shown to be beneficial for therapeutic uses, such as diabetes.
If you’ve recently adopted the keto diet, you may be feeling a variety of side effects including nausea, dizziness, constipation, headaches and irritability. This is your body’s natural reaction to removing carbs from your diet, and we promise the symptoms are temporary. Also known as keto flu, it’s a natural reaction that occurs when your body switches from burning glucose as energy to burning fat.
This is a classic hypoglycemia response as well. The brain in particular requires lots of energy for normal function. When it receives a signal that you are hypoglycemic, a panic response occurs because of an underlying perception that you are starving to death (even if consciously you know you’re not).
Sluijs I, Forouhi NG, Beulens J WJ, et al. The Amount and Type of Dairy Product Intake and Incident Type 2 Diabetes: Results From the EPIC-InterAct Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. July 2012.
If you can tolerate dairy, it is allowed on the keto diet. Always choose keto-friendly dairy options, which are organic and grass-fed whenever possible. Select full-fat dairy at the grocery store, such as cheese, sour cream, yogurt and heavy cream.
From an evolutionary standpoint, ketones—molecules formed by the breakdown of stored fat—are a very important fuel. And ketosis, the process by which the body uses those fuels, is essential for survival.
Once ketone levels in the blood rise to a certain point, you officially enter into a state of ketosis. This state results in fairly rapid and consistent weight loss until you reach a healthier (and stable) body weight. Overall, people enter into ketosis at different rates, usually after 3–4 days of fasting or following a very low-carbohydrate diet (20 grams of net carbs or less) that forces the need for an alternative energy source. (5)
The most science-backed performance-boosting supplements, such as creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, and caffeine, are all A-OK on the ketogenic diet. So, if you take a pre-workout, you should be able to continue without issue. I would also recommend gulping down some bouillon before your session to ensure your sodium and magnesium levels are on point.
The brain can only use two types of nutrients for fuel: glucose and ketones (16). This is why, despite information that states a certain amount of glucose is needed per day for optimal brain function, a keto diet can actually support cognitive function. In fact, some people report improved focus, concentration and mental alertness when they enter ketosis.
Healthy fats include saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and certain types of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), especially omega-3 fatty acids. It’s best to include all types in your diet, with an emphasis on saturated fats, especially compared to PUFAs.
Starchy, high-carb vegetables, like potatoes, peas, corn, yucca, parsnips, beans, yams, and legumes are great, nutritious whole foods that work well in the regular diet of a guy looking to get healthy and fit—however, their elevated carbs make them a no-go for achieving ketosis.
If you stumble on a recipe without a macro count, you can enter the ingredients into a diet app like KetoDietApp or MyFitnessPal to get the macros and calorie count of any meal sans complicated math equation.
Two years ago, LeBron James famously lost 25 pounds and upped his late-game endurance by cutting carbs and sugars from his diet. Tim Ferriss, the author of the Four-Hour self-improvement book series, followed a strict keto diet to cure his Lyme disease, and performs a long multi-day fast every four months as a means, he says, of pushing ketosis further and starving incipient pre-cancerous cells of sugar (more on that later). Last summer, Sami Inkinen, the ultrafit co-founder of real estate juggernaut Trulia, rowed with his wife from California to Hawaii in record time on a keto diet, to promote high-fat eating and raise awareness about the dangers of too much sugar. The Keto Diet, say its ardent supporters, is a natural way to literally reprogram your metabolism and transition to an upgraded operating system. You’ll ultimately feel better and perform better, and your body fat will plummet.
So where do you start your calculations? With carbs and protein. When first getting started, it is ideal to keep carbohydrates less than 50 grams per day. Wittrock found that he likes to go even lower.
Once you’re more accustomed to this way of eating, you can choose to lower carbs even more if you’d like (perhaps only from time to time), down to about 20 grams of net carbs daily. This is considered the standard, “strict” amount that many keto dieters aim to adhere to for best results, but remember that everyone is a bit different.
Increased Urination: Keto is a natural diuretic, so you’ll find yourself going to the bathroom more than usual. Especially with how much water you are consuming. Acetoacetate (say that 3x fast), a ketone body, is excreted through the urine so this is another cause for more frequent bathroom breaks.
Like I said already, during the initial adaptation phase of a ketogenic diet, there is potential for the HPA axis to become dysregulated. During this time, it would be advantageous to take precautions to support the HPA axis as best as you can.
According to the reported results, patients lost an average of 10.2 kilograms, or about 22 pounds, after 2.5 cycles of the keto diet. Cappello concluded that the diet was a successful way for overweight and obese people to lose weight, and the few side effects, such as fatigue, are easily managed.
Keto flu is a very common experience that some people go through when transitioning over to keto. It usually goes away in just a few days but if you don’t take active measures to find against it, it can stay around for much longer.
I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Therefore, a diet that eliminates excess refined sugar and other processed carbohydrates may be effective in reducing or fighting cancer. It’s not a coincidence that some of the best cancer-fighting foods are on the keto diet food list.
New to low carb or Keto dieting Dieting? Start with my 3 Day Keto Diet Kickstart, which answers a lot of Keto FAQ Newbie questions! Trying to bust through a plateau or lose those last few stubborn pounds? Try the 5 Day Keto Egg Fast Diet plan for even faster weight loss results!
Also Consider: For some individuals, diarrhea may be brought on by low stomach acid and/or a sluggish gallbladder. Another possibility is that you have a low-grade food sensitivity to something you are eating such as eggs, nuts, and cheese.
Sometimes people will experience diarrhea during the initial phases of a ketogenic diet. Although constipation is typically more common, diarrhea may also manifest due to the changes in the microbiome that occur when changing your diet.
The diet gets billed as a miraculously enjoyable diet—eat all the fat you want, just cut out the carbs. But the ketogenic diet (also called keto) was never supposed to be fun. It was supposed to treat severe epilepsy. And as a medical treatment, it was only intended to be administered under the supervision of trained nutritionists and physicians. The professionals would be able to monitor patients for potential problems and ensure that their diet was actually keeping them in ketosis—a metabolic state where your body switches from using glucose as energy to using ketone bodies, which come from body fat. They needed those checkpoints because staying in true ketosis is exceptionally challenging for adults.
“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 are deficient in any of these, you will suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet.”
The keto diet is often grouped with other high-fat, low-carb diets such as the paleo or Atkins diets. But the reason these diets boast fat-burning benefits in the first place is because they promote ketosis. Therefore, the ketogenic diet isn’t so much a diet, but more so the basis of these diets, and the biochemical reaction that occurs when you train your body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs.
Mistakes, refinements, pivots, corrections, whatever your want to call them… These changes are the vehicle that takes us from stage to stage of the Ketogenic Hierarchy of Needs. The good news is they are also the vehicle to break through plateaus and reach new performance levels. Changing habits is tough, no doubt about it, but have fun and go for it!