I know that was a long wall of text, but hopefully there was a li’l nugget or tip that will help out some new or even seasoned keto veterans. There’s so much overwhelming positivity on this sub, it’s just a real pleasure to be a part of it. We’re all just trying to be better, happier, healthier humans. Even if we have nothing else in common, we’re all dedicated to taking what we’ve got and turning it into something amazing. And that’s pretty cool.
The remaining calories in the keto diet come from protein — about 1 gram (g) per kilogram of body weight, so a 140-pound woman would need about 64 g of protein total. As for carbs: “Every body is different, but most people maintain ketosis with between 20 and 50 g of net carbs per day,” says Mattinson. Total carbohydrates minus fiber equals net carbs, she explains.
You want to keep your carbohydrates limited, coming mostly from vegetables, nuts, and dairy. Don’t eat any refined carbohydrates such as wheat (bread, pasta, cereals), starch (potatoes, beans, legumes) or fruit. The small exceptions to this are avocado, star fruit, and berries which can be consumed in moderation.
For ideas and inspiration on how to reach your macros, take a look at our ever-growing library of keto recipes. If you don’t want to do all of the planning yourself, consider getting detailed shopping lists and months of meal plans made for you with Our Keto Academy >
There are a lot of misconceptions about low carb dieting which has caused an infamous outlook on keto. There have been tons of studies published over the last 30 years that show how high amounts of fat and few carbs are beneficial.
Typically, anywhere between 20-30g of net carbs is recommended for everyday dieting – but the lower you keep your carbohydrate intake and glucose levels, the better the overall results will be. If you’re doing keto for weight loss, it’s a good idea to keep track of both your total carbs and net carbs.
Yams and potatoes (white, red, sweet, etc.) — sweet potatoes have the least carbs, about 10 net grams per 1/2 potato; Yams and white potatoes can have much more, about 13–25 net grams per 1/2 potato/yam cooked
If you experience frequent muscle cramps while becoming keto-adapted this is likely due to mineral imbalances. As I mentioned before, minerals are crucial for proper nerve impulse conductivity. A muscle cramp is essentially a misconducted impulse brought on by poor hydration and mineral balance.
The main cause for keto flu is your body lacking electrolytes, especially sodium. When starting keto, you cut out lots of processed foods and eat more whole, natural foods. Although this is great, it causes a sudden drop in sodium intake.
“It was extremely difficult,” he recalls. “You spend your entire life hearing that fat makes you fat and causes heart attacks and strokes. Now, all of a sudden, you’re eating 200 grams of fat per day. There is a huge psychological component to conquer before you can become successful with the keto diet. In the beginning, it’s like trying to convince people 1,000 years ago that the world is in fact round, not flat.”
When you eat a high-fat diet, you slow down your gastric emptying and your motility, which can set you up for constipation, says Jadin. Making sure you’re getting that extra bit of sodium, eating enough fiber-filled non-starchy vegetables and drinking plenty of fluids (since you urinate more on the keto diet) can move things along.
First reported in 2003, the idea of using a form of the Atkins diet to treat epilepsy came about after parents and patients discovered that the induction phase of the Atkins diet controlled seizures. The ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital modified the Atkins diet by removing the aim of achieving weight loss, extending the induction phase indefinitely, and specifically encouraging fat consumption. Compared with the ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet (MAD) places no limit on calories or protein, and the lower overall ketogenic ratio (approximately 1:1) does not need to be consistently maintained by all meals of the day. The MAD does not begin with a fast or with a stay in hospital and requires less dietitian support than the ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are initially limited to 10 g per day in children or 20 g per day in adults, and are increased to 20–30 g per day after a month or so, depending on the effect on seizure control or tolerance of the restrictions. Like the ketogenic diet, the MAD requires vitamin and mineral supplements and children are carefully and periodically monitored at outpatient clinics.
A “moderate keto diet” is an option that can still encourage substantial weight loss and other improvements in symptoms. A moderate keto diet includes more foods with carbs and, therefore, more fiber too. Carbs are usually increased to about 30–50 net grams per day, which means foods like more high-fiber veggies, some fruit or some starchy veggies can also be included.
“I love it! I have been on Keto for 3 months, I was at a stall for about 8 weeks, after just one day following this plan I was down 2 pounds. The plan is simple and easy and I am more then satisfied. The book was so informative and such an easy read….I am so glad that I took a chance and emailed, because with this help and support I am able to reach my goals. Raj is quick to respond to questions and offer support, I am thrilled to be doing this. Thank you so much.*”
A review of multiple studies in the journal Nutrients found that ketogenic diets are connected to significant reductions in total cholesterol, increases in “good” HDL cholesterol levels, dips in triglycerides levels and decreases in “bad” LDL cholesterol; there are questions as to whether diets high in saturated fat negate these benefits. The same paper reports that a ketogenic may slightly reduce blood pressure, but science is still very scant on this point.
Although they’re technically a fruit, avocados are often consumed in the place of vegetables. Avocados are very high in fat, so they’re commonly added into keto diets to help supplement fat intake alongside meals. At only 3g net carbs per one cup, you can see why avocados are chosen time and time again.
The exact ratio of recommended macronutrients in your diet (grams of carbs vs. fat vs. protein) will differ depending on your specific goals and current state of health. Your age, gender, level of activity and current body composition can also play a role in determining your carb versus fat intake.
Option 2: Grass-fed ground beef sautéed with onions and low-carb tomato sauce. “This can be served with zucchini or shirataki low-carb noodles,” says Stefanski. “In order to get the fat content up in the meal, the zucchini can be sautéed in olive oil or additional garlic-infused oil can be added directly to the sauce.”
Keto naturally lowers blood sugar levels due to the type of foods you eat. Studies even show that the ketogenic diet is a more effective way to manage and prevent diabetes compared to low-calorie diets.
Supplements are a popular way to maximize the benefits of a ketogenic diet. Used in conjunction with a nutritious, whole-food based ketogenic diet, these supplements can help you get into ketosis quickly and easily.
Besides being fantastic for its versatile cooking applications, cauliflower is very low carb at only 2g net carbs per cup. It’s very high in both vitamin K and C and is associated with lowered risk of heart disease and cancer (similarly to broccoli).
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.
In yet another study, the ketogenic group lost 24.4 lbs (11.1 kg), compared to 15.2 lbs (6.9 kg) in the higher-carb group. This is an important benefit when considering the link between weight and type 2 diabetes (2, 31).
This is the most often overlooked aspect of a sound keto diet. When removing carbs from the diet, it is easy to replace them with protein. That is not a ketogenic diet! It is important to remember that a percentage of the protein consumed will be converted to glucose, so eating a high protein diet does not promote a state of ketosis. You want to view protein as a minimum requirement. Every day you should be looking to hit your protein target, but you should be just as sure to not exceed it by too much. Sure, going 20% over isn’t a big deal, but if you’re doubling your protein target everyday you’re going to have problems getting into a consistent state of ketosis.
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.
The ketogenic diet reduces seizure frequency by more than 50% in half of the patients who try it and by more than 90% in a third of patients. Three-quarters of children who respond do so within two weeks, though experts recommend a trial of at least three months before assuming it has been ineffective. Children with refractory epilepsy are more likely to benefit from the ketogenic diet than from trying another anticonvulsant drug. There is some evidence that adolescents and adults may also benefit from the diet.
Vegetarians and vegans are used to eating more healthy grains and carbs than fat. We know vegetarians and vegans who struggled to give up and replace their usual meals of sandwiches, pastas and starchy vegetables.
Dry Mouth: The more fluids your body is releasing, the more you may experience dry mouth. This is your body telling you that you need more electrolytes. This is why we add MiO with Electrolytes to our water. Also keeping salty things around helps like pickles.
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:
Finally are there any strategies you can recommend for someone like myself who deals with chronic sleep debt via jet lag and night work schedules that I can further address with supplements and/or a Keto lifestyle. I also do IF but am a little stumped as to how to proceed when I’m dealing in multiple time zones.
thank you Dr. Jockers for the informative article. I have hypothyroidism from 3 parathyroid cysts being removed along with 80% of my thyroid. It is under control with Levothyroxine and liathyronine. I have been on the keto diet for almost 4 weeks and am still experiencing heart palpatations, dizzyness and low energy. I have been quite strict and feel disappointed. I have Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and my oncologist was ok with me going on it. I feel like this diet would help me have more energy and help my overall health. Any advise would be appreciated. thank you, Inika
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are extracted from coconut oil. They’re known to improve brain function and support ketosis. In most supplements, the taste is neutral and you won’t be able to detect it when used in recipes. There are three main products on the market: MCT Oil, XCT Oil and Brain Octane Oil.
The content of this website not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.
Excess calcium in the urine (hypercalciuria) occurs due to increased bone demineralisation with acidosis. Bones are mainly composed of calcium phosphate. The phosphate reacts with the acid, and the calcium is excreted by the kidneys.
After increasing water intake and replacing electrolytes, it should relieve most all symptoms of Keto Flu. For an average person that is starting a ketogenic diet, eating 20-30g of net carbs a day, the entire adaptation process will take about 4-5 days. My advice is to cut your carbs to fewer than 15g to ensure that you are well on your way into ketosis within one week. If you are experiencing any more keto flu symptoms, double check your electrolyte intake and adjust.
“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.”
Ketosis is actually a mild form of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis mostly affects people with type 1 diabetes. In fact, it is the leading cause of death of people with diabetes who are under 24 years of age.
Drinking alcohol slows ketone production. There are some legitimate concerns when it comes to consuming alcohol on a ketogenic diet. Alcohol slows fat burning and ketone production. Drinks to avoid include:
Another way to eat vegetables is with your dinner. Many side dishes also complement the ketogenic diet because they’re often very fatty. Next time you need to pair a meal with a side dish, consider one of these options:
for more options, try my Keto Egg Coffee which includes additional ingredients such as raw pastured egg yolks, collagen and coconut milk. This coffee is creamy, delicious, and filling. Just one cup will help you stay full for longer!
Factory-farmed animal products and seafoods, which are lower in nutrients and often worse for the environment than their healthier counterparts; and processed sausages and hot dogs, which, more often than not, have preservatives called nitrates that have been linked to cancer.
You want to keep your cheats to none. Be prepared, make sure you’re eating what you need to be satiated (“full”), and make sure you’re satisfied with what you’re eating. If you have to force yourself to eat something, it will never work out in the end. This is just a guideline on how you can eat on a ketogenic diet, so you’re very welcome to change up what kind of foods you eat!
Implementing the diet can present difficulties for caregivers and the patient due to the time commitment involved in measuring and planning meals. Since any unplanned eating can potentially break the nutritional balance required, some people find the discipline needed to maintain the diet challenging and unpleasant. Some people terminate the diet or switch to a less demanding diet, like the modified Atkins diet (MAD) or the low-glycaemic index treatment (LGIT) diet, because they find the difficulties too great.
Evangelizing about keto is like being a Jehovah’s Witness – And no offense to any Witnesses here, but no one wants to be preached at. If people ask, I tell them that I did keto, a brief explanation of what it is, and then I ask: Hey, if you’re interested in more, I’m happy to talk with you about it.
One 2008 study compared the effects of the low-carb ketogenic diet (LCKD) vs a low-glycemic index diet (LGID)[*]. Subjects in the LCKD group had significantly greater improvements in weight loss, hemoglobin A1c and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol compared to the low-glycemic index diet group. Results showed the following: