How long does it take to get into ketosis?
A ketogenic diet is not a diet that you can whimfully choose to go on and off of at any point. It takes time for your body to adjust and go into a state known as ketosis. This process? Anywhere from 2 – 7 days, depending on your body type, activity levels, and what you’re eating. The fastest way to get into ketosis is to get ride of sugar and restrict your carbohydrate intake to 20g or less per day.
Steve’s 2¢ – I went into Ketosis by just stopping sugar and reducing my carbohydrate intake to <20g per day. I could check my Ketone level with a blood monitor because I had one for my diabetes blood testing that also measured Ketones. However, there are pee strips which are less accurate but also less expensive. But after the first few checks I stopped because I kind of knew it was working. So, it is best to stay on the diet, well-spaced out special occasions are OK at times. It just may knock you out of ketosis for a day or two as long as you return to the diet without too much delay.
Where Can I Find Low Carb Recipes?
Everywhere on the internet! There’re recipes on almost every health website nowadays, and a quick Google search of what you want will definitely help you out. You can even convert high carb recipes that use sugar or fruits in them to low carb recipes with artificial sweeteners or by getting rid of the fruit.
Steve’s 2¢ – Dietdoctor.com is a great source of recipes and has no advertising to get in the way.
How Should I Track My Carb Intake?
One way to track your carbs is through MyFitnessPal and their mobile app. You cannot track net carbs on the app, although you CAN track your total carb intake and your total fiber intake. To get your net carbs, simply subtract your total fiber intake from your total carb intake.
Another app is the Keto Diet Tracker. This app will want you to pay after you have used it for a while. You can continue to use it for free if you just use it to check how many carbs are in different foods, but don’t actually enter them as meals you ate.
Steve’s 2¢ – Personally I would not pay anything for a carb tracker. I did not really track my carbs very much. I just eat about a fist size portion of low carb vegetables for the meal. If you like to track them that’s great. I just didn’t have that much time to put toward the effort. And knowing I was in Ketosis meant I was doing it right for my body. So, why expend the effort or money?
Do I Need to Count Calories?
Steve’s 2¢ –
Calories don’t matter just eat until you are satisfied and stop. You will probably eat less once you have adjusted to the diet. Calories, as defined for us, in their current form are meaningless. Calories are a Red Herring that Big Food/Diet Industry uses to market to you. It pretty much all comes back to the insulin level in your body. When you spike your insulin level by eating sugar or carbs, the inulin (which is a hormone) forces your body to store fat in your cells for later use. However, on the Standard American Diet (SAD), we do this many times a day. So, the “later use” never comes and we gain weight due to all the fat that is being stored day after day.
Calories are not all the same, no matter what Big Food/Sugar Industry says.
Look at it this way. If you take in 300 calories from sugar your insulin levels are going to spike. High insulin levels mean your body has gone into fat storage mode for the time that the levels are elevated (a few hours). If you take in 300 calories from fat your insulin levels do not rise at all, *AT ALL*. Which means, your body is not trying to store fat. It is burning the fat for energy. So, when your told to reduce calories, that is really meaningless.
Now reducing the amount (grams, ounces, pounds, etc) is a good thing, if you don’t get to the point of hunger when you do it. When I first started my diet, I ate the same amount of protein and fat (i.e. meat for supper) I normally would. But I found I could cut it in half and not be hungry for many hours or until lunch the next day. So, I cut the amount I was eating, not the calories, without being hungry. That is a natural occurrence with this diet.
So, forget about calories and focus on amount and what is happening to your insulin level. AND NEVER BE HUNGRY!!!! When you hear people say “you need to cut the “calories” just think “amount” because calories are not a real meaningful biological measurement in humans. It is a great marketing tool for Big Food/Diet Companies, but has no place in your diet.
The calorie counting “calorie in/calorie out” proponents (think, Weight Watchers, Jennie Crag, Nutra System, basically everyone wanting your money) uses this to their advantage because you do see an initial loss. But after you’ve paid in for a couple of years failure begins and unlike this study where the women continued the calorie restriction, we typically go back to our old eating and gain even more. This is why 99% of the people will likely fail in the long run.
If what the “calorie in/calorie out” proponents saying were true. 300 calories per day would be about ½ pound per week. So, after 4 years, the women in this study should have been down 104 pounds not ½ pound.
Counting calories has never worked long term for more than maybe 1% of those who tried and will never work for the 99%. It has generated a lot of money for Weight Watchers, Jennie Crag, Nutra System, and many other scam artists.
OK, so maybe this is Steve’s $1.25.
See Dr. Ken Berry on “Counting Calories is Stupid!”
Can I Eat Too Much Fat?
Steve’s 2¢ – You can drink too much water and get water poisoning. So, the answer is Yes. But why would you. Eat until you are satisfied and then stop (you’ll get the hang of this), don’t be hungry, and don’t drink a whole quart of olive oil at one setting.
How Much Weight Will I Lose?
The amount of weight you lose is totally dependent on you. Obviously adding exercise to your regimen will speed up your weight loss.
Steve’s 2¢ – No!!! it is not obvious. I did not exercise during my weight loss. Exercise is not a weight loss strategy, Diet is. A 200-pound man would have to run 30 miles to lose 1 pound. That would be 5 miles a day for 6 days to lose a pound a week. I lost 4 pounds a week with diet alone.
That being said, exercise is good for health. It is good for bone strength, heart conditioning, feeling better, and many other benefits but weight loss is NOT one of them. When I was 85 pounds overweight, the last thing I would look forward to is a 5-mile run every day. And I don’t have time for that anyway. I was running about 2.5 miles every other day a couple of years back but I had a lot of joint and muscle pain and very, very little weight loss. I would say exercise as your body can take it, but don’t do it for just weight loss.
Cutting out things that are common “stall” causers is also a good thing. Artificial sweeteners, dairy, wheat products and by products (wheat gluten, wheat flours, and anything with an identifiable wheat product in it).
Water weight loss is common when you first start a low carb diet. Ketosis has a diuretic effect to it that can cause many pounds of weight loss in only a few days. While I hate being the bearer of bad news, this isn’t fat. But on a side (and more positive) note, that shows that your body is starting to adjust itself into a fat burning machine!
How Can I Tell if I Am in Ketosis?
The most common way is to use Ketostix. They can be picked up at your local pharmacy usually. Keep in mind, though, that they’re incredibly inaccurate. Normally, they will give you an idea as to if you’re in ketosis or not. Any pink or purple on the stick shows that ketones are being produced in your body. Darker colors usually mean that you’re dehydrated and the ketone levels are more concentrated in your urine.
Ketostix measure the amount of acetone in your urine, which are mostly unused ketones. The ketone that is used by your body and brain for energy is called Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and is not measured by Ketostix.
For a more reliable and accurate way to measure your ketone levels, you must use a blood ketone meter. These will show you the proper amount of ketones in your blood, and aren’t as easily changed through hydration (or lack thereof).
If you have a blood ketone meter, this is what the readings mean:
- Light Ketosis: 0.5 mmol/L – 0.8 mmol/L
- Medium Ketosis: 0.9 mmol/L – 1.4 mmol/L
- Deep Ketosis(best for weight loss): 1.5 mmol/L – 3.0 mmol/L
Steve’s 2¢ – You may want to check at first just to see how you are doing but how your body is reacting will be a great indicator of your success. Also, if you a not losing weight or have stalled you may want to see if you have come out of ketosis for some reason. (typically, you’ve inadvertently added carbs back into your diet some way).
By the way a “stall” is typically no weight loss for more than 2 months. So, at times I would hit a short “pause”, where I would hover just at a weight for a week or two then it would start going down again. There were times where I would drop 3 or 4 pounds very quickly only to show a quick gain over a few days. Then it would again turn and head down. I think this is more typical for men.
Dr. Berry explains 7 Ways to Know if You’re Fat-Adapted (In Ketosis with, No Meter Required)
How Does Ketosis Work?
In a nutshell, ketosis is a state that our body enters when we don’t eat carbohydrates. It’s a way for our body to use fats (body fats included) as the primary energy we need. It’s not only healthy for us, it’s actually more efficient for our brains to use.
How do we get that energy from the fats? Well that “ketosis” state we are in allows our liver to break fats down into molecules called ketones. Those ketones provide the energy we need.
How does that all fall into weight loss? Through systematically reducing the amount of food we eat to feel satisfied, we aren’t actually eating enough energy for our body to live, so we have to dig into our own fat stores to get the energy we need.
Steve’s 2¢ – The way I view this is when you are fat adaptive (in ketosis) your body doesn’t care if it is getting the fat it is converting to energy from inside your tummy or outside your tummy. That is why you don’t really feel hungry. Your body is getting the energy it needs and is not sending you the “HANGRIES” when your carbs run out.
What About Heart Attacks from All This Fat?
The main three fat groups we eat are saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and monounsaturated fats. The general consensus used to be that saturated fats were terrible for us and there was a clear link between saturated fats and heart disease. In recent years, though, saturated fats have shown to not only NOT cause heart attacks, but improve cholesterol levels. You can eat them without worry.
Polyunsaturated fats are a bit trickier. There are 2 sides of the story here. Processed polyunsaturated fats (like margarine spreads and vegetable oils) are terrible for us, and usually include trans fats. They DO have a causation effect with heart disease and should be avoided. However, there are naturally occurring polyunsaturated fats in foods like fish, which are great for us and will improve cholesterol. It’s your job to seek out the healthy fats and eliminate the unhealthy fats.
Last but not least, there’s monounsaturated fats. These are pretty known to be “healthy” and are generally accepted as so. Olive oil is a primary example of something that is more proportionately a monounsaturated fat – being healthy for us and lowering our cholesterol.
Steve’s 2¢ – We have been taught over and over to fear fat. Well there is fat we should fear but it is not the natural fats. It is the “Healthy Fats” marketed to use by Big Food and Government. This is a whole topic in and of itself, on how we have been deceived for a profit.
Dr Ken Berry – BUTTER: 100% Saturated Evil?? (What’s Actually in There?)
What Foods Can I Eat?
It’s a very common question to ask what you can eat. The main thing is to stay away from carbs. In a nutshell, that’s sugars, breads, pastas, and rice. It might sound so simple when you look at it that way, but it’s not all that simple. Potato chips, tomato sauce, and even salad dressings can have carbs in them.
Even vegetables have carbs in them, but they are a necessary part of our diet, and that’s why we are allowed up to 30g of carbs a day – wiggle room, if you will, for some small amounts of residual carbohydrates from foods we need.
Here is a small list of keto-friendly foods to get you started on building a shopping list and getting healthier!
I Just Started and Feel Terrible. What Should I Do?
A very common happening when people start a ketogenic diet is getting headaches and “brain fogginess”. Since ketosis has a diuretic effect on our bodies, we end up peeing a lot more than usual. Factor that in with our bodies burning up the lasting glycogen stores, and you have yourself a big disaster on your hands. You’re peeing out electrolytes and you need to replace them.
Stay hydrated and eat salt. Broth, salty foods like bacon and deli meat, or salted nuts. These are good things to eat and drink while you’re transitioning into ketosis, and are good things to help keep you sane and functional.
Constipation, What to Do?
It’s fairly common for people starting out on keto to have irregular bowel movements. Below is a list of common advice given to people for constipation or bowel movement problems.
- Take a Magnesium Supplement
- Drink Plenty of Water
- Eat One Tbsp. of Coconut Oil
- Stop Eating Nuts (if you do)
- Eat More Fibrous Vegetables
- Try Eating Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds
- Try Coffee or Tea
I Stopped Losing Weight. What Can I Do?
Weight loss plateaus happen to everyone at least once. There’s a number of things that could be the problem but I will keep this one short. You can try a different number of methods that may help you out – ranging from cutting certain foods out of your diet to changing your eating patterns through intermittent fasting or fat fasting.
Here’s a list of common suggestions that are normally advised to people that aren’t losing weight:
- Cut Out Dairy
- Up Your Fat Intake
- Decrease Your Carb Intake
- Stop Eating Nuts
- Stop Eating Gluten
- Cut Out Artificial Sweeteners
- Look for Hidden Carbs
- Begin Cutting Processed Food from Diet
- Switch to Measuring Instead of Weighing
If you have more questions, please email Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org