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Eating Low Carb But Not In Ketosis

Low-carb = Ketosis? Not Necessarily.

Low-carb = Ketosis? Not Necessarily.

I’ve been following Jimmy Moore’s N=1 experiment with staying in nutritional ketosis on his blog, but it was instructive to actually watch the man eat during his visit last week. His meals are WAY high in fat now and he watches his protein intake. I must admit, despite everything I’ve read about the benefits of ketosis, when I watched Jimmy scooping gobs of butter and sour cream on his cheesy scrambled eggs in the morning, I couldn’t help thinking, “Wait a minute … you’re losing weight eating like this?” The reason he’s doing this is that he discovered eating low-carb doesn’t necessarily mean being in ketosis, or at least not in the zone that Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney call nutritional ketosis: a blood ketone level of between 0.5 and 3.0 mM. As they explain in their terrific book The Art and Science of Low-Carb Living, it’s within this zone that we can easily tap body fat for fuel and keep our brains happily supplied with ketones. When Dr. Atkins was practicing and writing his books, he urged people to test their ketone levels with ketone urine strips. That was the technology available at the time. Unfortunately, the ketones in urine aren’t necessarily an accurate reflection of the ketones in the bloodstream, which is the level that matters. The reason for the disparity is that as you become keto-adapted, you tend to use more of the ketones for fuel instead of excreting them. The newer and better technology is a device similar to a glucose meter that tests ketone levels in the blood. As Jimmy Moore explained on his blog, he was surprised when he first used a ketone meter and saw that despite being on a very low-carb diet, his blood ketone level was only 0.1. After adjusting his diet, he’s hanging around the 2.0 level most of the time Continue reading >>

Everything You Need To Know Before Going On A Low-carb Diet

Everything You Need To Know Before Going On A Low-carb Diet

Much like Oprah, we LOVE bread. So naturally, the thought of cutting it out of our lives (along with any other carbs) is terrifying. But then again, if everyone and their mom (and lots of scientific research) claim that quitting carbohydrates is the key to weight loss, there's got to be something to it, right? Whether it takes the form of Atkins or the Paleo Diet, the low-carb trend has been around for a long time. But chances are you might not fully understand where it came from, how it works, and why experts are torn on whether this eating plan is smart. Here, we break down all of that so you can decide if carb-cutting in the name of weight loss is worth it. What Low Carb Actually Means Depending on who you talk to, there are different definitions of a low-carb diet. Plans can range from 100 grams of carbohydrates per day to zero grams (yikes), says Susan Kleiner, Ph.D, R.D., author of Power Eating. To put that into perspective, a small piece of fruit has about 15 grams of carbs and a banana contains up to 30 grams. For the sake of this article, though, we'll talk about a diet containing 100 grams of carbs per day, for someone who exercises three times a week at a moderate pace. For everyone else, a true low-carb diet would be about 50 grams per day, says Kleiner. What’s Considered a Carb? Unfortunately for Regina George, butter is not a carb. But according to the USDA’s Nutrient Database, lots of foods, including fruits and veggies, contain high amounts of carbohydrates. Though you probably know potatoes and bananas are packed with the carbohydrates, over 20 grams of the macronutrient are also found in a serving of grapes, apples, pears, and cauliflower. Plus, dried fruits, such as apricots, cranberries, and raisins, have a whopping 80 grams per serving. You’ll Continue reading >>

What Is Ketosis?

What Is Ketosis?

"Ketosis" is a word you'll probably see when you're looking for information on diabetes or weight loss. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? That depends. Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones. If you're healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don't normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. It can also happen after exercising for a long time and during pregnancy. For people with uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a sign of not using enough insulin. Ketosis can become dangerous when ketones build up. High levels lead to dehydration and change the chemical balance of your blood. Ketosis is a popular weight loss strategy. Low-carb eating plans include the first part of the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet, which stress proteins for fueling your body. In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry. It also helps you maintain muscle. For healthy people who don't have diabetes and aren't pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That's about 3 slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can start ketosis by fasting, too. Doctors may put children who have epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, very low-carb and protein plan, because it might help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat modified Atkins diets. Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show sp Continue reading >>

In Ketosis But Not Losing Weight? These Foods May Be Stalling Your Progress

In Ketosis But Not Losing Weight? These Foods May Be Stalling Your Progress

Stop Stalling Volume Two: Malignant Mouthfuls Welcome back to the Stop Stalling series! Today, we’re going to take a look at some specific foods that may be causing your stall. These foods may be keeping you from getting ahead. The bad news is that a lot of them may be staples for you. Many of them seem keto-friendly: they’re low in net carbs and should be “safe.” In fact, they are “safe” for plenty of people. However, for some people, certain foods can cause stalls. If you’re in ketosis but not losing weight and have implemented everything advised in Volume 1: Operator Error, here’s a list of the most likely suspects. Dairy: Dairy is a tricky one. First of all, it’s very energy-dense (i.e. it has a lot of calories). That means that it can be really easy to overdo. Alas, keto isn’t magical, and calories still count. Secondly, it’s often a carbohydrate bomb. A glass of milk has about ten grams. It can have more or less depending on the fat content. It can be tough to tell with yogurt: while the actual carb count is probably lower than what is listed on the label (fermentation consumes some of the carbohydrates), you can’t always tell just how many there are. This is even ignoring the fact that many yogurts contain additives, including starch-based thickeners. Finally, dairy is especially prone to “rounding down”: even though many labels say that a serving of cheese contains zero carbohydrates, chances are that a serving contains as many as 0.7 grams. It seems like very little, but if you eat two servings (easy to do!), it’s going to add up over time. Many people rely on dairy, and when they drop it, they start losing again. Seeds and nuts: Seeds and nuts are horrible bastards. I love nuts, especially almonds. Especially the smoked ones or th Continue reading >>

Why Keto And Not Low Carb – Pitfalls Of Low-carb Nutrition

Why Keto And Not Low Carb – Pitfalls Of Low-carb Nutrition

Intro Update 2017: This post has been deprecated (not in line with my current thoughts. Read more on the ‘about’ page) While reading Jimmy Moore and Dr. Westman’s Keto Clarity, I started pondering on this. Most of us know that reducing carbohydrate intake (especially simple sugars) is very beneficial to one’s health, but if you are following a low-carb diet and you are not in ketosis, there may be some issues. If you consume, say, 100-150g of carbs a day, much of it will be used by the brain [1], while the remainder will be insufficient to supply for the energy demands of the rest of the cells throughout your body. In this situation, you’re not producing ketones (because of the higher carbohydrate intake) to supply for the energy demands of the brain and most of the cells. No wonder the fatigue and light-headedness you’d experience. Low-Carb vs. Keto When you eat low-carbohydrate but you do not go low enough to become ketotic, you’re still a sugar burner (and a very inefficient one) and you’re likely to fall of the wagon because you do not experience the benefits of ketosis. When you’re doing low-carb and you are not ketotic, some of your body’s cells will use fatty acids for energy indeed, but your brain cannot use them directly as they cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Cravings and hunger are most likely to occur under this protocol as your cells will scream at you to give them sugar. The foggy mind may be persistent. Note that this type of scenario can happen when you are very-low-carb and eat high-protein. You’ll not be able to enter ketosis due to gluconeogenesis (GNG) – synthesis of glucose mostly from protein substrates. This will also occur when you’re just starting out a ketogenic diet because your body needs time to accommodate to Continue reading >>

The Low-carb, High-fat Diet That's Sweeping The Nation

The Low-carb, High-fat Diet That's Sweeping The Nation

It took a while, but by now most of us know that fat is not the enemy, that there are certain kinds of fat that can actually help your heart, and that it need not be obliterated from your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. In fact, for some people, fat is actually the superhero of their diet—and chowing down on olive oil, butter, and heavy cream is the key to watching the scale dive lower and lower, without feeling hungry or deprived. But can a diet heavy on the heavy cream turn out to be not unsafe—and maybe even good for you? We consulted top-shelf, unbiased sources that specialize in diet and nutrition, and were surprised to find that the answer is a resounding yes. First, the basics about the diet. It’s called a ketogenic diet, one that’s heavy on fat, moderate in protein, and extremely light in carbohydrates (typically less than 50g a day). The way it works involves a neat little trick of your body’s own biology, says Charles Passler, a nutritionist in New York City, who works with many of the top models you see sashaying down the runways at fashion week. (Bella Hadid is among his clients, as are many of the Victoria’s Secret models, including Adriana Lima.) The body typically burns carbohydrates—aka glucose—for fuel. But if you give your body little to no carbohydrates, it will go into ketosis. This is a state in which fat stores in the body are broken down into ketones, which then fuel the muscles and brain. If that sounds a bit odd, it’s not, says Passler. “The human body is designed to be able to handle times of food scarcity,” says Passler. “The trouble is, we currently have access to food 24/7, but our physiology hasn’t caught up with that yet. Say you have breakfast at 8 a.m., and then it's 1 p.m. and you think you're starving, Continue reading >>

Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

These are the top 10 reasons you’re not losing weight on a low carb diet. A great FREE printable for the fridge and an easy reminder to stay on track. Just click on the image below to save the PDF for printing. UPDATE – watch the quick video below. No compatible source was found for this media. Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight Eating LCHF Too Many Carbohydrates – are carbs starting to sneak back into your diet? Be honest and start tracking everything using KetoDietApp. A little treat here and there adds up. Some are more carb sensitive (or insulin resistant) than others. I know that my carbs have to be around 50g/day to be feeling great and in control of my appetite. Lower than that and I will lose a little bit of weight, above that and I know my weight loss will stall. I generally go between 35-70g/day without too much tracking because I have done it for so long. Too Much Fruit – yes I use berries on my breakfast and desserts, but that is it. I allow my children to eat fruit (without gorging) as they are fit, healthy and in the normal weight range. For me, the sugar and fructose in fruit is too much. Sure, enjoy it as a treat and eat only low carb nutritent dense berries. See fruit as an occasional sweet treat. Packed with fibre, antioxidants, nutrients……… “If you are overweight, fruit is not your friend” Too much Dairy – my biggest downfall is milk. I love my lattes and flat whites. Now milk is great, full of protein and calcium, but it also contains about 5% carbs. A latte can range from 9g to 15g carbs depending on the size you choose. Most dairy such as milk, cream and yoghurt contains approximately 4- 5% but you are more likely to drink a large glass of milk, eat a bowl of yoghurt or drink a large latte than eat 250g of full fat cheese Continue reading >>

Ask The Nutrition Tactician: What's The Difference Between Low-carb And Keto?

Ask The Nutrition Tactician: What's The Difference Between Low-carb And Keto?

The words "low-carb" and "keto" get thrown around a lot. Are they the same thing? At first glance, it may appear that if you eat one less cup of rice, you can transition from a low-carbohydrate diet to a ketogenic diet. After all, both nutritional strategies place an emphasis on reducing carbohydrates, and both are often followed for their fat-loss potential. Pretty much the same thing, right? Not so fast, ketobro. Although both diets are considered low-carb compared to the standard Western diet—you know, the one made up mostly of processed carbs and mystery ingredients—the similarities stop there, both in philosophy and execution. Here's what you need to know about low-carb and ketogenic diets so you can make an informed choice! The Low-Carbohydrate Diet Defined A low-carbohydrate diet is a pretty vague description in and of itself. After all, "low" is a relative term. But in the most effective versions of this approach, the priority is being more selective about your carbs and where they come from. In many cases, you can still eat fruit, vegetables, and beans, while eliminating or cutting back on grains, baked goods, and processed sugars. This shift from carb-dense sources to low-density ones naturally reduces the daily amount of carbs you take in. However, a low-carbohydrate diet lacks specific classifications of what "low" means, and often neglects protein and fat recommendations. Technically, if you're used to eating 300 grams of carbohydrates per day, and drop to 200 per day, you're following a lower-carbohydrate diet. If you don't replace those lost calories, you'll probably lose some weight, but it may have been the lower calories that caused it, not the lower carbs. Conversely, if you replace those missing calories with either more fat or more protein, you Continue reading >>

How To Get Into Ketosis Faster On A Low Carb Diet

How To Get Into Ketosis Faster On A Low Carb Diet

This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links. We may earn money from purchases made through links mentioned in this post, but all opinions are our own. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliates sites. Want to be a fat-burning machine without having to count calories? Here’s a few ideas on how to get into ketosis faster on a low carb diet. Do you want to look leaner for bikini season? Yoga pants starting to feel a little tighter? One way to burn fat fast is to go on a ketogenic diet. The physiological process of burning stored fat instead of sugar, can be achieved within a short amount of time after following a strict keto diet. It is possible to get there in a day. In fact, some people show you how to get into ketosis, this fat burning state, in 24 hours. Do you need to fast? Becoming keto adapted where the body burns fat rather than sugar isn’t as hard as you might think. And, you don’t have to starve yourself to get there quickly. The great news for those who want to know how to get into ketosis faster is, well … you don’t have to fast. Fasting has been used for thousands of years by virtually every religion and traditional society. There are some people who think that a complete fast (not just intermittent fasting) is a way to get into ketosis faster. But the great thing about following a ketogenic diet is that you can eat until your heart—er, stomach—is content. You just have to eat enough of the right foods. And, of course, eat very little of the wrong foods. Is getting into ketosis safe without a doctor? Before reviewing how to get into ketosis quickly, let’s take a look at a quick background: T Continue reading >>

The Beginners Guide To Ketosis: Investigating Low-carb, High-fat Eating

The Beginners Guide To Ketosis: Investigating Low-carb, High-fat Eating

The only hard and fast rule of health is that health is personal and what works well for one person may not work for someone else. Aside from that rule, there are “frameworks” that seem to benefit large groups of people. One more level down from that are alternative strategies that benefit smaller groups. Ketosis is likely one of those alternative strategies that works well for certain, smaller groups of people. So, right off the bat I want you to understand that Ketosis might not be for everyone. I’m going to lay out the case for potential benefits of Ketosis. If it sounds interesting and beneficial to you, then consider trying it. (see our free cheat sheet to help you). What is Ketosis Ketosis occurs when liver glycogen gets depleted and the body burns fatty acids for fuel. The primary driver of this state is a very low carbohydrate intake. Often, it also requires a low protein, higher fat intake. You can also achieve a state of ketosis by not eating altogether. The creation of ketones is a byproduct of this metabolic state. Ketones are a source of fuel, just as glucose is a source of fuel. Ketones tend to have some added benefits, though. What role does Ketosis play in human health? Ketosis allows our bodies to function in the absence of carbohydrates, both physically and mentally. Instead of burning carbohydrates, or converting protein to glucose, the body burns ketones. This is pretty much a survival mechanism. It allows your body to function in a state of caloric deprivation. This is why ketosis often gets bad press (as it’s linked to “starvation”). Being a survival mechanism doesn’t make it invalid as a strategy, though. There can still be potential benefits to be had. Let’s cover a few of them… Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Loss Being in ketosis Continue reading >>

5 Most Common Low-carb Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)

5 Most Common Low-carb Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)

A few months ago, I read a book called The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living. The authors are two of the world's leading researchers on low-carb diets. Dr. Jeff S. Volek is a Registered Dietitian and Dr. Stephen D. Phinney is a medical doctor. These guys have performed many studies and have treated thousands of patients with a low-carb diet. According to them, there are many stumbling blocks that people tend to run into, which can lead to adverse effects and suboptimal results. To get into full-blown ketosis and reap all the metabolic benefits of low-carb, merely cutting back on the carbs isn't enough. If you haven't gotten the results you expected on a low-carb diet, then perhaps you were doing one of these 5 common mistakes. There is no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a "low carb diet." Some would call anything under 100-150 grams per day low-carb, which is definitely a lot less than the standard Western diet. A lot of people could get awesome results within this carbohydrate range, as long as they ate real, unprocessed foods. But if you want to get into ketosis, with plenty of ketoness flooding your bloodstream to supply your brain with an efficient source of energy, then this level of intake may be excessive. It could take some self experimentation to figure out your optimal range as this depends on a lot of things, but most people will need to go under 50 grams per day to get into full-blown ketosis. This doesn't leave you with many carb options except vegetables and small amounts of berries. If you want to get into ketosis and reap the full metabolic benefits of low-carb, going under 50 grams of carbs per day may be required. Protein is a very important macronutrient, which most people aren't getting enough of. It can improve satiety and incr Continue reading >>

Low Carb Diet Vs. Ketogenic Diet

Low Carb Diet Vs. Ketogenic Diet

I’ve been asked by many of my readers to clarify what it means to follow a low carb or ketogenic diet. Because these two terms can mean two very different things, I thought it would be easiest to do a comparison. If after reading this you have more questions, please feel free to reach out. I’m always happy to answer questions or update my post here if something isn’t clear. What is a low carb diet? Generally speaking, the term “low carb” can be applied to any type of diet where you reduce your overall carb intake. This is a very lose term and can mean different things to different people. There is a general consensus out there that eating low carb “usually” means eating between 20 and 100 net carbs per day. That is a very large range, and not everybody will follow those guidelines. The term low carb referrs to simply reducing your overall carb consumption. The number of carbs you eat is totally up to you or whatever diet book you may be reading. A low carb diet does not equal a ketogenic diet. What are net carbs? Net carbs are very easy to figure. All you have to do is look at the nutrition data for whatever food you are eating and subtract the fiber count from the total carb count. Many people choose this method to ensure they get more fiber in an eating plan that could easily cut out fiber completely. There is also some science behind it, but I will leave that to you to google if you like. I don’t like to get that technical around here. What is a ketogenic diet? A Ketogenic diet does equal a low carb diet. A Keto diet is one of many different approaches to eating low carb. It has very specific parameters with the idea being that you put your body into a state of ketosis where fat becomes your body’s main fuel source. It is considered a high fat, mode Continue reading >>

Why Am I Getting Low Ketone Readings On A Ketogenic Diet?

Why Am I Getting Low Ketone Readings On A Ketogenic Diet?

75 Comments Even having finished and printed The Keto Reset, the quest for deeper understanding continues. I keep researching, thinking, revisiting, and discussing the science and practice of ketosis. My writing partner, Brad Kearns, and I maintain a running dialogue on all things keto. The latest conversation revolved around two very common questions or “problems” that keep coming up in the ketogenic community. Why do some people on a keto diet blow high numbers of ketones while others eating the same way blow low numbers? and this one… Is ketosis glycogen-sparing or glycogen-inhibiting? I won’t offer definitive answers fit to etch into stone. I will offer my exploration of the research, some educated speculation, and actionable advice you can ruminate on. And by all means get back to me with your take on the questions and my explorations, please. Dialogue is essential to understanding. Why do some people on ketogenic diets produce low ketone readings when they test? One theory is that some keto-adapted people are so adapted to producing and burning ketones that they don’t leave any extra to spill into the urine and breath. They make only as many as they can use and their cells gobble up almost every ketone they produce. Under this argument, low ketone numbers on a ketogenic diet are a reliable sign of full ketone adaptation. This sounds plausible, but I haven’t seen any empirical evidence that it’s the case. Another theory is that the keto-adapted have built so much fat-burning metabolic machinery in their muscles that they can burn free fatty acids directly and don’t require much additional fuel from ketones. They make enough ketones to fuel the brain, since our brain can’t run on fatty acids directly, but your muscles no longer require as many. Man Continue reading >>

How I Fixed The Biggest Ketosis Mistakes

How I Fixed The Biggest Ketosis Mistakes

The ketogenic diet isn’t always as easy as it seems. I tried for a long time, but not until I dove deep into the research and found out how to fix all of the common mistakes was I able to enjoy the full state of ketosis. This article is to help you avoid those same mistakes. Why Try the Ketogenic Diet First, why would you want to even try ketosis? I truly enjoy trying diets and eating methodologies to research what I like and what works for me. I’ve experimented with low-carb diets, high-carb diets, and everything in between, but I’ve never cut them out to the point to achieve ketosis. What’s most exciting about the ketogenic diet to me is that, yes, it’s amazing for weight loss, but it’s not just a “diet.” Ketosis is literally a state of metabolism. You are either in or you’re out. I wanted to see and feel for myself the benefits everyone is talking about from going full Keto. My Keto Coach has a great line that goes like this: I was sold and needed to try this and commit. If you are new to researching ketosis, a quick review of the popular benefits: Mental Clarity [2] Fat Loss [2][3][4] Feeling Full [1][2] Better Sleep [1] Better Mood [1] Better Skin [4] The list goes on and on, including disease and inflammation reduction, better cholesterol, etc. For my purposes I didn’t care about weight loss or fat loss, I just cared about doing the diet the best I could, and to do that, I needed to prepare accordingly. Preparation Stage – Learning the Keto Basics Here is what I did to educate myself and prepare for six weeks of the Ketogenic Diet. I picked a start date and spent $30 at In-N-Out burger on a massive send-off to carbohydrates. A whole other post could be dedicated to the mistakes I made at In-N-Out. After this epic meal, it was officially time Continue reading >>

7 Tips To Get Into Ketosis

7 Tips To Get Into Ketosis

And convert fat into energy. By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that provides several health benefits. During ketosis, your body converts fat into compounds known as ketones and begins using them as its main source of energy. Studies have found that diets that promote ketosis are highly beneficial for weight loss, due in part to their appetite-suppressing effects. Emerging research suggests that ketosis may also be helpful for type 2 diabetes and neurological disorders, among other conditions. That being said, achieving a state of ketosis can take some work and planning. It’s not just as simple as cutting carbs. Here are 7 effective tips to get into ketosis. 1. Minimize Your Carb Consumption Eating a very low-carb diet is by far the most important factor in achieving ketosis. Normally, your cells use glucose, or sugar, as their main source of fuel. However, most of your cells can also use other fuel sources. This includes fatty acids, as well as ketones, which are also known as ketone bodies. Your body stores glucose in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. When carb intake is very low, glycogen stores are reduced and levels of the hormone insulin decline. This allows fatty acids to be released from fat stores in your body. Your liver converts some of these fatty acids into the ketone bodies acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate. These ketones can be used as fuel by portions of the brain. The level of carb restriction needed to induce ketosis is somewhat individualized. Some people need to limit net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) to 20 grams per day, while others can achieve ketosis while eating twice this amount or more. For this reason, the Atkins diet specifies that carbs be restricted to 20 or fewer grams per Continue reading >>

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