Is The Ketogenic Diet For You
This may sound like a cop out, but the best diet is the one you stick with. For Volek, whos been following an ultra-low-carb diet for two decades, it works.
If you cant stick to it, then it probably wont.
“This is the problem I have with all of these fad diets,” registered dietitian Andy Yurechko, M.S., R.D., of Augusta University Medical Center in Georgia, previously told Men’s Health. “A healthier type of diet is something you can do every day of your life.”
Since maintaining ketosis requires strict carb counting, this diet works best for people who are diligent. And, its probably not a good idea for athletes or avid gym-goers to do the keto diet long-term.
There is no conclusive research to support any athletic performance benefit , Harpst says. Research continues to show that training on a low carb diet impairs intensity and decreases endurance, recovery and cognitive function.
It can also impair muscle strength, she says, since carbohydrates are muscles preferred energy source during workouts, and because muscle synthesis requires both protein and carbohydrates.
How Much Protein Will You Eat On The Keto Diet
A typical keto diet may include 20 to 25 percent of calories coming from protein, says Keene. One common misconception is that this is a high-protein diet, when in reality, its moderate in protein. Too much protein can be converted and broken down as sugar to be utilized as an energy source, she says.
That said, you dont want to go too low in protein. You want to be able to stay in ketosis without sacrificing lean body mass if you lose weight, says Whitmire. This can loosely equate to 1.2 to 1.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. Therefore, a 140-lb woman may aim for 76 to 95 g per day. For reference, one 3.5-ounce skinless chicken breast offers 31 g of protein.
One of the best on a keto diet is fatty fish , says Keene, as it offers a source of heart-healthy protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs are another good choice one large egg contains 6 g of protein and 5 g of fat.
While a keto diet may focus on fat, that doesnt mean you have to eat bacon and sausages all day. There is room for leaner proteins, like chicken or cod just remember to add fat to these lower-in-fat sources, she says. Many cuts of beef are also considered lean or extra lean, as they contain 10 g or less of total fat, as well as a modest amount of saturated fat . These include eye of round roast and steak, sirloin tip side steak, top round roast and steak, bottom round roast and steak, and top sirloin steak, notes the Mayo Clinic.
Replacing Carbs With Fat
The body turns carbohydrates into glucose for energy, but what fills the carb-less void? Healthy fats. When you enter ketosis, the body has found a secondary source of energy in the fat stores on your body. It will move into a metabolic function that turns these and the dietary fats you consume into ketones. This is why you have to consume at least 70% fat, 25% protein, and a small 5% share going to carbohydrates. These percentages are flexible, but youll need to keep the last one to a bare minimum.
Frequently Asked Questions About Low Carb Aspects Of Keto
You might say that keto is the lowest-carb diet, but it doesnt have to start low right away. Beginning your journey with a low-carb diet is a good way to ease into the more rigorous ketogenic diet. You can start by stopping sugar intake and replacing your carb-heavy favourites with alternatives. This can also help you see that the keto diet isnt a difficult starvation diet, but rather a healthy way to achieve weight loss and other health goals!
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What Does 130g Of Carbs Per Day Look Like
Here weve included some higher carb foods such as banana and potatoes, but we have mixed them with lower carb alternatives, such as kiwi and cauliflower to reduce the carb content.
Banana & Kiwi Yoghurt Bowl 37g
Chickpea & Feta Quinoa Salad 48g
Sausages with SautÃ©ed Red Cabbage & Mash 41g
90g per day
Here we have used beans and pulses such as quinoa and chickpeas to bring the carbohydrate content up to 90g per day. Beans and pulses can be a good source of nutrients like fibre and protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans.
Vegan Quinoa & Chia Cherry Porridge 27g
Minty Bean Salad 29g
Chickpea Tagine with Broccoli Rice 34g
30g per day
In this example, weve used plenty of low carb ingredients like eggs, avocado, cheese and non-starchy vegetables to create a varied very low carb day of meals.
Eggy Avocado Boats 4g
Low Carb Broccoli & Stilton Soup 14g
Burgers & Courgette Fries 11g
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Time Your Carb Intakes Around Your Workouts With A Targeted Keto Diet
While a vast segment of the keto population wont need pre-or post-workout carbs, if youre an intense CrossFit devotee or take your lifting to 11, having a few extra carbs in your diet will help you become more explosive and give you sustained strength, energy and muscle recovery.
Meet the targeted ketogenic diet.
Here, your SKD macros wont change youll just eat most of your daily carbs around your workouts or between 30 and 60 minutes before your warm-up or after your routine.
Your pre-workout carb boost will give your muscles all the quick energy they need to slay leg day and your post-workout carbs will ensure full recovery when youre done.
Since these carbs will get torched during your training and recovery, theyll never have a chance to be stored. You also wont be out of ketosis for too long .
Now, if building your physique one muscle group at a time is on your agenda, lets talk advanced carb cycling next.
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Individual Carb Limit: Why Is It Different For Everyone
The keto carb limit is 20-50 grams per day. To be more specific and scientific, the carb limit is 35 grams of total carbs and 25 grams of net carbs. Total carbs include fiber, starch, and sugar alcohols. Net carbs consist only of carbohydrates absorbed by your body, calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs.
Net Carbs = Total Carbs Fiber
For ketosis to kick in, you need to limit your net carb intake to 20 grams per day. However, you can also go into ketosis at 35 grams of net carbs per day. How do you find your carb limit? Find out in the following section.
How Many Carbs Is 1/2 Cup Blueberries
1/2 cup of blueberries contains 12 grams of carbohydrate, with 10. 5 grams of sugar and 1. 5 grams of dietary fiber. Blueberries are a great source of dietary fiber and antioxidants and can be a healthy addition to any meal or snack.
They are also low in calories, with only 42 calories per 1/2 cup. They are a good source of vitamin C, providing 8% of the daily recommended value. As a natural sweetener, they add flavor to breakfast cereals, oatmeal, smoothies and baked goods.
Blueberries can also be used to make a refreshing sorbet or compote.
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That Brings Us Back To The Question Of: How Many Carbs Can You Eat And Stay In Ketosis
Generally, to stay in ketotis, youll want to eat less than 50g of net carbs per day. Your carbs should come from vegetables, nuts and seeds and keto friendly fruit.
Below 50g of net carbs each day is enough for most people to stay in ketosis. Make sure to get your carbs from vegetables , nuts and seeds , and fruits . Keto Calculator
When reading food labels in the US, subtract the fiber content of the food from the total carbs to get your net carb count. This will give you the carb count of the food so you can add it to your daily tally.
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What Fruits Can I Eat On The Ketogenic Diet
Fruit is generally not a mainstay of the keto diet. With so much natural sugar, fruit generally has too many carbs to be included. But you can have small amounts of lower-carb fruits, like berries, says Whitmire. And if youre really getting technical, avocado and coconut, two higher-fat foods, are, in fact, fruits. Based on U.S. Department of Agriculture carb counts, heres what can fit on keto:
Raspberries: 3 g net carbs per ½ cup
Strawberries: 2 g net carbs per ¼ cup slices
Blueberries: 4 g net carbs per ¼ cup
Blackberries: 3 g net carbs per ½ cup
Coconut: 2.5 g net carbs per ½ cup, shredded, raw
Avocado: 3 g net carbs per 1 cup, cubes
*All carb values are net carbs, which is total carbs minus fiber. Fiber is often not counted in net carb totals, as the nutrient isnt digested.
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Targeted Ketogenic Diet And Carb Intake
If you engage in regular, intense physical activity, note that the above ratios might not cater to your performance needs. Thats where targeted ketogenic diets come into play.
In targeted keto and during training times only you might want to integrate a carb boost before and immediately following your training sessions. This will ensure your muscles have enough glycogen to perform their necessary tasks, both during competition and within in-season training.
When adopting this targeted principle, youll follow the above macro guidelines throughout the day. However, after you leave the gym , youll consume 15-30 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates. These should be consumed within a half hour after training ends.
Theoretically, your body uses these carbs immediately to repair and restore itself. Therefore, your ketogenic state wont be adversely affected.
What Should My Macros Be On Keto
The keto diet follows this standard macro ratio:
- 5% or fewer calories from carbohydrates
- 70-80% of calories from healthy fats
- 20-30% of calories from protein
As an example, lets say youre consuming 2,000 calories per day to lose weight. Based on that calorie requirement, your carb, fat, and protein intake would be as follows:
- 25 grams of carbs or less
- 156-178 grams of fat
- 100-150 grams of protein
To get this result, you should multiply your calorie target by each macro percentage and divide the result by the number of calories per macro gram.
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How To Avoid Weight Loss On A Keto Diet
I have type 1 diabetes and would like to try the keto diet to stabilize my blood sugar level. I cant afford to lose weight. Any advice?
We also have a guide on using low-carb diets to help with blood sugar control with type 1 diabetes.
However, the main point we need to emphasize is that nobody should take this on alone. Anyone with type 1 diabetes mellitus should work closely with their healthcare team when making a nutritional change to address their blood sugars.
It takes meticulous monitoring and medication adjustments that people with T1DM should not do on their own. With the right guidance, it can be an incredibly effective tool for blood sugar control.
Best,Dr. Bret Scher
How Many Carbs To Get Into And Stay In Ketosis
A comprehensive study conducted in 2018 confirmed that a person could consume up to 50 grams of carbs per day while remaining in ketosis. The study also confirmed that a female should limit daily carbs to 40 grams maximum per day to stay in ketosis.
- Standard ketogenic diet: 70% of your intake is from fat, with 20% from proteins, and 10% only carbohydrates.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet: an ongoing cycle of 5 low carbohydrates days followed by 2 high carbohydrate dates
- Targeted ketogenic diet: You can eat more carbohydrates around the time you complete high intensity workouts.
- High protein ketogenic diet: 60% of your intake is from fat, with 35% from proteins, and only 5% from carbohydrates.
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How To Find Your Own Personal Keto Carb Limit
One of the only ways to find out if you can stay in ketosis while eating more carbs than we suggest is by tracking your ketones with a blood ketone meter like the Precision Xtra. You can also use Ketostix, but they are not as accurate.
After establishing ketosis by eating less than 35 grams a day and verifying it with your ketone meter, you can try slowly increasing your carb consumption by 5 grams each day.
This doesnt mean that you can eat sweets and candies. Simple carbs like these can kick you out of ketosis because they tend to increase insulin levels more rapidly than anything else. Instead, increase your carbs by eating complex carbohydrates from plant-based foods like vegetables or low glycemic fruits.
Measure your ketones at the same time each day to see if the increase in carbs decreases your ketone levels. If you are still maintaining ketosis after increasing your carbs, try it again. Your goal is to raise your carbs little by little while maintaining a medium or deep level of ketosis.
Heres a quick overview of what medium and deep ketosis actually mean:
- Light Ketosis: 0.5 mmol/L 0.8 mmol/L
- Medium Ketosis: 0.9 mmol/L 1.4 mmol/L
- Deep Ketosis : 1.5 mmol/L 3.0 mmol/L
The only way to accurately find out if you are in light, medium, or deep ketosis is by using a blood ketone meter like the Precision Xtra.
Keto Net Carbs Vs Total Carbs
Most importantly, when counting your carb intake, it is often recommended to use net carbs per day over total carbs.
Certain types of carbohydrates, like fiber and sugar alcohols, are not easily absorbed by the body and dont affect your blood sugar and insulin levels the same way sugars do. Thus you can subtract these types of carbs from your daily total to count net carb intake.
For example, if you eat 30 grams of total carbs, but that includes 12 grams of fiber you can count 17 grams of net carbs for the day.
This approach is also much easier to manage your macros, as many nutritious, fibrous foods like fruits and veggies contain carbs, but also provide important health benefits you wont want to miss out on.
Psst… Trifecta keto meals have less than 10 grams of net carbs each! Helping you stay under you daily carb limit and on top of you overall nutrition.
Bottom line: Count net carbs to allow room for nutrient-dense plant foods that support good health.
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How To Prepare For The Worst
The keto flu is the bodys response to the rapid changes that occur on the path to ketosis. You can remedy the keto flu and possibly even prevent it by following these simple suggestions:
- Drink plenty of water
- Consume at least a teaspoon of unprocessed salt per day
- Supplement with magnesium and potassium
- Do some low-intensity aerobic exercise in the morning to encourage fat burning
- Reduce stress by meditating and improving sleep quality
For more details on what to do, read our article on the keto flu and how to remedy it.
Now that we know how to get to ketosis without any metaphorical bumps and bruises, lets find out how to get into ketosis faster.
List Of Carbs You Can Consume On Keto
Now that you understand which foods should be avoided entirely, lets talk about the best Ketogenic-friendly carb sources you can still incorporate into your diet plan.
Some of the foods listed below still contain some carbohydrates, so its best to be sure to read labels and carefully track your intake so you dont overdo it, especially if youre a beginner.
#1. Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate
Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are great alternatives to eating sugary chocolate bars. Theyre a great source of antioxidants. Chocolate is even considered a superfood, because it contains essential nutrients to help you stay healthy.
Dark chocolate also has flavanols, which have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering your blood pressure.
Its important to only consume dark chocolate that contains 85% cocoa or more. Anything less usually contains other higher carbohydrate ingredients that could potentially interrupt ketosis.
Tip: A great low-carb snack you can make with cocoa powder or dark chocolate is a Keto Coconut-choc Fat Bombs. Simply add cocoa powder into a bowl with almond butter and coconut oil and put it in the microwave or heat on a stovetop and stir until it becomes a consistent liquid. Then place it in the freezer for half an hour and you’ll have a tasty, sweet low-carb snack! Add a little stevia if you need a little more sweetness. Read about more Keto snack ideas here.
#2. Low-Carb Vegetables
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How Will The Keto Diet Affect Your Cholesterol Levels
The interesting thing about a keto diet is that it often leads to weight loss, something that by itself can improve blood lipid levels. At the same time, you may be consuming more saturated fat than ever, in the form of butter, bacon, cream, and coconut oil.
Weve long been warned that eating excess saturated fat can raise cholesterol, and thus put us at risk for heart disease. For that reason, many experts express concern that increased fat intake may be especially harmful for people who already have heart disease or have risk factors for it.
A study on obese patients on a keto diet found that after 24 weeks, total cholesterol levels dropped, while bad LDL cholesterol decreased and good HDL cholesterol increased. This could be reflective of the fact that any weight loss, no matter how it’s achieved, tends to lower cholesterol. Also, as already mentioned, people who have risk factors for heart disease need to consult their doctors before attempting a keto diet. Research, as in this study in the British Journal of Nutrition in April 2013, has concluded that a diet low in carbs but high in fat and protein impaired arterial function in those who were at risk for cardiovascular disease.