What is a Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic is a high fat, low carb and moderate protein diet that depends on the bodily state of ketosis. In the standard biological process sugar or carbohydrates are stored as fat in order to be used as energy later. When you’re consistently eating food rich in carbohydrates, your body produces glucose for energy and this serves as the go-to source for powering your body’s processes.
Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels become very low, and fat burning increases dramatically.
The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates, typically under 20-50 grams a day.
While some people find ketogenic diets to be quite a change from what they are accustomed to eating, it needs to be realized that it also has many other benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy, keeping you alert and focused.
Many people find that it is beneficial in losing weight rather quickly. Part of this reason is because when your body starts converting fat into energy, that you will lose your cravings for sugar.
Different Types of Ketogenic Diets
There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:
- Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
- Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
- High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
How to Know if You’re in Ketosis
You can measure if you’re in ketosis via urine using Ketone Strips
Here are some physical signs that you are on the right path:
- Increased Urination: Keto is a natural diuretic, so you have to go to the bathroom more. Acetoacetate, a ketone body, is also excreted in urination and can lead to increased bathroom visits for beginners.
- Dry Mouth: The increased urination leads to dry mouth and increased thirst. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water and replenishing your electrolytes (salt, potassium, magnesium).
- Bad Breath: Also known as “Keto Breath”. Acetone is a ketone body that partially excretes in our breath. It can smell sharp like over ripe fruit, similar to nail polish remover. It’s usually temporary and goes away long term.
- Reduced Hunger & Increased Energy: Usually, after you get past the “keto flu,” you’ll experience a much lower hunger level and a “clear” or energized mental state.
Weight loss isn’t always the sole reason one chooses to start a Ketogenic WOE (way of eating). Some make the change strictly for health reasons, some for weight loss and some, like myself, for both. Everyone’s journey is different, but the end result is much the same- a diet free of processed foods, and very low in carbohydrates and sugar. The change your body will undergo is nothing short of amazing! These are some of the things that helped me in my transition…
For many who consume a lot of carbohydrates, restricting them to only 20 a day can be quite an adjustment. I have seen people throw in the towel within the first month because the transition was too overwhelming. I first learned about Keto through my Nutritionist, who started me on a very lazy version of Keto (because I was still recovering from surgery). So over the course of about a week, I slowly started removing carbs from my diet, replacing them with low carb vegetables and increasing healthy fats. I cannot tell you how much easier this made my transition! Keto is a life-changing and if you stick with it, you will want to eat Keto for the long haul. Getting off to a good start is essential, and if that means slowly transitioning over 1-2 weeks, you will be glad you did it, trust me on that!
What to Eat?
Start with 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. For each meal, make sure you have 3-5 ounces of protein, with a vegetable and a healthy fat. Drink plenty of water, and cut out anything with sugar. You can have coffee, tea and my personal favorite- water with fresh lemon and a little stevia, which makes a great homemade lemonade!
Proteins that are organic, grass-fed and unprocessed meats (no nitrates/nitrates, MSG, hormones or antibiotics) are ideal and include: Beef/Steak, Dark Meat Chicken and Turkey, Pork, Ham, Bacon, Sausage, Eggs (free-range if possible), Crab, Shrimp, Mussels, Oysters, Lobster, Squid, Tuna, Trout, Sardines, Halibut and Cod.
Vegetables can include: Artichokes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radishes, Sauerkraut, Spinach and Zucchini. Garlic, Tomatoes, Leeks and Onions are Keto friendly, but should be eaten in small amounts.
Snacks can include: cheese, nuts, seeds (for a detailed list of these click here), pork rinds plain or dipped in sour cream, homemade crackers, celery with no-sugar added peanut butter or almond butter (make your own), deviled eggs, pickles, olives, avocado, fat bombs, cheese crisps, berries & cream, hard boiled eggs, uncured cold cuts, uncured beef jerky and raw veggies with homemade ranch dip.
Get into the habit of narrowing your meal timeframe down a bit, say from 8am-8pm, this way you allow your body to fast and go into fat burning mode for 12 hours straight. Eventually, when you become fat-adapted, you will probably be able to ditch the snacks and just have 2-3 meals a day.
Take your measurements before starting Keto
Initially you will lose a fair amount of water weight, but at some point things will slow down a bit. There will be times when you are not losing and you don’t want to get discouraged. Check your measurements and you should find that you are losing inches!
Do some research on the Ketogenic Diet
Make sure you know which foods to eat and which to avoid. Become familiar with how Ketosis works, how to get into Ketosis and stay there. Take advantage of the many great resources available online. Here are some of my favorite and trusted sites are:
Increase Your Sodium Intake to Avoid “Keto Flu”
Losing water weight also causes us to lose electrolytes: sodium, magnesium and potassium. Add more salt to your food, have some chicken broth on hand for when you feel sluggish. Pickle juice also helps. I also use Trace Minerals , and it works great for me!
Calculate Your Macros and Log Your Meals
It’s important to know that you are getting your portions right. If you eat too much protein and not enough fat, it can prevent you from getting into ketosis. It’s also great for accountability and it’s really the most effective way to insure that you are eating just the right amount and not going over. Be sure to recalculate your macros with every 10-20 pounds lost because your macros will slightly change over time.
Set realistic goals for weight loss
Most of us are trying to undo years of damage from poor eating habits. A Ketogenic diet heals you from the inside out, so while there might be times when your weight loss has slowed, as long as you stick to the plan, you body is still changing on the inside. This is not a quick, overnight transformation, so be patient and remember that as long as you stick to the plan, you will eventually get where you want to be!
Add Enough Fat to Your Meals
In addition to eliminating sugar, processed foods and carbs, another key part of what makes Keto so successful is the high (healthy) fat content in our diet. Healthy fats keeps you satiated between meals. If you are having trouble getting enough fat, add a fat bomb to the end of your meal. Try my recipe for toasted coconut fat bombs , they are delicious! Click here for 15 Ways to Add More Fat into Your Keto Diet.
Every time we eat it spikes insulin. When we stop eating, our bodies start the fat burning process. If you are really hungry and must have something, reach for a fat bomb or a high fat option like 1/2 an avocado, rather than a protein. Fat does not spike insulin as much as protein does. So once you have become fat-adapted or feel satiated enough, skip the snacks when you can.
Try to Buy Organic Foods
Foods that are uncured (no nitrates/nitrates), contain no preservatives or harmful additives , Free-Range, grass-fed and Non-GMO foods are best, whenever possible. Remember that you are eating whatever the animal was fed or being given and hormone, steroids, antibiotics can have negative effects on our bodies. I stock up on my favorites when they go on sale, then freeze for later. It saves me money and most often I don’t have to sacrifice quality!
Eat Foods Rich in Potassium
Losing water weight as a result of lowered insulin, also causes you to lose minerals and electrolytes, which we need! Increasing your sodium intake and foods that are rich in potassium including Avocado, mushrooms, spinach, artichokes, zucchini, broccoli and salmon are important. Try to incorporate them into your meals whenever you can.
Dr Berg’s article explains it best: “When you shift to a ketogenic diet, your body tends to release more water as opposed to storing it. The reason this happens is because you’re lowering insulin. This is healthy of course, lowering insulin. But it also leads to telling your kidneys to dump more water as waste and to retain less water.
So, that’s one reason you dump so much weight on keto—both initially and in the long term. You’re dumping all that water weight, puffiness, inflammation, and FAT.
As you lose all that water, you lose all the minerals in that water too and, in the end, you can quickly become depleted of the key electrolytes that your body needs to function properly.”
Take a Good Multivitamin and Consider a Magnesium Supplement
The Keto diet can have a diuretic impact on the body and increases the excretion of ions, which causes us to also lose precious magnesium. Taking a good Magnesium supplement helps replenish this deficiency and eases symptoms including constipation, insomnia, fatigue and muscle cramps. I take 400mg of Nature’s Bounty Magnesium every night just before bedtime and it works better than anything else I’ve tried! I also take Alive Once Daily Multivitamin. You can also include foods that are rich in magnesium like seeds, nuts, dark leafy green vegetables and avocado.
Add Fresh Lemon to Your Water
Lemons are a great source of Vitamin C and also help protect your kidneys from forming kidney stones. Eating a lot of foods that are high in oxalates like spinach, broccoli, kale, berries, nuts and seeds can make our kidneys vulnerable to stones, particularly when combined with high calcium foods. Some Keto foods that are high in calcium are broccoli, cheese, kale, sardines, yogurt, okra and almonds.
Avoid the Keto Baked Goods
I think the natural reaction to such a drastic change in our diet, is to seek replacements for foods that we’re used to eating. For me personally, that was the case with bread, pancakes, and bagels. These and other goodies that are made with almond flour are fine, but when you’re first starting Keto, they can cause weight loss stall for some. While almonds are Keto-friendly, they are also calorie-dense, so I would eat them sparingly until you are closer to your weight loss goal.
Remove all Temptations, Whenever Possible
Throw out foods that are high in carbs, sugar and even alchohol. Avoid restaurants that don’t have Keto-friendly options. Look for those that serve some type of grilled chicken, beef or fish, hamburger, steamed broccoli, spinach or asparagus, salad with a low carb blue cheese, ranch or Cesar dressing. When you are hungry, the last thing you want are unhealthy foods staring at you from your pantry or surrounding you at a restaurant!
Avoid Cheating, Especially in the First Month
Eating too many carbs can kick you out of Ketosis and for some, it could take a few days to a week to get back in. It’s honestly a bad habit to start early on and typically those who cheat, will feel the effects, physically and emotionally. If you happen to slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself, pick yourself up and be sure to crank up your fat until you are back in!
I hope you find these tips helpful, if so, please comment and share your experience!
What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients or “macros” is the basic breakdown of the food we eat.
There are macronutrients which are Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, and then there are macronutrientswhich are the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, sugars and other things we get from our food. Understanding your macros is important for the ket diet because you need to find the right balance of carbs, protein and fats to get into ketosis and stay in ketosis.
Heightmeters (e.g. 1.76 meters = 176 cm)
Specify the amount of daily net carbs you'd like to consume. Typically, 20-30 grams is recommended to start with.
Maintenance level is the level at which your weight remains stable.
|Your BMR is:||1536||kcal|
|Calories to consume:||2027||kcal|
|Your fat intake should be:||184||grams|
Sorry, cannot offer any weight loss suggestions. Please use the Custom section for weight loss macro targets.
Your body fat is too low. You should have a minimum of 3% body fat (essential fat you cannot lose). It is not advisable for you to lose any more weight.
Based on the amount of net carbs you specified, it would impossible to lose any weight. Please, reduce the amount of net carbs and try again.
Below is a range of calorie deficits to help you lose weight. For best results, it is recommended that you opt for a moderate calorie deficit of 10-20%.
Small calorie deficit (11%)
|Calories to consume:||1804||kcal|
|Your fat intake should be:||159||grams|
Moderate calorie deficit (22%)
|Calories to consume:||1581||kcal|
|Your fat intake should be:||134||grams|
Large calorie deficit (33%)
|Calories to consume:||1358||kcal|
|Your fat intake should be:||109||grams|
Below is a range of calorie surpluses to help you bulk up and gain muscle size. Keep in mind that you will need to add physical activity (weight training) in order to increase your muscle mass. For best results, it is recommended that you opt for a moderate calorie surplus of 10-20%.
Calorie surplus (10%)
|Calories to consume:||2231||kcal|
|Your fat intake should be:||206||grams|
Calorie surplus (15%)
|Calories to consume:||2332||kcal|
|Your fat intake should be:||218||grams|
Calorie surplus (20%)
|Calories to consume:||2434||kcal|
|Your fat intake should be:||229||grams|
Enter the calorie intake adjustment. For a calorie deficit (weight loss) enter a negative value (e.g. -10) while for a calorie surplus (weight gain) enter a positive value (e.g. 15). It is recommended that you opt for a moderate calorie deficit or surplus.
Custom adjustment (0%)
|Your BMR is:||1536||kcal|
|Calories to consume:||2028||kcal|
|Your fat intake should be:||184||grams|
If you are new to Keto, you are probably wondering where to start with this new WOE (way of eating)! This list of foods will give you a good idea of what are considered Keto-friendly. In a nutshell, you want to stay away from sugar, carbs, processed foods, foods that are full of harmful preservatives, hormones and additives. Many have a misconception that this is a low carb, low fat and high protein diet and that’s not the case! Keto is a low carb , moderate protein and high (healthy) fat diet.
The first thing you’ll want to do is calculate your macros. You can use this macros calculator, to give you an idea of the percentage of fat, protein and carbs you should be consuming on Keto. The typical range is somewhere in the area of 5-8% carbs, 20-25% protein and 60-75% fat, these are percentage of calories. Balance is very important in staying in Ketosis, too many carbs will kick you out of Ketosis, too much protein will also kick you out.
Organic, grass-fed and unprocessed meats i.e. meats that do not contain nitrates/nitrates, MSG (Monosodium glutamate), hormones or antibiotics are ideal.
Dark Meat Chicken and Turkey
Pork, Ham, Bacon, Sausage
Bison, Lamb, Rabbit
Eggs (free-range if possible)
Crab, Shrimp, Mussels, Oysters, Lobster, Squid, Tuna, Trout, Sardines, Halibut and Cod
Monounsaturated Fats: Eat these! Some examples of these are extra virgin olive oil, avocado, and macadamia nut oils.
Polyunsaturated Fats: Naturally occurring polyunsaturated fats in animal protein and fatty fish are great for you, and you should eat these. These include beef tallow, duck fat, Processed polyunsaturated fats in “heart healthy” margarine spreads are bad for you.
Trans Fats: Completely avoid. These are processed fats that are chemically altered (hydrogenated) to improve shelf life. Avoid all hydrogenated fats, such as margarine, as they’re linked to heart disease.
Artichokes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Garlic, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radishes, Sauerkraut, Spinach, Tomatoes and Zucchini
Note: Garlic, Tomatoes, Leeks and Onions should be eaten in small amounts
Asiago, Blue Cheese, Brie, Cheddar, Colby, Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Creme Fraiche, Feta, Goat Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Heavy Whipping Cream, Mascarpone, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Romano and Swiss Cheese
Nuts and Seeds
Walnuts, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Macadamia Nuts, Pecans and Hazelnuts
Strawberry, Blackberry, Blueberry and Raspberry
Lemon and Lime
Note: Berries should be eaten in small amounts
30 Keto Snack Ideas
Almond butter (make your own) with celery
Pork Rinds dipped in sour cream
Handful of nuts (pecans, macadamia, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or brazil nuts)
Hard boiled egg
Handful of pumpkin seeds
Pickles (no sugar added)
Mix of olives
1/2 Avocado with drizzle of olive oil
Uncured cold cuts
Uncured beef jerky
Raw veggies with homemade ranch dip
Ricotta cheese with strawberries
Broccoli or cauliflower dipped in homemade cheese sauce
Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
Smoked salmon rollup with cream cheese
Cucumber sticks with chipotle ranch dip
Homemade kale chips
Lily’s Chocolate (sweetened with Stevia)
Tuna with mayo wrapped in lettuce
Sliced fresh mozzarella, slice of tomato and drizzle of homemade pesto
Other Keto Staples
Chicken or Bone Broth
A Ketogenic Diet consists of 65-75% healthy fats, 20-25% moderate protein and 5% carbohydrates. As someone who has tried a number of diets in the past, I can say without question, Keto is hands down, has the most health benefits, is the easiest to maintain long-term and can be nothing short of life changing. The following are just 15 of the amazing benefits, but there are many more!
1- Better Control Over Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar levels are raised when we eat carbs, the digestive system breaks them down into simple sugars, such as glucose, from where they enter the bloodstream.
Since, high levels of sugar in blood is toxic, the body excretes insulin, to prevent blood sugar spikes. Insulin prompts body cells to utilize the sugar for producing energy and get rid of excess sugar.
But, when the body is loaded with excess sugar, it eventually fails to produce sufficient insulin or the cells eventually get blinded to the insulin, also known as insulin resistance.
2- Increased Weight Loss
By limiting the intake of carbohydrates, the body exhausts it’s stores of muscle and liver glycogen and must break down stored fats to provide energy to support normal metabolic activity. High fat foods tend to take longer to break down , so you feel full longer and automatically suppresses your appetite.
3- You Feel Less Hungry
The Ketogenic Diet has the added benefit of curbing hunger pangs through its unique action in suppressing the hunger hormone Ghrelin. Hunger is by far the biggest obstacle in most weight reduction diet plans. Most diets that I’ve tried in the past are very low fat, which does nothing to keep you full in between meals. Perhaps this is why most low fat diets allow for snacking in between meals. I found that even with snacking, I was not as satisfied between meals as I am on Keto. In fact, it’s not even a close comparison!
With the decrease in carbohydrates, comes an increase in high fiber and nutrient dense non-starchy vegetables and highly satiating healthy fats and proteins. The empty calories are eliminated, and you feel fuller for longer.
4- Improvement In Your Mood
Consuming carbs and sugar effects your mood greatly. I never noticed this more than when I first started Keto. I could not believe how stable my mood was, with no spikes or crashes, none! Before starting Keto, you might have felt a rush of energy and immediate improvement in your mood. So what happens when that rush is over? Irritability, fatigue, and of course, hunger. The more carbs you eat, the more you crave them and round and round we go. A Ketogenic diet completely eliminates this rollercoaster ride. Without the presence of carbs in our system, there are no huge spikes or crashes, resulting in a much more stable mood and energy level.
5- Increase in Energy
As I mentioned earlier, dramatically lowering our consumption of carbs, results in a more stable energy level. No mid-afternoon crashes, no cravings for sugar or caffeine hits.
The ketones produced from fat are a readily available source of fuel. Once you become fat adapted and are in ketosis, you will find they can easily go many hours needing to eat and not have those dramatic energy level swings.
6- Your Skin is Healthier
Consuming low-GI (glycemic index) foods like meat and low-carb vegetables will create favorable changes in the body that improve skin health. Acne can be caused by chronically high insulin levels. A Ketogenic diet decreases insulin levels, which also calms inflammation. Inflammation is what makes acne so red, sore, and tender. Prior to starting Keto, I had parathyroid surgery, which caused my hormones to be all over the place. One lovely side effect was pimples! I never had an issue with my skin, even as a teenager, maybe one pimple here and there, but never huge breakouts. Within the first couple of weeks on Keto, my face cleared up and I have never had a problem since.
7- Decreased Chances of Getting Cancer
The medical profession is largely ignorant of the fact that most cancers are rooted in metabolic and mitochondrial dysfunction, and hence the conventional prevention recommendations do little to nothing to quell the tide of cancer diagnoses. Cancer is really a mitochondrial metabolic disease, rooted in poor diet choices combined with a toxic lifestyle.
Nutritional ketosis has received a lot of attention by cancer researchers in recent years, and many studies show it has great potential for cancer prevention. The belief is that since cancer cells need glucose and insulin to thrive, so lowering the glucose level in your blood though carb and protein restriction literally starves the cancer cells.
It is also my personal belief that eating grass-fed, non-GMO, Organic foods that have no unhealthy preservatives and additives, nitrites and nitrates also contributes to our overall health and disease prevention.
8- Improved Brain Function
As discussed earlier, carbs increase and decrease blood sugar levels in the body. An inconsistency of energy levels makes it hard for your brain to stay focused for a long time. When in Ketosis you may notice the difference or more clarity, increased focus and sharpness, I certainly do! This method has proven to work perfectly for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and other cognitive disorders.
The combination of carb restriction and ketone utilization allows the brain to balance the neurotransmitters – Glutamate and GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) that are the primary neurotransmitters for excitation (trigger stimulation) and inhibitory (control stimulation), respectively.
Poor focus and brain fatigue are caused due to excess glutamate and very low GABA, since the brain has to use glutamate and glutamic acid (from glucose) for fuel, leaving very to be processed into GABA.
By providing an alternative fuel, Ketones, the brain is able to balance the content of two neurotransmitters and thus allow the brain to relax (by restricting the firing of neurons) and improve mental focus.
A Ketogenic diet makes brain cells more efficient, reduces inflammation in brain cells, and promotes the production of healthy neurotrophic factors.
9- Prevent Heart Disease
There are beneficial effects of a long-term ketogenic diet, including decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increased the level of HDL cholesterol. But let’s look at the real culprit of heart disease… without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.
Inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine. Highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods are responsible for inflammation. These foods have been poisoning us for many years. Additionally, when you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.
10- Prevents Migraines
Many people who suffer from migraines have reported great results when switching from a conventional high carb diet to a ultra-low carb ketogenic diet. The effect of ketone bodies as energetic boosters is very important in migraine patients, because they have an energetic deficit in the brain. Ketone bodies also have an anti-inflammatory effect. This is also important because ‘sterile inflammation’, inflammation caused by damage rather than by microbes, is at the heart of migraines. The ketone bodies dampen the neural inflammation that’s both common in epilepsy and migraines.
11- Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin resistance is a widespread problem that, can lead to prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes. A ketogenic diet can help people lower their insulin to healthy levels and reverse insulin resistance. Researchers have found that a low-carbohydrate diet has a greater effect on blood sugar control in type 2 diabetics than high-carbohydrate diets.
They also found a distinct relationship between carbohydrate restriction and blood sugar lowering. Less carb consumption meant better blood sugar levels.
12- Prevent/Reverse Dementia
A ketogenic diet is a high in fat, moderate protein, and low-carbohydrate diet that produces ketones, compounds the body can use to produce energy. Ketones have been shown in studies to be neuroprotective, meaning they “defend” your brain from degenerating. In short, a ketogenic diet is a great way to reverse dementia naturally.
Research clearly establishes a strong link between blood sugar disorders and the various dementia stages, including memory loss, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and Alzheimer’s. The most predominate blood sugar disorders are insulin resistance and diabetes.
13- Help Manage Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic disease in women associated with abnormalities in glucose metabolism and androgen (male hormone) metabolism.
Women with PCOS are typically infertile and have difficulty losing fat.
A ketogenic diet may help manage PCOS by reducing weight and improving insulin sensitivity.
14- Relieves Symptoms of Epilepsy
Omega-3 fatty acids are often associated with heart health and cholesterol but they can also have an impact on the nervous system. A great deal of research on epilepsy has found that pursuing a ketogenic diet reduces the symptoms of this condition  and allows medication for epilepsy to work more effectively in the body.
15- Overall Improvement in How You Feel
Since I have transitioned to the Keto WOE (way of eating), it has completely changed my life. After battling several major health issues (and another I’m still suffering with, because I have yet to be properly diagnosed), Keto has improved just about every aspect of my life. It has improved my concentration, my energy level, my mood, and I sleep much better at night. I feel as if a giant fog has been lifted from my life. Most of these drastic changes happened within the first month of starting Keto. I have since done a lot of research on Keto and my eyes have really been opened to how poisoned we have been by the destructive processed foods most of us eat. Cutting out foods containing additives, GMO’s, harmful preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, etc. has such a dramatic effect on your health and you will never truly appreciate this until/if you change your diet.
If you are new to the Ketogenic Diet, you might be wondering, how you are going to consume so much fat! Let me start by clarifying, fat is not a macro that you must hit, it’s used as a lever to keep you satiated between meals. Simply put, you eat as much fat as you need to, in order to keep from being hungry until your next meal.
You will find that the longer you are on Keto, the less fat you will need to consume, however you still want to make sure you include a fair amount in your diet. Otherwise, you are only consuming protein and very low carbs, which is not healthy and can kick you out of Ketosis.
Here are some tips that can help you add more healthy fats to your Keto diet:
1- Add Homemade Cheese Sauce to Your Veggies
I have a recipe for a velvety and delicious Easy Cheesy Sauce for Veggies that has a whopping 27 grams of fat per serving, with only 6 grams of protein and 2 net carbs! This makes the perfect addition to any meal where you have a protein and a veggie, but not enough fat. Add the cheese sauce and problem solved!
2- Make Some Fat Bombs
I have several recipes for Keto fat bombs that are are also sweet, so they can satisfy any craving, as well as help you increase your healthy fats. There are also hundreds available on the internet. To see my Fat Bomb recipes, click here. You can make them in large batches and freeze most of them, keeping some in the fridge. When you need more, simply transfer another batch from the freezer to the fridge and you are good to go!
3-Choose High Fat Proteins
Choose protein with a higher fat content, like pork, 80/20 ground beef, fish, chicken legs and thighs, duck, chicken with the skin on, turkey legs and thighs and sausage are some examples.
4- Whip up Heavy Cream Sweet Treats
If you are craving something sweet and don’t have any fat bombs on hand, take some heavy whipping cream, mascarpone cheese and a few drops of liquid stevia and whip it up. Add some fresh berries to a bowl and dollop the whip cream over the top.
5- Indulge in Mascarpone/Cream Cheese Sweet Treats
Similarly, you can easily whip up a quick healthy fat treat using cream cheese or mascarpone cheese. Whip up either or a combination of both, add a few drops of liquid stevia and whip it up. Blend in some fresh or frozen berries, or unsweetened cocoa powder and you have mousse-like healthy fat treat!
6-Use Grass-Fed Butter/Ghee
Add grass-fed butter or ghee anywhere you can! Cook your eggs in it, veggies and even add it on top of a freshly grilled steak or fish, yum!! You can get creative and add fresh herbs to your butter, which will give anything you add it to, a wonderful boost of flavor.
7-Eat Your Avocados
Avocados are so healthy, it’s well worth the effort to make them a regular part of your diet. You can read more about the amazing health benefits of avocado here. If you are like me, I love avocado and can eat them plain, or with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. If you are not crazy about avocado, you can easily disguise the flavor by using them in desserts. I have a recipes for Silky Chocolate Avocado Mousse and Keto Avocado Brownies , use avocado that has just ripened, you will not even taste them!
8-Drink Bulletproof Coffee
If you are a coffee drinker, add healthy fats to your coffee, a.k.a. Bulletproof Coffee “BPC”. Adding grass-fed butter, coconut oil, MCT oil, or heavy cream to your coffee is a great way to get in that extra fat. Typically you would do a combination of two fats, i.e. half coconut oil and half butter. If you have a bullet type blender, whipping this combination up is a breeze!
9-Drizzle Some Olive Oil
Use your olive oil. Get a good quality olive oil and drizzle over cooked veggies, meats, avocado and more. It will add a boost of flavor and increase your fat.
10-Make Your Own Dressings and Dips
Make your own creamy salad dressings and dips, using mayonnaise, sour cream, heavy cream, etc. Adding a couple of tablespoons to any salad is a great way to increase your fat. Check out my recipe for Homemade Ranch Dressing and Dip. Make extra to have on hand for the week! You can also use it as a dip for pork rinds, raw veggies or make your own crackers. I have a great recipe for Keto “Everything” Crackers!
11- Save Your Bacon Grease
When you make your next batch of bacon, store the remaining grease in an airtight container or jar in the fridge and use it in your cooking. Cook your eggs with it, use it to cook veggies, and you can even use it in a salad dressing!
12-Cook With Grease From High Fat Meats
Similarly, you can also use the grease from other meats that you cook. Grease from chorizo, Italian sausage and duck can add tremendous flavor to veggies that are just screaming for help!
13- Try Coconut Butter
Eat a tablespoon of homemade toasted coconut butter. It’s incredibly easy to make and has fantastic flavor. I love to eat it all by itself sometimes, it’s quick and great if you are pressed for time. See how to make your own toasted coconut butter here. It’s much easier than you think!
14- Buy Full Fat Ingredients
When you buy cream, cream cheese, butter, cheese, coconut milk, etc. make sure you are buying the full fat version, not “light” or “low fat”. For example, Philadelphia Cream Cheese has a “1/3 less fat” version that contains 5 grams of fat per 2 tablespoons serving. Their original cream cheese contains 7 grams of fat. A 2 gram different might seem trivial, but every bit helps, particularly when you are finding it difficult to include enough fat for your macros.
15- Eat High Fat Nuts and Seeds
Snack on or include high fat nuts in your meals, such as pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts. Some nuts are also high in protein and carbs, so eat them in moderation. Chia, sunflower and sesame seeds are also very high in fat, but not as high in protein, so they make great healthy fat alternatives. You can sprinkle them on salads or blend in shakes.
I hope you find these tips helpful. If you do, please leave a comment and share your experience!
Are you experiencing a stall in your weight loss? There are some things to consider and tips that you can try to help you break through that stall!
Most of us have been there at some point, where you have initially lost a fair amount of weight, but seemed to have reached a plateau or stall. And by stall, I mean that not only have you not lost any additional weight, but you also haven’t lost inches and have no change in how your clothes fit you for a period of 4 weeks, or longer.
Before I share some tips to help you break that stall, I want to say that as long as you are still in Ketosis, your body is still undergoing a transformation on the inside, even if you’re not seeing the results on the outside. What I mean is, Keto is good for so much more than losing weight. To read more on this, check out my article on the 15 Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet.
I also want to say that Keto is not a “one size fits all” way of eating. Our bodies are different; we all lose weight at different rates; and some of us are effected by certain foods more than others. There are so many variables like health conditions, medications you might be taking, age, level of physical activity, etc. I would encourage you to try to avoid comparing your weight loss journey with others for these reasons.
One last thing before I get into the tips… Keto is a way of eating, it should not be used a means for quick weight loss, only to return to non-Keto foods. In order to enjoy the benefits that come with eating on a Keto diet, you will want to stick with it long-term. Now onto the good stuff!
Things to Consider…
Are you Still in Ketosis?
Because there are a number of things that can kick you out of Ketosis, checking to make sure you are still in Ketosis is a great place to start. Most are aware of the obvious: consuming too many carbs, sugar, wheat, etc. There are several other things that can also knock you out of Ketosis, like too much stress, caffeine, foods with msg, excessive alcohol, consuming too much protein and not enough fat.
Ketone Test Strips only typically work when you first transition to a Ketogenic Diet, because you are initially passing ketones out of your body through urine. When you become fat adapted, your body will utilize ketones and won’t pass them through the urine, so these strips will eventually become irrelevant. Once that happens, you can switch to using a Blood Ketone Monitor instead. They are also much more accurate!
Tracking Your Macros
It may seem a big cumbersome, but I highly recommend finding a good meal tracking app, like My Fitness Pal, to track your macros, at least for the first month on Keto. If you have not done so, start by calculating your daily Macros, this will give you a really firm grasp on portions and percentages of fat/protein/carbs is ideal for getting (and remaining) in Ketosis, as well as weight loss. If you are tracking and experience a stall, it’s much easier for you to review your past meals and see where you can make changes to try and break your stall.
For some, too many calories have been an issue, as well as not enough calories. For some reason, many who are on Keto think it’s not necessary to be mindful of our caloric intake. However, if we are eating more calories than we are burning, they will be stored, even if they come from fat. For some, increasing calories helps increase weight loss because they aren’t eating enough.
It’s also recommended to recalculate your macros with every 10 pounds or so that you lose, or even once a month. If you haven’t done this, a simple adjustment in your macros might do the trick!
And this might seem a bit odd, but a very slight increase in your carbs, might also help. I tried this in my second month, and it really helped me! Some even have a “carb up” day and have had great success at breaking through their stalls.
Nuts and Seeds
It might surprise some of you to learn that even though certain nuts and seeds are Keto-friendly (i.e. almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds) they also contain a fair amount of carbs. Just to give you some idea, the carb counts for 100 grams: almonds – 21.55, cashews – 30.19, pecans – 13.86, pistachio – 27.17, sunflower seeds – 20.00 and pumpkin seeds – 53.75. Cutting down on or eliminating nuts and seeds all together can help break a stall.
Cutting out dairy has helped many on Keto break their stall and resume weight loss. If you have been somewhat heavy on the cheese and cream, you might try cutting them out and see if that helps.
It’s absolutely amazing how many foods have hidden carbs, that you typically would never expect. Many condiments, salad dressings and sauces contain carbs, some much more than others. When you are on Keto, it’s really important that you review nutrition labels on everything you buy. Not only do you want to make sure you are not buying anything with harmful chemicals or additives (to read more on this, check out my article on Additives to Avoid), but you want to make sure that both carb and sugar counts are very low.
Try a Fat and Egg Fast
I have not personally tried these so I cannot recommend any particular plan, but I know many people have had great success with breaking through a stall doing a fat fast. There are many different types, some for 1 day, or 2-5 days. One suggests that you eat nothing but (6) eggs and full fats (1 tablespoon for each egg) each day. Others suggest 1,000-1,200 calories a day, 80-90% of which are from fat, eating 4-5 times a day for 2-3 days. It might be worth looking into, to see if one might work for you.
Keto/Low Carb Baked Goods
I mentioned earlier about nuts and seeds, particularly almonds and how they can cause a weight loss stall for some. Most Keto and low carb baked goods contain either coconut flour and almond flour. While they are Keto friendly, eating them too frequently can slow or even stall weight loss. In my first few months on Keto, I only allowed myself to have these treats on occasion, and found that it’s very easy to overindulge in them! Once I cut them out, weight loss resumed again. I think the natural tendency, especially when you first start Keto, is to quickly attempt to replace things that you miss, like bread, muffins, pancakes, biscuits, etc. Cutting down on or eliminating, at least temporarily, these goodies might break you out of your stall.
Intermittent Fasting or IF is when you limited the hours in which you allow yourself to eat. For me personally, this was a huge help for me to break my weight loss stall. I started with the 16:8, so I was eating only during a 8 hour window, fasting for 16 hours. I would typically have my first meal around 10-11am, and have my last around 5-6pm. Restricting eating during those hours allowed my body to remain in fat burning mode for 16 hours at a time.
Every time we eat anything, it spikes insulin and the fat burning mode is halted. When you finish eating, your body heads back into fat burning mode and the longer you go between meals, the more time allowed for fat burning. I do not recommend IF in the first few weeks of starting Keto. In fact, I think when you start Keto, easing into it works best, it certainly did for me. I also went from 3 meals a day, down to 2 and that is typically where I am most comfortable. If you decide to cut your meals down to 2 meals a day, make sure you increase your protein to compensate.
As mentioned in the previous section, every single time we eat, it spikes insulin. Although we have been told for years that the most effective way to diet is to eat 3-5 small meals a day, with snacks in between. Nothing could be further from the truth! Many of these are the same people who have told us that all fat is bad, and we should eat a low fat/high protein diet. Again, bad advice! If you are a snacker, you might try cutting these out and add more fat, (maybe a fat bomb) at the end of your meal, so that you are satiated enough that you don’t need to snack.
Exercise or lack thereof, should be taken into account as well. For some who might be exercising too much, scaling it back a little, especially in when first starting Keto, is a good idea. For others who don’t exercise at all, taking a fast walk a few times a week might also help restart your weight loss.
Make sure you are still in Ketosis
Make sure you are eating within your macros
Decrease or increase your calories
Decrease or increase your protein
Increase your Fat
Cut out or cut down on nuts and seeds
Cut out or cut down on dairy
Carefully check the nutrition labels on everything you buy
Cut out or cut down on Keto baked goods
Start to exercise or scale it down a bit
Don’t be afraid to make changes in your diet. Sometimes, even the slightest tweak is enough to break through that stall! As I stated earlier, what works for one person, might not work for others.
I hope you find this information helpful and if you were able to break through your weight loss stall with any of these tips, please drop a comment and share your success!
Note: It's best to consult with your Doctor, Nutritionist or Licensed Professional before making any dramatic changes to your diet. I am not a Doctor, Nutritionist or Licensed Professional, so the tips offered in this article are for your consideration and does not take the place of professional medical advice.