Hello everyone. My first post here and I have a question. I came from a 80/10/10 vegan diet and went straight to the Lion Diet due to necessity. I’m 48 years old, 12% body fat (if this matters). And I am feeling a bit better overall finally from my symptoms that I”m trying to cure. My question is this. I have very low ketones during the day. 0.1 to 0.2 ketone level and then my blood glucose is averaging 80 over 24 hours. When I work out my ketones do not go up but my blood sugar dips to the high 60s so I feel like I should stop and then I eat some steak to try to bring the blood sugar back up to normal. My diet is 1 pound of 15% ground beef and 2.5 pounds a day of ribeye. And I weigh 147 pounds. I was eating less but I wasn’t gaining weight and I’m trying to get to around 160 pounds slowly, so I upped my intake to 3.25 to 3.5 pounds of beef a day with 6-7gm of salt. Thoughts on this? Low ketones and low blood sugar at the same time?
Hello and welcome.
The carnivore diet, in this case the Lion Diet, is a very low carb diet, but not necessarily ketogenic*.
It may be normal in the scenario presented. There are some good numbers here.
What is 80/10/10? Is it 80% fat, 10% of each fat and protein? Vegan keto?
At what timing stage are you in the 31 days?
There are adaptive processes to go through in gut biota changes, bile and digestive enzyme adaptations, and at the cellular/ mitochondrial level to become fat adapted as a dietary energy source.
12% body fat and limited dietary fat access will limit the production and quantity of circulating ketones. A higher fat Lion Diet, may generate more ketones. It may also result in malabsorption and gut side effects.
*I need to find us a reference. My gut feeling is Dr. Gabrielle Lyon described it.
I was on a very low fat low protein vegan diet before this. I assumed ribeye was pretty fatty?
I just tested my Keytone levels upon waking and they were 1.3. I wonder if I’m eating too often? I’m eating roughly 6 meals a day because I thought that it would be better digestion but that’s every couple of hours so could it be that the protein intake every couple hours just keeping my Keytone slow? I’m using Siri so I apologize for the misspellings
Most of us move to two meals a day. Some eat 3, some one. But you don’t need to eat many.
Are you eating enough fat? Ketones are made from fatty acids, and at 12% body fat, you are going to need to get most of your daily energy needs from dietary fat. Saturated fat and monounsaturated fat are the best for your purposes, so cook with butter, tallow, lard, and bacon grease. Don’t shy away from fatty cuts of meat.
On the other hand, fat is not magical, merely the energy source that doesn’t elevate your insulin, the way carbohydrate does. Not to mention that fat is more than twice as calorie-dense as carbohydrate, so it will take less than half as much to give you the same amount of energy as you are no longer getting from carbohydrate.
The standard advice is to control carbohydrate, prioritise protein, and fill in with fat. So be sure you are eating enough to satisfy your hunger. But you don’t need any more than that.
You shouldn’t need to eat that often. If you are eating enough of the right foods, you will find yourself going hours before the next meal. The standard advice given to new carnivores is to eat three times a day, eating when hungry, stopping eating when no longer hungry, and not eating again until hungry again. Also, there is a rather intense adaptation phase, and most of the problems a newbie encounters when going carnivore can be solved by eating more meat.
There are two main hormones that control ketone production: insulin and glucagon. They are both made in the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, and they interact in a complex fashion. When insulin is high relative to glucagon, the body is basically in sugar-burning-and-fat-storage mode. When it is low in relation to glucagon, the body is in fat-burning-and-ketone-making mode. So the idea is to eat in a way that minimises the amount of time during the day when insulin is elevated.
The body was designed for insulin to rise during a meal and digestion, so as to put away some of the fat for later; then, between meals, insulin drops and that stored fat becomes available to feed the body. When the fat store drops low enough, hunger hormones are triggered, and we eat, and then the cycle repeats. But eating too often keeps insulin elevated for too much of the day, so when you eat, eat plenty, so that you won’t need to eat again for some time. Since you have recently adopted this new way of eating, don’t worry about fasting, or time-restricted eating, or any of the other things you may read about. Let your body adapt to the new regime before you even think about getting fancy. Plenty of time later for that, if it seems necessary.
And just let me add that, when we are not messing up our bodies by giving them too much glucose (which is what carbohydrates are), our bodies are very good at sorting things out, especially once we get past the initial readaptation to a low- or no-carbohydrate diet. Most carnivores don’t worry about their ketone levels, because the liver produces enough ketones and glucose for the cells that need them (especially the brain), and fatty acids are available for all the other cells. The processes involved are pretty much automatic; all we need to do is to give our body enough of the right kinds of fuel.
Elevated insulin promotes hunger, because it interferes with the proper working of the appetite and satiety hormones, and also because it sequesters fat in our adipose tissue, making it unavailable for use by our body (this is the mechanism by which bears fatten up for winter hibernation by eating sweet berries). I am old enough to remember when the advice to eat six times a day was first proposed. It is intended to be a way of coping with the constant hunger resulting from continually elevated insulin. Now that you are no longer keeping your insulin elevated all the time, you will most likely find it very easy to be satisfied for a long time between meals.
Thank you for your reply. I was eating more often hoping that it would be Easier to digest the protein and fat in smaller quantities. Today I will eat three times a day to see what happens. And then slowly drop down to two times a day over the next several days to see if that helps things.
I think it’s best eating as many times as you need and that’s it. I have (had, I hope) 1-6 meals on my carnivore-ish. I consider 1-2 ideal for me but sometimes super easy satiation hits and I can’t avoid eating in every 1-2 hours in my eating window. Okay if it would be more common, I would go for super fatty items I quickly can eat, tricks and whatnots… But that may not end well, with my ideal items small meals happen occasionally.
So do whatever you can and like best? Choosing the right items are important, timing should fall in place, not like it always does for me but if I waited until proper hunger (how others do it? I just can’t!), it probably would be right.
And in the beginning my body was super confused, sometimes I underate, I had many meals way more often… Time should help.
Can’t you eat fattier? (Though after your vegan diet, it’s already a huge change so maybe not?) Maybe that would help but if you are fine with eating many times (or can eat less times if you want), the actual fattiness should be okay too. I personally would do everything not to eat that much protein (I already eat more than I need) but who knows what your body can do with it now…
You did some insanely drastic change! Wow. I couldn’t even do HCHF->keto! (And I needed years to go up to a pound of meat on most days from vegetarian keto :D)
Good luck, I hope you can reach your goals moderately soon
I would suggest that you just listen to your body. It it wants three meals, eat three, if it wants two meals, eat two. You will find the longer you eat carnivore, and the more your body adapts, your hunger signals and meal timing will naturally change.
That is good logical thinking for a dietary change.
When I started in 2014, I also thought I had to eat 5-6 times a day. But after finding Dr. Fung and beginning to fast, at times 4.5-5.5 days, I stopped being concerned about when I was eating.
Now, I tend to eat a few hours after I exercise, which means my workouts are around 6-7 am and my first meal is around 10am. My second meal is at dinner, usually 6pm+.
It can vary though. This past Sunday, I ran about 3.3 miles (about 5k), came home, cut down a bunch of small trees so we could have a fence put in. Several hours of work. Ran between about 6-7am, did not eat until after noon.
It’s normal for ketones to drop for a couple hours after working out, but ultimately ketone levels don’t matter, so don’t waste your time tracking them. If you’re eating that much beef and not much else it’s not surprising your sugar is going lower.
It’s definitely easier when trying to gain to eat multiple meals a day for digestion, and of course so you don’t feel terrible, but near zero carbs makes it very hard to gain for many people, especially if you have a faster metabolism.
Between the weight you want to gain and sugars going low you may want to consider going with more of a TKD protocol and getting some carbs in around your workouts. Also, unless you’re having electrolyte issues you don’t need 6-7g of salt, unless you just like that.
Thanks for the info. I’m shying away from plant foods to try to cure some mystery abdominal and flank pain that I think I worsened after doing a 50 day juice fast trying to cure gastritis. So I’m very apprehensive to use carbs at the moment. What I can say is that after 9 months of trying juicing and low fat medical medium vegan cleanses that failed to cure whatever I have, after 30 some days of beef water and salt my GI pain is nearly gone. So I am
Assuming I have something autoimmune to plants that I need to remedy. So no carbs for me for many months. I am gaining weight on 3-3.5 pounds of beef and I don’t feel like I’m stuffing myself. My mind doesn’t feel sharp yet- feel a bit foggy most of the time but I think it’s slowly getting better too. Going from fruit and juice to beef and salt - I knew it would be tough.
Going from vegan, or even just the standard American high-carbohydrate diet, to carnivore is a large adjustment. Be sure to give the process plenty of time, before deciding that the new way of eating is not working for you. Most carnivores were already eating a low-carb ketogenic diet, and they still had an adjustment to go through. So hang in there and try to give the new diet time to work for you. It sounds as though you are already having some success, so cling to that if things get rough.