Hey guys. So after a visit to the doctors today due to mental and physical health issues (my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer nearly a year ago) and gaining significant weight amongst other things, she recommended keto. I understand how keto works and how and when the body produces keytones, however i still have a few minor queries.
If you accidentally/unknowingly go over the low carbs for a day or two, does that completely throw you out of ketosis and do you have to spend the initial phase of days/weeks to get back there?
Is there a specific max amount of carbs a day to stay in ketosis?
What happens if you just hover about the max carbs a day? Say the max carb requirements is 30g a day, what would happen if you were to sit around 50/60. Would your body enter ketosis, or would you just feel too unwell to stay there? Basically is it an “all or nothing”?
Thanks guys. I have read through a lot of posts but couldn’t find anything specific to my queries. I have signed up to diet doctor and cant wait to get into it. I think the absolute strict nature of the lifestyle will benefit me more than a “low calorie” diet as i used to always trick myself into thinking ahh ill eat all that chocolate and then skip a meal, but then ate it all anyway!
Welcome to the forum, Jonjo. I am very sorry to hear about your mom, that is very difficult =(.
This thread on here should help with your questions:
Make sure that you aren’t eating any sugars (read labels, sugars very sneaky and are in a lot of processed foods. Try to keep your carbs to 20gram or less a day, eat adequate proteins and some healthy fats. It is important to drink a lot of water and to keep your electrolytes up. You can make your own Electrolyte, there is a great recipe for it here:
If you have any more questions, please ask! Welcome to the Keto train, and best wishes in your journey =). You have to be strict with yourself for it to work. The carbs are very important, try to keep to 20 or less, and no sugar. I am sure that you have been through enough yo-yo diets in your lifetime already, many of us have before discovering Keto. Try to remember that we consider it a lifestyle, not a diet, and that if you commit to following it and stay on track, it will change your life, for the good. You will lose weight, lose fat, and feel healthier and happier too!
(Michael - Don't expect miracles and you won't be disappointed.)
Just stay sub-20 grams of carbs per day and you’ll be OK. It may seem challenging at first, but you will quickly discover that it’s a lot easier than you think. Do you have some specific issue that makes you think you’ll have problems keeping your carbs low? Some special food/beverage, for instance? Or social/family issues (in addition to your mom)? A lot of internal stuff starts to happen when you begin keto and you need to stay sub-20 consistently to allow it to take its course.
In the beginning make a large amount of zero carb snacks…
Boiled eggs. Deviled eggs (using only olive oil mayo)
Cheese wrapped in ham. Fat bombs (my favorite is cream cheese and salmon). I also made roasted chicken legs and roasted turkey legs.
Nuts (be careful to limit it to a small hand full a day)
Stop drinking milk…replace with almond milk and heavy cream for coffee or tea.
Have them always at hone in the fridge. The important part is 1) avoid carbs altogether (yeah, you still get some…but this will help you stay under 20g). And 2). If you are hungry…you are doing it wrong.
Slowly replace about half of the protein with fats. As the weeks go by, you will find that you just don’t want to snack anymore, you will end up with 1 or 2 meals a day.
Keto sounds scary and complicated because it is so counter up the way we’ve been taught to eat. We are basically going back to the way our greet-grandparents ate with the lard, bacon grease, no processed foods or seed oils. And if you look at group photos from the 40’s and compare to a trip to your local Walmart the differences are shocking.
Everybody has a different limit on carbs because of their metabolism, activity level, etc and the only way to know is to invest in a meter with expensive test strips ($1 each). So, we tell people to keep it under 20 g because that pretty much guarantees ketosis after a few days without needing to test. You absolutely do not need a meter!
I will try to answer your specific questions based on my personal experience. Your mileage may vary.
Depends on how far over you go and yes you could knock yourself out of ketosis. But as long as you go back to under 20 the next day you will be back in as soon as the carbs are burned up and no, you don’t go through the initial phase again.
See my previous post.
You don’t want to hover back and forth at the edge of ketosis - you won’t get the benefits. And yes, it is all or nothing for at least the first 6 months.
You need to get your body switched over to burning fat, not glucose for fuel and that takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. You may experience carb withdrawals and extra salt and magnesium helps with that.
The reason I say be strict for 6 months is you likely have a lot of internal healing to do and that takes time. I see so many posts from newbies who by week 2 or 3 are looking for ways to cheat. Don’t. It’s the withdrawal talking. By six months you will feel like a different person and be amazed at how much better you feel. You won’t be hungry all the time. Your cravings will diminish. The diet becomes much easier and second nature. By then, if you have a special occasion and go way over on carbs it’s no big deal - just fast or be real strict the next day and you will be fine. You might feel like crap and you definitely want to limit to special occasions- not make a weekly habit of it.
At the beginning, probably, but on the other hand, how much difference do a few days make over the long term? Later on, people seem to remain metabolically flexible, but the shorter the binge, the better off you are.
Yes, and it’s different for everyone. Twenty grams a day is a good limit for everyone but those with the most damage metabolisms. Such people may need to eat even less than 20 g/day in order to get into ketosis.
It is all or nothing, in the sense that there is an insulin level, above which fat is trapped in the fat tissue, instead of being moblized to be metabolised. That level is different for everyone, so we recommend staying below 20 g/day until you know you are fat-adapted, and that your muscles have fully regained their ability to metabolise fatty acids in place of glucose. After that, some cautious experimentation might be in order.
If you hover too close to your carbohydrate tolerance, you run the risk of switching back from metabolising fatty acids and ketone bodies, to metabolising glucose. (Glucose above a certain level in the blood is toxic and causes damage, and further damage is caused by the insulin required to get it out of the blood and into muscle cells to be burned and into fat cells to be stored as fat.)
The body requires a small amount of glucose to feed certain cells (red blood cells, in particular), but the liver is perfectly capable of manufacturing enough glucose for those cells, even if we eat no carbohydrate whatsover. At the same time, it produces ketone bodies for the use of cells that want to metabolise them (brain and heart do particularly well on ketones). Ketones are intermediate metabolites of fatty acids, just as charcoal is an intermediate combustion product of wood. The principal ketone body, β-hydroxybutyrate, is also a powerful hormone that helps regulate a number of key bodily processes. The other ketones, acetone and acetoacetate, also have roles as signaling molecules, in addition to being available as metabolic fuel.
Just go as low as possible on carbs. Sub 20g will for sure put you in ketosis. Me I aim for <50g because I like my veggies and wine with dinner. To be honest I really don’t know because I don’t measure, count or test. Other than wine, nuts and a few random carbs from veggies I don’t eat any carbs. After 15g in wine, 5g or so in veggies and a few one and two here and there I feel that 25g to 50g is a good range. I also do a lot of cardio (running) which may give me more carb room. I am feeling good and have lost weight. Jonjo, just eat real food and keep carbs low. If you go over a bit worlds won’t collide, you may however drift from keto to low carb. Low carb is better than high carb but not as good as keto. It is really about making this way of eating work for you and your health. The longer I eat keto/low carb the easier it becomes. So sorry about your mom.
Quite apart from the metabolic health aspects of diet, if the goal is to lose weight, too much carbohydrate in the diet will prevent that, because it will stimulate the secretion of insulin and force muscles to stop metabolising fatty acids, and force the fat tissue to keep storing them. A diet is either low-carbohydrate enough for a body to get into ketosis, or it is not. A “low-carbohydrate” diet that is high enough to shut off ketogenesis is not a low-carbohydrate diet.
The only wiggle room here is that one person’s high-carbohydrate diet might be another person’s low-carbohydate/ketogenic diet. But whatever our body’s threshold may be, we exceed it to our detriment.
Thankyou for all the information. I do very much hope to drop the “dieting” mentality and start living a better lifestyle. I do best with specific guidelines and rules. As i said with calorie counting i would always lie to myself that eating junk would be fine aslong as i was under calories but as my doctor pointed out my health is taking a serious hit.
I was just curious more than anything as to how the body responded with hovering just over the required carbs a day. I have heard of keto for a long time, but (sorry guys) always seen it as a “fad” but listening to my doctor, and watching the videos etc on diet doctor, as well as theese forums with lots of success stories I realised actually its exactly what im looking for.
Again thankyou. I feel with the responses here and diet doctor, that going into a new lifestyle with keto will be less complicated than i realised.