Brand new and excited to read all these threads!


Been reading like crazy, but feel like I have so much to learn.

Down four pounds (probably water but that is ok) in four days. Easily under net carbs. Trying to get the right balance with protein and fat. (It is hard to get the “don’t eat fat” voices out of your head, even if you know you are making better fat choices.) Calories are around 1000-1100 (with one day a little higher when I underestimated having almonds and cauliflower the same day). Thing is – I am full. I can’t see how I can eat more calories. Hopefully that isn’t going to be an issue. (Don’t want to go into starvation mode. I have a lot of weight to shed.)

I know the Ketostix are not exactly highly regarded. I am only showing slightly above trace. I guess that means I am in ketosis? It is an all or nothing thing, right? You either are or are not. (I have been keeping my water intake up, so maybe that is leading to the trace to slightly more reading?) I expected it to look darker the lower my carbs went, but that would mean my body would not be using ketones well, right? I would be spilling a lot. But again, I know the sticks don’t really tell the whole story. There are many variables. It is all a bit tricky to learn. I didn’t get keto flu or keto breath. (Well, I did have one day around 36-48 hours where I felt tired and foggy for a while, but that is it.) I was expecting these HUGE clues to let me know I was doing things well. shrug Hope I am …

(Karen) #2

Don’t fret about calories too much.
Keep your electrolytes balanced
Eat fewer than 20 g of carbohydrates
Eat 1g of protein per kilogram of lean body mass.
Eat fatty meats so that you feel full

In the beginning don’t fuss too much about keto recipes. Don’t get used to fat bombs.
Keto sticks do not give you valuable information. They only show the ketones. you are wasting. Who knew.

Good luck.


Thank you! Is that 20 total or 20 net? Either way, except for one day, I have been well under 20 total carbs. But the whole net vs actual thing is confusing.

(Karen) #4

There’s a lot of discussion about this. But when in doubt make it total. The goal is to get into ketosis, stay in ketosis and get the benefits of ketosis.


Thanks so much! (Wish my coffee wasn’t adding a couple carbs each day. Alas … )

(squirrel-kissing paper tamer) #6

Some folks do net in the beginning to make things a bit easier. I have always done net but it’s also working for me, I am fat burning, have the keto breath, etc. Like Karen said, many do total and that works best for them.

I used the urine test strips in the beginning days to see if I was in ketosis, but after eating under 20 g carbs for weeks, I KNEW I was so I stopped checking. Now I might check for fun or if I eat off plan.


Continuing the discussion from Brand new and excited to read all these threads!:

New to keto or any food intake considerations at all. Menopause has kicked my butt and I’m now more than 50 pounds heavier. No, it did not come all at once but I magically noticed it all at once Haha! I’m excited by what I’ve read here! The information and encouragement is fantastic! Ive been researching a while now, planning, cleaning cupboards and, Today is day 1!
Keep posting your successes as it is fuel for this beginner!


Ok on this coffee thing, I just had a epiphany.

I’m using Carb Manager to get started tracking. Everything seems to make sense, but today not so much the coffee. “Kirkland Signature Pacific Bold K-Cup Coffee” comes up as 0 carbs and 2 calories. However, “Pacific Bold Coffee by Kirkland Signature” comes up as 2 NET carbs and 5 calories. (As far as I can tell, there is no Pacific Bold “grounds” style coffee by them, just the cups.) The first was in the system as “branded food” and the second was entered by a user. Obviously that is a pretty decent difference on the net carbs. I looked online and it seems to mesh with the user entry, but am I missing something? And if it is that off with coffee, is Carb Manager really the best tool?

(Carl Keller) #9

Hello and welcome Kelly.

Your hunger ‘macro’ is the best guide for how much you should eat. If you do that, starvation mode won’t become a thing. As long as you eat less than 20 grams of carbs (I prefer net over total) there’s really no such thing as too much or too little fat and protein, as long as you don’t stuff yourself silly, which you appear to not be doing.

I will note that there is some debate about too much protein. If you have high insulin resistance then too much protein might slow the weight loss process, but too little and you start to lose lean tissue muscle. Keto experts suggest anywhere from 1 gram per kg of body weight to 2.5 grams per kg of body weight.

Here’s one anecdotal article where the author tests various amounts of protein to see how each amount affects his ketone levels. If you prefer a summary and don’t care to read the arrticle, I will just say that what many might consider too much protein, didn’t affect his blood ketones one bit:

Basically yes. The sticks measure some of the ketones that your body is not using and that are being expelled from your body. Darker colors might mean you are wasting/not using a lot of the ketones you produce while the lighter colors might indicate better efficiency of ketone use. But, the sticks are not reliable and the colors may not be telling the whole truth about what’s going on inside of you.

Breath meters work a bit better and blood meters work the best, but even those are not entirely necessary to do keto. The best indicator is how you feel. You might notice more consistent energy, less cravings and hunger, reduced bodily inflammation or better sleep. If those things are happening, then keto is working.

Getting the “flu” isn’t necessarily a reason to celebrate. It can usually be avoided if your electrolytes remain balanced. It’s important to get plenty of water and salt in your day. We are expelling both of those at greater rates than ever before so we have to keep replacing them or we might notice flu-like symptoms. 8 cups (64 oz) and 2+ teaspons of salt should keep you in line. Some people still can suffer brain fog even when their electolytes are balanced. This is likely a side effect of switching from carbs to fat for fuel and the body isn’t quite proficient at it yet.

Keep doing what you are doing and you will get those huge clues and you won’t have to pee or jump on a scale to notice them. :wink:

(Ilana Rose) #10

Fung actually recommends .6 grams per kg for those with significant weight to lose. He says that there are plenty of protein structures that are supporting all the fat that also need to go, and that during weight loss you want those to be catabolized. Those proteins are then available to your body for reuse. Thus someone actively losing weight requires less protein. This is how he explains the lack of loose skin on his weight loss patients.

(Carl Keller) #11

Yep, and I’ve noticed a lot of female anecdotal evidence that less protein seems to help with stalls and weight loss in general. I totally love Fung and 99% of his advice but I also have a great respect for Amy Berger and her endorsement of protein in the ketogeic diet. I would love to watch/listen to a discussion between those two on the protein aspect of keto.

(Laurie) #12

That’s the first I’ve heard about the possible benefit of eating less protein. I feel like I’m doing everything right, but I’ve lost almost no weight for 2 months. I might try eating less meat, etc. I’m not that hungry, and sometimes I feel I’m forcing the food down in order to get “enough” protein.

(Running from stupidity) #13

And Ted Naiman!

(Ilana Rose) #14

I don’t think they’d necessarily disagree on anything. I like Amy Berger too but I don’t think of her as a high protein advocate just like I don’t think of Bikman that way. They are both just saying not to be afraid that any small amount of extra protein will instantly be turned to sugar in your liver. Further, you’ll notice that Amy Berger in her blog on protein does NOT deny that excess protein DOES turn to energy through intermediaries in the Krebs cycle. That’s now energy that the body does not need to get from fat. That’s not the same as being a proponent of lots of protein. I’ve yet to see a single person that I trust recommend values higher than 1-1.5 g/kg.

I think that there is a confusion a lot of the time that because Berger and Bikman are saying that excess protein doesn’t automatically turn into glucose via gluconeogenesis that they are also saying that it won’t interfere with fat metabolism. They aren’t saying that at all. Any extra protein that is above the needs of the body for maintenance and growth gets turned to energy substrate. And this always happens ahead of fat metabolism because protein has extremely little storage in our bodies while fat has endless amounts.

From the very start of Amy’s blog post she admits this:

“Since amino acids can not be stored in the body for later use, any amino acid not required for immediate biosynthetic needs is deaminated [nitrogen is removed] and the carbon skeleton is used as metabolic fuel (10-20 % in normal conditions) or converted into fatty acids via acetyl CoA. The main products of the catabolism of the carbon skeleton of the amino acids are pyruvate, oxaloacetate, α-ketoglutarate, succinyl CoA, fumarate, acetyl CoA and acetoacetyl CoA.” (H.D. Urquiza Hernandez, MD, PhD)

From the list above, oxaloacetate, α-ketoglutarate, succinyl CoA, fumarate, and acetyl CoA can all feed into the Krebs cycle, which is the process by which ATP (energy) is generated in the mitochondria.

I think both Berger and Bikman are trying to do the same thing. They are trying to undo a fear of protein that some ketonians have. They both think that there is an unhealthy trend towards trying to guzzle fat while abhorring protein. But I really don’t think either is saying that protein should be consumed ad libetum.

(Ilana Rose) #15

I think it was in a talk I saw of Richard’s where he shows a graph of the amount of protein people require to be in nitrogen balance. At the low end of the spectrum was a guy who only needed .3 g/kg. Our protein needs vary from person to person tremendously.

My own protein macro says I need 89 grams at 1 g/kg but I know I feel great and put on muscle just fine at about half that and that if I eat that much I feel gross and gain fat. I think the right amount of protein just has to be felt out individually in the end. I also don’t think that this is a big deal for most people starting out their keto journey and it’s fine to tell them to eat everything except carbs to appetite at the start. But once people are clearly in a stall, I definitely think it’s a VERY good place to look for what might be causing it.


Thank you @CarlKeller! Helpful reply. I did do my reading and knew I had to keep the water intake up, so I guess I did well there.

I may be lapsing into some brain fog. I feel like my brain is moving faster than my mouth can make words on and off. I think it is a general sense of more energy.

As for the protein, I will watch it. It doesn’t take much for meats and poultry to fill me up, honestly. And I always try to pair my meals with spinach or cauliflower (gosh I love cauliflower, but why can’t it be zero carbs?) or a small salad or avocado so it isn’t just a plate of fat and meat. So far that just feels “right” to me, but I am SUPER new to this.

The only good thing is I have no issue fasting from dawn to lunchtime! Well … with my coffee anyway.

(Ilana Rose) #17

I have a problem with Ted Naiman. I watched a video of his once where he was hammering out dozens of studies to make the point that loads of protein was fine. The trouble is that I’d read a couple of the studies only the day before, and the conclusions he was drawing from them went ridiculously beyond anything that the data said and certainly was nothing that the authors of the paper even suggested was a reasonable conclusion to draw from their research.

I used to do peer review for some scientific journals in biology and basically if a scientist had drawn the sort of conclusions from the data that he seems to find acceptable I’d have sent the papers back as “rejected” or told him he had to modify his conclusions to be in line with the actually experimental design and results.

(Ilana Rose) #18

THAT is an amazing thing for someone at the start of this way of eating.

(John) #19

Feels right to me too. I try to get in my servings of healthy veggies with most meals. I like to nudge things in the general direction of “balanced diet” while still choosing healthy foods and reasonable portions, while keeping total carbs low. I can still fit in plenty of greens and veggies and be under 20 grams of net carbs.

(Carl Keller) #20

I definitely agree with you. Certainly there is a limit that we can process without it negatively impacting our weight loss goals, but unfortunately there’s a lot of vague warnings in keto articles that suggest not to eat “too much protein”. This can cause of a lot of apprehension in people starting keto and quite possibly lead to them undereating protein.

I believe satiety is the best guide for protein (and fat) intake. Protein is a very neccesary variable to the satiety equation. My n=1 puts me at an average of 1.5g protein per kg of weight on a consistent basis. I am as low as 1g occasionally, but this is usually if I am doing OMAD. I don’t try to eat 1.5g per kg, it just happened to work out this way, as I look back at my data in cronometer.

I honestly believe satiety is the key to all of this and both protein and fat are huge contributors to that. I mean if we shy away from protein when eating and have a tendency to make up the difference with more fat to reach satiety, we know for sure that most of the energy we create is going to be coming from the ingested fat and not from the fat on our body.

So my bottom line is don’t eat toward a number. Eat toward satiety and the numbers should take care of themselves. Certainly tweaking is an option for people in stalls and maybe the 1.5g that works to achieve satiety for me might be a lower number for someone else.