Going back to basics - is it the right call?


Hi Marianne. I think it is a thing that tends to be forgotten that one WOE does not fit all, it should be stressed more often. How it is all so individual what works. As to the need for reinstating a few carbs, it is that in some cases the body actually needs carbs in addition to protein and fat in order to work optimally. There are those who experience the carnivore WOE causing them issues that reinstating a few vegetables might very well resolve. Carbs are not equal. So when I say carbs I am not thinking about grains, sugars or starches, but vegetables, nuts, berries and some fruit (avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber or bell peppers). Some people think about all carbs as sugar regardless and make no distinction, but I think they are much more complex than that, in the benefits they can provide for some.

Furthermore, although I am well aware of the electrolyte issues people tend to have on a carnivore WOE or keto, the argument that people feel better when reinstating a few carbs on carnivore (whilst still keeping well below keto limits) because those few carbs causes water retention doesn’t seem right to me. As one of the benefits of keto is having no water retention, that was certainly one of the first benefits of keto I became aware of, and was so pleasantly surprised by.

In the end, in this world of confounding science and confirmation bias, we have to become better at listening to our bodies, we have to really stop and listen. And there’s no shame in changing direction on the health path, if there are some very obvious signs pointing a different way than where we were headed.

(Marianne) #62

Fortunately and unfortunately, there is no “one way.” That is the beauty of keto. I think when first starting out, it’s natural to want a clear script. I know I did when I started because keto was very removed from the conventional dieting plans/gimmicks that I had always tried. That’s all I knew - and each one promised to work if only you followed it (ha - no wonder the diet industry is so lucrative. It is based on failure and appeals to people’s desperation to find a miracle plan that will somehow be different “this” time).

People will have varying opinions on how to advise you because what most of us have found is that our plans are dynamic and ever-changing based upon what we discover along the way and what works or doesn’t for each of us. Because you asked, I would suggest that you obtain your macros and try to stay (loosely) around those numbers, track your food, don’t count calories, and keep the total carbs at 20g/day or less. If you don’t already have them, there is a free macro calculator on ketokarma.com. I only tracked for about a month, until I got a handle on what foods, combinations and quantities constituted what a typical day should look like for me. I started to go off the rails slightly when I went carnivore/zero carb and thought that meant I could eat way more protein/fat than I should have. I’m back to three meals a day now, have ditched the zc, and I feel much more settled with this choice.

Congratulations on your two months! Everyone here started with a single day, that in many cases became weeks, months and then years. Eat well, be happy, and let the time pass. Best to you on your journey!

(Eve) #63

That is a very helpful reply, thankyou. I will just keep it simple, as you suggest, and maybe just take some time to get used to the whole woe for a while before experimenting with what is more or less ideal. The keto woe is so unlike anything l have done before and l have to admit, is taking getting some used to, but it is growing on me and l am gradually finding it easier. Thankyou again for your reassurances.

(Megan) #64

The bit I continue to be confused about is what does the body do with any protein consumed that is moderately or significantly above what the body needs for its normal functions. I have heard several conflicting answers.

If some people eating carnivore or very, very low carb, who are eating more protein than their body needs, put on weight and if some peoples’ HbA1Cs hit pre-diabetic numbers, the excess protein must be being broken down into glucose and stored as fat, and fat and stored as fat. Shirley!

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #65

Silly me! Here I was assuming that excess protein got excreted. Now I know better.

(Megan) #66

If it gets excreted, how do you account for weight gain? And, for some people, HbA1Cs rising to pre-diabetic numbers?

I read a long burble from a very long term carnivore on Zeroing in on Health (I think) who advocated eating a lot of meat, especially the 1st year or 2, and ascribes to the viewpoint that if anything problematic happens, the answer is to eat more meat and give your body time to heal.

I think this viewpoint is starting to be challenged, b/c it doesn’t work for some people. I’m looking forward to the day we have a big bunch of research into people eating carni. At least the amount done on people eating keto is starting to pick up.

Also, if it just gets excreted, why is keto a moderate protein woe, not an eat all the protein you want woe?

(Megan) #67

Btw I’m asking b/c I am genuinely interested in this, being someone eating more protein some days than my body “needs”. I’m not asking just to be argumentative. I’m choosing to take your “Silly me! Here I was assuming that excess protein got excreted. Now I know better.” as internet banter, not sarcasm.

I’ve listened to a lot of Ben Bikman but he doesn’t give grams of protein consumed when he talks about eating protein when also eating low carb. He also talks about eating a heck of a lot more carbohydrate then the 20 grams recommended here.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #68

I’ve never heard Bikman advise eating carbohydrate. His mantra is, “Control carbohydrate, prioritise protein, fill in with fat.” But the 20 g limit is, as Carl and Richard freely admit, arbitrary. They picked a limit that would work for everyone but the most insulin-resistant. Some people can indeed eat more than that; they are the insulin-sensitive people (or less insulin-resistant people) who don’t need to secrete as much insulin to keep excess glucose out of their blood stream.

Bikman’s protein recommendation is, I believe, at least 2.0 g/kg of lean body mass/day. He is very concerned that people lose their ability to assimilate amino acids as they age, and he apparently believes that consuming extra protein in middle age helps keep the body prepared to assimilate more amino acids later in life. How right that is, I don’t know. I’d expect the information to be in his published papers, for sure. It’s from Bikman that I got the idea that the body has ways of wasting materials that it does not need.

I guess I’ll have to find a human biology textbook and start reading up. I do know that there is a limit to how much protein we can eat, and it’s somewhat above 3.0 g or so per kilo, if I remember correctly. There is a post by Richard somewhere in the science forum, in which he lays out the calculation. Above that intake, we risk ammonia toxicity, since the limit is set by the amount of nitrogen that can be handled by the uric acid cycle. And that’s all I remember.

(Megan) #69

He wasn’t advising people eat carbohydrate. He said something along the lines of freely eating low carb veg.


Hi Megan. I agree with Bikman’s view in that case. All carbs are not equal, and to shun them all, to think of them all as equally bad, as sugar and thus unnecessary for our bodies, is just, to my mind anyway, plain wrong. I am aware there are people on this forum who are recovering carb addicts who therefore (and for other reasons too I’m sure) are wanting to stay carnivores, and for them adding back in just a few vegetables might be a slippery slope. But when carb addiction is not an issue, and the body is actually in need of these plants, these vegetables, perhaps also fruit to a lesser degree (avocado, bell peppers, tomatoes, berries) it is a different matter. As to protein, the body I’m pretty sure will quickly tell you if you’ve overdone it, I just don’t believe one should eat beyond when one is full. I could never do that. But I agree that hunger and satiety signals differ, and then there is the fact that some people need more, some less, and this could also be calculated from one’s energy levels, and daily activities. I will be spending some time the next few days when I have the time learning from Dr. Lustig, as I believe it’s good to keep an open mind, and an open discussion.

(Reesegilbert ) #71

Have you tried water fasting for 24-48 hours? That always works for me.

(Marianne) #72

When I first started, I’d do a 24 hour water fast once a week. It wasn’t difficult, but I just didn’t like it. Fasting is too much like “dieting” to me. I’m glad you found something that works for you.

(Rossi Luo) #73

Agree with this! My weight has also been stable after 7 months keto, and I want to lose more to totally reverse my fatty liver. I had started doing 22 hours fasting every day since 1.5 months ago, and my weight didn’t change. So I believe it’s because my body has the ability to adapt to maintain the weight. I am trying to start doing exercise every day and to see if this can break through to lose my weight more.

(Megan) #74

Hi @never2late, can you post any research supporting this?

(Marianne) #75

I think there’s truth to that. Yes, I had been eating the same things and quantity pretty much day in and day out. Now, I’m trying to eat 2-3 meals a day, have a vegetable with dinner and moderate my meat portion. I think I’ve lost a few pounds but nothing more than that. It’s going to be a slow process.


I decided everyone will be happier without me here but I returned. And promptly started to react, I couldn’t avoid this. I skim everything and try to stop asking for info I am quite interested in but I can’t get an answer for some reason.

Nope. I can’t even wrap my heard around how ANYONE can confuse the two. I never do that, of course. When I say protein, I mean protein and it annoys me that so many people do it differently (but maybe it’s the language). Meat isn’t protein, meat is food, mostly water, some protein, often some fat etc. English where people call protein SOURCES protein isn’t even my first language.
600g protein is insane but if one eats a lot but consider 90g fat too much, it must be protein on normal keto and maths gave me 600g for the high energy need I vaguely remembered from the one I was answering to. But still, I half-regretted writing this as those low-fat goals were obviously for the OP, not someone with a higher energy needs as it would be insane, right? We should focus on the OP, I wrote the 200g protein for that case. It’s the same but with a less insane but still unnecessarily high protein. But what I wanted to express is the same: we can’t use protein as a lever, well we can to some small extent but if we need more calories, we usually should eat more fat. I gave fixed, calculated numbers to try to get an idea how the OP or someone else with a bigger caloric need could do low-fat on keto. It just sounds very wrong in most cases as protein goes more and more insane. That’s why we use fat as lever and when one already eats enough protein but too low-cal, eating MORE fat, not less is the logical thing to do. (Raising protein too may be a good idea as well but lowering fat and eating excessive amount protein? Nope.)


Hi Megan, it was more of a theory of mine, and an instinct. But what I’ve read suggests the problem may not be OMAD per se, but that with OMAD it’s easier to end up at a calorie deficit, which could slow down metabolism. Dr. Jason Fung, the fasting guru, would know more about it, but he does tend to advice with regards to IF to switch it up. I eat 2-3 meals a day, on some days 4 smaller meals, I vary it, and keep my body guessing. If I’m hungry I eat, but I’m seldom really hungry anymore. But my body will give me a gentle nudge if it needs food. If you’re interested in IF and how it affects your body I would listen to Dr. Jason Fung, he has a youtube channel. I don’t fast myself, I just eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, and follow my hunger/satiety signals, but I could never do an extended fast, it just doesn’t feel right for me. We’re all dfferent, and how our bodies react differ. I think the main thing is not to eat at a calorie deficit, then it’s better to fast. As I understand it from Dr. Fung, eat to satiety or fast. Perhaps if you were able to get in all those calories in that one meal, you’d be fine, but I myself can never eat all that much in one sitting, so I divide my daily food intake into 2-3 meals.

(Doug) #78

Totally agree that the body is good at adapting; switching things around is advisable. I also think that it varies among people, by nature, by diet, and by the amount of fat they have.

Neither fasting nor one meal a day will suit everybody, to begin with. Diet - there’s an enormous difference between someone who is fat-adapted and in a low insulin state (as with eating ketogenically), versus another who is very insulin-resistant, has a high blood level of insulin, and eats a lot of carbohydrates.

Keto person easily can and does go back and forth between using food taken in for energy, and the body’s fat stores - as is the normal waking/sleep cycle. If they eat at a caloric deficit for part of a day, they have no problem making up the difference by burning their own fat.

High-carb person, eating at a deficit, has much of their access to their stored fat blocked by the high insulin level. It’s compounded by high-carb meals, the body having to secrete more and more insulin to overcome the insulin resistance and deal with the much larger blood glucose amount from the high-carb diet. Vicious cycle - higher insulin means even less access to stored fat for energy. Their cells are depleted and are blocked from getting enough energy, intense hunger is frequently present, and the body is much more prone to going into ‘starvation’ mode, reducing metabolism, etc.

Fasting or one meal a day - low-carb meal, that is - we never go into that high an insulin state as with carb meals; we should be able to go to our fat stores without much if any slowdown in metabolism.

In general, eating at a caloric deficit or fasting will be easier for people with more fat. The less fat we have, the more the body will be reluctant to part with its fat stores.

A good thread from the past that deals with some of this, and with the calculated maximum amount of energy we can get from fat storage is: