Is it ketosis or just very low carbs which helps?


Oh OK. Wow. So I am able to have NOT low-carb carnivore days according to your definition :smiley: I still consider 25g very very low (not “extreme”, that a few grams for me) even though I can do it easily (for some days, at least, it would feel quite restrictive longer term at this point). 10g is super low! I am sure very many of us don’t think of that low when saying “low-carb”…

What I am used to and what I am willing to do definitely influences my terminology and I suppose many, maybe most people are similar. 100g carbs seem so much now… Just like 8 hour is a huge eating window in my eyes.


I don’t care about total carbs so I only consider the net when I talk about low-carb. I easily had 80-100g total carbs on keto (and I didn’t even need my sweets to be super sweet as my sweetness perception changed a lot on low-carb before keto) but I never tracked it (way harder for me than just tracking net while not useful).
But total is better for many…

(Chuck) #43

I can now mentally track my total carbs, but net carbs are a confusing metric that varies wildly depending on what company does the labels.

(Brian) #44

I’ve been trying to remember who I might have been listening to where I picked up that idea of “low-carb” being that low. If I could remember, I’d share. Could it have been Ken Berry? I know he’s gotten pretty much into near zero carb territory, hard to say if he might have even made an off handed comment that stuck in my brain.

Anyway, it’s definitely educational to hear others’ idea of what that means. Again, my apologies for being skewed that far. For myself, it’s probably better skewed that way than thinking I can eat a lot more carbs than I should be eating. :slight_smile:

(Bacon enough and time) #45

And the answer to that question is a definite YES. :grin::grin:

Seriously, for all the positive benefits from the presence of ketone bodies, I’m sure that there is an equivalent negative benefit from the absence of phytotoxins and anti-nutrients.

It could probably be argued that there is some detriment from the loss of certain micronutrients, but recent research is tending to suggest that many of those are not as bioavailable from plant sources as they are when found in meat. And we know that the body definitely has a much lower requirement for Vitamin C on a ketogenic diet, as shown by the work of Eric Verdin and his team. Who knows what else we will discover when the ketotic population is large enough to re-do some of the research into what the body actually requires?

(Bacon enough and time) #46

You have to be careful. Thirty percent of caloric intake is considered “low-carb” by mainstream researchers, but in a 2500-calorie diet (such as is recommended for most men), that’s 187.5 g of carbohydrate. On a 2000-calorie diet (such as is recommended for most women), it’s still 150 g.

I swear I heard Dr. Phinney say, in a couple of his early lectures at LCDU events on YouTube, that 100-125 g/day was “low-carb,” but he told me at Ketofest one year that he never said that, so . . . .

In any case, he recommends a limit of 50 g/day of total carbohydrate to the Virta patients, in hopes, as he has stated, that their net intake will be 20 g or less. I long since came to the conclusion that, even if my body could tolerate 100 g/day and let me still be in ketosis, I am far better off with a much lower carb intake.

In any case, as I always like to point out, a diet is ketogenic–for that person–if it allows that person’s insulin to stay low enough to permit ketosis (and gluconeogenesis) in the liver. It’s a metabolic state characterised by lower insulin and relatively higher glucagon, and Bikman describes it as essentially catabolic. By contrast, the high-carbohydrate diet advocated by governments is a metabolic state characterised by high insulin and low glucagon, and is essentially anabolic.

It’s probably also worth mentioning that Richard and Carl arbitrarily set the limit at 20 g of carbohydrate a day, primarily so as not to scare people off by recommending 0 (zero) g/day (20 g/day also happens to be the recommendation of Dr. Eric Westman’s clinic). Twenty grams is a level at which almost everyone will experience success on a ketogenic diet, except for people who are exceptionally insulin-resistant, and who will need to eat even less carbohydrate than that.


But it’s not just scary, it’s virtually impossible and almost only just meat and fat fits… It’s a very strict carnivore-ish style I can’t imagine ever doing. No plants, no dairy, no eggs, no organs… Truly zero carb is super strict. I like Fangs’s definion, zero carb from non-animal sources :smiley: Well, near zero so some tiny amounts could fit :wink: Like spice or tea/coffee… It’s a way stricter style without these for many of us!
I definitely need 20g carbs even for carnivore (I have plenty of way lower days, even 2-3g happens occasionally but I couldn’t, wouldn’t do that all the time). And it’s low enough for many people while going lower wouldn’t do any good for some of us. Going much lower should be an individual decision for individual reasons, it’s not a good advice in general.

I still find it a good idea to go as low as possible to try that out. Good elimination method too, it’s quite possible various problems get solved. Thing may get worse but one can just undo the changes then. But it’s still super hard to impossible for many of us right away.

(Brian) #48

Very true!

When I first signed on to this forum, (6 years ago? 7 years ago? I lose track…) I’d have said the same. “I could never do that.”

But as the journey has progressed, I’ve found myself leaving off a lot of the stuff I used to be so attached to. Almond flour goodies… I was huge into those. Seriously, I was baking keto goodies nearly every day, trying to substitute keto stuff for standard American diet stuff. I don’t even know how many different keto bread recipes I tried or how many keto friendly things I tried trying to mimic some kind of potatoes.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even remember when the last time I baked a keto goodie was. I just don’t do that much anymore. Even when I eat out and get a burger at a restaurant, I don’t find myself very interested in that bun at all, just not what I want. I want the MEAT! I still have a cauliflower mash to replace mashed potatoes on occasion but even that is not something I crave. (I was raised on potatoes.) I can have it or be perfectly contented without.

I guess the point is that the perspective has changed over time. When I first saw the threads on carnivore that many years ago, I was thinking it was extreme and I could never do that. But now, I’m finding that a lot of the veg and plant foods I once thought I HAD to include have fallen away. Not quite carnivore. And I may never be a totally committed carnivore. But yesterday was really close to it, not by plan, but just by eating what I wanted to eat. I’d bet my carb intake was in the single digits in grams.

Just sharing. I would think we’re all in different places, all have slightly different needs and challenges, and we can certainly find differences in what works very well for an individual. I find that I’m much more relaxed about that as my own journey progresses.



This makes me think of someone who is a Vegan. She doesn’t try to make all these things herself, but she eats fake everything. Fake eggs, fake chicken, fake hamburger, fake bacon, the list goes on and on and it’s all a big part of her daily food intake.

I don’t get all that fake stuff.

Bellyman at least took real food and tried to adapt its texture and flavor. But what the heck is all that fake meat? You can’t even grocery shop anymore without having all that fake stuff mixed in with real food. UGH.

(Kirk Wolak) #50

I will offer up that those NSV’s could come back in reverse.
Imagine eating just enough carbs that you are not gaining weight, per se, but you are stalling, and potentially losing muscle while gaining fat.

There are too many variables to keep track of, IMHO, to really know what is happening.

As research has continued, science shows that ketones can be a messenger molecule. Signalling certain things in the body. What I was most shocked to learn is that infants are usually in a state of ketosis… My wife is NOT a low-carb person, but she has never suffered hangry, etc. Turns out, upon testing, she was IN KETOSIS. Without trying.

Personally, I view “being in KETOSIS” as having access to stored fuel (Fat).
staying on the CUSP of that scenario by adding carbs seems to be a strange goal.

While I am not saying you must always be in ketosis. I am saying that it is likely a great place to get to, every day.

Dr. Boz shows a video where kids end up in ketosis when they sleep. And if you ever watched “Chubby” Kids sleep 15hrs/day, and then next thing you know, they are 5 inches taller, and leaned out… I watched a neighbors kid go through this.
He’s 6’3" now… LOL.

It’s a fair question. For me, I am primarily a carnivore.
I drop to keto when I want to.

But just a carnivore meal will sometimes take me out of ketosis.
And grazing ALL day on just meat… WILL take me out of ketosis.

I feel better in ketosis. Once in deep enough ketosis, fasting becomes easier.
Today, for example, is a fasting day.
I felt great all day.


Yes, I changed a lot (see the difference between my way too carby vegetarian keto and my best carnivore days) but I find it very impossible to stop eating eggs, sour cream and liver. I have them regularly, the first two every day. So I won’t go close to zero often even in the distant future, most probably. And why would I…? They are good for me.

IDK about desserts and baked goods every day though, I have them on carnivore too… I just can’t omit them at this point, maybe I try a little bit, I don’t like to be very dependent on not strictly necessary things…

One can change A LOT, that’s very true. But zero carb or close (like, 3g at most), that’s very tricky if one isn’t content with meat only and most of us wouldn’t want it.

(Brian) #52

I hear what you’re saying.

Thinking about it, even those advocating “zero carb” aren’t usually at a true zero. I’ve heard quite a few suggest “BBBE”. And while that’s very low, like you mention, it’s not quite zero.

Someone I think of as an example is Shawn Baker. Probably 99% carnivore but he eats a lot of eggs. At 1/2g of carbs in each egg, if he eats a half dozen (he probably does that and more most every day)… well… that’s just over 3g of carbs. I suspect his worry level about those very few carbs is pretty much zero. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I’ll never get to absolute zero carbs. Not even a little bit worried about it, though. It’s kinda like my weight… when I was 100 pounds heavier, I thought about it nearly constantly. Now that that 100 pounds is gone, it’s just not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. :slight_smile:


No but few items have zero, I allow a few :smiley: It’s still quite low (unless someone like I am forced into it, I would eat 12 eggs a day… and some more yolks, possibly. and would miss my dairy like crazy and I would quit on the 2nd day if possible).
I too easily get much carbs from dairy. I eat multiple kinds on the same day and I may forget about keeping the amount low. Yesterday I got 13g carbs from eggs and dairy… And it’s not so great as these bring a lot of fat and they aren’t very satiating, I need a lot of meat on top. I need it for nutrition anyway.

Yeah, 6 eggs is only 3 carbs but it’s not so many eggs, I liked it to be higher for a very long time. 12 eggs is already 6g carbs and while I didn’t do that regularly, one may want an eggier day (if doesn’t even need to be 12 eggs, just 12 yolks and that is easy to eat if you ask me). It’s still pretty low only if one only eats eggs, non-organ meats and zerocarb cheeses and fats but if one eats various things, carbs can add up.

Once I did 2g carbs I think. And a few times 3g. But I cling to my dairy a bit too much. I didn’t notice differences between 3 and 20 or even more carbs on carnivore though so I don’t care about it. I try to keep my dairy consumption in check for other reasons though sometimes I wonder if their poor satiating effect has anything to do with their carb content (I don’t think so as the zerocarb cheese doesn’t satiate me either and having some protein rich quark doesn’t seem to be correlated with overeating).

(Bacon enough and time) #54

There’s no really good term. “Zero carb” was, I believe, the first term, but the diet is not precisely zero-carb, because of glycogen in the meat. “Carnivore” isn’t precisely accurate, either, since dairy and coffee are consumed by a significant proportion of the carnivore community. “Plant-free” would allow honey, which is technically an animal product, but that runs afoul of the “zero-carb” moniker. So it’s a confusion of terms, and we’ll just have to muddle through.

(Brian) #55

Glad to be doing it among friendly people. :slight_smile:

Forum software was trying to tell me maybe I should take it to private message since I’ve responded to the same person several times. LOL!! But hey, thanks for the friendly conversation, sincerely. I appreciate that. :slight_smile:


Exactly! You used them for their good, so they didn’t bite you in the backside. Plus, once you have carbs in your system, they’ll be burned preferentially so the ketones will be around for a while. Muscle is a great carb/glucose sponge.

Even in year 2 of doing my TKD/CKD thing I can flip/flop in and out seamlessly, I can have a couple of days where I’m up around 150g or so, then go to zero for the weekend and don’t even feel it. I’m a huge believer in having the metabolic flexibility to work the way we’re supposed to. I used to just add in a normal amount of something carby a couple years ago, get ravenous, then wind up passed out on the couch drooling on myself just to wake up feeling hungover. No thanks!


To me, carnivore items are animal items, simple :slight_smile:
My non-liver meat is pretty close to zero carb (the program I use usually count zero for them too. not like I care about tiny amounts), it’s the dairy and eggs that bring the carbs on my rare true carni days.
Plant-free would be a wrong term as it would allow all fungi too and they are clearly not carnivore items.

Of course, people don’t have the exact same definition of carnivore. It’s a tad blurry indeed. Even I don’t consider someone not a carnivore just because there are super tiny non-animal items. The items aren’t carnivore but the whole woe may be. I like to be correct and safe and free so I never call my own woe carnivore, not even in my most carnivore times and I used to have very fine days - but still with coffee, tea and spices so just carnivore-ish. Not like it’s a proper term but it should be good enough.

(Bob M) #58

I’ve been wanting to devise a test for this. I began thinking about this when I would go on vacation. At one time, I ate a lot more carbs on vacation, but I was seemingly able to get back into ketosis quickly. Now, I eat fewer carbs, but I will still eat carbs (pizza, ice cream, chocolate). I wonder if I even transition out of making ketones?

I assume at some point, I would. I just don’t know when. I wanted to see a zero on my blood ketone meter, and I never did. But I also probably didn’t test enough either.

I can’t decide how to test it. 200 grams in a day? 300 grams in a day? 100 grams every day for a while?

And the problem is that I have relatively low ketones to start with. It’s not like I could say, my normal morning ketones are 0.7 mmol/l, so if I get to 0.4 mmol/l or less, I know I’m eating enough carbs to be kicked out of ketosis. My normal ketones in the morning are 0.1 or 0.2. The only way I’d know is if they hit 0.


It was your insulin resistance being healed. Anything that creates more insulin sensitivity is going to improve the markers of insulin resistance you mentioned. Acid reflux for example is a side of insulin resistance. You might enjoy Ben Bikman’s book : Why We Get Sick