Just lower your carbs to 20 grams and you'll enter ketosis - not necessarily

(Jane) #21

I had my fasting glucose tested after 6 months on keto and it was 4.6 uIU/ml. Not sure if the same units you mentioned… on my report 24.9 is the upper range of normal (2.6 the bottom range).

I wish I had tested my fasting insulin before keto but I didn’t know about it.

I know I can have a higher-carb day (~ 50-75) and go right back into ketosis the next day if I cut out the carbs.

I am coming up on 5 years of eating keto and will never go back to a SAD diet, even if I go off plan from time to time.

(Bob M) #22

It’s meaningless. If you have any ketones at all, you’re in ketosis.

I have seen no evidence or studies that people who are eating high carb are generating ketones. CAN they generate ketones, yes. I saw a study where high carb cyclists started generating ketones when they basically ran out of carbs. But not before then.

If you’re eating 100, 200, 300+ grams of carbs per day, I don’t see you making ketones, unless you’re also riding a century (100 miles) ever day.

4.6 x 18 = 82.8 in US units.

I also think that if you’ve been in ketosis a long time, you can stay in ketosis for at least a while, while eating higher carb. For instance, a meal of high carb, you might still be able to stay in ketosis. That would be a fun experiment to do, if the ketone meters had more accuracy.


N=1, I’ve noticed this. If I’ve been in ketosis for awhile and had one cheat meal/off plan, I’d still be .5+ or 1.0+ the next day. But, if I had a second cheat meal/off plan, it’d take me 2-3 days to get back to where I was on the meter. Again, N=1, FWIW, YMMV.


Second this! Works for me.

I do have a question. For those of us who are insulin resistant, can we be in ketosis even with above normal glucose readings? I have difficulty wrapping my brain around this.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #25

Whether or not you are in ketosis depends on what your insulin is doing, not what your glucose is necessarily doing.

If you are eating low-enough carbohydrate, then insulin will be low enough to permit ketogenesis, even if other processes in the body have pushed your glucose up.

Since, however, there is no home insulinometer for us to check our insulin with, it’s difficult to tell. But if you have abundant circulating blood ketones, that’s a good indicator.

(Megan) #26

Interesting conversation so far. I wish we knew more about ketosis. And I wish we knew more about nutrition period, for folks eating low carb and carni diets. The studies are happening and folks are researching but we have a long way to go.

Regarding this Paul, doesn’t circulating glucose tell our bodies to make more insulin b/c circulating glucose is toxic in above normal amounts?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #27

I don’t know enough about the workings of glucagon and insulin to really be able to say. But what I do know is that the pancreas reacts to the lack of dietary glucose (also known as carbohydrate) by secreting glucagon to stimulate the liver to make whatever glucose our body actually needs. The liver makes extra glucose, which it stores as glycogen for ready release, such as when we need to run from a sabre-toothed tiger, for example.

But glucagon inhibits the production of insulin by the pancreas and stimulates the secretion of ketones by the liver. With glucagon keeping insulin lower, does it really matter if other processes call for an increase of circulating glucose for some need? The body can handle an acute rise in glucose; it’s the chronic elevation of glucose that causes damage and a chronic elevation of insulin. Both hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia cause damage to the body over the long term.

But to try to answer your question, my guess is that it would depend on what caused the rise in glucose, how big the rise was, and for how long it lasted. I do know, from lectures by certain keto physicians, that they are not nearly as concerned by the absolute level of serum glucose as they are by large swings in the the glucose level. Even if the range is on the high side, as long as there are no wild swings, they are happy.

(Megan) #28

Hi Robin, how do you know it works for many/most people? In my 4 months here I have seen quite a few new people join the forum, post a bit (often asking questions) then disappear. I’m not saying it doesn’t work for some, but I’m coming across more and more people it doesn’t work for. Then there are these carni folks who’s HbA1Cs and blood glucose go up and up and up over time, despite a near absence of dietary carbohydrate.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #29

We should probably reflect a bit on what you mean by “it doesn’t work.” I’d be highly surprised if someone’s metabolic health failed to improve on a ketogenic diet, regardless of whether or not they ever lost a gram of fat.

Unrealistic fat-loss expectations prompted by the hyperbole out there on teh Interwebz are a problem, and we have to gently bring down a lot of newcomers whose hopes of losing 10 kg by next week have to be dashed. They are often disappointed to learn that the people who lost large amounts rapidly were those with large amounts to lose, and that the last 10 kg come off a lot more slowly than the first 50. And then there are the women who find that their hormones have an effect on their response to keto. Not to mention the people who insist on keeping caloric intake low, despite all advice to the contrary.

I really don’t want to say “they’re doing it wrong,” especially when that’s the mantra of the folks who can’t understand why “eat less, move more” doesn’t work for a lot of us. But eating a ketogenic diet does require a certain amount of patience, understanding of biology, and a willingness to make a long-term commitment. The expectation that keto is a crash diet, just like all the others, serves us ill. I do believe that most people are willing to make that commitment, when the facts are explained to them, but media hype about keto has a powerful influence on people’s perceptions.

As for rises in serum glucose and HbA1C over time, Amber O’Hearn and Benjamin Bikman both have some insights into why that happens, both in carnivores and in regular ketonians. I believe that links to their lectures and interviews have been posted a number of times on these forums. We tend to forget that carbohydrate intake is not the only regulator of serum glucose.

(Robin) #30

Megan, I hear your concerns. But four months is really not long enough to judge how many come, stay, leave, whatever. And for what reason.
And MANY leave because it IS working and they don’t need the forum anymore.
It’s common for folks to pop back in, sometimes years later, and report their ongoing success.
It’s also common for people to come, fail, and come back again… a little wiser and with more patience and then find success.

(Eric) #31

Some of my response will like echo what @PaulL already replied with. How are you determining working or not working? In my experience, many people come into Keto for the wrong reasons or with unrealistic expectations and find it “doesn’t work for them” and my personal experience based on conversations with others who have tried Keto outside of the forums shed a lot of light for me anyway on why it may or may not have worked.

First, many people come into this as a quick fix, to lose that 20 lbs before a wedding, class reunion etc. They want to look good then go back to the old way of doing things. No surprise for me that this didn’t “work”.

I also see many people looking at Keto as a short-term lifestyle change until they can go back to those foods that got them into the situation where Keto seemed appealing. I have co-workers who say things like “Hey you have lost all that weight, when are you going to have some fun and eat (random carbage I no longer eat)”.

With scenarios like the above, Keto will do just as well or as poorly as any crash diet, fad change etc, with that kind of mindset. That is not a failing of Keto but one of the approach and expectations of why they chose to do it.

When I talk to people about Keto, usually after their head explodes from finding out I lost over 140lbs, and I start with some basic questions. The first is why do you want to do Keto? I believe that if the answer to this basic question is not something meaningful like reverse T2D, Obesity, high blood pressure etc and the reasons are something less serious, that they may struggle. I also ask, what are you willing to change, give up, and do, to ensure that you are successful. This is where I see more red flags that are likely to lead to an outcome that might not be what they hoped.

For example, my sister said wow I want to lose a bunch of weight, what did you. I explain I don’t eat bread, sugar, etc any longer. Her first response was, nope, no way, I can’t give up bread. Clearly for her, eating bread was more important than achieving the goal of losing that weight. When I decided on Keto, I did a ton of research and knew that I would have to make big changes in what I ate but also knew that this a lifestyle change, not a short-term fix.

The idea of not having that old crap food ever again can be intimidating for people and I find that failure with Keto is more often psychological and not a failing in the biology or science behind Keto, Carnivore LCHF etc.

Also, just because a person doesn’t stick around the forums, doesn’t mean they failed at Keto or even gave up for that matter. Some people drop in, get some info and leave and never come back. Without actual feedback, we can’t just assume that they gave up or that Keto doesn’t work.

I tend to read these forums all the time, but have never really posted for advice. Mostly because I tend to research the hell out of things and I had a lot of information when I started. I had already been doing Keto for a month or more when I found the forums and use them mainly as inspiration around seeing others and their success, challenges etc. I do post occasionally but not frequently but one might think that my silence means that I back slid or Keto didn’t work but nothing could be farther from the truth.

The one thing I did do was keep my net carbs 20 or less. I do go higher sometimes 15+ months in but do that because I know what I can tolerate. I do things that many people on these forums do not. I track everything I eat every single day without fail. I weigh myself every day. I also learned not to be afraid of my scale, it is just a data point. It helped me understand things like my weight can vary by 2-3lbs within any week. So despite daily weigh-ins I mostly go by a weekly check-in on Saturdays where all the variables are the same. I get on the scale before eating food, having coffee, ideally had my morning movement, showered and taking a short walk. On weekdays, there is too much variability and I work so the time and other factors vary but Saturdays I can control. Tracking everything helped me understand how much protein, fat and carbs I can handle and still make progress.

Unfortunately, some people find that tracking, weighing etc pushes their buttons and may lead them to fail due to years of yo-yo dieting etc. Considering that, many on the forums try and give simple advice, like eat 20g or less of carbs daily along with don’t worry about calories etc etc. This helps make it less threatening for those with a history of dieting feel less stressed about some of this. For each of them, they will have to find their n=1 and hopefully find a version of Keto that works for them. I don’t think everyone makes it that far. But I don’t think that is a failing of the science behind Keto.

For me, for my n=1, Keto works. I have had all of the benefits, mental clarity, extreme weight loss, energy and more. Plenty of NSVs as well. I used to wear a size 46 pant and now a 34 is loose. I went from XXL t-shirts being tight to being able to wear a L t-shirt. My skin tags have shrunk dramatically and some are gone completely, my digestion is fantastic and only after months of Keto did I realize how bad it was before. The list goes on.

So when you say you are coming across more and more people that that it doesn’t work for, how exactly are you determining that? What about Keto didn’t work for them? Are you suggesting that they are metabolically different and that is why it didn’t work or was it really that they weren’t willing to do the work to make it work?

For me, I was willing to do whatever was required. I cook every meal, I do all my shopping to ensure I have the ingredients and foods I want to make this work long term. My experience of many people is that they are not willing to make those types of changes and sacrifices.

(Megan) #32

Excellent response Eric, thanks for taking the time to type all that out :purple_heart:


I don’t even know what it means it’s “working”. And keto is zillion different woe as it has zillion styles. One can do it super wrong. My old keto gave me no benefits beyond fat adaptation. I surely never got more energy, never lost fat, I don’t understand this mental clarity thing but I was pleased with mine on high-carb already… (Except in the morning but nothing helps with that, I am a zombie in the morning.)
I immediately knew I should stick to keto (as much as I could, I still do it on/off). It was the right and only path for me, it’s not like I can go back, my body would lose its mind and that’s not healthy for me. I just needed years to be able to lower my carbs, it turned out I need almost 0 plant carbs to get some nice benefits.

If it was about the 20g limit, yes, it works most people. I have read very many stories and it’s known anyway. I met quite a few people online who had to go lower and quite a few who could eat much more carbs and stay in ketosis. 20g is a safe limit (but many people experience they should focus on total carbs, not net).

I did that already but it’s WAY easier now :slight_smile: I cooked on sunday (very simply, I just tossed some meat into the oven) and I don’t really need to do it until next weekend. It’s not always this good and I do make little things but cooking is a hobby (I just hate spending too much time on it and it’s nice to be free to decide if I complicate things or I am not in the mood today).

Mine too. And I can’t wrap my head around it when it’s already at the point where the people badly need it for health, they already suffer from the problems due to their diet! Many people just want pills then, changes? Oh no, suffering and death will do. Crazy. I suppose it’s not always this clear to them, they may not know changing their diet would help, there aren’t very readily available info about it if one isn’t looking (because why would one put effort into research when it’s about their health and well-being…? I don’t understand people. true, I did my research/experiments late too but I had a nutritious diet and good health, it easily makes one not focus as whatever we have seemingly works…).

Bread is so often the impossible hurdle, that is odd to me too. Okay, I never was as much into bread as say, my SO… But he easily stopped eating gluten for years because he was curious and health-conscious. One can replace things with other things even if they are not similar, it may work. He personally can’t try low-carb for reasons (fortunately doesn’t need it at all) but skipping bread was still no big deal for him. But even if it’s hard, HEALTH should be priority! And people don’t even TRY, they just decide a life without bread is impossible and not worth to have. But why? So many other, better food remains…
Though eating a little bread and no sugary sweets probably already would make a big difference for many… If one can’t take a big jump, take some steps, it’s still better than giving up completely. I couldn’t even do keto first, I did low-carb and it was MUCH better than high-carb.


I also didn’t get any of the keto miracles other people report. But the simple part about it, meaning less carbs = lower postprandial blood glucose, works. That’s a reason to stick to it, if you’re diabetic, or very insulin resistant.


I threw the whole 20g per day into the wind and set myself the following rule.
max 10g of carbs per meal and only half of that can be sugar.

I think that some people fail keto because they set the rule of 20g of carbs per day, but they ‘save up’ the 20g of carbs and have 20g of sugar in one sitting.
20g of sugar not measured well can easily turn in to 25g, or 30g etc…
and this is way too much when starting keto.

So i think its better to say Max of 10g carbs per meal.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #36

I prefer to eat no sugar at all, saving my carb allowance for other carbohydrates and fibre (though I don’t worry about whether I’m getting too little or too much fibre).


Yes that’s what I do. But veg still has sugar in it.
Most of my sugar intake a week is from onions as I generally start most dishes with onions.
Almost all the carbs in cabbage is sugar and even broccoli has about 2 grams of sugar for a large portion.


Indeed. Most of my carbs is sugar, what else could it be? ALL of them is sugar on carnivore, of course but even on my off days I don’t get why I would just eat starches… They aren’t so tasty! Usually. Sometimes they are when I mix them with some eggs… But eggs are good alone to so I rarely am tempted to do that.

I think we all should make our own rules. 10g carbs per meal is impossible for me (though doable with most of my carnivore meals. not all of them).
To me, per meal doesn’t matter, per day seems more important and it’s more like “extreme low-carb non-animal carbs most of the time”. If I eat 25g animal sugar in one sitting, okay, that’s a bit wild (not like I couldn’t do 50g, mind you but I behave, it’s not even hard) but I don’t think it’s a problem for me (as long as I don’t mind that I overeat fat again. occasionally it’s fine). Plant carbs are the “enemy”.

And I try to keep my plant sugar low. Whatever that means for me at the moment. I handle starches better. I like sugars better though it’s ambivalent as sugar may make things harder to eat. Onions are basically out at this point, way too sweet.

(Robin) #39

Well, you’re right… sounds like you may be heading to carnivore, or at least a version of it. It’s amazing to note how you feel after extra carbs, isn’t it?