Keto to carnivore and back to keto

(Bacon is better) #41

This is an important point, because the Dudes’ first dogma is “Show us the science.” Of course, the second is “Find out what works for you” (also known as “your kilometrage is guaranteed to vary”). In this case, however, I really don’t think such an extreme calorie restriction is going to work for anyone. It would be better to fast than to eat at starvation level.

And the fact that the poster advocating it hasn’t come back to explain how it’s supposed to work, and how it worked in his/her case, is telling.


Indeed. Where we don’t know where is starvation level. But it’s almost sure 1100 kcal is starvation in this case as it must be some super short, tiny person who is fine with this amount. And you advised EVEN LESS.

There are some interesting cases where people simply don’t lose fat eating too little. They are starving instead. True, they still can’t make energy from nothing but they function poorly due to inadequate nutrition. The human body manages to maintain with less than the needed amount of food, evolution strongly encouraged that in order to survive.
Some people respond with starvation even to some modest deficit that results in smooth fat-loss without metabolism problems in normal people like me. But (at least almost) everyone gets slowed down metabolism and poorer body functions when there is starvation happening, it’s very understandable, our body does its best to make sure we will survive (there are conflicting things though as we should last long but we should be able to function well enough to find food but there are less important things to sacrifice).
So it’s a very, very bad idea to eat even less when it’s almost sure we are starving already.

Not losing fat at 1100 kcal usually means one messed up their metabolism, not that being extremely effective to use energy and it’s all their body needs.


For additional context, I am female and I have eaten fewer than 1100 calories when I was within a few lbs of goal. In hindsight, I was probably at goal - but my body composition was poor, despite exercising a lot, because I had very little muscle mass. Of course, I had little muscle mass because I was starving myself - and I didn’t understand what I was seeing and thought the solution was to starve myself further.

That was me being very young and believing that if CICO works, then fewer CI and more CO will work even better. I exercised myself to exhaustion and starved myself to hunger - and unsurprisingly, I didn’t attain the body shape I was seeking (although I was very very thin), nor did I sustain the loss long term.

That’s why I’m so defensive about it; I literally have been there and bought the t-shirt, and it’s a terrible place to be.

(Lynne Kersh) #44

Guys, Guys! (Andy, Paul, Shinita, Robin, Septimus, Fangs, and Allie), I feel awful that I’ve started such a polemic for you all when all I wanted to do was to get some practical advice!

You’ve lost me with all the science and calculations and I’m now even more confused than ever!!

Here are the facts as they stand.

I dutifully log my foods on Carb Manager and these are my macros which I changed last week Calories were 1100. My % are CUSTOM but not very different from the former formulaic KETO settings of 5/25/70.

(NO WAY am I waiting another year to get down to my goal weight)!!!

I find it quite easy to eat below my new 13 Net Carbs and am happy to do so. The Calorie ceiling is better than before but who in general wouldn’t want to eat more?!

It’s really hard to not eat more than my 92g (27%) Protein and most days I go over.

My 105g Fat (69%) is attainable only some days but usually I fall short. I suppose I could always eat a spoon of butter at the end of the day but who really wants to do that?

Ask me whatever you want and I’ll answer truthfully (what’s the point in us talking here if not).

I’m going to a smart hotel tomorrow for 5 days and I could easily eat masses of calories which may kick start my fat loss when I return to the above (or any changes you suggest).

Or I could take with my home made Keto bread, crackers and cakes?? Yes I will be drinking cocktails in the evenings as there’s free bar!

The last screen shot shows my pathetic progress to date.

My initial 4 months’ good loss was on Keto and a typical day looked like this…

Then, last June, I got bored with the plateau and all the “paperwork”, researching foods and special cooking, so I tried Carnivore, which I loved but on which I simply yo-yo’ed despite changing my Macros after 3 months to these percentages, threw in a few IFs but still nothing you could call a result!!

So I’m in your hands my friends,

Once again, Ask me anything you want.



The advice I would follow is from @Shortstuff


(Bacon is better) #46

First, set the app to “Maintain,” you’ll do better. Or even better than that, eat a reasonable amount of protein and add enough fat to satisfy your hunger, while keeping carb intake under 20 g /day.

The reason is that you can damage yourself by eating too little and exercising too much. A follow-up study by Kevin Hall of the U.S. National Institutes of Health on former contestants on the show, “The Biggest Loser,” showed that, five years after their appearance on the show, the extreme low-calorie, highly intensive exercise regime had permanently reduced their metabolic rate by 500 calories, and furthermore, all of them had regained the lost weight, and then some. A number of studies have shown that the eventual regain plus extra weight are typical of all caloric-deficit schemes to lose weight.

Moreover, an improperly managed weight-loss scheme usually results in the loss of muscle tissue, which is not healthy. A protein-sparing modified fast works better, and it has been noted by a couple of researchers that a well-formulated ketogenic diet also preserves lean mass, but without the hunger. In fact, people on a well-formulated ketogenic diet eaten to satiety have been known to add lean mass (stronger muscles, denser bones), all while shedding excess stored fat.


Percentages aren’t really important in non-therapeutic keto. If you want more protein and less fat, do so. We are different and we feel best with different percentages (even for the same calorie and protein need). I am fine with 50-80% fat myself but together with my tastes and satiation and energy need, it’s better if I am in the middle so I do that but still don’t keep a very fixed percentage (fatty meat is impossible to track anyway. at least here as there is no info about the fat content for a normal cut, only for processed stuff).
I don’t want to talk about carbs much as you are fine with it low so keep at it. (But we aren’t in ketosis because the percentage is low but because the grams are low enough, whatever it means, it’s individual.)

Hotel, nice food and this low-cal past? Yeah, some stronger day can’t hurt much and easily may help, anyway, we need our high-cal days (at least me) :smiley: Nothing too crazy and well chosen food though.

(Lynne Kersh) #48

Thanks Paul, there’s no chance of my exercising too much as I’ve a sedentary job and my 30 mins daily dog walking is more of a dawdle as Ollie stops every few feet for a sniff or a leg raise. I’ve damaged my hip otherwise I’d have tried a gym to help shift the weight (before I read earlier that my aim is to lose fat not weight!)

(Robin) #49

@pinkcadillac Lynne, I’m sorry I don’t know the science. But we have some similarities. I’m 67. And I’m 5’ 7”. 20 months ago I weighed 218 and started keto.
My original goal was 180. I’m at 155 now. I also used Carb Manager till I got it figured out.

I set my first goal weight at 160 on the app and chose lose weight. I think the calories suggested were about what your chart is showing. Around 1300.

You said last June is when you switched things up. And your weight graph shows that’s when things went haywire. Can you go back to what you were doing originally? Following THAT trend, it certainly should not take you a year. It’s probably depressing to look at that graph’s long hard road of up and down.

I think I would start again. Even start my app numbers again. Start with your weight today. I think I had my macros similar. I had 5% carbs, 25% protein, and 75% fat. My carbs were usually well below 20g. I also struggled to get enough fat in the beginning and when I started making a point of eating more of it, I saw a better rate of weight loss.

So, our main difference is your height AND you don’t have very much weight to lose. I know ten pounds looks different on someone your height tho. But, I wonder if your main hurdle is the fact that you only have about 12 pounds to lose… is that right?

I hate to say this but my last 20 came off SLOWLY…. Perhaps even took a year. Although my shape changed and improved continually.

I don’t know if this helps. But I sure am cheering you on.

(Lynne Kersh) #50

Just a quick question if I may Paul.

I don’t quite understand the logic of setting my macros to Maintain instead of Lose Weight. Could you explain that please?


The apps are based on CICO (calories in vs calories out) logic.

They guess how many calories your body needs each day. If you set the app to ‘lose’, they deduct more calories to give you a deficit.

This is because the app assumes that eating fewer calories is the only way to lose fat.

Keto is not based on CICO logic - there are hormonal factors to weight loss, and it’s not as simple as ‘eat less’.

You’re on such a low number of calories, you’re trapped. It is not safe to keep cutting further.

Nobody is advocating that you suddenly start eating 5000 calories - but as Allie said, if you starve yourself, your body will cling to whatever reserves it has left because it thinks you are in a period of famine, as that’s the only reason you’d be eating so little.

In periods of famine, your metabolism drops - this means that your body might stop or slow non-essential processes, such as keeping you warm or growing hair/nails etc.

The suggestion of eating at maintenance levels in the app (which is still very low) is to try to get your body to adjust your metabolism upwards (to use more calories each day) and to feel ‘safe’ in dropping fat because it knows there will be more food tomorrow.

I know it’s difficult to believe. When you’ve cut calories for so long, it does feel like the only approach and anything else is nonsense. I’ve been there myself.

But think of it this way - you’ve been trying really hard and you’ve been stuck for a long time, so something isn’t working.

(Lynne Kersh) #52

Cheering me on and cheering me up!

I’ve now gone back to my original Keto macros as the Carnivore phase didn’t enable me to lose either fat or weight. I know some say wait, be patient and it’ll start but I really don’t want to wait 6 months which I now regard as having wasted.

So I’m back on Keto, I’ve learned from you guys that 1100 Cals are far too few, I’ve learned also that it doesn’t matter too much if my Protein intake is higher than the macro suggests and I’ll try for more Fat (though it seems counter-intuitive after years and years of Low-Fat diets!).

Let’s see what happens when I’m armed with you guys’ invaluable help and personalised advice, the first I’ve EVER received despite writing to all the internet experts. I should show some glimmer of hope and a small sign of improvement within a month despite of, or because of, my intended hotel blow out this week!

Well done you Robin for your progress - truly inspiring!!

PS are you guys worldwide? Any of you in the UK? Lynne

(Allie) #53

Very well explained :slightly_smiling_face:


you should not feel awful :slight_smile: you haven’t started anything at all. You are cool and all is ok. Some threads can roll tough from the start but you did nothing off kilter at all!

you will still get great keto advice from this site!

(Bacon is better) #55

Eating at a caloric deficit is tricky. It works for a while, at the price of constant hunger, but then the body adapts to the amount of food we are giving it, and reduces its metabolic expenditure to match, thus eliminating the caloric deficit. So we have to lower caloric intake even further, and the body reduces expenditure to match, and so on. This is a response to famine that preserves resources to the extent possible, so as to try to get us through till the famine ends.

Dr. Kevin Hall of the U.S. National Institutes of Health did a study that looked at former contestants on the television programme “The Biggest Loser,” five years after they’d left the show. Not only had they regained the weight they’d lost (and then some), but the severe caloric deficit to which they had subjected themselves (from the insane level of exercise they were required to do and the drastically small caloric intake they were allowed) had resulted, on average, in a permanent 500-calorie reduction in their metabolic rate.

On the other hand, when we increase our caloric intake, our body increases its metabolic rate to match, and finds things to spend energy on, and can even waste energy. This is why we recommend eating a ketogenic diet to satiety, and not to a pre-determined number of calories. Many people on these forums found that their fat loss did not get started until they ate more, not less. Their bodies, no longer having to be concerned with maintaining resources to survive a famine, readily allowed some of their excess stored fat to be metabolised.

Now there are limits to the metabolic adjustments in both directions. The limit of cutting calories is death by starvation. The limit in the other direction is more diffuse, but overfeeding studies determined that there does come a point where people cannot choke down any more food. The director of one such study recalled in an interview that one of the subjects broke down in tears, because he simply could not eat one more pork chop! One participant in a study of an ad libitum ketogenic diet in obese subjects ate 3000 calories a day, but he still lost fat at the same rate as the other subjects.

So it is clear that concern for our level of caloric intake is overrated. Dr. Stephen Phinney has data from some of his studies that show an increase in the rate of fatty acid-metabolism, to the point that they were eating more fat than they had before, but were still also metabolising some of the excess stored fat they were carrying. (Dr. Phinney has numerous lectures about this, available on YouTube, and if you watch them, they come with citations from the scientific literature to back up every assertion he makes. You can then take the citation to PubMed or Google Scholar and see the original data for yourself.)

To me, this all suggests that eating in a way that works with our body, rather than against it, is the way to go. As the science journalist Gary Taubes points out, “Obesity is not caused by overeating; we don’t get fat because we overeat. We get fat because the foods we eat shift the regulation of what’s known technically as ‘fuel partitioning’ into excess storage of fat. So what we worry about are the hormonal effects of the foods we’re eating, not the caloric content of them.”



(Bacon is better) #57

Here’s a relevant quotation from our FAQ:

What does satiation mean?

When you are in ketosis you are using primarily FAT for energy. If you are trying to lose weight then you want a lot of that to come from your body fat - but can you just eat almost NO fat and lose weight fast? Not really. Humans are only able to draw down about 31 Calories per day per pound of body fat - so there is a limit. You need to eat fat when you are hungry or your metabolic rate will be slowed to compensate.

When you first start adapting to fueling your body on fat you may not be as efficient at mobilizing energy stored in body fat to the mitochondria of tissue that needs to use energy. So in the early days you are probably going to still eat 3 meals a day and most of that will be fatty meats, eggs, butter, and the like. If you are hungry, really hungry, then your body is telling you that it is running out of energy. Satiation is the point where you are no longer hungry.

I highly recommend reading the entire FAQ, which you can find by clicking on the three bars at the top right of your screen. The FAQ contains a great deal of useful basic information about the ketogenic diet, in terms that are very easy to read. In fact, if anyone reading this post has not read the FAQ recently, you might find it very helpful to go back and re-read it. I’m in the middle of it now, and am finding it fascinating!


Not necessarily. I would have never lost any fat that way! I can’t go hungry so I need to eat at a deficit while being perfectly satiated all day (except maybe right before my meals). It was very, very easy on low-carb (very far from keto). I couldn’t do it on keto, though without lots of extra tricks. But I shouldn’t talk about myself that much.

Satiation and hunger is very, very tricky. I can’t even figure out my own body, sometimes I think I did but there are too many factors. And we aren’t robots, sometimes we need 3000 kcal on a sedentary day (at least me). I can seriously overeat while feeling starved too. But I can eat at a big deficit (for one day so it doesn’t matter I think but still. it’s rare but happens) while stuffing myself as much as I can. Much depends on the food choice and timing.
Really unlucky folks are hungry a lot even at maintenance while doing their best… It probably is easier on keto but not everyone can eat keto and some people are starving (the feeling, not the nutrition) on low-carb food anyway. Some people are odd :slight_smile:

I never noticed metabolism problems due to eating at a calorie deficit and I still don’t know if my regular higher-cal days had a hand in it… It would make sense.
But when we starve, i.e. eat at a too high deficit, it makes perfect sense to the body to slow down metabolism (and therefore start to funtion less well), I think almost everyone knows that. I know cases involving starving too, fat-loss was superb, keeping the fat off was a long term battle even in the super lucky case where it happened and it was a very short term starvation and a very young, quite healthy person so the metabolism could regenerate but it still wasn’t an easy time.

Of course, starving slims down everyone - except the ones who just die before that happens. We can’t make energy from nothing. But some people can live on surprisingly low cal, obviously sacrificing a lot of things in the process, muscles, proper body temperature, proper healing and who knows what, not me. I just know our normal maintenance energy need isn’t wasteful, we need that food to function right though we can get some energy from our body fat when needed. It’s usually not so much when one has little to lose. Sadly, we don’t have a proper mechanism that turns off hunger at the right deficit… Our bodies probably like some nice extra fat mass. Nice for them and the hypothetical famine, not for us. I easily keep my chubbiness on any woe I may willing to do (I hardly gain or lose ever under even remotely normal circumstances) but becoming a slim one…? That’s tough.

Many, many of us in this forum experienced that eating much on keto can’t help us to lose fat (after some point. when I started keto, I was already beyond that point). We should figure out how to eat little enough. (Or give it up or gain muscles etc. There are options.)
But we shouldn’t eat too little either (it’s a danger I can easily avoid but many people has a hard time with it).

Oh, calories and calculators… People, calculators have no idea about our energy and protein need at all. Yeah, they use some statistics and it’s some more or less educated guess, it may help people with absolutely no idea - but it may be very, very off. I always laughed at the super tiny numbers I got for maintenance and ate more and lost fat… And how someone can just eat according to calories? I can’t stop when still hungry… Or not to eat when hungry. If my body wants food, it gets food (or something worse happens than being a bit fat. I am a hedonist, I can’t suffer when I can avoid it).
I for one trust my own body WAY better than calculators who has no idea about me. Hey, I can’t even enter my body fat percentage as I don’t know that info. But many calculators don’t even want it. And individual factors and everything… CO is easiest to guess when sedentary but still pretty much impossible. But when some exercise is involved? I can’t even guess mine vaguely then. I just don’t know if some hiking is 800 or 2000 kcal, after all. Even our calorie intake is often impossible to even guess. And our body easily quicken (or slow down if we mess up something) our metabolism… In the end, tracking may be informative and a useful tool but we shouldn’t consider it a reliable one to guide us in our fat-loss journey (if we have that. I have a stalling journey but it’s fun enough). Some of us are simple enough to be an exception I guess, I believe I am one but only because I am not active and my body responds to eating little wonderfully (when I can trick it so it doesn’t throw a temper tantrum to get more food at night).

Soooo… It’s complicated but don’t ever focus on calories too much. I saw people using their tracking unhealthily. And it’s not natural to eat according to calories. Tracking may guide us a bit, I mostly use it to figure out what triggers overeating and what helps, what amount of protein I feel right and satiated but in the end, it’s normal to listen to our body, as long as it works well enough and know enough to do so. Mine is great since I introduced various low-carb styles to it.