Newbie help please

(Mark) #1

I’m on my 3rd or 4th week of keto, which has seen my gradual transition away from carbs. I actually didn’t realise my diet was prob 70% carbs!

Generally my diet now consists of 100g natural nut mix, protein shake with chia, flax& almond meal. And a main meal of eggs or meat or fish with salad or veg. No more milk only almond milk. My carb intake is now between 20-25g per day… Weekend treat with 0carb beers!!

I’m exercising 1 hr 2-4 times per week and have dropped 3.5kg over the course. However when I test my keto levels they are rarely above 0.5 and are usually 0.1 or 0.2, which I just don’t understand. What am I missing here??


(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #2

Welcome to the forums!

How are you measuring your ketones? If you are using urine strips, they are not terribly accurate. The weight loss suggests that you are in ketosis, however. But our ketone levels reflect, to some degree, how insulin-resistant we are. It is possible that you may need to decrease your carb intake a bit further, in order to reduce your insulin below the threshold.

Some things to try are the following: First, get your total carbohydrate intake below 20 g/day. This may mean eliminating the nuts and sticking to leafy greens and above-ground vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower as your carb sources. Almond milk is a good source of carbohydrate, so you may wish to switch to heavy cream as a dairy source.

The key to a ketogenic diet is to reduce carb intake to a point where insulin drops sufficiently to permit ketogenesis in the liver. This is because the glucose in dietary carbohydrates causes a large insulin response. The response from protein is much less, and the response from fat is negligible. So get a reasonable amount of protein (it is essential to our diet) and a sufficient amount of fat to replace the energy lost from cutting carbs. Since fat contains 9 cal/g, and carbohydrate contains 4 cal/g, it requires much less fat to yield the same number of calories as a given amount of carbohydrate.

(Edith) #3

Also, when are you measuring your ketones? You would think they should be highest in the morning after not eating for many hours during the night, but early in the morning, our bodies secrete some cortisol to help us prepare for the day. The cortisol causes us to release glycogen from our muscles to give us energy to get the day started. That will bring down the ketone numbers. So, if you are testing as soon as you wake up in the morning. That could explain why your numbers are lower.

When I first started eating this way and testing ketones, I noticed my ketones were higher in the morning if I’d eaten lower amounts of protein the previous day. So, it’s possible you may need to look into your protein quantity.

I think though, if you are losing weight, why mess with tweaking anything at the moment?

(Joey) #4

Yeah, check your math. Not sure how 100g of mixed nuts keeps you at 20-25g/day, especially after adding protein shake, chia, flax and almond meal along with almond milk … and 0-carb beer has alcohol, doesn’t it?

You’re off to a great start! Just suggesting you take a closer look at your math if you’re trying to measure and monitor yourself. :vulcan_salute:


It’s only 7-8g (net) if I use my fav nuts (even the not nut legume one)… Flax is very high in fiber, the net carb content is almost zero…etc.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #6

The problem is that grinding or blending mechanically destroys fibre, turning it into digestible carbohydrate. So the shakes may be more carb-laden than the OP is calculating.

(Joey) #7

I suspect you’re talking about a “serving” as opposed to 100 grams of nuts, as the OP indicates. Our canister of mixed nuts: 100g would easily get you to 30g carbs gross (about 24g net).

But make sure you don’t chew them… like a blender, you’ll be breaking down those carbs from their fiber casing :wink:

(Bob M) #8

You illustrate one reason why the “laws” of thermodynamics don’t work on humans: these are in a closed system, but humans are open systems. That is, eat some blueberries sometime, then look at your poop when you poop them out. Note some relatively fully-formed blueberries? If so, those are calories you didn’t get from those.

(Joey) #9

I don’t imagine the laws of thermodynamics require looking at one’s poop. I may be mistaken as my physics classes were old school.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #10

Not to mention that, even if the human body were a closed system, the Laws of Thermodynamics say nothing about the direction of causality. Gary Taubes likes to point out that teenagers eat a positive energy balance, but no one ever claims that they grow because of that. Rather, we all recognise that teenagers have to eat a positive energy balance in order to sustain the growth their hormones are calling for. And this same logic underlies the ketogenic diet. We eat at a caloric deficit, even while we are eating to satiety, because our hormones have our body in fat-burning mode instead of fat-storing mode. The hormonal model of food partitioning yields a lot more success than “eat less, move more” ever did.

(Bob M) #11

Thermodynamics does not concern human beings. The first mistake we made was to assume it did.

I think this is where Dr. Bikman goes into some detail about this, towards the end I think:

I had to convert it to audio and put it into my podcast player.

(Joey) #12

I get your larger point, and no quibbling here, but I thought the laws of physics affected everyone. Humans don’t get a pass.

(Robin) #13

@Kram2022 Mark, have we manger to totally co fuse you yet? Feel free to ask specific questions.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #14

Of course they affect people, as well as the rest of the universe. But it’s not as simple as people seem to think. For example, living things can be described as islands of negative entropy, even though they increase the entropy of the universe as a whole. Nick Lane discusses this in some of his lectures on the origins of life. Look at his lectures at the Royal Institution and whatever else comes up on YouTube.

(Joey) #15

Okay, my confidence in physics of the universe has been expanded. :wink:

(Robin) #16

Ya’ll just make me go cross eyed… negative entropy?! Oh my brain…

(Megan) #17

Some folks don’t produce ketones as much as other folks, even if eating and exercising the same. Seems there may be a genetic component. The highest blood measure I’ve ever had is 0.4.

The 2 brands of unsweetened almond milk I used to drink are 0.3 grams per 100 mls. So it depends on the almond milk.

Anyone have any idea why protein can have a big effect on circulating ketone levels (and therefore ketone production?)? I know there is a lot of talk about gluconeogenesis being demand driven, but I think there’s more to protein synthesis than this. I remember listening to a long term carnivore on youtube saying she wanted to increase her ketone levels to get into the “nutritional ketosis” range so had to cut down her protein.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #18

I don’t understand the mechanism, but this is the reason Dr. Phinney gives for recommending protein in the range of 1.0-1.5 g/kg of lean body mass. On the other hand, there are experts who recommend much larger amounts of protein, and Ted Naiman claims that “there is no such thing as too much protein.” Yet people on a carnivore diet eat a lot of protein and carnivore ketone levels are notoriously low.

The issue is what ketones mean. In one sense, they are an indication that we are in fat-burning mode, because the presence of circulating ketones is a guarantee that insulin is low enough. In another sense, though, the ketones are beneficial not simply as fuel, but they also have epigenetic signaling value. And if one has insulin resistance of the brain, or some other brain condition that benefits from ketones, then maintaining a high level of circulating ketones can be really important.

Another issue is the amount of protein we lose to deamination. The body needs a supply of nitrogen for various purposes, and that nitrogen has to come from amino acids. There is a certain minimum daily nitrogen loss, which is why protein is required in our diet. If we don’t get it in our food, the body starts using muscle proteins as a source of this nitrogen. Nitrogen loss is highly variable from individual to individual, which is perhaps why there is so much debate over how much protein is enough, and how much is too much.

(Mark) #19

You lost me on the thermodynamics topic!!

Here is the list of nutritional info Ive developed from the food labels and which Im using as a guide (as I didnt know what was typically contained prior to this exercise!)

Burleigh Bighead Zero Carb Lager

(Megan) #20

Welcome to the forum Mark! Yes, I was horrified when I realized how carb heavy my previous way of eating was. Not that I knew how bad it was for me at the time, as far as insulin production and resistance and metabolic syndrome goes, or that it kept me permanently “hungry”.

What are your thoughts on peoples’ responses to what you’re currently eating?