1. Eat less than 20g net carbs per day if you want to get into ketosis. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting the fiber grams (or sugar alcohols in some cases) from the total carb grams. Don’t guess – you’d be surprised how many grams of carbs there are in things you might have considered “free” like onions, garlic, tomatoes, and kale, just to name a few.
Hi, I know this is an old post but I did a very strict keto based diet back in May and lost 30 pounds in 2 months which was great, now I’m trying to keep this pounds off, especially after the holidays. I came across your site a while back and remembered an email that a friend sent me. The menu here is great but I wanted to know if there was an alternate to the cream cheese pancakes (not a big pancake fan). Thank you!!!
Someone posted Dr. Wortman’s interview on facebook. Very good, especially b/c I was on the right track without knowledge of Dr. Wortman or of the ketogenic diet. However, I was still eating a small amount of bread. My diabetes has improved since eating healthier, as he recommends. I’ve been at it now for 8 months (diagnosed w/type 2 Dec 8, 2011). For the past 3 days I have had no bread. We will see how much that helps. All I can say is ‘bravo’ to the ketogenic diet!
Beyond just fat loss, ketosis has an additional benefit in that it spares muscle when you’re eating at a deficit. On a normal diet, when you eat fewer calories than you need for the day, your body breaks down muscle and fat in nearly equal amounts to make up for the difference. With keto, your body is primed to burn mostly fat, particularly if you’re meeting your protein goal for the day. This results in a better metabolism and more total fat lost. Low carb recipes offer:
If you need to eat more or fewer calories per day, you can adjust accordingly by simply taking out or adding a bit more of the ingredients already included in a recipe. For example, adding/removing a tablespoon of olive oil or butter will add/remove about 100 calories. If you like or dislike certain recipes, feel free to shift things around. Make sure to keep an eye on the calories so you’re still falling within an acceptable range of your daily goal.
"Plenty of people jump right in, thinking all they have to do is cut carbs and increase fat. All of a sudden, they hit a wall and get 'keto flu.' They feel tired, lethargic, and experience headaches," Wittrock says. "The primary reason they get these symptoms is lack of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you're deficient in any of these, you'll suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet."
I would get seriously scientific. I happen to be diabetic and test my blood sugar on a regular basis. I had to keep testing my blood sugar after I started Keto as it is a requirement for me. I was flabbergasted by the numbers that started turning up. It is an additional point of data and can sometimes be very eye-opening. My tester helped me discover certain keto friendly foods that I don’t tolerate. You can pick up a tester at the pharmacy. I can’t say that pricking your finger several times a day is fun but it will give you a good read on how your body is reacting to certain meals and ingredients.

For athletes, research on the keto diet highlights potential improvements in athletic performance, especially when it comes to endurance activities. An article suggests ketogenic-type diets may allow endurance athletes to rely mostly on stored fat for energy during exercise rather than having to refuel with simple carbohydrates during endurance training and competition while additionally improving recovery times. (10)
Most carbs you consume are broken down into sugar that enters the bloodstream. When you rein in carbohydrates on the keto diet, you have lower levels of blood glucose (high blood glucose can lead to diabetes). A study in the journal Nutrition reveals that a ketogenic diet improves blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics more significantly than a low-calorie diet and can also decrease the dosage of your diabetes meds.
You’ll just have to search for some recipes that are low carb and dairy free! Week 5 of my keto menu plans is mostly dairy free and easily made completely dairy free. I have also started a pinterest board where I’m collecting low carb recipes that are also dairy free and I’ll be working on adding more recipes to that. You might also try searching for Paleo recipes, many of them are dairy free and can easily be made low carb as well! Hope that helps!

You’re very welcome, Judy! I’m glad it’s helpful. If you are keto (as opposed to low carb), unfortunately peaches would not allow you to stay in ketosis. You can check my keto food list to help determine what is keto friendly. Of course, there are worse things than fresh fruit 🙂 but in the end our bodies still see the sugar. That being said, it doesn’t mean you sabotaged the whole day. Just pick up again – you got this!! (And for next time, try some fresh berries in moderation when you’re craving fruit.)
I had 12 lb that I had to shed. Zero carbs for one week then the cruise phase. there are two other phases that help keep it off. This is what helped me I did chicken, fish , eggs, and avocado since it has zero carbs. I really hate meat so after research I went on two different great zero carb protein powder mixes with almond mils Vega Sport Mocha and Isopure zero carb tossed in magic bullet with ice and almond milk does the trick for me. This is what I do once I lost the weight I weigh myself daily if I even see an one pound gain . I go back on high protein diet Dealing with one pound is easier than fifty … so that is my method for keeping it under control.
No matter what your diet has been before now, keto will be a big change. If you're coming from a standard American diet (SAD), your carbs will go way down, your protein may either go up or down, and your fat will go way up. If you're coming from a bodybuilding-style diet, your fat intake will jump to alarming levels, and your protein will likely drop significantly.

Hi Melissa,I’ve been trying on my own to eliminate carbs and sugar from my diet for obvious health reasons and weight loss. I’ve been doing ok and have lost 30 lbs. Since Memorial Day. The more I research, however, I realize I really need to fully commit to Keto if I’m really to be successful in losing a total of 90 lbs. Your blog and recipes and advice are the first time anyone has really explained and encouraged. I’m starting tomorrow with the 3 day kickstart and am very much looking forward to following you for meal plans and menus. Thanks for making things understandable.

Check the nutrition labels on all your products to see if they’re high in carbs. There are hidden carbs in the unlikeliest of places (like ketchup and canned soups). Try to avoid buying products with dozens of incomprehensible ingredients. Less is usually healthier.Always check the serving sizes against the carb counts. Manufacturers can sometimes recommend inconceivably small serving sizes to seemingly reduce calorie and carb numbers.
To produce energy, the body typically uses carbohydrates. But after a few days on the keto diet, with its restrictive carb intake, your body cannot produce enough energy and looks for another source — breaking down stored fat to generate energy in a process called ketosis. It takes about a week for the body to start that shift from using carbohydrates or glucose, to using ketone bodies. The keto diet can help people lose weight. Some studies show those on the keto diet lose an average of five percent of their body weight, however the mechanisms are not clearly established.

Thank you! Yea, no bread/pasta for me, by all accounts I was eating a (what I thought and what everyone would tell me, even a dietician I went to!) ‘healthy’ diet of whole grains, rice, fruit, vegetables, low fat, etc. and couldn’t understand why I was steadily gaining weight. That’s what led me here, as I was getting so frustrated and the more I read up on low carb/ketosis and how the body processes even conventionally healthy foods, it made sense to me, but I don’t think I can give up oatmeal and fruit forever! So I will definitely just make sure I only eat those in small amounts, but that is much farther down the road anyway.. I’m on to Week 1 and I’ll post an update at the end of the week. Thanks again!


Melissa I stumbled upon your site today and am so thankful that I did!!!! I’m starting this 3 day keto jump start today!!! I have 50 lbs to loose and I want my energy back and I want my life back!!!! Tired of being tired!! I love that you have gluten free recipes as my son was diagnosed with Aspbergers a year ago (high functioning autism) and I let my self go! I’ve got to get heathy so I can help my son so we can be on this journey together!!!! Thank you so much Melissa!!!
If you’re not sure after your initial test, explore other healthy diets such as clean eating and always have in mind that your number 1 goal should be to avoid overly processed foods (keeping this definition fairly broad of course, as we live in the 21st century and have to adapt to modern age as well, where hardly any of us have time to spend 12 hours a day evolving around food production, gathering and cooking).
A: The amount of weight you lose is entirely dependent on you. Obviously adding exercise to your regimen will speed up your weight loss. Cutting out things that are common “stall” causes is also a good thing. Artificial sweeteners, dairy, wheat products and by-products (wheat gluten, wheat flours, and anything with an identifiable wheat product in it).

Mellissa, I didn’t read through all the comments … just half :) Wondering if this will work for someone who’s a diet controlled diabetic? The nutritionist said I should have 45 carb meals and 20 carb snacks … I’ve been gaining weight steadily BUT my blood sugars are awesome! I’m working with a double edge sword here. My biggest issue (other than always feeling bloated) is I have to have a good, hefty snack at midnight each night to keep my blood sugars within range in the morning. Needless to say my waistline no longer exists … buy hey … my blood sugars are good. *rolling eyes*


Selecting the right food will be easier as you become accustomed to the Keto approach. Instead of lean meats, you’ll focus on skin-on poultry, fattier parts like chicken thighs, rib-eye steaks, grass-fed ground beef, fattier fish like salmon, beef brisket or pork shoulder, and bacon. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers, make healthy vegetable choices (but you’ll avoid starchy root foods like carrots, potatoes, turnips and parsnips). You can work in less-familiar veggies such as kohlrabi or daikon.
What's more, it's especially important to make sure your diet is well-planned when you're eating keto-style, because the foods you can choose from are limited. In addition to checking in with a dietitian if you're able, Stefanski recommends that you "talk to your doctor and make sure she or he is aware that you'll be starting a diet that completely changes how your body metabolizes energy." You might also want to check your most recent bloodwork levels for things such as cholesterol, vitamin D, and other indicators of health because these can change while on keto. That's because for some people, a prolonged keto diet can result in certain nutritional deficiencies or even high cholesterol. But most experts will tell you that the ketogenic diet is not a permanent lifestyle change (as could be the case for something like the 80/20 approach to eating or a Mediterranean eating style).
Hi Melissa! I’ve been on track for 4 days now and have actually been feeling pretty good except for fatigue. I’ve been follwing the plan to a “T” but after 4 days I don’t think i’m in ketosis yet. Could some people take a few days longer than others? I’m going to test again in a couple days (or how often should you test? Does morning have more ketones than evening?) and hopefully I am up. Sometimes it is hard to read the strips but I know I am negative to minimal ketones at this point.
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.

Take a multivitamin. “Because you are removing grains, the majority of fruit, some vegetables, and a significant amount of dairy from your menu, a multivitamin is good insurance against any micronutrient deficiencies,” says Jadin. Depending on what your individual overall diet looks like, Jadin says you might also need to add a calcium, vitamin D, and potassium supplement.


As a note, you do need to check the carbohydrate content of everything you eat, especially processed foods such as sausages, cheeses and sauces. There could be hidden carbs in the products used to preserve or “pad out” these foods, so make sure you are buying the lowest carb options and counting the carbs they do contain to ensure you don’t go over your daily limit.
Most people have probably heard of the Atkins diet, which is a pretty general take on ketogenic eating. Wildly popular in the 70s and again in the 90s, Atkins and the low-carb diet are one of the best ways to lose weight. In fact, one of the biggest benefits to low carb eating is that it is a very efficient way to lose weight without much effort. The combination of filling meals that reduce overeating and the fact that, when you’re in ketosis your body burns stored fat for energy makes this an ideal diet for people whose primary goal is fat loss.
Other forms of ketogenic diets include cyclic ketogenic diets, also known as carb cycling, and targeted ketogenic diets, which allow for adjustments to carbohydrate intake around exercise. These modifications are typically implemented by athletes looking to use the ketogenic diet to enhance performance and endurance and not by individuals specifically focused on weight loss.
The good news is that snacks are totally allowed (and I're not just talking about carrot sticks.) There are plenty of packaged options out there designed for keto fans. FATBAR is one of them. These snack bars have 200 calories, 16 grams of fat, and four grams of net carbs. They're also plant-based and are made with almond or cashew butter, cocoa butter, coconut, pea protein, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds.
Chasing blood Ketones instead of focusing on hormone signals: "The higher the number means you have more Ketones circulating in your bloodstream, but that does not mean that you are better at burning fat for fuel," Mavridis points out. "You must be in nutritional Ketosis, which is described as being between 1.5 - 3.0 mol/L on the blood Ketone meter. You will know once you are fat-adapted from hormonal signals, and not from higher Ketones on the blood meter," she adds.
These are just a few samples of what a ketogenic diet menu looks like. As mentioned above, it comes down to eating some protein, adding as much fat as you like (within calorie limits) and choosing low carb veggies to round out the meal. Of course, you can't consume whole sticks of butter and expect to lose weight, but if you aren't trying to lose weight, eating enough saturated fat and adequate protein is a very good way to kill hunger.

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Cauliflower is definitely my favorite low carb veggie Lora – it’s so versatile! But you can also enjoy loads of spinach, broccoli, swiss chard, zucchini, celery, eggplant, cucumbers, and even spaghetti squash! Kale, tomatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms, even pumpkin in moderation. Potatoes are mostly a no no unless you are in maintenance mode and even then very sparingly!
Bear in mind that those macronutrient ratios refer to calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrate, not actual grams of each. Protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram, so it’s actually a relatively easy task to let your fat calories pile up to keto-appropriate proportions if you consume fattier proteins and embellish your food with an extra bit of pure fat. To illustrate, if a portion of a particular food has 10 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbohydrate, that portion contains 130 calories, 90 from fat and 40 from protein, and is about 69.2% fat and 30.7% protein (allowing for rounding).
Symptoms of the keto flu include headache, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, heart palpitations, cramps, and diarrhea. These side effects usually lessen and eventually resolve in about two weeks. (2) But to lessen the effects of any discomfort, simply consider slowly transitioning onto a ketogenic diet rather than rushing to change your eating habits. By slowly lowering your carbohydrate intake, while gradually increasing your intake of dietary fat over time, you can transition with less of a negative impact and potentially prevent the keto flu.

Net carbs is simply total carbs minus fiber and non-digestible sugar alcohols, like erythritol. (This doesn’t apply to high glycemic sugar alcohols, like maltitol.) We don’t have to count fiber and certain sugar alcohols in net carbs, because they either don’t get broken down by our bodies, are not absorbed, or are absorbed but not metabolized. (Read more about sugar alcohols here.)
So have tried Aitken’s diet (not very seriously) before but never looked into how it actually works and the processes your body goes through with food you eat and energy you use. find Keto fascinating and learning alot…on day 4, ketostix showed ‘traces’ last night. One question, i’m finding it really hard to up the fat content of my food. I like ‘clean’ foods without too many sauces, additives etc, Any tips for keeping protein low but still eating well? Carb cut to sub 10g per day and aiming to keep it at that for first fortnight.
Selecting the right food will be easier as you become accustomed to the Keto approach. Instead of lean meats, you’ll focus on skin-on poultry, fattier parts like chicken thighs, rib-eye steaks, grass-fed ground beef, fattier fish like salmon, beef brisket or pork shoulder, and bacon. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers, make healthy vegetable choices (but you’ll avoid starchy root foods like carrots, potatoes, turnips and parsnips). You can work in less-familiar veggies such as kohlrabi or daikon.
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