How many grams of carbs should I be eating daily?
A strict ketogenic diet is <20g of carbs a day, or about 5% of your total calories. It’s recommended to start out with a strict keto diet if you are a beginner so you can get the hang of eating keto foods. Some people eat under 50g of carbs per day and can stay in ketosis just fine. Others do a more low-carb style (Atkins) diet with <100g a day. Once you are settled in after a few weeks of strict keto start raising your carbs until you find the sweet spot for your body.
What is the nutrient ratio?
Your nutrient ratio is defined as the percentage of fat, protein, and carbohydrates of the calories you consume. The correct ratio for doing a strict ketogenic diet is 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs. This should be your number one goal for the keto diet, maintaining the correct ratio. An example of a ratio would be 100g fat, 100g protein, and 20g carbs.
My nutrient ratio has more that 60% fat, is this okay?
A ratio that has more fat is fine but you should still be getting adequate protein to conserve muscle.
That’s a lot of fat, am I going to gain weight?
No. It’s very hard to actually gain fat while you’re doing a strict keto diet. The reasoning is the satiation level of fat and protein, and if you follow the Keotgenic macros, you should be able to naturally create a calorie deficit. People who try and put on muscle (bulk up) usually have to incorporate carb up days just to be able to actually add pounds. However, you might experience the normal ups and downs on the scale as with any diet. Try looking at body fat % or the way your clothes fit as these will be the better indicators of your progress.
Do I count carbs that come from fiber?
No, you don’t. On European packaging fiber is listed as a separate category- on these packs, the carb count *is* the net carbs count. North American packets, however, list fiber as a type of carb, so you can subtract it from the total. If a food has 10g carbs but 5g fiber then it only has 5g net carbs, so you would only count 5g.
I love carbs and don’t want to give them up, how do I do this?
Cold turkey. There is no weaning off them, you will never get into ketosis that way. A lot of keto-ers used to be carb addicts. It will be hard your first week. By the end of the first week most people report being over the carb cravings. Though every now and again you might have to resist having a piece of cake or fresh bread. If there is something you are craving search on keto or google for a low carb version of what you want. People have been going low carb since the 70′s. If there is something you’re craving, there’s a low carb version of it out there somewhere.
Do I need to count calories?
No. Calorie counting is not a requirement of keto, but this does not mean calories do not matter. Some people insist to not count calories and instead listen to when your body tells you it’s hungry. Others track their calories religiously and stick to daily calorie limits. Find what works best for your body; you may find that when just starting out, keeping track of your carb counts and calories will help you be more successful with keto. See the bottom of this FAQ for recommended free calorie counting sites. Along with helping to track your calories, many of these sites will also assist you in monitoring your carbs, macros, and tracking weight loss.
How long will it take to enter ketosis?
For some it takes less than a day, for others it can take up to a week or more, it all depends on your body. Just remember, you have to burn through your glycogen stores before your body will start searching for fat. Going cold turkey on the carbs and sugar then high-intensity exercise or fasting followed by a meal of mostly fat is the general formula for getting into keto.
How do I know if I’m in ketosis?
One of the most popular ways is to buy and use ketostix. They track the amount of excess ketones in your urine, the excess ones that your body didn’t use. While it is not a requirement of keto it’s a convenient way to monitor your progress and for some, serves as a daily affirmation that you are following the diet correctly. Other ways to tell you are in ketosis a change in the way your breath and/or urine smells.
I am using ketostix, what level of ketosis should I be in?
The ketostix are actually a “positive” or “negative” test. If you are showing any levels of ketones, even trace amounts, then you’re in ketosis. Having a darker/deeper color on your ketostix does not mean you’re in a “better” state of ketosis. More often, a deeper/darker color is an indicator of dehydration.
I am eating <20g carbs and using my ketostix but they are only coming up as trace amounts, why?
Don’t worry about it, trace amounts mean you’re still in ketosis. The reason its only trace could vary, anything from your body’s hydration level to activity level. It just means that your body is using up those ketones as fuel, and thus you don’t have very many leftover.
My ketostix are testing negative, what am I doing wrong?
Ketostix measures ketonuria, or the excretion of excess ketones in the urine. It’s an indirect way of testing for ketosis and is not always reliable.
What is the keto-flu?
The keto-flu is the period in which your body is adapting to ketosis. It’s called keto-flu because your body may experience flu-like symptoms during this time including: headaches, nausea, upset stomach, sleepiness, and fatigue. Symptoms vary from person to person. While many people suffer from keto flu, some have reported not even noticing the transition into ketosis. If you want to be sure, obtain and use ketostix and remember that even a trace amount of ketones indicates ketosis.
How long will the keto-flu last?
Anywhere from a day to a week. It depends on your body and how it handles the switch, everyone is different. It may be a good idea to start keto on a weekend or a time when you can get some rest and be able to deal with the symptoms (ie not a busy week at work or when you are doing a lot of physical activity). As unpleasant as the symptoms of keto flu can be, you can alleviate the headaches and nausea by drinking plenty of fluids and replenishing your sodium and potassium levels. Drink at least 2.5 litres of water a day and try to have a couple of cups of hot salty broth. Chicken or beef, it doesn’t matter – just make sure that it’s not the low-sodium variety. Avocados and oily fish like mackerel are high in potassium. Minimize physical activities and avoid strenuous exercise until symptoms subside.
How much water should I be drinking?
Lots. Your body has a much harder time retaining water on keto so you need to drink a lot more. It seems like the average is about 2 liters per day at the minimum. So get yourself a 1 liter bottle and start filling it up, you are probably dehydrated right now. A good way to tell is your urine should consistently be light colored or clear. If it is dark, drink more water.
I like eggs but I am worried about my cholesterol levels, how many eggs can I eat per day?
Studies are showing that cholesterol isn’t as bad as the general population thinks. Previously, it was considered bad to eat lots of eggs or food high in cholesterol, but new studies show that’s just not the case. Eggs are a great keto food, eat as many as you’d like. If your concerned, get a blood test to track your cholesterol.
I like coffee, can I make it like I usually do?
Coffee is an excellent, low calorie drink rich in potassium. The rule here is stay away from real sugar and milk. Instead, use heavy cream. Be careful of milk or Half & Half as they have a much higher carb amount per serving than heavy cream. If you need your sweets, use an artificial sweetener like Splenda.
I like (insert food here) is it okay for keto?
It depends. Look at the nutrition label, if it doesn’t have one then Google “(insert food here) calories”. Your mind will be blown by how many foods that we eat contain sugar and carbs, it isn’t as easy than just not eating bread. Lets take an onion for example, 1 cup of this unsuspecting vegetable will net you 12g carbs and 6g sugar. When you should only have <20g a day you have to make the choice, do I want to “spend” my carbs on that food item? Every person is different and some food affects people in different ways (some food may kick you out of keto). The short answer is make sure it’s not full of carbs/sugar, decide if you want to spend your carbs eating it, and try it, if you stay in keto after you eat it then, sure, you can have it. Most vegetables can be safely included in a Ketogenic lifestyle.
Can I drink alcohol while on keto?
Yes and no. Wine and shots of hard alcohol, like whiskey or vodka, are okay every once in awhile. Mixed drinks will usually contain sugary mixers, so be careful, and beer can also have a lot of carbs. Be aware of what you are drinking by checking the calories and carbs. Also, some people have reported wicked hangovers as a result of getting tipsy while on keto, so be warned. “For more information here is a quick cheat sheet to drinking on keto.”
Can I have artificial sweeteners or diet soda while on keto?
I think there are mixed opinions on this one. Based of the nutrition facts alone they are keto-friendly. Some people stay away from artificial sweeteners and things that contain them, like diet soda. Some people also say if have too much, it just makes them want more sweet things.
Can I have a cheat day?
Also a mixed topic. If you are an athlete, then yes, if you are remotely sedentary then no. If you are an athlete your body needs more fuel than average. Incorporating a “carb up” day once a week around your workout might be a good idea and you should research a CKD (Cyclical Ketogenic Diet). If you are a bodybuilder trying to gain muscle, then you absolutely need a “carb up” day to gain as it’s virtually impossible to gain weight without one. If you are not either of those people then no. You will most likely cheat, feel terrible, and spend the whole next week trying to get back into keto. If you want to halt your progress then cheat, if not then shush your whining and go eat some bacon.
I am a very active person and do carb-up for workouts, can I still do this on keto?
Yes. Most active people who do their carb up will do it once a week and since they are very active this doesn’t hinder their progress. This technique is called a CKD (Cyclical Ketogenic Diet). You can also research TKD (Targeted Ketogenic Diet).
I am a very active person and want to keep my muscle mass, is keto for me?
Definitely. Keto, by design, burns fat while preserving your muscle.
Does keto work if you have a lot of weight to lose?
Keto is great for all shapes and sizes. Some people use it to get their body fat as low as possible, some people use it to shed large amounts of weight.
Someone posted that they lost 30 pounds in a month, I only lost XX pounds, what’s wrong with me?
First, in general guys will lose faster than girls, so keep that in mind. Second, the more you have to lose the more you will lose. A person looking to trim down 20 pounds and a person looking to shed 150 pounds are going to have vastly different results. Don’t be so concerned over how much you’re losing, just be happy that you’re losing it!
Am I going to lose strength and/or endurance while trying the keto diet?
Some athletes have reported reduced cardiovascular performance while starting keto. However some have also said if you can get past that initial drop then cardio performance actually increases in the long run.
Why can’t I just eat low carbs AND low fat?
Good question. We know that carbs and sugar gets turned into fuel on a regular diet, and we know that if you’re into keto you’re not eating any of those so your body breaks down fat for fuel. So if you’re not eating carbs and you’re not eating fat then what is your body going to use for fuel? And protein isn’t going to cut it smarty-pants. Your body needs something, so you give it fat. Any fat you eat gets broken down into ketones and if your body doesn’t use it it expels it, thus why gaining fat while on keto is nearly impossible.
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