In general, a low-carb diet focuses on proteins, including meat, poultry, fish and eggs, and some nonstarchy vegetables. A low-carb diet generally excludes or limits most grains, legumes, fruits, breads, sweets, pastas and starchy vegetables, and sometimes nuts and seeds. Some low-carb diet plans allow small amounts of certain fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
BHB salts are a very useful tool to calm the hangry beast and establish appetite control. If you use 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp of the powder in 4 oz of water when you feel inappropriately hungry, it will raise your blood ketone concentration enough to satisfy your hypothalamus for at least a couple of hours. The brand called KetoCaNa has the best taste in my experience for an individual product, though I now use a 50/50 blend of that plus another ketone salt preparation called Nutricost Ketone Salts, both available from Amazon.com. The blend tones down the acidity of the KetoCaNa product and provides the best overall taste to my palate. You won’t need it every day, only when you feel like you need appetite control.
This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
Your body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel source. Complex carbohydrates (starches) are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. They're then absorbed into your bloodstream, where they're known as blood sugar (glucose). In general, natural complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and they have less effect on blood sugar. Natural complex carbohydrates provide bulk and serve other body functions beyond fuel.
I’ve tried low carb on and off over the years. It’s never stuck, and I’ve read a lot of advice that just hasn’t make it any more livable for me. I’ve settled on a lowER carb diet, ditching all flours, grains, dairy, and most sugars. I never eat junk food, and cook nearly everything myself. I eat enough fibrous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower…) and leafy greens to stay somewhat full. Water and black/green tea are my only beverages. Even though I gave up fruit for three whole months before, it wasn’t worth it for me. I will never give up fruit again, and the whole fruit-in-moderation advice didn’t work for me, either. Fresh fruit is the very last true culinary enjoyment I have left, and my quality of life without fresh fruit–berries, citrus, melons–plummets. I don’t eat dried fruit, and I work out five to six days a week with high intensity, focusing on large muscle groups; and walk with friends or alone nearly every day. I’d rather exercise more than give up fruit. I just came back from a session with my trainer and after a lean, nutritious lunch working at my desk, just had a snack of about 3/4-cup blueberries before meeting up with a friend in about a half hour for a 5-mile walk. And that snack (I’d have had more if I’d had more berries in the fridge) made today’s workout worth it for me.
But even if you’re not trying to lose weight, the keto meal plans might appeal to you. By limiting sugars and processed grains, you lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating an array of heart-healthy fats, like nuts, olive oil and fish, can decrease your risk of heart disease. And while some people stick to a super strict keto diet, with 75 percent of their diet coming from fat, 20 percent from protein and just five from carbs, even a less intense, modified version can help you reap the keto diet’s benefits.
I am starting on low carbs as I have been advised that my body doesn’t deal well with carbs and I am at risk of diabetes. I also need to lose weight. I understand your principles of ‘doing the best you can’, avoiding processed foods etc, but wondered if there is a general rule of thumb to go by when reading food labels, such as aiming for food with no more than 2% carbs?
Some people on a keto or low carb diet choose to count total carbs instead of net carbs. This makes it more difficult to fit in more leafy greens and low carb vegetables (which are filled with fiber), so you should only try that if you don’t get results with a net carb method. And, start with reducing sugar alcohols and low carb treats before deciding to do a “total carbs” method.
A low-carb diet can be extremely effective for dropping excess fat, and studies show it may also help reduce the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes. As it eliminates foods we have a tendency to overeat (can you say bread basket?), you end up saving calories. And since carbs spike blood sugar, you'll have more stabilized blood glucose levels, too.

This is the only way my kids will eat Brussels sprouts! It’s actually great for me because this dish is fast, easy and healthy, and it makes a lovely side. Quick-cooking Brussels sprout halves are available in the prepackaged salad aisle at the grocery store. They’re a timesaver if you can find them, but you can always just buy whole ones and slice them in half. —Teri Rasey, Cadillac, Michigan
Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?

Hi there Libby, just to let you and your readers know, I have been low carb for over a year now, ( sometimes I fall down and have processed carbs, mostly when I am travelling away from home) and the good news is I was diabetic, and now I am pre-diabetic, which is huge :O) I have also lost a small amount of weight in the process ( still more to go :O) but this eating plan makes me feel normal again, not always hungry, and I am a lot healthier than I was :O) now all I need to do is make exercise a habit :O) So thank you so much for all the time and energy you put in to this site, and all of these wonderful recipes :O)
Hi Libby. Re foods to eat. Still a newbie and exploring all this. Re the foods for example cocnut cream- is there a specific brand or type you,should buy? Same with butter and meats- re grass fed versus grain fed. Coconut oil- is there ones you should or shouldn’t use brand wise. Lchf site says grass fed meat and butter. Does it have to say organic on the butter. Labelling is really bad in regards to this. And your cheeses- re Brie for,example- are they all they same or are there certain ones of them you have to buy ? This goes for all cheese that you can have to- are there ones better for you than others?

Sugar and flour – if you give up these 2 things, you will improve your health, weight and nutrition beyond belief. People may say it is restrictive and you are giving up entire food groups, but what you are giving up is food products. It is only because flour and sugar are made into so many products that it appears to be restrictive. Even just 10 years ago, these products weren’t available. Supermarkets looked very different from how they do now.
Weekends can be difficult if you are surrounded by others not eating this way, or eating out. Take little bags of nuts with you, cubes of cheese, slices of deli meat, squares of dark chocolate or go for creamy coffees, they tend to keep me full for hours. When eating out, go for simple dishes such as steak and blue cheese with veggies, salads but no croutons, think meat’n’veg and no sauces is an easy way to continue when out. Some cafes sell frittatas with no pastry, quiche, etc. Even if you buy a huge meat and salad wrap then deconstruct it and eat the filling is another good option. Once you start getting the idea, you can adapt most things. Good luck Shireen 🙂
Hi I’m only new to LCHF and you’re information has been amazing, thank you! I have one question though I’m doing well cutting out sugar, breads etc but just wondering do I need to portion control my meals? Typically I have a 2 egg one letter with cheese, spinach and mushrooms for breakfast. Then warm chicken salad with rocket, cucumber, tomatoes, Persia fetta and a poaxhed egg. Dinner yellow curry with brocoli, carrot on cauliflower rice. Snack a low carb cheesecake, nuts maybe a smoothie.
Hi Mel, Assuming that your ranch dressing doesn’t have sugar added, you don’t need to worry too much about limiting it, but within reason. This is my homemade ranch dressing recipe, which has 0.9g net carbs per 2-tbsp serving. It would be hard to find a store bought one with much less than that, even though some round anything less than 1g down to 0g, which isn’t truly accurate. Also, keep in mind that if weight loss is your goal, some people find that too much dairy can cause a stall. Finally, make sure you aren’t using all your “available” carbs on ranch dressing – have it with some low carb veggies!
I know you posted a few months ago, but I thought I would reply just incase its still relevant. After having a daughter who LOVES veges, I then had my son who at a year old suddenly refused veges. It was getting so bad he would make himself throw it up if we forced him. But we kept on going trying everything we could while getting extremely frustrated (While also being told by everyone he was too small and sickly (Which he always was but got worse when he stopped eating the veges)
Hi Libby, I have been trying to find my way within the LCHF world for a few months and I am just not winning .. I eat a good hearty breakfast and a cup of coffee with cream and I’m good for the day till dinner when i’ll have a salad with chicken or steak .. most days my meals don’t vary (i’m easy that way).. problem is the weight is maintained and I’m just lost 🙁 please would you assist me .. anything would be appreciated 🙂
Hi Kelly, All packaged foods will have a nutrition label that list the macros per serving, including fat, protein and cabrohydrates. Net carbs, which is what most people look at for low carb and keto, are total carbs (the amount on the label) minus fiber and sugar alcohols, as explained in the article above. I have a low carb food list here that gives you a full list of all the foods you can eat, and the net carbs in each. You can also sign up above to be notified about the meal plans, which are a great way to get started.

We are home from our spring break getaway, and I am excited to get back into the kitchen and cook for my family. After a week of mostly eating out, a yucky virus that spread to 3/4 kids, and eating off plan having the predictably of a meal plan is what I need to get back on track. Recently, I slimmed down the weekly keto meal plans to dinner only, to be more intentional with my time. I have a considerable keto/low carb recipe index with tons of ideas for easy meals if you need further inspiration for low carb breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipes.


I personally don’t count anymore as I want this to be as easy and sustainable as possible. I have had years of counting calories and points, and this is incredibly liberating. I just don’t eat any sugars, grains or high carb foods any more so I am incredibly low carb all the time. When I was starting out I counted, just to see where my carbs were coming from and it was an eye opener. And yes you are correct, to go into ketosis anywhere between 20-50g carbs/day. Find out what works for you.
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