You mentioned ketone strips. If they are the urine strips they are useful to see if you are in ketosis, fat burning mode, but be aware they are not completely accurate but are a good guide to how you are doing. The blood strips are way too expensive but more accurate. I have a blood glucose monitor and went through a phase of testing to see how I react to dairy, protein, cream, coffee etc. I rarely do it now as I want this way of eating to be as simple as possible, but again, a useful tool starting out.
While some low-carb diets allow for the carbohydrates found in plant-based foods, others restrict them almost entirely — namely, the ultra-trendy ketogenic diet. Since these foods contain the highest amount of water and dietary fiber, it's crucial to consider both the short-term side effects (constipation) and the long-term ones (increased risk of GI cancers and decreased immune function).
In the plainest of terms: These simple sugars fuel our organs. While protein, fat and carbs break down into smaller molecules to provide energy, glucose (the simplest sugar molecule) is the preferred source. Our very smart and energy-saving bodies do everything in their power to provide enough glucose to get stuff done, including using fat and protein when necessary.
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.)
Low-carb diets, especially very low-carb diets, may lead to greater short-term weight loss than do low-fat diets. But most studies have found that at 12 or 24 months, the benefits of a low-carb diet are not very large. A 2015 review found that higher protein, low-carbohydrate diets may offer a slight advantage in terms of weight loss and loss of fat mass compared with a normal protein diet.
Bread, pasta, potatoes, sugar etc. There is no nutritional value in these foods. You may argue that there are fibre and B group vitamins, true, but you gain so much more fibre and vitamins by increasing your vegetable intake and stopping the leaky gut that wheat creates which also reduces your vitamin/nutrient absorption. There is no known bread or pasta deficiency in medicine!
There is extensive evidence for the benefit of the Mediterranean style low carb diet, including cutting your risk of heart disease and diabetes. It has even been found to reduce risk the risk of breast cancer, compared with those on a low-fat diet. Consuming extra virgin olive oil (the fresh squeezed juice of olives) seems to be particularly beneficial when it comes to cancer, perhaps because it contains compounds such as polyphenols which are known to be anti-inflammatory.
Which leads us to your personality. You need to be VERY strong willed to follow this diet. It follows very strict rules and you need to be able to commit to this. It makes it hard to eat out with friends or eat with friends in general. It’s hard to find food that fits this diet in common restaurants, but and this takes us to the next point, your health goals might be more important.
Keto recipes that include nachos?! Oh yes. You’ll begin by making the fat head tortilla chips first. Did I mention you’ll use two types of cheese for this step? Delicious. Next, you’ll load them up with a meaty sauce and finish them off with your favorite toppings, like guac, salsa or sour cream. While these make a delicious keto snack, they’re frankly filling enough to share as a meal.
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.
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 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?
Good Morning – I am a subscriber of your newsletter/updates. I recently joined WW on-line and recently have been very sick. BP started to rise, something I have never had to worry about, hopefully the medication. Any way, my doctor suggested low carb/atkins diet to jumpstart my need to lose 30 lbs. All is so confusing!!! I have cancelled my WW subscription, not doing well with that and really can’t afford to continue. Anyway, what is the difference in your plan and Atkins. As I said, all confusing. Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks!

If you aren’t already following my Easy Keto/Low Carb Recipe Page on Facebook where I post all my new recipes, you can join here and follow me on Pinterest here. If you are just getting started following a keto diet and would like more information, there are tons of fantastic resources. Amazon has several excellent books you may want to check out here. It’s all about learning what works best for you and your family.
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.
Take a break from breakfast: If you’re not hungry, feel free to skip breakfast and just have coffee (with some milk if you want it). Many people find that within a few days of eating low-carb, high-fat meals, cravings and hunger decrease significantly. This can make it easy to skip a meal, perhaps especially breakfast. Skipping a meal is cheap, fast, and might increase the diet’s effectiveness for weight loss and diabetes. See intermittent fasting
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 🙂
Anyone who's dieted knows how demoralizing it feels when you've been working so hard to lose weight, only to watch it come back even faster than it went away. Since it's only human nature to feel so darn defeated, we can't help but kick ourselves and say "I give up!" That leads us right back to where we started: diving head first into the bread basket and eating way more than half of our calories from carbs per day.
What a great post. I thought i would add about the selection of food you eat on keto and that everyone is different. Some food gives you energy and some doesnt, this varies person to person. I started and quit keto 3 times before i managed to find my balance. The first few times it made be poorly, from the shock of diet change. However, you can wean yourself into the diet which i did the last time when i had the most success.

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.
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?
Hi, I’m still a bit skeptical, I have seen some of my friends do the keto diet, and have had good results. Though I am still not sure about the idea of the fats being eaten. They say they eat meat with the fat and must do so, is this correct? Also isn’t this not good for the body especially for the kidneys? Second, can a diabetic do this diet? There are many questions running through my head.
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