Severely restricting carbohydrates to less than 0.7 ounces (20 grams) a day can result in a process called ketosis. Ketosis occurs when you don't have enough sugar (glucose) for energy, so your body breaks down stored fat, causing ketones to build up in your body. Side effects from ketosis can include nausea, headache, mental and physical fatigue, and bad breath.
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.)
I’ve seen young body-builder types with grocery trolleys full of eggs, cans of tuna, lean beef and especially skinless/boneless chicken breasts – so I adopted that habit about 5 months ago. 2 or 3 eggs for breakfast, sometimes with cheese or bacon, a can of tuna with carb-free herbs for lunch, and then a steak or big chicken breast or even some meat-only hot dogs for dinner. I don’t purposely eat more fat than necessary, mostly because the calories are not needed. I have not been hungry AT ALL, even when sitting down to eat. No temptation to “cheat”, either. Result? I am approaching 100 pounds lost (not proud of being THAT fat, believe me) , blood pressure dropped from 170/100 to 122/80, acid reflux totally gone, any joint pain banished, and a closet full of clothes I can wear once again.
Keep up electrolytes. The major electrolytes in our bodies are sodium, potassium and magnesium. Because a low carb diet (especially a keto diet!) reduces the amount of water you store, this can flush out electrolytes and make you feel sick (called “keto flu”). This is temporary, but you can avoid or eliminate it by salting your food liberally, drinking broth (especially bone broth), and eating pickled vegetables. Some people also choose to take supplements for electrolytes, but it’s best to first consult a doctor that understands and supports keto/low carb lifestyles.
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.
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. 

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.)
Little known fact: Carbs are actually in almost everything we eat, but in very trace amounts. Let's start with some basic biochemistry: Dietary carbs are made up of sugar molecules called saccharides. Saccharides break down in order to be digested and absorbed in your body, where they are responsible for literally everything: metabolism, tissue and organ function, even the synapses your brain is firing right now!
Hi Gigi, Low carb and keto is about the balance of macronutrients eaten (fat, protein and carbs), not specifically meat or lack thereof. Most people on keto do eat meat, though some people do vegetarian keto. Fat is actually necessary for many body processes. There is no issue for the kidneys with a high fat diet, but if you eat too much protein that isn’t great for the kidneys. It’s a common misconception that keto is high protein (it isn’t). Keto is great for diabetics as it naturally helps stabilize insulin. All of this being said, please know I’m not a doctor and you should consult your doctor on any medical questions or before starting any diet. If you have more questions that aren’t medical questions, I recommend our low carb & keto support group here.

You made me smile with the food leper reference. Love it. As for snacks, there is a page here and here to look at and here is my snack finder. Boiled eggs, avocados, pork crackling, nuts, fat bombs, calamari, granola bars, cold meats … I hope these give you some ideas. Eventually the goal is to stop snacking, but in theme time, these might help you out.


Hi Stacey, I can’t give medical advice and definitely recommend following your doctor’s recommendations. You can ask him/her if low carb would be better suited for you. Also, you may want to double check with him/her if the kidney concern was related to high protein, because that is a common misconception about keto – it is not a high protein diet/lifestyle.
The easiest place to start: Try GH's SuperCarb Diet, which includes starchy veggies, fruit and 100% whole grains. These plant-based foods will help with long-term weight loss and contribute to a lower risk of chronic disease. Remember: Filling up on nutrient-dense foods with a little bit of indulgence now and again is key to losing weight for the long run — not temporary quick fixes!

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?
Lunch: pat dry chicken and cut into cubes. Lightly (!) salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium heat, once hot add coconut oil and fry chicken cubes until brown from all sides. Remove chicken, and add crushed garlic, curry paste and fish sauce to pan. Stir until fragrant and remaining oil in pan and curry paste are well combined. Then add coconut milk and whisk until well combined. Simmer and reduce sauce until desired consistency (1-3 minutes). Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with baby spinach.
You made me smile with the food leper reference. Love it. As for snacks, there is a page here and here to look at and here is my snack finder. Boiled eggs, avocados, pork crackling, nuts, fat bombs, calamari, granola bars, cold meats … I hope these give you some ideas. Eventually the goal is to stop snacking, but in theme time, these might help you out.
Low-carb diets may improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglyceride values slightly more than do moderate-carb diets. That may be due not only to how many carbs you eat but also to the quality of your other food choices. Lean protein (fish, poultry, legumes), healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and unprocessed carbs — such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products — are generally healthier choices.
Hi Stacey, I can’t give medical advice and definitely recommend following your doctor’s recommendations. You can ask him/her if low carb would be better suited for you. Also, you may want to double check with him/her if the kidney concern was related to high protein, because that is a common misconception about keto – it is not a high protein diet/lifestyle.
Hi I’m new to Keto. I have been reading about it, and understanding what to eat and what not to eat. My problem is I’m not sure if I’m doing it correctly. I’m constantly hungry whereas information reads that I will never be hungry. I use fats as required along with topping up with vegetables in my meals yet this does not fill me up. I haven’t experienced the Keto flu and I’ve even put on weight! I have been doing this for about 3 weeks now. Any ideas where I am going wrong.
Good question. There is no doubt that grass fed, free range, organic is best but it is simply out of the price range of so many. What is more important to start with is to eat real whole food as best as you can find. I certainly don’t buy organic all the time. Do what you can when you can. It is more important to change from cereals to eggs rather then getting hung up on a perfect source of egg. Take a look at my food brands page. It needs updating as I change brands all the time as I find better ones, but is helpful. I really try and make this as easy on ourselves as we can. We shouldn’t need a degree in nutrition to eat well. Some sites complicate things far too much. My motto is “do the best you can as often as you can”. I agree, labels are pretty poor and not standardised (net vs total carbs for example). Good luck 🙂

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 Kristy, that is great that you have discovered us and you have a LCHF nutritionist on board. You are ahead of the game already! This will be an exciting time ahead for you as you will really learn so much about nutrition and your health. You will discover new ways to cook, which will eventually become your new favourites. You will lose weight and gain so much energy. You will also lose that constant feeling of guilt associated with eating, which is what I had. Eat too much, feel guilty, eat less, then overeat because you’re starving, feel guilty, and so the cycle continues. My weight has remained below my weight watchers goal for 2 years now without counting a single thing, how refreshing and healthy. You will gain control of your appetite and actually want to eat nutritious foods. Wheat and sugary foods no longer appeal (this is from me who used to buy 5kg bags of flour for my baking).
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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