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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.)
The Mediterranean-style low carb diet approach, which we recommend in The Blood Sugar Diet, is a low sugar diet, low in starchy, easily digestible carbs, but packed full of disease-fighting vitamins and flavonoids. It is rich in olive oil, fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables, but also contains lots of lovely things that down the years we have been told not to eat, such as full fat yoghurt and eggs.
The Mediterranean-style low carb diet approach, which we recommend in The Blood Sugar Diet, is a low sugar diet, low in starchy, easily digestible carbs, but packed full of disease-fighting vitamins and flavonoids. It is rich in olive oil, fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables, but also contains lots of lovely things that down the years we have been told not to eat, such as full fat yoghurt and eggs.
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)
"Your body will often shift metabolism when you do something different to it -- but it equalizes -- you see a rapid shift and a return to normal -- and the longer-term studies show normal results in this area," says Sondike. Still, he tells WebMD it's a "smart idea" to take a calcium supplement beginning at the start of your low-carb diet to safeguard against a possible deficiency. Tofu can also be a good source of calcium.
Hi, just found your site, and it seems very helpful so far, so Thank you! I quit smoking a year and a half ago, and have subsequently gained 35 pounds, although I needed to lose a bit before that. (Too much wine, sugar and carbs)! I also have entered peri-menopause, which has wreaked havoc on my energy level and sleep. I am targeting a 55 pound weight loss, and luckily my husband has jumped on board so I don’t have to be purchasing/cooking different things for him.
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?
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 🙂

I am grateful for stumbling upon this website…I think my biggest challenge will be removing my favorite International Delight Coffee creamer from my daily cup of coffee…I can do that gradually. I am glad that you stress “STRIVE FOR IMPROVEMENT, NOT PERFECTION”…that’s real life. I do have weight loss goals but my main goal is to avoid Type 2 diabetes. Thankfully I have been working out regularly since the beginning of the year. Again many thanks I will be visiting your site often. God Bless you!
Low-carb diets may help prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In fact, almost any diet that helps you shed excess weight can reduce or even reverse risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Most weight-loss diets — not just low-carb diets — may improve blood cholesterol or blood sugar levels, at least temporarily.
Some keto cookies or a keto brownie can certainly be delicious, but if you’re looking for a dessert that’s a little more interesting, then you have to try this chocolate chia pudding! I love chia seeds for a number of reasons. They’re high in antioxidants, vitamins such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, Omega-3 ALA, dietary fiber and even protein. So, while this dish feels like a dessert, you’re receiving plenty of necessary nutrients. Enjoy guilty-free!
Have a hamburger but not the bread bun, load it up with veggies and cheese. Instead of a sandwich, have the fillings on a salad or wrapped in nori (seaweed) sheet, wrapped in slices of ham or other deli meats. And instead of cheesecake with a biscuit base and sugar-laden filling, have a base made of ground almonds topped with cream, cream cheese, and berry filling.
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.
Hi, I buy my raw, grain free cat food from http://www.naturalpetstore.com.au. Their dehydrated raw food (with all the yucky bits that they need) literally saved my kitty’s life after we accidentally poisoned her with a Yucca plant. 4 vets were useless (wanted to operate or change her diet to their grain filled products). She had never had grains so I wasn’t about to start. I also gave her digestive enzymes which I think Deb at natural pet foods now stocks.
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)
I am grateful for stumbling upon this website…I think my biggest challenge will be removing my favorite International Delight Coffee creamer from my daily cup of coffee…I can do that gradually. I am glad that you stress “STRIVE FOR IMPROVEMENT, NOT PERFECTION”…that’s real life. I do have weight loss goals but my main goal is to avoid Type 2 diabetes. Thankfully I have been working out regularly since the beginning of the year. Again many thanks I will be visiting your site often. God Bless you!
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.
The link above is a video to my YouTube channel that helps understand Phase 2 of the Atkins diet or low-carb lifestyle I want to thank whomever is in charge of doing this website because I found a lot of information on here to be quite useful and I appreciate the fact that we can open up and share our ideas with each other I recently lost over a hundred pounds doing this and I just want to show other people with it also I have a Facebook group called healthy living for a healthy life so come join and check this out I wish everybody luck on this adventure of losing weight and becoming more healthy have a beautiful day thanks again
The Mediterranean-style low carb diet approach, which we recommend in The Blood Sugar Diet, is a low sugar diet, low in starchy, easily digestible carbs, but packed full of disease-fighting vitamins and flavonoids. It is rich in olive oil, fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables, but also contains lots of lovely things that down the years we have been told not to eat, such as full fat yoghurt and eggs.
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 🙂
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.
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!

I would agree with many, but not all of your points. “Fat and carbs don’t make us fat. It’s only processed fat (vegetable oil) and processed carbs (white flour and added sugar) in processed foods (foods with more than one ingredient) that inherently lead to overeating and weight gain.” I have also said this throughout my website and one of the biggest myths I try to bust is that we are not NO carb we are LOW carb. By removing processed food from our daily diet, we almost become low carb by default. Nutrient dense, low-carb whole foods are encouraged but not to be overdone. Lower carb diets reduce insulin resistance and inflammation. Lower carb diets, with healthy fats, gives a better blood lipid profile and lower TG which is the best predictor of heart health. There are so many benefits from eating nutrient dense lower carb whole foods.
Super low carb or Carb free are the only diet that worked me and it was HARD…I became a raging beast during the 1st 2 weeks. But for 3 months straight, I lost about 30lbs. Unfortunately my weight all came back and then some when I started going back to school and eating carbs again due to stress and lack of prepping ahead of time. Now I definitely want to go back and stay low carb as much as possible. Reading this is helping to motivate me 🙂 thank you.
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?
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.
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.
Hi, just found your site, and it seems very helpful so far, so Thank you! I quit smoking a year and a half ago, and have subsequently gained 35 pounds, although I needed to lose a bit before that. (Too much wine, sugar and carbs)! I also have entered peri-menopause, which has wreaked havoc on my energy level and sleep. I am targeting a 55 pound weight loss, and luckily my husband has jumped on board so I don’t have to be purchasing/cooking different things for him.

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)
Well, I am going to give this another try. I have great difficulty in eating greens , or drinking them, also I am not fond of fats, years and years of low fat diets have totally screwed my metabolism,and taste buds. I will read this page every day to keep my mind focused. Start tomorrow when I get up …… I work nights which can cause me problems as well. When I tried this diet before, I got terrible cramp, now I realise I wasn’t drinking enough water. Anyway.here goes.
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