We all know fat is more filling than carbs, but every now and then you get a hankering for something to snack on and you NEED some low carb snacks. Whether it’s salty, sweet or frosty, we all need a moment to enjoy something in between meals. Being on a diet shouldn’t mean all snacks are thrown out the window, being on a diet means learning what your body needs and how to best provide for it. If your body is craving something salty, there are ways of indulging without setting yourself back. There are ways of eating even brownies and cakes that won’t undo all your progress.
Diarrhea can also be due to a lack of fiber in the diet, says Kizer, which can happen when someone cuts way back on carbs (like whole-grain bread and pasta) and doesn’t supplement with other fiber-rich foods, like vegetables. It can also be caused by an intolerance to dairy or artificial sweeteners—things you might be eating more of since switching to a high-fat, low-carb lifestyle.
Therein lies the problem, of course. You can’t just walk in to any store or restaurant and grab yourself some keto snacks. We are making progress on that front, for sure, but we’ve still got a ways to go. While there are a number of decent store-bought options like cheese, nuts, and hard-boiled eggs, there are potential pitfalls everywhere. Like beef jerky, which can often contain a startling amount of sugar and carbs.
We understand that you may not have time to track all your macros, which is why we include the macros with each keto recipe. However, try grabbing a handful of almonds for a keto snack and realizing even a big handful is over a "serving size" and greater than 200 calories. If you are using the keto diet for weight loss, this may not fit into your macros of 1200-1500 calories per day.
Insulin triggers include carbohydrates, sugars, excessive protein. Also, every time you eat, you trigger insulin – unless you eat fat only. Combining certain foods, in fact, really spikes insulin, such as combining protein with sugars—so meat with bread, meats with sugary condiments like ketchup, barbeque sauce, sweet chili sauce and chicken fingers—these are deadly for the blood sugar and really spike insulin like birthday cake. Also, certain compounds in fast food really spike insulin, especially MSG, which is added to all kinds of fast foods, not just Asian food.
What's more, it's especially important to make sure your diet is well-planned when you're eating keto-style, because the foods you can choose from are limited. In addition to checking in with a dietitian if you're able, Stefanski recommends that you "talk to your doctor and make sure she or he is aware that you'll be starting a diet that completely changes how your body metabolizes energy." You might also want to check your most recent bloodwork levels for things such as cholesterol, vitamin D, and other indicators of health because these can change while on keto. That's because for some people, a prolonged keto diet can result in certain nutritional deficiencies or even high cholesterol. But most experts will tell you that the ketogenic diet is not a permanent lifestyle change (as could be the case for something like the 80/20 approach to eating or a Mediterranean eating style).
Although many hypotheses have been put forward to explain how the ketogenic diet works, it remains a mystery. Disproven hypotheses include systemic acidosis (high levels of acid in the blood), electrolyte changes and hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose). Although many biochemical changes are known to occur in the brain of a patient on the ketogenic diet, it is not known which of these has an anticonvulsant effect. The lack of understanding in this area is similar to the situation with many anticonvulsant drugs.
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. Insulin levels become very low, and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
I should note that I fully believe the key to success on a keto diet is to be prepared. If you precook your meals, you are setting yourself up for success. You are only choosing to do keto once a week when you prepare your food. If you have no keto food at your house and its 9 pm on a Wednesday, then you are just asking to revert back to something easy like chinese food or pizza. However, if all you need to do is pull a premade meal out of the fridge and microwave it, you are much better off. Make sure to pick up some rugged, microwaveable containers to store your food. Now then, lets get started!
"I recommend designing the meal around the fat and protein sources, since the carbohydrates are very limited. For example, if someone is having tuna for lunch, they may consider adding mayo to it. I also think a common mistake made on the diet, is individuals focus on reducing carbohydrates, but they do not increase their fat adequately. This may make it difficult to go into ketosis, especially if they are consuming too much protein. Some adults can be on a stable ketogenic diet consuming 50 net carbs whereas some may need to restrict to 15 net carbs."
Potatoes and gravy are total comfort food — and luckily, there’s a keto version. These are made with cauliflower, which is quite low-carb, particularly when compared to potatoes. Made with cream, butter, rosemary and parmesan, this mash is creamy, full of flavor and smooth. You’ll finish it all off with a stock-based gravy, that would be perfect on a roast, too.
"Plenty of people jump right in, thinking all they have to do is cut carbs and increase fat. All of a sudden, they hit a wall and get 'keto flu.' They feel tired, lethargic, and experience headaches," Wittrock says. "The primary reason they get these symptoms is lack of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you're deficient in any of these, you'll suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet."
The wildly popular Crack Chicken is actually pretty simple in its ingredient list: chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, scallion, and Ranch seasoning! The end result is creamy and rich, and packed with flavor. It’s proof that a recipe doesn’t have to be complicated to taste great. Crack Chicken is deliciously addictive, which is where the name comes from.
Even if you are starting a ketogenic diet plan for weight loss purposes, don't focus on your weight. Don't weigh yourself every day. Your weight can vary between 2-4 pounds each day because of changes in water intake and absorption. You won't be able to track any fat loss accurately on a daily basis, and the fluctuations will make you crazy if you focus on them. Instead, weigh yourself once a week, or keep track of your body measurements to track your progress. Better yet, focus on the health benefits and the long term health changes that come with eating a low carb diet. Knowing that you are greatly improving your health is a powerful reason to stay with a ketogenic diet plan, even if you don't lose any weight. I discuss in more depth the health benefits of a ketogenic diet in this article published in the July/August issue of the Well Being Journal. I recommend getting a health check up and a blood panel test done just before starting the diet, so that you can track the effect of the change in your eating habits on your cholesterol, blood pressure, and other health markers. Four to eight weeks later, you can get another blood test done and see if there are improvements.
For another science-based resource on ketogenic diets, I highly recommend visiting the site that Raphael Sirtoli and his team over at Break Nutrition have put together. They have good content about low carb and ketogenic diets, and they offer more information on how to kick-start a ketogenic diet, measure your ketones and there's a great post on the benefits of ketogenic diets for inflammation.
Protein is the other type that can also prevent you from getting into ketosis IF it’s too high. It is generally recommended that you keep your protein intake between 3-6 ounces per meal. High-protein diets, as in the Atkins Diet, can keep you from getting into ketosis. This is because your liver can only process a certain amount of protein. Anything more than around 30 grams per meal will then be converted into glucose (sugar). So, ketosis is NOT a high protein diet. It is a moderate protein diet. We need some protein for supporting our structural body parts and their replacement. This includes muscle, joints, hair, nails, skin, and organs.
Debbie, Congrats on your weight loss, that’s awesome! We haven’t tried this recipe with bone-in chicken thighs, but if you want to use them to make this recipe we recommend cooking the thighs in the oven and then pulling the meat off the bone, shredded it, and mixing it with the sauce. The objective with this recipe is to cook the chicken (any way you like, poached, baked, grilled, or even rotisserie) until it can be shredded, and then mix the shredded chicken with the creamy sauce. To cook the creamy sauce on the stovetop, we recommend crisping the bacon in a saucepan and then removing it and adding the water and spices. Once the water is simmering, add the cream cheese a bit at a time (slightly softened would probably work best), whisking until it’s incorporated. Cooked this way, you may need to add a splash more liquid (water or broth, if you prefer) to the sauce, because some of the liquid will evaporate off as the cream cheese melts down. Finally, stir in the cooked shredded chicken and shredded cheddar, and serve! If you try it this way, please let us know how it goes!
Some athletes swear by the ketogenic diet, not just for weight loss but for improved performance in their sport, as well. But Edward Weiss, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, doesn’t buy it. “I hear cyclists say all the time that they’re faster and better now that they’re on keto, and my first question is, 'Well, how much weight did you lose?'” he says.
"Sunflower seeds are a great snack option whether you follow a keto diet or not," says registered dietitian Katey Davidson, M.S., R.D. Although all sunflower seeds are an excellent source of healthy unsaturated fats, protein, and vitamin E, many companies use flavorings to season their products which can be high in both salt and sugar, says Davidson. She recommends Terrasoul Superfoods because they aren't flavored or salted. And with only 6 grams of carbs and 1 gram of sugar (per one 1/4 cup), you won't have to worry about these seeds throwing you out of your hard-earned ketosis. However, Davidson says you'll want to aim to eat just a handful of seeds, which is considered a serving. (Related: This keto smoothie recipe is delicious even without a ton of fruit.)
One downside to a ketogenic diet for weight loss is the difficulty maintaining it. “Studies show that weight loss results from being on a low-carb diet for more than 12 months tend to be the same as being on a normal, healthy diet,” says Mattinson. While you may be eating more satiating fats (like peanut butter, regular butter, or avocado), you’re also way more limited in what’s allowed on the diet, which can make everyday situations, like eating dinner with family or going out with friends, far more difficult. Because people often find it tough to sustain, it’s easy to rely on it as a short-term diet rather than a long-term lifestyle.