It may seem like the internet is constantly buzzing about the reported health benefits of the keto diet, but it's important to acknowledge that the diet can have some consequences for your health if it's done incorrectly. To avoid unwanted keto fails, we spoke to experts about fixable keto-diet mistakes to keep in mind if you're serious about giving the diet a try.
There are three kinds of ketones, and the urine is only tested for acetoacetate. As you switch to the more efficient fat-burning process, you convert that acetoacetate to beta-hydroxybutyrate. So, yes, your test can show negative or zero ketones. Look at other factors. Are you losing weight? Are you feeling good? If you’re doing 20 grams net carbs a day or less, you’re going to be in ketosis, no matter what.
A: The amount of weight you lose is entirely dependent on you. Obviously adding exercise to your regimen will speed up your weight loss. Cutting out things that are common “stall” causes is also a good thing. Artificial sweeteners, dairy, wheat products and by-products (wheat gluten, wheat flours, and anything with an identifiable wheat product in it).
But the real reason why keto plans fail most of us is that they're not sustainable for the long term. Holidays, vacations, work functions … there's likely at least one scenario in which you'll find yourself eating higher-carb foods. And the same reasons why we see immediate weight loss on carb-restricted diets is the same reason why we see immediate weight gain after adding a seemingly harmless sandwich back into the mix: The water weight comes back instantly with glycogen storage.
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.
The less frequent the meals, the more protein you will need per meal. What happens as you eat fewer meals is that your body will compensate. That is, you’ll lose less protein and become more efficient at using it. If you consume two meals per day, the average protein per meal could be 7 to 8 ounces. If you have one meal per day, the total daily protein amount could be 9 ounces.
Don’t let the kiddie lunchbox aesthetic fool you—these dehydrated little nuggets might look like they come from a children’s book, but there’s nothing made up about their magic. Whether you’re fiending for the pepper jack, gouda, or cheddar, they’re all shelf-stable, low-carb, high in protein and calcium, delightfully crispy, naturally gluten-free, and super fun to eat. Why? They’re just cheese!
A lot of conflicting information has been circulated about the consumption of fat. People are sometimes concerned that adding fat to their diets will cause them to gain weight. This is not necessarily the case. Fat is a neutral food when it comes to insulin. It is also satisfying. Fat makes you feel full longer to help with intermittent fasting (IF).
That’s why you’ll find snacks of all flavors — salty, sweet, and savory — in this keto snack recipe roundup. There are grab-and-go options, as well as keto snacks requiring some preparation and cooking. We’re willing to bet that they’re in fact so tasty, you’ll forget you’re on a diet. All the while, these keto snacks will keep you going strong in ketosis — that uber fat-burning state you’re aiming for as your body shifts from burning carbs to fats for fuel.
While healthy fats are a keto mainstay, they're not the only thing you need: "It's important to make sure you're getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients when observing the keto diet," Sugiuchi explains. Seaweed snacks, she says, are a salty and crunchy way to score some extra nutrients and can satisfy any crunchy/salty/carby cravings.
Each meal you have to judge how much fat you need. If you’re really battling a high appetite/high craving day or week, you might want to add more fat, especially at breakfast to trim your appetite throughout the day and enable you to go longer without cravings and hunger. Ketosis in general suppresses your appetite, so your hunger will be greatly reduced. You're going to be able to go many hours without eating. So let the hunger dictate how much fat you eat. If you're not hungry, cut down on the fat and go a little bit lighter. You might need a little bit more fat sometimes, but don't go crazy, because that's going to slow you down.
Saturated fat is not harmful in the context of a low carb diet. This study from Johns Hopkins Medical School confirms this. The ketogenic diet plan is healthier because the higher saturated fat intake increases your HDL cholesterol, and at the same time, a lower carb intake decreases your triglycerides levels. These two factors are the major markers for heart disease, and the closer your triglyceride/HDL ratio is to 1, the healthier your heart. In reality, the cause of heart disease is a chronically high carbohydrate consumption, not a high saturated fat and cholesterol intake. I think the best way to learn this is to get a full blood test before you start a ketogenic diet plan, then do the diet faithfully for 3 months. Then have your blood work checked again. You'll see the difference and discover how much better you feel.
Janie, We haven’t made this recipe in the oven, but yes, we think it would work well! Here’s how we would do it: 1) crisp the bacon on the stovetop; 2) for step 2 in the recipe above, add all ingredients to a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish, cover it with foil, and bake it at 350F until the chicken is fully cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes (the chicken should not be pink in the center, and it should shred easily with a fork); 3) remove and shred the chicken; 4) stir the shredded chicken into the creamy sauce along with the cheddar cheese; 5) top with bacon and scallion and serve. If you give it a try, please let us know how it goes!
When you’re eating the foods that get you there (more on that in a minute), your body can enter a state of ketosis in one to three days, she adds. During the diet, the majority of calories you consume come from fat, with a little protein and very little carbohydrates. Ketosis also happens if you eat a very low-calorie diet — think doctor-supervised, only when medically recommended diets of 600 to 800 total calories.
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!
Con: Results can vary depending on how much fluid you drink. By drinking more water, you dilute the concentration of ketones in the urine and thus a lower level of ketones will be detected on the strips. The strips don’t show a precise ketone level. Finally, and most importantly, as you become increasingly keto-adapted and your body reabsorbs ketones from the urine, urine strips may become unreliable, even if you’re in ketosis.
I get many questions about intermittent fasting, the health benefits, the weight loss benefits, and the like. People normally use intermittent fasting for both the energy and mental clarity it can offer. But it’s not just good for that. It can offer breakthroughs of plateaus and even benefits in nutrient uptake in exercise. We go more in depth to intermittent fasting in Week 3 and 4, so keep your eyes peeled!
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.
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.
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.1There are scientifically-backed studies that show the advantage of a low-carb, ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet. One meta-analysis of low-carbohydrate diets showed a large advantage in weight loss. The New England Journal of Medicine study resulted in almost double the weight loss in a long-term study on ketone inducing diets.