My 5 Low-Carb Mistakes And How Nutritional Ketosis Rescued Me From Them

My 5 Low-Carb Mistakes And How Nutritional Ketosis Rescued Me From ThemIn my previous CarbSmart column, I explained the distinction between the traditional low carb Atkins diet millions of people have used to lose weight and regain health and the revolutionary concept of nutritional ketosis. You may be hearing a lot about nutritional ketosis this year due to the influence of a fantastic new book by low-carbohydrate diet researchers Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Stephen Phinney called The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.

I’ve been doing my own n=1 experiment of nutritional ketosis since May 2012 updating my blog regarding this every 30 days (read my four 30-day update posts: Day 1-30, Day 31-60, Day 61-90 and Day 91-120). Today I want to share 5 mistakes I was making in my own low-carb plan that prevented me from reaching the needed level of nutritional ketosis. Correcting these mistakes has helped me effortlessly shed 50 pounds (and counting!) in less than five months. This is not a comprehensive list of the common low carb mistakes. However, these are worth a closer look if you are struggling with your weight and health goals. You might just be surprised!

1. Consuming too much protein.

oven fried chickenWhat?! But I thought a low carb diet was supposed to be “high-protein!” We hear this a lot, don’t we? The reality is that a well-formulated low-carb diet is actually high in FAT, not protein. I bet you never thought that protein could hinder your weight loss – but it can. Why? Here’s the word: GLUCONEOGENESIS! When you consume excess protein, your liver transforms it into glucose (sugar). If you are eating a bunch of lean meats like chicken breasts, turkey and lower-fat cuts of beef or pork, you might be defeating the purpose of your low carb lifestyle. Try choosing fattier cuts of meat and controlling the absolute amount of protein you are eating – I aim for 12% of my total calorie intake – to see how that impacts your blood ketone levels.

2. Using urine ketone testing sticks to measure ketosis.

ketone test stripsThis is a biggie! Low-carbers have long relied on urine ketone test sticks (Ketostix) to detect the level of acetoacetate the body is excreting. Watching the sticks magically turn light pink to dark purple has always fascinated low carb dieters, myself included, making them feel they are doing something constructive. It feels like a reward for our low-carb efforts. Unfortunately, these pee sticks are inexact. Further, they don’t measure the specific kind of ketones your body can use as fuel. As I learned in the Performance book, it’s better to test your blood for beta-hydroxybutyrate. This indicates whether or not you are keto-adapted, burning fat and ketones for fuel – the true essence of nutritional ketosis. You’re looking for a level between 0.5-3.0 millimolar for optimal fat loss and keto-adapted performance. You’ll need a blood ketone meter like the Precision Xtra from Abbott. The test strips vary in cost from $1-6; for example you can get them for $3.50/strip from this Canadian pharmacy. The information gained from measuring blood ketones instead of urine ketones is solid gold for knowing how well you are doing on your healthy low carb lifestyle!

3. Not eating enough dietary fat.

Butter - Dietary FatOne of the lingering effects of the low-fat propaganda machine over the past 3+ decades is the idea that dietary fat is harmful, that it will clog your arteries and make you fat. So it’s probably not surprising to hear that many who begin a low carb diet simultaneously cut their fat intake. They erroneously think that if low-carb is good, low-fat and low carb is perfect. That’s a fatal error in your attempts get into nutritional ketosis, staving off hunger and cravings. Even if you think you’re eating pretty high-fat you may need to ramp it up a bit. I’m eating around 85% of my calories from dietary fat during my n=1 experiment. It’s pretty simple to get there: consume butter, coconut oil, sour cream, cream cheese, full-fat meats and cheese, avocados, full-fat Greek yogurt and more! Get creative and don’t fear the fat. While you may not necessarily need to eat 85% of your calories in the form of fat, you’d be surprised how adding just a bit more fat to your diet can make all the difference in reaching therapeutic levels of nutritional ketosis, helping you shed pounds and gain the health benefits that come with it.

4. Eating too often/too much food.

Too much food too oftenAm I talking about calories on a low carb diet? Yes and no. Yes, it is indeed possible to eat beyond satiety and consume more food than you really need. But I’ve learned these past five months what happens to the body once you become keto-adapted: hunger is completely zapped, you “forget” to eat and you generally feel energized and alert while going many hours between meals. Your body is “eating” stored body fat all day long (as my friend Dr. Ron Rosedale would say) and your brain is fueled efficiently by the ketone bodies you are producing. I’ve fallen into a regular pattern of eating a calorie-sufficient meal with 85% fat, 12% protein and 3% carbohydrate, consuming high-quality, nutrient-dense real whole foods. This one meal can keep me satiated for upwards of 12-24 hours. As you can imagine, this period of spontaneous intermittent fasting helps naturally lower overall food and calorie consumption without the need for feeling miserably hungry between meals. Too many people habitually eat three full meals and two snacks daily because they always have. But if you allow your cultural paradigms about food to shift from eating by the clock to eating when hunger kicks in, you might be pleasantly surprised to see your blood ketones increase and healthy weight loss commence.

5. Failing to stabilize blood sugar levels.

Precision Xtra Blood Glucose & Blood Ketone MeterWhat does blood sugar have to do with nutritional ketosis? Why should you worry about your blood glucose levels if you’re not a diabetic? The reality is everyone should be using a glucometer – they’re available from any pharmacy or Walmart – to know exactly where they stand in their blood sugar numbers. (Listen to what Angela Ross shared with me about this in Episode 591 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast.) Keeping carbohydrate intake to your personal level of tolerance, moderating your protein intake to the best amount for your metabolic needs, and eating ample amounts of satiating fats will lower your fasting blood sugars down into the 80s and even the 70s. When I first began my blood ketone experiment, my fasting blood sugar was regularly in the upper 90s/lower 100s. Once I attained an average blood ketone level of 2.0 millimolar over a period of time, my blood sugars suddenly dropped to an ideal level. Normalized blood sugar has kept my hunger at bay, regulated my mood and given me a sense of well being not experienced with the rollercoaster ride that alternating hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia produce. Get blood sugar regulated and nutritional ketosis will be easier to attain – and conversely, nutritional ketosis will help you regulate your blood sugar.

Be encouraged! You are not alone if you’ve been struggling with your low carb program. Even those of us who have been doing this for many years are susceptible to low-carb mistakes that can can make all the difference to success. In my next CarbSmart column, I’ll be providing more practical details about specific changes you can make to your low carb diet and lifestyle to bring yourself into nutritional ketosis and experience the benefits you’ve been hearing about. Have you been making any of these mistakes in your low-carb lifestyle? What other mistakes have been hindering your low carb success? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Comments

  1. Jillian says

    Thank you Jimmy. I’m so looking forward to the rest of this series. The tips you offer to tweak my foods is incredibly valuable to me. What a great gift Dr.s Phinney & Volek have given us with this knowledge!

    • says

      THANKS for reading Jillian! And I’m so happy to hear you are finding great benefit to your healthy low-carb lifestyle from this information. Let me know how you’re doing!

  2. Janet Kenndy says

    Jimmy – awesome articles. I’m currently on SNAP and trying to follow all you guys. Can’t afford to buy all the strips to monitor, so your articles with additional info are just so important. I’m quietly out here gaining as much free insight as possible, and tweaking my LCHF diet. I am definitely getting too much protein and still trying to get over not being afraid of the good fats. #retrainingdifficult

  3. says

    Jimmy, thanks so much for this informative article! I’m so happy to hear you’re seeing results for your dedicated efforts!

    I can’t wait to try my own n=1 experiment as soon as I’m cleared to resume my low carb diet. I just finished surgery and am waiting impatiently for the green light.

    I’ve read your n=1 experiments with glee for your great success. I pray that this will be the answer for my slower than slow progress this year!!! Thanks for all you do for the low carb and Paleo communities Jimmy!

    Going to go play with Fitday now to see what 12% Protein, 3% Carbs and 85% Fat would look like for me!

  4. Susan says

    Another great article by you. The information you provided will certainly help me with getting healthier.
    Will you give me an example of what one meal would consist of?

  5. Carl says

    Great, Thanks

    Using ketostix I discovered that eating protein would kick me out of fat burning mode(ketosis) when doing the Atkins Diet. Eating protein resulted in the same effect that I would get when eating crabs. It didn’t have to be a lot of protein, a piece of chicken would do it.

    I am always telling people ” Eat Fat, its good for you!” and I always get the same response; you are crazy!! This Fat Phobia runs deep.

    • says

      Fat phobia, ironically, is probably the #1 reason why obesity and chronic disease is running so rampant. When you cut the fat, you inevitably increase protein and carbohydrates which are both insuligenic.

      • Dana says

        Not to mention the malnutrition you get from avoiding animal fats and animal foods generally, and then on top of that you are eating foods that further reduce your nutritional status.

  6. Paula says

    I’ve been following you for quite some time and am happy to see your recent success! I’ve been at a standstill for so long and felt like I’d tried everything. So after reading your blogs about nutritional ketosis I made some changes and am starting to see some results. You’re right about the protein; I suspect that’s been my problem for quite some time! The improvement in my mood is just amazin!! Lovin this LC- HIGH FAT approach. Gotta love the HWC!!!
    Thanks for everything you do Jimmy!
    Paula

  7. Kate says

    I’ve been listening to your podcasts Jimmy and am reading the Volek & Phinney book, so I would love to try nutritional ketosis. However, I have a question. I am 5’7″ 123-pound 39-year-old female (BMI 19). Is it safe/advisable for people like me who are not carrying a lot of extra fat to do a nutritional ketosis diet? If so, are there any tweaks to be made? Thanks for all the great advice!

    • says

      Thank you for your excellent question, Kate. Let me be very clear about something: Nutritional ketosis isn’t necessarily about weight loss. If you read the Performance book by Volek/Phinney, you see they are recommending nutritional ketosis to athletes for maximizing their athletic performance. READ THAT BOOK for sure where they explain that even people with low body fat can benefit from accessing stored body fat for fuel. Appreciate your question!

    • Kate R says

      Another Kate in the same situation! 5’6″ 125lb female looking to try nutritional ketosis. Would love to hear if you or others in this category are having success (not just fat loss) but performance/other benefits as well.
      Thanks Jimmy for the great advice!

  8. Terry says

    Jimmy,
    I have been following a well-formulated ketogenic diet as detailed in the Performance book by Volek/Phinney with 1600 calories, 28 grams total carbs (7%), 68 grams protein (17%) and 135 grams fat (76%) for the past month. I did not lose any weight but my blood ketones were above 0.8 in the morning and about 1.7 in the afternoon. By Day 21, I developed “adrenaline-like surges” with a rapid pulse. I found evidence on the web of similar experiences and Susie Gibbs told me that she also had “cortisol effects” on such a carb restriced ketogenic diet in the past. My doctor found that my blood chemistry was normal, so no electrolyte imbalance. I was placed on a beta blocker for the rapid pulse after my ECG showed Sinus Tachycardia. The beta blocker lowered my blood pressure and I ended up in the hospital for two days. My Stress test was normal so the symptoms were not cardiac in origin.
    I was advised to increase my total carbs. It took four days of adding back about a toal of 80 carbs per day of sweet potatoes to finally end my ketosis. I am now back on about 40 total carbs daily with about 70 grams of protein. I have eaten no wheat/grains in 7 months and continue to search for the right amount of carbs/protein in my diet using my blood sugars as a guide. Thanks for your podcast with Jenny Ruhl!
    I agree with your advice that each individual must find the right level of carb restriction for their body. Post-menopausal women with pre-diabetes like me need to use use the guidelines you outlined to see what works for them.

  9. Vincent says

    Thanks, Jimmy! The eating too often thing is/was a prob for me. I was finding that even though I wasn’t hungry, there was a voice that said “its time to eat.” So I was often forcing myself to eat when I wasn’t hungry. Great advice!

  10. Kate says

    Awesome! Thanks for your reply. The weight loss benefits of ketosis are focused on so often that I wasn’t sure. I’ll definitely pick up the Performance book after I finish this one.

    • says

      In my next 30-day n=1 blog post update on my nutritional ketosis experiment I’ll be sharing about how eating this way has impacted me at the gym. Should be quite fascinating for those who want to know how performance is impacted eating this way. Should be shortly after 10-10-12.

  11. Joshua D says

    Hey Jimmy, love your posts and podcasts! Does this mean Gary Taubes nemesis, the lady that talked about gloconeogenesis on your podcast, was right? I can’t remember her name now. I hadn’t given much stock to her claims because she seemed a bit over passionate and insulting to Gary Taubes but maybe she was right?

  12. Sean P. says

    I know you know this Jimmy, but recommending that someone eat protein as a percent of calories is not really optimal. Protein isn’t predominately used as a fuel source, it’s used to build and maintain lean tissues. That means there’s a set minimum amount each person needs to consume on a daily basis based on their current lean tissue mass to prevent catabolism (organ and muscle wasting) and to promote anabolism (tissue building). As an example, some low-carbers have so little hunger they eat only 1200 calories per day which, based on the 12% recommendation, would only be 36g of protein (this is way too low) per day. The 12% recommendation doesn’t really start to suggest adequate protein intakes until around 2500 calories (which would be 75g per day). Now, i know you’re just trying to keep things simple, but when it comes to protein intake, i think the details really mater. Anywhere between .4g up to .9g (depending on activity level) per pound of lean-mass would be a more healthful intake of protein. So for someone that has 175 pounds of lean-mass, that would be an intake of 70g, the bare minimum for an almost completely sedentary individual, up to 150g, which would be the amount needed for a near-competition level athlete. Somewhere in the range of 60-100g per day would be ideal for most people without reducing ketone production.

  13. Claude Grant says

    Hi Jimmy,
    Thanks for the very useful information. I am formulating a plan for more weight loss based on the system you have adopted. When you have talked about too much protein you gave an example of a chicken breast being way too much at one meal. In terms of ounces…how much protein are you advocating a day?….e.g. chicken, hamburger, rib-eye steak, etc. Could you express this in ounces of protein per day for people weighing 150, 250, 350? Thanks

    • Margie says

      That is not what I read in the article. Rather, he gave examples of types of meat that are lean and may not provide enough fat for the protein. A chicken breast does not seem like too much meat to me in a single meal. Combine it with a salad topped with a homemade vinaigrette with lots of oil or creamy blue cheese dressing and that’s a great meal for many low carbers. It really depends on how hungry you are and what else you may have eaten that day, as well as your other health goals and how they are doing.

      I just bought last year’s more general book by these authors after reading about them in your article. They are well reviewed on Amazon including a good review by you. The media and others in the health profession are still ramming the low fat, low calorie diet down our throats and I find that I need to keep up my low carb reading so that I don’t get the nagging feeling I’m doing something wrong. The science,properly cited and interpreted, pretty much speaks for itself. Plus, there is always more to learn.

  14. Sharon says

    Thanks so much for this article!! I REALLY need to get back to eating like this. When I eat like this I feel GREAT! Lately I’ve drifted back into eating starchy carbs and I feel like crap! You have inspired me to get back to LowCarbLand…:o)

  15. Cheryl W. says

    Hello, Jimmy. Reading about your nutritional ketosis experiment has inspired me! I have been eating LC for about 14 years, initially losing about 65 pounds and gradually gaining about 50 of it back. I stuck with it anyway, because of the other health benefits and because I think I would have gained so much more if I hadn’t. I wondered if I was eating too much protein and I now know that is likely at least part of the problem. I have ordered a meter to test my blood ketones, but in the meantime have been eating 80% or more fat (protein around 10- 12%, carbs 3-5%), for about 10 days now. I am getting discouraged though. I am hungry all the time, even in the morning. It feels like low blood sugar hunger. I have experienced that level of low hunger you talk about and in the (fairly recent) past often had my first meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening. I am not trying to limit calories much at this point and am eating up to 3000 per day. I am showing varying levels of urine ketones and I lost a few pounds but the scale is up again now. (I should mention that I am perimenopausal and my hormones are all over the place right now. I think this is causing fluid retention at times.) As I was already eating LC I didn’t think it would take long for me to become keto-adapted. Do you have any advice for me?

    • says

      If you are still hungry, then likely one of four things are happening:

      1. Eating too many carbohydrates.
      2. Eating too much protein.
      3. Not eating enough fat.
      4. Not eating enough food.

      One of the hallmarks of nutritional ketosis is the absence of any hunger at all. Feel free to email me directly at livinlowcarbman@charter.net and send me a sample of what you are eating. I’ll do my best to help you.

    • says

      Nope, I’m not sharing what my menus are because they are irrelevant to anyone else besides Jimmy Moore. However, in my next CarbSmart column I’ll be sharing a list of specific foods you can and probably should be eating on your healthy nutritional ketosis plan. :)

  16. Daniel says

    Hi Jimmy, after reading this I decided to take my glucose reading on my meter as I have only been testing ketones so far, the reading came up as 5.8 not like 90 or 100 etc like you mentioned, what does 5.8 mean?
    Also just wondering, would you think lemon juice in the morning would be a ketone killer?

    • says

      5.8 sounds like a European reading. 5.8 mmol/L is translated to 104 mg/dL blood sugar in American terms. That’s in pre-diabetic levels if it is a fasted reading. As for the lemon juice, test it for yourself. But I wouldn’t think it would be a “ketone killer” unless you gobbling several lemons.

      • Daniel says

        Thanks jimmy,

        No it was an evening reading after eating all day etc, still it’s interesting to know what the reading was.

        Yeh I’m not really thinking it’s the lemon, I’m starting to lean towards my newly increased dairy consumption for the low readings, I’ve always suspected I have an intolerance to dairy as it makes me constipated and I do feel I have better energy etc when off it. I had pretty much cut it out over the last few years, but recently decided to try a bit again to see if it would help achieve better ketosis readings. It was mainly from organic and unpasturised sources, but it still doesn’t seem to help. time to ditch it and rethink a few things.

        Thanks again,
        Daniel

        • Daniel says

          I took my fasting glucose reading this morning which was 5.2
          What is the conversion rate to convert it mmol/L to mg/dl? And what reading should I be aiming for?

  17. says

    Great article and such good news to hear of your recent weight loss! Weigh to go! Intermittent Fasting – basically eating one meal a day at lunch and a small yogurt for supper is what my husband does to lose weight. It’s about the only way he can lose weight. When he eats, his feed-back mechanism to say he is full is faulty in my opinion – so eating fewer times during the day helps him to eat fewer calories than he otherwise would, plus give his body time to recognize that it needs to dip into the fat stores for energy.

    Just a word of caution, there is a right way and wrong way to do intermittent fasting according to some reputable sources. Apparently eating one big meal at night only can cause disturbing metabolic changes that can predispose one to developing diabetes. The reason I looked into this is because a friend from Canada was visiting and he said while he was working as a computer specialist in Petro Canada there were a few fellows who were doing the one meal at night only regimen for years and all of them, without fail, wound up with diabetes! Although this is not the way that I do IFing or the way my husband does, it was important for me to find out the truth as I realized that by supporting IFing on my blog as a way to enhance the effectiveness of low-carbing, I could inadvertently be leading people down a dangerous path. This news may pose some problems for people wanting to do Intermittent Fasting, who work outside of the home. Here is the article: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/26/the-risks-and-rewards-of-skipping-meals/

    I also wrote an article on my blog and give another idea that may be more helpful for folks who work outside of the home: http://low-carb-news.blogspot.com/2012/08/intermittent-fasting-every-other-day.html

    • says

      THANKS Jennifer! One thing I’d add is trying to FORCE intermittent fasting when you haven’t become keto-adapted yet is a recipe for disaster and failure. Let it happen naturally and you’ll see amazing success.

      • says

        Yes, I’ll echo that. The biggest mistake people are making with intermittent fasting is failing to become fat-adapted. So between eating too much protein and not easing into longer fasts, people aren’t actually training their bodies to burn fat for fuel. The results can be pretty disastrous.

        I had a powerlifter client recently who came to me after his previous diet coach had tried to lower his calories by about 1000 (from 2800 to 1800) to get him to make weight for a competition. He was also supposed to be doing a 12-hour intermittent fasting cycle (10pm to 10am) and doing his training while fasted.

        Well, the poor guy instantly started getting dizzy towards the end of his workouts. His coach didn’t have a clue and just figured “them’s the breaks if you want to make weight.”

        Turns out, his coach had him eating 4-oz portions of protein 5 times a day during that 12-hour eating window during the day, and not much else. So the guy’s body had no idea how to burn fat for fuel.

        It took 5 days of eating high fat (70% of calories) and rather moderate protein (1g per lb bodyweight, which is considered fairly low for a competitive lifter) to get his metabolism adjusted. After that it was like a light switch had turned on — the body fat easily melted away, his energy came back, and his strength even improved more than on any other diet.

        So — you can’t just start fasting willy-nilly, not if you want to lose fat, and certainly not if you want to preserve your strength for sports. It’s not about carbs, it’s about FAT.

  18. says

    Hi Jimmy
    I will have to put my 2 cents on this if you don’t mind.
    I read the “performance” book too as soon as it came out, I am a competitive cyclist (at least I use to be back than). For the last 6+ months I tried getting into nutritional ketosis without a lot of luck, I actually got stock in the “grey” zone, where there’s not enough ketones to make the brain happy yet not enough carbs to fuel the brain/muscles. It felt horrible, needless to say I stopped racing, my performance went down the toilet and I felt miserable in general!
    I am not the guy who gives up, and after reading ALL the information I could find (you, Phinney’s books, Peter Attia…), I couldn’t find my problem! If you remember, I even emailed you a question to ask Dr. Phinney what am I doing wrong – he said I most likely ate too much protein…
    Anyway, after SOOO long I am finally in nutritional ketosis! And I found what was stopping me, and thought it will be EXTREMELY important to tell people who struggle like I did, both you and Dr. Phinney failing to mention this point:
    DAIRY
    After stopping ALL dairy (except ghee), I finally got in. Apparently, just like Nora Gedgaudas saying all the time – food sensitivities is a major problem for some folks. For me, consuming the highest fat goat cheese not helping and most likely secreting such a high insulin response, it will keep me out of ketosis. I actually gained even more weight on a low carb diet (!!!) and lost an entire season of racing – I also might never come back to racing, since I am s-t-i-l-l straggling with my weight… At least now I know how to implement my diet to stay ketotic but am definitely ready to throw the towel.
    I also writing EVERYTHING I’m eating, which I never wanted to do, felt like counting calories like I use to do when racing (horrible!), but I find it helping to see if I making any other mistakes that make sense now after dropping dairy (i.e. too much protein, type of protein, too much carbs, ext…)
    On the last few weeks I’m finally ketotic (mostly – made some mistakes) and hoping to see results…

    Learn from my mistakes folks…

    • Daniel says

      Hey Aviv,
      I’m starting to think that I’m having the same problem with dairy, I always new that it made me feel lathergic, but becuase I have been trying to get me ketone readings up lately I decided to increase my dairy in place of young coconut and nuts etc as I was thinking they were increasing my carb count too much. But before long I started feeling quite bad, and if anything my readings got worse.
      Now I have cut out dairy again a few days ago and increased young coconuts and nuts again and am feeling better. The problem is even though I was going ok like this last time and my readings hang around 0.4 – 0.8 like this I can not acheive deep ketosis. The coconuts and nuts help me get enough food, calories, are convenient etc, and eating meat more than twice a day can become pretty hard for me. What day you mainly eat instead of dairy?

      Thanks for posting your experiences,
      Daniel

      • Daniel says

        Finally found some almond milk that is totally sugar/syrup free, so I am going to use that instead of 1 young coconut for a few days and see how I go. But I’m a bit wary of changing anything at the moment because I’m finally starting to feel better again since I changed things up a bit over a week ago with all the cheese and dairy and have now cut it out and reintroduced a couple of coconuts a day again etc. And I also just had my first decent poop in about the same time, thank bloody goodness.

  19. says

    Hey Jimmy-

    Good article. Looks like you have it down to a science these days.

    One of my biggest mistakes is failing to plan properly. Having the wrong foods in the house and not enough of the right foods, like running out of proteins or vegetables. Also, not having enough low carb snacks on hand for quick-fixes.

    Anyway, I’m back in ketosis after taking a (way too long) low carb hiatus….I totally forgot how much better I feel emotionally eating low carb. It’s like the fog has cleared…again. Thankfully.

    • Peachhead says

      I like to call it Carb Fog. I heard that somewhere else on the Web and that is a perfect description of it. I suffer from it too. A couple meals off my diet and POOF!! I am just hopeless and miserable like clockwork.

  20. Evelyn says

    Ah, the fix is in… I notice you’ve started censoring critical comments. And to think I initially thought this blog might be something more than a glorified amen corner – i.e., echo chamber – like Jimmy’s blog has become. That’s precisely why people like CarbSane THRIVE.

  21. D. Lane says

    Please help me me make sure I understand: You are targetting 85% of your calories from Fat and 12% from protein, which leaves 3% from carbs, right? How do you address fiber? Are you counting net carbs or total carbs in your 3%. Also do you count sugar alcohols as full carbs?

    Thank you

    • says

      I don’t eat fiber nor do I feel the need to consume it. I’m not really counting anything in an obsessive manner. The 3% is total carbohydrates and happens naturally within the course of the foods I’m eating. I’m not eating sugar alcohols which can spike blood sugar and possibly reduced blood ketones. Just eat real foods that are high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb and ENJOY!

      • says

        I’d like to add to Jimmy’s comment: I think the hype about fiber is overblown. I suspect that the reason that a high fiber diet correlates with better health outcomes is because A) people who focus on getting enough fiber tend to be health conscious in general, and therefore less likely to eat a ton of garbage, more likely to take vitamins, less likely to smoke, etc, etc. B) Because a fair number of high fiber foods have other healthful components — vegetables provide vitamins and antioxidants, nuts provide fats, proteins and minerals, etc. C) The average American eats a diet loaded with wheat, and wheat is paste — pastry, pasta, that’s what those words mean. If you’re eating a lot of paste, yes, you’ll probably need an intestinal broom to scrub it off the walls of your gut. But if you don’t eat paste, the need is drastically reduced. For this last reason, it appears to me that the lower carb you eat, the less fiber you actually need.

        • says

          I agree with you Dana, when I started to follow the low carb diet 1,5 years ago I actually got rid of my stomach problems. Nowadays my stomach works perfectly, no gas, no constipation, no IBS. This really shows that you do not need fibres, but that they actually can cause the problems.

  22. aimee says

    i found this article extremely interesting. i have been low carbing and IFing for quite some time with really very disappointing results. i haven’t eaten gluten/grains/sugars, etc. for years. i use coconut oil and grass fed, pasture raised heavy cream, mostly organic, etc. I have tried HCG with great results but gained all back rapidly. i exercise five times a week, trying to incorporate as many high intensity interval sprints and resistance training as possible. i have about 40 pounds to lose and i really think that a very high fat diet would work wonders for me (i HAVE to think SOMETHING will work as i’m a bit (SO VERY) discouraged after all of these years). is there anybody who could help me with the very high fat diet plan? is there an online tool that helps calculate percentage fat/calories? i use fatsecret but it doesn’t do that. i am also hoping to get a few ideas for meals and most importantly….i would be happy to adhere to the percentages that are mentioned here but how do i know how many grams of protein would help me make 12% of my daily intake? and how many calories should i aim for as a general guide? i would love more guidance on this path. thank you so much!!!

    • says

      Hey Aimee and thanks for commenting!

      In my next CarbSmart column I’ll be sharing specifics about the kinds of foods you should be incorporating into your nutritional ketosis plan to get your fat calories increased to the level to produce adequate blood ketones. FitDay is a great online resource for determining your nutrient intake:

      http://www.fitday.com/

      As a general rule, getting adequate protein at each meal is the key without overdoing it. Listen to my recent podcast interview with protein specialist Dr. Donald Layman who offered up guidance in this area:

      http://www.askthelowcarbexperts.com/2012/08/24-all-things-protein-protein-101-dr-donald-layman

      Also, you might want to listen to my interview with Dr. Stephen Phinney about the calories question:

      http://www.askthelowcarbexperts.com/2012/08/23-long-term-stalls-weight-gain-even-on-a-well-formulated-low-carb-diet-dr-stephen-phinney/

      Hope this helps!

      • AIMEE says

        oh boy, i didn’t get an email that you responded, i’m so excited! i have been eating very high fat/low carb/lower protein- and have been very successful in the ratios. although it’s an effort to eat so much fat, i am enjoying it. however, i am eating twice the number of calories than i usually eat! i am super hungry all the time and the fats don’t seem to satisfy me. i have been sticking to 30-50 grams of protein (i am 5’7, 42 years old and 189 pounds- eek!). i did lose a pound this week but i also ate around 1800 calories (i do work out high intensity interval training, walking and weight lifting five days a week) before i started the high fat diet i was eating less than 1000 calories per day, IFing most days, now i wake up in the morning and i’m so hungry! anyway, i haven’t figured out what works for me yet, i am just so discouraged as it is honest to goodness taking me sooooooo long. my mother and best friend went low carb with me two years ago, cutting out grains and unhealthy foods, and they both lost 50 pounds easy peasy, keeping it off with no problems. i am not on any meds but do take a gazillion supplements. i have listened to a bunch of your podcasts this week. i will listen to the protein podcast on monday while at the gym. i just have to figure out that sweet spot for my body….i have fat all around my middle…..so stubborn!!!! i continue to have faith but i get increasingly discouraged every morning when i step on the scale…….i am not a “cheater”- i eat clean and healthy real foods (although i did use swerve which is inulin, chicory root and erythritol for a cheesecake that i made- maybe i should cut out sugar alcohols – although i don’t use many….) sorry for the long post, i just can’t figure it out to save my life!!!

        • Sixtyyearsyoung says

          Aimee, It’s not good to be hungry all the time for sure. I think it leads to giving up. Would it work for you to stop exercising for a bit? Let your body adjust to full ketosis. Read Atkins stuff on metabolic resistnace and Fat Fast? I wonder if the supplements that are causing the problem, many have fillers.
          I tried the Fat Fast approach and started losing right away after only two days. Easing back to regular LCHF now., if I stop losing I’ll do the fat fast again for a day or two. I’ve noticed it cut my appetite way back after just two days. You’ll lose, you just have to figure out the diet for YOUR body.

        • aimee says

          i listened to the protein podcast with Dr. Donald Layman yesterday and now I’m as confused as ever. If i am going to stick to the 80-90% fat and eat 90 grams of protein in a day, from what i can very roughly calculate that would be 360 calories from protein with a total of around 3600 calories for the day. there is no way i could even do that….
          so i decided to do the fat fast yesterday- i am certain i am metabolically resistant but to my great frustration i weight 1.4 pounds more than i did yesterday! i didn’t take any supplements (i am very careful with my supplements anyway- a good probiotic, etc., very quality products with no fillers) i am going to continue today as at least i am not hungry….but OMG! I AM SO FRUSTRATED!!! i just don’t know what to do……but i keep trying…..i’m sure consistency is one key but if i weigh more tomorrow i might just consider amputation :) thanks for listening! and thank you sixyyearsyoung! i am listening and appreciating your comments greatly!!

          • says

            Just do what’s right for you. Don’t get too bogged down about meticulously doing what everyone says. That will make you frustrated and go batty. Find what’s right for you and then do it.

          • sixtyyearsyoung says

            Got my first labs back since getting off statins..drugs that made me ache. It took years to figure that out. My HDL, the good chol was up as well as the bad. You know? I’m going to ignore it. I’ve been in ketosis six weeks. I’ve been in hyper insulin state for YEARS. Jimmy, I totally agree, to relax, do what’s right for our bodies, individually and just live well, eating right.
            Beware of those scales., they can be really discouraging. Some of us are slow losers (unlike when I was young) and it is what it is. I’m avoiding meds, eating real food, and being gentle with myself. Doing LCHF because it makes me feel better. It’s going to take time to get the weight off it took years to accumulate. Patience, patience, patience. My new mantra!

            • says

              Hi Sixty Years Young,
              Did you get the special test for oxidised LDL? The news now on LDL’s is they are good too as long as they are light fluffy and not oxidised.

              • Sixtyyearsyoung says

                No, I didn’t get the LDL size and fluff test! Your point about the type of LDL particle is certainly right on! My doctor isn’t aware about LCHF and I shared a little. His being Phillipino made him interested in coconut oil being a good fat now, as that is the oil used when he was growing up. Not sure he’d have any idea what to order for good LDL test.

          • Margaret says

            Hey Aimee

            Your body seems to like to play the same tricks as mine does.

            First… recommend that you stop fasting and under eating. Ongoing starvation causes “dieter’s edema” (water retention) which looks like “fat” to your scale. Also, the body conserves every calorie at very low intake levels, and processes what it does get very oddly. Starving yourself actually works against weight loss.

            Second, use a calorie calculator of some kind that allows you to calculate nutrients as well as percentages of daily intake from various food groups until you have retrained yourself to eat nutritiously. After that, stop counting and focus on living.

            Third, there is such a thing as over exercising. It can take some considerable experimentation to find an optimal level for health, reasonable weight loss, and good recovery. My own experience is that I can only exercise three days a week. Any more than that and I retain fluids, and my body doesn’t recover in between, making me injury prone. Try combining cardio and resistance in shorter workouts, and reduce the frequency a little. Wait and see what happens for at least three weeks.

            Fourth, have a look at potential food sensitivities by cutting out a group for a week or two to see what happens. I cannot do dairy except in great moderation or weight loss grinds to a halt. Don’t make changes too quickly… allow enough time for things to work if they are going to.

            Finally, you might want to look at other numbers besides the scale. Body measurement is the obvious one, of course. I also focus on blood sugar, resting and working heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, oxygenation…. according to every test there is, I’m healthy as a horse. I move easily and enjoy freedom from various illnesses. Those have ended up being much better indicators of health than the 80 extra pounds I carry. I’m steadily shifting those at about 1 pound a week or less by eating < 50 g carbs, @ 16 oz good quality protein and fats up to satiation. Despite the weight, I have never been healthier.

        • says

          I tell my sister that all the time, it is hard to eat all that fat without the carbs! You get a switch off feel much faster.. so the only thing I can figure out in the clues is to watch the protein intake and keep in your favorite fats. For me that is avacados, cream, cream cheese, butter and all lovely things coconut.

          It’s really a different way to think of eating. On the other hand I make dinner, half the protein and take it to work the next day.

    • Daniel says

      I found sparkpeople quite helpful once you get use to entering foods etc , it gives you good percentages etc

    • sixtyyearsyoung says

      I’ve been in ketosis for a month, (urine dips) and have lost only 3 lbs. Unhappy with the slow loss, I’ve been reading a lot trying to figure out what to do to lose more. Atkins, New Diet Revolution says metabolic resistantance can vary with individuals. Being 61, post menopausal I’m in that sad category of older woman stuck with weight loss at a crawl. And I have 50 lbs to lose! So, here’s what I’m trying, per Atkins. Get off all meds, esp hormone replacement therapy. Cutting back on calories, keeping fats 80-90% of calorie intake, but eating when hungry. If I really wouldn’t eat a tablespoon of coconut oil how hungry am I?. Adding Weight lifting, plus some cardio. I’m even doing Fat Fast (Atkins) for two or three days to see if I can get this adipose moving. 1000 cal, 90% fat, 10% protein. I’d love to see more older women’s comments on LCHF diet. I guess I should be happy I LOST 3 lbs!

        • says

          Jimmy,
          I’m confused by Jenny’s calculator. It can’t be right?!
          I’m a big guy, like you and Kent Altena were before weight loss, started at 465, 72″ tall, 43 yo male with on again, off again fits and starts on low carb over past 12 years (lost over 100# 12 years ago from sz 50 to sz 42, stayed within range for 6 years, gained a lot when dad had stroke, hospitalized, then died after 2 years (depression), lost 50# a year ago from sz 58 to sz 54, relaxed my grip, i.e., ‘this is easy’ and let it come back on, plus over a year).
          I knew the only way to get it off for good is HFLC, even my Dr agrees. Tried HCG for a week and was SICK – the worst experience of any dieting in my life. Looked at program called Lean Protein, but discovered they push a LC LF approach to meats, etc – and lots of soy. Not for me, thanks, as I’m aware of the dangers there.
          I’ve had my blood work done up twice a year for checking my meds, etc. and I have NO diabetes (thanks probably to on/off LC), no issues with kidney/liver/blood sugar – all great. I take a small dose BP med, water pill & allopurinol (added a few months ago) per doc (good friend) who is concerned as I have had higher uric acid levels but only a couple of full gout attacks (several years ago, when I was not eating right).
          I started back on HFLC again about a month ago. I ‘cheated’ twice in the first 2 weeks. I’ve been about 1.5 weeks PURE.
          First 2 weeks, dropped from 465 to 455, lost 2″.
          Next 2.5 weeks, I’ve dropped 3″+. So not cheating helps, but not a lot, but I’ll stick with it.
          Watched 1.5 hour lecture on YouTube by Dr Lustig on HFCS and we immediately eliminated ANYTHING with HFCS to see what would happen. Our kid is even on board.
          1) HFLC became whole foods, home cooked and amazingly delicious (my wife can cook!)
          2) I’m NOT hungry, rarely even snack on almonds or meat/cheese anymore.
          3) full of energy, sleep great (now my wife can, too), very cheerful, stress free, easier walking, breathing.
          I eat basiclly the way outlined in Atkins or Protein Power. I find it easier to read Dr. Eades style, but when I compare the two, I see little difference. They are extremely similar. I read and re-read both their books regularly, as well as your Livin La Vida Low Carb (good inspiration). My wife cooks from George Stella and Dana Carpendar cookbooks and Kent Altena’s postings on YouTube (love that guy, too!)
          LOTS of eggs, bacon, etc. Typical breakfast is 5 fried or omellette (Denver style) and 5 pcs thick bacon, coffee with coconut oil, splenda. Lunch is a chef salad with 2 boiled eggs, mixed lettuce, cheese, homemade ranch (heavy cream), cucumber, tomato, chicken, turkey or ham. Dinners vary based on recipes from cookbooks/videos. All very low carb, high fat. Sometimes, I’ll just have a few bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers with cream cheese.
          According to FitDay records, I’m eating around 1600 – 1850 calories a day (almonds, deli meats/cheeses, macadamia nuts for snacks).
          Here’s my confusion with the calculator:
          It states that I put the wrong data in if I post it the way it’s happened above:
          Missing or Invalid Data!
          Your desired weekly weight loss would require eating an unhealthy starvation diet of less than 1000 calories a day.
          Enter a lower weekly weight loss goal.
          Please press your browser’s BACK button and correct the problem.
          (the only variable I can see is that I don’t have an accurage way to know how much is water weight, but, as someone said, don’t you think I NEED to lose all that excess water weight???) – My excessive edema in my lower legs is greatly reduced, in a very short time.
          The calculator also states that I cannot hope to lose more than 3# per week, and would need to keep my calorie count below 1275 per day:
          Healthy Nutrient Levels for Your Low Carb Diet
          Your Height: 72 inches
          Your Current Weight: 440 lb
          Your Age: 43
          Your Gender: Male
          Your Activity Level: Sedentary
          Your Body Fat Percentage is: 55 %
          Your Lean Body Mass is 198 lb
          Your Calculated Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) using the Katch-McArdle formula: 2,312 calories per day
          Activity Factor Used to Compute Activity Calories from BMR: 1.2
          ——————————————————————————–
          TO MAINTAIN YOUR CURRENT WEIGHT:
          To maintain your body weight eat 2,774 calories.
          You have decided to eat 20 grams of carbohydrate a day. This is 2.9% of your total caloric intake.
          Required Protein Intake: 117 grams of high quality protein.
          This would be supplied by: 19.5 ounces or 545 grams of a high quality protein food like meat, fish, eggs, or cheese, which typically contain 6 grams of protein.
          These recommendations are based on the fact that you are eating a ketogenic diet with an intake of 20 grams of carbohydrate a day.
          Maximum Fat Intake: 247 grams.
          For every 1 gram of protein you eat over 117 grams of protein, reduce your fat intake by .5 grams to stay within calorie limits.
          Note: Calculated calories for nutrients will not match total calorie recommendation due to rounding during calculations.
          ——————————————————————————–
          TO LOSE 3 lb PER WEEK:
          To lose 3 lb a week safely decrease your daily intake to 1,274 calories.
          You have decided to eat 20 grams of carbohydrate a day. This is 2.9% of your total caloric intake.
          Required Protein Intake: 117 grams of high quality protein.
          This would be supplied by: 19.5 ounces or 545 grams of a high quality protein food like meat, fish, eggs, or cheese, which typically contain 6 grams of protein.
          These recommendations are based on the fact that you are eating a ketogenic diet with an intake of 20 grams of carbohydrate a day.
          Maximum Fat Intake: 81 grams.
          For every 1 gram of protein you eat over 117 grams of protein, reduce your fat intake by .5 grams to stay within the calorie limits compatible with your weight loss goal.
          Do not lower your fat intake below 42 grams, which is 30% of total calories.
          Note: Calculated calories for nutrients will not match total calorie recommendation due to rounding during calculations.

          So the big question for me is – What’s all this calorie counting got to do with it??? Eat the fats, protein, restrict the carbs, drink a gallon of straight water a day, LOSE the weight. You did it. Kent Altena did it. I’m doing it. I’m totally confused by this calculator and I know the only failing on this diet was my lack of sticking to it (my previous efforts had plans of returning to old habits, so they failed). This is it for me now – no changing. I’ve seen through the glass what scary and painful troubles lie around the bend, I’ve had my Scrooge moment and am thankfully pulled back to my own bed, er, kitchen, where I can correct my former failings and find happiness again.
          But I don’t think I’ll get there worrying over calorie intake. Eat whole foods, drink a gallon of water, stop eating when your sated. NEVER allow HFCS in any product (it shows up in a LOT of ‘sugar free’ stuff). See you in the 200 club!

        • Sixtyyearsyoung....ish says

          I bought Jenny’s book Diet 101 and nearly gave up trying after reading it. It seems those of us postmenopausal women are destined to carry around too much weight? I guess I have to count calories and I’m really bummed!! High fat means I get little food except the fat, and my protein was dipping too low, as well as vegetables. I need to be UNDER 1350 cal, every day to lose. Can this be true? Men and younger women can eat HFLC, relax and enjoy and still lose? And I can’t?! I’ve been in ketosis for six weeks, and am right where I started. I’m 5’6″, just over 200 lbs. I’m putting away the gun, noose, knives and poisons. …but I’m swearing really a lot!

      • Ruth says

        There was another commenter here as well who said she only ate 1,000 calories per day. I think that weight loss will stall at such a low calorie intake. It’s not nearly enough food, especially if you exercise. Just my take on it. I’m new to low carb, but very experienced with successful weight loss.

        • sixtyyearsyoung says

          Ruth, I agree 1000cal is too low. I tried it for a few days to see if I could break into weight loss. I’ve been in ketosis for a solid month plus and have not lost weight. That said, I feel better ketoadapted. My allergies are less, my blood pressure lovely, my cholesterol is so so, but I’m just off statins. I’m going to stay around 1500 cal. and eat more low carb veggies! Really, I’ve never had such trouble losing!! Very frustrating. Let me know how you do on low carb and what you think…please!

          • Ruth says

            Hi sixtyyearsyoung. I’ve read your original post again, and I now see what you meant about the 1,000 calories per day. I’m close to your age, so I understand your frustration. I lost my weight over several years in my early fifties, and have kept it off. However, I wasn’t necessarily using low-carb to lose that weight. I just cut down in general (I had pretty good knowledge about food and calories etc.), and I cut out bread, but still ate cereal and potatoes daily. I didn’t start actually counting calories until I only had 20 pounds left to lose. I joined one of the on-line calorie-counting sites, and I still use it today. It’s sort of addicting, being able to tell exactly what amount of nutrients you are eating each day.

            However, I now have switched to a lower-carb diet because I am concerned about the connection between high blood sugar and Alzheimer’s, and other reasons as well, such as I like getting lots of Vitamin A from animal products. I’m eating about 60% fat, 20% protein, and 20% carb. (Before starting low-carb, I ate 30% fat, 15% protein, and 55% carb.) I’m able to maintain my weight either way, because I keep the calorie intake the same. I have no idea if I’m in ketosis or not though! Someday I want to buy one of those gizmos which will tell me if I’m in ketosis, and what my blood sugar is, so then I can know if I need to go even lower in carbs.

            I think you mentioned in your original post that you had lost 3 pounds? Admittedly that’s a slow weight loss, but eventually you will get there. Don’t give up! If you continue on with your 1,500-calorie-per-day plan, I’m sure that you will have success long-term. Good luck!

            • sistyyearsyoung says

              Ruth, quite a visual isn’t it, being five and a half inches tall! thanks for the encouragement. I listened to Jimmy’s interview with Dr. Stephen Phinney last night, again, and feel more aware of the issues. A few things seem conflicting. He says exercise often slows resting metabolism, and Dr. Phinney bikes a lot. I hate that I have to calorie count, but I’m determined to lose. I think I’m just eating too many calories on average for weight loss.
              I am in ketosis, per urine strips, and feel better over all. Enough to keep this diet, regardless of weight loss or not. I use myfitnesspal.com site to log food. keeps me honest. Some days I’m very active, othersnot so much. But i’m not a sitter either. Statins really hurt me I think, lots of pain, undiagnosed. I even had an emg (needles in the legs) which was, of course, negative. Labs for arthritis and so forth, also neg. And I’m a physician assistant, although now retired..and I didn’t realize what was going on! I hate that i didn’t know about HFLC for my patients at the time I was practicing.
              I’m off the statins, but still having symptoms. I am going to try CO 10 enzyme I think. Know anything about it? Putting pills in my mouth makes me anxious now.

              • Ruth says

                Sixtyyearsyoung, I’m sorry to hear about the problems you’re having from former statin use. I’ve never taken a statin and don’t know anything about it myself, but having learned about it, I’ll be sure to never take a statin in the future. I hope that you’ll be able to get past the symptoms that you’re having related to it.

                I only take thyroid medication, but I hope to be able to get off of it someday, if possible. It bothers me that so many people in the world are taking these thyroid medications; there’s something fishy about the whole thing.

                As far as calorie-counting goes, I know that many in the low-carb community are against it. However, I think that lots of people, including myself, will eat past the point of satiety. I personally need to count calories to prevent overeating. I can’t even tell when I’m hungry most of the time, and I often can’t tell when I’m full either. These bodily signals no longer work for me, probably due to previous overeating,

      • SYY says

        I read your post on trying to lose and join you in the struggle. Now I’m older it is much harder to lose. I bought a ketone meter and except for getting frustrated when I mess up an expensive strip, it does better than the urine strips which give higher readings than blood for me. My average is .8 and I’d love to get to 2 ! I’m trying a big breakfast to reset the leptin sensitivity and then easily close the kitchen until supper. Occas nibble of fresh coconut. How are you doing? Do you think Calculus Victus is better than others like MyFitnessPal.com?

  23. says

    Thanks for this article Jimmy! Too many people think that losing weight/improving health on a low carb plan simply means eating more meat and cutting out starches. I fell into the trap of too much protein and not enough fat as well and have since added more fat into my plan. Also, when I tried the Whole 30 in August which cut out dairy, I dropped 7lbs in a week and a half even though I was eating more fruit and sweet potatoes. This leads me to believe that dairy could be an issue for me, as some other comments mentioned. I’ve since cut back on the fruits and sweet potatoes again since it led to other carb cravings for me and I’ll be cutting out dairy as well to see if that will be the turning point for me to shed this final weight and reach my goal! Thanks for all that you do for the low carb community – you are an inspiration and your hard work is much appreciated!!

  24. says

    I’ve been sticking to right around 1600 calories, 80-15-5 nutrient ratio, for two weeks now and have lost 12 lbs. And just yesterday I noticed that I wasn’t really hungry any more. This, after eating strictly LC for the past 3 years but being absolutely stuck on weight.

    About the IF – I virtually always go 12 hours between dinner and breakfast – do you count that as IF, or do you think it has to be during active waking hours?

  25. sixtyyearsyoung says

    I listened to Jenny Rhul, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone. But when I put in the info on the diet calculator on her site, it says I need to eat 716 calories per day to maintain. It says, in red, that I should not follow a ketogenic diet because I can’t eat enough fat to be healthy on that few calories. I eat 20 g carb ir less daily and get light exercise. I walk the dog, bike, garden,, and do weights once or twice a week at an easy pace. This calorie amount just doesn’t seem sensible.

    • sixtyyearsyoung says

      Nevermind me!
      Okaaaaaay, I was knitting a mitten and realized I put down on Jenny Ruhl’s calculator that I was 5.6 inches tall, not 66 inches. No wonder it said I need only 716 calories to maintain!
      My calorie requirement for 1 lb per week loss is 1560 cal. THAT makes sense. Duh!!

      • Ruth says

        That’s so funny about the 5.6 inches tall! Ha ha.

        I’m surprised the site didn’t tell you that you only needed 10 calories per day to maintain your weight!

      • Natascha says

        Mine is 1230 calories per day to lose 1 lb per week. That sucks! No wonder I am not losing at 1500 calories despite very low carb…..it stinks getting older.

        • sixtyyearsyoung says

          I’m finally losing, veeeeeeeerrrrrrrrryyyyyyy slowly, if I carefully calorie count. That said, I feel better ketoadapted, so I guess my whining about having to count calories might as well stop. I’m also increasing exercise, weights and treadmill to several times a week. Are you quite short, that your weight loss calorie number is so low? I’m finding it’s not easy to get enough protein and keep the fats near 80% of calories. I’m averaging eating just under 17 g carbs, 61 g protein (I should be closer to 70 g, for my lean body weight), the 123 g fat to stay under 1500 cal. That puts my fats at daily 78%, that’s as high as I can figure it out and stay within the protein I need.

          • Margaret says

            Just one suggestion…. walk every day that you aren’t weight training. Gently, not strenuously, just keep things moving. See if that moves things a bit.

            Also…. I’m a “swoosher”…. I go four weeks without losing an ounce, then “swoosh”, I’ll see two or three pounds at once. It’s slow, its agonizing, it takes a major investment of energy to learn what works… but once you have your personal formula in place it’s do-able.

            BTW – I’m 59, 5’8″, have been fighting with this for 10 months, and have lost 40 pounds. Before finding LCHF I was reducing calories to the point of insanity with no results at all, so this is a vast improvement. However, I have a way to go, so have learned to look for my success measures in my general health.

            • SYY says

              Good suggestion to walk. I’ve been struggling with hip bursitis and I suspect that’s part of my problem. Tomorrow I get them injected with steriods, which will raise havoc with blood sugar too. But cortisol bursts at night with pain is doing the same thing.
              I took my fasting blood sugar, (I’m not diabetic) to see what it looked like.100! That surprised me, I thought it would be lower. so, I’ll watch it for a bit and work on getting it down.
              I’ve lost 4.8 lbs in three months. Slow or what!!!??? But, starving with calorie reduction and no cessation of appetite is way more frustrating.
              Thanks forreplying!

  26. says

    One of the biggest communication problems when it comes to producing success with low carb is this “lean meats” thing.

    WHY on earth should we be eating “lean meats” when we should be getting 60% or more of our calories from fat? (And that’s just from the conservative, old-school-low-carb perspective of how much fat you should eat.)

    There’s no reason anyone should want “lean meat” except that that’s what people keep hearing. Usually as “healthy lean meats” or similar nonsense.

    • SYY aka sixtyyearsyoung says

      I’m now knownas SSY, as sixtyyearsyoung is way too long a handle to write! My comment on the fatty meats….and they TASTE so good!

  27. Bev says

    All I can say is WOW! Good for you to finally figure out how to get those pounds off. You look fabulous! And great that you are feeling so well also.. Congratulations

  28. says

    Thank you so much for sharing the information on nutritional ketosis. I thought I was doing something wrong, and this new knowledge seems to be exactly what I needed to know. I was binging on “allowed” foods, eating way too much protein, and the “sugar free” stuff…. was hungry and not losing weight. I thought I could never see success on this plan again. I now know the correct way to approach low-carb. What an eye-opener your articles have been.

  29. says

    Great post Jimmy! Enjoy the way you in a “to the point” style address these five challenges and provide people with concrete suggestions of what they can do to improve. At Rethinkingtruth.com I recently had a 62 year old who didn’t feel the true effects of the dietary change until about four months into a Paleo/LC type of diet. I’ve also recently advised a 58 year old woman who had like you Jimmy had gained weight on a LC/Paleo type of diet. I recommend the same as you write about in this post and sometimes patience, sleep, stress, gut improvement etc can also be the key.

    Take care Jimmy and regards from Norway!

  30. Hemming says

    Hi Jimmy,

    Thank you for all the hard work you’re doing on providing podcast and blog posts!

    I would like to know how many grams of protein you consume each day?

  31. says

    Jimmy, I’m four weeks into this lifestyle and I learned more from this article than the whole four weeks! Thank you! Can you help me or point me in the right direction on how to effectively use the blood glucose monitor as well as the blood ketone measure? I’m willing to buy if I know how to use them better. Thanks from alaska!

  32. Holly says

    Hey Jimmy –
    I keep track of my eating through myfitnesspal.com and at the end of the day this is typically what my dairy looks like – I have PCOS so i have been instructed to get rid of dairy from my diet ( there goes the cheeses and sour creams) I also have been instructed to eat lean meat… which is not giving me enough fat… this is what a typical day looks like for me, but my struggle is how can i switch out some of the protein for more fat and the carbs as well ! As you see i get all my carbs in form of berries in the morning and verggies throughout the day. My goal this week is to lay off the protein and replace it with … ___________ ? I can only eat so much avacado and coconut oil lol – nuts only agree with me in very small portions. Or they make me fat ! any suggestions?

    Breakfast Calories Carbs Fat Protein Fiber Sugar
    Bob’s Red Mill – Pumpkin Seeds – Natural Raw, 2 Tbsp 113 2 10 6 1 0
    Fruit – Blackberries, 3 oz 36 9 0 1 5 5
    Generic – Cashews, Raw, Organic(Varieties), 5 nut 45 3 4 1 0 0
    Generic – Raw Brazilian Nuts, 2 nut 60 1 6 1 1 0
    Hass – Avacado 1/2, 1/2 of Avacado 100 6 9 0 4 0
    Kale – Raw, 1 cup, chopped 34 7 0 2 1 0
    Madecasse – 80% Cocoa (Madagascar), 5 g 29 2 2 1 0 1
    Sunwarrior – Brown Rice Protein Powder, Vanilla, 1 scoop (21g) 70 4 1 16 1 0
    Bob’s Red Mill – Coconut Flour (Organic, High Fiber), 1 TBSP 35 5 1 2 3 1
    Add Food Quick Tools 522 39 33 30 16 7
    Lunch
    Absolute Red – Goji Berries Naturally Dried, 5 g 20 4 0 1 0 3
    Arrow Brand – Radishes, 1 radishes (3 oz, 85g) 3 0 0 0 0 0
    Arugula Leaves – Salad Ingredient, 2 cups 8 2 0 1 1 1
    Barlean’s – Flax Seed Oil Fresh, 1 Tbsp 110 0 11 0 1 0
    Organic Girl – Super Greens (Red and Green Swiss Chard, Tat Soi, Arugula and Spinach), 1 cups 7 1 0 1 1 0
    Nutiva – Hemp Seeds, 2 Tbsp 113 1 9 7 1 0
    Generic – 1/4 Avacado Raw, 1/4 cup 40 2 4 1 2 0
    Cucumber – Cucumber 1/2 Sliced With Peel, Raw, 0.5 cup (52.0g) 8 1 0 0 0 1
    Add Food Quick Tools 309 11 24 11 6 5
    Dinner
    Generic – Lamb Chop, Small (4 oz. With Bone In, Before Cooking), 1 chop 226 0 18 16 0 0
    Acme – Winter Mix Vegetables – Broccoli and Cauliflower, 1 cup 25 4 0 1 1 2
    365 Organic – Firm Organic Tofu, 1/5 package 70 2 3 7 1 0
    Add Food Quick Tools 321 6 21 24 2 2
    Snacks
    Trader Joes – Eggplant Garlic Spread, 0.5 Tbsp 15 2 8 0 0 1
    Fresh Whole – Green Pepper, 1 MEDIUM 24 6 0 0 2 0
    Spectrum Naturals – Coconut Oil, Organic, 0.5 Tbsp (15ml) 60 0 7 0 0 0
    365 – Organic Cashews – Raw, 1 oz (or 1/4 cup) 160 9 12 5 1 2
    g.T.’s Kombucha Synergy – Cosmic Cranberry Kombucha, 8 oz. 30 7 0 0 0 2
    Add Food Quick Tools 289 24 27 5 3 5
    Calories Carbs Fat Protein Fiber Sugar
    Totals 1,441 80 105 70 27 19
    Your Daily Goal 1,570 216 52 59 18 31
    Remaining 129 136 -53 -11 -9 12

  33. Bob Smith says

    I’ve been targeting 50-65g/day of protein starting out on VLC, to total about 1800 calories daily. As a man that should leave me about 600 calories short of a man’s daily requirement (I hope), for slow and steady weight loss without the starving I’d see on a 1200-1300 calories diet. So goes the theory.

    Anyway, my question is whether that’s much too low a protein number to start, causing protein leaching from my muscles. I find it difficult to eat enough meat to satisfy the 150g/day starting number some suggest, I would get painfully stuffed trying. There is also the matter that lots of protein will spike your glucose (I am a newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic) and prevent transition to ketosis just as well as carbs do.

  34. D ashford says

    My husband is a low carb marathoner. He has some particular issues we fight with.
    1. He is fighting possible pre diabetes
    2. He is genetically prone to heart disease.
    3. He is trying to NOT lose weight because he is already thin.
    4. It is difficult to get enough calories

    He is trying the keto diet to avoid taking Metformin. He has done it for over a year and ran one no-carb marathon last December!

    On the LCD his blood glucose is great usually and triglycerides perfect… He eats the same thing every day and charts relentlessly.
    The problem is his blood ketones are sometimes lower in the morning with a correlating higher fasting blood glucose.
    We can’t figure out if its caffeine, or alcohol or hepatic insulin resistance or some other crazy thing. Any ideas?

    • Gisele says

      This is a normal response to very low carb dieting. Check the diet doctor on low carb dieting or. The food academy. Com , Web sites for physiological explanation.
      Great job
      Gisele RN

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