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Ketogenic Diet FAQ
All You Need to Know

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Table of Contents

Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions about the ketogenic diet. Simply click on the question you're interested in and it will take you right to the answer. If you have any more questions, please let me know by leaving a comment and I'll add it to the list!

KetoDiet Basic Facts

Foods & Diet Plans

Health Concerns


KetoDiet Basic Facts

Why is it that conventional diets don't work?

Most of us would say we get fat simply because we get lazy and eat more. But what if it's the other way round? What if we just get fat and as a result we eat more and become lazy?

For the last few decades we have been given wrong advice about nutrition and effects of fatty foods on putting on weight. What if the main problem is that due to our modern diets we cannot satisfy our appetite?  A study on this subject concluded with a surprising result: the fatter people get, the more inactive they become, not the other way round. And what if the interests of the authorities offering advice are influenced by economic reasons? To learn more about this, I recommend you watch The Food Revolution on Youtube

Ketogenic diets are, in fact, closely related to the Paleolithic diet. Both exclude carbohydrates and aim at eating real food. Today carbohydrates make up the majority of our diet and have significant implications for our health including hormone balance. For example, insulin, which is responsible for storing fat in our body, is greatly affected by excessive carbohydrate consumption. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are without doubt the most fattening element in our diets.

Based on studies performed over the last two decades, calorie-restricted diets or diets restricted in fat generally have an insignificant effect on our long-term weight loss. These types of diets are virtually ineffective for the vast majority of people. As concluded in Dr. John Briffa's book, Escape the Diet Trap: In studies, low-carbohydrate diets in which individuals eat as much as they like consistently outperform low-fat, calorie-restricted ones for weight loss.  A systematic review of clinical trials on the health effects of low carbohydrate diets from 2012 shows that low carb diets lead to a significant decrease in body weight and an improvement of most major risk factors for heart disease.

Another benefit of ketogenic diets is individual's ability to build and preserve muscle tissue rather than losing it. When you follow a high carbohydrate (i.e. low-fat, reduced-calorie) diet, only some of your body fat is burned during weight loss. Unfortunately, on such diets your body will use the protein stores (muscles) and convert them to glucose for energy rather than use fat stores. This is, of course, an unfavorable effect, as you lose significant muscle tissue instead of fat.

How is weight loss achieved on ketogenic diets?

This is probably the most commonly asked question, as many people are concerned about the real effects of ketosis. Does ketosis work? There are three main effects of low-carb diets which I have covered in this post.

Do I need to measure ketones?

If you are new to the diet, it will help if you daily test your ketone levels. Once you get keto-adapted and you fully understand ketogenic eating, you won't need to test your ketone levels.

For more information, read these posts:

What is the difference between a low-carbohydrate diet and a ketogenic diet?

Ketogenic diets are a subset of low carbohydrate diets. It is generally accepted, that any diet below 130-150 grams of carbohydrates is regarded as low-carb. Ketogenic diets induce a metabolic state known as ketosis, which is usually achieved at a level of about 50 grams of carbohydrates a day (20-30 grams of net carbs) or less. The exact amount is individual and may vary. In this post I've explained how to find out your net carbs limit.

Do you need to be in ketosis to lose weight? Not necessarily. You can lose weight without being in ketosis. Food high in fat, adequate in protein and low in carbohydrates is sating, making you less hungry and, therefore, you'll be experiencing less food cravings. Research on this subject has shown that carbohydrates are the least sating, while protein and fat are the most sating nutrients.

What is insulin and what does it do?

Insulin is one of the most important hormones. It is secreted by the pancreas and is what ketogenic diets mostly focus on, as it  affects body fat and metabolism of carbohydrates. It is effectively a storage hormone, responsible for moving nutrients out of the blood stream and into target tissues. Its other job is to regulate your blood sugar level.

When you eat carbohydrates, your body must produce more insulin to keep up with increased levels of glucose in your bloodstream. In some cases, this eventually leads to insulin resistance, and then Type 2 diabetes. This may often go along with high LDL cholesterol ("bad"), low HDL cholesterol ("good"), higher triglyceride levels and increased inflammation.

When you eat less carbs, less insulin is required to be secreted into your bloodstream and regulate your blood sugar and as a result, there is less fat storage.

Here is a great video in which Jennifer Elliott, a registered dietitian, explains the role and effects of insulin in our body: Tired, Moody and Overweight?

Concerned about high cholesterol levels? Read this post: High Cholesterol on a Keto Diet - Should You Be Concerned?

Do I need to count calories? Do calories matter?

It's a common misconception that you can eat an unlimited amount of calories and still lose weight. Although this doesn't happen often, you can put on weight even on a low-carb diet.

Low-carb ketogenic diets have natural appetite suppressing effects This is why you'll eat less and won't need to count calories which is one of the main effects of the ketogenic diet.

However, if for any reason your weight is stalling for more than 2-3 weeks, you may need to consider keeping an eye on your energy intake (calories). Reaching a weight loss plateau may be caused by several factors and you don't necessarily have to be eating too much, in fact, you may discover that you haven't been eating enough. In my experience, losing body fat becomes more and more difficult as you get close to your target weight.

To make it easy for you to calculate your ideal macronutrients on a ketogenic diet, we developed a free online keto calculator, KetoDiet Buddy - try it now! As always, I recommend you follow the "slow" or "moderate" fat loss path.

For more information, read this post: How To Low Carb: 15+ Common Weight Loss Mistakes

How do I track my macros / my carb intake?

Together with my partner, we have developed an app specifically for this purpose. The KetoDiet app will help you track macronutrients, electrolytes so you can achieve your goals - whether it's losing weight or simply eating real food! For more about our app, read this post: KetoDiet App FAQ

How long does it take to get into ketosis?

It usually takes 2-3 days to enter ketosis if you keep within your optimal net carbs limit. You can speed this process up by exercising to accelerate the depletion of glycogen in your body. If you are quite sedentary, it may take up to a week based on experience. Once you stick to the plan, it's actually easy to get into ketosis, as you will find out using ketone detection strips or blood ketone meter.

What is keto-adaptation?

Keto adaptation occurs when the body shifts away from glucose and towards fat metabolism. The adaptations to ketosis are complex and involve most systems of the body. The major adaptations occur in the body's tissues, especially the brain, liver, kidney and muscles (Lyle McDonald, The Ketogenic Diet, chapter 5, 1998).

As I have mentioned before, it's usually easy to get into ketosis, but may be more difficult to get keto-adapted. Keto-adaptation is for people who are serious about eating well and take the low-carb approach as a lifestyle rather than a short-term solution to weight loss. It may take 3-4 weeks or even months before your body learns how to use ketones effectively. You can read more about keto-adaptation in Dr Volek and Dr Phinney's books: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance

How often and how much should I eat?

With ever increasing consumption of carbs and sugar, people have become "immune" to their body signals and tend to eat more than they need. Conventional wisdom also tells us to eat regularly, in small portions in order to avoid being hungry and eventually eating too much. However, the best approach is not to eat every 2-3 hours, but to eat whenever you start feeling hungry but not ravenous. You should have a small snack with you in case you have no time for a regular meal. Such a snack could be a handful of nuts, piece of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), avocado or low-carb fruit such as berries.

Try to eat slowly and avoid any other activity while eating. You will gradually regain the ability to recognise when you've had enough. There is no reason to clear the plate completely if you feel full. It's your health and there is nothing wrong about that.

Remember: Eat when you are hungry, even if it's a meal a day. Don't let others dictate what you eat or how often you should eat. If you don't need to snack, avoid snacking.

How much weight could I lose and how fast?

This is again individual and can vary from 1 to 5 lbs (0.5 to 2.5 Kg) per week. It depends on the speed of your metabolism, age, and fitness level, etc. Again, concentrate on your body fat percentage rather than your weight, as it says nothing about your body composition. Use a tape measure - this says more than just numbers on scales.

There are critics claiming that most of the weight you lose within the first week or two is just water. That's true. However, this is just a natural process, as your body loses glycogen during the first few days. There is nothing wrong about it. The reason is that one molecule of glycogen attracts 3-4 molecules of water and as a result, when your body gets rid of glycogen, it also excretes water. Don't panic, after you have no storage of glycogen, the process of ketosis starts and you lose fat (Eades, M., The Protein Power Lifeplan, 1995). Just remember - drink plenty of water; you will most likely have to drink more than you were used to.

You can actually lose weight without being in ketosis. The reason is that you generally eat more nutritious and filling food that may help you lose weight. Studies show ( study 1,  study 2) that people eating food rich in protein and fat rather than carbohydrates eat less, as protein and fat are more sating nutrients. Therefore, most people who are severely overweight see great results on any low-carb diet — not necessarily a ketogenic diet. It's more difficult to lose body fat when the desired weight loss is as little as 5-10 pounds. In such cases, you have to be more disciplined. Some problems could arise when an individual has been through many types of "traditional" diets, causing yoyo effects and badly affecting their metabolism and hormone balance.

Here are the phases of a ketogenic diet:

1. Initial fast weight loss - induction phase
Most of the first few days of weight loss will come from water. It doesn't have to be dramatic; everybody may react in a different way.

2. Post-induction Stall Syndrome
A new balance of water and glycogen will be set. This may cause stalling or even slight weight gain. Don't panic, this is just water and won't last for long, probably just a few days.

3. Keto-adaptation
People get keto-adapted after a few weeks (3-4 weeks on average). Full keto-adaptation, where the body has learnt to use fat for fuel and your brain has switched from using glycogen to ketones, may take even months. Your weight may stall or even fluctuate, but the overall trend of your weight should be downwards. If your weight is stalling, use some tips in this post.

What is intermittent fasting?

Just like Fat Fasting (guide is here), Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a type of diet approach that is often used for breaking though a stubborn months-long weight loss plateau. Intermittent Fasting is not used just for weight loss - it has proven to have myriad health benefits in the long term. You can read more about IF in my post here: Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting

What is fat fasting?

It is another type of fasting where you eat about 90% of your calorie intake from fat while also keeping your calorie intake low, up to 1000-1200 kcal a day. The fat fast should not last for more than a few days. To learn more about fat fasting, have a look at this guide.

Which books and resources do you recommend?

Here is a list of books focused on low-carb, keto & paleo nutrition including cookbooks (my Amazon store). Here is a list of useful video presentations from experts like Dr Volek, Dr Phinney, Dr Lustig and many others. Lastly, here is a list of online resources such as communities, websites and blogs I follow and highly recommend.

Foods & Diet Plans

Where can I find low-carb, paleo recipes?

I have hundreds of recipes on my blog. If you have any preferences and/or any dietary restrictions, simply use use the filtering. Even more delicious low-carb recipes are found in the KetoDiet Apps.

Where can I find keto / paleo diet plans?

I've created several free diet plans including a diet plan for the fat fast. You can get them as free eBooks here!

What should I eat?

I have a list of foods suitable for the ketogenic diet listed in this post: Complete Keto Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid and even more information here: Practical Guide to Keto & Paleo Diet for Optimal Health and Long-Term Weight Loss Both include a PDF version!

Can I eat nuts?

Yes you can, in moderation. Nuts are low in net carbs and suitable for the ketogenic diet. Even if you count total carbs (rather than net carbs), nuts are high in insoluble fibre from which we cannot derive any calories, and it has zero effect on blood sugar. The reason some people do better without nuts and full-fat dairy is because these foods are calorie-dense and easy to overeat, not because they are high in carbs. You can read more about Total vs Net carbs here.

For more information, read this post: Nuts & Seeds on a Ketogenic Diet

Can I eat dairy?

Yes, you can eat dairy in moderation. Apart from milk, it's a myth that raw dairy is high in carbs. Unless you are dairy intolerant or allergic to lactose or casein, foods like cream, butter, yogurt and cheese can be included in your diet.

For more information, read this post: Dairy on a Ketogenic Diet

Can I eat fruit?

Yes, you can eat avocados, coconut and moderate amounts of low-carb fruits such as berries. Tomatoes which are technically a fruit can also be eaten in moderation.

Which sweeteners can I use?

You can have sweeteners even on a LCHF diet. Ideally, use Erythritol or Stevia. For the full list of suitable sweeteners and sweeteners to avoid, check out my post here: Complete Guide to Sweeteners

Can I drink coffee, black tea and eat dark chocolate? How about caffeine?

In general, you can enjoy these foods in moderation on the keto diet. The effects of caffeine are a matter of dispute. Some people claim that caffeine puts them out of ketosis, increases cortisol levels and prevents keto-adaptation. On the other hand, caffeine may help you kick-start fat loss and control your appetite. It's also commonly advised to drink coffee right before exercise. There is no conclusive evidence for the effects of caffeine, and it may well be down to individual responses - I've been drinking coffee for over 15 years and have no issues with raised cortisol levels or inflammation (CRP levels). If you drink coffee, ditch the sugar and milk. Instead, use some cream and if needed, "zero-carb" sweeteners.

For more information, read this post: Caffeine on a Ketogenic Diet: Friend or Foe?

Can I drink alcohol on keto?

Not during the first few months. Although pure alcohol doesn't contain carbs, drinking alcohol will slow down weight loss. Even if there is no sugar, your body can't store alcohol as fat - it has to metabolise it. This means that it will utilise alcohol instead of body fat. I've written more about alcohol on keto in this post.

Are fermented foods allowed?

Raw fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, kefir (dairy or coconut) or raw full-fat plain yogurt are packed with probiotics, vitamins and enzymes. If you eat these on a regular basis, they will help your digestion, restore proper balance of bacteria in your gut and improve overall immunity. Finally, eating fermented foods low in carbs will help you lose weight!

Organic, plain, full-fat yogurt is one of the most confusing foods when it comes to carbs. You actually don't need to count the whole carb content, as the bacteria in yogurt eat up much of the lactose content, thus reducing the amount of carbs in the final product. According to Dr. Jack Goldberg, co-author of the GO-diet, under ideal circumstances, bacterial activity reduces the carbs content to about 30%. Such products have to be labeled "contains live cultures" such as lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidus, or l. casei. Another factor that affects the carb count is whether the yogurt has fermented under ideal conditions and for a sufficient amount of time. The issue is that most commercially available yogurts don't ferment long enough and the carb content only decreases to about 60%. If you leave it for longer, the fermentation will continue even after purchase until only 30% of the carbs remain. It's not easy to determine how many carbs each product has, therefore, all of my recipes always use the full amount of carbs when displaying nutrition facts.

Fermented cod liver oil (you can get it here) is a cold-pressed oil made from cod liver. It's rich in fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K and omega-3 fatty acids. Fat-soluble vitamins are often scarce in modern diets and fermented cod liver oil is one of the best natural sources of these. It's great for skin health, hormone balance and mental health. Vitamin D supplements have been reported to impair sleep and cause insomnia, so never take them before bed but rather with breakfast or lunch.

Why should I soak nuts and seeds?

Soaked nuts have more health benefits than raw nuts. You may want to try it before you roast them. They are better digested and the nutrients are better absorbed. While roasting helps to reduce the phytic acid, the inhibitor you want to eliminate, soaking nuts beforehand is more effective.

Soaking nuts is simple: Place them in a bowl filled with water and leave at room temperature overnight. Drain and spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the oven (55-65 °C/ 130-150 °F) or in a dehydrator for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry. You can prepare any nuts and have them ready to eat. Store in an airtight container. Depending on which nuts you use, you should soak them for 6-12 hours. Cashews are soft and will only require minimum time, while almonds will take 8-12 hours.

Is flaxseed healthy?

Based on the most up-to-date research, flax seems to provide a number of health benefits. Several studies suggest that it may reduce the risk for certain cancers, ease menopausal symptoms, reduce inflammation, protect heart and digestive health, and perhaps improve other conditions as well.

For more information, read this post: Is Flaxseed Healthy? Safety Concerns, Benefits & Recommendations

Can I eat peanuts?

Like other legumes, peanuts are a controversial food among people who follow a keto diet. They contain anti-nutrients that can reduce their nutritional value and may cause health issues in susceptible individuals. However, because of their low net carb content and potential health benefits, you may want to include them in your keto or low-carb lifestyle. Soaking and/or cooking peanuts, choosing organic peanuts or peanut butter, and limiting portion sizes and frequency are key to maximizing their benefits while reducing potential risks.

For more information, read this post: Peanuts on a Ketogenic Diet: Eat or Avoid?

Health Concerns

Many Physicians / GPs / Dietitians are against low-carb diets, why?

You will surely meet many physicians advising you against low-carb diets. There could be many reasons for it. Many physicians lack training and knowledge when it comes to nutrition. Also, they have been told the old "low-fat truth" and most of them accept it without examining recent research. Most of them are unfamiliar with the low-carb approach and oppose it before they even understand it. Finally, offering advice that opposes the generally accepted guidelines for nutrition is not a popular approach and comes at a price. Sceptics are often surprised by the patient's weight loss and overall improved health. If your doctor is against a low-carb approach, you should consider finding another one.

Sadly, there is strong evidence that past fraudulent studies lead us to the current status quo of what a "balanced diet" should be. This video explains Ancel Keys's well-known manipulated study from the 1950's that formed the foundation for the current food pyramid guidelines and "My Plate".

What are the health benefits of ketogenic diets?

Apart from using ketogenic and other low-carb diets for weight loss, there are several health benefits people have achieved following this approach. I have written more about it in this post: Health Benefits of Low-Carb Diets. Here are other articles related to this topic.

Great news!! Recently, we started cooperating with Dr Eugene Fine and his amazing team. Dr Fine is the leading expert on the effects of the ketogenic diet on cancer. We created a special build of our KetoDiet app that his team is using in their current study!

Is ketosis dangerous?

No, there isn't clinical evidence to support such a claim. Many confuse ketosis, which is safe, with ketoacidosis which is an indicator of serious health problems. Note that in the case of ketoacidosis, as it occurs in Type I diabetics and alcoholics, the level of ketones in the bloodstream is 3-5 times higher than in nutritional ketosis. Also, the level of glucose in case of ketoacidosis is very high. The two are not even comparable.

Aren't high-fat diets unhealthy? Isn't eating so much fat going to make me fat?

Actually, a high fat diet is healthier for you, but only when carbohydrate consumption is kept low. In most cases, a diet high in clean saturated and monounsaturated fats and low in carbohydrates raises your HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowers your triglycerides. These two factors are really the true measure of good heart health. It also all depends on what kind of fats you consume - you have to avoid trans fats and processed fats of any kind. You can read more about oils & fats here: Complete Guide to Fats & Oils on Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet.

Fat does not make you fat. This is one of the biggest myths and unfortunately, many "healthy diets" are based on it. Fat doesn't make you fat unless you combine it with high-carbohydrate foods. In the long run, you will realize that eating more fat, adequate protein and less carbs is the best approach for controlling your weight. Eating high fat foods will easily sate your appetite and you won't feel hungry like you did for all those days of calorie counting and low-fat, high-carb diets. This doesn't mean you should base your diet exclusively on sausages and bacon. Ketogenic diets are about adopting a healthier lifestyle, avoiding processed food and eating clean.

However, there may be cases in which people following a very low-carb ketogenic diet show extremely high cholesterol levels. Although many studies show no correlation between cholesterol and heart disease, some experts claim that very high cholesterol may increase the risk of heart disease. The fact that there isn't definite proof doesn't mean that eating unlimited amount of saturated fat is safe for everyone, especially not for those suffering from  hypercholesterolemia.

Although most people won't experience extremely high levels of cholesterol, there are a few people who do (20-30%). Whether it's down to genetics or other factors is still unclear, especially on a low-carb diet. Franziska Spritzler, a registered dietitian specialising in low-carb diets, has a brilliant article on her website and I recommend you all read it. In case your cholesterol is very high, coconut oil may be one of the foods you will have to limit.

Is it safe to lose weight quickly?

Firstly, don't confuse the initial reduction in weight due to water loss with actual fat loss. Your body metabolizes fat slowly and takes time for it to burn fat (1-2 lb a week on average). So, it is unlikely any quick weight loss reflects actual fat loss. It will more likely be either water or muscle tissue. To avoid muscle loss make sure you consume sufficient amounts of nutrients, especially protein. To find your ideal macronutrient intake, try our online keto calculator, KetoDiet Buddy. As usual, I suggest you opt for "moderate" or "slow" fat loss options.

According to Atkins, losing weight could only be an issue if:

  • You're not eating enough and as a result of that lose lean muscle mass rather than fat. You mustn't feel hungry and if you do between the meals, make sure you have a snack with you all the time.
  • You feel sick, dizzy or fatigued. Make sure you drink enough water and have a sufficient intake of electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium).
  • you are pregnant — you should not try to lose weight during this time. Check this FAQ for details.

I have a high BMI, is it unhealthy?

Not necessarily. BMI (Body Mass Index) is calculated using your height and weight. Traditionally, BMI of 25 and more is regarded as "overweight", while those of 30 and more are deemed "obese". This makes it unreliable, as BMI does not take into account the percentage of body fat. So, it says nothing about body composition: the BMI of a muscular athlete could be the same as that of an overweight sedentary person, which is completely misleading.

Even if your BMI is high due to high body fat, it doesn't necessarily mean you are at risk or unhealthy. It has been proven that people with more body fat, especially at a higher age, have a  lower rate of mortality compared to those with lower body fat. This could be explained by their better ability to fight serious diseases when the body has some "extra storage". It also depends on where the fat is stored. If you have a lot of visceral fat (around your stomach area), you may be at a much higher risk. This is because visceral fat is stored where all the internal organs are and could affect their function.

If your aim is to lose weight and be healthy, you may not even need to lose as much as you may have thought. Make sure you have regular check-ups and blood tests to see the actual health effects of your diet.

Most people want to lose a lot of fat simply for esthetic reasons — this may have no additional health benefits and it will be harder to achieve. Anything below the body's "natural weight", which is always individual, will be more difficult. But if anything, ketogenic diets are the best tool to achieve your goals!

I have high cholesterol, is it unhealthy?

Not necessarily. Contrary to what you've probably heard, cholesterol is absolutely vital for our body and the role of it has been completely misunderstood. The real cause of heart disease is not high cholesterol but chronic inflammation. Have a look at my post here: The Obesity Epidemic, the Truth about Cholesterol and Saturated Fat.

However, I'd like to give you an update on the above post regarding saturated fat. The truth remains that only because something hasn't been proven harmful, it doesn't mean it's 100% safe. You should not aim for high cholesterol only because it hasn't been proven harmful. You can read more about high cholesterol levels on a ketogenic diet in this article by Franziska Spritzler. Along with Dr Volek and Dr Phinney, she also suggests that the majority of your fat intake should come from heart-healthy MUFA.

Here is my personal take: I've been following this way of eating for almost three years and noticed that some people tend to swing from one extreme to another. Many go from a very low-fat, high-carb diet to a LCHF diet without paying attention to the source of their fat intake. A healthy low-carb diet should not be based on just bacon, sausages, eggs and cheese. You should make sure to include sources of healthy fats (avocados, nuts, coconut oil) and healthy foods rich in micronutrients (non-starchy vegetables, berries, etc.).

Does a ketogenic diet cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies? Do I need to take supplements?

Some people are concerned about vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as this is a common risk when you go on a calorie-restricted diet. However, studies have shown that on a relative scale of 1000 calories, a low-carbohydrate diet provides a higher level of nutrients compared to low-calorie diets. Any diets will be lacking in nutrients if you tend to eat the same food all the time. Try to make your daily plan well-balanced and include a variety of foods (meat, vegetables, yogurt, nuts, healthy oils, etc.) and always keep an eye on your nutrients, especially electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium).

I personally take vitamin D (cod liver oil), magnesium and sometimes also add selenium and zinc (thyroid health). Here is a list of supplements I'd recommend on a LCHF diet.

For more information, read this post: Top 11 Nutrient-Dense Keto Foods

Do I need to take fiber supplements? How about constipation and diarrhea?

No, you don't. This problem occurs when the LCHF diet is misunderstood. You cannot eat just meat and eggs, as some of you may have imagined. And you don't get fiber just from grains and fruit. There is plenty in vegetables, some low-carb fruits or even nuts. Once these are included in the diet, fiber is not an issue. If you are still worried about lack of fiber, a natural sugar-free fiber supplement may help you. Our KetoDiet App calculates your daily intake of fiber so you can keep track of it and avoid any issues.

If you suffer from constipation, here are some tips:

  • Drink water! Make sure you stay hydrated (~ 2-3 liters a day)
  • Make sure your mineral intake is sufficient. You may have to increase your sodium intake, especially during the first few days of your diet. Also, try magnesium citrate - it helps with constipation.
  • Eat good fats: nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, etc.
  • Try MCT oil
  • When using psyllium, always drink with plenty of water
  • Be more active, go for a walk

If you experience loose stools and diarrhea, watch your fat intake. Don't get over 80% of calories from fat if you have digestive issues. Also, it's better if you avoid coconut oil and MCT oil (if you do use them, start with small amounts such as a teaspoon).

How is it with ketogenic diet, liver and kidney failure / gallstone disease?

The main concern is the increased occurrence of kidney stones and kidney damage due to the "high-protein" nature of ketogenic diets. Firstly, it's a myth that ketogenic diets are high in protein. Even if they were, it's arguable whether or not there are any negative effects. There is little research to suggest any negative effect of ketogenic diets on kidney function or kidney stones in healthy individuals. Only people with kidney problems need to be alert and make sure they discuss any diet changes with their doctor. According to studies, a low-carb, high-fat diet has beneficial effects and may improve gallstone disease.

A secondary concern is often raised against the potentially bad effects of ketogenic diets on the liver. In studies that have been performed to examine the short-term effects, low-carb diets have been found to cause no damage to the liver in healthy individuals. In fact, a diet deficient in cholesterol leads to conditions such as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, and the ketogenic diet may actually improve this condition. Again, people with kidney disease should discuss this approach with a health professional.

Can the ketogenic diet help improve GERD/ acid reflux?

Yes, it can! If you're living with discomfort and reduced quality of life from acid reflux, and food has gone from a pleasure to a pain, consider trying a low-carb or ketogenic diet. For more information, read this post: Can a Ketogenic Diet Help People with Acid Reflux?

What is a very low-carb diet? Is it suitable for everyone?

A very low-carb diet (VLC) typically refers to a diet that is very low in carbohydrates. Although there is no general consensus, this could vary from virtually "zero-carb" to about 50 grams of total carbs / 20 grams of net carbs. There are several reasons for which it may be beneficial to follow this strict regime. VLC may help with the treatment of some health conditions but it may also be the most effective tool for weight loss, especially for those with metabolic syndrome issues.

One of the examples of VLC is the Restricted ketogenic diet, which is a diet used for patients with serious diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy. For cancer management, the net carb intake could be as low as 12 grams per day while also limited in calories.  In his report, Dr Seyfried gives practical advice on how to follow such a diet and what results have been achieved so far.

If you follow a VLC, you have to pay close attention to what you eat, as you may lack certain micronutrients. Long-term deficiencies could lead to potential health issues. Some of the commonly deficient minerals in VLC diets are magnesium, calcium and potassium. Make sure you include foods from this list in your everyday diet. Other vitamins and minerals to be aware of are vitamin E, A, C, iron, thiamin, folate and zinc.

Does the ketogenic diet cause thyroid issues?

As I mentioned above, not everyone can follow a VLC. Some people may simply do better on a low to moderate carbohydrate diet. The only way to find out is to try it yourself and find the level at which you feel comfortable and still manage to lose or maintain your weight.  Some studies show that VLC may negatively affect thyroid function and lead to a decreased level of the T3 hormone. On the other hand, they also show that 50 grams of carbohydrates a day is sufficient for higher T3 levels. The T3 hormone is known as the "metabolically active" hormone and is produced by the conversion of the "metabolically inactive" T4 hormone (by the deiodinase system). Low levels of T3 may lead to a decreased Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), slower fat loss, hair loss, temperature regulating issues and fatigue.

Some of the arguments against low-carb diets say that we need glucose for the conversion of T4 to T3 hormone. According to low-carb experts Dr Volek and Dr Phinney, our body needs a very small amount of glucose to convert the T4 into T3. In fact, our body can make enough glucose from protein and even from fat stores via gluconeogenesis.  According to studies, calorie restriction and prolonged fasting are the major dietary causes of decreased T3 levels.

However, no studies have taken individuals with preexisting thyroid issues into account and more research needs to be done to determine the long-term effects of very low-carb diets on thyroid. Although following a VLC diet may not be an issue in healthy individuals, it may negatively affect those who already have a thyroid disease. If you are one of them, make sure you get frequently tested and monitor all the changes.

For more information, read this post: Are Keto and Low Carb Suitable for People with Thyroid Disease?

Could a ketogenic diet cause hair loss?

One of the frequently asked questions is whether low-carb eating causes hair loss as it appears to be an issue in some people. Sometimes this can be caused by rapid weight loss which is only temporary. It can also be caused by lack of dietary protein. Remember that you should eat 0.6-1 gram of protein for every kilogram of lean body mass. Another reason for hair loss can be an autoimmune disease, especially hypothyroidism - make sure you get proper treatment. You can improve your hair by taking vitamins and minerals or eating foods high in zinc, biotin, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium and vitamin E.

Here is an interesting experiment where two men lived on fat and protein only (including organ meats) for the whole year and their hair got thicker.

Is the keto diet suitable for kids?

Yes, it is. Babies and kids thrive in ketosis. In fact, the ketogenic diet is widely used to manage diseases such as autism and epilepsy in kids.

Is the keto diet safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Yes, it is but you shouldn't try to lose weight during this period. Significant weight loss during pregnancy & breastfeeding may have an adverse effect on the fetus / baby because fat cells may release toxins. Make sure you also discuss this with your doctor. To read more about ketosis during pregnancy, have a look at Maria Emmerich's post here.

Can type 2 diabetics follow the ketogenic diet?

Yes, they can. However, they have to be monitored by their doctor. They may need an adjustment to the medication after just a few days of following a low-carb diet. Together with many experts in low-carb nutrition and diabetes management, Dr. Richard D Feinman has authored a review of studies that is worth reading.

For more information, read this post: Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Conquered Eating a Ketogenic Diet?

Can type 1 diabetics follow the ketogenic diet?

Yes but only under medical supervision. It's very important that type 1 diabetics don't get into a dangerous state called ketoacidosis (very high levels of ketones and glucose).

For more information, read this post: Ketogenic Diet and Type 1 Diabetes

Can the ketogenic diet help improve PCOS?

Yes, it can! Carbohydrate restriction seems to be the best dietary approach for women with PCOS. It's been shown to reduce insulin resistance and other risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.

For more information, read this post: Ketogenic Diet and PCOS

Is the ketogenic diet suitable for women going through menopause?

Yes, it is! A very-low-carb lifestyle can help lower insulin levels, improve insulin sensitivity, keep your appetite under control and potentially even reduce hot flashes and other symptoms.

For more information, read this post: Ketogenic Diet and Menopause

What is the lowest body fat percentage that is still healthy?

You should never go below the essential body fat. Essential body fat is vital fat mass you cannot lose and it’s 8-12% for women and 3-5% for men.

To calculate your body fat, use this tool: How To Measure Body Fat


Can vegetarians or vegans follow a ketogenic diet?

Yes, they can. However, there is a big difference between being a vegetarian and a vegan. While it's relatively easy to be on a vegetarian, ketogenic diet, it's very hard and nearly impossible to be on a vegan, ketogenic diet plan.

Being a vegetarian: Since the main source of quality protein on a ketogenic diet is meat, you'll have to find alternatives. There are plenty of options like nutrient-dense eggs and dairy and even some vegetables like broccoli. In fact, you may not even need to take additional supplements. You just need to make sure you get enough vitamin B12 and iron. Apart from meat and fish, B12 is commonly found in cheese and eggs, while iron is found in nuts and dark green vegetables (watercress, spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.).

You can find all my vegetarian recipes here.

Being a vegan: Following a ketogenic diet may be hard for several reasons. In general, it will be difficult to meet your daily calories and adequate food intake. To up your calorie intake, you will need to use plenty of coconut oil, olive oil and other healthy fats. You will also likely be eating more carbs than those who can eat meat and other animal sources.

You can include nuts. To avoid eating too much omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory in large amounts, you will have to be careful with most nuts. Macadamia nuts, which are the healthiest option, mostly contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. You should also eat avocados - if possible on a daily basis. They are great sources of monounsaturated fats, magnesium and potassium.

There are vitamins and minerals that are only found in animal sources and you will need to take supplements. These are vitamin B12, D3 and DHA (type of omega-3 found in fatty fish). Vitamin B12 is crucial for our body to be able to make red blood cells, nerves, DNA, and carry out other functions, while deficiency of vitamin D may result in all sorts of diseases (depression, cardiovascular disease,  cancer, etc). While there are plant sources of vitamin D (D2), the most effective one is found in animal sources (D3). The importance of DHA has been discussed in this post. Other micronutrients found exclusively in animal sources are creatine and carnosine, both of which are beneficial for us, especially our brain.

Additionally, vegans are often deficient in calcium. Apart from animal sources, this vital micronutrient is found in healthy foods like dark leafy greens (kale, turnip greens), seaweed (nori sheets and other), nuts (especially almonds, sesame seeds and sesame products (unsweetened tahini) and blackstrap molasses. Also, have a look at my post to find out why B12-fortified products may not be enough in order to meet your B12 targets: Vitamin B12 Deficiency - the Masking Effect of Folic Acid.

You can find all my vegan recipes here.

For more information, read this post: Vegetarian Diet and Keto - Can These Two Work Together?

How about eating at work? Can I eat in restaurants?

Office / traveling / restaurants

There is always a choice. You can avoid eating too many carbs by eating meat dishes such as steaks (with no starchy gravy or sauce), salads (choose greens, meat, eggs based salad) with oil or mayonnaise as dressing or even some appetizers such as Parma ham with rocket or baked peppers with goat cheese. Avoid ketchup and use mustard instead. Occasionally, you can have a glass of dry wine. If you can't avoid eating carbs, the best thing to do is to go for a walk after the meal to help burn the excessive carbs instead of storing them as fat. Don't feel bad for having special requirements at a restaurant - you are the customer. Ask your waiter to make a special meal by adding or removing some of the ingredients. Be careful about dressings, as they may contain sugar or flour. It's always better to ask for the dressing to be served separately instead of mixed with the food.

If you love Indian cuisine, go for meat-based curry or tikka dish with vegetables. Try Korma, Tandoori or any meat-based meals. Avoid Dahl or any lentils, potatoes and rice. Also avoid meals like Vindaloo, as it is almost impossible to eat without rice or naan bread - it's too hot for most people.

If you love Italian cuisine, order either a meat-based meal, or fish and seafood, or anything with non-starchy vegetables (steamed, grilled, fried or fresh). Some Italian restaurants serve omelets, Italian sausages and various salads. Avoid breadcrumbs and starchy sauces in salads. Instead of sweet dressing, ask for extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar or mayonnaise (use balsamic vinegar sparingly for keto).

Japanese cuisine is based on seafood and rice. You can get sashimi or egg omelets, with a side of seaweed salad. Just avoid rice!

German cuisine is quite high in carbs, but there are still meat-based delicious dishes such as Tartar steak. Avoid eating any meals with bread! Other dishes you may try are sausages or sauerkraut. However, sausages may not be the healthiest choice, as they are full of preservatives, so eat them sparingly.

Avoid noodles and get either a meat-based meal without sugary sauces or get a salad.

Greek cuisine is great for a low-carb diet. It offers a variety of fish, seafood and delicious meat-based dishes. Just avoid fries, pita bread and sweets. You can get some more ideas from my post here: Top 15 Low-Carb Meals to Try in Greece.

Kebabs are served in bread but you can get them just with vegetables. Mayonnaise is allowed but beware of sugar that is sometimes added to it - don't be afraid to ask.

Even Chinese food could be low in carbs. Try crispy duck and avoid the sweet sauce it is often served with. Seafood or fish soups without noodles are also an option. Apart from these, any egg or meat-based meal with non-starchy vegetables is ok - just avoid corn or too much of carrot, and make sure to ask whether a dish contains flour or other thickeners.

You have to avoid tortillas and rice. Avoid beans and opt for salads or meat-based meals.


Take-away doesn't always mean junk food. Nowadays, there are many healthy alternatives such as sushi, kebabs and more. Jimmy John's (US only) serves sandwiches without bread called "Unwiches". Instead of bread they are wrapped in lettuce.

No time

If you don't have time to cook, it's always good to have quick snacks to replace your meal. Always have nuts and avocados at hand or try full-fat plain yogurt, berries with cottage cheese, home-made protein bars, home-made halva and other low-carb snacks.

Family and social life

This is one of the most difficult aspects of any diet. Your family, friends or colleagues may occasionally urge you to eat the wrong type of food. Most people have been taught their entire life that it's best to eat wholemeal bread or a low-fat yogurt. Another myth that most people believe is that cardio exercise is ideal for weight loss. Don't be surprised even if your doctor advises you that a low-carb diet is harmful. Most doctors have been exposed to the low-fat "campaign" for decades.

Big Fat Lies is a short and entertaining video that explains the issues with conventional approaches. Keep in mind that some people are impossible to convince no matter how strong the evidence is - it should not be your aim. In the end, this is your personal choice and you have nothing to prove to anyone. It will not take long before they realize how wrong they were!

What is the minimum amount of carbohydrates I should eat?

Many wonder if it's actually safe to be on a VLC diet, such as 20 grams of net carbs or less per day. Is it good for you not to eat any carbohydrates when your body, especially your brain, needs it in the form of glucose? The answer is simple: Your body doesn't need carbohydrates from food consumed at all. It can make glucose from protein using a process known as gluconeogenesis. It has been estimated that about 200 grams of glucose can be generated daily just from protein (Dr. John Briffa, Escape the Diet Trap, chapter 14, 2012). If you use the KetoDiet iPad app, I encourage you to specify your weight and body fat percentage. Eating too much protein may even disrupt ketosis and have an impact on your weight loss. Instead, your body uses ketones, a product of incomplete breakdown of free fatty acids (FFA) in the liver. The main purpose of ketones is to replace glucose as a fat-derived fuel for the brain.

You can read more about carbs in my posts here: All You Need to Know About Carbs on Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet and How Many Carbs per Day on Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet? and Total Carbs or Net Carbs: What Really Counts?

Should I count total carbs or net carbs? What is the difference?

Net carbs are Total carbs without fibre. Which ones should you track on a low-carb, ketogenic diet? It depends what your aim is. If you simply want to lose weight, you will achieve great results by counting net carbs. For therapeutic purposes you may have to count total carbs. You can read more about it in my post here: Total Carbs or Net Carbs: What Really Counts?

Are carbs on TKD going to put me out of ketosis?

People on Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) are being advised to consume easily digestible carbs with high Glycemic Index (GI). These may put you out of ketosis but only for a short period provided you burn all of them during your workout session.

However, recent studies show that the need for carbs before workouts may not be necessary. In fact, extra carbs before exercise may impair keto-adaptation and performance. I suggest you read The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. The authors, Dr Phinney and Dr Volek, argue that athletes perform better in keto-adaptation. As with everything, people have different needs and different preferences and what works for you may not work for others. Some people simply do better with some more carbs. Try and see how you feel with no carbs - keep in mind it will take about a month before you get keto-adapted. Until then, take it easy with your workouts.

If you want to avoid carbs, try coconut oil instead. Coconut oil is the best source of MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides), which are easily digestible, less likely to be stored by your body and are used for immediate energy. Research also shows that MCTs are thermogenic and therefore great fat-burners. For more, check out this blog post. You can read more about different types of ketogenic diets here: Types of Ketogenic Diets and the KetoDiet Approach.

How to satisfy the ketogenic diet sweet tooth?

When you start a ketogenic diet, it may be a bit tricky for you to give up sweets and starchy foods. The first few weeks are going to be difficult, as you have to exclude not only sweets but also many of the fruits and foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. Your body could be addicted to sugar and it will demand it back. Below are some tips for you to successfully overcome the cravings for sweets:

Get rid of all the sweets and "banned" food. If you keep them in your fridge or cupboard, chances of cravings are much higher. Make sure you are not surrounded by foods rich in carbs. Don't feel sorry, just bin it or give it to someone! Avoid anything containing sugar (even honey and fruits), at least for the first few weeks. Fruit and most low-carb sweets like these should be avoided at least for the first few weeks. To make life easier until you adjust to your new diet, use "zero-carb" sweeteners, like stevia, erythritol, monk fruit powder etc.

How do I get rid of the keto diet bad breath?

The ketogenic "fruity" breath doesn't bother everyone following a ketogenic diet. To avoid this, drink a lot of water, mint tea and make sure you eat foods rich in electrolytes. Avoid too many chewing gums and mints, as they may put you out of ketosis; there may be hidden carbs affecting your blood sugar. Once you get keto-adapted, the keto breath will go away.

How can I relieve the symptoms of keto-flu?

When entering the induction phase of a ketogenic diet, some people experience "keto-flu”. The "flu" is nothing more than a result of starving the body of carbohydrates in order to enter ketosis. There are a few things you should know to minimise or avoid the symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal. Stay hydrated and make sure to get enough electrolytes (sodium, magnesium and potassium).

Is it ok to eat more protein than fat?

No, you should stay within the keto diet limits. If you are physically active, you will need more protein. This doesn't mean your diet should transform to protein-based. Ketogenic diets are based on fat and you should try to maintain a ratio of:

  • 60-75% of calories from fat (or even more)
  • 15-30% of calories from protein, and
  • 5-10% of calories from carbs.

Note that significantly more protein may put you out of ketosis while too little protein will cause hunger issues and potentially loss of muscle mass. You can find your macronutrient targets here: KetoDiet Buddy

What may put me out of ketosis?

Apart from sugar, sugary drinks, sweeteners and grains, here is what may kick you out of ketosis:

  • fruit
  • starchy vegetables (carrot, celery root, sweet potatoes, etc.)
  • lack of physical activity together with extra carbs
  • artificial sweeteners or caffeine (exceptionally for some of you)
  • too much protein - find out your ideal protein intake using our online keto calculator!

More ketones, more fat loss?

This has been discussed in my post here: Ketosis & Measuring Ketones. Simply said, unless you have health reasons for it (Restricted Ketogenic Diet), I wouldn't advise you to aim for "zero-carb" eating. Most people experience all the great fat loss and health benefits of the Ketogenic diet at 20-30 grams of net carbs per day.

In fact, you don't need to be in ketosis to lose weight. As always, some people achieve great results on low-moderate carbohydrate diets, while others do well on a very low-carb diet. Simply said - you have to try what works best for you. If you want to know more about ketone levels and their effect on fat loss, have a look at these posts: Do Ketones Matter? and The Ketone Craze.

What if I can't lose weight? Reaching the weight loss plateau

I have covered this very common issue extensively in my post here. In short:

Do I have to exercise to lose weight?

The good news is that for losing body fat, you don't need to exercise. However, exercise can help you lose weight in many ways:

  •  Strength training / lifting weights or using your own body weight. It will help you lose weight by building muscles and slightly increasing your basal metabolic rate.
  • Using the  HIIT (HIIE) technique. Unlike prolonged cardio training, high intensity intermittent exercise (high intensity interval training) will help you burn more calories without increasing your appetite.
  • Moderate cardio such as walking or light cycling are beneficial for your health and can help you stay focused and positive. However, studies show that this type of exercise doesn't seem to have any long-term benefits for weight loss per se.
  • Here is our guide to exercise that will help you make the right choices.

Do I have to get my exercise in all at once? No, you don't have to. Studies have shown that a continuous exercise has the same benefits as exercise that is split up into smaller periods throughout the day. This means you can have a shorter morning and evening exercise routines that will  benefit you the same, as if you did all at once.

You can read even more about protein, carbs and exercise nutrition in these posts: How to Exercise on a Keto Diet, Ketogenic Nutrition and Exercise: Protein and Ketogenic Nutrition and Exercise: Carbs

Do I need to eat carbs before my workouts?

No, once you get keto-adapted, you body will not need extra glucose and will be using ketones and fat for energy. However, you may need to add carbs for explosive exercise actions. You can read more about carbs and exercise here:

You can read even more about carbs and exercise nutrition in this post: Ketogenic Nutrition and Exercise: Carbs

How important is sleep for weight loss?

Lack of sleep may be behind your weight stalling. It may sound cliche but sleep is an absolutely crucial part of fat loss: Maximum fat loss is only achieved with adequate sleep, diet and exercise. Try to fall asleep before midnight and sleep for 7-9 hours. Also, try to go to bed at 10 pm or latest before midnight. If you stay up too late, your body will produce cortisol which will slow down fat loss.

Is it harmful or beneficial to have carb up days / cheat days every now and then?

When it comes to "cheat days", people often wonder if they are beneficial for faster fat loss. Most claim to use this strategy to break through a weight loss plateau. However, there is no general rule and the effects vary for individuals. There are two reasons some people include cheat days. Firstly, it helps them to break through a weight loss plateau and secondly for motivational purposes to help them adhere to the diet.

Here is what happens if you include a cheat day. Initially, when you start following a low-carb diet, your glycogen levels go down and you lose water. If you include a cheat day, you may feel like you have put on weight due to water retention. When you go back to a healthy low-carb diet, you will notice an immediate effect. Although some physically active individuals use "carb up days" in between their workouts to stimulate muscle growth, you won't need carb-ups if you mostly do weight training and moderate HIIT.

Can I do intermittent fasting?

Yes, you can but you should not attempt it for the first 4 weeks of the ketogenic diet. Your body needs to get keto-adapted first.

For more information, read these posts:

Can I do fat fasting?

Yes, but only after you get keto-adapted and if you need to break through a weight loss plateau. You can read all about the fat fast here.

Can I build muscles on the keto diet?

Yes you can build muscles due to the muscle-sparing effect of ketogenic diets. You can read more in an excellent book by Dr Volek and Dr Phinney The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance

What are exogenous ketones? Will they help me lose weight?

The use of exogenous ketone supplementation is proving a very exciting area. They appear to offer specific therapeutic potential in neurological disorders, cognitive function, athletic performance as well as helping aid the ketogenic diet. Likewise, there are other emerging areas of interest for the use of ketone esters including cancer, certain skin disorders and ALS.

One area of use with exogenous ketones that is being mostly misunderstood is its role in weight management. There are many people out there claiming that by ingesting exogenous ketones it will somehow cause you to lose weight at a faster rate. It is important to note that this claim is completely unsubstantiated.

For more information, read these posts:

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Martina Slajerova
Creator of

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

About the Reviewer

This article has been reviewed by Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE who is a qualified expert. At KetoDiet we work with a team of health professionals to ensure accurate and up-to-date information. You can find out more on the About us page.

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Comments (95)

I am using the Keto app and measuring my macros, I am on day 4, but I am always over on my protein and short on fat and calories. What can I eat that gets the fat and calories I need but doesnt keep taking me over on protein? I have spinach and broccoli in there but even that adds protein but doesnt help with hunger.
Thank you

Hi Jen, an easy way to reduce protein & increase fat intake (if you need to increase it as it should be eaten to satiety) is to swap some of the lean meat cuts such as chicken or white fish with fatty fish, duck, pork or fatty beef or lamb cuts. Also, when you say "Keto app" I'm not sure if you are using our app as ours is called "KetoDiet". There are many "keto apps" on the App Store (I can't guarantee how well their macro calculators or food database work) but this one is our app:

I am a supporter of LCHF diet.
I am also a triathlon athlete partecipating in Ironman challenges.
I love LCHF diet but during Ironman challenge I always use time released
maltodextrin  + BCAA because I am afraid ketonic wont be enough to sustain
a 8/10 hours high bmp effort.
I would be delighted to know if LCHF diet can be effective during competitive long lasting efforts such IRONMAN.
I understand Carnivor do not use  maltodextrin in nature ... But Carnivor wont chase their
prey for 10 hours either ....

I understand that on a keto diet that you want to keep carbs low, ideally under 50 grams per day.  
But I just had a breakfast that easily had one cup of cooked onions (21 g of carbs per nutrition self data) and one cup of cooked mushrooms (another 20 grams).  Plus an egg and some broccoli sprouts.
So I'm already approaching 50 grams, right?
It would almost seems that I need to really limit my veggies to keep within the 50 grams/day ideal goal.  
Is this correct?

Hi Glenn, that doesn't sound right. It looks like there are some serious errors in the app/website you are using.
This is a common issue with many apps and websites. The reason is that most apps and websites use crowdsourcing to build their food databases and there isn't much they do to prevent errors. Their priority is quantity rather than quality. As a result, you may end up with missing or inaccurate macros. I explained more about what we do in our app to prevent this in this post: Barcode Scanning and Food Database in the KetoDiet App
We use verified sources so our calculations are accurate in our app and my books. I hope this helps!

Hi Martina, My concern is with your recipes. My husband and I have several food sensitivities. Here is a short list of the foods we need to avoid:Eggs, Dairy, beef, almonds, chia and hemp seeds, gluten, wheat, pineapple,cherries,and ginger.
You see I looked at some of your recipes, pictures are nice but if I do not know the ingredients the photos don't help. Do you have options/ substitutions for most of these foods in your database? Thank you, I look forward to your response.

Hi Debbie, the best thing would be to use the filtering options in the Recipe section (see top of the page). There won't be all of the options that you listed but it will help you filter through some of the main allergies/intolerances. I hope this helps!
the recipes are here: Recipes (there is no wheat/gluten in any of my recipes so you won't find this option in the filter).

How many meals can you eat on a Keto diet ?

Most people following a low-carb diet eat 2-3 main meals a day, some only once.  Only those with blood sugar issues (hypoglycaemia), may need to add small snacks. For more information on meal frequency, see the section about Intermittent fasting.

I have a question regarding calorie and macro counting on keto.  When I'm cooking using butter or oil, am I including the calories and macros with the oil/butter in my meal?  Or just a portion since there's obviously something left in the pan?

Typically, I count all of it just for simplicity. You're right that some of it is left in the pan and you may need to count it partially if it's a significant amount of fat that you won't consume.

I’m having trouble with diarrhea I have been doing keto for about 2 weeks... what am I doing wrong?

Hi Kristen, I just added a more regarding this issue - search for "diarrhea" in this post.

Sorry, I'm not at the top now. I'm traveling to Korea soon and will spend quite some time there in a hotel. I'm not sure to stay keto there, I'm frustrated because it's not easy cheating and getting back on track... It's a lot of willpower for travelers.
What would you do...or what do you do when you're out of the country for at least 1 week. Should I "carb up" and try to fix when back home with a "fat fast", "7 days or just continue with the 4 weeks plan.
Thanks for your help. I really need it.

Hi there. I have a question. Does a weekend of eating ALOt mean that it will take a month to get keto-adapted again?
Will I be sent an email if you reply or must I check in the comments daily to see?

Hi Keyoma, it won't take a month but it may take 3-5 days to get back on track. I hope this helps!

My mother and I are doing keto because she was diagnosed with cancer. Is it safe for her to have a carb up/carb refeed meal? I know it's possible to get back into ketosis quickly but I worry about the cancer cells feeding on the carb up glucose

I'm sorry to hear that, Isabelle. I'm not an expert in this area but if I were diagnosed with cancer, I would follow a restricted ketogenic diet and would avoid carbohydrate refeeds. Here's some information that may help: Can the Ketogenic Diet Help Patients with Brain Cancer?

Hi Martina~! Love your site! Thank you for all that you offer here. I have a question regarding high blood pressure. My genetics are prone to heart disease and high blood pressure. I am 44 yrs old and on the precipice of HBP. I'm very drawn to this keto-lifestyle; however, I have yet to find info on how this diet effects HBP. Do you have any knowledge or information around this? Any adjustments that need to be made for that? Thank you!

Hi Julie, I'm sorry for the late response! Low-carb diets in general can normalise blood pressure. I hope this helps: What Are the Health Benefits of Low-Carb and Keto Diets?

I have a very basic question.   If the goal of a ketogenic diet is to use the excessive fat already in your body, then why must you consume so much fat on this diet?   it seems counter-intuitive as if the fast you are ingesting is competing with the fact you are trying to lose.

Hi Dave, even when you are in calorie deficit (using body fat for fuel), you should still be following a low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet to keep you blood sugar and insulin levels low so that your body can use body fat for energy and you don't feel hungry (satiety effect). For more information, check out our keto calculator: KetoDiet Buddy - Easy Macro Calculator for the Ketogenic Diet

Hi Martina,
I'm totally in love with your site and find everything so easy and useful. I had a question though. I've been following strict keto for about 5 weeks now and have lost about 14 pounds but I've noticed that I'm having gallbladder pain. I've never had any gallbladder pain before in my life. Is this any kind of side effect that you've heard of?

top ramen beef soup is total carbs 27g %DV9% but dietary fiber 2g and %DV8%  so that's that mean 8& cancels the 9& of the carbs meaning only 1% is this keto diet okay ?

Hi Gabby, I'm not sure I understand. Carbs cannot get "canceled" - all "net carbs (total carbs minus fibre) have to be included: Total Carbs or Net Carbs: What Really Counts?

Hi. I am foung this fir my husband who hadcancer and treatments are done. He lost a lot of weight. What is the best fir him to eat? He needs to gain weight but of course away from sugar nd milk. Please help.

Hi Rio, you should discuss this with a health professional. If you need advice, please, contact Patricia Daly who specialises in this area: Low-Carb Experts

Love the blog, so informative thank you.
I just wanted to ask as well as not feeling hungry in the early stages of ketosis (3-4 weeks) I'm feeling constantly sick in the morning in my gut. My routine has always stayed the same with starting my day with a coffee w/25grams of coconut oil and cream, some days I'll have breakfast but lately the smell of food is making me sick.. to the point I've had my coffee and maybe a piece of cheese or nuts. majority of the time that I get this feeling I have checked and my ketone freestyle machine is reading at 1.4.. is this normal?

Hi Maddi, I think you should skip the morning coconut oil for a while. The sickness can be caused by some MCTs (have a look at this review to learn more about different types of MCTs: Complete Guide to Bulletproof Coffee)
You ketone level is perfect - that won't be the issue. If you don't feel like eating, skip your breakfast or try something else (e.g. if you usually have eggs, try chia pudding instead). You can find more recipes here, simply filter for "breakfast" or anything else: Recipes I hope this helps!

I have been doing Keto for only a week and a half now. I know it is a short amount of time but I am getting frustrated because i have not lost any weight. I feel better in the mornings and have lost a of of bloating but I have yet to see any real weight loss. Am i just being impatient or am I possibly doing something wrong?

Hi Joelle, please, have a look at this post for more tips - I think it is too soon: How To Low Carb: 15+ Common Weight Loss Mistakes

Since comments are turned off on Keto Buddy, I hope this is a good place.
LOVE my Buddy! Not an apple user, and it has been very helpful in understanding and targeting my goals.
I built a db yesterday, since I need a way to figure out what to track my intake, and you don't know all the recipes I already make or the fresh
The daily calorie numbers on the Buddy page are wrong. You are using them based on net carbs, not total carbs. If someone is trying to match their calculations, total calories for the day will be higher than what you show. Oh, if you could only know what the real total carbs would be! You might want to put a note on it for the non-KDA users. 😊
Is there a direct email for you? I have questions I'd love to ask, and the website isn't the best place. If so, I hope you email me.
Thanks Martina!

Thank you Ava! (just a geeky explanation: KetoDiet Buddy is not a post - it's a static page so we cannot enable comments there).
When it comes to fibre, here is why we count calories from "net" and not total carbs:
- There are 2 types of fibre: soluble and insoluble.
- While insoluble fibre is calorie-free and cannot be absorbed by our body, there is 1.9 kcal in every gram of soluble fibre. That is less than 50% of what your body can derive from sugars and starches (4.1 kcal per gram).
- Counting calories from "total" carbs rather than "net" carbs would lead to larger inaccuracies (all total carbs times 4.1), unless we break down carbohydrates to starches, sugars, soluble and insoluble fibre and count the contribution of each separately (more about total vs net carbs: Total Carbs or Net Carbs: What Really Counts?)
Keep in mind that 20-50 kcal from extra fibre would have no effect on your progress anyway 😊 It's not worth being stressed out about meeting your calorie targets precisely every single day.
In fact, you may eat 2000 kcal on one day and 1400 kcal a day after - your body will find a natural balance. It's useful to know your macros in case you are constantly going over your target and when it happens, you need to have a closer look at what you are eating or if there is another factor causing that.
There is a way to contact us (see this page below) but keep in mind I don't give personalised advice and I can only reply to support e-mails about our app, blog, etc.

Sorry if you've covered these topics already but:
1. If I understand correctly, do you have to up carbs to stop losing weight? If so, why do you have to do it? Why not adjust your calorie intake for the sake of keeping your "ideal" weight? Also, ketog. diet, if I am not mistaking, claims to be be the "real thing" (the way our ancestors did itt) why do you have to play around carbs (why won't the body just stop loosing weight, esp cuz sometimes you lose weight even if you go beyond your calories)?
2. what strategy do you use when you want to lose weight and gain muscle at the same time?

Increasing your carbohydrate intake may stop weight loss or even cause weight gain. Once you reach your target, you can add some carbs simply because you won't need to be as strict as when you are trying to lose weight. By adding carbs, I'm referring to healthy food sources such as vegetables, berries and nuts. Some people prefer to stay at a very low level - which is fine if it works for you.
If you want to maintain your weight or gain muscles, it is recommended you up your fat intake and make sure you eat enough protein. Here's our keto calculator that will help you find the right macros for your target: KetoDiet Buddy - Easy Macro Calculator for the Ketogenic Diet

Do you know if taking omega 3 capsules or echinacea tablets could kick you out of ketosis? 😊

No I don't believe it would, although I'm not sure about the echinacea tablets - it depends what they contain apart from echinacea extract.

I read most of the FAQ, but I was wondering if 'cheat days' are allowed?
I wanna do a 30-45 day keto plan to lose weight...but boy: do I love breads pastas desserts and occasionally soft drinks...
request help...

That's up to you. I personally don't plan cheat days but I do have occasional "cheat meals" a 2-3 times per year. There are so many great low-carb alternatives - treats, savory snacks and comfort meals, just have a look at my recipes: Recipes 😊

I have high levels of cortisol. Can I still follow the keto diet? Can I do

Hi Sarah, I'd avoid IF if you have high cortisol. Also, avoid going too low on carbs. Maybe try 30-50 g net carbs and see how this works for you. Some people include occasional carb ups for this purpose and I think it's fine as long as you use "clean" carbs (paleo-friendly).

Hi Martina!😄
I am not sure if this is a right place to ask...
I do a search on your site for 6 packs and abdominal fat and I can't any relevant article or I've miss out.
Here's a short profile about me:
I am adopting a vegetarian diet, and is doing intermittent fasting with a eating window period of 12.30-8.30pm most of the days.
I plan to do a ketogenic diet to get toned abs. The ultimate goal is 6 packs.
My BMI is about 19.0, and my fat % is around 26 (not sure if the weighing machine is accurate or not). While I might not have problem with losing weight, I definitely have challenges in losing abdominal fats. There's one point when I was so gung-ho on getting 6 packs such that I went underweight with a BMI of 17.8, but I still have abdominal fat (meaning my belly is still not flat, not to mention my ultimate aim of 6 packs). Btw, I know it is not possible to do spot reduction. I am not sure what to do except to try out ketogenic diet.
Note: I don't like to take supplements. I don't like to eat deep dried food and drink any protein shakes or smoothies.
What are your most recommended resources for a female who wants to have 6 packs?
Who is someone (a female) who has achieved 6 packs or toned abs with a vegetarian ketogenic diet? I would like to read about it!
What is the recommended macro % to lose abdominal fat effectively for a female?
Thank you for your reply in advance dear! 😄

"Abs are made in the kitchen..." 😊 Luckily, you won't need any protein shakes. The key is to stick with your macros: KetoDiet Buddy - Easy Macro Calculator for the Ketogenic Diet
I know you don't like supplements but you might want to consider taking magnesium because it's not easy to get enough on a keto diet (I like "Calm").
Here are some common mistakes: How To Low Carb: 15+ Common Weight Loss Mistakes
And here's a vegetarian keto diet plan (one of the e-books):

I was in keto diet for a while, and I was eating quite organic (meat from the farm etc). After 9 months keto adapted, my joints started to hurt and swollen (sausage fingers). First I got diagnose with autoimmune diseases but long story short, I figured out that I have histamine intolerance (which means I can not eat bacon, smoke salmon, tuna, aged meat, avocado, tomato, eggplant, dairy, along with many other things). As soon as I cut these food 2-3 weeks after inflammation was gone and couple weeks after joint stiffness and pain was gone. Now and I got but it is quite difficult to with finding food to eat while keeping my self in keto adapted. The keto diet has many food with also histamine in it or release histamine in body. Do you have any suggestions? Are you familiar with histamine intolerance do you have recipes for people like me who has histamine intolerance and would like to eat low carb?
Thank you very much for you help!

I don't have recipes specifically for histamine intolerance. What I mean is that there is no such option in the recipe filtering tool. I know there are a few paleo blogs that discuss histamine intolerance - several of the tips apply to a keto diet too so I suggest you check them out (just search for "histamine intolerance paleo"). The issue is that several keto & paleo staples are high in histamines. It won't be easy but it is possible - they key is planning!

Hi!  I've been doing the Keto diet for about 2 weeks now.  I've managed to keep my carb count below 20 per day.  I've read online that my fat count should be high, but I just can't get it up there.  I'm not a big red meat eater, I prefer more chicken, fish, and pork.  Also, my calorie count is really low.  Right now, my calorie count is between 800-1000.  I'm just not hungry at all, and sometimes have to force myself to eat more to get my calories and fat up to higher levels.  Is having such a low fat and calorie count going to effect my weight loss even if my carb count is extremely low?  Thanks!! 😊

Hi Laura, it's ok not to eat if you are not hungry. On the other hand, I wouldn't recommend staying at 800-1000 kcal for more than a few days - that's way too low and would lead to micronutrient deficiencies. You can try and include some fat bombs:

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