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What is a keto diet?

The keto diet is one in which you restrict carbohydrate intake. Keeping carbohydrate intake low, protein intake moderate and fat intake on the high side. Fat intake being on the high side although should be variable based on your own satiety and weight loss goals. The goal of a keto diet is to reach a state of ketosis. 

Carbohydrate intake for the day should be 20g net carbs or less per day. The tracking of carbs, fats and protein (macros) is more specific and exacting to your own personal metabolic health.

What is a low carb diet?

A low carb diet is one that is a more general avoidance of sugar and starch in the daily diet. SImilar to a keto diet, there is an increase of fat intake in your diet.  In general there is a less strict approach to carbohydrate restriction in a low carb approach than with a measured keto diet.

Carbohydrate intake for the day should be roughly 50-80g net carbs per day.

What is a net carb?

A net carbohydrate is the total carbohydrate per serving less the dietary fiber and/or sugar alcohol per serving.  

Total Carb-Dietary Fiber-Sugar Alcohol=Net Carb

What is ketosis?

Our bodies have two main sources of fuel; carbohydrates and fat. When our bodies are depleted of carbohydrates we are forced to fuel on fats as our energy source.Fats enter into the liver and the liver converts the fat into ketones.  Ketones are released into the bloodstream and become our energy source and brain fuel. This is called ketosis.

Is a keto or low carb diet safe?

The keto diet is generally recognized as safe, but for three instances.  If you are diabetic, have high blood pressure or if you are pregnant you should be monitored by a qualified and knowledgeable doctor.

How do you know when your body is in ketosis?

A decrease in appetite and increased energy levels are a sign that your body is in ketosis.

You also may experience an increase in thirst and urination. Bad breath, also known as “Keto breath”, which may be more apparent to others than to yourself, is another sign.  A dry mouth or a metallic taste in your mouth also is a sign you are in a state of ketosis.

Beyond these self assessing signs and symptoms, you can measure your level of ketosis, using urine strips, breath analyzers, and blood meters mostly found in the diabetic section of your local pharmacy or online.

What foods can you eat on a keto or low carb diet?

Best to stick with whole/real low-carb foods like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and natural fats, like avocados, olive oil or butter. A simple rule for beginners on the keto diet is to eat foods with fewer than 20g net carbs per day. For a low carb approach is general rule is to stick to 50-80g net carbs per day.

Is a keto or low carb diet safe for the kidneys?

There is a belief that a diet high in protein could be harmful for the kidneys. However, a keto diet is high in fat, with moderate protein. Furthermore, people with normal kidney function handle moderate or even excessive protein just fine.

Is ketosis safe for diabetics?

A keto style diet is generally very powerful in treating type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes can use a keto or low-carb diet to significantly improve their blood-sugar control. 

Type 1 diabetics will always need insulin injections, but usually far lower doses on a keto style diet. Type 1 diabetics need to take care to not take too low doses and end up with ketoacidosis, or too high and end up with hypoglycemia.

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics may require a rapid reduction in medication on a keto diet to avoid hypoglycemia, therefore anyone on blood sugar lowering medications should consult with their physician before adopting a low-carb diet.

What can you drink on the keto or low carb diet?

The quick answer is anything without sugar or additives.  Black coffee, plain tea or plain water and seltzer are the best choices. 

How many carbs can you eat and still be in ketosis?

Every person has a different metabolic makeup and it’s hard to give an exact number for carb intake. Generally it’s a good idea to start by having 20 net carbs per day or less if a state of ketosis is the goal.

“Some people who are not insulin resistant can sometimes tolerate more carbs, perhaps 50 grams or more per day. For instance, one study showed healthy volunteers could routinely stay in ketosis at 50 grams per day, and go in and out of ketosis up to 100 grams per day.”-DietDoctor.com

Overweight and/or insulin resistant individuals usually require much lower carb intake.

If a state of ketosis is the goal it is recommended to have 20g of net carbs per day to ensure success with ketosis.

Is a keto or low carb diet safe for high cholesterol?

Usually cholesterol levels tend to improve while following a keto or low carb diet. There is a small segment of followers of this lifestyle that may tend to have a rise in their LDL or total cholesterol.  However, there are no solid studies that confirm a rise in cholesterol while following a keto or low carb diet is harmful.

Please refer to cholesterolcode.com or dietdoctor.com for further reliable information on this subject.

How long does it take to be in ketosis?

Again it varies from person to person with several factors to consider when entering into a state of ketosis.  For some it could be a few days, while others it could take up to a few weeks. The amount of carbs you were having before you started a keto or low carb diet and how much exercise one is doing also plays a role in determining how quickly one heads into a state of ketosis.

Can I have fruit on a keto diet?

Fruit, also known as nature’s candy, is quite high in carbs and natural sugar.  Therefore it is best to avoid all fruit with a few exceptions.  Berries (black berries, strawberries and raspberries) tend to have a lower carb count at 5-6 carbs per 3.5oz serving.

All other fruit, including blueberries, can have a net carb count double or triple that of the keto friendly berries mentioned above.

How long can someone be on a keto diet?

You can follow a keto or low carb diet as long as you enjoy it and you continue to experience positive health benefits. Experienced health practitioners and clinicians have been caring for patients in ketosis for decades. Evolutionary theories also suggest certain populations have lived even longer in ketosis.

Can I eat a keto diet as a vegetarian or vegan?

Following a keto or low carb diet in combination with either a vegetarian or vegan diet is definitely doable.  As with any new eating style, there will be a learning curve as you begin a keto or low carb lifestyle. 

There is no rule in keto or low carb that states you must eat animal products to be successful with this way of eating. With this said, a typical vegan or vegetarian diet is seemingly carb heavy and radical adjustments would need to be made.

What should my ketone level be in ketosis?

Generally above 0.5 mmol/l. Please refer to dietdoctor.com or another trusted and reliable source for more detailed information.

What can I do for keto breath?

  • Drink more fluids and get enough salt. 
  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day will help.
  • Use a breath freshener regularly. 
  • Wait it out and it will pass.
  • Reduce the degree of ketosis.

Can I have dairy on keto?

Dairy can very much be part of a keto or low carb diet for most people. Depending on your health goals, along with your personal response to dairy you will need to decide for yourself.

If weight loss is your goal, many people find that cutting back on dairy helps with the process.Focus on these high-fat choices such as full fat cheese, greek yogurt and kefir.

Can you build muscles on keto?

Yes.  However, one must make the effort with weight training in conjunction with eating a keto or low carb diet for adequate results.

What’s the difference between low carb and keto?

A keto diet could be considered a very strict low carb diet. Strict keto is typically used to heal disease and metabolic syndrome. A very low-carb diet will likely put most people in ketosis anyway. A strict keto diet tweaks things even further to make sure it’s working and, if desired, to get even deeper into ketosis.

Why am I not in ketosis?

The most common reason for not getting into ketosis is simple:Too many carbs

If you are having a hard time reaching and maintaining ketosis it would be suggested to closely track your macros, review food ingredients and quantity of food intake. Carbs are hidden everywhere and food manufacturers can be sneaky.  Check labels thoroughly.

Should you aim for high ketone levels to speed up weight loss?

If weight loss is the goal, focus on reducing your carbs at or below 20g per day, getting adequate protein, and using fat as needed for taste and satiety. 

Is keto safe during pregnancy?

A keto diet appears to be safe during pregnancy.  However, there are no scientific studies on the subject, so there is a lack of definite knowledge. Proceed with caution and at the direction of your own physician.

Do you need a Keto Accountability Program?

Some people can use the Keto/Low Carb and Intermittent Fasting guideline on their own just off general stuff they find on the internet.

Others find it helpful to follow along in a workbook like this…

One on One Coaching

Some people need or want someone like me to walk them through their first 21 days. For those that need to be held accountable I have a one on one Accountability Coaching Program HERE.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER…Please note that I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I am simply recounting and sharing my own experiences on this blog. Nothing I express here should be taken as medical advice and you should consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. I provide nutritional information for my recipes simply as a courtesy to my readers, this should never be construed as medical advice.

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