Ask the Experts

Frequently asked questions

Are fruits allowed on a Keto Diet?

There are variety of fruits you can eat in a modest amount while staying in ketosis. Avocados, limes, lemons, watermelon, berries (blackberries, strawberries, blueberries) and tomatoes.  Low-glycemic carbs are those carbs that are less likely to increase your blood sugar levels and cause unhealthy rise in insulin.  You must be careful which fruits you eat, and how much of them.

Can I drink alcohol on Keto?

Alcohol and Keto can mix.  Drinking in moderation is the key.  Understanding what each drink costs you in terms of carb counts, hydration, and how it affects your metabolism will help you make educated decisions and keep you on the right track to achieving your weight loss goals.

What is Keto flu?

The Keto flu is a common speed bump that, if it happens, will begin a few days into starting the Keto journey. Keto flu is one of the most frequently experienced consequences of going Keto, but it can be overcome quite easily if you are prepared with a few tricks up your sleeves.  You will know you are going through the Keto flu if you have: Muscle aches, brain fog and difficulty concentrating, headaches, intense fatigue, insomnia and gut issues like indigestion, constipation and even diarrhea.  You can decrease the severity or eliminate it altogether by following a few simple steps.  Take an Epsom slat bath, eat and drink your minerals (salt, potassium, and magnesium), stay hydrated, ditch the coffee and alcohol.

How can Keto diet affect my cholesterol?

Many people may try to suggest that Keto is unhealthy, not only because of the high-fat content, but also because of the amount of cholesterol you will naturally eat.  We have totally debunked this myth by showing that not only does fat not make you fat, but the cholesterol you eat does not result in bad cholesterol levels.  It is more likely that donuts and low-fat muffins are worsening your cholesterol levels than the possibility of eggs and grass-fed beef doing so.  This may be hard for many people to wrap their minds around but increasing amounts of scientific evidence show this to be true.

How to start Keto?

1. Clean Out Your Fridge and Pantry

Removing temptations and setting ourselves up for success is the most important step in starting keto. Clean out the “garbage” in your fridge and pantry. You have three options: throw away the high carb items, donate them to someone in need, or put all of the “garbage” in a special drawer for your
spouse or children.

 2. Calculate Your Calories and Macros

In order to start keto, you need to know how many calories you should be eating including how many carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. 

 3. Prepare Your Food or Go Shopping

Now that you’ve cleaned out your fridge and calculated your calories and macros, it’s time to prepare your food. Eating keto does NOT require you to be a 5-star chef and make fancy recipes. You can start with basic, yet delicious whole food sources that are both easy to buy and easy to make. 

How much can you expect to lose on keto?

How much weight you lose on keto depends on several different factors including exercise, calorie limitation, food choices and so much more. If properly followed, you will start using fat as fuel in no time.

What happens if I cheat one weekend?

While eating more carbs every weekend may not be ideal, slip-ups do happen, and while they should be rare, they do not require you to panic. If you get kicked out of ketosis, you may feel groggy or have a hard time focusing, but just get back on track and you will feel normal again soon. The longer you have been keto-adapted, the quicker you will get back into ketosis after a cheat day.

What should I do if I hit a weight-loss plateau?

As with any diet, it is possible to hit a plateau on the ketogenic diet. If this happens to you, it is time to reassess your diet. Ask yourself the following questions:

Are my carbs low enough?

Have I tried increasing or decreasing my protein intake?

What are my total calories?

Have I tried cutting out dairy?

Am I consuming too many artificial sweeteners?

Have I tried tracking my macros and measuring my food?

Keep in mind that the number on the scale does not always tell you what’s really going on. If you lose 2 pounds of fat and gain 2 pounds of muscle, you may not have lost any “weight,” but you are doing a great job because you are losing fat and gaining muscle, which is exactly what you want.

Can I eat out on a ketogenic diet?

Absolutely. In fact, we find that eating out on a ketogenic diet is much easier than eating out on a low-fat diet. You can never go wrong with a nice Cobb salad or a fatty cut of meat with a side of vegetables cooked in melted butter. Be careful of hidden carbs, such as those in sauces and dressings. Do not be afraid to ask your server how something is prepared prior to ordering.

If you are traveling and want to take along a snack, pack some nuts, pork rinds (or pork skins), and/or Parmesan crisps.

Can I speed up the transition phase to becoming keto-adapted?

Exercise, particularly high-intensity exercise, tends to speed up the transition phase because it helps deplete glycogen stores quickly, forcing the body to rely more on fat. Additionally, starting the transition with fasting or intermittent fasting can rapidly increase ketone production.

I just started a ketogenic diet and I feel sick. What can I do?

The ill feeling that may occur in the first few days after initiating a ketogenic diet is commonly referred to as the keto flu.
Fortunately, this feeling is temporary and can be completely or partially alleviated by following a few precautionary measures. First, consider your electrolytes. A deficiency in sodium, potassium, or calcium could make you feel sick. Second, consider your hydration level. It’s easy to get dehydrated at the beginning of the ketogenic diet. Third, consider your fiber intake. If you’re not getting enough fiber, you could become constipated. The takeaway: replenish your electrolytes, drink a lot of water, and make sure you’re getting enough fiber.

What is the optimal ketone level?

This is difficult to say; it depends on the reason for ketosis. As long as ketone levels are greater than 0.5 mmol, you’re in ketosis. Many people think that higher ketone levels are better, but this has yet to be established. Some individuals who have been keto-adapted for an extended period may become particularly efficient at using ketones and therefore don’t have a lot of them circulating in the blood. For some health concerns, such as epilepsy and other neurological conditions, higher ketone levels may be beneficial—exogenous ketones or high-dose MCT may be especially helpful in order to accomplish those levels.

What is the keto flu?

The keto flu is a constellation of symptoms that can occur when you’re adjusting to a ketogenic diet. Symptoms include a lack of mental clarity, nausea, headaches, and constipation. A well-formulated ketogenic diet that takes into account electrolytes, fiber, and hydration can help mitigate these symptoms.

How do I know if I’m in ketosis?

You can test your ketone levels using urine strips, blood ketone meters, and breath ketone meters. Blood meters, which test for BHB, are considered the gold standard. Breath analysis has been shown to be effective at measuring acetone, while urine analysis measures acetoacetate. Urine strips can provide good feedback at the beginning of the diet, but once you’re keto-adapted and using ketones more efficiently, fewer ketones are expelled in the urine, so they are not a reliable indicator of degree of ketosis.

What does it mean to be keto-adapted?

When you’re keto-adapted, your body has transitioned from primarily using glucose as fuel to primarily using fat and ketones. Once accomplished, you will start to see a change in satiety, hunger, and even cognitive function/focus.

How long does it take to get into ketosis?

Ketosis is generally recognized to occur when ketone levels rise to 0.5 mmol. Two days of carbohydrate restriction can be enough to reach this level. However, achieving this level of ketosis does not mean that you are keto-adapted—that your body is primarily using fat as fuel. Becoming fully keto-adapted may take longer; exactly how long varies from person to person.

Are MCT supplements safe?

Yes! No adverse effects were found in people taking 30 grams of MCTs a day (much higher than typically consumed) for thirty days. Additionally, 1 gram of MCT per kilogram of body weight has been established as safe. However, MCTs can have gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea and diarrhea, so we highly recommend starting slow and building your way up to see how much you can tolerate.

Should all my fat come from saturated fat?

Saturated fat should not be demonized, especially on a ketogenic diet. However, we have found that our bodies adapt best when saturated fat represents about 50 percent of our total fat intake and the rest comes from monounsaturated fats like oils and avocados. This could, in part, explain why so many studies have different findings in regards to cholesterol and triglyceride levels following a ketogenic diet. If you are concerned about these factors, ensuring that you consume a balance of saturated and monounsaturated fats may be a good approach for you.

Is it possible to eat too much fat?

When you are keto-adapted, you become much more efficient at utilizing fat as fuel, and some studies show that slightly overfeeding on fat alone may not cause significant weight gain. However, keep in mind that fat is calorically dense, with 9 calories per gram. Eating excessive amounts of fat can increase calories to an extent that may prevent certain benefits from occurring, such as fat loss. Supplying your body with too much dietary fat may keep it from breaking down your own fat stores for energy. As with everything, keep the fat content of the diet in context, and don’t binge on fat bombs.

Are there certain fats I should avoid?

While we love fat, it is important to note that not all fat is created equal. Omega-6 fatty acids are known for contributing to inflammation, which is associated with many chronic diseases. Make sure to balance your omega-3 fatty acids with your omega-6 fatty acids to ensure the best overall outcome. Trans fats are harmful to health and should be limited.  If you hit a plateau or obstacle throughout your time on a ketogenic diet, we have found that lowering dairy fat and saturated fat as a whole slightly while increasing your unsaturated fats can help.

Will carbs make me fat?

We do not intend to demonize carbohydrates as the sole culprit for the obesity epidemic we are facing. Instead, we hope to change the paradigm of a “healthy” diet model to help people look at carbohydrates as a useful tool rather than a dietary necessity. Although, it is true that chronic high carbohydrate consumption can lead to chronic high blood glucose and insulin levels, resulting in metabolic changes such as insulin resistance that increase the likelihood of becoming obese, it is possible for many people to consume carbohydrates and maintain a healthy profile.

Will eating too much protein kick me out of ketosis?

While some amino acids, such as leucine and lysine, can be converted to ketones, others can be converted into glucose and may therefore raise blood glucose and insulin levels if consumed in excessive amounts. For this reason, we suggest consuming no more than 20 to 35 percent of your calories from protein. Keep in mind that the optimal level varies from individual to individual—for instance, someone using a ketogenic diet to help with epilepsy may need less protein than someone using it to try to gain high amounts of muscle mass.

Should I worry about fiber?

It’s common to reduce fiber intake when switching to a ketogenic diet, simply because fiber is most abundant in foods that are high in carbohydrates, particularly vegetables and grains. Fiber is an important nutrient that’s essential for good health, and although it is technically a carbohydrate, it does not increase blood glucose or insulin levels. So we highly recommend making an effort to get enough fiber unless you are on a carnivore or low fiber diet, in which the approach is slightly different.

Are there other electrolytes I should replenish?

Potassium, magnesium, and calcium also can become depleted on a ketogenic diet.

Should I increase my sodium intake?

Sodium levels do drop on a ketogenic diet, so it’s a good idea to consume more sodium.  Real Salt can be a great, beneficial source because it contains many minerals, including sodium, calcium, potassium, iodine, and magnesium, with a sodium content similar to table salt but with larger crystals for more flavor.

Do I need to count calories?

When you first start following a ketogenic diet, we recommend tracking macronutrients and calories just to get the hang of it and to make sure that you’re getting the right amount of each. However, soon after adapting, you should simply be able to eat until you are full while monitoring your carbohydrate intake. Don’t let those sneaky carbohydrates creep up too high. In fact, people who are keto-adapted often reduce their calories unintentionally simply because they feel full faster. If possible, eat to satiety once you get the hang of it; your keto-adapted appetite should ensure that you consume enough calories without overeating.  Those using the diet for therapeutic application should incorporate some level of calorie control/restriction in order to receive the best results from the diet.

Will I be hungry?

If using a well-formulated ketogenic diet, then no; not only is the high amount of fat on a ketogenic diet satiating, but ketones also seem to reduce hunger signals. Studies have allowed subjects on a ketogenic diet to eat as much as they want, yet they still tend to eat fewer calories, report less hunger, and lose more weight than those on a non-ketogenic diet . It is possible that this is because fat is more calorically dense; however, studies have also demonstrated that being in a state of ketosis can reduce hunger signals.

What is the difference between Atkins and a ketogenic diet?

Although both Atkins and a ketogenic diet feature similar levels of carbohydrate restriction, the two differ in protein and fat intake. The Atkins diet typically allows individuals unrestricted protein intake. However, on a ketogenic diet, protein intake tends to be around 10 to 30 percent to allow for the production of ketones.

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

There’s no strict definition of “low carb.” Some studies suggest that a low-carb diet is any diet with less than 30 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates . A ketogenic diet generally restricts carbohydrates further, to as low as 5 percent of total calories. So while a ketogenic diet is certainly low-carb, not all low-carb diets are ketogenic. The greater restriction of carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet results in the production of ketones.

Can the brain use ketones?

Unlike most fatty acids, ketones can be taken in and used as an energy source for the brain. In fact, the brain may actually prefer ketones to glucose; studies have shown that ketone uptake by the brain increases as blood ketone levels rise. There is also a lot of research demonstrating that a ketogenic diet can have brain-protecting effects in various types of damaged neurons, possibly due to the neurons receiving greater fuel reserves through ketones, less oxidative stress, and less inflammation. Even when glucose uptake by the brain is impaired, as it is in people with Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, and Parkinson’s, ketones can still be utilized.

What is dirty keto?

Dirty keto refers to a version of the ketogenic diet where you’re eating lots of easy, processed unhealthy foods.
These foods make up a big part of your diet and while they might not kick you out of ketosis, they aren’t necessarily the best choices for your health.

Dirty or lazy keto is the term for a keto diet that doesn’t contain enough nutrient-dense, balanced, whole foods and instead contains more refined, processed, and packaged products with unhealthy ingredients and additives.

Some people define dirty keto as a less restrictive version of the ketogenic diet that doesn’t involve counting macronutrients or just involves counting carbs, but not fat or protein. The problem with this approach is that you might not be in ketosis, and you might not be getting enough healthy fats, protein, and nutrients.

How often should you weigh yourself?

Let’s just get this one out of the way. Do not weigh yourself every day. Do not weigh yourself multiple times a day. The most frequent you should weigh yourself is every 2-3 days, but even that isn’t recommended.

Your body weight will fluctuate not even just daily but on an hourly basis. Your weight will change based on numerous factors, including but not limited to water retention, food consumption, salt consumption, hormones, etc.

To get the best results, you should weigh yourself as frequently as once a week. Make sure to weigh yourself at the same time, wearing the same amount of clothes. It is typically recommended to weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before food/water consumption or bowel movements to ensure the least number of variables and the most consistent data.

How can you prevent keto breath?

Outside of keeping up with your oral hygiene by regularly brushing your teeth and flossing, there are a few things you can do to improve your breath. First off, increase water consumption. Water will help prevent dehydration. Dehydration can reduce saliva production and lead to increased bacteria and the bad breath smells.

Remember to be cautious with mints and gum. Most have added sugar and the ones that don’t have sugar alcohols like sorbitol or maltitol can cause a glucose response. Most importantly, the key factor is to be patient. Bad breath caused by the ketogenic diet doesn’t last forever and should go away after your body becomes more adapted.