Keto diet tips

I did a search and a thread didn’t come up, but I did see a few posts where a few of you have mentioned being on the Keto diet.

Ive been thinking of giving it a try for awhile and today is day 1. I do foresee the lack of bread is going to be tough for me. If anybody who’s tried it before has any general tips, favorite meals ect I would love to hear some.

Any thoughts on what the ultimate carb intake is? How long do you generally stick to it?

Is it true that champagne has the lowest carb count 1-2 grams? If so I may actually put a dent in some bottles I’ve been wanting to try!

I’ll get the ball rolling with my Atkins diet advice:

The key, especially w/snacks, is preparation in advance. If you get hungry and have nothing ready to eat, you will cheat and stop weight loss for a couple days minimum.

breakfast foods:
any lunch or dinner foods
eggs any way

salads (avoid tomato/carrots/corn, review high carb veggies)
–be careful of salad dressings
hot dogs/sausages (some have carbs)
some veggies (broccoli/cauliflower)
deli meats (turkey, roast beef, ham, salami, cured meats)
mayonnaise and mustard fine

usually what the family is eating, but no starch
be careful of sauces/breading
salads (same cautions)

low fat hot chocolate, use cream/water, not just water
cucumbers /celery
shrimp (Trader Joe’s has them already cooked)
chopped liver/various patés
salami/cured meats
meatballs (fry them in olive oil, eggs, use Parmesan cheese not bread crumbs to bind, lots of spices),
just freeze in baggies, microwave a few to eat so they’re always ready
Pot roast (Trader Joe’s has 1 lb precooked pot roast that is amazingly good)
Carnitas (Trader Joes’s has 1 lb precooked . . .)
cheeses (most)
smoked salmon/herring/fish (sardines, tuna)
roll up a piece of turkey w/mayo like a “meat burrito,” slice of bacon inside—or roast beef/mustard, etc.
Think Thin and Atkins Advantage bars (Trader Joe’s—but be careful, inhibit weight loss)
sausage—fry them, refrigerate and easy to reheat w/microwave
bacon—great because it’s one of the few crispy foods, fry a lb, refrigerate in baggie,
reheat as needed
roasted chicken pieces—if eating for dinner, save leftovers, reheat or make chicken salad
chicken salad—comes in cans like tuna, just add the mayo/spices/celery
other leftovers from dinner—very good reheated

mayonnaise and mustard have no carbs
cream has no carbs—great in coffee/tea

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I have never done actual Keto which seems to involve a lot of complex math and some weird foods - there are multiple keto groups on facebook who are very eager to help but …

I do like Atkins generally - and my main doc encourages … the key when I’m on it is finding the amount of carbs where I begin to gain or stop losing. This point seems different for most people but Atkins has you start with two weeks of no more than 25 g carbs then slowly increasing to no more than 50. At first this looks impossible - and as a serious bread baker in an earlier life, like you I thought I could not do without bread. I find that once I get in the grove … most carb heavy foods feel way too heavy and the cravings decrease a lot and almost completely. You do want to look at the Atkins web site which gives a good overview without having to pay - They provide meal planning guides and you’ll want to pay attention to the balance of protein and fat to get it right.

I’ve actually shifted to having just one meal a day - something I thought was insane when a friend mentioned it but which is actually approved by a bunch of medical orgs including the American Heart Assoc (and I have heart disease). The standard model is 16 hours fast, 8 hours eat … and often (though not for all folks) low carb. I often go 20 hours then have protein and salad … I do drink tea and water throughout the day and use Stevia. Again, for me it’s a matter of getting into the groove … then it really is not so hard. I’m shifting back to this after being pretty pandemic bad and like how simple it is … and with decent butcher, fishmonger and farmer’s market deliveries easy and really tasty.

I am more likely to mess up when I try to negotiate stretching my carb count with processed foods that are “low carb” etc … that’s just me. And wine and spirits are ok! Nice eh?

I’ve found that my biggest key to success on a low carb diet is to include plenty of vegetables, both for fiber and variety. A quick and easy base for a meal is a bagged salad mix to which I add bagged broccoli slaw to soup up the nutritional value. It has some carrots in it but not enough that I really worry about it.

A grill “wok” basket comes in handy for cooking vegetables and meat at the same time. I like a mix of zucchini, colored bell peppers, and onion, all of which gain a lot of flavor from grilling, as does asparagus. The grilled vegetables also reheat well and are also tasty while still cold. A knock off of Benihana’s ginger sauce (the recipe is easily found online) can add some flavor variety without significant added carbs.

This is a common misconception about keto. There shouldn’t need to be any math at all, and none of the foods are weird - eat meat and vegetables. Period. Nothing weird about that.

The math thing, needing to hit macro percentages, is a common misconception perpetuated by a lot of those advice sites. The percentage advice was developed so that the same advice could be given to everyone, with the result being that it is right for everyone, but also wrong for everyone.

The fact is, you don’t need to hit any percentages. You don’t need to “up your fat.” That’s the most important thing I can tell you. You need two numbers only - your daily carb limit (go by total carbs, not net carbs, or you’ll end up screwing yourself up), and your protein goal. That’s it. Then eat as much fat as you want or DON’T want to satiety. You don’t produce more ketones if you eat more fat, or lose more weight if you get up to 80% fat. Your fat % will change over the course of the diet anyway, so just ignore it from the start. It doesn’t matter.

For me, I keep total carbs to 30g or less, and protein to 127g - I lift weights and have a lot of muscle already - then it doesn’t matter whether I get 70g or 100g of fat, I’m just eating it until I’m not hungry. It doesn’t matter if 30g of carbs is 5% or 10%, just stick to 30g. Really, really simple. I suggest starting with 30g carbs. There are a ton of good apps for your phone that have deep databases of food, just use the one you like best. I’ve used a few of them.

The only thing a little hard is figuring out how much protein you need. That’s a little bit of art, but once you know it, you don’t need to change it unless your body composition or exercise routine changes a lot. This article, by one of the most important keto researchers, has a good guide:

As for what food to eat, all non-starchy vegetables are fine. All real meats, poultry and fish are fine. Keep bacon and sausage to a minimum for treats, avoid deli meats altogether, but do choose richer cuts of meat as they will keep you satiated better (i.e. dark meat chicken instead of chicken breast). Eat some cheese, but not a ton. No fruit, at least to begin with. Cook with olive oil, butter, lard, tallow, ghee. Try to avoid industrial seed oils. Some nuts and seeds are fine.

My personal advice is don’t eat any fake foods - no “keto bread” or “keto brownies.” Those will only make you keep mentally craving bread and brownies. Cut them out entirely. I also choose to cut alcohol entirely, because a tiny glass isn’t fun for me.

Keep at it at least 6 weeks. That’s about the minimum for getting fully fat adapted. If you have keto flu - headaches etc. - add a pinch of salt to some water. Your body will be dumping retained water and salt along with it, so you sometimes need to increase your sodium intake until your body gets balanced.

I’ve done full keto every Jan - March for a few years now, and at various other times, and have done a ton of research. Happy to answer any specific questions via email or PM.

Good luck. It really does work.

Robert. Lots of info. My wife and I are 2 months in and it’s been very successful. Two quick resources: a website called On my phone so I can’t really link easily right now. Just google that and keto. Great resources on the diet. Second, get the app CarbManager. Critical. Free edition works fine for me.

General points: if you really want keto, ou need to pay attention to your “macros” ratios. This is a difference from Atkins/south beach/low carb.

Second point: one of the magical things with keto is the ability to actually also run a calorie deficit. I’ve found the combo (ketosis and calorie deficit) very helpful and very different from the above diets in the ease of achieving the deficit.

Happy to go in-depth - PM me if you have more questions or want to talk by phone.

Just saw Sarah’s post. Helpful and knowledgeable as always! And all good advice. She is right - what I mean about ratios is really in relation to limiting total net carbs - I’ve been under 20. The only suggestion I’ll add to her discussion about ratios is that if you push your protein too high, you can generate gluconeogenesis (carb generation from protein). So while she is right that you don’t necessarily need to “push your fat”, it is helpful to be mindful of total protein. And as a related point, fat is pretty satiating, so the “ratios” also do help with permitting Intermittent Fasting and prolonged fasts if that’s your thing.

And she’s right! It does work :slight_smile:


This is true for sure, which is why I said getting protein right is an art. The first article I linked to is the down and dirty version of how to figure your protein. Here is a much more detailed discussion of the whys. It also has a great explanation of why macros/percentages are meaningless.

Makes sense. Just haven’t read the link yet. :slight_smile:. Sounds like we’re on the same page. I look forward to the deep dive later :slight_smile: I might pick your brain another time about a more sustainable version (30-50 net carbs)…I’m close to my goal and thinking about liberalizing slightly.

Sarah - totally with you on no fake foods etc … the simpler I eat the better. I track carbs only and also aim around 30…

I have been doing Keto for a while, together with intermittent fasting (16/8), since reading Dr. Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code. Like Sarah, I aim for about 25-30g of carbs a day MAX, and I avoid the fake foods too. Since I am doing intermittent fasting, my eating window is roughly 8 hours so I usually only eat 2 meals a day (generally a salad with protein and cheese at lunch, and meat/seafood with lots of veggies for dinner). I find that the fat keeps me satiated and I am rarely hungry.

The hardest part is dealing with wine. My compromise with myself is to relax it on some weekends, and limit the quantity. I have found that when I have even one glass, it knocks me out of ketosis (I use the ketostix, which are not the most accurate), so if I am trying to lose weight, I will skip wine altogether for a few weeks.

There are so many great Keto websites with meal ideas, recipes etc. I have found it very effective for weight loss, particularly combined with intermittent fasting.

Thanks all for the comments, tips and offers to help. It’s a lot to digest but I’m hopeful I can make it work. My wife already bailed before starting unfortunately but I’m going to give it a serious run. (Day 2!)

When Sarah says don’t pay attention to Net carbs, is that absolute or just for simplicity in calculating fresh foods? I found some decent fajita wraps that have 12gm carbs but 3 grams net (9gm fiber). I was counting on these for my bread replacement!

I bought some urine strips but the breathalyzers look so easy and probably inaccurate? The blood strips while expensive might be The best bet but has anybody found them more than interesting to the process?

I keep it really simple because when you consume is the most important. Your body will use what is in your gut first so if you want to change your body chemistry and lose weight you need to let your stomach empty so your body turns to fat stores. So at least 16 hours from your last meal is the most important element.
I lost 14 lbs and dropped all my important blood levels like fasting glucose, triglycerides, etc by just sticking to a 16/8 eating schedule. I eat reasonably well for 8 hours eliminating white foods: breads, pasta, crackers, potatoes, etc and then I don’t eat anything for 16 hours. This in essence means just skipping breakfast. I continued to consume beer, wine and spirits and I still lost 14 lbs from an already lean frame.

My doctor said to just keep on doing what I was doing.

with Atkins and I assume keto, one exhales a lot of ketones during ketosis. When you go to kiss your wife and she recoils in horror, you know you are ketotic. No need for fancy urine strips or other tests

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Keto strips say I’m moderate Keto tonight. Not sure if I had the start of the keto flu because my muscles (Neck)just started aching on and off about 3 This afternoon.

My apologies if I’ve confused technical terms for the diets. I guess what I was trying to do is low carb. Obviously there are variations but I’m just trying to figure out what I can work with at this point.

I may try the 18/6 as well. It’s really noT a big problem fitting it into my work schedule already as I work 12 hour days and don’t get a break to eat anyways. I never eat breakfast and then at work usually try to quickly eat something at 3 and then Don’t eat until 10pm. I think the lifestyle is catching up with me at middle age as I tend to way over eat at 10Pm.

For most people, counting net carbs is fine. You might want to reduce to 20g if you are doing net carbs, rather than 30g total, because everyone’s body is different and erring on the side of too low isn’t going to hurt you and is more likely to get you into ketosis. The reason I say ignore net carbs and just look at total is not so much for simplicity as 1) the body variation thing, which can result in being over on carbs without knowing it, and 2) the fact that doing net makes a lot of people eat more fake foods.

I know the science says fiber “doesn’t count,” but I wonder if you could really eat 10 of those wraps a day and still be in ketosis? Technically, you’d be at 30g net carbs, but your total carbs would be 102g. My gut instinct is you’d be kicked out, even though the popular wisdom might say otherwise. Speaking of guts, I think yours would suffer, too, if you ate 10 of those! The researchers I trust most say stick to a total carb restriction.

Then there’s the fake thing. Sorry, your fajita wraps are exactly what I would advise you to avoid. If you are doing keto, don’t replace the bread with fake bread, give up the bread. It sounds tough, but it’s the only way to cut the cravings both physically and mentally. One of the great things about eating on keto is you kind of by default avoid preservatives and additives because you’re eating real foods. I haven’t seen the label on this exact product, but most of them have a lot of junk I don’t want to consume. Eat real food, not food-like substances.

I am a big fan of the blood meter. I find it extremely helpful in the first few weeks tweaking my carb and protein levels. I also get a bunch of glucose strips and follow my blood sugar during those first few weeks to see what foods impact me the most. I usually measure ketones mid-morning when they are low and mid-afternoon when they are higher. After the first few weeks, it’s mostly just checking in.

All that said, ketosis is not necessary for weight loss. If it sounds like too much, don’t worry! You can lose weight on any diet that creates an energy deficit, doesn’t stress your insulin levels, and you can sustain. The reason keto works especially well for some people is that ketones are a very effective energy source, so they feel very energized and experience mental acuity. Also, it’s great for body composition, making sure you lose body fat, not muscle. And finally, the hunger and cravings will disappear. Fat is very satiating. You won’t get those added benefits on a normal low carb diet, but maybe they aren’t as important to you.

Finally, my two cents, stop eating at 10PM!!! So much research shows that if you are eating that late, you will store fat no matter what diet you are following, including keto.

I highly recommend adding the intermittent fasting component to Keto. For me, it made all the difference. I do 16/8, which I have found the easiest, but usually one day a week I mix it up with OMAD (one meal a day), which was easier before the pandemic when I was busier and out of the house! With your work schedule, it wouldn’t matter which 8 hours you chose but you can’t eat outside of the 8 hours. You can have plain beverages outside the 8 hours, such as water, black tea, black coffee etc but technically should not have anything with artificial sweeteners. (The way I deal with my coffee/caffeine habit is to have black tea when I wake up because it doesn’t affect my blood sugar and then when my eating window opens, I have a delicious cup of keto coffee.)

I have been using the urine test strips but I don’t think they’re so accurate. I have been doing this long enough to know what to eat and when, but I still like to test myself and am going to order one of the blood keto meters, as they are supposed to be much more accurate.

I would skip the “low carb” store-bought tortillas and other fake food substitutes. I have made my own “keto tortillas” so that I know exactly what is in them, and I do bake some keto desserts for my family, but when I am trying to be strict, I avoid anything like that and generally stick to protein (meat, poultry, seafood) and lots of non-starchy veggies cooked with fat. The simpler, the greater success for me.

Keto is not the same as Atkins, so I would try to find Keto websites and recipes, not Atkins. (Atkins has more protein and after a few weeks, more carbs too).

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Keto is a great short term way to jumpstart metabolic changes. No more to add to the diet in particular that hasn’t already been said.

I would add that transitioning out of a full keto diet you can maintain your fat burning ability with intermittent fasting and in particular fasted exercise.

Made it through the “flu” I think. I had a 24 hour period of horrible muscle aches and 2 nights ago woke up feeling plain awful at 2am. I have tachycardia anyways and it was becoming uncontrollable it seemed. I think I may have been dehydrated and thankfully the medication finally kicked in. I was on the verge of drinking the simple syrup.

Feel great now, but “only” down 3lbs on day 6 despite less than 15grams per day. I may need to cut the alcohol I’m guessing as I have replaced wine with Gin.

Took a swig of NyQuil last night without even thinking about it. Wow, that was a sugar shock, seemed so sickly sweet I immediately spit it out thankfully. 19gm sugar right there!

If it happens again, take some salt. Truly.

It can sometimes take time for the weight loss to really start. Your body can hold onto water, even though you are burning fat, until suddenly “whoosh,” it’s gone over night.

Yes, cut out the alcohol. Your body won’t burn fat while it’s working on alcohol of any kind, carbs or no carbs. You can add it back in after you are fat adapted, but it’s best to start without it.

Keep an eye on that net versus total carb thing - not sure if your 15g is net or total. If your total carbs are high, you could be one of those people who react to fiber. Also see about your protein intake. Gluconeogenesis can be problem for some people. Err on the low end of your recommended range for protein, I think, and then tweak it up if you want to and are doing well.

6 days isn’t long, and there’s some art to figuring out what works for your body. Then you should be able to coast.

Thanks Sarah, I will remember the salt but I hope that doesn’t happen again as I was so close to throwing in the towel. 15gm is net, so I will watch that if I’m continuing to struggle to get kick started. I realize I’m very early, but my strips have shown good ketosis for 3 days now, so I push on!