Low-Carb = Ketosis? Not Necessarily.

I’ve been following Jimmy Moore’s N=1 experiment with staying in nutritional ketosis on his blog, but it was instructive to actually watch the man eat during his visit last week. His meals are WAY high in fat now and he watches his protein intake. I must admit, despite everything I’ve read about the benefits of ketosis, when I watched Jimmy scooping gobs of butter and sour cream on his cheesy scrambled eggs in the morning, I couldn’t help thinking, “Wait a minute … you’re losing weight eating like this?”

The reason he’s doing this is that he discovered eating low-carb doesn’t necessarily mean being in ketosis, or at least not in the zone that Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney call nutritional ketosis: a blood ketone level of between 0.5 and 3.0 mM. As they explain in their terrific book The Art and Science of Low-Carb Living, it’s within this zone that we can easily tap body fat for fuel and keep our brains happily supplied with ketones.

When Dr. Atkins was practicing and writing his books, he urged people to test their ketone levels with ketone urine strips. That was the technology available at the time. Unfortunately, the ketones in urine aren’t necessarily an accurate reflection of the ketones in the bloodstream, which is the level that matters. The reason for the disparity is that as you become keto-adapted, you tend to use more of the ketones for fuel instead of excreting them. The newer and better technology is a device similar to a glucose meter that tests ketone levels in the blood.

As Jimmy Moore explained on his blog, he was surprised when he first used a ketone meter and saw that despite being on a very low-carb diet, his blood ketone level was only 0.1. After adjusting his diet, he’s hanging around the 2.0 level most of the time – and he’s losing weight again.

For the record, I don’t believe everyone has to be in nutritional ketosis to lose weight. People lose weight on all kinds of diets, including paleo diets that aren’t particularly low-carb. I lost weight on The Zone diet, which at 40% carbohydrates is hardly a ketogenic diet. But for people like Jimmy who are hyper-responders to insulin-producing foods, staying in ketosis may be the key.

People who pooh-pooh low-carb diets like to point out that protein foods raise insulin and therefore the “high-protein” Atkins diet can’t possibly work by lowering insulin levels. Hogwash. When we cut carbohydrates, most of us replace the bulk of those calories with fat, not protein. We’re still consuming fewer insulin-producing foods, and we end up with lower overall insulin levels as a result. But the pooh-poohers do have a point, even if it’s not exactly the point they wanted to make: for some people, a low-carb diet may not work in the long term unless they restrict their protein intake as well.

Let’s return to Jimmy Moore’s experience. We all know (because he’s been quite public and honest about it) that Jimmy lost 180 pounds on the Atkins diet, but then slowly regained about half of that. I’m speculating here, since we don’t have records of Jimmy’s insulin levels during the time he was gaining weight, but let’s suppose for the sake of argument that he was eating enough extra protein to raise his fasting insulin level, despite consuming very few carbs. It doesn’t take much extra insulin to significantly inhibit the release of fatty acids from the fat cells. Take a look at this graphic, which was included in a study by Dr. Volek:

As you can see, the ability to release and burn stored fatty acids falls off sharply as fasting insulin levels increase, even within what’s considered the “normal” range. As the text accompanying the graphic explains:

In fact, adipose tissue lipolysis is exquisitely sensitive to changes in insulin within the physiological range of concentrations. Small to moderate decreases in insulin can increase lipolysis several-fold, the response being virtually immediate. Insulin also stimulates lipogenesis [creating new body fat] by increasing glucose uptake and activating lipogenic and glycolytic enzymes. Small reductions in insulin levels, such as that easily achieved with dietary carbohydrate restriction, remove the normal inhibition on fat breakdown.

Dr. Volek was writing about carbohydrates in that paper, but if excess dietary protein also elevates fasting insulin in some people – even to a relatively small degree – that could cause a similar suppression of ability to burn body fat. That might explain (again, I’m speculating here) why Jimmy regained a lot of weight on his low-carb diet and why he’s losing again now. Restricting calories didn’t work, adding “safe starches” to his meals didn’t work, but lowering his protein intake and getting an even higher proportion of his calories from fat is working, at least so far. He’ll report on his experiment in an upcoming post, so I’ll let him announce the specific results.

Naturally, Jimmy’s experiment piqued my curiosity about my own blood ketone levels, so I bought a meter (a Precision Xtra by Abbot Labs) through Amazon. After a week or so, I determined that on my typical diet, I seem to hang right around 0.8 mM, the lower end of nutritional ketosis. I also learned that I can be pushed out of ketosis more easily than I would have previously suspected.

On Saturday night, Chareva and I took the girls to Red Lobster for a belated anniversary dinner. I ate a lobster, some scallops, two skewers of shrimp, a salad with bleu cheese dressing, three tortilla chips with lobster-cheese dip, two mushrooms stuffed with lobster and cheese, and broccoli drenched in butter. Very low-carb with lots of fat, but also lots of protein. Before bed, I had two glasses of red wine. The next morning, my blood ketone level had dropped to 0.2. Could be high protein intake, could be the wine, could be both.

My belly is almost flat these days, so I don’t have a burning need or desire to lose more weight, but what the heck, I think I’ll experiment with my diet, keep track of my blood ketone levels, and see if it makes any difference. I tried eating more protein and less fat awhile back, and nothing changed. If I get into a consistent state of nutritional ketosis and lose that last little bit of softness around the waist, that would be cool. I certainly have no objection to putting extra butter and sour cream on my eggs.

Below I’ve posted an interview Dr. Andreas Eenfield conducted with Dr. Steve Phinney about why a good low-carb diet should also be a high-fat diet, not (as the goofballs in the media always seem to think) a high-protein diet.

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195 thoughts on “Low-Carb = Ketosis? Not Necessarily.

  1. Eric

    I read the reviews of the Precision Xtra meter and half of them were very negative. It makes me question at the very least the quality control of the manufacturing process. One problem is that the folks who noticed the accuracy issues had a means of double checking, and I wonder if those who rated it highly did.
    I have considered getting a meter to check myself since I went Primal just to find out, but wonder which one to get. Also, do most brands come with ketone checking strips or just Abbott labs?

    Most glucose meters don’t check ketones. I’m only aware of the Precision Xtra and one more … Nova something, I think.

    Reply
  2. Eric

    I read the reviews of the Precision Xtra meter and half of them were very negative. It makes me question at the very least the quality control of the manufacturing process. One problem is that the folks who noticed the accuracy issues had a means of double checking, and I wonder if those who rated it highly did.
    I have considered getting a meter to check myself since I went Primal just to find out, but wonder which one to get. Also, do most brands come with ketone checking strips or just Abbott labs?

    Most glucose meters don’t check ketones. I’m only aware of the Precision Xtra and one more … Nova something, I think.

    Reply
  3. Dana

    One thing about how “people lose weight on different diets”: we don’t hear enough about what kind of weight they’re losing. There are people who lose weight on Twinkies but then it turns out they actually lost 8 or 9 pounds of lean weight and their bodyfat level is still just under obesity–a more accurate measure of obesity than either weight or BMI. Unless someone’s willing to do a before-and-after with a BodPod or a DEXA scan, their number on the scale is just a number.

    There’s also the point that even when weight loss on low-carb and on low-fat are roughly similar, the low-carbers’ labs have improved dramatically in most, if not all of these studies.

    So it’s all a matter of context. Glad for someone that they weigh less now on Weight Watchers; hope they are not sacrificing bone mass in the long run.

    Bingo. I lost weight going low-carb, then gained weight after lifting weights more regularly and still got a bit leaner.

    Reply
  4. Dana

    One thing about how “people lose weight on different diets”: we don’t hear enough about what kind of weight they’re losing. There are people who lose weight on Twinkies but then it turns out they actually lost 8 or 9 pounds of lean weight and their bodyfat level is still just under obesity–a more accurate measure of obesity than either weight or BMI. Unless someone’s willing to do a before-and-after with a BodPod or a DEXA scan, their number on the scale is just a number.

    There’s also the point that even when weight loss on low-carb and on low-fat are roughly similar, the low-carbers’ labs have improved dramatically in most, if not all of these studies.

    So it’s all a matter of context. Glad for someone that they weigh less now on Weight Watchers; hope they are not sacrificing bone mass in the long run.

    Bingo. I lost weight going low-carb, then gained weight after lifting weights more regularly and still got a bit leaner.

    Reply
  5. Pran

    I don’t know if i would eat this way forever, since its kinda difficult for me to cut out bread and rice. But, as an amateur bodybuilder, following a ketosis diet is perfect for a 2-3 month period to cut some fat without losing too much muscle mass. Then i usually take a week or two off to get my pizza and sandwhich fix taken care of hahaha.

    Reply
  6. Pran

    I don’t know if i would eat this way forever, since its kinda difficult for me to cut out bread and rice. But, as an amateur bodybuilder, following a ketosis diet is perfect for a 2-3 month period to cut some fat without losing too much muscle mass. Then i usually take a week or two off to get my pizza and sandwhich fix taken care of hahaha.

    Reply
  7. Tim

    I am a bit confused by your reasoning as to why Jim Morrison regained his weight. Maybe you are just leaving out info. He lost 180 lbs using Atkins diet which is relatively higher in protein. This was a long process so any adpations had taken place during this time. Yet you are saying the exact same diet put 1/2 the wieght back on. The reason you give for this is protein was causing to much insulin release thus reveresing weight loss?

    The same diet was taking the weight off. No way suddenly that same food, same macro percentages and total calories caused him to gain fat weight. Its not like he suddenly started producing more insulin from a diet that was not causing the issue before. More than likely he had effects on his liver or adrenals that caused the issue. Some people when loosing large amounts of weight can have cotrisol levels go up along with this the liver can start to slow its conversion of T4 to T3. In turn blood lipoproteins go up rather than being used by cells as low T3 causes reductions in the receptors. These changes could also have casues his liver to become less insulin sensitive thus effecting conversion processes. The lowered T3 causing a slowing of metabolic rate. That combined with the effects on lipoproteins could lowered his hormone production specifically testosterone. All leading to fat gain.

    It may do well for people to do a bit more studying of body protein turn over rates, the effects and metoblic effects. your average person has a turnover of 300-400 gram protein per day. This is even on lower 60-90grams of total dietary protein intake. Much of that turn over ends up as glucose.
    Further glucose produced via glucongensis has a significantly lower insulin response than dietary glucose ingestion. After any intense exercise the effects of insulin response to carbs is minimized in its effect on lipolysis. Studies have shown the body continues to use fatty acid oxidation as its primary fuel source even after this. During a workout insulin’s effects are blunted significantly as well. Hence why exercise is so critical to any fat loss plan.

    So I doubt very much that the plan that allowed him to obviously keep his insulin low enough to loss 1280 lbs suddenly started converting protein at a new super high rate enough to spike his slin enough to regain large amount of the weight.

    Something changed. His diet or something effecting his metabolism that caused it.

    I would much rather use careful carb manipulation in a over all low carb high protein moderate fat diet than to eat mounds of lard etc in excess.

    Be careful of focusing to much on one tree when you are in the middle of a forest.

    I have no comment on Jim Morrison’s quest to lose weight. Since he died decades ago, I assumed he had no interest in losing weight.

    Reply
  8. Tim

    I am a bit confused by your reasoning as to why Jim Morrison regained his weight. Maybe you are just leaving out info. He lost 180 lbs using Atkins diet which is relatively higher in protein. This was a long process so any adpations had taken place during this time. Yet you are saying the exact same diet put 1/2 the wieght back on. The reason you give for this is protein was causing to much insulin release thus reveresing weight loss?

    The same diet was taking the weight off. No way suddenly that same food, same macro percentages and total calories caused him to gain fat weight. Its not like he suddenly started producing more insulin from a diet that was not causing the issue before. More than likely he had effects on his liver or adrenals that caused the issue. Some people when loosing large amounts of weight can have cotrisol levels go up along with this the liver can start to slow its conversion of T4 to T3. In turn blood lipoproteins go up rather than being used by cells as low T3 causes reductions in the receptors. These changes could also have casues his liver to become less insulin sensitive thus effecting conversion processes. The lowered T3 causing a slowing of metabolic rate. That combined with the effects on lipoproteins could lowered his hormone production specifically testosterone. All leading to fat gain.

    It may do well for people to do a bit more studying of body protein turn over rates, the effects and metoblic effects. your average person has a turnover of 300-400 gram protein per day. This is even on lower 60-90grams of total dietary protein intake. Much of that turn over ends up as glucose.
    Further glucose produced via glucongensis has a significantly lower insulin response than dietary glucose ingestion. After any intense exercise the effects of insulin response to carbs is minimized in its effect on lipolysis. Studies have shown the body continues to use fatty acid oxidation as its primary fuel source even after this. During a workout insulin’s effects are blunted significantly as well. Hence why exercise is so critical to any fat loss plan.

    So I doubt very much that the plan that allowed him to obviously keep his insulin low enough to loss 1280 lbs suddenly started converting protein at a new super high rate enough to spike his slin enough to regain large amount of the weight.

    Something changed. His diet or something effecting his metabolism that caused it.

    I would much rather use careful carb manipulation in a over all low carb high protein moderate fat diet than to eat mounds of lard etc in excess.

    Be careful of focusing to much on one tree when you are in the middle of a forest.

    I have no comment on Jim Morrison’s quest to lose weight. Since he died decades ago, I assumed he had no interest in losing weight.

    Reply
  9. Sam

    I did my own ketogenic diet experiment. Female, 165 lbs, 5″3, 42 yrs old. Already suffer from impaired fasting glucose (levels around 110 pre diet). Ate low carb <100 carbs before my experiment. No weight loss, no change in blood glucose on low carb. Switched to keto for three months, ate a lot of dairy, meat, eggs. Kept protein to about 60g. Fasting blood glucose levels went up slightly to average above 120. Post meal also went up but have always been in normal range. Blood ketones non existent. Could barely register above 0.3. Urine ketones in purple range (no idea how, dehydration ?). Lost weight but suspect it was water/glycogen. Revert to higher carbs that weight comes back on within a day or two.

    So, what&#039s going on ? Do my high fasting/baseline blood glucose levels mean that I have a lot of insulin circulating constantly, meaning I can&#039t get into nutritional ketosis ? Does that mean while my levels are that high I can&#039t burn fat -hence no real fat loss ? I can&#039t seem lower blood glucose levels with diet, either low carb or keto, so am I doomed to being overweight forever? Low carb and keto control my hunger though so I do end up eating less but why eat less if you cant lose weight ? What&#039s the answer for me? Anyone have any ideas ?

    You may need to give it more time. It took me several days of going high-fat/low-carb to get my morning ketone levels above 0.4. Peter Attia said it took him a month.

    Reply
  10. Sam

    I did my own ketogenic diet experiment. Female, 165 lbs, 5″3, 42 yrs old. Already suffer from impaired fasting glucose (levels around 110 pre diet). Ate low carb <100 carbs before my experiment. No weight loss, no change in blood glucose on low carb. Switched to keto for three months, ate a lot of dairy, meat, eggs. Kept protein to about 60g. Fasting blood glucose levels went up slightly to average above 120. Post meal also went up but have always been in normal range. Blood ketones non existent. Could barely register above 0.3. Urine ketones in purple range (no idea how, dehydration ?). Lost weight but suspect it was water/glycogen. Revert to higher carbs that weight comes back on within a day or two.

    So, what's going on ? Do my high fasting/baseline blood glucose levels mean that I have a lot of insulin circulating constantly, meaning I can't get into nutritional ketosis ? Does that mean while my levels are that high I can't burn fat -hence no real fat loss ? I can't seem lower blood glucose levels with diet, either low carb or keto, so am I doomed to being overweight forever? Low carb and keto control my hunger though so I do end up eating less but why eat less if you cant lose weight ? What's the answer for me? Anyone have any ideas ?

    You may need to give it more time. It took me several days of going high-fat/low-carb to get my morning ketone levels above 0.4. Peter Attia said it took him a month.

    Reply
  11. Sam

    Yes perhaps more time might help. I also just read Lyle macdonald who suggests aspartame and caffeine might keep you out of ketosis. I have both but not in huge quantities. I will try cutting them out and see what happens. It’s been suggested I may have a form of diabetes (mody 2) where baseline blood glucose levels are higher than normal. It is a mild form and is treated with…diet and exercise. Yay..the two things that don’t seem to make any difference (for me). The chances of getting a diagnosis of diabetes 2 let alone a liitle known version here in Australia are pretty slim. My fasting levels are crap but my post meals are fine. My fasting levels rise higher the longer i fast.

    What confuses me the most is how could I have urinary ketones but no blood ketones. It seems that would be impossible. Unless my ketone blood meter is not accurate.

    If I do have diabetes does that impact ketosis ? I’ve heard of ketosis resistant diabetes mellitis. It sort of correlates that diabetes sufferers would have trouble dropping insulin levels enough to trigger ketosis, especially if they are insulin resistant. Anyway, I will continue experimenting and see how I go. Thanks for your suggestions.

    I’m not sure about diabetes affecting ketosis. You can excrete ketones in the urine but still not have many in your blood. Part of becoming keto-adapted is training your body to use them for fuel instead of excreting them.

    Reply
  12. Sam

    Yes perhaps more time might help. I also just read Lyle macdonald who suggests aspartame and caffeine might keep you out of ketosis. I have both but not in huge quantities. I will try cutting them out and see what happens. It’s been suggested I may have a form of diabetes (mody 2) where baseline blood glucose levels are higher than normal. It is a mild form and is treated with…diet and exercise. Yay..the two things that don’t seem to make any difference (for me). The chances of getting a diagnosis of diabetes 2 let alone a liitle known version here in Australia are pretty slim. My fasting levels are crap but my post meals are fine. My fasting levels rise higher the longer i fast.

    What confuses me the most is how could I have urinary ketones but no blood ketones. It seems that would be impossible. Unless my ketone blood meter is not accurate.

    If I do have diabetes does that impact ketosis ? I’ve heard of ketosis resistant diabetes mellitis. It sort of correlates that diabetes sufferers would have trouble dropping insulin levels enough to trigger ketosis, especially if they are insulin resistant. Anyway, I will continue experimenting and see how I go. Thanks for your suggestions.

    I’m not sure about diabetes affecting ketosis. You can excrete ketones in the urine but still not have many in your blood. Part of becoming keto-adapted is training your body to use them for fuel instead of excreting them.

    Reply
  13. Sam

    That makes sense. Maybe I just wasn’t keto-adapted -didnt give it long enough. If you aren’t using your ketones and you are eating very little carbs what exactly are you burning ? Are your muscles being broken down for energy ? I seems to have lost a little muscle mass and maybe 60g dietary wasn’t enough. I was just beginning to lose my appetite/hunger so maybe I was just on the verge…anyway I’m just thinking out loud. Thanks for your responses.

    If your body is conditioned to relying on glucose and you’re not eating carbohydrates, it will make glucose from protein — from protein in food or in your muscles. I’d give it more time.

    Reply
  14. Sam

    That makes sense. Maybe I just wasn’t keto-adapted -didnt give it long enough. If you aren’t using your ketones and you are eating very little carbs what exactly are you burning ? Are your muscles being broken down for energy ? I seems to have lost a little muscle mass and maybe 60g dietary wasn’t enough. I was just beginning to lose my appetite/hunger so maybe I was just on the verge…anyway I’m just thinking out loud. Thanks for your responses.

    If your body is conditioned to relying on glucose and you’re not eating carbohydrates, it will make glucose from protein — from protein in food or in your muscles. I’d give it more time.

    Reply
  15. Francesco

    Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter
    and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.

    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

    Holy crap. A nice hermit crab would have at least made some oceans sounds before pinching her ear.

    Reply
  16. Francesco

    Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter
    and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.

    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

    Holy crap. A nice hermit crab would have at least made some oceans sounds before pinching her ear.

    Reply
  17. kris

    A high protein, low fat diet results in ketosis, because the end result of converting protein into glucose results in ketosis, and also results in the ketones produced being adopted by the body with glucose being saved for necessary organs.

    Gluconeogensis is often a stable rate, unless you are diabetic, or have other issues that results in hepatic gluconeogensis, Dietary Proteins Contribute Little to Glucose Production, Even Under Optimal Gluconeogenic Conditions in Healthy Humans © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/62/5/1435.abstract

    Although I’m not completely certain, other doctors and dietitians say a high protein,low carb diet means you are already in ketosis.

    Reply
  18. kris

    I meant low carb diet, although I’m not sure what a low carb diet, moderate fat diet, or low fat diet could achieve this.

    Reply
  19. kris

    A high protein, low fat diet results in ketosis, because the end result of converting protein into glucose results in ketosis, and also results in the ketones produced being adopted by the body with glucose being saved for necessary organs.

    Gluconeogensis is often a stable rate, unless you are diabetic, or have other issues that results in hepatic gluconeogensis, Dietary Proteins Contribute Little to Glucose Production, Even Under Optimal Gluconeogenic Conditions in Healthy Humans © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/62/5/1435.abstract

    Although I’m not completely certain, other doctors and dietitians say a high protein,low carb diet means you are already in ketosis.

    Reply
  20. kris

    I meant low carb diet, although I’m not sure what a low carb diet, moderate fat diet, or low fat diet could achieve this.

    Reply
  21. Jessica

    Hi,

    I’ve been trying to follow a keto diet for weeks and trying to get myself into Ketosis and simply can not. I’m VERY insulin resistant and seem to have an insulin response to just about everything. This morning I ate a hard boiled egg with olive oil and a few strips of bacon and my blood sugar has been up and down ever since. I need advice as to WHAT to eat. I’m at a loss. I JUST figured out I need to cut out the whey – today was my second day of no whey protein. I’m using heavy cream though. I’m just at a loss about what to eat and when. I feel like my food options are so limited. Like I can’t just drink heavy cream. I need something else but I react to everything. Can anyone help me with this?

    Whey does produce an insulin response, so good move there. You can try limiting your protein if you haven’t already and adding some MCT oil to your diet.

    Reply
  22. Jessica

    Hi,

    I’ve been trying to follow a keto diet for weeks and trying to get myself into Ketosis and simply can not. I’m VERY insulin resistant and seem to have an insulin response to just about everything. This morning I ate a hard boiled egg with olive oil and a few strips of bacon and my blood sugar has been up and down ever since. I need advice as to WHAT to eat. I’m at a loss. I JUST figured out I need to cut out the whey – today was my second day of no whey protein. I’m using heavy cream though. I’m just at a loss about what to eat and when. I feel like my food options are so limited. Like I can’t just drink heavy cream. I need something else but I react to everything. Can anyone help me with this?

    Whey does produce an insulin response, so good move there. You can try limiting your protein if you haven’t already and adding some MCT oil to your diet.

    Reply
  23. Jessica

    I guess my question is then, if you limit your protein what exactly do you eat? As Carbs are not an option for me. You can’t go around drinking olive oil. Thanks for the input. BTW I’m better today. I think I was withdrawing off what little carb I was getting or the whey. I pretty much was having a whey protein bar and a shake every day. I’m thinking that’s a no go for me from now on.

    Lots of fat. The books “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living” and “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Performance” offer good advice on how to eat a nutritious high-fat diet. There’s also this book for recipes:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2013/03/21/book-review-fat-fast-cookbook/

    Reply
  24. Jessica

    I guess my question is then, if you limit your protein what exactly do you eat? As Carbs are not an option for me. You can’t go around drinking olive oil. Thanks for the input. BTW I’m better today. I think I was withdrawing off what little carb I was getting or the whey. I pretty much was having a whey protein bar and a shake every day. I’m thinking that’s a no go for me from now on.

    Lots of fat. The books “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living” and “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Performance” offer good advice on how to eat a nutritious high-fat diet. There’s also this book for recipes:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2013/03/21/book-review-fat-fast-cookbook/

    Reply
  25. Babs

    Let me say i have read this blog post about 40 times since september. At first this worked for me but now im not in ketosis and cant figure out why.

    Jessica: Ive been trying to stay in ketosis since about the last week of Sept 2013. Was testing in ketosis purple on the sticks (eating all the normal stuff like eggs bacon HWC) but suddenly for no apparent reason i test in beige now. I was 147#, have got down to 139# soketimes as low as 137# but my weight will. not. budge for a month now. So im not in ketosis an dnot losing weight. What ur saying sound slike my case except i was in ketosis for a while there an dlosing weight. Im going to try to start adding back in carbs and see if that helps. Been reading about Insulin Index and theres many fatty/protein foods that raise Insulin (not blood sugar) more than carbs. And if lower insulin levels=weight loss, well, now that really complicates this situation cuz my experience is not fitting with what low carb people say. I dont know what to do, but i think adding back carbs slowly may help…afterall, Atkins had u add back carbs. Theres an article on Kicking Carb Clutter that talks about this.

    Tom, u know anything about Insulin Index? I havent found an insulin meter to test ur insulin levels. U know of one? Im on a month long weight loss stall and adding fat is what Everyone says to do. But that hasnt been working. I tried ur IF for 16 hours a day this week and still nothing. Know anything about adding back carbs?

    I’m not aware of an insulin meter, but you might look into getting a ketone meter. It’s more accurate than the strips. Using a ketone meter is how Jimmy Moore figured out he was eating too much protein.

    Not everyone needs to stay in ketosis or go zero-carb to lose weight. It’s a useful tool, but not the only tool. I’m not on a zero-carb diet and I’m usually in mild ketosis at best when I check. I have at least one high-carb meal on weekends, usually a Mexican dinner complete with rice and beans. The rest of week, it’s mostly meat, eggs and vegetables for me, but I’ll have half a sweet potato now and then.

    Reply
  26. Babs

    Let me say i have read this blog post about 40 times since september. At first this worked for me but now im not in ketosis and cant figure out why.

    Jessica: Ive been trying to stay in ketosis since about the last week of Sept 2013. Was testing in ketosis purple on the sticks (eating all the normal stuff like eggs bacon HWC) but suddenly for no apparent reason i test in beige now. I was 147#, have got down to 139# soketimes as low as 137# but my weight will. not. budge for a month now. So im not in ketosis an dnot losing weight. What ur saying sound slike my case except i was in ketosis for a while there an dlosing weight. Im going to try to start adding back in carbs and see if that helps. Been reading about Insulin Index and theres many fatty/protein foods that raise Insulin (not blood sugar) more than carbs. And if lower insulin levels=weight loss, well, now that really complicates this situation cuz my experience is not fitting with what low carb people say. I dont know what to do, but i think adding back carbs slowly may help…afterall, Atkins had u add back carbs. Theres an article on Kicking Carb Clutter that talks about this.

    Tom, u know anything about Insulin Index? I havent found an insulin meter to test ur insulin levels. U know of one? Im on a month long weight loss stall and adding fat is what Everyone says to do. But that hasnt been working. I tried ur IF for 16 hours a day this week and still nothing. Know anything about adding back carbs?

    I’m not aware of an insulin meter, but you might look into getting a ketone meter. It’s more accurate than the strips. Using a ketone meter is how Jimmy Moore figured out he was eating too much protein.

    Not everyone needs to stay in ketosis or go zero-carb to lose weight. It’s a useful tool, but not the only tool. I’m not on a zero-carb diet and I’m usually in mild ketosis at best when I check. I have at least one high-carb meal on weekends, usually a Mexican dinner complete with rice and beans. The rest of week, it’s mostly meat, eggs and vegetables for me, but I’ll have half a sweet potato now and then.

    Reply
  27. John Theobald

    I had the same question when balancing fat protein and carbs. I finally used a calculator to determine my ketogenic ratio. I eventually lost 100 pounds. What I found worked best was to set a fixed amount of protein (in my case 90 grams) and carbohydrate at the highest at 20 grams, and adjusted my fat with the calculator to get the lowest amount of fat while still remaining at a ratio of 2 or above. This kept my calories in a deficit. If my protein goes up then I need to increase fat to stay in the keto ratio, although my calories may be over the amount to lose weight. Same with protein. But I can see ahead of time what my meal will do. A simple ketogenic ratio calculator is on this website.

    http://www.flexibleketogenic.com/

    Thanks for the link.

    Reply
  28. John Theobald

    I had the same question when balancing fat protein and carbs. I finally used a calculator to determine my ketogenic ratio. I eventually lost 100 pounds. What I found worked best was to set a fixed amount of protein (in my case 90 grams) and carbohydrate at the highest at 20 grams, and adjusted my fat with the calculator to get the lowest amount of fat while still remaining at a ratio of 2 or above. This kept my calories in a deficit. If my protein goes up then I need to increase fat to stay in the keto ratio, although my calories may be over the amount to lose weight. Same with protein. But I can see ahead of time what my meal will do. A simple ketogenic ratio calculator is on this website.

    http://www.flexibleketogenic.com/

    Thanks for the link.

    Reply
  29. Ross Korbell

    Hi all, I have read extensively on the lchf diet and I have one important question which I can find no answers. That is,
    What happens to the high fat that I eat if I am not in ketosis?

    Any insight on this will be greatly appreciated from the bottom of my heart. Thanks everyone for sharing so much info and experiences, it really helped tremendously. I already lost 14 pounds in lchf one month although I am probably not in ketosis because I eat bananas for the potassium and it prevents the “weird” feeling. I also eat things like fried chicken where there is carbs and sugars in the batter. However I am hesitant to purposely ingest fats although that is suppose to give better results. Perhaps I will feel more reassured if I know what happens to fats if I am not in ketosis..? Help!

    It’s not necessary to be in ketosis all the time to burn fat. If you’re losing weight, all is well. You’re using the fat you ingest for fuel.

    Reply
  30. Ross Korbell

    Hi all, I have read extensively on the lchf diet and I have one important question which I can find no answers. That is,
    What happens to the high fat that I eat if I am not in ketosis?

    Any insight on this will be greatly appreciated from the bottom of my heart. Thanks everyone for sharing so much info and experiences, it really helped tremendously. I already lost 14 pounds in lchf one month although I am probably not in ketosis because I eat bananas for the potassium and it prevents the “weird” feeling. I also eat things like fried chicken where there is carbs and sugars in the batter. However I am hesitant to purposely ingest fats although that is suppose to give better results. Perhaps I will feel more reassured if I know what happens to fats if I am not in ketosis..? Help!

    It’s not necessary to be in ketosis all the time to burn fat. If you’re losing weight, all is well. You’re using the fat you ingest for fuel.

    Reply
  31. Linda

    I loved the LCHF program when I was on it. The problem? My blood sugar kept dropping terribly. Yes, I drank the salted broth, but it was really inconvenient to keep carrying around the broth. And, I was doing the program for over 3 weeks. I was so disgusted with my blood sugar dropping that I stopped the program. Change of diet shouldn’t be that inconvenient. I can understand for the first week or so drinking the broth, but over 3 weeks?? That “feeling” is way too scary for me. I even took the potassium and magnesium. VERY frustrating 🙁 If I didn’t have so many symptoms, I would have stayed on the program. Any one else experience this?

    Reply
  32. Linda

    I loved the LCHF program when I was on it. The problem? My blood sugar kept dropping terribly. Yes, I drank the salted broth, but it was really inconvenient to keep carrying around the broth. And, I was doing the program for over 3 weeks. I was so disgusted with my blood sugar dropping that I stopped the program. Change of diet shouldn’t be that inconvenient. I can understand for the first week or so drinking the broth, but over 3 weeks?? That “feeling” is way too scary for me. I even took the potassium and magnesium. VERY frustrating 🙁 If I didn’t have so many symptoms, I would have stayed on the program. Any one else experience this?

    Reply
  33. Lucas

    Hi, I’ve been on a strict Atkins for 7 days and my ketones (measured with blood devices) are always below 0.6 mg/dl. I’ve read that too much protein could ruin it, so now I’m consuming 150g of protein, I’ve also read that carrots and other vegetables could take you out so I don’t eat much of them. Besides this I each a good portion of cheese. No sweetener, nothing besides protein (meat and eggs), vegetables and fat cheese (with 0 carbs on the label).
    So why am I still, after 7 days, below the sweet spot (1.5-3 mg/dl)?
    I’ve done Atkins before and in 3 days entered in Ketosis. Now it’s the second time I’m trying that impaired my Ketosis.
    I’ve measured my blood glicose just for the sake of not a pre-diabetic problem and it was in the morning 91 mg/dl (below 110) which is normal.
    Any light in the matter?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Some people — I’m one of them — have to restrict protein quite a bit to get a higher reading on the ketone meter. That’s why I don’t aim for constant ketosis. Experience tells me I’m better off with a higher protein diet.

      Reply
  34. Lucas

    Hi, I’ve been on a strict Atkins for 7 days and my ketones (measured with blood devices) are always below 0.6 mg/dl. I’ve read that too much protein could ruin it, so now I’m consuming 150g of protein, I’ve also read that carrots and other vegetables could take you out so I don’t eat much of them. Besides this I each a good portion of cheese. No sweetener, nothing besides protein (meat and eggs), vegetables and fat cheese (with 0 carbs on the label).
    So why am I still, after 7 days, below the sweet spot (1.5-3 mg/dl)?
    I’ve done Atkins before and in 3 days entered in Ketosis. Now it’s the second time I’m trying that impaired my Ketosis.
    I’ve measured my blood glicose just for the sake of not a pre-diabetic problem and it was in the morning 91 mg/dl (below 110) which is normal.
    Any light in the matter?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Some people — I’m one of them — have to restrict protein quite a bit to get a higher reading on the ketone meter. That’s why I don’t aim for constant ketosis. Experience tells me I’m better off with a higher protein diet.

      Reply
  35. Lori

    @Eric, have you tried potassium supplements when you’re doing VLC? As you know, on LC, your body dumps excess water and certain minerals (salt, potassium, magnesium) along with it. I have a hunch that this is the reason some people say they do better adding back carbs: it’s not the sugar (why not add back chocolate cake, then?) but the 475 mg of potassium per half cup of sweet potatoes, the darling of the add-back-carbs crowd.

    Reply

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