Questions about Keto?
You asked for it, keto questions and answers. I will caution you however, these are just quick answer summaries to the most common keto questions. I recommend you navigate through Ketogenicinfo.com to get more complete detailed answers.
There is no such thing as a stupid question.
Keto is usually a term referring to the ketogenic diet. Keto, however, actually stands for ketogenic or ketogenesis. Webster’s dictionary defines ketogenic as “producing or involved in the formation of ketone bodies.” Ketone bodies are produced during a process called ketogenesis.
When needed, the body releases fatty acids and the liver converts them into ketones. The body and brain can then easily use ketones as energy. Here is a more detailed explanation of the ketogenic diet.
The keto diet is just eating in a way that stimulates your stored fat to be released so you can use it as energy. The fat is converted to ketones that energize your body instead of glucose (blood sugar) and glycogen (muscle sugar).
The ketogenic diet works by forcing the body to use fat as energy. The body always uses glucose first as the primary energy source. It treats fat as a back-up energy source. It prefers to store it (fat) so it can be used in the event of starvation.
Keto tricks your body into thinking it’s starving so it releases your stored fat.
By lowering carbohydrate intake, the body gradually runs out of stored blood sugar and muscle sugar (glycogen). The body then shifts its fuel source from glucose to ketones.
The short answer is yes. I am going to include a quote from a well respected scientific study titled: Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe?
“Many studies have shown that this kind of nutritional approach has a solid physiological and biochemical basis and is able to induce effective weight loss along with improvement in several cardiovascular risk parameters.”
There is a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding this keto diet frequently asked question. Yes, it is safe as long as you eat healthy keto foods including plenty of vegetables, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. I am going to leave you with the following quote:
“Based on available evidence, a well-formulated ketogenic diet does not appear to have major safety concerns for the general public and can be considered a first-line approach for obesity and diabetes.”
Source: The Ketogenic Diet: Evidence for Optimism but High-Quality Research Needed
Macros are short for macronutrients which are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet macro-nutrient ratio is:
-60-75% of calories from fat
-15-30% of calories from protein
-5-10% of calories from carbs
You have already started. Researching keto principals is the first step. Knowledge is power. The next step is to make a total commitment to start a long-term keto lifestyle and not just a keto diet.
The next step is to clean out your refrigerator, cupboards, and cabinets and get rid of all your sugars and starches and foods that are not keto-friendly.
Then go buy your new keto-friendly foods and start your new keto lifestyle.
This is one of the questions about keto that comes up a lot. I think it’s easier to focus on what you can’t eat than what you can eat. However, you can pretty much eat as many of the non-starchy vegetables (see below) as you want.
I will provide you with a few keto-friendly staples:
-Some nuts and fruit (in moderation)
-Almost all vegetables
-Fatty foods (good fats)
*Here is a link to a more extensive Keto Diet Food List
Sugar (sweets), donuts, bread, biscuits, cake, candy, cookies, crackers, rice, noodles, pasta, rice and rice cakes, corn, most fruit and most nuts, grains, wheat products, oatmeal, and unfortunately beans.
This is another controversial common keto question. Keto might raise total cholesterol a little, but it will mostly raise your good cholesterol (HDL). More than likely it will also lower triglycerides, blood pressure, and A1C (blood sugar).
Additionally, Keto has also been shown to improve liver function tests and lower inflammation. Inflammation oxidizes the cholesterol (which is bad). It (inflammation) is measured by a C-Reactive Protein Test.
This scientific study titled: “Comparison of C-reactive protein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in the prediction of first cardiovascular events,” suggested that:
“The C-reactive protein level is a stronger predictor of cardiovascular events than LDL cholesterol.”
It’s a very complex hormonal and biochemical interaction. Fatty acids are mobilized from adipose tissue and ketogenic pathways are activated in the liver. The hormone glucagon stimulates this ketogenesis process.
The fatty acids are converted into ketones by your mitochondria and liver and used as energy.
The byproduct is exhaled out through your breath as the ketone body acetone and carbon dioxide. Additionally, some of the byproducts of fat metabolism leave your body via urinary ketone body excretion as the ketones β-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate.
For a more detailed answer I recommend: Fatty Acid Oxidation
At first it can make you feel exhausted and drained. Then as your body adapts you initially lose water weight. However, eventually you start burning fat and losing weight. You will see reduced swelling, stable blood sugar, and the reduction of inflammation in the body.
This is usually followed up with overall good health (improved biomarkers) and improved moods.
It usually doesn’t work because the individual loses patience and gives up to soon. He (she) never gives himself enough time to get keto-adapted. Everyone is different, and for some the first three weeks can be extremely difficult. It takes time for the body to adjust to a different fuel source. Fat instead of sugar.
Also called a keto plateau. Sometimes a person’s weight-loss on keto seems to stop for unknown reasons. The cause can be extremely variable based on the specific individual. Sometimes the individual is just eating more carbohydrates than he thinks he is. Hidden sugars/carbs are hard to find sometimes.
Sugars are being added to everything these days and sugar is unhealthy. Additionally, eating excess processed foods can include a lot of hidden sugars. Sometimes the body is just hitting natural stasis and is trying to stabilize itself.
When you stall you have to shock into weight loss again by cutting carbohydrates even further, by fasting longer or more often, or exercising more intense and/or often.
The keto flu is not really a virus. It’s just a side effect of the keto diet that some people get. It usually includes a feeling of exhaustion, cramps, and sometimes even headaches.
The keto flu is usually caused by the body trying to adjust to a new fuel source and/or an electrolyte imbalance. Adding salt and other electrolytes to the diet helps as well as increasing the intake of healthy fats such as avocados, olives, macadamia nuts, and eating more green leafy vegetables.
This typically goes away on its own with patience and an improved diet and by adding extra salt to your food.
It can if the keto dieter doesn’t eat plenty of fiber-rich vegetables and maintain proper levels of electrolytes. Adding supplemental prebiotic fiber and probiotic bacteria also helps.
Typically, however, the dieter is just pooping less often and isn’t really constipated. It can be a big adjustment to have less frequent bowel movements than what you are used to.
This frequently asked question is actually silly. If we know that excess blood sugar and high insulin levels are the primary contributors to type 2 diabetes, then how can reducing blood sugar and insulin cause it.
In fact, this article goes in great detail on how the ketogenic diet can reverse type 2 diabetes.
Lazy, or also known as dirty keto is choosing poor quality fatty foods on the Ketogenic Diet that increase inflammation and free radical damage. Dirty keto also includes eating lots of packaged foods, fat bombs, and cured meats.
Additionally, instead of eliminating sugary foods, those that eat lazy keto just replace the real sugar with artificial sweeteners and continue eating “sweet” foods.
However, clean keto can be expensive. If you do eat a lazy-keto diet occasionally, it’s not the end of the world. Lazy keto is still much better than no keto.
Foods that are low in carbohydrates but still nutritious. You want to get the most bang for your buck. In other words, eating foods that are nutrient-dense but low in carbohydrates means you can eat more of them.
The advantage, besides good health, is you can reduce cravings and hunger because you’ll feel more satisfied by eating keto-friendly foods.
This is another common keto question. The answer is yes, some nuts are fine in moderation. Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans are your best choice because they contain the lowest amount of carbohydrates and the healthiest type of fat.
keto pills are generally pills that contain exogenous ketones. The ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate is made in a laboratory and taken as a supplement. The body can actually use the exogenous ketone as an energy source.
keto-adapted, also know as fat-adapted simply means that your body has become adjusted at generating ketones and is able to efficiently use them as energy. This can be a difficult adjustment period and is one of the reasons people get the keto flu.
Everyone is different, but the approximate duration of the fat-adaptation period is approximately 21 days.
This keto question and answer creates a lot of controversies. It is generally recommended to consume no more than between 20 and 30 grams of carbohydrates per day.
However, this number depends on a lot of factors such as your age, current health condition, amount of activity, and your weight loss goals.
For example, a younger person that conducts resistance training or does a lot of cardiovascular exercises might be able to eat more carbohydrates than an older person that is sedentary.
Eating foods with a low glycemic index (GI) provides for a gradual rise in blood sugar.
What’s the glycemic index?
The glycemic index (GI) shows how quickly a food raises your blood sugar. The lower the number the more gradual the food will raise your blood sugar. It’s a good rule of thumb, however, the total number of grams of carbohydrates can have a bigger impact than the GI index on blood sugar levels.
List of non-starchy vegetables:
- okra, onions
- summer squash,