Many people have questions about the ketogenic diet before they get started. So, we’ve compiled a list of answers to the frequently asked questions that people have.
Q: What is the difference between the ketogenic diet and other low-carb diets?
A: Most other low-carb diets call for the inclusion of trace carbs, up to 50-grams a day, preventing the body from entering ketosis while depleting glycogen stores as much as possible before it affects performance.
The ketogenic diet involves eating 90% fat and 10% protein. By overeating protein, say to the 20% mark, your body will also fall out of keto. Therefore, it’s essential to stick to the 90% fat, 10% protein, and trace carbs model for this diet.
Q:Will the diet help with weight loss and improve my sugar levels?
A: Two of the main benefits of the ketogenic diet is its effect in helping people to lose weight and lowering blood glucose levels.
If you take medication that can cause hypos, such as insulin, sulphonylureas or glinides, you will need to take care to avoid hypos occurring. Speak to your doctor who will be able to advise you on what precautions to take to reduce the risk of hypos occurring.
Q: How long does it take to become keto-adapted?
A: Most research papers and anecdotal evidence you’ll come across state that keto-adaptation can last up to four weeks. The more determined you are to avoid carbs in the first weeks of a ketogenic diet, the quicker you’ll be over the hump on your keto-adaptation. You can also hasten it by engaging in any form of sustained physical activity which will force your body to tap into its fat stores.
Q: What does being in a state of ketosis mean?
A: Being in a state of ketosis means that your body, more precisely your liver, is producing higher levels of ketone bodies to supply energy for your brain, heart and muscles. For that to happen, carbohydrates need to be sufficiently restricted and your protein intake capped at a certain level – which is explained in our protein and keto page. A state of ketosis can come and go through any day but with time you’ll learn how to stay ketotic for longer.
Q: How can I tell if I am in ketosis?
A: There are a few telltale signs that you are in ketosis. If you wake up with a fruity, metallic taste in your mouth, also called keto breath, it is an indication that your body is effectively manufacturing ketones. You could also experience a certain mental sharpness when the body runs high on ketones.
For those looking to be more sure of whether ketosis is taking place, you can use home tests such as blood tests, urine tests or a breathalyser to test your level of ketosis.
Q: What may put me out of ketosis and how can I get back into it quickly?
A: It is easy to get out of ketosis. It will usually happen immediately after meals, even if they contain a small to medium amounts of carbs, and can last for up to a few hours. This is normal, your body will always choose to revert back to glucose if some is available.
We don’t recommend hacking ketosis with keto esters (essentially artificial ketones you ingest), as they are not fully clinically tested yet. However, there are a few things that can help promote a state of ketosis. These include incorporating periods of fasting or consuming certain types of fat that are very ketogenic, like MCTs.
Q: At what time of the day should you test ketone levels?
A: For comparison purposes, it’s good to measure about the same time every day. Measuring in the morning before eating makes it easier to compare the result from day to day.
However, numbers may vary during the day, and many report their lowest numbers in the morning, while evening numbers may be a little higher. So if for some reason you want impressively high numbers, measure in the evenings instead. Be aware that your ketone levels don’t distinguish between the burning of dietary fat and stored fat, and that for health and weight loss there is likely no benefit to higher ketone levels.
Q: Can I practice intermittent fasting on keto?
A: Yes, you can. It is a very useful tool to boost ketone levels and fat burning. However, you should get keto-adapted first before attempting it.
If you are on diabetes medication that can cause hypos, it is important to check which precautions to take before adding intermittent fasting to a ketogenic diet.
Q: Are keto diet safe for seniors?
A: If you’re suffering from any eating disorders, this diet is not a choice for you. If you struggle with uncontrolled diabetes, again, the keto diet for seniors is also not your choice. However, if you struggle to take in specific nutrients, like B12 or fats, for example, then the keto diet can work wonders!
Q: Is keto safe during pregnancy?
A: A keto diet appears to be safe during pregnancy, judging from the experiences of people who have done it and doctors used to treating patients using a keto diet during pregnancy. It may also be very helpful in case of gestational diabetes.
However, there are no scientific studies on the subject, so there is a lack of definite knowledge. For some it may be wise to exercise caution and aim for a more moderate low-carb diet during pregnancy, unless there are important health benefits of doing a keto diet in your specific case. This is an area you should discuss with your healthcare provider before making significant changes.
Q：I stopped losing weight. What can I do?
A: Weight loss plateaus happen to everyone at least once. There’s a number of things that could be the problem but I will keep this one short. You can try a different number of methods that may help you out – ranging from cutting certain foods out of your diet to changing your eating patterns through intermittent fasting or fat fasting.
Here’s a list of common suggestions that are normally advised to people that aren’t losing weight:
- Cut Out Dairy
- Up Your Fat Intake
- Decrease Your Carb Intake
- Stop Eating Nuts
- Stop Eating Gluten
- Cut Out Artificial Sweeteners
- Look for Hidden Carbs
- Begin Cutting Processed Food from Diet
- Switch to Measuring Instead of Weighing
Q: Are there any side effects associated with the keto diet?
A: Some people find that they experience the “keto flu” when they transition away from carbs or fall out of ketosis. Besides the low energy associated with the transition, most people don’t notice any adverse side effects from running a ketogenic diet.
Q: What is the “keto flu” and how can I avoid it?
A: Your body has always relied on glucose as its primary source of energy. Therefore, when you cut carbohydrates drastically, the body is essentially freaking out, until it eventually switches its metabolism to burning fat.
This period of adaptation causes the mild physical weakness or lack of energy typical of the flu. This state is temporary and the transition can be facilitated by a few preventive measures, such as keeping hydrated and having enough salt.
Q: Can keto diet cause headaches?
A: Headaches are one of the most common side effects of this diet, and they’re typically triggered by dehydration or low blood sugar levels. Nonetheless, you can protect against keto headaches by drinking plenty of water and keeping a close eye on your electrolyte levels, among other tactics.
Q: Can keto diet cause kidney problems?
A: Keto Can Put Stress on the Kidneys and Possibly Give You Kidney Stones. Kidney stones are a well-noted potential side effect of the ketogenic diet.
Q: Can ketosis cause high blood pressure?
A: When an obese or overweight person loses weight on Keto, their blood pressure generally improves too. This doesn’t mean that Keto can improve all instances of high blood pressure. But in some cases, it may be part of the solution.
Q: Can keto diet cause liver damage?
A: Despite these benefits of the ketogenic diet, it is not completely without risk. In particular, it has the potential to increase blood cholesterol levels and induce elevations in liver enzymes.
Q: Will the keto diet damage my cardiovascular health?
A: No, the ketogenic diet has plenty of research behind it, showing it has only positive effects on heart health. There is also plenty of research showing that dietary cholesterol and fat consumption has little to no impact on heart health – it’s genetics that matter the most when it comes to heart disease.
Q: Can keto pills cause diarrhea?
A: Research has shown that a keto diet may aid weight loss. However, as the diet can lead to changes in the digestive tract, it can also cause adverse GI effects, such as diarrhea and constipation.
Q: Can I go out and drink alcohol on a keto diet?
A: If you’re going out for a drink, stick to clean spirits. These drinks have the lowest impact on ketosis. If you do end up having a cocktail, you might have to double-dose your keto pills the following day to get back into ketosis.