I’m sure all of you have heard about the Keto Diet before; it’s been around for a long time and absolutely has a ton of hype around it still.
No matter what happens in the world of fitness and nutrition, ideas get re-branded repeatedly.
The percentages work out to around 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs on average.
The first time I heard about the Keto Diet, I was extremely skeptical.
Eat just fats and protein?
Less than 30 carbs a day? It sounded so simple on paper, so it must be a gimmick, right?
That is definitely not the case.
Benefits Of The Keto Diet
For those who don’t know what a Keto Diet is, it’s simple.
You consume a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet.
The major benefits I’ve found when doing the Keto Diet are:
- Burning Fats Instead Of Carbs For Fuel
- VERY Hard To Overeat
- Forces You To Eat More Protein, AKA Higher Thermic Effect Of Food
1.) Burning Fats Instead Of Carbs For Fuel.
When consuming a very low-carb diet, your body becomes really good at burning fats as fuel. Because you’re not consuming as many carbs, you go from a sugar burner to a fat burner.
There’s a period where you need to get fat adapted to do so, however. Because of this phenomenon, you should be able to burn through stored body fat rather than through glycogen stores.
2.) VERY Hard To Overeat
Because fats and proteins are highly satiating (they fill you up quickly), it’s very hard to overeat on a Keto Diet. A meal of eggs and avocados is way more filling than a bowl of cereal, for example.
This means you automatically will eat less and hit that calorie deficit that’s usually difficult on other diets.
Also, consuming fats slow down the digestion of other foods; you’ll digest slower and have solid energy levels throughout the day.
3.) Forces You To Eat More Protein, AKA Higher Thermic Effect Of Food
The Keto Diet focuses primarily on higher-fat animal food sources. Things like ground beef, chicken thighs, and steak come to mind.
Most people don’t get nearly enough protein in their diets whatsoever. Eating a diet that cuts out carbs almost entirely forces you to eat higher protein-rich foods.
Because of the thermic effect of food, you actually will burn more calories just from consuming them.
The macro-nutrient with the highest thermal effect of food is protein at around 30%.
For example, if you eat 200 grams of protein a day, 30% will be burnt off just from the thermic effect.
This will take you from 800 calories from protein down to around 560 calories.
So just by eating more protein, you’ll automatically be burning more calories every day! Now that’s a win-win to me!
Losing 40 Lbs In 8 Weeks On Keto
The first time I ever did the Keto Diet, I worked a very hard job at Goodwill, working at the donor door.
My schedule was pretty simple; I would go to work, come home and train 3 days a week. My workouts were very basic; I was Squatting 3 days a week, benching twice, deadlifting and pressing once, and of course, rows and pull-ups.
After every workout, I would take my Prowler (Weighted Sled) and push it 10 times, about 40 yards each push. This was my setup for 8 weeks, where I lost 40 lbs down to the lowest weight I had been in since high school.
Around 250 lbs.
How To Lose 40+ Lbs On Keto
The whole time I was doing this setup, along with working 40 hours at a physically demanding job, I was doing the Keto Diet.
My diet was really simple; I ate eggs, bacon; salads with cheese, salami and Italian dressing, and a bunch more!
I was never hungry, had tons of energy, and had no problem getting through my workouts and cardio. My mind was clear, and I didn’t crash at the end of the day.
I remember that first week I lost almost 8 lbs just from water weight and some fat. It was the quickest my weight ever dropped, and I was hooked!
As the diet went along, I never weighed or measured a single thing I ate. I just made sure I ate higher fat levels for energy, protein took care of itself, and I ate no more than 30 grams of carbs per day.
It was a simple diet structure I could stick to. And it obviously worked, as you can see from the pictures above!
Gaining Weight On Keto?
Often, people are doing the Keto diet, everything is going well, they’re losing weight quickly, and then BAM!
They stop losing and even start gaining a little weight.
They freak out and wonder why this diet that works for so many people isn’t working for them. Why does this happen, and what can you do if it happens to you?
Here are a couple of reasons why this happens:
- You’re actually eating more calories than you think. Even though you think you’re eating healthy and keeping the calories lower than before, you probably aren’t. Although I didn’t have to count calories when I first started using it, some people will have to keep losing weight. Start tracking your calories for a week and back off when you aren’t losing for more than 2 weeks in a row. You should notice you start losing again just like before.
- You’re eating too much protein. If you eat too much protein on a Keto diet, your body will start converting excess protein into sugar through a process called glucogenesis. Because of this, instead of burning fats for fuel first, it’ll burn those sugars off instead. Keep protein intake no higher than 20-25% of your total calorie intake.
- You’re allergic or intolerant to something. Many people use things like eggs, cheese, heavy whipping cream, and nuts on their Keto Diets. Unfortunately, if you have an allergy or intolerance, your body will have increased inflammation. This inflammation will actually increase your body weight slightly, similar to holding water and bloating. When this happened to me, I had to cut out dairy products like heavy whipping cream and cheese. As soon as I did this, I lost weight again quickly and experienced no issues from there.
If you do end up hitting a plateau, it’s not the end of the world! Keep your activity high, train hard with big compound movements like I describe in this article, and make sure to stay consistent. You will lose weight, and the Keto diet is a great way to do it!
I’m so confident in Keto-style diets that whenever I need to lose weight quickly, they’re my go-to! As long as I listen to my own advice and stay consistent, it works every time without fail.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with the Keto diet! If you’ve done it before or have similar results to share, I want to hear about it! Let me know what you did in the comments below!
What happens if you don’t eat enough fat on keto?
This is a huge problem that many people seem to have when they do a keto diet. They focus on high protein foods, which is definitely good!
However, for the keto diet, you need to make sure you’re consuming enough fat. If you don’t, you’re not going to have a solid energy source to fuel your workouts and day-to-day life in general.
Remember, the best diet isn’t one that promises the best results ever; it’s the one you can stick to long term to continue making progress.
If you can’t be consistent, you aren’t going to hit your goals. That’s just the bottom line.
So, if you want to lose a lot of fat on keto while still having good energy levels to continue progressing, you need to have enough fat to fuel you.
Without carbs as a fuel source, you need fats to keep you going. Protein can’t be used as energy or stored as fat, so it’s important to have fattier sources of food that are also high in protein.
If you do those two things, you’ll absolutely lose 10, 20, and even 40+ lbs, just like I did.
If you just do a high protein, low fat, and low carb diet, you’re going to have a bad time.
How many carbs will break Ketosis?
One of the main factors with the keto diet that people strive to achieve is ketosis. This is basically a state in your body where your body produces ketones in the absence of carbohydrates.
If you’re in ketosis, you’re going to be using fats as a fuel source, and your appetite will be suppressed as well.
So how many carbs will break ketosis?
Two numbers get thrown around a lot.
One is based off a percentage of your total calories, while the other is just a standard range of carbs that you must adhere to.
No two people are the same, so some might be kicked out of ketosis with 10 carbs while another might take up to 100 carbs.
With that in mind, the easiest way I’ve found is to just stick to a range and measure your ketones if that matters to you.
The normal range that is recommended is between 20-50 grams of carbs per day. I found great results just sticking to this range and not going over it.
Obviously, higher fiber counts will need to be subtracted if you eat a lot of fiber throughout the day.
The other number, which is based on a percentage of your calories, is around 5% of your total intake.
To calculate this is simple.
2000×5%=100 Calories from carbs
There are 4 calories per gram of carbs. So we just divide 100 calories by 4 to get the carb count you need to hit.
100/4=25 grams of carbs
If you’re eating 2000 calories to lose fat, this will be around 25 grams of carbs per day.
If you’re eating 4000 calories, this will be around 50 grams of carbs.
As you can see, both of these are pretty accurate for the ranges I outlined above.
In general, as long as you don’t go above 50 grams per day, you’re probably in the clear!
Does exercise speed up weight loss in ketosis?
This is a super easy question to answer. Making sure you nail your nutrition is the most important thing for fat loss. Without this, no amount of exercise is going to be enough to out-train it.
However, combining strength training and cardio with your diet will be more effective for overall fat loss and body composition.
While you’re in ketosis, you’re going to have fat as a fuel source. So it makes perfect sense that the fat you consume and your body fat will be used to fuel your training.
Progressive overload with strength training will help build and spare muscle tissue. Cardio will help burn calories and keep your heart healthy. Your keto diet will help with keeping your calories in line to lose fat.
All of these are important for your overall goal to come to fruition. The stronger you are, the healthier you are, and the more consistent you are on your diet, the better. Bottom line!
WHY AM I SO EXHAUSTED ON KETO?
When it comes to doing the Keto diet, a lot of people have complained of issues involving exhaustion. They complain of headaches and a whole host of other problems.
Every time I’ve done the Keto diet I’ve had success as long as I paid attention to a couple of important factors.
The main ones that cause exhaustion are as follows:
- Eating Too Much Protein
- Consume More Fats
- You Need More Electrolytes
These 4 factors contribute to exhaustion greatly while doing a Ketogenic diet.
So let’s find out what we can do to fix these mistakes now!
Here we go!
Eating Too Much Protein
In the absence of carbohydrates, your body has to go through a process called glucogenesis. This process turns non-sugar compounds into sugar that your body uses as fuel. To counteract this, you need to consume less protein than a normal diet.
If you consume too much protein on Keto it’s going to prevent you from going into ketosis which is one of the main benefits. The other reason why eating too much protein causes exhaustion will be explained in the next section.
The exact amount of protein doesn’t matter too much as long as it doesn’t exceed 1 gram per lb of bodyweight. Anywhere between 0.6-1 gram per lb of bodyweight is going to be your best bet.
For a 200 lb man, this can mean anywhere between 120 and 200 grams of protein.
This might sound low but it really does depend on how much fat you’re trying to consume each day.
Another way to calculate it is by taking a percentage of your total calories to find your protein intake.
For protein specifically, we want 25% of our calories to come from protein. For a 200 lb male eating 2,000 calories for fat loss, this is easy to figure out.
2,000×0.25=500 Calories from protein
500/4=125 grams from protein
As you can see, it still hits the low average of our recommended protein intake. No matter how you choose to calculate it, consuming lower levels of protein is incredibly important for doing well on the keto diet.
Consume More Fats
If you aren’t consuming enough fats on your Ketogenic diet, you’re going to run into issues with energy levels pretty quickly. Your body needs these fat sources to be used as fuel instead of carbohydrates.
To ensure you’re consuming more fats than protein, you need to consume proper Keto foods that have high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs.
Some of these main ones that fit the bill nicely are:
- Meats, Dairy, etc.
- Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel)
- Low-carb shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster)
- Poultry (dark meat)
- Organ meat (liver, tongue, tripe)
- Full-fat dairy (milk, butter, yogurt)
- Poultry (white meat)
- Whey protein powder
- Low-fat dairy (milk, butter, yogurt)
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Greek yogurt
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula, romaine, swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens)
- Bok choy
- Broccoli rabe
- Sprouts (alfalfa, bean)
- Summer squash (zucchini, yellow)
- Fat Sources
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Fish oil
- MCT oil
- Olive oil
- Cocoa butter
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Pine nuts
- Macadamia nuts
As you can see there are a ton of options to choose from! As long as you follow this list and hit the recommended levels of fat intake, you’re going to have tons of energy!
The correct level of fat is easy to figure out and you’ll see why we want our protein intake to be lower!
Again, using our 200 lb male for reference at 2,000 calories, we want to eat around 70% of our calories from fats. Because fats have 9 calories per gram, this is a lot less than you might think luckily.
2,000×0.7=1,400 Calories from Fat
1,400/9=155 Grams of Fat per day
This is much more than people are used to consuming every day I’m sure! But for those doing Keto, it’s absolutely essential!
You Need More Electrolytes
This is a major one that many people experience almost immediately start experiencing some of the negative side-effects of doing Keto. A few of these including headaches, diarrhea, and dehydration are the main ones I think most people get at the start.
An electrolyte imbalance is often linked to symptoms dubbed “the Keto flu”. Carbohydrates are stored in the body with water, by consuming fewer carbs our bodies excrete more water and retain less of it.
This is one of the main reasons why people have headaches, diarrhea, and dehydration. All major contributors for exhaustion on the Keto diet.
Also, because we have fewer carbs in the body, we release less insulin, this causes the kidneys to excrete more sodium. Loss of sodium affects the balance of other key electrolytes in the body.
Makes sense huh?
This is why supplementation with electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium is so important.
Each of these electrolytes is essential in the body, even more so on Keto!
Let’s go over why each of these electrolytes is so essential!
Sodium is something I’ve been trying to increase in mine and my clients’ daily lives and the results have been fantastic! My blood pressure has improved and my energy levels are at an all-time high.
My clients have reported higher levels of energy, lower levels of fatigue, and faster recovery times as well.
On top of my personal experience, sodium has major physiological processes in the body, including:
- Nerve Function
- Regulation of blood pressure & volume
- Control of water retention
- Control of nerve impulses
If you have a sodium deficiency, which is hard to achieve for most Americans which consume more than enough sodium per day, a couple of issues occur.
Signs of sodium deficiency are:
- Brain fog
- Stomach cramps
As you can see, sodium is something incredibly important for anybody doing Keto but especially for those that train and work strenuous jobs as well.
Supplementing sodium on the Keto diet is incredibly important! Ketogains recommends 5,000-7,000 mg per day. I know this sounds like a lot more than what is normally recommended. But bear in mind those sodium recommendations are for SEDENTARY individuals on regular diets.
For Keto, you need to ensure you’re staying properly hydrated, which means adequate levels of sodium.
Here’s a video from Stan Efferding going over the subject of why salt is actually a performance-enhancing food similar to carbohydrates.
Potassium is another major electrolyte in the body that most people seem to have deficiencies in, unfortunately.
Potassium tends to be the mineral we typically use to prevent cramping in the body. But it has many other benefits that protect certain processes in the body, including:
- Decreased risk of hypertension
- Maintenance of body fluid
- Blood pressure control
- Cellular function
It’s incredibly important to consume enough Potassium every day. Keeping your organs functioning at optimal levels is important for fat loss as well as overall health.
A few of the other side effects of potassium deficiency include:
- Heart palpitations
- Adverse cardiovascular effects
- Kidney damage or failure
These are horrible side effects you should consider when doing any diet! These effects are life-altering and some of them I’ve experienced myself, unfortunately.
Some Keto-friendly foods high in Potassium are as follows:
- Brussel sprouts
Try to consume at least 1,000-3,500 mg per day to ensure optimal levels in the body.
Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body. Because of this, it’s incredibly important for health.
Some of these important life processes are:
- Brain biochemistry
- DNA & RNA synthesis
- Aiding in chronic diseases such as the prevention of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, and Type-2 diabetes
- Protein synthesis
- Nerve transmission
- Muscular contractions
- Controlling blood pressure
As you can see, magnesium might be the most important electrolytes by far! It can even have an effect on personality changes which I have experienced firsthand. These include delirium, depression, agitation, confusion, and anxiety.
To ensure you aren’t deficient in Magnesium, make sure to consume between 300-500 mg per day. Some of the best Keto foods that will supplement your diet include:
- Pine nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Swiss chard
As you can see, there are a ton of options to ensure you’re consuming the correct amount of magnesium every day. Just like macronutrients and calories, you can and should be tracking your electrolyte balance as well!
By consuming the correct amounts of sodium, magnesium, and potassium; you’ll be healthier, have more energy, and lose more body fat than those that aren’t maintaining a proper electrolyte balance.
If you’re looking for a diet that’s really easy to stick to this might be the one for you! Plus the weight you lose will come off quickly, just make sure you have an exit strategy afterward.
You don’t want to go back to eating 100’s of grams of carbs, wonder why you gained a bunch of weight back and have to diet again.
Increase your carbs and calories slowly after the diet, 25-50 grams a day is plenty. You will gain a little weight back in the form of stored water and glycogen.
This is normal, as long as you don’t start eating a ton right after the diet, you shouldn’t gain any body fat back at all.
I hope this article helped you out and answered some of your questions about starting the Keto diet! If it did let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,