For the last week or so I’ve been avoiding carbs. When I shop I read every label carefully to see how many grams of carbs there are per 100g or per portion.
It’s a little bit annoying, but I am slowly getting used to it.
Why am I suddenly so fixated with carbs?
After trying a variety of other diets over the last few years and failing to make a lot of progress I’ve decided to try out the ketogenic (keto) diet, which is basically low carb with high fat (LCHF), but with the emphasis on the low carbs and not on upping the proteins. There’s a fairly good explanation of the differences here.
Several of my staff have been on some variant of keto diet for the last few months and from what they’re saying and what I’m seeing it’s working pretty well.
For me it’s still a little early to draw any conclusions. Over the years I’ve tried a variety of different diet types, but I always ran into issues or simply fell off the wagon..
Have I lost weight?
Yes, but my weight goes up and down quite a bit. I’ve lost nearly 3kg in the last couple of weeks, which is a positive.
I’m not sure how successful I am “going keto”, though I have been doing my best to keep my carb intake low.
I have reduced my carb intake quite a bit. Whether I’ve got it low enough to be considered “keto” or not is hard to say. However if the “average” intake is between 225g and 325g of carbohydrates I’m now aiming for about 30g a day.
In practical terms that means I have to avoid bread, pasta, potatoes and rice, as well as a load of other things. That can be more than a little annoying when you’re trying to cook or eat out.
You’re encouraged to eat fat, which seems a little counterintuitive. However sautéd mushrooms are really tasty, so I can’t complain 🙂
At the moment I’m doing my best to keep within the daily limits I’ve set:
- 65% fat
- 30% protein
- 5% carbohydrates
What that breaks down to in “real money” is keeping my carbs below 30g per day, which is pretty low. Basically a couple of slices of bread would have enough carbs to hit your daily limit!
So what can you eat?
- salad (just avoid root vegetables)
- fish (I’m getting quite bored with tuna at this stage, though I still do like it!)
- cheese (full fat)
The list of things you can’t eat, or drink, is quite long. No bread, pasta, pizza, breakfast cereal, toast, tacos or anything else that has a high carb count. Eating out is “fun”, unless you’re in a steakhouse or seafood restaurant.
I love beer, but on this keto diet I cannot touch the stuff. This makes me sad. Very sad.
So for the last week or so I’ve been able to drink wine and whiskey, so most of the time I’ve stuck to drinking water or possibly herbal tea.
I’ve decided that I’ll stick with it for a month. If I feel after a month that it’s working for me ie. I’m losing weight and I’m not totally miserable, then I’ll stick with it.
reducing carbs will reduce weight, by reducing fat and muscle mass, if you wish to remain healthy on any low carb diet you must exercise to maintain muscle mass. Also, there is a lot of research that links low carb diets to long term health issues, so best practice is not to remain on this type of diet for more than 3 months at a time.
Fat and alive is better than skinny and dead, stay safe and do your own research 😉
Well I wasn’t planning on staying on a diet this low in carbs forever 🙂
That’s total horsesh*t. There’s absolutely NO evidence to support that. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Best of luck with the keto diet. I’ve been doing it since January and am down over 25kg. Here’s a few things, off the top of my head, that I noted:
1. Salt. Most of “literature” suggests that you lose salt on keto diet. I found this to be true. Starting out, if you feel a bit lightheaded or woozy then it may be an idea to up your salt intake. Half a stock cube in a cup of boiling water may help or maybe salted peanuts. Drink plenty of water (but water is no use if you don’t have the salt to hold it in your body).
2. Key to early stage is to minimise “keto flu” – so don’t worry about calories. Eat plenty but keep carbs low. You can worry about calories after the first couple of weeks.
3. If you stick on the diet for a week or two you may find your cravings for carbs/sugar diminish substantially. Often I didn’t feel hungry. This was because my body was consuming the on-board fat. So you don’t actually have to go mad on the high-fat given that there is, I’m assuming, some already on-board fat available 24×7! When ketosis kicks in, it is your on-board fat that reduces your appetite dramatically.
4. After a couple of weeks, don’t respond to your eating habits but your new hunger requirements….i.e. only eat when you are hungry. I found I wasn’t hungry in the morning. This allowed me to start eating after 11am and when I was diligent would try to not eat after 7/8pm.
5.Salads. I’ve become a pro at making salads. Just chuck combo of all allowed vegetables and any proteins that might seem reasonable and chop them up. (If looking for inspiration go into one of those “Chopped” outlets. Get a good salad dressing…I use a vinaigrette (with olive oil, balsamic vinegar (1/3), mustard (teaspoon), pepper, salt and pinch of sugar(I know!)) I see you don’t have nuts on your list. I recommend pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts. Cashews are high in carbs. Brazil are high in selenium – so only 2 or 3 of those. Generally nuts are great in micro-nutrients, fibre and healthy fats. Feta cheese great in salads. I’ve a soft spot for Parmesan/Olive Oil/Baby spinach. “Literature” suggests that diets with olive oil are the biz. Avocados are high in
6. Giving up beer is difficult but wine is not a bad surrogate.
7. Don’t go for the “net carbs” error where they subtract fibre from carbs. The ingredients in Europe already have the fibre subtracted from the carbs.
8. If you can, do some exercise. It seems to accelerate ketosis. It also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol and helps you sleep. My weight loss was higher when I was doing exercise.
9. At the end of the day it is about sustainability. Make sure your fridge is full of the necessary foods. The hardest thing I have found is to keep the diet interesting. Look at all the online suggestions for keto meals and try them out in order to expand your range.
10. For me, the biggest surprise was a change in my relationship to food. With low carbs, I feel that I am in control. My carb/sugar cravings have diminished considerably. With high carbs it was a lost battle. While I’ve always failed diabetes tests, I think that I must have had a fair bit of insulin resistance and would rate myself a carboholic.
@anon above says that “there is a lot of research that links low carb diets to long term health issues”. I’ve read extensively since Jan on this issue and did not find that research supported this. Sure, there is research that suggests that high fat diets as part of normal diets (normal or high cab) have an effect (albeit surprisingly small when you look into the source research docs) on coronary artery disease, but most tests taken in the context of low carb diets suggest that measurable metrics (cholesterol etc) are at least as good . It seems to me that lots of cabs + lots of fat is very bad but most of research on fats taken as part of low carb diet, even over longer term, is fine and possibly beneficial. The “normal” balanced diet; carb (not too much) plus low fat is also OK and maybe preferable but some people such as me, and possibly you, can’t achieve that (perhaps because of insulin resistance). It’s not so much that the food pyramid needs to be changed but rather that there are alternative pyramids that work. The research on the risks associated with being overweight are much more clear and direct correlation with morbidity….which , from my assessment, are actually directly due to being over weight….so the risk not do something is greater than remaining overweight, in my opinion.
I discovered the keto diet by accident in January, but have read a lot about it since, It has been been transformational for me. I would be a big advocate for it.
Anyway Best of Luck with it all Michele.
Thanks for the detailed comment – it’s appreciated.
Salt – I generally avoid salt and have done so for years, but I have found over the last couple of weeks that I sometimes get an urge to add some to dishes.
Keto flu – I’ve been suffering a bit from that, but mostly in the evenings
Cravings – It’s not too bad, but I miss bread and pasta 🙂
Salads – I’m finding the Aldi stuff helpful, as well as some of the other supermarkets small bowls or bags of leaves
Beer – yes – I let myself have a bit of red wine and that definitely helps
Exercise – I need to get back on the bike!!
Thanks for your comments