“In my diet plan it says I can eat as much as I want. How does that work?”
“I’m confused: should I count calories or not?”
“My doctor says that Gary Taubes is wrong: you can’t contradict physics. I’m fat because I eat too much and don’t exercise enough”
We hear this all the time, and questions like this appear in Facebook groups and diet forums all the time. Frequently with people saying something like “excuse me for being stupid“.
We will put that last one to bed straight away. You are not stupid!
Let’s deal with “eat as much as you want“. First, how much do you want?
Your body has sophisticated control mechanisms to tell you:
- You’re hungry: you need fuel (food)
- You are full: you’ve had enough
However, unfortunately you have two completely different mechanisms in this control system:
- Psychology and emotions
Frequently our psychology and emotions around food get messed up. It starts with parental messages to eat up all your dinner or children will starve in Africa and is then manipulated by the HUGE sums of money that advertisers spend to program our brains to make us eat.
Our biochemistry also gets messed up. When I was a lad growing up in England, Chinese restaurants were novelty. There was a piece of “received wisdom” that said that you would feel hungry again half an hour after eating Chinese food. Cecil Adams in “The Straight Dope” even wrote an article about it. (Click those links: they are more fun than this blog post is likely to be!)
The point is that some food makes you feel full up, some food leaves you hungry and there is some food that actually makes you hungry (mostly manufactured food, manufactured by firms with no interest in you being healthy, just in you buying more of their products.
So, leaving on one side the psychology and emotions for a moment, if you STOP eating the stuff that doesn’t make you feel food, and replace it by eating the stuff that does make you feel full, then we can say “eat as much as you like”, reckoning that you will get to feel full quite quickly, that that will be “as much as you like” and you’ll eat less, and lose weight.
But notice what I said there: “you will eat less”. Let’s move on.
(Oh, by the way, highly processed carbs and sugars are the things liable to make you want to eat more, and fatty and spicy food are likely to make you want to eat less. ”Diet” versions don’t help. To understand just a little of what’s going on here, first glance at “Is it true that drinking diet sodas like Diet Coke make you crave carbohydrates?” Ask.com. You will notice that there is one “yes” vote and one “no” vote, the “no” coming from Snopes, which I usually trust. But then just glance through this Mercola article: “Aspartame — History of Fraud and Deception“. It’s down the bottom where he says:
Aspartame is the only biochemical warfare product on grocery shelves
that makes me think I need a lot more research before I’ll give it a try!).
Of course, we haven’t dealt with the psychology yet.
Q: Why do bakers work so hard?
A: Because they need the dough.
But maybe the “see food” thing isn’t a joke. Maybe it’s the truth. Spend a couple of minutes watching this experiment carried out by stage hypnotist Paul McKenna:
You might like to try it for yourself.
And how would it be if someone fed you, rather than you feeding yourself? My guess is that each mouthful will be smaller and that your “eating speed” will be slower.
I think that we have learned to bypass or over-ride our “satiety” signals, and if we could fix that problem, then we would feel full sooner, and we would eat less.
But notice what I said there: “we would eat less”.
Losing weight is all about eating less. It’s about doing something that will mean that we are happy to stop eating when we are full. It is not about forcing ourselves to eat less. That never, ever works. And if you think it does, just look around you. All over the western world for at least the last half century, doctors, nutritionists and diet pundits have been telling overweight people to, “eat less, exercise more”.
Does it look like this advice is working? I don’t think so.
And then along comes Gary Taubes with his two books, Good Calories, Bad Calories (The Diet Delusion in the UK) and Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. The book (WWGF) changed my life. Here’s why.
There is a subtle subtext behind “If you eat less and exercise more you will lose weight” which says “you are fat because you are greedy and lazy“. Gee, thanks doc.
When Gary says that this isn’t the way to go with this all the conventional pundits cry “foul”. They say it’s all a question of physics. If you take in more energy than you put out, that excess energy has to go somewhere and it will be stored as fat. Therefore, take in less energy and/or put out more energy, or both. It’s all physics and Gary Taubes should be burned at the stake (steak?) for saying otherwise.
But Gary does NOT go against the laws of physics. Read the above paragraph again, but stop at the word “Therefore”. There should be a whole book, or maybe a whole library, between “stored as fat.” and “Therefore …”
Here’s an example that Gary uses quite a lot. Think of a teenage boy. There comes a certain age where they seem to grow (tall) overnight. And they seem to be always in the fridge, except when they are in bed. But you don’t ever hear a parent say “My Tommy has grown six inches in the last three months, it must be because he’s eating too much and not exercising enough”. He is eating because he is growing. He lacks energy because all his energy is going into growing. And why is he growing? Well, we know, don’t we. It’s his hormones.
And it’s our hormones that make us grow fatter, too. It’s just different hormones. With Tommy it’s testosterone and somatropin, with me it’s insulin. With Tommy it’s supposed to happen: if his testosterone and somatropin get out of whack he’ll either not grow, or he’ll be a giant. My insulin is out of whack: I’m only a giant width-wise. And it was eating too many refined carbohydrates when I was young and foolish (and middle-aged and foolish) as opposed to now when I am old and foolish, that damaged my insulin system.
But I’m getting off subject, or at least on to a subject that I’ll come back to later.
So, Do I have to Count Calories? Yes or No?
Well, it depends (sorry!) You will only lose weight if you correct that energy balance: eat less or exercise more (actually, exercising more probably won’t help: it’ll just make you hungry).
What we hope is that by eating less processed junk food, less refined carbs, by eating more “real food” (what your grandparents called “food”), by eating a balanced amount of protein and upping the amount of fats that you eat (etc etc: we’ll deal with precisely what elsewhere), you will naturally want to eat less.
The trick to losing weight while eating as much as you like is to change how much you like.
So if you are following your low-carb diet, or your paleo or primal regime or your ketogenic or auto-immune protocol, and you are not losing weight, then you are eating too much … BUT, the answer is not to just cut down, but to find out why. If you are significantly obese then it is highly likely that switching to a paleo or ketogenic regime will cause you to lose weight, without having to count calories. You will just naturally want to eat fewer calories. You’ll feel full up sooner.
But as you get closer to your goal weight, where the margins for calculation are tighter, you may need to exercise more control. You may need to count something … not necessarily calories: it may be grams of carbs, or it may be getting the macro-nutrient ratios right. It may be paying better attention to micro-nutrients. I have heard it said that if we are missing certain micro nutrients in our diet that we may crave certain foods. I have also heard it said that modern food is only around half as nutrient dense as food that was commonly available 100 years ago. So, presumably, we need to eat twice as much (and hence get twice as many calories) just to get the same level of micro nutrients.
Or it may be finding a way to re-wire your brain, so that you find more effective ways of supporting starving African children, other than by eating more than you need yourself.
As so many of my articles conclude, it is highly likely that no-one has an off-the-peg answer to your individual question. Research is needed. The question is, will you pay a Harley Street nutritionist £125 per hour to do the research, or will you learn about food, nutrition and your own body, and do your own research?
Go on, give me a hint!
Some while ago the BBC made a programme called “The Big Fat Truth About Low Fat Foods“. I like this programme because they took an ordinary person (well, as ordinary a you can be, being an ex Blue-Peter presenter and an FHM model) and put her on a low-fat, packaged food diet for four weeks, to see what would happen. She is “ordinary” in the sense that she doesn’t have any particular health problems, is not a diet and nutrition expert, but generally eats a reasonable diet.
(Having said that, I just discovered that she was a contestant in Celebrity Masterchef!!)
For four weeks, model and former Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon ditches the fine dining she’s used to and lives on nothing but pre-packaged, highly-processed foods that are labelled either low or lower in fat. She finds out what’s in these foods and how they affect her moods, nutritional levels and, crucially, her weight. She also meets the low calorie converts who say that eating this way isn’t just a diet, but a way of life.
The programme (I think) does for Weight Watchers what “Supersize Me” did for Macdonalds. I think the programme is a must to show to anyone who thinks your high-fat diet will kill you, and a must for anyone considering Weight Watchers. Here’s a trailer:
And here’s the who programme (it’s about 50 minutes):
I have this prejudice that says that British kids aren’t as obese, or as ignorant about food and where it comes from as American kids. I got a shock last evening. I was watching a UK TV cooking programme with The Hairy Bikers. They were cooking outside in a town centre with a live audience. As they prepared some vegetables and sampled as they went I heard a small boy say “yeuch! They are eating plants!” And that, in a very concise nutshell is a probably the biggest problem for our future.
Another British chef, Jamie Oliver, having crusaded about the poor state of food in British schools took his crusade to America and wound up with a TED talk prize. This 2-minute trailer for his American TV series shows part of the problem:
Did you notice the kids unable to identify a tomato? In the program (you can explore the whole thing, including Jamie’s prize-winning TED talk, on my blog post “Jamie’s American Food Revolution”) the kids in school couldn’t identify potatoes, tomatoes, onions, etc.
We don’t have to go to extremes. Maybe 20 years ago we went on vacation and took a couple of my kids’ school friends. It was a self-catering holiday in France and we made a thing of going to local French markets, buying fresh produce and cooking it ourselves. My son’s friend was scandalised. For him, food wasn’t food if it didn’t come in a box or a packet. He had never seen an onion other than battered onion rings. And this was a middle-class lad with a father who worked for IBM, from a country town in southern England.
If children don’t understand where their food comes from, what food is, how to grow, harvest, prepare and cook food then they are at the mercy of Big-Ag, Big-Food, Big-Pharma. They will have no option but to get fat, get sick, and be part of the first generation for centuries that died younger than their parents.
Childhood obesity is probably even more worrying than adult obesity in many western societies, and doubly worrying as a parent. When you’re the one who is obese at least you only have yourself to worry about. So let’s think about what we can do.
Before I begin, let me add to my normal caveat. I am not medically qualified, I am not a nutritionist, and I’m not a pediatrician. I wasn’t even a child, but that’s another story!
We all know that the latest diet fad probably won’t help us adults, not least because we’re liable to get a bit OCD about it. That’s the last thing we need to burden our kids with. So what can we do?
A lot of folk think that whatever diet that they are on can just be scaled down for a child, but I think that we need to think a little, first. There is one thing that children do, all their lives (as children) that adults don’t do. And that is … they grow! They need healthy nutrition even more than us adults, and so I believe the “eat less, exercise more” mantra is even more dangerous for children than it is for adults. Kids need their vitamins and minerals.
We know (don’t we?) that a junk-food diet isn’t any good for anyone, so I believe that we must begin by educating our children on what is (and what isn’t) “real food”, and switching them gently over to a regime that is significantly lower on carbs (particularly high-glycemic index carbs), lower on wheat and sugar, and higher on good meat (organic, grass-fed) and good vegetables and fruit. For children, paying attention to the nutritional content of the food (micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals) is even more important than it is to adults, so if you can get them switched on to growing their own, and to taking good care of the soil that they use to grow their own, then you’re off to a good start.
One of the first things that you can do, I believe, is to start to introduce your kids to where (healthy) food comes from. If you Google the name of your town with “organic farm” you will, no doubt, find some. I was inspired to write this blog after a question was posed by a FB friend of mine who lives in the Pacific North West, so I Googled and came up with Bella Organic. Check out their website: http://bellaorganic.com/ … what a great place to go for a regular family outing. Our own local farm, Beechcroft, isn’t nearly so organised, but is a lovely place to visit. Having visited an “old fashioned” farm, see if you can find a CAFO in your area, and just drive past. You will probably have your child’s interest!
For children, being like the other kids is of extreme importance. It is something that is, I believe, hard-wired into our genes. In paleo times being a member of the tribe was a matter of life and death. You couldn’t survive on your own. In 21st century western society that has become somewhat perverted: if you aren’t wearing the latest designer label you won’t actually die–but it feels that way to kids, so we must avoid making them feel different.
I think that joining, or making the right social group is really important, and I believe that learning about and becoming highly involved with growing and eating real food is important, so here are a couple of great role models.
Katie was given a cabbage seedling in a pot in a class at school. She brought it home, tended it every day, and it grew into a 40lb cabbage! Katie took the cabbage to a local food kitchen where they were feeding disadvantaged and homeless people and it inspired her to encourage other kids to do the same. Now, all over America children, encouraged by Katie’s Krops, are planting gardens in schools, community centers and their own back yards, and are using the produce both for their own nutrition, but, more importantly, to help others.
Why is that more important?
Because children are naturally charitable. They care about things more than the average adult, and if they are growing food to help disadvantaged people they will probably care more about the quality of food they are growing than if they are just growing it for themselves. And as parents, we want them to care about quality food!
There are lots of tips on Katie’s website; they even have a grant program, if you need some money to help get a garden going. And they have a Facebook page where you can follow what’s happening in the Katie’s Krops world.
The next person I would like to introduce is Coral, of Coralganics. As it says on the “About” section of her Facebook page:
Coral is an eight year old unschooler and very passionate about nutrition! She hopes to help other kids learn how to eat and live more healthfully by eating real, whole foods, avoiding GMOs, and reading labels! She is currently making YouTube videos to help educate other children about exactly what is in the processed and fast foods that are being fed to many children today.
Coral has a Facebook page, and a You Tube channel. Here is her first ever video, looking at whether WhoNu? cookies are as good as they’re cracked up to be (they aren’t!):
So: there are a couple of good role models who I hope may get your kid to start taking an interest in food, real food.
Lastly, there is Bettina Elias Siegel’s website, The Lunch Tray.com. This is a website by an adult, for adults, but her passion is to improve kids’ food, both in school and outside. She isn’t going for paleo, or even particularly low carb, but she is passionate about getting children to eat real food, not processed.
This video is by Bettina. If it is “too young” for your child, then get them to watch it with you, and produce a critique, or say how they feel it relates to them. Everything we are doing here is to encourage our kids to be passionate about food and the potential it has to either make us sick, or make us healthy.
Before I leave this subject, let me just say it’s worth Googling “Kids Grow Food” and see what you get. There a lot of resources out there: maybe you can set up a children’s garden in your local church or community center, or your kid’s school. It’s important that they have a group of friends with the same passion. Here’s a last video:
OK, so that’s vegetables. But I am somewhat of a low-carb, paleo, ketogenic diet afficionado, so what about meat and protein?
Well, Susan and I began keeping chickens after we baby-sat our grandson’s chickens (he had an Eglu and two chooks for a birthday present) for a couple of months while he was on a long vacation. By the time he came back we were sad to be without chickens, so now we have two and we are getting two more tomorrow. We don’t have much land, our entire back garden (yard) is about 100′ by 30′, and our hen run is 15′ x 12′. We get eggs, pets, and top soil generated for us. We have never had children visiting who weren’t fascinated! And those eggs are really healthy!
So, we have looked at ways of getting children to understand where their food comes from, ways of getting them to grow healthy food, and ways of helping them understand what is healthy and what is not. There is, of course, one last step.
They need to know how to cook!
I don’t have a vast experience here (my son is a great cook, but I think that’s maybe more despite me than because of me!), but again, I did some Googling. I’ll leave you to do the same (and refer you to the Jamie Oliver videos, where he spends quite a lot of time introducing both parents and kids to cooking). For a lot of help and advice, check out this “Cooking with Kids” page on Netmums.com.
My last contribution here is to get you to watch this You Tube video of the fabulous Sarah Fragoso of Everyday Paleo, showing how to make paleo mayonnaise, with help from her boys. These lads will grow up healthy, I am convinced!
This last section is, I know, controversial (it has raised some controversy here at home!) It’s just an idea … see how it fits with you and your kids.
I have heard people say that you shouldn’t weigh yourself as an adult, and you should avoid the scales even more for a child.
I don’t agree–but I also believe we shouldn’t be obsessing about weight. What we need to do is to “know thy enemy”.
To decide just to ignore weight is to miss an important point … a point that is even more important for children. We live in society and society has norms. One of the norms in our society is that people weigh themselves and weigh their self-esteem at the same time.
It is bad, it is wrong, but it happens. Just to ignore it turns it into the unmentionable “elephant in the room”.
What I think we need to do is to understand the subject in some depth.
So here’s my suggestion. Set up a science project with your child, to understand body weight.
Here’s the first step. Get your child to weigh themselves every hour, on the hour, for a whole day, and to record the weight on a piece of graph paper (or, for the more tech-savvy, on a spreadsheet with a graph).
Experiment. Weigh before and after having a meal. Weigh before and after going to the bathroom. I am still bemused by the fact that I can weigh less after a heavy meal, and more after a satisfactory bathroom visit! Look at how much the weight fluctuates over the course of a day. I am a large man: my weight can vary by plus or minus 5lbs (roughly 2kgs) over a day. Get your child to find out how much their weight can change over, say, two days (do it over a weekend). You should be able to find out when the “low weight point” of the day is. You will discover that you can lose or gain a couple of pounds just by weighing at a different time. It begins to put the whole thing in a different light.
Then just try getting on and off the scales say 10 times in a row, and recording all those weights. That will give you an idea how accurate the scales are. And, in particular, if your child is a girl, and past puberty, try weighing every day for a month and see how her weight fluctuates. In every case record all the numbers. The two of you will learn a lot about science, a lot about weighing, and a lot about yourselves (you should be doing this alongside your child: maybe get the child to include the whole family in the project).
It will be an eye-opener and will show you that a simple number: “how much I weigh” doesn’t tell you much if taken out of context.
You also have to understand that weighing children has an additional problem that we adults don’t have: they are growing, and we expect them to get heavier as they get taller. Maybe if you weighed every day for a year, and plotted all those measurements on a chart, together with their height, and some other key measurements, you might see some interesting trends.
While you are doing this, you are not aiming for your child to “lose weight”. You are simply running a science project together to collect some data to see what you can learn. Given that we expect them to weigh more as they grow taller, it might be interesting to divide weight by height, and plot that over time, too. I suspect that, if the child is beginning to eat more healthily as a result of a growing interest in real food, those numbers might reflect a movement towards leanness.
In that project you might also try weighing before and after a walk, or a run, or a bike-ride, or a swim. What does any of that tell you?
What we are doing here is just developing the child’s sense of interest in their own body, hopefully in a value-free way, hopefully in a way that doesn’t get obsessive. It is very easy for any of us to begin to obsess about food; but that’s a whole different subject! (Try looking up “orthorexia” if you really want to scare yourself silly!)
If your child is a bit chubby now (or even obese) remember that they are going to grow taller. If you get them off of the empty calories of junk food and on to highly nutritious real food, and doing some playing outside in the fresh air, I think it quite likely that they will naturally burn their fat reserves as they grow up, lessening the chance that they continue to grow out!
End of post? Well, perhaps not, as so many people seem to think there are. I have written about cholesterol before (“On Statins, Cholesterol and the Like“) but I am still getting questions, so perhaps I’d better explain. But first a simple test. Can you tell the difference between the various pictures below?
We hear about cholesterol and we hear about HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. HDL and LDL are not cholesterol. They are vehicles for transporting cholesterol, hence the silly question above.
For cholesterol: think “people”. For HDL think “bus” and for LDL think “taxi”. HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) and LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) are the vehicles used to carry cholesterol around your body.
Cholesterol is vital: it’s in pretty much every cell of your body, and it is nearly all (over 80%) manufactured in your liver. The amount of cholesterol derived from dietary sources is pretty low. After your liver has manufactured cholesterol it is loaded into taxis and shipped out to whichever part of your body needs new cholesterol. Worn out cholesterol is loaded onto buses and shipped back for repair or discard.
Now, what is of interest is, do you have big taxis or small taxis, and how crowded is the highway? Buses are no problem, big taxis are no problem; it’s having rush-hour numbers of small taxis that causes hardening of the arteries.
The big taxis come from eating animal-based food, by and large. The tuk-tuks come from eating carbohydrates. Don’t take it from this old man. Hear a top expert on “It’s not the passengers, it’s the cars”. You will hear them talk about particles. Those are particles of LDL: that’s taxis. LDL particles come as big and fluffy (big taxis) or small and hard (tuk tuks). When they talk about LDL-P that’s a count of particles: how crowded the road is. When they mention atherosclerosis, that’s what we non-medical folk call “hardening of the arteries”.
Here’s Dr Tara Dall:
For more information, the “go-to” place is Chris Masterjohn’s http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/, but he’s not the only one. The good folks at http://coconutoil.com/ are also talking about it: “Putting The Myth To Rest: There Is No Such Thing As Bad Cholesterol“.
I am a member of three on-line “keto communities”, as well as blogging about ketogenic diets myself:
- The Ketogenic Diet Facebook group (closed group, but you can ask to join)
- Ketogenic Dieters Facebook Group (Open Group)
- Mark Maunder’s Basic Ketogenic Diet blog post
A frequent question in these communities is “what should I eat?” This question might mean “what proportion of carbs, proteins, and fats should I eat?” It might mean “what actual foods can I eat, and in what quantities?” In every case the answer is always “it depends …” which is highly frustrating for the person asking the question.
There are some calculators out there, but quite a few people, especially those less confident as computer users, or less confident with math (or both) have had trouble using them. This blog post intends to help!
At the moment it is only talking about one calculator, Martin Ankerl‘s Keto Calculator: http://keto-calculator.ankerl.com/. This video should explain all. Below are some links that you might find helpful. Some notes appear as the video runs: you will find them easier to read if you make the video full screen (click the icon in the bottom right of the video).
kcal or kilo-calories. It’s all very confusing, but a calorie is the amount of heat that it takes to warm up one cc of water by one degree centigrade. A Calorie (with a capital “C”), also known as a kilo-calorie (kcal) is what nutritionists use, and most people just lose the “k” and don’t bother with the capital “C”. So, if you see kcal or kilo-calorie, just know that that is what dieters call a “calorie”. Summary: don’t worry: ignore the “k”!
Basic Metabolic Rate: The energy it takes to stay alive without losing or gaining weight.
Lean Body Mass: How heavy you would be if you had no body fat. Note: if you had NO body fat, you would be dead! You always need some, just to stay alive.
Body Fat Percentage: What percentage of your weight is body fat. There are various ways of measuring it. Many fancy modern bathroom scales will do it for you, if you just step on in bare feet. Pictures on the left for USA, on the right for UK.
A simpler method is to look at pictures of people, labelled with their body fat, and pick out the nearest to you. There is a good set of body-fat pictures here.
MFP: My Fitness Pal — software to help you keep a food and exercise log, and work out what you have eaten in terms of carbs, protein and fats. (It’s free!) Go to their home page, scroll down a little and watch the video. I am not going to create a MyFitnessPal “how to” video, because there are dozens on You Tube. Here’s one I picked at random:
That’s it for now: I will be adding a tutorial on http://www.eatthismuch.com/ a little later.
In the low-carb, paleo, keto world, we’re always banging on about the advantages of eating bacon, but some people have concerns.
One set is about eating saturated fat. Worry not: the “science” that says that saturated fat is bad for your arteries is wrong, but I’ll deal with that elsewhere. Another concern is is with nitrates and nitrites: don’t they cause cancer?
Well, there seems to be some conflicting evidence, but here are some references that suggest not. To summarise: bacon is preserved pork: nitrates are naturally occurring substances that have been used for centuries to turn belly pork into bacon. Nitrates occur in the soil, and in many vegetables; in fact bacon that is advertised as “no added nitrates” is not really telling the truth: they use celery (sounds healthy) which is a good source of nitrates.
One of the posts below opens with this eye-catching question:
Which of these sources will give you the most ingested nitrites:
467 servings of hotdogs
1 serving arugula
2 servings butterhead lettuce
4 servings celery or beets
The answer is obvious … or is it?
You’ll have to do the reading to find the answer, but I think you’ll be surprised!
It’s a longer story than that, of course, and if you want chapter and verse (some people need to track down the research, and that is important), here are some starting points.
Facts About Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite
Good or Bad? Nitrates and Nitrites in Food
The content of nitrates and nitrites in fruits, vegetables and other foodstuffs
Nitrates In Vegetables Protect Against Gastric Ulcers, Study Shows
Does banning hotdogs and bacon make sense?
The “No Nitrites Added” Hoax
Toxicity of Sodium Nitrite (Wikipedia)
The Nitrate and Nitrite Myth: Another Reason not to Fear Bacon
“The fear of nitrates from bacon has no basis in reality”
NTP Technical report on the toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of Sodium Nitrite (11MB PDF)
(This list originally compiled by Roger D Enochs)
Roger posted a quote from the PDF:
Under the conditions of this 2-year drinking water study, there was no evidence of carcinogenic activity of sodium nitrite in male or female F344/N rats exposed to 750, 1,500, or 3,000 ppm. There was no evidence of carcinogenic activity of sodium nitrite in male B6C3F1 mice exposed to 750, 1,500, or 3,000 ppm. There was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity of sodium nitrite in female B6C3F1 mice based on the positive trend in the incidences of squamous cell papilloma or carcinoma (combined) of the forestomach.
Exposure to sodium nitrite in drinking water resulted in increased incidences of epithelial hyperplasia in the forestomach of male and female rats and in the glan- dular stomach of male mice.
Decreased incidences of mononuclear cell leukemia occurred in male and female rats.
Further, the USDA standard for for nitrate and nitrite levels in food limits it to 200 ppm for nitrate and nitrite combined. We get much more dietary nitrate from vegetables than from cured meat, unless you eat a diet of primarily cured meat.
As established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Meat Inspection Regulations cited above, the use of nitrites, nitrates, or combinations of them cannot result in more than 200 parts per million (ppm), calculated as sodium nitrite, in the finished product.
It has been estimated that 10 percent of the human exposure to nitrite in the digestive tract comes from cured meats and 90 percent comes from vegetables and other sources. Nitrates can be reduced to nitrites by certain microorganisms present in foods and in the gastrointestinal tract. This has resulted in nitrite toxicity in infants fed vegetables with a high nitrate level. No evidence currently exists implicating nitrite itself as a carcinogen.
The 200 ppm level is well below the levels used in the above tests (750-5000 ppm), and even those high levels found no links to cancer (at least in rodents). Perhaps there are other health issues, but cancer is the one I always hear about, and the evidence does not appear to be there. A quick search didn’t turn up any research regarding nitrates and the liver.”
This is a bit of a long post, but it’s important! It’s part of a series where I hope to help you to find out how to make decisions about life! Big aim! In this post we will discuss knowledge, epistemology, paradigms, statistics, and how journalists, marketeers and others try to pull the wool over our eyes. Here we go …
When I began this post it was a chapter for my book; the chapter was called “Back to School”. But I was worried about the chapter title: I hated school and if I saw a chapter called “Back to School” in a book it might have put me off. I suppose if you’re still reading then it hasn’t put you off!
I hope not, because this information is important (and I’ll do my best to make it unlike my experience of school). But here’s the problem: there is an awful lot of information out there about diet and nutrition. Some of it is useful, some of it is downright wrong. Some is misleading. Some is relevant to some of the people, some of the time and not relevant to others. How on earth are you going to be able to make up your mind what to do? How are we going to find out the knowledge we need, and differentiate it from knowledge that’s unhelpful?
To make matters worse I believe that there are a lot of people that we might think we can trust to have the knowledge we need: dietitians doctors and the like. It turns out that many of them don’t really know either! My evidence for that is simply that if you start reading you will find that there are doctors out there who violently disagree with one another. They can’t all be right, so some of them must be wrong! But each believes that they know what they are talking about. In order to be able to begin to unravel this mess, we need to spend a little time thinking about how we know what we know (and, hence, how other people, like the doctors and nutritionists, know what they know).
What I am aiming to do in this post is to give you the knowledge that you need to be able to make up your own mind about what seems right for you and how you might judge who to believe and who not to believe.
This subject (how do you “know what you know”) is called epistemology (eh-piss-tem-ology) and is a key part of philosophy. It may all seem terribly esoteric and too complicated to worry about. But have you ever been in the position of being absolutely convinced that you were right about something, and then discovering that you were wrong?
The philosophers talk about knowledge being “justified belief”, and it is this question of “justification” that is the key. You thought that you were justified in believing something, but it turned out that you weren’t. If I were to tell you that I am a “young earth creationist” and I believe in the absolute truth of every word in the Bible, then, depending on your beliefs, you’ll either believe everything I say, or write me off as a nutter and disbelieve everything I say. On the other hand, if I tell you that I have a PhD in applied physics and that I am a convinced atheist, then a different set of people will believe me or reject what I have to say.
This is because different people have different ways of justifying their beliefs; of having faith in what they know. What I want to do here is to show some of the tricks of the trade, so that you are better able to work out whether the knowledge that people offer you is a justifiable belief, or not.
Just so you know, I am not an atheist, nor even an agnostic. I have both philosophical and scientific training. I am not a “young earth creationist”, and I believe that you can find nutters with unjustifiable beliefs in just about every school of thought out there! I try to avoid calling them out in public: it won’t change their minds and it just makes enemies.
While we’re on the subject of jargon, I want to introduce another word that may be new, “paradigm” (para-dime). The word has been around for centuries but was used in the last century by Thomas Kuhn to talk about what he called “scientific revolutions”. A paradigm is a whole set of beliefs that all seem to support one another, until you get a “prevailing world view” that seems, to almost everyone” to be “true”. One example was the paradigm about the earth as the center of the universe, with the sun going round it. When Galileo called that idea into question it almost got him killed.
It is in the nature of “scientific paradigms” that we have a whole set of beliefs that all seem to hang together, except, maybe, for one or two minor, irritating bits of data that don’t fit. Most people say that the observations that produced those irritating bits of data were just wrong. But eventually more and more bits of irritating data turn up, until someone has a sudden insight, and a whole new idea (or paradigm) is born. If you had a scientific education that included a bit of science history, you may have come across the “phlogiston” theory, or the theory of the “ether“. One with which we struggle now, that is relevant to our concerns, is the theory that dietary fat is bad for you and that we should all be eating “healthy carbs”. To many people this isn’t a “belief”, or a theory or a paradigm, it is the TRUTH!
The irritating bit of data is that, despite pushing this advice for 50 years, we are all getting more and more obese, there is an increase in diseases of inflammation, and auto-immune disease are also increasing at an alarming rate.
This “inconvenient data” is dismissed in various ways by those committed to the old paradigm, as are the “unscientific people” who are looking for alternative theories that embrace and acknowledge these facts. I think I may be revealing my personal biases here. And although no-one has been burned at the stake for saying that dietary fat isn’t bad for you, there have been incredibly intelligent, knowledgeable and high-qualified people who have been pilloried by the establishment for being heretics. One example is Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN, a highly-qualified nutritionist in North Carolina, USA, who has been denied the right to practice, despite having 30 year’s experience in the field. Passions are raised! Check out her story on the web page set up to try to defend her. By the way, back in primitive times people could be killed for their beliefs, or, slightly less extreme, they could be exiled. Of course, that wouldn’t happen today, would it? Well, Liz Lipski used to live and work on North Carolina. Now she’s based in Maryland. I wonder if the reactionaries will follow her there?
Over 30 years ago I learned something called “co-counselling” (it’s what’s behind “Together We Can”). I can still remember the first Saturday morning that I sat in a co-counselling seminar in someone’s living room in a house in Esher, Surrey. One of the seminar leaders said, “In co-counselling it’s the client who is in charge”: I had one of those bolts of insight: a “road to Damascus experience” (or a “light-bulb” moment, or an epiphany). I suddenly realized that, up to then, if I had gone to see a doctor, or a counsellor, or any other person whose profession it was to help me in some way, my attitude was slightly aggressive and along the lines of “well, you’re the professional; fix me”. You see it in medical dramas on the TV. The poor long-suffering doctor, being very polite, says to the patient, “what seems to be the problem?” and the pugnacious patient responds, “well, you’re the doctor; aren’t you supposed to know that?” and we, the TV audience, wonder how the doctor manages not to slap the patient round the head. I realised that, in the past, I had been lucky not to have been slapped by my doctor!
Ever since my light-bulb moment in that seminar I have changed. Now, when I go to the doctor my attitude is: you’re the doctor and you have studied illness and health and you know a lot, but maybe not everything. I’m a reasonably intelligent person, and I know a lot about me. Here are my symptoms or worries; I’d appreciate hearing your opinion. And having heard that opinion I may, or may not, decide to take the offered advice or the offered medication.
From time to time I get gout. My favourite ever doctor, Dr Halfpenny, counselled me to take allopurinol, the most popular drug for gout. My uncle was one of the first people ever to be put on allopurinol and he swore by it. But it’s something you take every day, and I didn’t want that. I discovered I had gout many years ago when I slipped in the foot bath at a public swimming pool and stubbed my toe very painfully. The hospital thought I’d fractured it and put me in plaster (from the ball of my foot to my knee, when the pain was in my big toe!) By the following week my whole leg was inflamed and I went back to the hospital. A doctor looked at it and said, “I know what that is: it’s gout!” and I said thank you and left the hospital before anything else could be said.
When I got home I spent ages reading books and articles on the internet and found that there were a number of recommendations for eating cherries to cure gout. It seemed weird, but worth a try. All I can say is that it works (for me, and for many others). That was maybe 20 years ago: since then there has been a lot more recognition that cherries work for gout, and Montmorency (tart) cherries best of all. You can even get cherry capsules from health stores. If you ever get gout, try it. For me it works like a miracle. My worst ever attack was in January 2010. It was so bad I was contemplating asking for a wheelchair (we were in Fort Lauderdale, about to board a cruise liner). Susan hiked off into the local shopping mall and came back with cherry juice, fresh cherries, and cherry powder capsules. Two days later I was Nordic Walking up the highest hill on Sint Maarten with not a twinge of pain.
I said that, in this chapter, I want to give you the information you need to make up your own mind about the diet you will follow. That’s not just information about “this food does this and that food does that”. The most important information that I can pass on is about how to judge information that you are offered (including mine!) You will find diet and nutritional information everywhere. How can you judge which may have something important to say, and which not is the question here.
For an example of the “who do you believe” stuff on the internet, here’s an example of a hyper-intelligent person saying that the “cherries cure gout” thing is just gullible fools being taken in by snake-oil salesmen.
The blog post is called “Thinking is Dangerous“. His thesis is that there has been little serious scientific research done on the effect of eating cherries on helping with gout. True. However, there are countless people out there who have tried it and who swear by it. They, of course, being “unthinking non-scientists” don’t count. But for most people, eating a bowl of cherries isn’t going to do any harm, and if it relieves the pain of gout (which is really bad) then it has to be worth a try. He sums up:
You can see for yourself that the evidence is weak to non-existent. Of course, that doesn’t mean the evidence won’t be there in the future, the point is they don’t need it. They have people willing to be duped in to believing it works (placebo-effect alone), with the press as their willing conduits – it seems churlish not to put yet another fawning, uncritical Daily Mail link in time-honoured fashion, so here it is, from Sept 2008.
Oh, by the way, this blogger publishes neither his name nor his picture.
All we know about him is that he says that he’s from the UK and works in manufacturing. He believes that who he is, is irrelevant to whether the knowledge (or opinions) he shares are relevant. That’s up to you to judge.
So. I maintain that eating cherries is good for curing gout on the basis that it has worked for me over many years and I have heard the same from many other people. Is that serious scientific research? No. So if your only basis for a justified belief is serious scientific research, you won’t accept that from me. On the other hand, you might decide to check out this assertion by looking it up on the Internet. If you Google “cherries gout arthritis” you will find that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are threatening manufacturers and cherry growers with legal action unless they stop “making unsubstantiated claims that cherries and other fruits can help with arthritis”. On the other hand, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has run research that shows that sweet Bing cherries can help arthritis and gout (gout is a form of arthritis) . I am delighted by the USDA research because it confirms my experience (you could say that it confirms my prejudices) when I was very irritated by the FDA. At the bottom of that USDA internet article it does say:
The grower-sponsored California Cherry Advisory Board helped fund the research.
My reaction is “well, good for them; helping to find simple solutions for people suffering from painful conditions”. On the other hand, if the Tobacco Growers Association sponsored research that showed that smoking 10 cigarettes a day lowered the risk of getting gout I would be spitting fire and pouring scorn on the research. So now you know even more of my biases!
But I digress. How can you find advice about diet that works for you? Firstly I want to teach you about some tricks that advertisers and newspapers do … and even people who want to push their particular diet plan. I came across it this morning when I took the top off a tub of miso soup paste and inside there was a circle of paper that says, “Miso Soup Consumption linked with up to 50% Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer*”. In very small print round the bottom of the circle of paper it says, “*As reported in the journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 95, Issue 12”.
The first thing you need to notice here is the word “linked”. This is a “warning word” and it warns you that this was an “epidemiological study”. Sorry about the long word: “epi-deemy-o-logical” is how you pronounce it and it means (from the Greek) “outside the skin”. In other words this research didn’t look at what was going on inside the women who did (or didn’t) consume miso soup. It was merely (note my use of an emotive word there, “merely”) a statistical exercise. They counted women who drank miso soup (and those who didn’t) and they counted the women who got breast cancer and those that didn’t, and they did statistics on the numbers to see if they could find a connection. They didn’t look at the chemistry of miso soup or the biochemistry of breast cancer; it was all numbers “outside the body”.
Let me give you an example. Let’s suppose that we find two women. One of them absolutely loves miso soup, believes it’s good for her, and drinks a bowl almost every day. The other woman hates it, neither knows nor cares whether it has any health-giving properties and wouldn’t touch the stuff if you paid her. We follow these women through their lives and eventually the woman who hates miso soup gets breast cancer and, sadly, dies. The other woman lives to be 103 and on her 103rd birthday when all the journalists are interviewing her and asking her how she got to be so old she says that she puts it all down to drinking miso soup. The miso soup manufacturers are over the moon with excitement and put her picture on all their packets and sales of miso soup soar.
What isn’t mentioned in this story is that the woman who died has a family history of breast cancer: her mother and sister both died of it and she worked in a nuclear power station handling nuclear fuel rods. The woman who lived to be 103 lives on a remote island in the Pacific where the air is clean, the water pure and most people live to be 120 without drinking miso soup. Now we see that drinking or not drinking miso soup may have nothing whatever to do with the one woman dying young and the other living to be a grand old age.
Now, let me go look up that study. You can see the summary for yourself . Basically the study looked at nearly 22,000 Japanese women aged 40-59. They got them to fill out “self-administered” questionnaires (that means the women took the piece of paper home and filled it out themselves: not the most reliable way of getting data) and the researchers looked for a statistical relationship between women who said they drank miso soup and women who got breast cancer and the researchers found an “inverse relationship” (meaning the soup drinkers were less likely to get breast cancer). So far so good. Anyone for a bowl of soup?
Next we need to look at that “50%”. Looks impressive, doesn’t it? But what was the risk of getting breast cancer anyway? If, as a Japanese woman between the ages of 40-59, there is a 90% risk of getting cancer and you can cut that down to 45% by drinking miso soup, then it looks like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Swig it down! But what if the risk of getting breast cancer was only 1%? Reducing your risk from 1% to half a per cent doesn’t sound like much, does it? And when you read the paper further it says that the effect is greater in post-menopausal women. Now you have to judge where you are (I guess you’ll know whether you are post-menopausal or not!) The paper does say that they corrected for various things:
Results: Consumption of miso soup and isoflavones, but not of soyfoods, was inversely associated with the risk of breast cancer. The associations did not change substantially after adjustment for potential confounders, including reproductive history, family history, smoking, and other dietary factors.
(Oh, by the way, of the 21,852 women that they studied between 1990 and 1999, 179 got breast cancer, which works out at about 0.8%. So maybe that label should say “drinking miso soup could reduce your absolute risk of getting breast cancer from 0.8% to 0.4% if you’re a Japanese, post-menopausal woman between the ages of 40-59”. But that’s not so snappy, is it?) Please note: I am not decrying miso soup. I am not saying that the manufacturers are lying. But when you delve into the research a little, you discover that it isn’t quite as exciting as you may have imagined. And if breast cancer is a concern, there may be other, more effective things you can do to mitigate your risk.
There are a few other bits and pieces I want to mention here. Firstly, the word “confounders”. An epidemiological study looks for “correlations” but it does not indicate causality. Just because the women drinking the soup didn’t get so much cancer doesn’t mean that it was the soup that saved them. For instance, let’s say that it is widely believed in Japan that miso soup is good for you (I don’t know whether that’s true, but stay with me here). Then we might guess that the women who drink miso soup are the sort of women who take good care of themselves and are careful about what they eat. That might be the real reason for the reduction in cancer risk. Maybe (again, I don’t know) miso soup is very expensive. Maybe only rich people who generally eat better-quality food are the ones who drink miso soup. Maybe miso soup is much easier to get hold of in quiet, rural communities. All these possibilities that I am raising are what are called “confounders”. Because the very nature of this sort of research is that the researchers are looking for correlations such as “people who drink miso soup get less cancer”. But we must not get fooled that we have found causation: we haven’t discovered that people get less cancer because they eat miso soup.
But this is what the advertisers and newspapers do. They bamboozle us into thinking that correlation is causation. It isn’t. The researchers above say that they have adjusted their results to take into consideration such confounders as “reproductive history, family history, smoking, and other dietary factors”. Good. But what about just plain coincidence? After all, a reduction from 0.8% to 0.4% isn’t exactly massive, is it?
So, what would I do if I was a woman and concerned for my health? On the basis of what I have learned here I think I might drink the odd bowl of miso soup. How many I might drink I don’t know—the research doesn’t mention that! It would probably depend on how much I enjoyed it. (Actually, the nutritional guidelines I currently follow are a bit anti-soy, so I would probably go and do some more research f my own.)
If this stuff fascinates you, I have found a wonderful (but pretty difficult unless you’re a university-level statistician) presentation that compares the paradigms of epidemiologists (who use a lots of statistics) and of statisticians (who also use a lot of statistics, but don’t always approve of the way non-statisticians use them). It is called “Everything is Dangerous: A Controversy” and says:
The basic thesis is quite simple. Epidemiologists have as their statistical analysis/scientific method paradigm not to correct for any multiple testing. Also, as part of their scientific paradigm they ask multiple, often hundreds to thousands, of questions of the same data set. Their position is that it is better to miss nothing real than to control the number of false claims they make. The Statisticians’ paradigm is to control the probability of making a false claim. We have a clash of paradigms.
This paper is by S Stanley Young of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences. He is the Assistant Director of Bioinformatics. You can read everything (relevant) about him on his webpage. No hiding for Dr Young: go read his CV; certainly impresses the heck out of me!
We have looked at one sort of research: epidemiological research. What other sorts are there? Epidemiological research is “outside the body”. If you go and read that article about cherries, those researchers were looking inside. They took blood samples. They knew the sort of chemicals in the blood stream that cause, or are indicators of, gout. They then fed the women in the study cherries and took more blood samples. Here we are seeing more directly that the cherries appear to be reducing the chemicals in the blood that cause gout. However, here’s a big difference between an epidemiological study and a study of this kind. The miso soup researchers monitored nearly 22,000 women for 10 years. The cherry researchers worked with 10 women for a week.
Nutrition research on human beings is really difficult. Just to go back to the miso soup research: the researchers got their data by asking the women to fill out self-administered questionnaires. We have no idea how accurate the women were, or whether they lied. There is a tendency for people to report what they think you want to hear.
A major problem in self reported dietary studies is people who under-report their true habitual food intake, or change their diet, during the period of the survey.
The problem of accuracy in dietary surveys. Analysis of the over 65 UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey, Adrian Cook, Jane Pryer, Prakash Shetty, J Epidemiol Community Health 2000;54:611-616 doi:10.1136/jech.54.8.611
Maybe the women over-reported. Maybe they just lied. Who knows? And the research was done over 10 years. Maybe some of the women had been drinking miso soup all their lives and others took it up once they were in the study. Maybe they’d never thought about it before, but the study may have made them think about it. Maybe the long-term drinkers drank a bowl a week, but the newcomers decided to drink a bowl a day to catch up. And what about cultural differences? Are Japanese women more or less likely to follow instructions than, say, American men (I’m sure that we all have opinions about this: but has anyone done the scientific research?!)
To do really hard scientific research on nutrition you need a population that you can really control and where you can measure just about everything. You probably need them in cages where can you measure to the nearest gram exactly what they eat and where you can operate on them to see what’s going on under the skin. And in any even remotely decent society that isn’t going to be possible with humans. Which leaves us wondering how relevant it is that rats fed on this or that diet, contracting, or not, this or that disease, has any relevance to us.
There is some famous research, about which really violent arguments rage on the internet, where rats were infected with a toxin often found in food that is “off”: aflatoxin. These rats were then divided into two groups and one was fed a diet that had 20% of an animal-derived protein called casein and the other group was fed a 5% casein diet. The 20% group got more cancer than the 5% group. The researchers are dedicated vegetarians and they say, “Look, a diet with higher levels of animal protein causes cancer”. The meat-eating researchers looked deeper into the results and said, “yes, the 20% rats got more cancer. That’s because the 5% rats died of a protein deficiency before they had the chance to get cancer”. (If you like watching fights, you’ll love this: it’s an almost religious war!)
And then there’s bias. This may come as a shock, but scientists are human beings. They have axes to grind, they have masters to please. In order to do research a scientist needs money: he has to pay his own and his family’s food bills, pay the rent, put fuel in the car. Someone needs to pay for the research. If Bill and Melinda Gates, determined to do good in the world, put up the money from their foundation to pay for the miso soup research that’s one thing. But, be honest, if it turns out that the miso soup research was paid for by a consortium made up of soy producers and food manufacturers, do you think you would trust it quite as much? Probably not. Consider the cherry research paid for by the cherry growers: does that change your faith in the results? I’m probably not making you feel good now, am I? Who are we to trust?
All is not lost: there are ways around this, and that is to do your own research, using a study group of one (or more, if you cook for the family or friends!) In its extreme form this is called bio-hacking. Extreme bio-hackers do their own DNA sequencing at home and wire themselves up to all sorts of machinery. At my end of the scale it’s called “suck it and see” and involves choosing the advice that seems reasonable to me and trying it out, taking what measurements I can (like weighing yourself, taking your own blood pressure and, if you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, monitoring your own blood glucose levels. With all these things it’s probably an excellent idea to discuss them with your doctor before you start.)
But how do we find some advice that we want to “suck and see”–some knowledge that we want to test?
It used to be that I never read books on nutrition because they were so confusing. Everyone seemed to contradict everyone else and with many of them I couldn’t see where the advice was coming from.
For instance, many years ago someone recommended the food-combining diet to me. I thought that it should have been called the food separating diet because, it seemed to me, it was mostly about not eating this sort of food with that sort of food. Mostly it was about not eating carbohydrates in the same meal as proteins. That meant you could have a fried egg for breakfast, but you couldn’t have toast at the same time. And that would mean the yolk would run all over the plate. I needed the toast as a “raft” to convey the egg from plate to mouth (took me some time to switch to eating scrambled eggs!) And what about beans such as baked beans or lima beans? They are both protein and carbohydrate at the same time. Should I have beans as a carbohydrate meal or a protein meal? The books seemed to say I could decide for myself, which to me was tantamount to saying that this diet was whatever I wanted it to be. Despite the fact that it was recommended by people I liked and trusted, it didn’t make sense to me; I couldn’t understand what it was based on.
Then one day I was having dinner with a group of people I hadn’t met before and made this point about the beans. One of them said, “Aha!” Beans proved the point of the food-combining diet, for we all know that beans are pretty indigestible. They give us gas and make us worried in polite company. That, said my new friend, is precisely because they are both carbohydrate and protein. Hmm. That made sense to me. Not enough sense, I have to admit, to make me switch to a food-combining diet, but it made me think.
Mind you, on that basis egg on toast should make you fart, and I’m not aware that it does!
So here’s what I recommend that you do. Well, no: here’s what I do!
Someone recommended that I read a book: “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. Long ago I stopped accepting recommendations to read this or that diet book, simply because they were all so contradictory, and I had no basis for deciding between them. For some reason this one caught my attention. It was available on Kindle, it was cheap, and, on a whim I bought it and actually read it!
Reading it was another “road to Damascus” experience and completely changed my life and my thinking (I blogged about it elsewhere). Gary Taubes isn’t a doctor and he isn’t a nutritionist. He’s an investigative journalist especially interested in (bad) science. Having written a book about the infamous “cold fusion” physics research, someone suggested to him that if he was interested in bad science he should look at the science of nutrition. (By the way, if you want an example of “paradigm wars” click that Amazon link for the cold fusion book, and read the customer reviews, comparing the 5-star reviews and the 1-star reviews. There are some folks there with a near-religious attachment to the idea of cold fusion, and they are seriously angry with Gary. But, you will notice, his book doesn’t persuade them. Probably nothing will.)
Gary spent a long time looking at the research and wrote a huge tome called “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (in the UK it is called “The Diet Delusion”). It is 500 pages long and has 75 pages of references. Its Amazon.com ranking is truly amazing for a heavy-duty text book (as of March 22, 2013: it will have changed by the time you look at it):
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#1 in Books > Medical Books > Medicine > Internal Medicine > Occupational
#7 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Special Diet > Low Fat
#11 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Diets & Weight Loss > Low Carb
Having written that magnum opus a lot of people asked for an easier version that they could hand to their partner, doctor, patients, et cetera and Gary wrote “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It”. It ranks even higher:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#2 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Diets & Weight Loss > Food Counters
#3 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Diets & Weight Loss > Low Carb
#5 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Special Diet > Low Carbohydrate
Clearly he is connecting with a lot of people. “Why We Get Fat” is available on the Kindle for $6.86 or £4.27. (And if you don’t have a Kindle you can download “Kindle for the PC” or “Kindle for the Mac” for free and read Kindle stuff on your computer). It won’t break the bank!
Now here’s what I got from Gary’s book: it made sense to me and it showed where a lot of the “received wisdom” in the diet world doesn’t make sense. For instance, for most overweight people if you go to the doctor and say, “doc, I’m worried about my weight, what should I do?” most doctors (and nutritionists and “health experts” and diet gurus and general know-it-alls) will say “eat less, exercise more”.
This has been the advice for the last 60-70 years.
Look around you. This advice isn’t working.
If you ask the “eat less, exercise more” crowd why the advice isn’t working they will say that it’s because all of us fatties are lazy and greedy and we don’t do as we’re told. As if that would explain how come babies are being born obese nowadays: born lazy and greedy! (Note the inconvenient data that doesn’t fit the current paradigm about the causes of obesity.)
And if you were to go to a health expert and say, “I’ve been invited out to dinner by a very important business client. They are excellent cooks and will serve up a big dinner. I don’t want to look rude; what can I do to make sure I have a good appetite that day?” They will tell you to skip breakfast and lunch and go for a long walk. In other words “eat less, exercise more” is the recipe for getting a good appetite. And that’s what they recommend to “people of size” who want to lose weight. Hmm.
Now think for a moment about teenage boys. They lay around in bed for most of the day and when they do manage to haul themselves upright they come down stairs and empty the fridge. And they grow; almost overnight it seems. But we don’t say “my son has grown six inches taller in the last year because he is greedy and lazy”. He grows because his hormones are telling his body to grow. It takes a lot of energy to grow, which means he needs to take on a lot of energy and he frequently doesn’t have much to spare for doing chores (although amazingly he does have energy for chasing girls: obviously it’s a different sort of energy).
So, maybe, just maybe, there is a different explanation (different paradigm) as to why we obese people get to be this way. Taubes says that our hormones (a different set of hormones than the teenager’s hormones that tell him to grow up) are telling us to grow out. We aren’t fat because we eat too much; we eat too much because we are fat. That blew my mind. I had to go back and read it several times. I won’t reproduce Gary’s arguments here: if you want to check them out, go buy the book on your Kindle or on your PC and read it: it’s a pretty easy read. Or really splash out and buy a real copy that you can carry around with you.
The biggest effect that this book had on me was to show that there are nutritional principles in common use that were just plain wrong. There is some inconvenient data. Maybe our paradigm is wrong.
And that there are also some nutritional principles that are based on ideas that just seem to make sense to me. I get to choose which to believe and which to use to base my own personal research on.
For instance, the whole “fat is bad for you, eat low fat stuff” is based on some really bad epidemiological studies. The idea was introduced into American national consciousness because the authorities were worried about an increase in death from heart disease. Well, it’s controversial to say the least whether or not there was an increase in deaths from heart disease at the time, but there certainly has been a massive increase since we’ve been following the “low fat” ideas. Not to mention obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s syndrome and a whole host of other nasty and expensive things.
The powers that be are convinced that it’s because we’re all fat, lazy and greedy (and stupid, I suppose) and won’t do as we’re told. Grrr! Taubes provides a (for me) believable and viable alternative, and he provides the facts and figures to back it up.
Gary’s book opened up some new doors for me and on the other side I saw the whole nutrition field in a different light. I was able to see some large groupings of ideas and within those I could see some that made sense (to me); some that didn’t. Some that were clearly just commercial, some that came from people who believed something with huge passion, which I can respect, but I didn’t have the same beliefs as I do. So that saved me a lot of time. I could see that the vegans were principled people with their hearts in the right place; I wasn’t going to damn them, or even try and convert them. However, I didn’t believe that veganism was for me. And I was vegetarian for about 10 years or so, but that hadn’t worked for me, and when I finally gave it up several illnesses cleared up within days. But again, I’m not about to try and convert any vegetarians (my own daughter is vegetarian: I wouldn’t dare!) I’m sure that there are plenty of vegetarians who can tell you stories of things that cleared up for them when the stopped eating meat.
There are fierce arguments between vegetarians and meat eaters and both can point to anecdotal evidence to support their arguments (that means “I can tell you an anecdote about a friend of mine who did _______ and ______ happened”). All true scientists dismiss anecdotal evidence out of hand. And if there is just one anecdote, that’s reasonable. But when thousands of people try something over and over and you have tens of thousands of anecdotes, then there is something that, maybe, needs further investigation. And if 10,000 people report that cherries cured their gout, and you can’t construct a research study that confirms that, then I would tend to believe that it’s more likely that there’s something wrong with your research design than that 10,000 people are deluded. (And I have no basis what-so-ever for knowing how many people believe in the cherry-gout thing.)
One of the biggest confounders that both of these armies often miss is this. Although there are millions of people concerned with nutrition and the diet industry is huge, the vast majority of people pay almost no attention to their diet: they eat what they see on TV or on the shelves of the supermarket. In America, amongst people who know about this stuff, it’s called the Standard American Diet or SAD (how appropriate!). Those people are eating artificial food that is packed with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. It is processed to the point where it isn’t food: people talk about “food-like substances”. This TED-talk video shows how one person (Robyn O’Brien) switched their paradigm from “there can’t be anything wrong with food in the supermarket”, to being concerned and doing her own research:
Now there are no meat-eaters who would say that you shouldn’t eat fresh vegetables and salads (well, there may be one or two, but they are off the scale!).
So when you find a vegetarian who can point to people who got better from various illnesses when they switched to a vegetarian diet, or you find someone who recommends the cave-man diet who can point to similar success stories, it’s probably because those successful people switched from the SAD diet and started to think about what they were eating.
Whether you go Atkins or South Beach, or Paleo or Vegetarian or Vegan, or 100% meat eater, or ketogenic … all those arguments pale into insignificance when compared with whether you are eating artificial “food-like substances”, or food: food that your great-grandmother would have recognised as food. Some people (and I will be one of those … just give me a while to get around to it) will argue that it might be a good idea to eat food that your great-great-grandmother 200 times over would have recognised as food, but let’s start with just one grandmother at a time!
So here’s something that may be different between you and me and our grandparents. In our modern western society we don’t have to know much about food if we don’t want to. We don’t need to know how to catch it, find it, prepare it, cook it, or keep it. We can just go to the supermarket, buy something in a box, sling it in the microwave, eat it out of the packet; not even have to wash up. Job done. My mother-in-law went into hospital in February 2012 and we flew out to help her move home in April. In the fridge was half a loaf of bread: it had been there for three months. As far as we could see there was nothing wrong with it. I can’t quite get my head round what a manufacturer must have done to that bread to keep it from going stale or mouldy for three months. And this is in Florida: in Florida you only have to stand still for 10 minutes before you start growing mould! It’s a state-wide obsession.
We may live to be 100, in full health, on such a supermarket regime. But it’s not likely. My dad made it to age 91 having been a moderately heavy smoker all his adult life. And he didn’t die of cancer or lung disease. But that doesn’t mean smoking is good for you.
If you are choosing your food this way, you are doing the same as I was before I learned co-counselling, when I went to see the doctor. You’re saying to a food manufacturer, “you’re the expert; feed me” and assuming that that food manufacturer has your good health as his primary motivator, when you don’t. There is vanishingly little evidence to support that belief and almost overwhelming evidence to the contrary, as I will list elsewhere.
Remember what my co-counselling teacher told me?
The client is in charge.
It’s sort of like that old Latin saying, caveat emptor, “Let the buyer beware”. It’s a principle of law that says it’s up to you to make sure that what you’re buying does what you want. Around the world laws are changing to give “the consumer” greater rights and protection, but the manufacturers are always one step ahead, except when they are two steps. Around the world there is a principle that says you can’t introduce new things into the food chain until they are proved safe. In America it’s the other way round: you can’t prevent new foodstuffs until they are proved dangerous. So people have been going to court and asking for a judicial injunction on planting GMO crops in their neighbourhood until proved safe. The US Congress has just passed a law that says judges can’t issue such injunctions. Many would argue it’s unconstitutional. I would argue that if you want to stay healthy you need to learn about this stuff! When it comes right down to it, doesn’t it make sense to get educated, to learn about your own health and your own nutrition, and to make your own decisions?
I have created a list of 280 Paleo/Primal/Low-Carb/Weight Loss/Fitness Facebook Pages that I have “LIKE”d. It is a series of links: click the link: provided you are logged on to Facebook, it will take you to the page. If you like the look of it, click the “Like” button. You will then get posts from that person when they update their page. It’s a good way of getting educated and staying on top of what’s new.
It was a bit of a technical feat getting this list out of my FB account and into a useful format. If you discover pages here that are really nothing to do with paleo, primal, weight loss, low carb, getting fit and/or overcoming obesity, please let me know.
And if you find pages that really ought to be listed here (like yours, maybe?!) please message me on the first page listed here (which is mine!)
Some of them (like Lorraine Pascale and Jamie Oliver) you could (correctly) argue are nothing to do with Paleo/Primal etc. I agree. But I want to include one or two that just begin to get people who are hooked on the SAD diet just starting to think about different ways of being. Having been through them all, there really are some that shouldn’t be here. Let me know which ones you think should be deleted.
I haven’t got in to CrossFit yet: waiting for the class to start. So I’m especially interested in CrossFit pages.
While the basic ingredients in good chocolate are real food, and really good for you, it is difficult to find commercial chocolate that doesn’t contain stuff that paleo people wouldn’t want to eat, like high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, various preservatives, etc.
So here’s a recipe that you can use to make your own, “real food” chocolate. This is another “n=1″ piece of research (or n=x, where x is the number of people in your family!) in that the taste is very much down to personal preference. It’s a case of “suck it and see” (sorry!)
It is also ketogenic chocolate (see the section on nutritional information at the bottom of the page).
In the equipment list and the ingredients lists below, if you click any of the pictures it will take you to Amazon where you can buy these things if you don’t have them. We are making this chocolate while we are in Florida; availability of equipment and ingredients may vary in other countries. When Susan talks in volumetric measurements, she’s talking American cups, spoons, etc.
You can download a printable version of Susan Courtneys Healthy Dark Chocolate here (right click and choose Save As).
In the video Susan mentions her Sweetener equivalents chart. Right click the link and choose Save As to download.
There are six videos taking you through making paleo chocolate. Here’s the first (the others are spaced down the page).
There are dozens on Amazon; this is one of the cheapest but has good customer reviews. You can spend up to $300 on a beautiful, traditional copper “bain marie”, but that isn’t necessary!
You can also pop a basin on top of a saucepan of hot water!
If you are going to put your chocolate into forms or moulds (molds) then this is essential.
If you are making “bark” by just tipping the chocolate into a baking try lined with parchment (greaseproof) paper, then it’s not necessary (but you get big, hard lumps of chocolate: I broke a tooth on a piece!)
There is no need to get this sophisticated: however it is a good idea to have some scales in your kitchen to measure ingredients. Americans: this may be radical for you, as you are used to working in “cups and spoons”. The rest of the world is used to working in weight: I’ll translate from ounces (oz) to grams as we go.
However, these are brilliant: they will analyse and weigh all your ingredients so that you can have the equivalent of a professional “nutrition label” for your chocolate.
… or “molds” if you’re in America! There are lots of different ones on Amazon.
We used to make “bark”: Susan would line a baking tray with grease-proof (parchment) paper and just tip the molten chocolate in it, and put it in the freezer. When it was solid we’d break it into lumps and put it in zip-lock bags, back in the freezer. You do tend to get BIG lumps that way!
In addition to the above you will need some sort of mixer or beater, some measuring cups and spoons and a spatula.
And quite a lot of dish-washing liquid and cloths: it does have a tendency to get everywhere!
Whether or not you use organic or inorganic is, of course, up to you.
But you are making high-quality chocolate here, so why not go for the best ingredients?! The brand shown here is Kakosi, which is what you see Susan using in the video.
We use Nutiva coconut oil. It seems to be a reasonable price for the quality: again, we are looking for organic.
On Amazon there are all sorts of brands and all sorts of “qualities”: Certified Organic, Extra Virgin. etc., and they all seem to have pretty good customer ratings and comments.
Another “suck it and see” area, I think.
Equal Exchange seems to come with a version that says “vegan” in the title, and cost a lot more. But ours says “vegan” on the tin, so I don’t understand the difference. This is also fair-traded, so your chocolate is not only healthy, but also ethical!
Susan used to use a mixture of cocoa powder and carob powder, and it’s certainly true that the chocolate that had carob in it felt slightly gritty in the mouth. Now we just use cocoa powder, and it tastes fine.
The brand that Susan is using in the video is currently (March 3 2013) out of stock at Amazon, so I searched for “Sunflower Lecithin Organic” and it came up with soy lecithin granules, not organic, so beware!
The brand here is liquid, is sunflower, has no GMOs, and no soy, so I think that Susan would approve.
Susan uses a mixture of stevia powder (which she gets at our local whole food store, Hoovers Market) and Luo Han Guo (Chinese Monk Fruit!). If we were back in the UK, we would probably use liquid stevia from our medical herbalist, Alan Hopking. If you haven’t come across stevia before, check out what Alan says about it, here.
In the video Susan mentions her Sweetener equivalents chart. Right click the link and choose Save As to download.
When looking for stevia, you can get the powdered leaves, and that powder is green. I know that Alan would tell you that it’s one of the purest forms, and I’m sure that as a medication it’s the best. But I tried it, and to me it tastes of grass (not “grass”, but that green stuff on your lawn!) and I don’t want my chocolate to taste like it’s just been mowed!
Once upon a time stevia was hard to come by, because it hadn’t been approved by the FDA as a food stuff. Now it has, and everyone is in on the game, and it’s harder to get good stevia. We know that the major soda drinks manufacturers are starting to use stevia, and the suspicion is that, at least in the USA, they are producing GMO stevia, so we avoid Truvia and PureVia. Vanessa Romero has a good article about it here. The picture on that page, of NuNaturals stevia is what I use in my coffee: but it’s not as sweet as the pure stevia that Susan is using in the video (it has bulking agents so that the contents of the little packet are about the same sweetness as in any other packeted sweetener).
- Melt 4oz (115 g) of cocoa butter and 4-5 ozs (115g – 140g) of coconut oil and 1 tsp (5ml) lecithin in the double boiler. Stir until it is all melted.
- Add a cup (250ml) of cocoa powder and mix with your mixer until it is all mixed in.
- Add a quarter teaspoon (1.25ml) of stevia powder and a couple of teaspoons (10ml) of luo han guo powder.
- Stir, taste, and add more cocoa powder, stevia and luo han guo to taste. This really is an experiment. You won’t produce anything inedible, but it may take several goes to get the feel for what is your favourite.
- If adding orange flavouring (or vanilla, or any other) add that last, just a little at a time.
- Pour the mixture into your pouring funnel and fill the molds.
- MAKE SURE YOU ALREADY HAVE A FLAT AREA, BIG ENOUGH, IN YOUR FREEZER! (I can’t tell you how long it takes to clean once runny, now frozen solid chocolate off of the inside of your fridge or freezer. We went off chocolate for quite a while after that incident!)
- Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, until it’s hard.
- Remove from the molds, pop into zip-lock bags, and continue to store in the freezer.
Are you old enough to remember “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”? This melts in your mouth, your hands, on the plate you serve it on, on the rug, your mother’s pure white carpet, the sofa, your clothes … (’nuff said?)
You can download a printable version of Susan Courtneys Healthy Dark Chocolate here (right click and choose Save As).
We don’t know that this chocolate will cure, prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s, but that’s what got us looking, as Susan says on the video. She was inspired by Dr Mary Newport and her website, www.coconutketones.com. Check out Dr Newport’s book and website: in particular, watch the latest video from CBN news.
Susan also talks about MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides).
We use it a lot, but haven’t tried it in the chocolate: it would probably make it even meltier at room temperature!
I was so keen to get the videos made that we didn’t stop to use our fancy scales properly, so I will have to do these calculations by hand (well, spreadsheet!) I am only going to consider the fats and the cocoa powder; everything else is present only in vanishingly small quantities.
|Cocoa Butter||Coconut Oil||Cocoa Powder|
|Fat 108g, Carbs 0g, Protein 0g||Fat 140g, Carbs 0g, Protein 0g||Fat 255g, Carbs 32g, Protein 16g|
These figures are for all of the ingredients. Note that the carbs in the cocoa powder are all dietary fibre, so most people would ignore them.
However, given that we got 45 chocolates out of this mixture, it shows that each chocolate is almost 6g of fat, 0.7 gm of carbs (of which 100% is dietary fibre), and 0.35 gm of protein.
I therefore declare that these chocolates are ketogenic chocolates! If you restrict yourself to 20gm of carbs a day, and include fibre in that (which is being very strict), you could still eat 28 chocolates a day and stay within your limit. That assumes you eat no other carbs, but I reckon if you eat 28 of these a day you wouldn’t want to eat anything else!
However, there are a couple of tiny problems:
- Mark’s WP theme means that when you get replies to replies they get too skinny to read
- The entire blog vanished for a couple of days recently, making me worry that we could lose the whole resource.
- Some comments have been waiting a long time for approval
So I have taken the liberty of taking all the replies and making them easier to read, and adding a few live links to make things easier to follow up.
First thing to say: no one on this site, including me, is medically or nutritionally qualified; anything we say is from personal experience or from reading. My personal ideal (and, I think, many people commenting here) is that there is little definitive science in the world of nutrition (it’s too difficult to do unless you can seal people up in cages and only feed them precise amounts) so we are all researching that works for us as individuals, and sharing that in the hope that it might provide some useful ideas for others.
Here they all are:
203 THOUGHTS ON “THE BASIC KETOGENIC DIET”
Ahlam on February 12, 2013 at 3:13 am said:
Hey everyone! I started 14 days ago and lost 6 kgs but i put on 1 kgs a couple of days ago because i fell sick and had to cheat. However , i cant seem to take the smell of food anymore and literally force myself to eat.
If any one knows a sort of curry we can have or how to make protein bread (i heard it has no carbs and is made of Soy) please let me know!
Reply: Brenda Maybelline on February 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm said:
I would like to start this….I’m wondering how long most people stay eating this way? is this a life-style or eating this way until you have desired weight loss? and what happens if I did it for 2 weeks, and then ate back to normal…. would all the weight regain quickly, or has people find it stays off if your eating is appropriate? Thanks for your time…
Reply: James on February 12, 2013 at 4:07 am said:
I don’t know about others, but for me it’s a way of life (should that be “weigh of life”.)
The only difference is that you may want to adjust how much you eat depending on whether you want to lose or maintain your weight.
But if it makes you think more clearly, be more healthy, avoid a host of degenerative diseases, who would want to go back!
Humanity ate this way or 2,000,000 years and was a LOT healthier than we are.
If what you eat now got you to the way you are now, and you don’t like the way you are now, why go back to it when you find something better!?
Reply: Heather Holman on February 10, 2013 at 6:48 pm said:
I am so glad I found this page! It has answered a lot of questions I had about a Ketogenic diet. I am on my 3rd week of Ultra-Lite which is ketogenic based.
I lost 4 kgs the first week ( around 2ish pounds?) sorry I am in Australia. The 2nd week I lost 3 kgs (about 1.5 pounds) Then when I got weighed Saturday I put on 1.5kgs!!! I almost had a heart attack thinking I have done something wrong, however the nutritionist I see has scales that measure body fat, water percentage and muscle mass. Because I was losing muscle the previous weeks, they upped my protein so I had actually gained muscle, but lost 3% body fat. I was relieved that this was the case, plus reading other responses I can see that this is normal. However, will this continue? When would I expect to see actual kg’s lost? Also I noticed some posts stating stay away from fruit, but I am allowed to have either 100g of Rockmelon, or Strawberries or half a grapefruit per day.
Reply: James Hardiman on February 10, 2013 at 7:56 pm said:
Hi, Heather, first thing to say is that your kg -> lbs sums are upside down! 1kg is 2.2 lbs, so when you say you lost 4kg in the first week, that’s 8.8 lbs, which is stunning! However, my guess is that a lot of that was water. If you read experts (try Volek and Phinney’s book on low-carb lifestyle) they explain that you lose a lot of sodium on a Ketogenic diet, and hence water that you may have been hanging on to also goes. Also, glycogen bonds with water, and as you burn your glycogen stores they give up water.
This stabilises after a while.
Sounds to me like your nutritionists know what they are doing (and that’s a precious thing!) so stick with them!
In your first two weeks you lost over 15 lbs! That’s stunning (although I have experienced that myself), so putting 3.3lbs back on is not a disaster … especially if your body-fat percentage has dropped.
I found over the long term I was losing about 3kg per week, but I am a BIG man: I should expect a woman to lose less … but, as I say, sounds like to are getting excellent care from your nutritionist … wish I had one that good close to me!
PS: For non-Aussies “Rockmelon” = “Canteloupe”.
Reply: Heather Holman on February 10, 2013 at 9:09 pm said:
Sorry James, I have Mondayitis here : / My nutritionist also measures me each week which is also a good indicator, I have lost so far 37cms from all over. Although I am craving peanuts & cashews (my only craving) I did give in and had some last weekend : / so when I did my ketostick this morning it had no reading. I guess I really shouldnt have those? Especially salted nuts!!!
Reply: Erin on February 3, 2013 at 3:04 am said:
Do we look at the total carbs or “carbs from sugars” on the labels?
Reply: James Hardiman on February 3, 2013 at 7:58 pm said:
Remember, you’re a research study with a cohort of 1.
But tell the world how you get on!
Reply: Olayinka on February 5, 2013 at 7:00 am said:
I discovered this article on Sunday and decided to try it out, but opted for low carbs as opposed to no carbs; yesterday was my first low card day and I woke up this morning 2kg lighter!!! Dramatic!!!
Reply: Brent on January 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm said:
Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, good blog!
Reply: Kayley on January 28, 2013 at 6:10 am said:
Can you have gravy granules or salad cream? Also I know greek yogurt is good for low carb diets. Can someone suggest a low carb one from tescos?
Reply: Kayley on January 29, 2013 at 1:05 am said:
Iv asked a few questions on here now and not got a reply from anyone
Reply: jrider on January 29, 2013 at 10:36 am said:
I just found this site on Google. There are a LOT of questions and replies by many people (other than the author.) You may not get any answers at all! The rule of thumb with KG diets is extremely simple. You can eat “whatever” you want as long as the carbohydrate content is very low. In the case of Greek Yogurt, or any yogurt for that matter, the carbs per serving is probably a tad on the high side to allow you to reach Ketosis. What I do is eat Sour Cream. It tastes and has a very similar texture to yogurt, but is considerably lower in carbs. It’s as simple as that.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm said:
Well! That sent me straight to the fridge. Our sour cream is (for a 30g serving) 5gm fat, 1gm protein, 1gm carb, so the ratio is excellent 5+1:1. (makes me wonder what the other 23gms are out of the 30gm serving! Water, I suppose).
So I’ve been spooning it down: really craving fat today. I’d kill for some good, old-fashioned British “pork scratchings”. I don’t know what they do to them here in the USA but they are like orange styrofoam. You could eat them without teeth.
There are two websites that give good nutrition information, http://www.SkipThePie.org and http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition. I try to use Skip The Pie wherever possible, partly because the information is more extensive, and partly because it belongs to Mark Maunder, who started the Basic Ketogenic Diet blog post. However, its database is not as extensive as Fat Secret’s: I just searched for “Greek Yoghurt” in Skip The Pie and it asked me if I meant “green yoghurt”!
Reply: mhikl on January 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm said:
Be careful of Sour Cream. It must say (hoping it doesn’t lie) “Cultured”. If not, it may be processed by the commercial artist who don’t mind poisoning children and the elderly. (The middle ones are stronger.)
I found in Eastern Canada that did not have a large Ukrainian population that their sour cream was artificially made. In the West we get the real stuff.
Also, good sour cream is at least 18% fat. The extra calories, James, probably comes from corn starch; a modern evil.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm said:
No, not extra calories … extra weight. No starch in this (would I have nothing that wasn’t cultured?!)
… we even make our own sauerkraut!
Reply: James Hardiman, on January 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm said:
Yup, getting close: Milk is composed of approximately 87.4% water and 12.6% milk solids
Butter is about 35-65, so I guess cream is in the middle.
Reply: mhikl on January 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm said:
These lines get skinnier and skinner with each level to replies, so Why can’t I?
Curious if your low fat S/C says “Cultured”.
Yup, I’m going to make a boat load of sauerkraut come autumn. I’ve got a mess of 4L pickle jars I used to use for Kombucha.
Reply: mhikl on January 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm said:
Hi Kayley; Bummer when one has a question that doesn’t get answered.
I’m no expert but when I occasionally eat Yoghourt I go for the highest fat content. We get Astro 6% I believe. I think I have seen a Greek one at 9% but wouldn’t swear to %. Also, if you are using it for probiotics, I suspect one only needs a Tbs or two at a meal. —It’ll be a cold day in my probable destiny the time I don’t demolish a tub before a sun set. Remember to check carb, sugar and corn starch content numbers.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm said:
Hopefully (he hopes) it won’t have HFCS in it in the UK … although imported stuff (Coke, Pepsi) does, there just isn’t so much in the UK.
I’m going on vacation in Crete in April-May–that’s where you can get yoghurt straight from the farmer who made it.
Reply: Kayley on January 30, 2013 at 1:05 am said:
I saw someone mention pork scratchings are we allowed them? ? I love them x
Reply: James Hardiman on January 30, 2013 at 10:04 am said:
Yes!! And mail some to me, please! ;<)
Reply: Heather on February 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm said:
Known as pork rinds in Canada/us if you are looking.
Reply: James on February 1, 2013 at 8:03 pm said:
Thanks, Heather … I wish I could show you the difference between US pork rinds and UK Pork scratchings! We are going to make some: I will post a picture. It’s the same idea, but American pork rinds you can eat without teeth. British pork scratchings will probably break your teeth!
Reply: El on January 27, 2013 at 5:48 am said:
What about Yogurt??
Reply: James Hardiman on January 27, 2013 at 10:52 am said:
How about making home-made kefir from coconut milk. Easy, and way better. And it replaces those good gut bacteria.
What’s kefir? Kind of like yoghurt; often made with sheep’s or goat’s milk. Just Google “home made coconut kefir” and you should come up with a ton of recipes. You have to get some kefir culture to start it off: google that, too, or ask at your local health foods store (you can get it mail order if you’re out in the boonies). And you only need it once … you just keep adding coconut milk, and it just keeps fermenting.
Reply: Lpc on January 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm said:
Hi… Read this article and followed it since last Sunday and I’ve lost 4 pounds in a week! Awesome and I feel better now, I did have headaches and a light-headed feeling the first few days but feel myself now. I’m simply following your guidelines above and some of your recipes. I am however, tasting a funny after taste in my mouth and can’t really find any sugar-free gum that is completely sugar-free!? Is this normal? Also, is a cup of coffee in the morning with sugar-free creamer ok for this plan?
Reply: James on January 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm said:
Cup of coffee is great.
Try reading the label of sugar-free creamer:
NON DAIRY CREAMER
INGREDIENTS: Water, Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, and/or Cottonseed Oil, Less than 2% of Sodium Caseinate, (Milk Derivative), Maltodextrin, Dipotassium Phosphate, Color Added, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Natural Flavors, & Artificial Flavors, Polysorbate 60, Carrageenan, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Betacarotene. Color.
You really want to put that in your body!?!?!?
Also, notice the second ingredient: Corn Syrup. That’s High-Fructose Corn Syrup. Yuk.
Try heavy whipping cream instead!
As for sugar-free gum:
But I know the feeling–for a long time on this diet I cleaned my teeth way more than was normal for me. My dentist was pleased!
Reply: aisha on January 28, 2013 at 4:18 am said:
my and my husband started this diet last monday we have been following it very strictly on eating the foods listed above.
i weighed my self on thursday and i lost 9lbs(water weight )
today has been a full week on the diet i did the test with the ketostix and it was dark purple but when i weighed my self i had put on 4lbs ???? how is this ?
Reply: James Hardiman on January 28, 2013 at 5:32 am said:
First, make sure that you have accurate scales. I live in two places: in the UK I have Withings scales, here in the USA I have FitBit Aria scales.
Now, choose an ordinary day when you will be home all day. Weigh yourself as soon as you get up, then every hour until you go to bed. If you don’t have digital scales, make sure you write down all the weights.
I will be surprised if your weight fluctuates less than +/- 4lbs during the day. And here’s something even more strange … try weighing yourself before and after you visit the bathroom. You’d expect your weight to fall, but often it goes up!
Partly this is due to inaccuracies in the scales. Sometimes I step on the scales and the numbers zoom up and down and it takes the scales ages to settle down and pick a weight … I think this has to do with how still I am standing.
Partly it’s something to do with moment-to-moment fluid levels in the body: Volek and Phinnick talk about that in “Art and Science of Low-Carb Living”.
On the other hand, sometimes you can chug down a quart of water and watch your weight fall.
This is why a lot of people say “don’t weigh”. I disagree. That’s like saying to an airline pilot “don’t look at your navigation instruments”.
You just have to learn their characteristics. If you can step on your scales, step off and step back on 5 times in a row and get the same measurement 5 times, please post here and tell us the brand of scales you use!
So, 4lb weight gain can just be your scales, how still you’re standing, moment-to-moment fluid levels, or some as-yet-unresearched aspect of the human body. Don’t worry: it happens!
Reply: James Hardiman on January 28, 2013 at 5:33 am said:
Oh, and … everything I have said above assumes you’re weighing yourself naked!
i did it i got on and off the scales 5 times and got exact same readings
im using ozeri precision digital bathroom scales
brought from amazon
Reply: James on January 28, 2013 at 8:31 am said:
They look very smart (and accurate, and cheaper than Withings or Fitbit Aria!)
Now for the every-hour measurements throughout the day …
Reply: aisha on January 28, 2013 at 9:27 am said:
will do as soon as i have a day which im home all day
Reply: James Hardiman on January 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm said:
The other set of assessment tools deserving of comment are those used to determine weight and body composition. Although modern scales are generally consistent and even pretty accurate, they suffer from not being able to differentiate water from muscle from fat. This is particularly important for the individual trying to chart her/his course on a weight loss diet because humans do not regulate their body water content precisely. So if a 70 kg adult typically contains an average of 42 liters of water, over the course of a day that person’s body does not care if it contains 41 liters as opposed to 43 liters of water. Above 43 liters, the kidneys speed their function and clear the excess fluid, whereas below 41 liters, thirst prompts us to increase our water intake. The result is that most people’s weight varies randomly across a range equivalent to 2 liters of water – about 4 pounds.
Reply: Mel on January 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm said:
Hello all, I am very glad to have found a blog up to date (2013)! I started the ketogenic diet on Monday. I had to call of work on Wednesday since I felt extremely ill, as if I’ve had the flu. Tuesday night I must have gotten up 15 times to pee. By Thursday I felt much better, my Ketostix shows that I’m at the moderate level (40 mg/dL), and today I am actually craving fats! I want cheese, chicken thighs, steak, yum! Looking at my fitness pal tracker (I’ve always diligently counted calories), my diet was mostly carbohydrate based, however being gluten free. The funny thing is I had weird dreams last night, and at one point giant corn cobs were floating on the beachshore…Naturally I was dreaming of the beach in this freezing cold KY weather! Hilarious. Anyways, I can’t wait to cook dinner, and I am so excited that wine is acceptable! I thought alcohol was a form of sugar that needed to be avoided..? I typically had the occasional glass of red wine before bed prior to starting this diet. Any particular reds that you suggest? I.e cab sav, merlot, etc? Thank you, keep up the good work everyone!
Reply: aisha on January 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm said:
are you allowed to use spices such as turmeric curry powder or chilly powder and herbs like mint basil?
Reply: James Hardiman on January 26, 2013 at 1:21 pm said:
Absolutely! Turmeric very good anti-cancer. All herbs and spices OK.
Cinnamon very good for controlling blood sugar if you’re diabetic (but beware sugar-cinnamon mix!)
Reply: aisha on January 27, 2013 at 10:34 am said:
thank you for your ur reply
Reply: Florina on January 25, 2013 at 8:30 am said:
I have been on the keto diet for 7 months now and i have lost a total of 20 pounds. I am 26 years old, 5ft 6 and 110lb. Some might say i overdid it but i assure you i did not starve myself in any way, i ate when i was hungry, i did not even controlled my portions that much. Most of the days i cannot consume that much protein so i have veggies and dairy products (most of it is cheese, yogurt or cream). I also alternate cardio and weight training 4 times a week, for like 45 minutes a session but all that started after loosing all this weight just by dieting, to tone me up. I really do feel great. Oh, but i also have a cheat day where i load with carb, usually things that i like but cannot eat such as bananas or cherries or even something with sugar. However, the cheat days have decreased in intensity since i cannot consume that much sugar anymore, makes me sick. I still have cravings but in my cheat days i found that it takes a small snack to calm me down. I could never go back an eating like i used to, with all the pasta, bread, potatoes and sugar. My body just cannot handle it anymore, but only clean products.
Reply: James on January 25, 2013 at 2:40 pm said:
Brilliant! Well done, and thanks for sharing that.
Reply: billy on January 25, 2013 at 6:02 am said:
also about the wine, if one was to have maybe 2 or 3 glasses of wine whilst out socializing how would that effect the diet?
Reply: James Hardiman on January 25, 2013 at 6:21 am said:
Yes, but …
It’s more likely to effect how you think. A few years ago I spent about four months on a Very Low Calorie (VLCD) Diet … 600 calories a day, Total Food Replacement … a special formula you can only get in certain pharmacies in the UK. It was ketogenic, but only just, so strictness was necessary.
It was tough at first, but after a bit there was a certain high knowing that I was doing something special, there was a certain “cleanliness” in it.
I think some of us are addicted. It might be to certain food items (chocolate, cookies, etc) or to classes of nutrition (carbs), or just to eating. It’s difficult to go “cold turkey” if you’re a food addict, which was why I liked the TFR route.
I think “a few glasses at a party” might be the thin end of the wedge. Personally I would say be tough, be strong, be clean … treat it like you’re a recovering carb-o-holic (get yourself a sponsor!) until you reach your goal.
Reply: mhikl on January 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm said:
The addiction point is important. I have tried every diet style, pretty much, over the past forty some years and only the raw Ketogenic life-style seems to deal with addictions for me. Recently I have given up chocolate, pop & Club Soda, ice cream, nuts, potato chips/crisps, beer, wine, ice-cream and fresh ground coffee. Strangely I don’t miss them. Instant coffee and cream, and Scotch, are my last sins and my coffees are getting weaker and less creamy. Understand that my tea and Scotch will have to be torn from my cold, dead hands and shall stay as my few sins to keep me from becoming boringly pious. I have come to suspect that carbohydrates, starch, sugar -whatever you want to call it- is the devil’s doorway to sins of the tastebuds and reinforce food addictions. Would be interesting to hear if others have found this to be the case for them. The mentioned addictions have been a thorn in all my diet regimes before. But maybe it just comes with the length of the tooth.
Reply: Mel on January 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm said:
I love this: “Understand that my tea and Scotch will have to be torn from my cold, dead hands and shall stay as my few sins to keep me from becoming boringly pious.” BRAVO!
Reply: billy on January 24, 2013 at 7:41 am said:
why can you have milk in tea but not in coffee? is there a reason for this?
i’m gonna try this diet, what kind of exercise regime would people use whilst using this diet? i was wanting to do lots of running and biking but bit worried my body will suffer by not having any carb intake during running/biking, any advice peeps?
Reply: mhikl on January 25, 2013 at 12:48 pm said:
billy, new theories on exercise suggest a return to pre-sixties fair. Walks with sudden sprints as though escaping a mad puma, slow pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups, round out the regime. I have given two dogs enlarged hearts by over exercising them and suspect the same happens with running, as the stats suggest in the short lives of long-distance runners. There are some good discussions on this topic on the web.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm said:
You can get it on Kindle.
Reply: mhikl on January 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm said:
There’s some strange language there, James. It will take a while before I can respond. I hope it is all agin heavy workouts as walking & sprints is about all I can accommodate and still be pleasant to live with.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm said:
Born to Run isn’t about what we (you and I) “should” do … it’s about what we (human beings) *could* do. I’m probably the least fit person on this forum … I can’t run 1/2 a mile.
But I am inspired to start moving when I learn about people who can (and do) regularly run 50, 100, 200 miles in one go.
I am amazed that humans can outrun any other creature on the planet, given a long-enough distance.
Ketogenic diets are based on what humans used to eat. Born to Run gives an insight on how they used to exercise. It wasn’t lifting weights and it wasn’t wearing Nikes!
Reply: mhikl on January 28, 2013 at 10:31 pm said:
James, I downloaded ‘Born to Run’ and what a great book. It covers so many topics and really sets the stage for truly understanding what human running is all about. I thrive on having my common presumptions overturned (the Greek dude who dropped dead at the finish line leaving scatter dead & giver uppers in his dust- wussies). I have never accepted the idea that the modern understanding of running was correct, otherwise there would be not the injuries we hear about so often.
HIIT I sort of once understood and the search has revived my memory and it is sort of what I do in a limited way. I have watched documentaries on African men running their prey to exhaustion. The parts all come together now.
I used to use moccasins when I taught in Northern Alberta but they do wear out. I will be searching for replacements and suggestions would be appreciated. I do not think I want to try the ones like gloves. Hip damage makes it even difficult to put on a sock and shoe. The pain had mostly gone away since giving up wheat 2000 (). More improvement is evident on Keto-Primal. Can regeneration be taking place?
Suggestion for all. Check out . They are really relaxing (not stretching) movements that bring memory back to the muscle and brain. (NB: They are done so slowly that no matter how slow you do them, your are not going slowly enough. Mind and movement are involved.) I started them in my early fifties when I realised I was getting a hump and walking was a strain. I swear I returned to the agility of a thirty year old. Stretch tears, Somatics release and return to earlier realities.
Reply: SS on January 23, 2013 at 7:19 am said:
I’m on day 3 and started with a 2 day fast I rarely eat much fat and am not very keen on it happy to munch down protein tho will i still reach ketosis Waiting on ketostix del. I’m also doing alternate day fasting in an attempt to speed up belly fat reduction will this be effective or is it essential to have a high fat intake. Trying to make things tasty – are garlic and ginger ok?
Reply: James on January 23, 2013 at 7:37 am said:
Garlic and ginger fine. Beware of going too hard on the not eating: you need your nutrition!
If you want to know about Intermittent Fasting (IF), check out the Jaminet’s . They recommend only eating each day during an 8-hour window (during daylight, mainly) which gives you a 16-hour fast each day.
Michael Allen Smith has some great stuff about IF and his experience of it: http://criticalmas.com/best-of/intermittent-fasting/ … but I think he’s now come down to a max of 16 hours.
Do be careful that you’re not damaging your body by alternate day fasting: the Critical MAS blog will help you understand the pros and cons, and he links to other people who work in this area.
The big risk with fasting is that you start burning muscle rather than fat. What you’re aiming for is “autophagy” where your live cells hoover up dying cells, but not catabolism.
Reply: Megha on January 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm said:
Hi! This is a fantastic article and a very informative chat thread! I need to lose atleast 25 lbs so that I can fit into my favorite jeans again! I’m vegetarian and although the meal plan lists a lot of great veggies, I didn’t see any tofu or soy protein being mentioned. Can I eat tofu or soy protein? What about cottage cheese? Thanks in advance for your answers.
Reply: Sam on January 21, 2013 at 10:51 am said:
Hi, It is the first time I am checking my Ketone level after 5 days of starting my diet. the Ketone Level is 150 mg/dl.
GLU is negative. the ketosix became dark after 20 Seconds. is it safe !? am I in the state of ketosis or should I wait for it to come down? Please help me
Reply: James Hardiman on January 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm said:
First thing to say: no one on this site, including me, is medically or nutritionally qualified; anything we say is from personal experience or from reading.
That said: mine never got that high, as far as I’m aware!
I would say that you are definitely in ketosis!
Are you drinking enough? Your pee should be almost clear.
How are you feeling? What is your situation? Have you discussed this with anyone qualified?
I’ll have a look and see if any of my favourite qualified people have anything to say.
Reply: Sam on January 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm said:
Thank you very much for quick response that was very helpful, couldnt sleep last night because of worrying. I called my doctor and he haven’t heard about Ketogenic Diet at all (I live in Iran)! I dont drink more than 2-3 glass of water per day and I dont pee frequently like everyone talk about it. I think I got obsessive about carbs in vegetables I check carb-counter.net all the time for everything I want to eat and that resulted to not eating any vegetable at all(all of them have carbs). I couldnt find ketostix here (amazon doesnt work in Iran) but I found “Insight Expert Urinalysis Reagent Strips” yesterday which shows 10 different factors in Urine. anyway the result was as I explained in the last post ( Ketone 150 and Glucose was Negative.I have lost my overeating habit and I kinda hate all the foods which is weird for a guy my size (300 lbs) I have this dizziness in the last 3 days and I believe I have sever Constipation( with no pain) which I believe must be as a result of not eating any vegetable since I started this diet.
Reply: mhikl on January 24, 2013 at 10:33 am said:
Sam, if you have constipation it may be because you are not eating enough fat. I remember when on the Atkins diet I ate more protein than fat and had BM problems. We really don’t need much protein as its main purpose is to repair and build muscle. All extra protein is converted to carbohydrates and uric acid- neither being good. I do a ratio of roughly 2 weights of fat to 1 weight of protein and at times five fat to two protein. The more beef tallow (raw or cooked) you add to your diet in comparison to protein, the easier your stools will pass, I find. They should float, if I may be so bold. Too much protein is the culprit usually if you are not eating heavy carbs. When I do my 2 to 1 or other measure of fat to protein, I count protein and carb veggies as one since they have the same calorie count of 4 vs 9 calorie grams for fat. So I gram weigh my protein and carb salads or low carb veg together making sure that the bulk of the mix is protein.
One comment on bran is that it does bulk up the stool but it also scratches the bowls which do repair quickly (almost instantly) but still leave you open to bad things getting into your blood stream. Fat is far safer to ease the travel of waste through this delicate system.
Information on all this can be found at good sites with a search.
But most people on a ketogenic diet usually use too much protein and not enough fat I speculate from experience, research and comments here and elsewhere.
Elsewhere I shall comment on raw paleo, my favourite way to eat.
Reply: Sam on January 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm said:
thank you all for your responses. I believe my high Ketone level was matter of dehydration as James was mentioned and mhikl you are totally right about fat to protein ratio but its a little difficult to change it because I seldom become hungry these days . how about eating MCT Oil? any experience ?
Reply: mhikl on January 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm said:
Sam, I use the MCT, coconut oil and butter along with ground beef and pork fat. I have just always loved fatty meat which may be due to being an O blood. A’s and AB’s tend not to do so well, nor do they tend to like it. Re water: I love water and a slosh of cranberry juice and with a Tbs of Vit C powder in an Arizona bottle 670ml, I;m always refreshed. I also use Clayton Nolte’s structured water which helps with absorption vs just irrigating the body. Check him out for details on naturally healthy water.
Reply: cavenewt on January 24, 2013 at 10:38 am said:
I had been hooked on a bowl of oatmleal every morning for “regularity.” After going zero-carb, it took a few weeks or months for my system to adjust to less insoluble fiber. I concur with mhikl’s comment about needing more fat and less protein.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 24, 2013 at 11:17 am said:
Anyone else tried konjac noodles? They are supposed to be good (soluble fibre). I was worried as many people say they smell of fish (I hate fish) and are very slimy (don’t do slimy, either), but they are fine if you rinse them and then “dry fry” them just to dry off the moisture.
Reply: cavenewt on January 24, 2013 at 11:56 am said:
I buy’em by the case from konjacfoods.com. No fishiness whatsoever. Usually I throw them in stir fries to bulk things up a bit. My kid refuses to accept them as a spaghetti substitute, though!
Reply: robert f on January 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm said:
I see nuts have a few carbs how much can I eat
Reply: James on January 23, 2013 at 9:43 pm said:
What sort of nuts? Look them up on http://www.SkipThePie.org.
Decide what your daily carb allowance is: stick within it.
What’s the ratio of Fat+Protein to carbs?
Reply: Rachelle on January 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm said:
Just was wondering if zucchini and squash are ok on this? I’m going to start it tomorrow and give it a go…
Reply: Max on January 20, 2013 at 11:32 am said:
I really cant believe it is happening. i have lost 4 Kg in just 5 days. I dont know why I dont become hungry at all!
I eat less than 5 grams of Carbs per day is it safe ?
Reply: Jackie on January 18, 2013 at 3:33 am said:
Hi, This all makes sense to me somehow! I am 49 female – can you tell me please if i will need a calcium supplement whilst on this eating plan as I dont see any obvious sources of calcium? Many thanks – started with my poached eggs this morning. i think I will struggle with natural fat – although one of my fav meals is finely sliced sirloin steak stir fry with veg ! I can eat full fat natural yoghurt and cheese? I am used to oats and milk for breakfast which was my only milk source as I drink tea, coffee and green tea with no milk in! Sorry for the ramble – any advice in keeping calcium up be appreciated – I can do without any ill effects on my bones! x
Reply: James Hardiman on January 18, 2013 at 8:34 am said:
Talking to my 63-year-old wife, who cares about these things: she says “the thinking about calcium has changed enormously recently. Taking too much calcium has been shown to actually cause calcium to leach from your bones. Beware all the marketing hype for dairy insisting that you consume it “to protect your bones”. Watch the movie “Perfect Human Diet”: the MD that has so much success with his patients says you don’t need dairy once you’re no longer a baby.
Basically your concern is not to be consuming too much calcium, rather than too little, I think.
Reply: mhikl on January 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm said:
Another good site to check out is Walter Last, James. Magnesium, I learned forty years ago and am again seeing it mentioned, is the great regulator. My mum in the seventies had a terrible potassium deficiency that sent her to hospital in a coma. This repeated itself until I found the answer a year or so later. I checked out health books at a second hand shop and found a small book that said there were four electrolytes: Salt, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium and that magnesium controlled the lot. Once on high magnesium tablets she never entered hospital for this problem again. However, her two younger sisters died from the same problem. I am very pro magnesium as it kept my mum alive and her leg cramps at bay.
Reply: cavenewt on January 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm said:
Reply: aisha on January 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm said:
are you allowed to use spices such as tumeric curry powder or chilly powder and herbs like mint basil?
Reply: livewell on January 19, 2013 at 8:44 am said:
I don’t know the answer at all. And perhaps the combination of foods on this diet negates the effect, but another factor to consider in terms of calcium is speculation that a diet high in animal protein can leach/deplete the calcium from bones.
I am in the midst of getting to ketosis but I only plan to do it for a very short period of time (two weeks or so) specifically due to concerns related to calcium etc. (and I really don’t have much weight to lose so I see this as a fast way to shed the fat and also reduce/rebalance my carb intake which has slowly been inching up and thus the pounds).
Good luck with it though – the ketosis does feel great… I did it once many years ago and never felt better. Clear-headed, no digestion problems, no sleepiness through the day.
Reply: Jackie on January 22, 2013 at 10:15 am said:
Hi – I’m doing well on it so far – one week and losing 1 – 2lb per day. Using the basic diet plan mentioned in the article with turnaround of chicken, salmon, steak strips either with veg stir fry or salad . Dont know if I am in the keto state as I’m not using the sticks! Today I was treated to lunch and managed to choose a steak with salad (no chips/potatoes) and the drink deal was beer, wine or soft drink – bah! Now I like my wine but I’m guessing the white wine (even dry) is way too sugar/carb (and hard to stop at one!) so I had a vodka with soda water – my question is: could I have it with tonic water as tonic actually has a nice flavour – or do you have to ask for low cal tonic? I know the flavour is quinine but I’m not sure if tonic has sugar in it as opposed to soda water which doesn’t? This would help me decide my new drink when out (occasional) and keep me thinking about those carbs/sugars to avoid. I am really enjoying looking at the labels etc and finding out about all these hidden sugars/carbs – even sugar in some sausages ! So far no hunger and no cravings – yeah!
Reply: Bubkiwi on January 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm said:
Am finding it really hard to eat this amount of food. To me it is a huge amount for 1 day, and even though I weigh 128 kgs, have never been a “big” eater,but have been obese my entire 55 years of life. So does it matter if I don’t eat everything on the suggested 3 day menu? I also do not feel hungry ever until later in the day so struggle to eat anything before about 3pm. Would a protein shake at some stage before about noon help? Thanks
Reply: James on January 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm said:
Only eat when you’re hungry!
Reply: Bubkiwi on January 17, 2013 at 8:19 pm said:
Good. Suits me. No probs getting rid of carbs. Hard to up the fat content…..lol but we getting there
Reply: Max on January 16, 2013 at 8:53 am said:
Thank you very much for your post.
Please let me know if yogurts (Greek) , Milks and Mayonnaise are OK.
I am living in Iran and I really dont know how to find ketostix here!
I am 308 Lbs and most of my daily diets used to be : Bread , Rice , Yogurt and Ice cream !
Reply: James on January 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm said:
Sorry, pretty much no to all three: maybe if you made the mayo yourself.
(Since I wrote that, I found this: wonderful!!)
You can get Ketostix from Amazon: Mark has given a link. Any medical establishment should be able to point you in the right direction, or any pharmacy.
Ketostix are made by Bayer, and Bayer has an Iranian company: http://www.bayer.com/en/iran.aspx
Took me 5 minutes or less to find it by Googling.
Reply: Maria Griffinon January 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm said:
I started this diet on 12th Jan 2013 – a week ago and I have lost 10 lbs already …The first 3/4 days were quite hard for me not eating carbs or sugar..However I did eat alot of fat in those first days including sugar free full fat yogurt, cream ( with sugar free jelly), cheese,eggs ,full fat mayo, fish , lamb chops….Sometimes I think I am eating too much and of course I am conditioned to think fat is bad…After 4 days I settled down and cut cream,and reduced cheese/mayo/yoghurt…Also peed alot in first 4/5 days so drank plently water. Still drink my tea with milk. I ordered Ketosis sticks from the internt but I reckon I am in Ketosis anyway as have bad breath and droping weight …. Not hungry now but miss carbs for psycological reasons so must stay vigilent…I am getting inventive with recepies…I guess as I was 250 stating off I plan to be on diet for sometime so I have already began to eat plenty vegetables
Meal I am eating include
- Lamb Curry with Full fat Coconut Milk served with cauliflower mas
-Chicken Shish Kebab
-Beef Bolanese …with peppers,tomatoes,chilli, onion. garlic,steak mince
- Venison Burgers with mixed salad
- Chicken,Mushroom & Leek casserole
- Baked Seabass with mixed veg
- Fried Trout fillets with cauliflower/brocolli cheese
- Chicken Tika with veg curry
- Cauliflower & Stilton Soup
- Mixed Veg Soup
- Mixed Seafood Salad
- Chicken,Avocado salad
- Beef stir fry and oriental veg
- Baked pork chop with mediterrean veg
- Steak & salad
- Spinach, Green bean & asperagus fritatta
Reply: FattyC on January 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm said:
Sorry another qn, just typed almonds into converter and they going into negative due to fibre?? So if fibre is more that carb they are ok? Or even good? Almonds are on the list but the almonds I have and organic almond meal I have has sugar 1.2 per 30g. Do you avoid it because it has sugar? Thanks
Reply: FattyC on January 15, 2013 at 9:05 pm said:
Sorry new to this. If the label says <1 for sugar and carbs is this ok? Or does sugar need to be completely 0? Mainly wondering about condiments etc. does anyone know of a good app to tally it all in a food journal? Am using calorie king and carb master as a guide to track what I eat.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 16, 2013 at 1:16 am said:
At the start just stick to the foods that Mark has outlined, and don’t worry about other foods. Get yourself well established in ketosis (maybe 3-4 weeks) and then you can start experimenting and see if something brings you out of ketosis.
Remember, in all the world there is only one nutritional expert that knows what you should be eating, and that’s you. No one else knows your age, your stage, your goals etc. You are at the beginning of a big learning curve.
Also, think carefully about foods labelled “eat as much as you like”. We don’t ascribe to the idea that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. If you eat 100 calories of sugar it will have a very different effect on your body than if you eat 100 calories of fatty beef.
On the other hand if you eat 5000 calories a day of collard greens you will almost definitley gain weight (and some sort of medal from the collard-greens growers). You don’t need to count calories, but you do need to be aware of what you are eating.
Reply: FattyC on January 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm said:
Thanks very much for your help!
Reply: Chris Hartnup on January 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm said:
I love the whole outlook of this diet and decided to go on it 4 days ago. Well I was stunned when I weighed myself earlier today and found that I had already lost 5lbs. I was also wondering whether or not I could eat fruit with this diet and if so,what can I eat? and how much?.
Thanks for your help in this matter.
Lord Chris Hartnup.
Reply: cavenewt on January 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm said:
Initial rapid weight loss is mostly water.
Avoid fruit, on the whole. Berries in small amounts are ok; I do eat an occasional apple with cheddar cheese. Avoid really sweet fruits like grapes, pears, and bananas, if you must cheat.
Modern fruit has been bred to be very high-sugar, very unlike what we evolved with.
Reply: Chris Hartnup on January 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm said:
Thats great! Thanks for the info,I will steer clear of fruit from now on. How long does it normally take before you start to lose fat instead of water?
Reply: James Hardiman on January 12, 2013 at 7:11 pm said:
1) When you stop peeing every 90 minutes,
2) When your ketostix show moderate ketones.
If you’re not peeing every 90 minutes it doesn’t mean you’re there, just that you’re lighter and younger than me!
Reply: Chris Hartnup on January 13, 2013 at 4:48 am said:
I dont think i’m peeing that much but that did make me laugh. I will be purchasing some Ketostix very soon, then I will be able to check it out properly.
Reply: Will on January 12, 2013 at 10:19 am said:
Hey, I’ve got two questions.
Do sweeteners raise glucose and hence insulin levels? I know anecdotally that there are some negatives with regard to sweeteners, but how do they work in the scenario of a ketogenic diet?
Secondly, do you know if caffeine has any effect on the diet.
I’m really finding sugar cravings difficult, and have been considering going for a sugar free energy drink, that’s all. Thanks!
Reply: James Hardiman on January 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm said:
Depends on the sweeteners. If it’s aspartame, sacharine, if it ends in “ol” or has a very “chemical” name, I’d steer clear of it. Try Luo Han Guo or stevia (but I steer clear of Truvia and Purevia brands of stevia because, I believe, they are GMO: I may be wrong).
Here’s my take on a refreshing drink: ice, a dash of Angostura Bitters (contains both alcohol and sugar, but you only have a tiny dash in an 8 oz glass, so it’s next to nothing: the ingredients list says 0 carbs for a serving, and I have less than a serving) and topped up with sparkling water (Club Soda, if it’s all you can get).
As for coffee: I am saving up to buy Upgraded Coffee from the Bulletproof Exec guy. Until then I have organic coffee with stevia in it. Usually black, but occasionally I’ll have some whipping cream in it; either for luxury, or to up my fat intake if necessary.
Reply: cavenewt on January 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm said:
You’ll find that after some time carbless, you lose the sweet tooth. Till then, try to tough it out, or use a little stevia.
I never took sugar in my tea (don’t drink coffee). But now, in the morning I have no breakfast, just a few cups of black tea with coconut oil and some really nice heavy cream we can get locally. I don’t get hungry till 4pm.
Intermittent fasting is probably a Good Thing.
Reply: kayley on January 10, 2013 at 4:13 am said:
I am wanting to start this diet next week. I did my own low carb diet just before xmas which wasnt a good idea with all the sweet treats and dinner partys i had to attend. I managed to stick to it for around 6 days and i lost 11lb. Although now i have put most of it back on again. My question is can i have Heinz Salad Cream maybe once a day? I eat salad cream with most of my meats although i know i can have mayo. I am also a chocoholic, is there anything in the UK stored i can pick up thats low carb. I cant bake anything and i am going to struggle making meals with my living arrangements at the moment. So everything has to be pretty quick and simple. Meat and salads basically. Also can you have Gravy?
Reply: Chrissy on January 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm said:
Thank you for all of this pertinent information. I do have a few questions though. I just start ed my Keto diet about 6 days ago and from what I have gathered starting out with a 20 gram carb limit should put you into Ketosis within 3-4 days..is this correct? I have also notice that I have been a little bloated? Is this normal too..One tid-bit..you are allowed to subtract any eaten fiber from your carbs as long as it comes from the same food. Ex: Cauliflower (2 cups boiled) has 4g of carbs and 7 grams of fiber. The fiber basically clears out the carb intake. But remember, it has to come from the same food, not just a total from the day..thanks again for any/all input!!
Reply: James Hardiman on January 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm said:
It really depends on many things. In the UK they have a Total Food Replacement diet called Lipotrim. First time I did it I went into ketosis in about a week, an stayed there for about six months. Lipotrim gives 60g of carb a day.
Then I fell off the wagon. Every time I tried to re-start it was more difficult. Now I have to be well under 20g.
Michael Eades explains it in one of his blog posts, I think. Will try to find it.
Reply: Terry on January 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm said:
i have already lost 10 ponds in 3 days. I dont expect this to continue at this rate. My question is I can not find sausage or bacon that doesnt have sugar in the ingredients on the back. so i have been afraid to eat them. Is there a brand that anyone can recommend for me. I live in New Mexico if that helps as well.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm said:
Terry, I searched in Whole Foods Market, all the health food stores, went to our local all-organic farm: all had sugar. eventually found some in Winn Dixie (in FL: don’t know if that helps in NM). We’re out right now: will post the brand next time we buy some.
Reply: Terry on January 9, 2013 at 7:36 pm said:
I think I may just be sugar paranoid. I dont have a windixie but we have a natural grocery store, i will try my luck. I say i may be paranoid because i chose a red vinegar over the suggested balsamic vinegar because every balsamic i found listed sugar as an ingredient. I am very over weight and needing to make a change, so I might just be over-thinking this. any regular bacon would probably do. thank you!
Reply: Andreea on January 9, 2013 at 8:01 am said:
I tried before Dukan Diet for 5 days but felt with no energy whatsoever so gave up although I did get results but not so spectacular.
Can you please tell me if vitamins are allowed on this diet? Currently I’m using a multivatimin and would like to carry on with it for at least 1 month.
Also I would be very intrested to know if I can take green tea tablets. Also can I replace one meal with a protein shake; they are tasty and filling and the one that I have now has 24g of protein, 1.3g Carbs for 30g scoop.
Please let me know. Any answer would be highly appreciated.
All the best to all dietars
Reply: James Hardiman on January 9, 2013 at 8:20 am said:
I’m no expert on Dukan … Looks like paleo with a lot of marketing hype and a French accent. But to be fair to them I would suggest that 5 days isn’t a fair trial. On my best-ever diet I felt totally amazing, with boundless energy … but not during the first two weeks, where I felt awful … and I think that was all down to ketosis.
Different people take different amounts of time to switch into ketosis, and if you’re doing it properly (low to zero carbs, otherwise your body might decide not to switch) then, when you haven’t yet switched, you’ll be running on empty and feeling like c**p.
Don’t say it didn’t work after 5 days … give Dukan, or this, at least a month, with no cheating!
And I would say yes re vitamins, yes re green tea and that protein shake sounds good: where did you get it? Most of the ones I checked out have too many carbs … I made my own at the Protein Factory.
Reply: Andreea on January 9, 2013 at 8:38 am said:
Thanks for the reply.
I gave up dukan because it was far more strict than atkins; it includes no fat and at begining no veggies at all (pure lean meat). Also I needed a lot of energy for my job (as all of us do), but will start the ketogenic diet on Mon especially that I’ll stick to it, fingers crossed, especially that I don’t have sweet tooth and eat less in general.
I went into ketosis I think after 3-4 days with previous diet, that’s why I’m confident in this type of diet.
The protein shake that I have is mostly for bodybuilders is called Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein; by the way I’m from UK and don’t know if you can purchase it in a diffrent country. Hope that helps!
Reply: Andreea on January 18, 2013 at 6:50 am said:
Hi. Was wondering did you try yam noodles the ones that are made from konjac fiber. On the label it says that they contain less than 1g carb per 200g serving and also 0% sugar and everything else 0%. Is that ok to have from time to time? Thanks in advance for the reply.
PS: I’m doing good on this diet and like it; happy that I can eat some green veggies on it
Reply: cavenewt on January 18, 2013 at 9:52 am said:
I like konjac noodles. Tons of soluble fiber, zero carbs. I buy’em by the case from konjacfoods.com.
Reply: cavenewt on January 18, 2013 at 9:56 am said:
Keep in mind the possibility that the need for fiber has been overrated. Do some research.
Reply: Andreea on January 19, 2013 at 4:34 am said:
Thanks for the reply. Could you please tell me aprox how much quantity and how often should I have them? Would it be ok if I’d have about 75-80g 2 times per week or would it be too much?
Reply: cavenewt on January 19, 2013 at 11:05 am said:
People are so concerned about specific rules. The best rules, to my mind, are: eat lots of nonstarchy veggies. Eat lots of good fat (not seed oils.) Avoid sugar and grains. Only eat if you’re hungry. Don’t eat anything out of a box or bag, shop the periphery of the store. Read labels! Do research!
Reply: James on January 19, 2013 at 11:17 am said:
Yes, yes, yes! Read labels, do research!
None of the people on this site who answer questions are medically or nutritionally qualified. We spend our time trying to help because we believe in this stuff. And we don’t make a penny.
But in almost every case just spending 10 minutes with Google would have got you the answer. It’s what we all did (well, probably months and years!)
If you’re not going to hand your health over to the health industry, you have to take responsibility for your own health, and that’s going to involve a lot of reading and understanding.
Reply: Julia on January 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm said:
I don’t see any mention of fruit, can I eat fruit and if so which fruits are best or is fruit to be completely avoided?
Reply: James Hardiman on January 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm said:
Avoid fruit! Only go for low GI plants. Avoid carbs in general and sugars in particular.
If you want to play, I suggest being VERY strict while you establish ketosis, then stay there for at least a month. Then try SLOWLY upping carbs, testing all the while with ketostix.
But this way lies purgatory, believe me; I’ve been there.
If it’s on Mark’s list, eat it. If not, don’t.
Reply: Yolanda on January 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm said:
I’m on my 2nd day and I must say, at 1 pm, I’m am still feeling very hungry, despite having consumed already 105g fat and 77g protein and 17g carbs. Is this normal? I can’t figure out what to have at dinner later because I’ve basically consumed my protein for the day, can’t go much higher than 90g tops – eggs in butter I guess? But geez, why so hungry? Everything I read says fat is going to be so satiating…
Reply: James on January 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm said:
My experience is that it can take anything up to a week, worst case. Check with the ketostix if you’re actually in ketosis yet. Drink water. Go to bed early!
Reply: Yolanda on January 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm said:
thanks. I need to learn to be patient!!
Reply: mhikl on January 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm said:
Yo, this diet is a big fat radical change to the typical earthly fair and James is correct that it takes time. The best results for me came from cold turkey (not the bird), high fat, very low protein and zero carbs for the first two weeks. Then, slowly you can add back so extra protein and carbs, but I get my carbs from cream and cured ham and Chinese broccoli in moderation. This diet is a big challenge for most addicted to burgers and pizza, but the rewards are great. Good luck.
Reply: FattyC on January 15, 2013 at 8:46 pm said:
How do you know your protein limit? I thought you can eat as much as you liked??
Reply: mhikl on January 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm said:
Depends upon your age and physical activity, FattyC. Teenagers need more for growth and movement, etc. The old adage of a deck of cards is probably right for an inactive person. Dark and smelly urine (feet smelling like ammonia) are possible signs of too much protein. I notice less body odour after cutting down on my protein intake. One has to learn to read the signs and changes to one’s body.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 29, 2013 at 9:25 am said:
… and … this is one I struggle with. I find it difficult to get my head around eating enough fat: I go out and buy pork and then realise I bought lean pork, which means I’m probably eating too much protein … and it kicks me out of ketosis. Because here’s the mean trick in all of this — if you’re not keto-adapted then your body will need glucose because you’re not using ketones and your liver will make glucose (gluconeogenesis) out of protein!
And mhikl is right: it’s also age dependent: I’m 65 and I’m guessing mhikl isn’t a teenager, either.
But here’s a recommendation from an old guy: get this cracked while you’re young because the older you get the more difficult it is. Our mom used to say, “getting old ain’t for wimps”.
Reply: mhikl on January 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm said:
Dead on James. I still struggle with my weight even with my nightly coco & cream so the tin is in the dump. Other than cream and said Scotch, I am pretty carb free. In early 20′s I fasted forty-fourish days and lost 90lbs; now I can lose four lbs in a week and gain it back with a few treats in a few days. (I have four years to go to get discounts so we are indeed in the same ball park) Have you thought of rendering your own lard? I chop, boil, strain & low heat to evaporate excess water. It can then be added to end of cooking. I also get my beef fat free from some chain grocers and freeze; then dice a few days lot for use. Again, if you cook your meat it can be added to the hot food and it is lightly cooked. My raw mix of chopped round and diced raw fat has more the texture of meat than fat. That is how I am able to eat less protein yet feel I have eaten more. I use some salt, rice or Apple Cider vinegar and hot chilly or pepper and I am in heaven. There are many cultures who eat raw bovine and fat as a portion of their main meal- French, Italian, Muslim. Salmon with beef fat is also excellent raw, either warmish or chilled. (Maybe a slug of Scotch would help get started.
I love Born to run and am going to re-route some shoe strings through my thongs/flip flops till I can find better.
Reply: mhikl on January 29, 2013 at 1:42 pm said:
James said: “… and … this is one I struggle with. I find it difficult to get my head around eating enough fat: ”
I know exactly what you mean. I think we both like to think outside the box; but a box is a box and the walls must be torn asunder.
I believed in fat; in theory & study (internet stuff, personal sense of well-being when eating) but government, medical and commercial interests are soooo powerful- heart probs etc. But my blood tests attest to it being true that fat is primal to health: (We use mmol/L)
Carb diet Tri’s 2.7; hi fat 0.9;
Carb diet Tri’s 7.2; hi fat 4.6
I suspect Triglycerides are the real problem.
Note:; Read somewhere that one of the LDL molecules was actually extremely beneficial. Have to re-research that.
Reply: mhikl on January 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm said:
Rats! My error.
Carb diet Tri’s 2.7; hi fat 0.9;
Carb diet Carbs 7.2; hi fat 4.6ish (Low LDL)
Reply: Tony g on January 7, 2013 at 12:26 am said:
The keto stix measure glucose in the urine, not blood. A blood sugar of zero would be deadly. Be careful of the advice you mete out but I like most of what you are saying.
Reply: Lulu on January 5, 2013 at 10:41 am said:
Is this diet like the belly fat diet where you can sapingly eat sugar free choclate from time to time? Or indulge in Clemmy’s sugar free ice cream? As you can tell I do crave sweets and need a tiny bit each day.
Let me know what you think. Thank-you
Reply: James on January 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm said:
Depends what they replaced the sugar with!
My wife makes chocolate from organic cocoa powder, cocnut oil and sweetens with stevia and luo han. It’s VERY good and perfectly OK (has good fats: coconut oil).
BUT you have to keep it in the freezer!
Reply: amy on January 8, 2013 at 7:49 am said:
Can you post the recipe for the chocolate snack?
Reply: Adrian on January 14, 2013 at 8:35 am said:
Could you give the amounts of those ingredients you (or your wife) use to make that chocolate? I’ve got the organic cocoa powder and the coconut oil, just need to get the Stevia – does she use the powder or liquid?
Reply: john on January 4, 2013 at 2:36 am said:
Your comments about monitoring show you have no understanding of human physiology.
“Blood glucose (if your ketostix show this on a separate color tab) should be zero at all times.”
> NO. Blood glucose of 0 is fatal. In the medically supervised ketogenic diet for epilepsy, regular glucose monitoring is used to detect and treat low glucose levels. However, in the ‘low carb with a few ketones’ diet you are touting this is probably not required.
“The Ketostix I have also measure blood glucose which is useful to test for Ketoacidosis.”
> NO again. blood glucose tests test blood glucose. To test for ketoacidoses you need to test for ketones and acid. In type 1 diabetes, ketoacidosis is usually accompanied by hyperglycaemia, but this is not necessary, and can occur with normal blood glucose. In treatment of DKA, glucose normalises before ketones and pH.
You may be confusing blood and urine testing, which is unfortunate. It is not normal to have glucose in your usine (usually indicates a blood glucose in the diabetic range)
Reply: marcia on December 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm said:
I was in my 20′s when the Atkins diet was the craze! All I can remember is the negative attitudes expressed on how dangerous this style of nutrition affected the body. Fast forward to two years ago and a family member ate this way while pregnant due to diabetes and remained within the acceptable range, another family member took insulin while pregnant. I am confused. Recently I tried a 3 day meat, vegie, and almost no carbs (1 slice of bread in a day) and then eat regular and do it again for 3 day (no more than that at a time). Now I am even more confused.
Reply: Carolyn on December 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm said:
What about mayo? Can i use this in moderation?
Reply: Tim on January 4, 2013 at 8:12 pm said:
Yes, but make your own. Great natural fat source if you use extremely light olive oil non?
Reply: Natalie on December 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm said:
Hi Mark, I’ve been trying to stick to Keto nutrition and make it my lifestyle, rather than a “diet”. I do have problems with the balance though: I found myself constantly craving for sugar (in any shape or form, whether it was sugar-free lollies, or chocolate or hot chocolate or fruits), so I ended up having a sugar binge, then liver pains and I felt really sick for a few days, then start all over again: lover detox, veggie juices, protein etc. So, so far I can’t say I’ve been very successful with keto lifestyle. I find it is a little more manageable if I eat nuts (and I mean, LOTS OF NUTS!!!) I can easily devour half a 300g jar of peanut butter in one sitting, or a bowl of peanuts in the shell. I am particularly addicted to peanuts. So, what can you recommend for me, i.e. how to fight sugar binges, and also, how much nuts is allowed a day on this keto lifestyle not to jeopardise my goal achieving. I have to add, I am doing Crossfit 4-5 times a week, I run (10 km) and do mount climbing, in other words, I am super fit and active pretty much every single day of the week, and I am ALWAYS hungry ((
Reply: mhikl on January 24, 2013 at 11:34 am said:
Natalie, see what I have suggested regarding lower protein and much, much higher fat intake elsewhere. And a beginner with your problem (I had the same experience in the beginning with Atkins) should try two to four weeks with no carbs whatsoever. The high ratio of fat 5 to protein 2 should suffice. Drastic metabolisms and addictions demand drastic (seemingly) solutions sometimes.
Reply: mhikl on January 25, 2013 at 1:05 pm said:
5-2 fat to protein was meant as calories. A simpler measure is by weight on an electronic gram scale: 1 to 1 protein (4 Cal pr g) and fat (9 cal) would give about 70% fat intake.
Reply: PaleoJock on December 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm said:
Thanks for sharing!
Reply: Carolyn on December 29, 2012 at 8:14 am said:
What about Mayo? wuld this be okay mixed with chicken for a meal? With lettus wraps?
Reply: Rose on December 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm said:
I am interested in starting this diet after New Years and I’m trying to make a plan before I begin. You were very helpful in the way you explained the process but I was wondering if there is another website where it shows how much a person of my size would need to eat. How much protein ( serving size ) and HOW MUCH fat and carbs. The 3 day sample menu you shared looks appealing to me except I don’t think I could eat meat in the morning, only bacon. I usually would have Cheerios and skim milk or oatmeal, but i could eat bacon and eggs instead. Lunch has always been a problem to figure out what to eat but if I could find more simple meal plans that would help out until I get the hang of it.
What about a substitute for sugar, is that not allowed?
Thanks for any help you can give me.
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Reply: James Hardiman on December 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm said:
Pot? Kettle? Black?
Reply: Stacey on December 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm said:
…couldn’t have said it better myself.
Reply: PaleoJock on December 30, 2012 at 11:38 am said:
Reply: Lee on January 3, 2013 at 12:51 am said:
You guys should learn to recognize an automated spam comment when you see one
Reply: Varga on December 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm said:
I’ve been following a diet very similar to the one you explained for several years now, but I have learned that it only helps me drop body fat down to around 10%. My body fat seems to get locked at 10% and this diet is no longer effective for weight loss purposes. Any suggestions?
Reply: mhikl on January 24, 2013 at 11:28 am said:
Varga, the usual problems for sticky losers (me for sure) are 1. too much protein, 2. use of cream and cheese, 3. too many veggies. I’m assuming you do not use roots and grains or fruit. Elsewhere I have postulated on too much protein. It is the fat that works; what protein your body doesn’t need is turned into carbs and uric acid-not good.
Reply: hcg diet on December 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm said:
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Reply: karina fajardo on December 21, 2012 at 4:16 am said:
Is it allowed to drink milk, because if one can eat cheese, I think milk would be allowed, but it is not specified. What about carrots and oatmeal and cauliflower? I am just starting the diet, so your answer will be very helpful, since I am figuring out what receipes I can do.
Reply: cavenewt on December 26, 2012 at 10:08 am said:
Read labels. Milk has 7 grams of carbs per cup. Cheese, especially hard cheese, has less, plus you usually don’t eat a whole cup of cheese
Reply: epicuriousbynature on January 4, 2013 at 9:35 am said:
Absolutely NO grains of any sort, including Oatmeal. Comeon… read the post, it tells you the most effect foods to eat. I don’t mean to sound harsh at all, but it’s about educating yourself. There are plenty of low carb/keto websites, blogs and cookbooks out there! Read labels, and research low carb/high fat items. Carrots are high in sugar! Just stick to the list and it’ll be fine. I’ve held this lifestyle for several years and it becomes second nature. Staples in an everyday ketogenic diet should include Avacado, Butter, Whole Eggs, Coconut Oil, Bacon, Sour Cream, 70/30 Ground Beef, Cheese, Fresh Coconut, Dark Chocolate, Cream Cheese, Fresh Liquid Fish Oil, Heavy Cream and Macadamia Nuts!!! They’re miracle workers in keeping fat intake high!!!! I’m 5’9 and hold 135-140 firm with moderate activity and consume very few carbs, 20g or less a day. I don’t eat ANY wheat or grain products, beans or rice. I love the way I eat and never feel like I’m missing out on anything. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love Bacon??!! Hehehehe!!! Skinny is WAY better than any piece of cake I’ve ever had!!!
Reply: selina on January 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm said:
What about margerine I’m not a fan of real butter
Reply: Phil on December 19, 2012 at 12:35 am said:
Cheers for the blog. Ive been in solid ketosis now for about 3 and half week. i started with a 17 day water fast just as a clense. I lost nearly 20lb’s in that time. Obviously a fair chunk of it was wanter from various organs while in spring cleaning mode , especially my digestive system. I started back on the Keto diet and gained about 5lb’s which is was expecting due to those ogans needing water again coming “back online” so to speak. I still feel AWESOME since the fast. I can say to anyone though personally this does work. the hartdest part for me has alwasy been other peoples uninformed opionion of what your doing as completely backwards and often mentioned as outright dangerous. I know first hand that this does work and its fun but can also be frustrating when youre looking for something to eat with no or minimal carbs. almost everything these days has some kind of processing with carbs in some way or another added. For me the typical days diest is
Bacon and eggs with a cheesy kransy, lunch is 200g of hot roast pork extra fatty wich crackling (lots!) , pork rinds for afternoon snack and dinner is minced hamburger with 2 fried eggs and a heap of mayonase and melted cheese.
Onestly its insane! at the surface im a poster child for heart attack awareness!
To anyone trying this is DOES take about 3 days to start the process into full ketosis and another (for me anyway) 4 to 7 days to FULLY convert to burning ketones where i start to feel normal and gain HEAPS of energy consistantly, NOTHING like feeling sluggish and hungry looking to binge. Anyone considering it, it DOES take determination to actually get through that first 2 weeks as everything in your head is saying its madness but hang in there and you WILL see the gains.
When youre ready to stop and worried about putting hte wieght back on , expect to gain some weight quickly as our muslces hold water thanks to carbs so expect to gain around 5 to 7(ish)lb’s in a few days but it will flatten out if you dont go back to carb loaded meals. Introduce your carb level SLOWLY to understadn your body’s limits on how many carbs before you spike. once you figure that out for consistant weight gain, back it off and try to manage it.
Atelast all said and done this all works for me , i should , or atleast could, for you too.
Reply: jackie turner on January 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm said:
Thank you very much was so helpfull jacqueline x
Reply: James Hardiman on December 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm said:
I would like to endorse Mark’s recommendation to read Gary’s books, “Why we get fat and what to do about it” (that’s the thin book) or “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (The Diet Delusion in the UK).
If you can’t wait, just Google “What if it’s all been a big, fat lie” to read a NYT article by Gary, or search for his name on You Tube.
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Reply: Sheryl Wilson on December 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm said:
Hi Is it ok not to have wine!! Could I replace …. I don”T drink
Reply: jill on December 15, 2012 at 8:42 am said:
Thank you Mark for the extremely insightful information. I have read a few other of your articles and I am impressed. Thanks again
Reply: Barbara on December 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm said:
Can you explain why you cant eat turkey? I dont see the difference between chicken and turkey.
Reply: Kris on December 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm said:
Hi Mark – I just want to make sure I understand – no sugar… but what about natural sugar from fruit? I have a smoothy every morning with frozen blueberries, strawberries and almond milk… but I know fruit has a lot of natural sugars. Thanks for you valuable website!!
Reply: cavenewt on December 26, 2012 at 10:10 am said:
Nope, avoid fruit. Berries are the lowest-sugar fruit, especially blueberries. But not too much. I’ve been ketogenic for 2 years. I will occasionally have half an apple with cheddar cheese as a treat.
Reply: Valerie on December 13, 2012 at 9:04 am said:
Why no turkey meat? I can’t digest red meats so I eat turkey meat to replace ground beef…pork…lamb…etc…I eat chicken and fish and turkey only…can turkey be added? And still work?
Reply: ML on December 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm said:
Turkey contains to high amounts of tryptophan which lowers thyroid function. Bananas are the same but no one should eat bananas on a KD anyway.
Reply: Donna on December 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm said:
This seems like an incredibly stupid question, but thanks to being “anonymous” I can ask it: I am starting a ketogenic diet tomorrow and the thought of it is stressing me out. I’ve just eaten a piece of bread in anticipation of the deprivation. Did you feel this way? How did you deal with the cravings during the first while? I want this to work, but I’m actually quite nervous that my bad habits will overwhelm my desire to follow the diet.
Reply: zenfish on December 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm said:
I have been on a Ketogenic diet for about 3 weeks now and have lost 9 lbs. I would like to lose 30 lbs total. I am already feeling way better in my clothes, and have almost no hunger! The meals described above really satisfy you, and I have been having sugar-free jello with heavy cream for dessert when I have a sweet tooth. It’s really working and I feel very hopeful. Just do it, and stick to it. The cravings just disappear completely! Good Luck!!
Reply: PaleoJock on December 30, 2012 at 11:55 am said:
Sharing my sweet tooth remedy: Empty the contents of one L-Glutamine capsule under your tongue and sit tight for about two minutes (the approximate time it takes to get a snack from the kitchen). I find the cravings will subside. Some suggest tsking 500-1000mg / day to ward off cravings.
Reply: mhikl on January 24, 2013 at 11:10 am said:
Sugar/carbs is the most difficult addiction to overcome. Fat can easily be over come but sugar can take a year or longer. I found this out living overseas in Malaysia, but I was only limiting sugar because the usual chocolate bars and other western sugar deserts weren’t available. On a ketogenic diet, the addiction is overcome more easily in shorter time. Can’t say how long, but it can be done.
Reply: James Hardiman on January 24, 2013 at 11:57 am said:
One of the most important things for me was to understand what sugar was doing to me. Slightly easier for me: I am (was) a type 2 diabetic and can feel what sugar is doing.
But watching this, for instance, really changed my mind about sugar!
Reply: lisa on December 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm said:
i have been hunting for a good meal plan for the
ketogenic diet and so glad i came across this. I just finished a 7 day protein only diet, eating every 2 hours, and lost 4 kilos. but got bored with it. And was just too much. I am starting the Ketogenic diet tomorrow. Thanks for this information!!
Reply: Mimi Skye on December 4, 2012 at 10:04 am said:
Thanks for the great info on this diet. I distinctly remember a similar type of diet I went on in the early 80s after reading a book called “Eat Fat and Grow Slim”. I can’t remember the author though. The diet actually worked for me and I lost a lot of weight. I never went back on it later when I needed to lose weight, because someone scared me off it. They told me it would affect my kidneys and arteries. Now that I am many years older (I’m 55), I wonder if I should give it another try. I need to lose about 20 pounds, but am worried this diet might have a negative effect on my health. Could you advise me of what I should do? If I go on the low GI diet, how many grams of carbs can I eat per day and how much can I expect to lose in a week?
Thanks for your reply.
All the best to all,
Reply: mhikl on January 24, 2013 at 11:04 am said:
Mimi, the danger is in too much protein. I have mentioned elsewhere that we need very little protein to repair, replace and build muscle. Any excess is turned into carbs and uric acid which you do not want- taxing on the body and kidneys.
Digesting carbs takes a lot of minerals and vitamins so your actual need of these are reduced when you go Ketogenic. Taking a few good supplements is a good idea. A total B formula, Potassium (No Salt brand), a quarter tsp Borax (see laundry aisle – Check out Walter Last on Boron/Borax- the missing mineral) Magnesium (be careful of calcium-again check Walter Last) some copper, zinc and vitamin D (lots). Check out Walter Last. You will find on the Ketogenic diet that you are healthy, tend not to retain water and your memory improves.
Reply: Amber on November 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm said:
6 pounds in 48 hours? i dont know that i beleive it.
Reply: stacey on November 30, 2012 at 1:51 pm said:
…I know, I didn’t either, but I knew it would shed pounds (a few years ago I went on the Dr. Bernstein diet which is strict and different than the ketogenic diet, however still you are in ketosis) and it had the same effect, I lost 7 pounds in 2 days then of course it slows down…I started this diet 8 days ago and have lost 16 pounds! So crazy! I think I may have lost more if I didn’t consume so much dairy (cream in coffee and cheese) I also have started to add salsa and mayo which could slow down the process as well.
Anyway, it took me 2 1/2 days to start getting a good keto burn going (dark purple on the keto strips)….and i should say too don’t expect to have a bowel movement every day on this diet…because I sure don’t lol (maybe too much info tee hee)
I’m not going to lie I still want to eat delicious carbs and sugary foods because I remember what they taste like, not because I’m craving them…and I miss fruit, but remember all in good time you can start to reintroduce foods once you reach your goal weight
Reply: PaleoJock on December 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm said:
Ever notice how puffy and swollen the carboholics (those addicted to carbohydrates) look? Much of that swollen puffiness is the result of the body’s efforts to handle the sugar overload. I’m no biochemist, but my laymen’s understanding is that the body will storethe sugar (a known toxin) where ever it can until it can be abated.
From a 10,000 foot view: When we adopt a ketogenic diet, we cut off the sugar supply, allowing the body time to detoxify; ridding itself of the deadly poison. We first see this as rapid weight-loss and even reduced circumference of certain body parts. Then we start burning our own fat as fuel as we were designed to.
This works! I write this to encourage the skeptical. I lost 68 lbs (US) from March 18 – July 1st-effortlessly, with no exercise due to a back injury. Metabolically, I’m in good shape. My numbers are in the FUNCTIONAL (as opposed to clinical) ranges according to my ND.
Reply: Kayleessa on January 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm said:
Wauw, that’s amazing!! Can you tell me how your daily/weekly meal plan was?
Reply: cavenewt on January 11, 2013 at 10:24 am said:
There is an initial rapid weight loss that is mostly water.
Yes, it can be a long-term diet. I’ve been reading about the metabolic effects of carbs for the last three years, and am convinced it’s the way to live; but over a period of time you will settle on a degree of carblessness that works for you. I am essentially zero-carb (less than 20g/day) and have been so for 2 years.
Reply: Gloria on November 30, 2012 at 12:20 am said:
Sounds similar to The Atkins Diet. Can you explain how they differ? and is this diet somthing people stay on indefinately?
Reply: Yoly Vargas on November 29, 2012 at 11:17 am said:
Hi, thank you for the great info! Do you know what would be a good replacement for the eggs in the morning? I don’t eat eggs It’s a mental thing… lol.. but I do love the rest of your sample eating plan! THANKS
Reply: Miriam on November 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm said:
I also hate eggs. Have since childhood–I think it’s the texture? But even if the texture is hidden, I could never stand things that had a lot of egg flavor, like a quiche, french toast, that kind of thing. So here’s what I do, without eggs:
I’ve been doing this diet for us a couple weeks now (just found this blog today and was interested to read it). It’s been great–lots of energy, weight loss, never hungry. (But I’ll specify here that I haven’t been going for 20 carbs or less specifically, though I have been always under 50.)
Since I don’t eat eggs I’ve been at a bit of a loss, too. For breakfast I often eat a 2-3oz steak (I buy bigger ones on sale, then cut them in half and freeze). I also eat plenty of fresh-cured bacon from a great local butcher (he does turkey bacon and beef bacon, traditional “American bacon” and also English bacon, or “back-bacon.” So we change it up each week to get variety) and sometimes beef or pork sausage (again fresh from the butcher, not mass produced). Probably 20 different kinds, from Farmer’s Pork to Sicilian, so lots of variety in those, too.
I also make my own sausage (the “patty” kind, if you are American or have been there and know what I mean) with fresh ground beef and the necessary spices.
I also will sometimes have some full fat, plain yogurt (which I happened to love even before: never liked sweetened yogurt) and I get unadulterated whipping cream and whip it up with some ground nutmeg and cinnamon to put on my coffee in the morning.
Breakfast is my main meal of the day. The rest of the day I eat only when hungry (which isn’t nearly as often on this diet), and then usually cheese, some sliced peppers and cucumbers with a little feta, a few almonds, some pepperoni or salami, occasionally some fresh cream with a handful of raspberries, celery with a teaspoon or two of natural peanut butter.
For dinner I make us a big salad–lots of greens, bell peppers, cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, crumbled feta or grated chedder or smoked edam, a few olives, a little carrot (usually about 1/3 a medium carrot sliced between the two of us) and all the dressing we like (so long as it’s not full of sugar, as many dressings are. Check, or make your own!). I’ll bake some chicken (wrap in foil, pour in some white wine and a little lemon juice; bakes up quickly in a very hot oven, nice and juicy) and cut it up on top. Or sometimes I’ll do the same with some fish, though we don’t eat that on top. Also sometimes stuff a chicken breast with some cheese and 2-3 slices of pepperoni and bake with some butter. Or steak (also good on salad). If we’re not really hungry, we’ll just eat the salad with no meat. If I’m hungry in the evening (which is very rare) I’ll have a slice or two of cheese, or some decaf coffee with a big scoop of spiced whipped cream.
As you can see, not perfectly ketogenic (a few carbs sneak in there), but delicious, sustainable for the long-term, and working really well for us. We have been losing weight at a steady rate of a probably 3-4 pounds a week, but even more than actual pound loss is the change in how we look. Even when the scale isn’t registering much of a difference, all our clothes fit better, we look better in them, our faces are noticeably thinner.
Reply: Karina on November 23, 2012 at 4:29 am said:
Hi Mark,the info on ketogenic diet is great! I have one question: is it butter aloud? If I m having grilled meat with butter on top is it fine? I don t really like oils to much so I would go for butter.I’m on keto diet for 3days it s my secund time when I try to follow this diet and I m not hungry but I would eat something sweet… Thank Karina
Reply: Ashley on November 28, 2012 at 8:32 am said:
Butter is allowed! But make sure it’s real butter.
Reply: Stacey on November 16, 2012 at 7:16 am said:
Thanks so much for sharing, this website is absolutely great! I was just wondering if you had experienced nausea, headaches and lethargy when beginning the diet, how long it lasted for and if you found anything that helped get you through it. Thanks again!
Reply: cavenewt on December 26, 2012 at 10:13 am said:
AKA “Atkins flu”. It will pass. Be patient.
Reply: Lily White on November 15, 2012 at 10:18 am said:
I was wondering how you personally calculate the amount of protein you need?
Reply: PaleoJock on December 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm said:
Do: Chew your food thoroughly. Google (or Bing or Yahoo or whatever) the importance of chewing.
Do: Forget about calculations-just eat until you are satisfied. Listen to your body, it will tell you if it needs more protein, more green leafy vegetables, etc.
Do: Follow the menu plan(s) laid out on this site.
Don’t: Get hung up on measurements and calculations (at least not for the first 90 days or so). You are effetively changing your body’s metabolism and your requirements may even change; now that you’re consuming more real foods that your body was designed to eat.
Reply: Brian on November 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm said:
This is great way to get the advanced keto diet info to the average person. I will just correct one thing (and this is totally being picky) – but in talking about beer…beer contains a sugar maltOSE and not maltASE. Maltase is what our body uses to breakdown maltose. However, since beer is in fact the “devil’s poison,” it should all be avoided altogether. Thanks, Mark
Reply: Norm and Sheree Perkins on November 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm said:
Thank you, Mark, for putting this in “layman’s terms” for us. We have a tropical fruit farm on the east coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Tending the farm in our early 60′s has become a “work smarter, not harder” proposition and your explanation of the basic ketogenic diet has been a breath of fresh air to us. Looking forward to dropping the extra pounds that slow us down! Tonight we will toast to you.
Aloha, Norm and Sheree
Reply: LS on November 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm said:
Mark, Doesn’t the nightly glass of wine adversely affect the Ketogenic status? (I’d love to have one glass of red wine
Reply: Heather G on November 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm said:
Thanks for this post. I searched Ketogenic diet and found your post to be exactly what I needed. It sums it up in a great way. I’m embarking on this (as soon as I get my fill of halloween candy). Thanks so much!
Reply: Ryan on November 1, 2012 at 10:57 am said:
I’m just about to embark on this diet today in preparation for my wedding in 6 months time. The goal is to lose 50-60lbs in that time frame. My question is, is salsa a good thing to use while cooking? I enjoy cooking my chicken in it, as well as in my eggs in the morning. It adds a lot of character and flavour I find. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks.
Reply: James Hardiman on December 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm said:
Salsa is great … provided you made it yourself and know what’s in it.
But not too much (tomatoes are fruit).
Reply: Genievee on November 1, 2012 at 4:08 am said:
5 months ago I used to weigh 248 lbs. I tried doing the keto diet based on my own research and after a series of frustrated attempts at losing weight through low fat diets. After a little over 5 mos, I am now 198 lbs. Somehow I have reached a plateau and I want to find out ways to break this weight loss plateau.
Reply: Gord 235, Vancouver on October 27, 2012 at 10:30 am said:
Thanks for this blog Mark. It is just what I was looking for as I am not a body builder which most of the other online stuff covers. Also, thanks for recommending Taube’s book. You have done a good job of filtering through all the junk and giving us the important basics.
Reply: jjsaavedra on October 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm said:
1. bad breath. did it happend to you? Been reading some people had it while on the diet,
2. Cheese? I was reading about the bulletproof diet (a kind of Paleo diet) and they… well, are not so much into cheese. So why cheese in this one?
3. For how long did you do this, and what results? Is this diet good to burn any kind of fat? Like belly fat, chest fat, etc.?
I’ll follow this diet starting monday, mainly because of the cheese, haha.
Oh, and how do you cook your meals? butter? Oil? Oven?
Reply: PaleoJock on December 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm said:
I’m posting this weeks after you asked the questions but I just found this site today. Hopefully you started and were successful. If yes, great! Let’s hope others will benefit from my answers.
About cheese. I stuck with hard cheeses aged for at least one year. To me they are more flavorful therefore I use less. Try grating the cheese over the top of your dish AFTER cooking. The bacteria consume a fair amount of the lactose (sugar) during fermentation, in hard cheeses, leaving very little for us. In this case, a slice of American cheese is not equal to say 2T of an aged Parmesean.
About bad breath. Bad breath can happen as you begin to burn fat for fuel. I drink tea made from mint leaves steeped in ht water. I also chew a leaf or two. Grow some mint in a pot. It’s a hearty plant and rolling your own is less expensive.
About weight and belly fat. At first I lost weight (according to the scale), like 7 pounds on day five. Then, my belly became visibly smaller around day 10. I moved to a new hole in the belt after two weeks. I realized an overall reduction in body fat.
Reply: Samantha on October 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm said:
I was born without a thyroid and lose and gain weight easily I’m a 140 pound 21 year old girl so is this going to work for me?
Also I seen there was not much fruits on that list so dose that mean I can’t have any at all. Can I get a list of all foods I can eat and not? Sorry for all the questions
Reply: mark on October 20, 2012 at 5:08 am said:
Samantha you need to consult your doctor about your specific condition. Beware of following generic advice in popular books or on the Internet on blogs like mine that are designed for the “average” person. You are a special case (good special) and need to get tailor made advice on how to proceed.
Reply: Ruby on October 12, 2012 at 2:57 am said:
Im keen to start the ketosis diet for about a 4 week period and after the 4 week period i will start to bring back grains like oats, quiona, Amaranth etc. for breakfast and I will also bring back fruit and more carb dense vegetable and legumes. But im wondering how much i should increase my carb intake after the diet like should i add back 50g/week? Also my body dosn’t respond well to red meats so is it ohk if im only consuming turkey, chicken, tuna, salmon and other fish?
I also have a vegan protein powder that has 6gs of protein per serve and it is made out of carob- will that kick me out of ketosis? and is almond milk allowed? there is about 2g/250mls.
Sorry for all the questions, but i would love you help! cheers,
Reply: mark on October 20, 2012 at 5:06 am said:
For me the ketogenic diet is not sustainable because of the bad breath that it creates. So I think switching to a low GI diet, which is what you’re describing, is a great idea.
I’m not a big fan of protein powders and other artificial foods. I prefer getting a complete protein by, for example, mixing rice and lentils. [That will give you all the aminos you need].
You’ll probably find you exit the ketogenic state as you start eating low GI, but that’s OK because I don’t think of the ketogenic diet as a lifestyle. It’s more a rapid “cutting” technique to get off that extra stubborn fat.
Reply: Bud on October 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm said:
Hi Mark! Thanks for the info on the ketogenic diet. One thing kept catching my eye. Several times you mention having blood glucose between 0 & 200. If you have a blood glucose of zero, you are dead. I assume you were measuring with urine sticks. If that’s the case, the numbers make more sense and you are measuring the glucose that is spilling into your urine. Someone with a normal blood sugar (between 60 & 100 after a 12 hour fast) will spill zero glucose in their urine. Someone with an abnormally high blood sugar will spill glucose in their urine.
Reply: Rex on September 27, 2012 at 7:10 am said:
Here’s what I find confusing, and perhaps you could help clear it up.
If a person is dieting (in a calorie deficit every single day) but regularly spikes his or her insulin levels with high GI carbs, what happens? Where does the body get energy if these insulin spikes prevent the use of fat stores for fuel? Does the body burn up muscle tissue? Does the body simply slow its metabolism until the insulin spike is over? Where does the low carb advantage become obvious between two dieters who are in a calorie deficit, but one is eating 60% carbs and the other is eating 15% carbs?
Reply: Neill on September 1, 2012 at 5:50 am said:
Quick question. Is the wine not full of sugars, which would count as carbs? Is it the alcohol that helps the fat burn in your opinion? In which case, could you substitute it for something with less sugar?
Reply: Michelle on September 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm said:
I have the same question. Everyone says stay away from alcohol during ketosis. What about the wine do you think helps (as I sit here staring at a bottle of Chardonnay that I would love to crack open).
Reply: Carlos Ferrand on July 23, 2012 at 6:30 am said:
Excellent explanation about the process but I wonder if you can go on indefinitely with this diet. I follow the low GI way of eating which includes lentils and those low GI beans and have been able to loose weight and keep it off for two years.
Reply: mark on July 24, 2012 at 9:22 am said:
Carlos I strongly recommend reading “Why we get fat” by Gary Taubes. Most of the book is dedicated to explaining why you can reduce your carb intake to 50g per day or less and thrive – and why it’s OK to replace those carbs with fat. It goes against everything that nutritionists, health experts and government agencies have been teaching us for 5 decades, so many people find the change “radical” or “absurd” but the science is solid. Read the book.
Reply: ron dovzak on October 23, 2012 at 9:30 am said:
I haven’t read Gary Taubes’ book yet but I remember Atkins specifying 20-25 grams as the upper limit for allowable CHO intake per day!!
Reply: James Hardiman on December 21, 2012 at 6:24 am said:
Cauliflower: fat+protein almost 2, carbs 5.3, so no; carbs are too high.
But if you go look up cabbage, you’ll find the ratio is still all wrong, BUT the carbs are pretty low. Now look up butter (NOT margarine!). Fat very high. So put a BIG chunk of butter on your cabbage and you are fine.
Elsewhere I commented about balsamic vinegar. Look up balsamic vinegar and you will find it’s carbs are about 3. Look up cider vinegar: carbs about 0.13 from memory. But also look up cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Fat very high. So if you make a salad dressing with either balsamic or cider vinegar, the ratio will be fine.
On this basis of combining things to get the ratio right, you might be tempted to think about cauliflower cheese as a dish. But the cheese sauce has milk in it, and you’d need a TON of cheese to get the ratio anywhere NEAR right, and then you’d be down to going over total carbs for the day (keep it under 20-30).
My thanks to Elaine Cantin (she cured herself of breast cancer in two weeks on a Ketogenic diet) for this simple formula. You can also use it when reading ingredient labels. Fat+Protein compared with carbs. Fat+Protein needs to be more than three times carbs, preferably five times. And if you have eggs fried in coconut oil with SUGAR FREE bacon (try Canadian bacon, in my supermarket it’s the only sugar free bacon) then the ratio is huge.
Using MMs diet plan, plus this formula, I got into the middle of the ketostix in one day.
Also, try looking up lettuce, or any other leafy salad stuff. No fat, no protein, some carbs. Whoops! ratio all wrong. Now look up Helman’s mayo (NOT the light version). Now you not only CAN have mayo on your salad, but you MUST have mayo (or an oil and vinegar dressing) on your salad.
And, if you check the numbers, you can’t have milk in your coffee but you can have cream in your coffee!
Just don’t go too mad! Total calories for the day can’t be too high, either.
The formula also explains why MM’s glass of red wine with a slice of cheese works.
Reply: Kimmer on December 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm said:
Thanks for all your information! I will actually be traveling to Seattle to cook for my Mom who is in the beginning stages of her fight with cancer, and your post has been very helpful. I plan on making it look and taste so great, she wont even know she’s fighting cancer!
Reply: James on December 27, 2012 at 7:03 am said:
Our prayers go with you. I wish we knew all this stuff a year ago; our Mom might still have been with us in person, rather than just her spirit at the Xmas table!
She was fighting the early stages of Alzheimer’s and I believe a switch to ketogenic might have helped her (mind you, she just loved those wheat/sugar-based carbs too much!)
Reply: James Hardiman on December 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm said:
I take it back! I just spent half an hour checking ingredients of commercial mayo. Yuk. They all contain soy, canola, a whole mess of seed oils.
Make your own mayo using eggs, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar (organic cider vinegar). Unless you’re good and have a strong arm for whisking, use a food processor and add the oil SLOWLY in a thin stream until the mayo thickens. Add garlic for extra health-giving properties.
So, if you make your own mayo, or can get mayo only made with olive oil, vinegar, eggs, then it’s great.
Otherwise … don’t go there!
That’s my recommendation.
Reply: mhikl on January 24, 2013 at 10:36 am said:
James, I find olive oil difficult to make mayo with and then I found grape seed oil and it tends to work better. I also chill my oil before making. Just a thought. I have thought about using some home made lard (never use the store bought stuff as it is so processed.) I suspect that a bit of lard would help thicken the mayo.