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Any time you start a new diet, there is a learning curve where it takes some time getting used to it, and the keto diet is no different.
There tend to be some common mistakes people make when they first start keto, but by knowing about them know, you can be sure to avoid them. I’ve answered all the keto questions I typically get asked.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make on Keto?
Not Tracking Everything
The first thing you need to do when you are on the ketogenic diet is track absolutely everything you consume. A common mistake people make is assuming they know their carb amounts since they are eating a lot of low-carb foods, but are still going over those 20 net carbs a day.
The only way to know for sure is to track your macros. This also helps you keep an eye on other macros like your protein, fat, sugar, and fiber. Don’t forget to also add in seasonings, oils, and flavorings as those sometimes contain carbs as well.
Failing to Add in Enough Veggies
While some people can do the keto diet without any vegetables, it is not recommended. You need your veggies for vitamins and minerals, particularly for fiber and reducing your overall protein levels. Veggies help to keep you full and can combat some of your cravings. Try to have at least one serving of vegetable a day, but preferably with each meal.
Constantly Checking Your Ketones
When you are on the keto diet, you are trying to get into ketosis. This is what allows you to lose weight as your body begins burning fat for fuel. Many people need to know they are in ketosis so they will use strips and other monitoring devices to check their ketones.
There are many reasons your ketone levels might be off on certain days, so the stress it produces is really not worth it. Just stick to your 20 net carbs a day, focus on healthy eating with the right macros, and you should be just fine with staying in ketosis.
Eating Too Much of Something
With any diet you are on, balance is key. Even on the ketogenic diet, you can have too much of a good thing. Focus on portion sizes and balance out your meals and snacks so that you are not constantly eating just one type of food all the time. There is a possibility you are eating too much of one fat, too much dairy, too much cheese. Try to mix up your meals and snacks, focusing on the overall nutrients as well as those net carbs.
Failing to Prep and Plan
Another common mistake people make is not planning ahead. Keto is one of those diet plans where you really need to keep track of everything you eat. This makes it hard to just grab something without knowing how many net carbs it contains. It is best that you plan all of your meals and snacks ahead of time, and prep as much as you can so you aren’t grabbing for a high-carb convenience food just because you’re not sure what to eat.
What are the Side Effects of Being on Ketosis?
A big part of the ketogenic diet is entering ketosis, where your body produces ketones. When this happens, you begin burning fat for energy, helping you to lose weight at a more rapid pace. It isn’t always easy to know when you have reached ketosis, but there are definitely some side effects you can keep an eye out for.
This is often the first thing people notice when they start a keto diet and first get into ketosis. It won’t happen to everyone, but if you notice you have flu-like symptoms and have been on keto for about a week or so, it could be that you are now entering ketosis.
Some of these symptoms might include dizziness and lightheadedness, hot flashes or cold sweats, muscle cramps, increased temperature, and feeling queasy. Sometimes the symptoms are subtle, other times you feel like you can barely get up. This is most often from not getting enough electrolytes while on keto, so luckily there is an easy remedy.
Thirst and Frequent Urination
Being in ketosis is a natural diuretic, which means food and water is going to move more quickly through your digestive system. You may notice that you are urinating and using the restroom much more often than you used to, sometimes getting up more than once in the middle of the night. It does subside a little bit, but having to urinate frequently while in ketosis is a good thing. Since you are urinating more often, expect to have more thirst as well.
Reduced Hunger and Cravings
A major benefit to ketosis is that your hunger and cravings are reduced, another reason you should stick to keto even if it is hard in the beginning. Once you reach the stage when you notice you aren’t as hungry as you used to be and your sugar cravings are gone, that is usually a good indication that you are in ketosis. The hunger can vary, from feeling like you are only hungry once a day, to just having slightly less cravings than on a normal day.
Decreased Energy for Some
While some people have more energy while on keto, others experience less. This fatigue is often just in the beginning of entering ketosis before your body adjusts to the changes. Don’t stress about getting in a lot of exercise during this time; just stick to your diet and make sure you are getting your electrolytes.
The Keto Flu: What it is and What You Can do?
One of the most common questions asked from people who are doing the keto diet is why they feel ill in the beginning. This is often called the keto flu, since many symptoms mimic those symptoms of having the flu. The good news is that not only can it be avoided, but it is very easy to treat. Here are some things to know about the keto flu.
What is the Keto Flu?
The keto flu is not a real medical condition, but rather a term people have used for experiencing a combination of symptoms. It occurs when you enter ketosis during the ketogenic diet, if you are low on electrolytes. This will often create some physical and mental symptoms that are similar to what you experience when you have the flu, which is where the name comes from.
The keto flu does not last long and can be remedied simply by replenishing your electrolytes. However, it can be hard to get through especially in the beginning when you are adjusting to being on the keto diet.
How do you Know you Have it?
If you have ever had the flu, you know what the symptoms are like. They are not usually as severe as when you have the actual flu, more like the first symptoms you experience when you get ill. It is common to have lightheadedness and dizziness, fatigue in your body, headaches, and nausea.
You might have trouble eating, find you have no appetite, or experience muscle aches and pains. You may also have some different mental or behavioral symptoms like irritability.
What Can you do About it?
The fastest way to get rid of the keto flu is to replenish your electrolytes, as this is most often the cause. Not only are you losing electrolytes from the frequent urination during keto, but you might not be getting the salt and potassium intake you once were due to the change in your diet. You need the three main electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Sodium is through salt, so salting your foods and having high-salt liquids like broth and pickle juice make you feel better quickly. For potassium, try veggies with this nutrient, like avocados. Magnesium supplements are also available.
Try making electrolyte water if you need to, by adding some pink salt and lite salt to a tall glass of water. This not only helps treat keto flu, but drinking it daily can keep you from experiencing these symptoms again in the future.
Can You Do Keto Without Veggies?
When you switch to a keto diet, one of the things you might be confused about is whether or not you can eat your vegetables. One thing to remember is that the ketogenic diet is not the same as the Atkins diet. You are not trying to eat a diet of primarily meat and cheese. However, in some cases, you don’t actually like veggies that much, so you would prefer to minimize them. Here are some things to know about doing keto without adding in vegetables.
Veggies Help Increase Your Fiber
Before looking at some ways to do the ketogenic diet without veggies, let’s first look at why you should try to add veggies to your diet. Aside from just the fact that vegetables are good for you and contain a lot of important nutrients you might not be able to get elsewhere, they also contain a good amount of fiber.
When you are on an extremely low-carb diet, your fiber is already reduced by not having grains, oats, and other fiber-rich foods. You need fiber to help with constipation, which sometimes occurs on this diet. Therefore, if you can handle veggies in even small amounts, it will be very helpful.
Be Careful of Your Protein Content
The next reason veggies are good is because they help to fill you up and keep you full, without adding to your protein content. Keto is not like a regular low-carb diet where you can eat unlimited amounts of meat and cheese. In fact, this is not a high-protein diet at all. It is a high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet. You are going to have a good amount of protein, but if you don’t have veggies to add to your meals, you are eating more animal protein that is going to increase your protein dramatically. You will need to be extra careful to look at your protein levels and keep them low if you intend to do keto without a lot of vegetables.
How to do Keto Without Veggies
If you are still adamant about doing the keto diet without veggies, first watch your fiber and protein content. At the very least, try to add an avocado every day, since it brings in more healthy fats while also providing about 10 grams of fiber. This makes one avocado about 3-4 net carbs, depending on how much you eat.
You should also try to add more nuts and seeds to your diet. These will add in more fiber and other nutrients you are missing out on by not eating a lot of vegetables.
How to Increase Your Protein Doing Keto?
Traditional low-carb diets are a little different from ketogenic diets in that they promote high protein through meat, cheese, and other sources, while keto looks for moderate protein. This is not a diet where you have as much protein as you possibly can. However, you may still be struggling to get enough protein, especially if you are on a vegetarian diet as well as keto. Take a look at these ways you can increase your protein.
Keep Your Protein Moderate
It is important that you first keep in mind your protein needs to be at a moderate level. When you calculate your macros, try not to go over 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. There are a lot of helpful calculators online that will give you all your macros, so that you know exactly how much protein o aim for each day, but also to keep it from getting too high for the ketogenic diet.
Go for Animal Protein First
If you are not getting enough protein after you have properly calculated your macros, one of the easiest ways while on a keto diet is to go for your animal protein. Most meat and seafood is at zero net carbs, which means you can have a good amount of it to increase protein, increase your fat, and not worry about increasing the carbs. Try to have a good combination of meat, from high-fat meat like pork and beef, to the leaner protein sources like poultry and fish.
Don’t Forget About Nuts
Nuts are great because they allow you to add in more protein, with more variety. They are one of the best sources of low-carb foods when you are on a vegetarian or vegan ketogenic diet as well. While you may not rely on them as much as other sources of protein, your nuts can also increase your fat in a delicious and healthy way.
For example, almonds are usually the top type of nut because they are loaded with nutrients. One serving of almonds has 6 grams of protein just on its own. Some other good options are walnuts, cashews, and pistachios.
Add in Some Eggs and Cheese
You can also have some dairy products, including most cheeses and eggs to increase your protein. You just want to be careful about milk because it contains sugars that will be higher in carbs. For non-dairy milk options, use coconut milk or almond milk.
What are Some Good Low-Carb Fruits?
As you know, the ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carb diet, consisting mostly of meat and seafood, cheese, veggies, nuts and seeds, and lots of healthy fats.
While fruit is not at the top of the approved list, there are some that you can have as long as you stay under your required macros for the day. Here are some of the low-carb fruits you can eat when you are on the keto diet.
Choose Berries First
Berries are among the best low-carb fruits you can have while you are on the keto diet. They are going to be the lowest in carbs, plus are filled with nutrients to help you have well-balanced meals and snacks. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries all have 6 grams of carbs for a single serving, which is about a handful of berries. They are great to add to your summer salads, have as a snack, or eat when you want something sweet without added sugars. Blueberries are also relatively low, but at about 12 grams of carbs per serving, aren’t the best option unless you are having less than a full serving of them.
Fruit Under 10 Grams Per Serving
There are also some other fruits that are relatively low as well, though you definitely should only have them when you have some extra net carbs left for the day. These are each around 10 net carbs or just below, so it is nearly half of the carbs you can have for the day.
However, if you find yourself at the end of the day with enough macros left, it is a great treat. They are also good if you decide to do carb cycling with days where your carbs are a little higher than 20 net per day.
Some low-carb fruits with 10 or less net grams per day are:
Other fruits tend to be too high in sugars, which then causes them to be higher in carbs. These include watermelon, bananas, apples, grapes, and cherries.
You don’t have to eat fruit while on the keto diet, but it is a good way to have something sweet, increase your nutrition, and break up the monotony of all your meats and veggies. You might be looking for something lighter or just a handful of berries as a quick and healthy snack, so it comes in handy knowing which fruit to turn to first.
Can You Do Keto Without Veggies?
As you begin meal planning and prepping for your ketogenic diet, it is important that you consider what veggies to add. You want to stay away from the high-carb, starchy vegetables, but there are still plenty of others to choose from. Vegetables are important for maintaining well-balanced meals, getting enough nutrients, and added benefits like extra fiber. Here are some excellent low-carb veggie options to add to your meals.
While avocados are actually a fruit, they are often in the vegetable category. They also happen to be one of the best types of produce you can have while on a keto diet. Avocados are an excellent source of potassium and fiber, two things that tend to be a little harder to get when you switch to the LCHF diet of keto.
Avocados also provide those healthy fats you need for heart health, to burn fat, and to fuel your body. A medium avocado usually has about 100 grams, which is approximately 13 total carbs. However, this avocado also has about 10 grams of fiber, so only 3 net carbs.
Dark, Leafy Greens
While most types of lettuce and greens are allowed on the ketogenic diet, you should try to eat the darker, leafy greens as much as you can. These tend to be more nutrient-dense and contain more fiber, which as you know, you need to try to get more of without having grains and oats. Some good dark, leafy greens include kale, spinach, romaine, and collard greens. These are all very low in carbs, especially when you remove the fiber. For example, a serving of 100 grams of spinach is less than 4 carbs, with 2 grams of fiber, so it is less than 2 net carbs for a big plate of spinach.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Both of these veggies should be at the top of your list of vegetables to eat on a low-carb diet. Cauliflower is great because it contains important nutrition, is very low in carbs per serving, and can replace a lot of the things you miss. For example, you can turn cauliflower into rice, mashed potatoes, even hash brown patties.
For a serving of cauliflower, it is only about 4 grams of carbs. Broccoli is also 4 grams of carbs, providing a lot of vitamins and minerals, and a filling vegetable for you to enjoy.
While you want to avoid the starchy vegetables like potatoes, and the veggies with a high sugar content, like corn and carrots, there are plenty of other options. Good options include zucchini and spaghetti squash, cabbage, asparagus, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, and green beans. Just watch your portion sizes and always track the carbs.
How do You Get More Fat Into Your Keto Diet?
Are you on the keto diet, but struggling to reach your fat content? If so, you’re not alone. It might seem like fat would be easy to get more of, but not when you consider the goal is 70-75% of your daily intake of calories being from fat. This is a lot when you start calculating it.
With keto, you need the fat so that you can enter ketosis, where your body is burning fat for fuel. Here are some easy ways to sneak in some more fat into your diet.
Stick to the Healthy Fats
Before you start adding more fats to your diet, you want to focus on the right types of fats. Healthy fats while on a keto diet will ensure that you maintain the right health and energy, while also increasing your fat intake to enter ketosis properly. Good sources of fat include animal protein, like beef, duck, and tallow, which are your saturated fats. Other saturated fats include clarified butter, regular butter, and coconut oil.
You can also have other healthy fats called monounsaturated fats, like olive oil and avocado oil. Then your fatty fish contain omega3s, which are also great to add to your diet.
Make Keto Coffee in the Morning
This is a quick and easy way to increase your fat intake each day without having to worry too much about it. For keto coffee, you are using the same premise as Bulletproof Coffee, but you don’t have to be as strict with where the coffee beans are sourced or the brand of fat added.
For a simple keto coffee, just blend a cup of brewed coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil, 1-2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, and a tablespoon of butter. You can change the quantities if you want, but this recipe has about 35 grams of fat just for one cup of coffee.
Use Fats When Cooking
Also make sure you are adding your healthy fats every time you cook. When making eggs, use real butter on the pan instead of butter spray. If you are going to make a big steak, don’t be afraid to add butter! Use olive oil or coconut oil if you are going to pan-fry anything or cook veggies on the stove. There are so many ways to add in fats while cooking, increasing the fat and the flavor at the same time. Top your foods with fats as you desire, from butter on veggies to oil in your salads.
What are Fat Bombs?
As you know, keto isn’t just about cutting carbs, but adding in more fats. You need healthy fats to enter ketosis, where your body actually burns more fat for energy. This is what makes the ketogenic diet so beneficial for weight loss and continued weight management.
Some people experience difficulty with their fat intake, which is where fat bombs come in. Here is more information about fat bombs and how they can help you.
When you begin looking up different keto recipes, you will often come across something called a fat bomb. This is nothing more than a small treat-like snack that gives you a nice boost of fat.
While it is often meant just to give you an easy way to eat healthy fats so you are reaching the 70-75% minimum of fat each day, they also provide other benefits. Fat bombs range in flavors, but often provide a nice sweet treat for you to enjoy while on keto.
The Purpose of Fat Bombs
As you know, the main purpose of fat bombs is to increase your fat. There are many days when as much as you try, you just can’t get your fat percentage up high enough. This often occurs when you have a lighter food day where you’re too busy to eat much more than a salad, you eat leaner protein like fish or chicken, or when you aren’t doing much cooking. During these days, you can enjoy a fat bomb that should already be stored in your refrigerator or freezer and ready to go.
Example of Fat Bombs
Here are some recipes that are popular for fat bombs, though you can definitely change them to fit your personal needs.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter
A classic fat bomb you will see often from other people is one made with chocolate and peanut butter. This gives you a sweet treat in a healthy, keto fat bomb. It typically includes peanut butter, cocoa powder that is unsweetened, and coconut oil. Many of the chocolate fat bombs use something to sweeten in, like Stevia.
Some fat bombs are just meant to boost your coconut oil for some healthy fats. These not only have coconut oil, but often include shredded coconut as well, so they are best if you actually like the taste of coconut. They frequently have other flavors as well, like vanilla or even dark chocolate chips that are raw and unsweetened.
How do You Increase Your Keto Fiber?
There are many macros and nutrients you need to focus on while you are following the ketogenic diet, and one of them is fiber. You might not have paid much attention to your fiber intake before, but it is really important on keto.
The reason is because without bread, grains, and legumes, you don’t have a lot of sources for fiber, which helps keep you regular. Here are some ways to get more fiber while on the keto diet.
Eat Your Greens
This is one of the most popular ways to get your fiber when you are on the keto diet. If you aren’t getting enough fiber from going low-carb due to not being able to have beans, legumes, and whole grains, vegetables might be your best solution.
Many green veggies will have a good amount of fiber, especially with your dark, leafy greens. These are more nutrient-dense in general than other lettuce, like iceberg, so try to eat spinach or kale before iceberg and other lighter lettuces. Other veggies with a good amount of fiber include brussels sprouts and cabbage.
If you like avocado and can get it fresh in your area, definitely pick some up. Avocados are one of the best things you can eat while on keto. It is high fat, but the healthy fats, easy to add to any meal, contains potassium, and also has a lot of fiber.
A medium avocado is about 13 total carbs, but since that amount has 10 grams of fiber, it makes it only 3 net carbs. This is hard to beat with other vegetables you get your hands on.
Don’t Forget About Flaxseeds
While many nuts and seeds have a small amount of fiber, none of them have as much as flaxseeds as compared to the low amount of carbs. Most of the carbohydrates in flaxseeds are not usable, so a serving is often considered no carbs or very little.
However, for every serving, or tablespoon, of ground flaxseeds, you are getting 2 grams of fiber. It might not seem like much, but it is easy to add to your low-carb smoothies, salads, and even soup if you make a keto-friendly version, making this a great option.
If you can fit it into your daily carb allotment, coconut meat also has a good amount of fiber, nearly as much as avocados.
What are Some Low-Carb Foods You Should Avoid?
While you want to keep your carbs as low as possible on keto, since you are only allotted 20 net carbs a day, there are some foods with zero or extremely low carbs that are still not good for you to consume. Try to stay away from these “no carb” or “low carb” foods and additives.
In terms of fats that you can have, margarine is among the worst ones to use when you are on a keto diet or any other diet. Margarine does have nearly zero carbs at 0.1 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon.
However, butter also has zero carbs, so there is no reason you shouldn’t go for the real thing. Margarine is made from vegetable oil, which is one of the few oils you want to avoid on the ketogenic diet.
A better option is to just get the regular, real butter, getting those fats without the added trans fats. Grass-fed butter is ideal, but when the choice is because non grass-fed butter and margarine, always go for the butter.
It can be tempting to have liquor on a regular basis since clear liquors have little to no carbohydrates, but they can stall your weight loss and even knock you out of ketosis. The reason they lead to a stall is because your body needs to burn off all the alcohol before it will burn fat.
In a typical day, the alcohol is burned instead of any fat, so you won’t lose anything during those days. Drinking occasionally won’t do much harm, but daily drinking can lead to no weight loss and might eventually knock you out of ketosis.
These sweeteners might have zero carbs, but they are still not good for you. Artificial sweeteners aren’t natural, and often lead to sugar cravings. The lack of carbs isn’t always worth being able to make faux sweets with them, since you might then crave the real thing. It is better to stick to the most natural sweeteners you can that don’t have carbs, like Stevia.
High Amounts of Protein
When you want something with high fat and no carbs, meat is usually the best option. However, meat, poultry, and seafood also have a lot of protein.
On a keto diet, your protein should be moderate, so try to break up your meals with more veggies, nuts, and even some berries for sweetness. Too much meat can knock your protein up a little too high.
What Should You Know About Sugar Alcohols?
During the ketogenic diet, you will begin reading labels on anything and everything you purchase. While cutting back on processed and packaged foods is highly recommended, there are still times when you might want to get a low-carb treat or snack from your nearby supermarket.
One thing you will notice with low-carb packaged foods is that they often include something about sugar alcohols. Here is more information on these and why they are important.
Sugar-Free Isn’t Really Sugar-Free
This is one of the most common misconceptions about sugar alcohols. While the artificial sweeteners and “natural” sugars found in your favorite low-carb or sugar-free foods don’t affect your daily carb count the way normal sugar does, they are still there.
These are known as sugar alcohols, which react in different ways. There are some sugar alcohols that don’t metabolize right, so while they are from natural sources, you might hit a stall eating too much of them. Other sugar alcohols, like maltitol, should be avoided because they are difficult to digest and can cause a lot of issues.
Types of Sugar Alcohols
When you are on the ketogenic diet, you should get used to reading labels on everything you eat. One thing you might notice is when looking at the nutritional label, there is something in there called “sugar alcohols”. This label is there to remind you that you can remove it – more on that later. But you might also see them listed under the ingredients. You probably recognize some sugar alcohols, while others aren’t as obvious right away. Some sugar alcohols include maltitol, erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, and isomalt.
Related Post: Carb Cycling for Beginners with 7-Day Meal Plan
The Bottom Line
Sugar alcohols aren’t necessarily bad for you, but you should note how you feel after consuming them. If you get a low-carb candy bar that is made with certain types of sugar alcohols, and you notice it keeps giving you stomach cramps, then your body is not digesting it properly. Some people tend to be more sensitive to them than others.
As far as their impact for keto itself, that will depend on how much you consume. In general, you can remove the sugar alcohols when determining net carbs, which many labels will show you.
This makes it easier to fit them into your daily keto carb allotment, but you should eat these treats sparingly and try to stick to the more whole, natural keto food options instead.
Are There Flour Alternatives for Baking?
If you want to do some baking while on keto, you still can! Many people think all baked goods and breaded fried foods are out, but that isn’t the case. While you won’t be making them the same way as you used to, there are still some flour alternatives that you can use if you are on a low-carb, high-fat diet like keto.
The first type of flour that is a good low-carb alternative to traditional flour is coconut flour. This is often preferred by people to almond flour, but you should really try both varieties until you find one you like the best. As you know, coconut is often used for keto recipes, from coconut oil to coconut milk, so why not the flour?
This flour is made from dried coconut flesh that is then milled and ground extremely fine into a flour. A little goes a long way, so keep that in mind if you are cooking or baking with it. About ¼ cup of coconut flour is 6 grams of carbs, but it also has 10 grams of fiber, so it is a great choice.
If you have ever purchased a low-carb baked good, there is a good chance it was made with almond flour. This flour is finely ground, processed from blanched almonds. This is done by removing the skins first, then getting it into the finely-ground flour you want for your baked goods. Almond flour has more protein and fiber than white and wheat flour, so it is a healthy option. There is also the added benefit of important nutrients like potassium and magnesium. However, some people have problems digesting the flour, so that is something to keep in mind. You get about half the amount of net carbs of almond flour than with coconut flour.
Both almond flour and coconut flour need to be refrigerated, since it can go bad much more quickly than regular flour. This is due to the processing it goes through. If neither of these work for you, there is also the option of using ground seeds as your flour option, such as sunflower seeds.
Some of the newer packaged low-carb baked goods are using sunflower seeds instead of one of these flowers, as it changes the nutrients and works better with some people’s digestion systems. Sometimes it is just a matter of experimenting.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast may sound like something you bake with, but it is actually used as a flavoring component for many ketogenic meals and snacks. It tastes like a nutty type of cheese, so you can do everything from top salads to add it to your soups. Here are some things to know about this unique ingredient.
About Nutritional Yeast
So, what is nutritional yeast exactly? It isn’t actually the type of yeast you bake bread with, in order to get it to rise. This is actually a type of yeast that grows on molasses. It is then deactivated so that it loses its leavening ability, similar to regular yeast. With a silly name, it might seem like a silly ingredient, but it has many excellent benefits. It is only recently when people on the ketogenic diet have discovered how and why it is useful to them in particular.
Why it is Beneficial
Nutritional yeast gets its name from all the health benefits it contains. Before talking about how you can use it for keto, let’s look at the basic health benefits of this ingredient.
Nutritional yeast contains a high amount of B vitamins, including B1, 2, 3, and 6, or thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine, respectively. It also has a good amount of fiber, protein, B12, and folic acid. This is all in just a tablespoon of the yeast.
How to Use it for Keto
For keto, the reason nutritional yeast is a good ingredient is because it provides a lot of fiber, protein, and a cheese-like ingredient without actually using dairy. You might be lactose-intolerant or you may not want to use dairy quite as much, making this perfect.
It is in powder form, so it is the perfect way to replace parmesan cheese in recipes. You can top soups or salads, or cook and bake with it. A single serving of nutritional yeast is just 1 grams of net carbs since it has 4 grams of fiber. It is also low-calorie, yet moderate protein amount at 8 grams of protein per serving.
Health food stores are the best places to get nutritional yeast, since you can get it in its purest form. As with all ingredients you use, check to make sure it hasn’t gone through processing where it might have added ingredients. You want it to be the most natural possible. Many health food stores also offer nutritional yeast in bulk.
Can You Drink Alcohol While on Keto?
After being on keto for a while, there may come a time when you want to go to happy hour with co-workers or enjoy a cocktail with friends or family. While this isn’t something you should do all the time, you can still have alcohol and follow the ketogenic lifestyle.
Just like anything else, you need to know how many carbs are in the alcoholic beverages. Here are some things to know about drinking alcohol while on keto.
Stick to the Clear Liquors
The first thing you should do if you want to have alcohol while on keto is to choose your liquor. This does tend to be better than other alcohol as far as the carbs and calories go. When choosing liquor, the easiest thing to do is go with your clear liquors.
They tend to be lower in carbs before you mix anything with them. It is often what you mix liquor with that increases the carbs and other macros, so try to have it straight, or combined just with water. Some good clear liquors to try are rum, tequila, gin, and vodka. Some colored liquors are okay, but in lesser quantities, like dark rum or whiskey.
Stick to White Wine
As far as wine goes, the amount you have determines whether or not it will fit in your keto diet. For the most part, they all average around 3-3.5 carbs per serving, but white wines do tend to be lower in carbs overall. Sauvignon blanc is the wine with the least amount of carbs, with 2.7 carbs per glass.
Other white wines that are good options are pinot grigio, champagne, and chardonnay. Stay away from Riesling, which is sweet and is over 5 carbs per glass. For red wines, the best ones are pinot noir and merlot.
Light Beer Occasionally
If you are more of a beer fan, you can still have beer, but like anything on keto, you need to know the carb count and make sure you are tracking it. It is a better idea to plan on when you will have beer, so that you eat mostly low carb foods for the rest of the day.
Many light beers will have about 3-5 net carbs beer can or bottle, so it can add up fast when you are only allotted 20 carbs in the entire day. This is why tracking while on keto is so important.
What is Carb Cycling With a Keto Diet?
As you probably know, the ketogenic, or keto diet, requires you to follow an extremely low-carb diet. It is usually 20 net carbs a day, though some people can remain in ketosis with as little as 50 net carbs a day. There is a lot of talk about “cheat days”, where you eat what you want, as well as doing carb-cycling.
Carb-cycling is where you have some days where you increase your carbohydrates a small amount, then go back to the lower carb days for the rest of the week.
Why You Might Want to Try Carb Cycling
There are many excellent benefits to carb cycling, from helping with your mentality about being on a low-carb diet, to opening up the food options available to you. If you are someone that struggles with those 20 net carbs a day and really miss extra fruit and other healthier carbs, carb cycling will be perfect for you.
Every few days or so, you can enjoy a little more carbs and eat some of your favorite healthy foods, but you get right back into ketosis on the lower carb days.
It is also good for people who keep hitting plateaus. Many people find that if they can confuse their body every few days with different carb and calorie amounts, it is easier to avoid or get out of those weight loss stalls.
What to Be Careful of
Carb cycling sounds like a great idea, but there are also some challenges. The first challenge is that if you use it as an excuse to binge, you could end up hurting your body instead of helping it.
This can lead to cravings of sugar and high-carb foods you used to enjoy, plus it might make it harder to get back to the 20 net carbs the following day. It is best that you start slow, only going for the healthiest higher-carb foods on a carb-up day.
How to do Carb Cycling
The way you do carb cycling is really up to you. It is often an experiment to figure out what works best for your body and your comfort level. Some people might do a carb-up day every 3-4 days, while others like to do them once a week or even every two weeks.
If you are doing good on your keto diet and haven’t hit plateaus or struggled with cravings, try just every two weeks. Then if you have a week where you are craving something else, don’t stress and have a carb up day.
Tips for Success
To help the carb cycling option work for you, you should not do the first carb-up day until you have been in ketosis for about a month.
This is a good amount of time to get used to this way of eating before you increase your carbs. At that point, carb-up slowly, going up to maybe 50 net carbs, then gradually higher if it doesn’t affect you too much. Take it slow and keep close track of what you eat.
Should You Exercise While on the Ketogenic Diet?
Exercise is an integral part of being healthy, not just for weight loss, but for heart health, joint health, and being strong and fit. If you are wondering if and when you should exercise while on the ketogenic diet, this information is for you.
Benefits of Exercise
One thing to remember is that exercise is always going to be healthy and recommended, no matter what type of diet you are on. With weight loss, about 80% of it is diet, and 20% is exercise. Can you lose weight on keto without working out? Of course you can, but you will be missing out on a lot of benefits. Exercise has both physical and mental benefits for you. Here are some to keep in mind:
- It helps you burn more calories and fat
- You can get toned and fit with weight training
- You build up your endurance
- Exercise increases your energy daily
- You can relieve stress, anxiety, and tension
- It boosts your metabolism
- It is good for heart health
Common Challenges to Overcome
With that being said, you might find that doing keto and exercising is a little challenging. This is why you should start switching to the ketogenic diet first and only exercise when you feel ready. If you try to do too much, too quickly, it not only leads to stalls faster, but you can get overwhelmed. This is often what leads to giving up shortly after starting.
You might also discover that your energy levels are low or you don’t feel well in the beginning of keto. This happens when you first enter ketosis and have not yet perfected your diet or added in enough electrolytes. Focus on that first before you start a workout program.
Tips for Exercising While on Keto
If you are going to add in exercise, at least wait a few weeks after starting the diet. Get your electrolytes in check and make sure you have good energy levels. When you do start exercising, start slow, and only increase it when you feel ready. There is no need to rush and start a rigorous CrossFit routine on day 3 of your keto diet.
There are many reasons to exercise when you are on the keto diet, but don’t feel like you won’t lose weight because you don’t workout 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. Moderate exercise is perfectly fine.
How do You do Keto as a Whole Food Diet?
The keto diet is a popular option that encourages you to eat as many quality meats and veggies as you can get your hands on. However, you might also want to do a whole food diet at the same time. Here are some tips for combining a whole food diet with the ketogenic diet.
Stick to the Basics
To start with, you should try to keep your diet as simple as possible, especially when you are trying to combine keto with a whole foods diet. If you are new to keto in general, you don’t want to make it overly complicated. With a whole foods diet, you are trying to avoid anything processed, so your grocery list and meal planning can be very simple.
For keto and whole foods, the majority of your meals include meat and veggies, with some nuts, seeds, and a little fruit. Some people choose to have cheese, while others don’t. You can also enjoy eggs when doing keto as a whole food diet.
Avoid Packaged and Processed Foods
Naturally, you don’t want anything packaged or processed. This is where many people tend to go wrong with keto. If you are doing with all whole foods, then skip all the pre-packaged low-carb and keto snacks you find in stores. Instead, just stick to what you will be able to prepare at home.
You might decide to have some packaged food, like string cheese, but keep it to a minimum as much as possible.
Meal Plan and Prep
This is essential so that you are never stuck with nothing to eat, having to eat out or grab a quick packaged snack. If you want to eat all meals and snacks as a whole food keto diet, then plan out all your meals for the week, get ally our groceries, and prep what you can.
Put nuts and seeds into portion-controlled baggy, chop fruits and veggies, prepare salads ahead of time, and cook as much as you can before the week begins. By the time Monday rolls around, all your meals are ready to go.
Try to Cook All Meals Yourself
This is the simplest way to be sure you are eating whole foods while on a keto diet. If you make everything from scratch, you are going as whole as possible. Use fresh produce instead of canned, make your own meat instead of buying frozen, use grass-fed butter and free-range eggs as much as you can.
How do you do Keto While Vegetarian?
When people talk about low-carb diets like keto and other low-carb high fat (LCHF) diets, they often talk about eating a lot of meat, fish, and cheese. While this is a healthy way to do the diet, it isn’t the only way. You can also be a vegetarian and do the keto diet, there are just some things you need to keep in mind so you are full and healthy in the process.
Enjoy Vegetable Protein
Just like any vegetarian diet, without meat in your diet, you need to find other sources of protein. Some of the current vegetable proteins you enjoy, you can still have on keto, but be careful about some of them. For example, beans and legumes are unfortunately out.
To get your vegetable protein, look at the high-fiber and moderate-protein veggies like kale, broccoli, and mushrooms. You can also try meatless substitute products made from vegetables, but always look at the carb amounts and keep it under 20 net carbs a day if you are trying to follow the ketogenic lifestyle.
Try to Find Good Healthy Fats
A lot of people doing the keto diet will get a good portion of their fats from animal protein. On a vegetarian diet this isn’t possible, so you need to get your fat in other ways. Keto is a low-carb high-fat diet, so this is really important.
The fat helps you reach ketosis, while also keeping you full and giving you fuel for the day. Healthy fats that are vegetarian-friendly are usually in your oils, like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and butter. You can also get some healthy fats from different types of vinegar.
Fill Up on Keto Coffee
Keto coffee, or Bulletproof coffee, has a lot of benefits. Among them, is that you can replace breakfast with it, which gives you something that is vegetarian-friendly and will fill you up during or in between meals. If you struggle finding a good keto breakfast that doesn’t include meat or eggs (if you don’t eat eggs), try making a cup of keto coffee with brewed coffee, butter, coconut oil, and any cream ingredient.
The cream is optional, but there is heavy cream, or you can go dairy-free with almond milk that is unsweetened. The coffee also helps you get in your healthy fats, plus increases your metabolism in the morning.
Consider Eggs in Your Diet
If you don’t eat any meat products, but you do allow eggs, then this opens up a lot of opportunities for you. Eggs are great for breakfast or snacks, to go with your salads, or even to make a lettuce-wrapped egg salad sandwich.