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Keto Facts

What is Ketosis? Is It Safe?

Ketosis has become a prevalent issue recently, and it’s received its share of both praise and criticism. Is it healthy or dangerous to be in ketosis? And if it’s beneficial, should everyone be doing it?

Ketosis is a natural metabolic state.

It affects the body producing ketone bodies out of fat and using them for energy instead of carbs.

You can get into ketosis by following a particularly low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet.

In addition to quick weight loss, ketosis has several health benefits like decreased seizures in epileptic children.

Some people promote ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or keto diet. This diet intends to burn unwanted fat by making the body rely on it for energy, rather than carbs.

Ketosis also occurs in people with diabetes, as it happens if the body does not have enough insulin or misusing it.

Health problems linked with extreme ketoses, such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), are more likely to happen in people with type 1 diabetes.

In this guide, you’ll get all the information you need about ketosis. This includes its benefits, potential risks, and tips for successfully getting into ketosis:

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic condition in which fat provides most of the fuel for the body.

There is limited access to glucose (blood sugar), which serves as a fuel source for the body.

Ketosis is most often linked with ketogenic and very low-carb diets. It also happens during pregnancy, infancy, fasting, and starvation.

To go into ketosis, people generally need to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day and sometimes as little as 20 grams per day.

This requires removing certain food items from your diets, such as grains, candy, and sugary soft drinks. You also have to cut back on legumes, potatoes, and fruit.

When doing a very low-carb diet, insulin levels go down and fatty acids are released from body fat stores in large amounts.

Many of these fatty acids go to the liver, where they are oxidized and turned into ketones (or ketone bodies). These molecules can provide energy for the body.

Unlike fatty acids, ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain in the absence of glucose.

In normal circumstances, the body’s cells use glucose as the primary energy source. People can typically receive glucose from dietary carbs, including sugars and starchy foods.

The body breaks these down into simple sugars. Afterward, it both utilizes glucose as fuel or stores it in the liver and muscles as glycogen.

If there is not enough glucose available to produce enough energy, the body will adopt an alternative strategy to meet those needs. Specifically, it begins to split down fat stores and use glucose from triglycerides.

Ketones are a byproduct of this process. These are acids that build up in the blood and leave the body in the urine. In small amounts, they show that the body is breaking down fat. However, high levels of ketones can harm the body, leading to a condition called ketoacidosis.

Although both fasting and a keto diet will allow you to achieve ketosis, only a keto diet is sustainable over long periods. It appears to be a healthy way to eat that people can potentially follow indefinitely.

Keto Diet

Ketosis is a popular low-carb weight loss program. In addition to supporting you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry. It also helps you keep muscle.

For healthy people who don’t have diabetes and aren’t pregnant, ketosis kicks typically in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That’s around three slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can start ketosis by fasting, too.

A diet high in fat and protein but deficient in carbs is described as a ketogenic or “keto” diet.

As ketosis breaks down fat stores in the body, some keto diets aim to promote weight loss by creating this metabolic state.

Keto diets are usually high in fat. For instance, 20% of the calories may be protein, 10% may be carbs, and 70% may come from fat.

However, there are different versions. The nutrient proportions will depend on the version of the diet a person follows.

Following the keto diet can lead to short-term weight loss. This is partly because people are usually able to consume fewer calories without feeling hungry:

Benefits of Ketosis

Ketones provide sustainable energy. It produces BHB, in particular, which can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Hence, it helps reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.

Here are other benefits of being in nutritional ketosis.

Established benefits:

  • Appetite regulation: One of the first things people often notice when they’re in ketosis is that they’re no longer hungry all the time. Research has shown that being in ketosis suppresses appetite.
  • One study looked at people who lost weight by following a ketogenic diet for eight weeks and then reintroduced small amounts of carbs. The researchers reported that ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) was suppressed in those who remained in ketosis. Meanwhile, those who were no longer in ketosis had higher ghrelin levels.
  • Weight loss: Many people automatically eat less when they restrict carbs and are allowed as much fat and protein as they need to feel full. Because the ketogenic diet suppresses appetite, decreases insulin levels, and burns fat, it isn’t surprising it outperforms other diets intended for weight loss.
  • Reversal of diabetes and pre-diabetes: In pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes, ketosis normalizes blood sugar and insulin response. This can lead to discontinuation of diabetes medication.
  • Potentially enhanced athletic performance: Ketosis may provide an extremely stable fuel supply during sustained exercise in high-level and recreational athletes.
  • Seizure management: Maintaining ketosis with the classical ketogenic diet or less stringent Modified Atkins Diet (MAD) is proven effective for controlling epilepsy in children and adults who don’t respond to anti-seizure medication.

There are also researches suggesting that ketosis is beneficial for the following condition:

Although higher-quality research is needed to confirm these effects, much of the early research is very encouraging.

Does the Brain Need Carbs?

It’s a common misunderstanding that the brain doesn’t function without dietary carbs.

It’s true that glucose is preferred and that some cells in the brain can only use glucose for fuel.

However, a large part of your brain uses ketones for energy, mostly when you’re hungry or in a low-carb diet.

In fact, after only three days of hunger, the brain gets 25% of its energy from ketones. During long-term starvation, this number rises to around 60%.

There’s a long-standing yet misguided belief that carbs are necessary for proper brain function.

If you ask some dietitians how many carbs you should eat, they’ll likely respond that you need a minimum of 130 grams per day. This is to ensure that your brain has a steady supply of glucose.

However, this isn’t the case. Your brain will remain healthy and functional, even if you don’t eat any carbs at all.

Although it’s true that your brain has high energy demands and requires some glucose, ketones can help supply that demand. Moreover, your liver will always make small amounts of glucose your brain needs, even while fasting.

This process, known as gluconeogenesis (literally “making new glucose”), provides glucose to other parts of the body where it’s needed. This process allowed our hunter-gatherer ancestors to go for long periods without eating. That’s because stored body fats serve as the body’s fuel source.

In truth, being in ketosis doesn’t have any adverse effects on brain function. On the contrary, many people have reported that they feel sharper mentally when they’re in ketosis.

Also, your body can use protein to produce the little glucose the brain still requires during ketosis. This process is called gluconeogenesis.

Ketosis and gluconeogenesis are quite capable of meeting the brain’s energy needs.

Ketoacidosis: Treatment and Prevention

People often confuse ketosis and ketoacidosis. While ketosis is part of regular metabolism, ketoacidosis is a dangerous metabolic condition that can be fatal if left untreated.

In ketoacidosis, the bloodstream is flooded with too high glucose (blood sugar) and ketones.

When this happens, the blood becomes acidic, which is incredibly harmful.

Ketoacidosis is most often associated with uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. It may also happen in people with type 2 diabetes, although this is less common.

Also, severe alcohol abuse may lead to ketoacidosis.

Ketosis does not usually happen in people who eat balanced diets and regular meals. Reducing calorie and carb intake, exercising for extended periods, and pregnancy can trigger ketosis.

Although some people choose to put the body through ketosis, the chance of increased acid levels can be dangerous in those who are not controlling it.

In people with diabetes, ketosis and DKA can occur if they do not use sufficient insulin, skip meals, or an insulin reaction. An insulin reaction usually happens while asleep.

Doctors consider DKA an emergency, as it can point to a diabetic coma and even death. Emergency healthcare workers will usually administer treatment followed by hospitalization in an intensive care unit.

For those with diabetes, the emergency team will regularly take the following measures:

  • Fluid replacement: Doctors use this method to rehydrate the body and dilute the blood’s excess sugar.
  • Electrolyte replacement: This helps a person sustain heart, muscle, and nerve cell function. Levels in the blood often drop in the lack of insulin.
  • Insulin therapy: This can help doctors reverse the processes that led to ketoacidosis.

If you’re a healthy person, a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise can prevent ketosis.

Prevention

There are numerous ways a person with diabetes can prevent ketoacidosis, including:

  • Carefully observing their blood sugar levels at least three to four times per day
  • Managing insulin dosage with a specialist
  • Following a diabetes treatment plan

People with diabetes should keep an eye on their ketone levels with a test kit, especially when ill or under stress.

Negative Effects of Ketosis

There are a few possible side effects you may experience from ketosis and ketogenic diets.

These include headache, fatigue, constipation, high cholesterol levels, and bad breath.

However, most of the symptoms are temporary and should pass within a few days or weeks. Also, some epileptic children have developed kidney stones while on a diet.

And although very rare, there have been a few cases of breastfeeding women developing ketoacidosis. A low-carb or ketogenic diet likely triggers this.

People taking drugs that help lower blood sugar should consult with a doctor before attempting a ketogenic diet. That’s because the diet may reduce the need for medication.

Sometimes ketogenic diets are low in fiber. For this reason, it is a good idea to make sure to eat plenty of high-fiber, low-carb vegetables.

All that being said, ketosis usually is safe for healthy people.

Nevertheless, it will not suit everyone. Some people may feel great and full of energy in ketosis, while others feel miserable.

Signs and Symptoms That You’re In Ketosis

The ketogenic diet is a popular, effective way to lose weight and enhance your health.

When done correctly, the low-carb high-fat diet can increase blood ketone levels.

These provide a new fuel source for your cells and produce most of this diet’s unique health benefits.

On a ketogenic diet, your body undergoes many biological changes. This includes a decrease in insulin levels and increased fat breakdown.

When this happens, your liver starts creating high numbers of ketones to supply energy for your brain.

However, it can often be hard to identify whether you’re in ketosis or not.

Here are the common signs and symptoms of ketosis, both positive and negative.

Bad Breath

People frequently report bad breath once they reach full ketosis.

It’s a common side effect. Many people on ketogenic diets and similar diets, such as the Atkins diet, report that their breath takes on a fruity odor.

Elevated ketone levels cause this. The particular culprit is acetone, a ketone that exits the body in your urine and breath.

While this breath may be less than ideal for your social life, it can be a positive indication for your diet. Many ketogenic dieters brush their teeth many times per day or use sugar-free gum to solve the issue.

If you’re using gum or other options like sugar-free drinks, check the label for carbs. These may raise your blood sugar levels and reduce ketone levels.

Weight Loss

Ketogenic diets, along with regular low-carb diets, are highly useful for weight loss.

As dozens of weight loss studies have shown, you will likely experience both short- and long-term weight loss when turning to a ketogenic diet.

Fast weight loss can occur throughout the first week. While some people believe this to be fat loss, it’s essentially stored carbs and water being used up.

After the first rapid drop in water weight, you should be able to keep on losing body fat. More so, if you stick to the diet and remain in a calorie deficit.

Increased Ketones in the Blood

One of the trademarks of a ketogenic diet is reducing blood sugar levels and an increase in ketones.

As you proceed further into a ketogenic diet, you will start to burn fat and ketones as the primary fuel sources.

The most secure and accurate method of measuring ketosis is to measure your blood ketone levels using a specialized meter.

It calculates your ketone levels by measuring the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in your blood.

This is one of the primary ketones present in the bloodstream.

According to some experts on the ketogenic diet, nutritional ketosis is characterized as blood ketones ranging from 0.5–3.0 mmol/L.

Measuring ketones in your blood is the most reliable way of testing and is used in most research studies. However, the main downside is that it requires a small pinprick to draw blood from your finger.

Increased Ketones in the Breath or Urine

Another way to determine blood ketone levels is a breath analyzer.

It monitors acetone, one of the three primary ketones already in your blood during ketosis.

This gives you an idea of your body’s ketone levels since more acetone exits the body when you are in nutritional ketosis.

The use of acetone breath analyzers is reasonably accurate, though less accurate than the blood monitor method.

Another useful technique is to measure the presence of ketones in your urine daily with unique indicator strips.

These also measure ketone discharge through the urine and can be a quick and cheap method to assess your ketone levels each day. 

Appetite Suppression

Many people report reduced hunger while following a ketogenic diet.

The reasons why this happens are still being investigated.

However, it’s been suggested that this hunger reduction may be due to an increased protein and vegetable intake, along with alterations to your body’s hunger hormones.

The ketones themselves may also influence your brain to reduce appetite.

Increased Focus and Energy

People usually report brain fog, tiredness, and feeling sick when first starting a very low-carb diet. This is called the “low carb flu” or “keto flu.” However, long-term ketogenic dieters often state increased focus and energy.

When you start a low-carb diet, your body must adjust to burning more fat for fuel instead of carbs.

When you get into ketosis, a large part of the brain begins burning ketones instead of glucose. It can take a few days or weeks for this to start working correctly.

Ketones are a beneficial fuel source for your brain. They have even been tested in a medical context to treat brain diseases and conditions such as concussion and memory loss.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that long-term ketogenic dieters often report enhanced clarity and improved brain function.

Eliminating carbs can also help control and stabilize blood sugar levels. This may significantly increase focus and improve brain function.

Short-Term Fatigue

The primary switch to a ketogenic diet can be one of the most significant issues for new dieters. Its well-known side effects can involve weakness and fatigue.

These often cause people to quit the diet before they get into full ketosis and reap many long-term gains.

These side effects are natural. After several decades of running on a carb-heavy fuel system, your body is forced to adjust to a different approach.

As you might expect, this switch doesn’t happen overnight. It generally requires 7–30 days before you are in full ketosis.

To reduce fatigue while transitioning, it would be best to take electrolyte supplements.

Electrolytes are often lost because of the fast reduction in your body’s water content. It also has something to with removing salty, processed food from your diet.

When adding these supplements, try to get 2,000–4,000 mg of sodium, 1,000 mg of potassium, and 300 mg of magnesium each day.

Short-Term Decreases in Performance

As discussed above, eliminating carbs can lead to general tiredness at first. This includes an initial drop in exercise performance.

It’s primarily caused by the decrease in your muscles’ glycogen stores. This provides the primary and most efficient fuel source for all forms of high-intensity exercise.

After several weeks, many ketogenic dieters report that their performance recovers to normal. In certain types of ultra-endurance sports and events, a ketogenic diet could even be helpful.

What’s more, there are further benefits — essentially an increased ability to burn more fat during exercise.

According to one study, athletes who switched to a ketogenic diet burned up to 230% more fat when they exercise. 

While it’s unlikely that a ketogenic diet can spike performance for elite athletes, it should be enough for general exercise and recreational sports once you become fat-adapted.

Digestive Issues

A ketogenic diet usually includes a significant change in the types of foods you eat.

Digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea are common side effects in the beginning.

Some of these issues should subside after the transition period. Nonetheless, you should be mindful of different foods that may be causing digestive problems.

Also, make sure to eat plenty of healthy low-carb veggies low in carbs but still hold plenty of fiber.

Most importantly, don’t make the error of eating a diet that lacks diversity. Doing that may increase your risk of digestive issues and nutrient deficiencies.

Insomnia

One big concern for many ketogenic dieters is sleep, especially when they first change their diet.

A lot of people report insomnia or waking up at night when they first reduce their carbs dramatically.

However, this usually improves in a matter of weeks.

Many long-term ketogenic dieters insist that they sleep better than before after adapting to the diet.

Tips for Getting Into Ketosis

There are several ways you can get into nutritional ketosis safely and effectively.

  • Reduce daily net carb intake to less than 20 grams: Though you may not need to be this strict, eating fewer than 20 grams of net carbs every day allows you to achieve nutritional ketosis.
  • Try intermittent fasting: Going for 16-18 hours without eating may help you get into ketosis more quickly.
  • This is easy to do by merely skipping breakfast or dinner, which may feel very natural on an appetite-suppressing keto diet.
  • Don’t fear fat: Eating plenty of fat is a necessary and delicious part of ketogenic eating! 
  • Make sure to include a source of healthy fat at each meal.
  • Cook with coconut oil: Besides being a natural fat that remains stable at high heat, coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids. This kind of fatty acids can boost ketone production.
  • Exercise, if possible: During the transition into ketosis, you may not have enough energy to engage in vigorous physical activity. However, going for a brisk walk may help you get into ketosis more quickly.

Is Being in Ketosis Safe for Everyone?

Being in ketosis is safe for most people, and it can provide many health benefits. This includes weight loss, optimal blood sugar, and insulin levels, to name a few.

However, specific individuals should only follow a ketogenic diet under medical supervision. And others are best off avoiding it altogether.

Conditions that require medical supervision and monitoring during ketosis:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes on insulin or oral diabetes medications
  • High blood pressure on medication
  • Liver, heart, or kidney disease
  • History of gastric bypass surgery
  • Pregnancy

Conditions for which ketosis should be avoided:

  • Breastfeeding women
  • Individuals with rare metabolic conditions (i.e., enzyme deficiencies)

Conclusion

Several vital signs and symptoms can help you distinguish whether you are in ketosis.

Ultimately, if you’re obeying ketogenic diet guidelines and stay consistent, you should be in some form of ketosis.

If you want a more accurate assessment, monitor ketone levels in your blood, urine, or breath every week.

That being said, if you’re losing weight, enjoying your ketogenic diet, and feeling healthier, there is no need to hound over your ketone levels.

Ketosis happens when the body starts to obtain energy from stored fat instead of glucose.

Many studies have shown the powerful weight loss effects of a low carb or keto diet. However, this diet can be challenging to maintain and may cause health problems in people with certain conditions, such as type 1 diabetes.

DKA is a particularly threatening complication of ketosis that can occur when ketosis makes the blood too acidic. Emergency treatment is necessary for people experiencing DKA.

Most people can try the keto diet safely. However, it is best to consider any significant changes to diet with a dietitian or doctor. This is especially the case in those with underlying conditions.

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Keto Facts

Is Cheat Day Good for Keto?

Are you wondering what happens when you fall off the keto wagon? It is less to lose weight while having cheat meals in a keto diet.

But how drastic and often you have a cheat day can affect your keto goals. And you might end up undoing a lot of hard work if you aren’t careful. 

Here is everything you need to know about keto cheat days, including what occurs when you cheat and how to enjoy “forbidden” cheat meals the right way. 

Burn more fat and get your keto diet on time with your free keto meal prep toolkit. Complete with personalized macro recommendations, food lists, and meal planning templates. 

It’s okay to admit that you get tempted. This guide will help you think through low-carb cheating and how you can do it smarter.

Understanding Cheating in Keto Diet

In truth, we dislike the term “cheating.” Nonetheless, we use it since many people relate to it. But what does it mean?

Does it indicate that you are “running away with something?” Are you unfairly gaining something?

What it implies is that you are just cheating on yourself. That’s why we prefer the term “going off-plan.”

That shows we have a plan, we are moving towards a goal, and sometimes we go off plan. And sometimes that’s okay.

However, since “cheat” is a commonly used term that many people relate to, we frequently use it in this guide.

If you’re on the keto diet, you might be wondering if you get a pass here and there to enjoy your favorite carb-laden foods.

Is it possible to take a particular cheat day on your keto diet to splurge on some high-carb foods? Will one cheat day tap you out of ketosis and wreck all your progress?

Here’s what you need to know if you’re on the keto diet and would want to take a day-off:

Can You Have a Cheat Day on Keto?

If your main goal is to lose weight, cheating on your keto diet from time to time will not destroy your progress even if it kicks you out of ketosis.

Yes, you heard that right. If you couldn’t resist that slice of cake or pasta dinner and chose to spoil in a few extra carbs, don’t stress. This cheat meal isn’t a reason to lose your entire diet out the window.

Ketosis could have some potential health benefits, but it’s likely not the main reason you are losing weight – calorie control is. So as long as you aren’t going overboard with the cheat days and maintaining calorie control, all those carbs will not ruin your hard work. 

Of course, if your goal is staying in ketosis for other purposes (not weight loss), cheating on a ketogenic diet might not be the best idea. 

In one small study, researchers discovered keto cheat days could increase heart health risks. More so, if you have diabetes who follow a keto diet to manage your blood sugar levels.

While more research is required, these initial findings show cheat days may not be ideal for everyone on a keto diet. 

What Happens When You Cheat?

Here are all the things that can happen when you add carbs back into your meal for a day:

  1. Your blood sugar will spike, making an abundance of quick energy available and causing your body to switch back to glucose as a source of fuel. 
  2. Ketone production will stop. 
  3. A majority of the sugars you eat will likely be used to replenish glycogen stores. This may cause a momentary gain in water weight.
  4. Your body will continue to use up available glucose and glycogen stores until you run out. 
  5. Ketone production will resume. 

Going off a keto diet is likely not harmful. Simply because you start eating carbs again, mainly just for one day, doesn’t mean you will store a pack of body fat.

Carbs do not cause weight gain or increased body fat. Only eating too many calories can do this. 

And while you may have a slight adjustment period, you shouldn’t end gaining weight when you control your calorie intake.

Because of the blood sugar spike, it is normal for some people to notice an extreme sugar crash after cheating with a carb-heavy meal. 

And depending on how long you’ve been cutting carbs, you might also notice some repeat symptoms of “keto flu” when resuming your keto diet. 

Here’s a little refresher on ketosis: It happens when your body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

Usually, our bodies run on glucose in the form of foods like flour, grains, vegetables, and fruit. But drastically reducing your carb intake pushes your body to burn stored fat, instead. Your liver utilizes fat to make acids called ketones. These are released into your bloodstream and are used for energy.

“For as soon as you incorporate carbohydrates to your system, the body will manage them specifically as fuel,” says Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, Seattle-based dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“You’ll have to return to the ketogenic diet the next day and stay active to the macronutrient ratios to get back into ketosis,” she explains.

That means you really can’t forego your keto diet for a quick binge—unless you want to start all over again.

What’s more, it doesn’t signify if you eat half a piece of pie or take a few bites. “It’s anything that pushes you over your net carbs,” she says. “Still one bite could do it, depending on what it was. Juice, soda, candy will meet that border in small amounts.”

Going Through Keto Flu Again

“When you go back to a ketogenic diet after being off it for a day or a period, you can easily get back to the diet the next day—but it will take several days to get the body back into the state of ketosis,” Hultin says.

You may encounter “keto flu” symptoms again, depending on your metabolism and what kind of keto break you took. You might also have headaches, nausea, fatigue, stomach pain and body aches, brain fog, and mood swings.

These should quickly go away as long as you don’t kick yourself out of ketosis.

How Many Grams of Carbs Will Kick You Out of Ketosis?

The number of carbs needed to kick you out of ketosis can depend on the person and how long you’ve been doing keto.

But, it’s safe to assume that any high carb meal over your recommended daily carb limit will do the trick. And the effect is pretty quick.

For example: If you need to eat less than 20 grams of carbs per day, a cheat meal with 20 or more grams of carbohydrates can cause you to fall off the wagon. 

It might take you a little while to switch back once you get back to your keto meal plan. And it can take anywhere from one day to a week to get into ketosis in the first place.

But for most people, this process happens much quicker the second time around. 

How long you’ve been keto, and your ketone levels can also have an impact on how much a splurge is going to affect you.

If you have been on keto for more than 3 to 6 weeks, you are possibly getting 70% of your energy from fat. This means that you can get back to ketosis quicker than someone who is not wholly fat adjusted.

Cheating on a Ketogenic Diet the Right Way

Cheat days have become a popular theme with many diets and for a good reason. Many experts have included diet cheats as a way to teach a more balanced approach to healthy eating. 

Besides, we’re just humans. It can feel pretty impossible to stick to your keto diet perfectly, and research says there may be some benefits to going off your diet.

Including a strategic diet, cheat may have some psychological advantages. This includes reduced cravings and sticking to your meal plan better. 

When done right, cheating while on a keto diet can help you stay motivated. It also teaches you to have moderation to build sustainable long-term health habits. Plus, who doesn’t want to have their cake?

Here’s how to include cheats without going off the rails:

Look for Keto Approved Cheat Meals 

Arguably, the best approach to cheat days is to not do it at all. Instead, splurge on keto-friendly substitutes to curb your cravings. 

You can obtain a keto-fied recipe of just about any popular meal you can think of to keep you on course. Plus, there is an endless supply of packaged keto snacks and “cheat foods” available in the market nowadays.

So if it’s an option to grab one of these instead, this should be your first line of defense. 

Have Cheat Meals Not Cheat Days

If you are going to go off your diet, it is way easier to stay on top of your overall nutrition and calories with cheat meals than entire keto cheat days.

One large cheat meal can add 1,000 or more calories to your day, while a whole cheat day will add much more and possibly undo all your hard work from the week. 

Have a Plan 

The easiest way to secure your diet cheats don’t ruin your progress is to plan for them. Choose which meals you’re going to cheat and budget some calories and carbs in advance if you can. 

You can also ensure your cheat meals are worth it by prioritizing certain events or favorite foods over random temptations. 

For example, if you know there is a social event coming up on the weekend, have a rough idea of how you will plan to cheat and enjoy it without going overboard. 

You might also want to plan smaller cheats around exercise to help keep you in ketosis since you are using up the extra carbs quickly. 

If your goal is calorie control, strive to cheat no more than once or twice a week. But if ketosis is essential for your progress, consider cheating much less often, like once a month.

And if you are new to a keto diet, wait at least a few weeks to get some pace going before even considering cheats. 

Track Your Daily Intake

Don’t neglect to track your calories and daily macros. If your cheats are failing your weekly nutrition goals out of the water, you might end up gaining weight. 

Use a macro-friendly app so you can monitor your macros. 

Do’s and Don’ts of Cheating

Don’t Cheat Because You Want to Fit In

It can be fleeting to be affected when people are surprised that you swap potatoes for leafy greens. Nonetheless, don’t overplay others’ interest or investment in your personal dietary choices.

Remember, people are usually wrapped up in their own experience and quickly move on from yours. However, some people do get overly curious about your food choices.

When that happens, be ready with a line like, “I’m sorry, I have a sensitive stomach.”

Don’t be Impulsive

An impulsive reach into that bowl of candy is an unsatisfying cheat. A last-minute decision to eat a few of those cold French fries on your kid’s plate is rarely that satisfying.

Planned cheating can empower. Random cheating undermines.

Don’t lie to yourself and stick with your plan.

Do Plan Ahead

Grabbing a carb-laden sandwich from a gas station is a useless way of spending a cheat meal. Anything worth cheating on yourself for is, by translation, delicious. That stale sandwich is not.

Keep quality low-carb emergency food in your car, purse, or briefcase, so you never cheat because you are craving.

Do Stick With Your Chosen Lifestyle

A low-carb lifestyle lasts forever. If you go back to your old ways, the unwanted illness or pounds will creep back into your life.

Although it appears counter-intuitive, occasional, deliberate cheating can help some people stick with their low-carb lifestyle. Here’s how:

  • Knowing you can cheat occasionally reduces the feeling of deprivation.
  • Planned exceptions can help keep you from feeling deprived of a favorite indulgence.
  • Deliberate cheating gives your diet a bit more variety and makes you more flexible.

Most of us don’t have to be perfect. Cheat consciously and then quickly return to the healthy low-carb lifestyle you love.

However, some of us will have a more difficult time getting back on plan after a temporary detour.

Which camp are you in?

You may have to experiment to find out, but the resulting knowledge is empowering and will help you decide if planned diversions will work or not.

Do Take Advantage of Rare Opportunities

Your favorite dessert – pumpkin pie – made just once a year by a dear family friend could mean that you have to make an exception.

Another example could be having a taste of spiced couscous pyramid, served with stewed meat on your trip to Morocco.

Cutting yourself some slack to savor unique moments or unique flavors is probably a fair use of your “cheating allowance.”

But keep in mind that birthday cake in the break room is not a rare or special occasion.

Side effects of cheating

Hunger and cravings

Many carbs make you hungry. You know this if you have given them up for any meaningful time.

Cheating means potentially encouraging hunger and cravings back into your life. Proceed with caution.

Weight gain

Cheating nearly always leads to immediate weight gain.

First, too many carbs can cause your body to store fats. Second, carbs can lead to hunger and cravings; hence you eat more. Third, the water weight incorporated with high-carb diets returns.

Want to look and feel your best? Cheat rarely and carefully.

Blood sugar spikes

If you have diabetes, cheating is generally a bad idea.

When you eat too many or the wrong type of carbs, your blood sugar can spike to dangerously high levels. Thus, increasing the risk of long-term complications like blindness, dementia, and amputations.

On the other hand, every time you manage to avoid a cheat, you’re one step closer to reversing your type 2 diabetes.

For those with diabetes or prediabetes, the price of cheating may be too high.

Sickness and acne

For some of us, cheating can lead to dramatic and fairly immediate setbacks:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach upset
  • Gas
  • Even seizures (if you have epilepsy)

Some people get acne and other types of skin trouble, too. If this happens to you, is cheating worth it?

Feeling bad

One of the most annoying effects of cheating is that you often don’t feel great after cheating.

In addition to weight gain, blood sugar spikes, and more, your mood can suffer. And this can be challenging.

Addiction

For those of you who are sugar (or carb) addicts, it’s potentially perilous to cheat. Sugar addiction is likely real.

Even though it’s debatable, many scientists agree that sugar is psychoactive. It triggers the reward centers in your brain, much like a drug.

Do you encounter a loss of control when you eat, especially sugary and processed foods? 

What can happen when an alcoholic grabs just one drink? The same can happen to a sugar addict, and you may end up going off the rails.

Moderation is not an option for some, and the only safe choice may be complete abstinence.

Keto Cheat Day Recovery Tips

The amount of time it takes to get back into ketosis will differ based on the person, but it generally takes one to three days.

“Getting back in is likely different for each person, and it relies on the level of carb limitation you choose to do,” Hultin says.

If you’re used to restricting to a maximum—and then suddenly introduce carbs—it could take longer to get back into ketosis. 

Likewise, if you eat a ton of carbs on a cheat day—rather than just a few extra grams—it may also take a few spare times.

“The body stores blood sugar as energy in the blood, liver, and muscles,” she explains. “The more you have stored, the harder it will use the body to burn through it and get back into ketosis.”

Remember: Our metabolism is unique to our own. So, getting into ketosis varies from one person to another.

So, Should You Cheat?

It depends on several factors, including whether your keto diet is doctor-mandated.

“Many people are using the ketogenic diet for medical treatment, and so they need to be on it all the time with no breaks,” Hultin explains.” Doctors and dietitians can guide each individual on if it’s safe or not take breaks.”

Many dietitians advocate against “cheat meals” as they imply that foods are good or bad. In turn, this can lead to guilt and an unhealthy relationship with food.

Instead, Chris Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., says you should think of “cheat meals” as conscience indulgences.

In any case, it’s crucial to define whether a specific diet fits your lifestyle. And you’ll want to move forward without guilt after you veer off the planned diet.

Remember: Cheating is a tool. Like any tool, it can help, or it can harm.

Maybe cheating isn’t right for you. Maybe it is. But if you do decide to cheat, do it smartly.

Develop great habits with deliberate exceptions. And if you do decide it’s time for an exception, then enjoy every bite!

Categories
Keto Facts

Keto Hair Loss: Why Your Hair Falls Out and How to Prevent It

There’s no doubt that a ketogenic or keto diet can be an effective weight-loss strategy.

It does come with some potential side effects, though. Among them are the possibility of hair loss and a change in the condition of your hair.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to counter the keto diet’s impact on your hair. In most cases, tweaking the foods you eat and upping your intake of specific vitamins may help return your hair to its pre-keto volume and condition.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the nutrients you need to lower your hair loss risk while on the keto diet.

How Hair Grows

Aside from molding it into a coveted style, most give little thought to their hair structure. That is until our lovely locks are littered about the bathroom floor.

Hair is a bit more complicated than we likely realize, and it’s composed of two parts, the follicle and the shaft.

  • The follicle: The part of your hair that resides in the skin.
  • The shaft: The hair above the scalp that’s visible. There are two separate shafts—inner and outer—that encase the follicle. And the follicle and shaft are essential to hair health and growth, and hair loss can occur when either element is damaged.

Hair growth and shedding happen in a natural cycle, working in phases as follows:

  • Anagen phase — This is the phase of active hair growth and continues between two to six years. During this stage, one can expect hair to grow up to one centimeter every 28 days.
  • Catagen phase — Growth stops during this short transitional period, which lasts for two to three weeks.
  • Telogen phase — This stage is known as the resting phase, and as its name suggests, there is no growth during this time, which lasts for up to 100 days.

Besides the natural phases of growth and support, lifestyle shifts (like starting a low-carb diet) can pose stress to the body.

The root of hair loss can have various causes. But the following are some common reasons you may experience hair loss on a keto diet:

How can ketosis affect your hair?

Typically, your body consumes carbohydrates from the food you eat for energy. But if you follow a low carb, high fat keto diet, you can go into ketosis. When this happens, your body starts using fat, instead of carbohydrates, for fuel.

Several characteristics of ketosis can trigger hair loss and a change in the health of your hair. Two of the most common reasons include:

Fewer Nutrients

By restricting your carb intake, you may be reducing the variety of nutrients your body usually needs for healthy hair. This could cause you to lose more hair than average or slow down your hair growth.

Physiological Response to Cutting Calories

When you reduce your calorie intake, your body responds by ensuring the available energy goes to the most important functions first.

This includes things like cell growth and the functioning of your heart, lungs, and other organs. This indicates there may be less energy for hair growth.

What nutrients are essential for your hair?

As with any function in your body, you need vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for everything to work well. Your hair is no different. Specific nutrients are essential for healthy hair growth and to prevent hair loss.

With the emphasis on high fat, low carb foods, some essential nutrients may be less abundant if you’re following a keto diet and trying to stay in a state of ketosis.

To protect your hair’s health, you may want to look at ways to add more of the following vitamins and nutrients to your diet.

If it’s hard for you to get these nutrients through food, consider adding them as supplements to make up for any deficiencies in your eating plan.

Biotin

A 2013 animal study found that biotin deficiency was strongly associated with a keto diet.

A B vitamin long connected with hair growth, biotin is accessible in a wide range of foods. However, many foods rich in biotins, such as fruit and legumes, are usually avoided or consumed only in small portions on a keto diet.

Foods that are good sources of biotin and that fit well into a keto eating plan include:

  • egg yolks
  • organ meats, like liver and kidneys
  • nuts, including almonds, walnuts, and peanuts
  • cauliflower
  • mushrooms

Biotin is also available as a supplement. Experts recommend people get 30 micrograms (mcg) of biotin a day, which is typically the amount in one biotin capsule.

Collagen

If you’re looking to get even more collagen into your system, you can skip past the bone broth and take a pure collagen supplement.

Oral collagen could prevent:

  • Premature hair loss
  • Hair thinning
  • Graying of hair

Collagen is part of our hair follicle stem cells (HFSC), which produce new hair strands.

A collagen deficiency can cause early aging in those stem cells, resulting in premature hair loss. Unfortunately, collagen levels naturally decline with age. But you can supplement it with keto shakes made of whey protein and MCT oil.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for hair growth and healthy skin, vision, and a robust immune system.

But, unlike some other nutrients, many of the foods that are good sources of vitamin A — like meat, eggs, dairy, and fish — are all popular foods for a keto diet.

What’s most important to note with vitamin A is that it shouldn’t be consumed in high amounts, for it will soon cause vitamin A toxicity. Some of its symptoms include:

  • hair loss
  • visual disturbances
  • bone and joint pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • poor appetite
  • headaches

The RDA for vitamin A is 900 mcg per day for men and 700 mcg per day for women. You can easily reach this by eating foods that are common on a keto diet.

Avoid taking a multivitamin that contains vitamin A if you’re on a keto diet, as you’re likely getting all you need from the foods you eat.

Vitamin C

It’s a well-known fact that vitamin C is vital for a robust immune system and overall good health. A lesser-known benefit of vitamin C is that it helps produce collagen. This protein is needed for healthy hair and skin.

Although citrus fruits and berries are popular sources of vitamin C, you can also get immunity boosters from the following:

  • yellow peppers
  • kale
  • mustard spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • parsley
  • thyme

You can also find vitamin C in standalone supplements and multivitamins. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90 milligrams (mg).

Vitamin D

We consume vitamin D from the food we eat. Our bodies also make it from the sunlight that reaches our skin. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and various other functions, including healthy hair.

Low levels of vitamin D are associated with hair loss and a condition called alopecia. That’s an autoimmune disease that can cause hair loss all over the body.

Keto-friendly food sources of vitamin D include:

  • fatty fish like salmon, herring, and sardines
  • tuna
  • oysters
  • egg yolk
  • mushrooms

The RDA for vitamin D is 600 international units (IU) per day from food. If your skin seems to have very little sunlight, your intake should be closer to 1,000 IU per day.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant, like vitamin C, that supports cells and hair’s healthy growth.

To ensure you’re getting healthy amounts of vitamin E each day, try to include the following foods in your keto diet:

  • sunflower seeds
  • almonds
  • hazelnuts
  • peanuts
  • avocados
  • spinach
  • tomatoes

The RDA of vitamin E for adults is 15 mg per day.

If you feel your diet is lacking in vitamin E, you can take a supplement. Just be sure not to exceed 1,000 IUs per day if you take synthetic supplements.

Iron

Low levels of iron are associated with dry, damaged hair as well as many health problems, including:

  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • headaches

Women have a greater risk than men for iron deficiency.

Try to include the following sources of dietary iron in your keto diet:

  • shellfish
  • spinach
  • red meat
  • dark turkey meat
  • pumpkin seeds

The RDA suggested that iron intake is 18 mg per day.

MSM

Methylsulfonylmethane or MSM is a compound present in sea algae, vegetables, and animal products.

MSM helps to create links in the structural tissue in the body. This includes the skin, nails, and hair that promotes keratin, a fibrous structural protein required for hair and nail health.

Protein

A keto diet typically includes plenty of protein sources, such as red meat, poultry, and fish.

But if you’re on the keto diet and vegan or vegetarian, you may not be getting as much protein as you need. That can lead to hair loss and more severe complications, like loss of muscle mass and an impaired immune system.

If you don’t want to consume animal-based protein, try to include the right amount of plant-based protein sources in your eating plan. Some excellent keto-friendly sources include:

  • seitan
  • soybean products like tofu, edamame, and tempeh
  • nuts and nut butter
  • chia seeds
  • vegetables like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts
  • green peas

Zinc 

Several studies have shown that zinc losses can lead to extreme hair loss and hypothyroidism. A diet rich in zinc will help achieve and maintain healthy body weight and vibrant hair.

Here are some keto-friendly foods with ample amounts of zinc:

  • Lamb
  • Chicken
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Mushrooms
  • Cacao powder
  • Cashews

How to Stop Keto Hair Loss

While counting calories and consuming adequate electrolytes and protein is an excellent baseline to stop hair loss, there are more ways to fortify hair follicles.

The foods and quality supplements we choose to use daily have a significant impact on our hair health.

Here are the seven best foods and supplements to consider using to ensure a lustrous and full head of hair while keeping it keto!

Aside from ensuring that your diet includes the nutrients you need to prevent hair loss, there are also other steps you can take to help boost the health of your hair when you’re in a state of ketosis.

Eat a Whole Food Keto Diet

MCT oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, and grass-fed beef are all great food options on a ketogenic diet, supporting healthy hair growth and renewal.

Focus on eating a whole food, an organic diet rich in vitamins and minerals to keep your mane thick and shiny.

Here’s a shortlist of go-to foods to eat with great keto macros:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Liver and other meats
  • Organic dairy
  • Avocado
  • Egg yolk
  • Salmon
  • Cauliflower

Take a Biotin Supplement 

As we mentioned, biotin is essential to keeping your strands atop your head rather than in your comb.

Since a ketogenic diet causes loss in body fluid, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, eating nutrient-dense food and adding supplements into your keto protocol is strongly suggested.

Try Probiotics

When you change your diet, it can affect the balance of good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics are a type of healthy bacteria that can help restore that balance.

Having the right balance of gut bacteria can help improve digestion. In turn, better digestion makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients you need for good overall health, including healthy hair.

Wash and Dry Gently

Use a gentle shampoo and a nourishing, moisturizing conditioner. Avoid products with harsher formulas that may dry your hair and cause more damage and hair loss.

Limit the amount of time you spend blow-drying your hair. Also, avoid rubbing your hair with a towel to remove extra moisture after washing. The friction could damage your hair.

Instead, try wrapping your hair in a microfiber towel to speed up the drying process, and let your hair air-dry.

Avoid Harsh Treatments

At the very least, don’t treat your hair while your body is adjusting to your new diet. This includes the use of hair dye, straightening, and curling irons, or relaxing treatments.

Also, try to avoid pulling your hair back into tight braids or ponytails. This could drag on your hair, loosening it at the root, and cause more hair loss.

Try an OTC Medication

Minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine, is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that can help reverse hair loss in both men and women. It comes in a liquid and foams up when you rub it on your head. For best results, try to use it every day.

Use Coconut Oil

A 2018 review of studies found that coconut oil may help prevent hair damage due to protein loss. Due to its low molecular weight, it can also be more easily absorbed into the hair than other oils.

Although not a supplement like biotin and not directly responsible for hair growth, coconut oil can help to seal in the hair’s moisture to keep strands healthy and agile.

To help nourish and protect your hair, try the following:

  • Massage coconut oil into your scalp to increase blood flow and hair growth.
  • Use a coconut oil hair mask to protect your hair from breakage and dryness.

Plus, coconut oil is rich in essential nutrients like iron, and vitamins E and K, all of which help support healthy hair growth.

Although losing hair while in the ketogenic diet is temporary and self-corrects relatively quickly, there are a few ways to prevent the severity of hair thinning on keto. 

Here’s a quick recap on how to block hair loss on keto:

  • Eat enough calories
  • Focus on eating nutrient-dense foods filled with vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes
  • Eat biotin-rich foods (liver, egg yolks, avocado, etc.)
  • Take up a yoga practice or meditation to reduce stress.

Avoiding hair loss on a ketogenic diet can be painless by performing the tips noted above. Add the advice mentioned in your overall nutrition plan on keto to keep your hair full and lustrous.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining a state of ketosis may require you to make some fairly drastic changes to your diet. The perception of thinning hair affects everyone, women and men alike, especially in the prime of life.

We get it. Looks matter, and it can affect self-esteem and how we’re perceived and treated by others.

Ketosis is an incredibly powerful eating style to achieve accelerated fat loss, regulate glucose, and increase mental sharpness.

Switching to the low carb, high-fat diet may reduce your intake of some of the critical nutrients you need to maintain a healthy head of hair. It may also cut your calories, which could limit the amount of energy available for hair growth.

To reduce the risk of hair loss, you can take steps to ensure your daily food intake includes healthy sources of biotin, protein, iron, and vitamins A, C, D, and E.

If you still have hair loss after taking the steps mentioned in this post, follow up with your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying health condition.

Just be sure to take the precautions noted above, and you’ll have it all, a taut waistline and beautiful locks.

Categories
Keto Facts

Your Guide to Allulose

Only 20-30 grams of carbs are allowed per day on the ketogenic diet. Since sugar is composed of 100% of carbohydrates, it is entirely off-limits. So does that mean all sweeteners are excluded on keto?

No, you just have to substitute sugar with a healthier option.

But how do you know which sweeteners are healthy and which are not? Let’s break down what sugars are and how natural sweeteners, like allulose, might be the best choice on the ketogenic diet.

What is Allulose?

Allulose is a unique sugar with the same chemical formula as fructose. Because the body doesn’t metabolize it, it does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels and provides minimal calories. 

Allulose is also known as D-psicose. It is classified as a “rare sugar” because it naturally exists in only a few foods. Wheat, figs, and raisins all contain it.

The same with glucose and fructose, allulose is a monosaccharide or single sugar. Conversely, table sugar, also known as sucrose, is a disaccharide made of glucose and fructose linked together.

Allulose has the same chemical formula as fructose but is arrayed differently. This variation in structure prevents your body from processing allulose the way it processes fructose.

Although 70–84% of allulose you consume is assimilated into your blood, it is excreted in the urine unused.

It’s believed to resist fermentation by your gut bacteria, minimizing the likelihood of bloating, gas, or other digestive problems.

And here’s some good news for people who have diabetes or are watching their blood sugar — it does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels.

Allulose also contributes only 0.2–0.4 calories per gram, or about 1/10 the calories of table sugar.

Besides, early research suggests that allulose has anti-inflammatory properties. And it may also help prevent obesity and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Although small amounts of this rare sugar are found in some foods, manufacturers have recently used enzymes to transform fructose into allulose.

The taste and texture have been described as identical to table sugar. It is about 70% as sweet as sugar, similar to erythritol’s sweetness, another popular sweetener.

Recently, Allulose has gained traction amongst health-conscious individuals.

Allulose is a natural, rare sugar that was found in wheat almost 70 years ago. It is also present in small quantities in various dry fruits like jackfruit, figs, and raisins.

The sweetness of allulose is nearly 70% that of sucrose (white sugar), and it’s texture, taste, and baking ability is akin to traditional sugar.

Is Allulose Safe?

Allulose appears to be a safe sweetener.

It has been added to the listing of foods generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration. However, it is not yet approved to be sold in Europe.

Studies in allulose-fed rats lasting within three and 18 months have shown no toxicity or other health-related problems. In one research, rats were fed about 1/2 gram of allulose per pound (0.45 kg) of body weight for 18 months. By the end of the study, adverse effects were minimal and comparable in both the allulose and control groups.

It’s worth stating that this was a huge dose. For reference, a similar amount for an adult weighing 150 pounds (68 kg) would be about 83 grams per day — more than 1/3 cup.

More realistic doses of 5–15 grams (1–3 teaspoons) per day for up to 12 weeks weren’t associated with any adverse effects in human studies.

Allulose seems safe and is unlikely to cause health problems when consumed in moderation. However, as with any food, individual sensitivities are always a probability.

It Helps Boosts Fat Loss

Research in obese rats recommends that allulose may also help boost fat loss. This involves unhealthy belly fat, also known as visceral fat, which is strongly linked to heart disease and other health problems.

In one research, obese rats were fed a standard or high-fat diet that held supplements of either allulose, sucrose, or erythritol for eight weeks.

It’s important to note that erythritol also provides virtually no calories and does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels.

Nonetheless, allulose had more benefits than erythritol. The rats given allulose achieved less belly fat than the rats fed erythritol or sucrose.

In another study, rats were fed a high-sugar intake with either 5% cellulose fiber or 5% allulose. The allulose group burned significantly more calories and fat overnight and got far less fat than the cellulose-fed rats.

Because allulose is such a unique sweetener, its effects on weight and fat loss in humans aren’t known because they haven’t been studied yet.

But based on the verified studies on people with lower blood sugar and insulin levels, it appears that talking allulose may help with weight loss.

High-quality studies in humans are needed before any results can be made.

Helps Control Blood Sugar

Allulose may turn out to be an excellent tool for managing diabetes.

Several animal studies have found that it lowers blood sugar, increases insulin sensitivity, and decreases type 2 diabetes risk. That’s because allulose helps protect insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.

In research comparing obese rats treated with allulose to rats given water or glucose, the allulose group had improved beta-cell function. Allulose-treated rates also showed better blood sugar response and less belly fat gain than the other groups.

Early study also suggests that allulose may have beneficial effects on blood sugar regulation in humans.

A controlled study provided 20 healthy, young adults either 5–7.5 grams of allulose with 75 grams of the sugar maltodextrin or just maltodextrin on its own.

The group that took allulose had lower blood sugar and insulin levels than the group that took maltodextrin alone.

In another study, 26 adults ate a meal alone or with 5 grams of allulose. Some people were healthy, while others had prediabetes.

After the meal, their blood sugar was measured every 30 minutes for two hours. The researchers found that participants who consumed allulose had lower blood sugar levels at 30 and 60 minutes.

Although these studies are small and more research is needed, the evidence is encouraging.

It Protects You Against Fatty Liver

Studies in rats and mice have found that allulose seems to reduce fat storage in the liver in addition to stopping weight gain.

More commonly known as fatty liver, Hepatic steatosis is strongly linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

In one research, diabetic mice were given either allulose, glucose, fructose, or no sugar.

The liver fat in the allulose mice was reduced by 38% compared to mice given no sugar. The allulose mice also encountered less weight gain and lower blood sugar levels than the other groups.

Simultaneously, as allulose may support fat loss in the liver and body, it may also protect against muscle loss.

In a 15-week study of critically obese mice, allulose significantly decreased liver and belly fat, yet prevented the lean mass loss.

Although these results are promising, liver health effects have yet to be tested in controlled human studies.

Why is Allulose Beneficial for the Keto Diet?

For an uncomplicated sugar, allulose is as keto as it gets.

It improves fat oxidation, lowers your blood sugar, may improve your insulin sensitivity, and could even result in weight loss. Plus, allulose is also highly improbable to kick you out of ketosis, unlike other sugars like fructose.

Because your body only consumes a tenth to a twentieth of the calories compared to regular sugar, most of the downsides of eating sugar don’t apply.

That said, any sweet treat or rewarding yourself with food can perpetuate addictive eating patterns. It doesn’t matter if you are using sugar substitutes.

If you’re starting a keto diet, the best strategy is to go a few months without treats to reset your preferences, then enjoy them occasionally.

Once you get to a place where you can possess a healthy relationship with sweet-tasting foods, allulose keto treats are an excellent choice. 

The following are a few critical benefits of allulose that has kept it in high demand among keto dieters:

  • Allulose is as sweet as sucrose but has 90% fewer calories.
  • It has an extremely low glycemic index (meaning it doesn’t spike the blood glucose level after its consumption). It is not metabolized like regular sugar, but rather it is directly absorbed by the small intestine and is eliminated through urine.
  • It is a natural, unrefined sugar.
  • It is not sugar alcohol and is unlikely to cause gastric distress when consumed in moderation.
  • Taste-wise, there isn’t much contrast between allulose and sugar. It has a clean and sweet taste, and the texture is also similar to sugar. 
  • It is vegan-friendly and gluten-free.

The paleo diet includes eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, meat, and organ meats and excludes any highly processed foods.

People doing a paleo diet can eat allulose, but only if they consume it from natural, unprocessed food.

Dried fruits, brown sugar, and maple syrup hold allulose.

The keto diet is very low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and very high in fat. Allulose is a carbohydrate, but it does not produce calories or raise blood glucose than sucrose and is keto compatible.

How to use allulose

Allulose is not as sweet as sugar. People substituting sugar with allulose may need to use more to achieve the same sweetness as table sugar.

The FDA has allowed the use of allulose in:

  • selected bakery products, such as sweet rolls, cakes, and pastries
  • nonalcoholic beverages
  • cereals
  • chewing gum
  • confections and frostings
  • frozen dairy desserts, such as ice cream, soft serve, and sorbet
  • yogurt and frozen yogurt
  • salad dressings
  • gelatins
  • pudding and fillings
  • hard and soft candies
  • jams and jellies
  • sweet sauces and syrups
  • fat-based cream
  • medical foods

Possible Risk of Allulose

Research suggests that allulose does not create any toxic effects. People who have consumed high quantities have reported bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and problems related to gas and abdominal sounds.

If you consume too much allulose, you might get nauseous or have diarrhea. The maximum amount you can consume is 0.4 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. That’s about 27 grams, or approximately two tablespoons, for a 150-pound person at a sitting.

Sugar alternatives like allulose can have irregular effects on gut bacteria. The regular upper limit to avoid gastrointestinal side effects is 0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight or 61 grams per day for a 150-pound person.

Unlike artificial sweeteners like Splenda and sugar alcohols like xylitol, there hasn’t been any research on allulose’s impact on the microbiome.

While there’s nothing to suggest it’s harmful, you may want to pay extra attention to how your body responds. Moreso, if you’re prone to gut issues, bloating, or related problems.

If you’re on the ketogenic diet, low to moderate sweetener doses are much unlikely to kick you out of ketosis.

That’s because your body absorbs and eliminates allulose without ever metabolizing it as sugar. It also seems to enhance fat oxidation and decrease carbohydrate oxidation, both of which are beneficial for ketosis.

However, the best way to know for sure is to test your ketone levels after eating it.

Should You Use Allulose?

Allulose seems to produce a taste and texture remarkably similar to sugar while providing minimal calories.

Although there are only a few high-quality human studies on the effects of allulose, it seems to be safe when consumed in moderation.

However, more studies in humans are on the way. Several studies are either recruiting, underway, or have been completed but not yet published.

At this time, allulose isn’t generally available, aside from being used in certain snack bars by a brand called Quest Nutrition.

Quest Hero Bars each hold about 12 grams of allulose, and Quest Beyond Cereal Bars contain about 7 grams. These amounts are similar to the doses used in studies.

Granulated allulose can also be bought online, but it is quite expensive. For instance, allulose sold under the All-You-Lose brand costs about twice as much as erythritol on Amazon.com.

Until there is high-quality research confirming its health benefits, it’s probably best to use allulose in moderation. You can also use it with less expensive sweeteners.

Where can I Buy Allulose?

Allulose is found in tiny quantities in jackfruit, figs, and raisins. Hence, it can be difficult to extra.

In 1994, it was first produced on a large scale, but its production cost was very high. In 2018, corn production and later from sugar beets began, lowering the cost and making its availability more widespread. 

Allulose is currently available in food products like Quest Hero Bars, but it has recently become essential commodities. You can find it in stores like Target and Whole Foods and online retailers like Amazon.

Final Thoughts

When starting the ketogenic diet, people find it difficult to cut back on sugar, and total avoidance is next to impossible for many. 

Artificial sweeteners are industrial products and may cause health issues in the long run.

Health-conscious people and followers of the keto diet avoid carbs and monitor calories strictly. For them, allulose is a blessing.

Allulose tastes the same as refined sugar and has no bitter after-taste. Plus, the texture is similar to sugar granules.

Replacing sugar will allulose when you get a sweet craving that may help you stay in ketosis.

Sources:

Categories
Keto Facts

Shark Tank Keto Pills

There’s an online seller that’s claimed to have had the backing of the investors on Shark Tank for their keto supplement business. Unfortunately for those sellers, they have been labelled as a scam and investor Mark Cuban has recommended that this business gets reported to the FTC.

The company that has made the claim also made audacious claims that their pills would guarantee a high number of weight and fat loss in less than a week.

Additionally, they claimed to have the backing of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian.

Please beware of any of the PureFit Keto products being sold on Amazon.

Categories
Keto Facts

Ketone Levels Chart

NormalLess than 0.6 mmol/L
Medium (ketosis)*Between 0.6 and 1.5 mmol/L
High*Between 1.5 and 3.0 mmol/L
Possible DKA**Greater than 3.0 mmol/L
Source

Categories
Keto Facts Keto Nutrition

Carbs in Watermelon: Will This Fruit Kick Your Out of Ketosis?

Watermelons are 92% water with each juicy bite giving your high doses of Vitamin B6, A, C, and lots of antioxidants, lycopene, and amino acids.

It can be eaten as a snack or can be used as a versatile ingredient in any meal plan.

These fruits have become synonymous with picnics and summer thanks to their refreshing quality and sweet taste that combat heat and also rehydrate your body. 

How Many Carbs Are In Watermelon?

A cup (152 grams) of diced watermelon contains 141 grams of water and 11.5 grams of carbohydrates (Source).

That’s evidence that watermelons are indeed rich in carbs. Below are carbs concentrations in different serving sizes.

 (Sizing) Carb Amount (Grams)
100g 7.55
1 cup, balls (154g) 11.6
1 cup diced (152 g) 11.5
1 melon (15” long x7 ½ diameter (4518g) 341
1 wedge (approx. 1/16 of melon) 286g 21.6
10 watermelon balls (122g) 9.21
1 NLEA serving (280g) 21.1

From the table above, it’s easy to conclude that watermelons are high carbohydrate fruits especially if you’re on keto diet. For any food to be considered keto-friendly, it should have 5-10 grams per serving.

A good example is strawberries and cucumbers which have low carbohydrates per serving and are keto-friendly.

How Many Calories Are In Watermelon?

how many carbohydrates in watermelons
How many calories are in watermelon?

Like many fruits, watermelon is a low-calorie fruit. A cup of watermelon balls (154g) contains 46.2 calories. Below is a table that shows the number of calories in different watermelon servings.

Portion Amount (Calories)
100 g 30
1 cup, balls (154g) 46.2
1 cup diced (152 g) 45.6
1 melon (15” long x7 ½ diameter (4518g) 1360
1 wedge (approx. 1/16 of melon) 286g 85.8
10 watermelon balls (122g) 36.6
1 NLEA serving (280g) 84

On a ketogenic diet, 5-10% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. And because 1gram of carbohydrate equates to 4 calories, the recommended daily calorie intake ranges from 100-200 calories from 20-50grams of carbohydrates.

Watermelon can put you at the risk of getting kicked out of ketosis.

That’s because; a single serving will contribute 85 of your daily calorie requirement putting you close to your daily carbohydrate limit. That’s why it’s never recommended to eat watermelon on a keto diet.

Can You Eat Watermelon On The Keto Diet?

Watermelon joins the list of the many fruits and veggies that you shouldn’t eat on a keto diet because it’s high in carbohydrates and calories.

However, even though it’s not recommended to eat watermelon on the keto diet, you can always include this refreshing fruit in your daily meals but in minimal doses.

For example, you can opt only eat a cup of watermelon a day and keep tabs on your overall daily carb intake.

Eating Watermelon on a Keto Diet      

Is watermelon good for a keto diet?
Is watermelon good for a keto diet?

While it’s best to avoid watermelon fruit if you’re on keto, there are different ways to incorporate it in your weekly diet without getting kicked out of ketosis:

  • Add small portions of this fruit into your keto-friendly salad recipes.
  • Only eat smaller portions –ideally not more than 1 cup a day- and ensure that you stay within your macros.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Watermelon?

Studies have proved that there’s “more to watermelon than meets the tongue”- watermelon isn’t just water and sugar.

It’s a nutrient-dense fruit that provides high levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.

To get a better understanding of the health benefits of watermelons, let’s first look at the nutrition facts.

Watermelon Nutrition Facts

Below is the nutritional information for watermelon NLEA serving (280 grams)

  • Carbohydrates 21.1g
  • Calories 84
  • Protein 1.7g
  • Total Fat 0.4g
  • Potassium 314mg
  • Vitamin C 22.7mg
  • Vitamin A 1593 IU
  • Fiber 1.1g

1. Regulate Blood Pressure

According to a study on the American Journal of Hypertension website, watermelon extract plays a vital role in blood pressure regulation in obese people with hypertension.

Additionally, the amount of magnesium and potassium present in watermelons also plays a crucial role in lowering blood pressure.

Potassium is considered as a vasodilator- it helps in reducing tension in arteries and blood vessels, thereby enhancing blood flow and reducing stress on the cardiovascular.

The carotenoids in watermelons help prevent the hardening of artery and veins walls, hence contributing to blood pressure regulation, reducing chances of strokes, blood clots, atherosclerosis, and heart attacks.

2. Enhance Heart Health

carbs in watermelons: melons Enhance Heart Health
Heart health on a keto diet

A 2014 study suggests that carotenoid in watermelons may help improving heart functions.

Beta-carotene, best known for its anti-aging and antioxidant benefits, can help prevent age-related heart problems. Additionally, the roughage in watermelon, together with vitamin C, potassium, carotenoids help reduce cholesterol in the body hence keeping your heart safe from conditions caused by high cholesterol levels.

Watermelon fruit may be more important for older women.

A study conducted on postmenopausal women with increased aortic stiffness found out that women who took watermelons for two months saw decreased arterial stiffness and blood pressure compared to those who didn’t take watermelon extract.

These benefits can be attributed to arginine and citrulline found in watermelons.

3. Cancer Prevention

Like any other fruit, watermelons may play a role in preventing cancer thanks to their anti-oxidant properties.

According to the National Cancer Institute, lycopene found in watermelon has been linked to reducing prostate cancer cell growth.

4. Prevent Dehydration

According to research published in EXCLI Experimental and Clinical Sciences, watermelons are 92% water and play an important role in reducing both blood pressure and body temperature.

Watermelon fruit can also help you hydrate especially during those hot summer days. People in the tropics eat watermelon during the hot days to protect themselves from heatstroke.

Additionally, the high water content in watermelons helps the release of excess liquid in the body in form of sweat, which cools the body during sunny summer days.

5. Skin and Hair Benefits

Vitamin A is important for our skin, and a cup of watermelon contains a quarter of the daily recommended doses.

Vitamin A keeps the skin and hair moisturized and also promotes the growth of new elastin and collagen cells. Vitamin C in watermelon also helps in the growth of healthy collagen.

Conclusion

While watermelon is 92% water, almost all of its dry weight is carbohydrates. 

All the carbs in watermelons are simple sugars which when digested are known to cause spike in blood sugar levels. And for this reason, melons are not recommended for anyone on keto diet or other weight loss programs.

However you can enjoy watermelons only in tiny portions.

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Keto Facts Keto Nutrition

Carbs in Strawberries: Are They Keto Friendly?

The Keto is arguably one of the most restrictive diet programs that focus on eating very few carbohydrates and lots of fat. How long you stay in ketosis depends on you limiting carbs intake- which is where the fruits can get tricky.

Most keto plans recommend not exceeding 30grams of carbs per day. Fruits like strawberries are filled with vital nutrients that make them well-worth keeping in your keto diet.

But how safe are strawberries in your keto diet?

Can you eat them regularly without getting kicked out of ketosis?

Let’s find out!

How Many Carbs Are in Strawberries

How many carbs in strawberries
Photo by Євгенія Височина on Unsplash

Strawberries are low in carbs. The net carbs in strawberries are around 5-10g per 100grams serving, depending on whether they’re whole or sliced. The same serving will provide you with approximately 2g of fiber and enough vitamin C to help you meet your daily nutrients requirements.

Strawberries are 90% water, and a large percentage of their dry weight is carbohydrates. The number of carbohydrates from berries depends on both the portion size and strawberry ripeness. The table below shows total carbs in different popular serving sizes.

Popular Serving Sizes of Strawberries Net Carbs(g) Sugar(g) Fiber(g) Total Carbs(g)
Whole Strawberries        
1 small 0.44 0.33 0.1 0.54
1 medium 0.72 0.56 0.2 0.92
1 large 0.98 0.84 0.4 1.38
1 extra large 1.57 1.26 0.5 2.07
1/2 cup 4.13 3.36 1.4 5.53
1 cup 8.16 6.71 2.9 11.06
1 oz 1.58 1.32 0.6 2.18
Strawberry Halves        
1/2 cup 4.34 3.54 1.5 5.84
1 cup 8.67 7.08 3.0 11.67
Sliced Strawberries        
1/2 cup 4.67 3.87 1.7 6.37
1 cup 9.45 7.74 3.3 12.75

From the table above, it’s evident that sliced, whole, and strawberry halves have varying carbs concentration. You get more carbs (9.45g) with sliced strawberries than with strawberry halves of the same serving sizes.

Most of the carbs found in strawberries are simple sugars with glucose and fructose the main ones. While it does raise blood glucose, in small quantities, fructose isn’t bad for health. Strawberries also contain fiber that helps keep your digestive system health. (Source)

Two studies by J Agric Food Chem and Int J Mol Sci have proven that net carbohydrates in strawberries vary depending on the fruit ripeness. Riper strawberries contain high carbs. An underripe strawberry will have fewer carbs than ripe strawberry.

How Many Calories Are In Strawberries?

How many calories are in strawberries?

Because strawberries are 90% water, they have fewer calories. A 100 grams serving will give you 33 calories that can be attributed to the small amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in the fruit.

Low calories content makes strawberry a perfect addition to any weight-loss diet menu.

Popular Serving Sizes of Strawberries Fat(g) Carbs(g) Prot(g) Calories
Whole Strawberry        
1 small 0.02 0.54 0.05 2
1 medium 0.04 0.92 0.08 4
1 large 0.05 1.38 0.12 6
1 extra large 0.08 2.07 0.18 9
1/2 cup 0.22 5.53 0.48 23
1 cup 0.43 11.06 0.96 46
1 oz 0.09 2.18 0.19 9
Strawberry Halves
1/2 cup 0.23 5.84 0.51 24
1 cup 0.46 11.67 1.02 49
Sliced Strawberries        
1/2 cup 0.25 6.37 0.56 27
1 cup 0.50 12.75 1.11 53

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Strawberries?

The following is the nutritional information for 1 cup (152g) of strawberry halves as provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Calories: 49
  • Sugars: 7.4g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Carbs: 11.7g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Sodium: 2mg

Carbohydrates

Strawberries are capacious fruits, containing fewer calories and more carbohydrates. A cup of strawberries contains 49 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 3grams of fiber.

Fiber is indigestible, resulting in 9g of net carbs in strawberries.

Additionally, strawberry fruits have a glycemic index of 40 and a glycemic load of 1.5. These two indicators show that strawberries have a negligible effect on blood glucose.

Fats and Proteins

Like other berries, strawberries are low in proteins. 1 cup serving contains about 1g protein.

These fruits are also extremely low in fats with a 1 cup single serving containing ½ a gram of fat.

A higher percentage of these fats are polyunsaturated and a smaller percentage of monounsaturated and saturated fats.

Vitamins and minerals

Strawberries are rich in vitamins and minerals. These include:

  • Manganese- mostly found in high quantities in legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It plays a vital role in various processes in the body.
  • Vitamin C. in strawberries is an antioxidant that plays an essential role in skin health and boosting immunity system.
  • Potassium is a vital mineral in various important body functions such as blood pressure regulation. (Source)
  • Vitamin B9- also known as folate, Vitamin B9 helps cell functions and healthy tissue growth. It’s great for older adults and pregnant women.

What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Strawberries

How many carbs in sliced strawberry
Photo by Skyla Design on Unsplash

Strawberries are a source of compounds that contribute positively to human health. Eating strawberries has been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. (Source)

1. Anti- Cancer

Cancer has become a health crisis in the 21st century. It’s termed as an unregulated growth of abnormal cells. Several studies have shown that berry fruits can help prevent different types of cancers thanks to their abilities to fight inflammation and oxidative stress.

Additionally, research has also shown that strawberries can help prevent tumor growth in human liver cancer cells and animals with mouth cancer. However more research is required to verify how strawberries act as anti-cancer fruits fully.

2. Pain relief

A study conducted on obese people with knee osteoarthritis found that strawberry fruits significantly helped in reducing inflammation and knee pain. This means that strawberries are natural pain relievers and anti-inflammatory.

Their effects on inflammation and pain can be attributed to their high contents of antioxidants.

3. Blood sugar regulation

Our bodies convert carbs into simple sugars, which are released into the bloodstream. The body then starts secreting insulin, which signals the cells to absorb the sugars in the blood and storage or fuel.

Imbalanced blood sugar and high sugar foods are linked with type 2 diabetes, risk of obesity, and heart disease. (Source)

Can I Eat Strawberries On The Keto Diet?

Strawberry is a great keto fruit.  These fruits have low carbohydrate concentrations making them one of the most recommended keto diet fruits.

Additionally, strawberries are rich in Vitamin C and other important compounds that play an important role in your health.

In most cases, foods rich in Vitamin C are unfortunately also rich in carbohydrates. Therefore strawberries can provide you with enough vitamin C without having to worry about carbs levels.

Incorporating Strawberries into your Ketogenic Lifestyle

Strawberries can be taken in different ways. They smell sweet and vibrant red color, and when choosing berries, avoid ones that are mushy or moldy. Because strawberries spoil fast you’ll need to use them fresh or freeze them in the refrigerator. You can incorporate these keto-friendly fruits in your diet through the following:

  • Use them to sweeten yogurt. You can add strawberries to a cup of keto-friendly yogurt like Greek yogurt. Alternatively, you can sprinkle cinnamon, flax seeds, sugar-free maple syrup, of chia seeds to spice up your yogurt treat.
  • You can blend strawberries into smoothies. You can use these fruits as an ingredient in hundreds of keto-friendly smoothie recipes.
  • Strawberries are great dippers. You can dip them into keto-friendly chocolate and butter for a sweet-tasting fiber-rich dessert.

Final thoughts

Unlike carrots, strawberries are low in carbs, making them keto-friendly. They provide our bodies with compounds that benefit our health by preventing chronic diseases.

Even though they are keto-friendly, strawberries still contribute small amounts of your daily carbohydrates intake, especially when you eat more than one cup.

It’s best to eat them in small portions between meals or add them to different keto meals to get full benefits without getting kicked out of ketosis.

Categories
Keto Facts Weight Loss

How Many Carbs for Ketosis? A Comprehensive Guide For Beginners

The type of food you eat on keto diet varies depending on who you ask.

The rule of thumb for ketogenic diet is that you should energize your body through calories from fat, less from protein, and very few or none from carbohydrates.

Ketosis is a powerful weight loss technique to get rid of body fat without your life revolving around the gym.

Without glucose from carbohydrates, your body will burn both stored and dietary fats for energy. But this doesn’t mean that you should exclude carbs from your daily meals.

There is a specific daily carbohydrate limit for anyone on ketosis. Continue reading to find out more about the amount of carbs required to reach ketosis and the amount needed to maintain ketosis.

How Many Carbs for Ketosis?

How many carbs for ketosis?

On a ketogenic diet, the amount of calories from carbohydrates shouldn’t be more than 5% of your total daily calorie requirements.

However, your daily caloric intake highly depends on three major factors, including:

  • Your age, gender, current weight, stature, and body fat composition
  • How active you are
  • Your resting metabolic rate
  • Your reason for starting the keto diet

To stay in ketosis, you need to find the perfect ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins. On a ketogenic diet, most people consume get 70-75% of their daily calories, mainly from fat, 20-25% calories from proteins, and 5-10% from net carbs.

That’s the general range because your macronutrient goals will highly depend on your body composition, activity levels, fat loss goals, and your age.

How Many Carbs A Day for Ketosis?

For most people, the number of daily carbohydrates shouldn’t exceed 50 grams. Ideally you should aim between 20 to 30 grams net carbs per day or 40-60grams per daily including dietary fiber. (Source)

But depending on the person, the amount of carbs can be limited to 10 – 20 grams per day.

Here’s a simple calculation to help you understand.

Net carbs is the total amount of carbohydrates in a diet, fewer sugar alcohols and fiber. To calculate net carbs for keto diet use below formula

Net Carbs= Total Carbohydrates – (Sugar Alcohols+ Fiber)

Simple formula:

For example, you weigh 180 lbs, and you need 1400 calories per day to lose weight at a rate of 1 pound per week. You would require:

  • 7-80% calories from fats
  • 20-25% calories from proteins
  • 5-10% calories from carbs

Note: 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories, and a gram of carbohydrates and proteins contains about four calories.

If you’re not sure how to calculate the carbs in food you eat, check out this article we wrote about keto calculator.

How to Calculate Your Carb Intake

How to calculate your carb intake?
How to calculate your carb intake?

On a keto diet, you should obtain your daily calories from 70-80 fat, 20-25% proteins, and 5-10% from carbohydrates.

To better understand your daily carbohydrates requirement on a keto diet, it’s essential to translate these percentages into grams.

For example, if you need 1400 total calories per day, your aim should be to get 10% of 1400 calories from carbohydrates.

= 140                     = 70

Because 1gram of carbs is equivalent to 4 calories, you’ll then divide each of the figures above by 4 to get 35 grams and 17.5 grams net carbs per day, respectively. (*)

How to calculate your fat intake

You might have heard nutritionists, and some diet specialist declares that fat- especially saturated fat is bad for your health.

Luckily science has debunked this myth because of a lack of data to prove the relationship between a high-fat diet and increase risk of heart disease.

Because the keto diet emphasizes more on fat, you’ll need more fat in your daily keto diet meals. Here’s how to calculate the amount of fat you need to eat a day on keto.

           = 1,050 calories

1 gram of fat is equivalent to 9 calories. If you divide 1,050 by 9, you get 116.66 grams of fat per day.

How to calculate your protein intake

Protein provides us with essential amino acids to help burn body fat and for muscle gain. (*) Keto diet requires 20-25% of your total daily calories from proteins.

For an extremely active person, more protein is needed. However, it’s important to note that too many proteins can cause gluconeogenesis.

But depending on activity levels, most people will consume 0.6-1.0 g of protein per pound of lean body mass.

In this case, if you weigh 170lbs, but only have 140 pounds of lean body mass, 84-140 grams of protein daily would be suitable.

How many carbs should you target on a ketogenic diet?

How many carbs should you target on a ketogenic diet?

If you’re an active person and regularly engage intense physical activities, the above ratios may not work for you. That’s why you’ll need a targeted ketogenic diet.

Targeted keto advocates for “carbs boost” – eating carbs before and immediately after your workout sessions. The carbs boost ensures that the muscles have sufficient glycogen for energy (*)

  • Stick to your macros throughout the day
  • Consume 15-30 g of fast-acting carbs during workout sessions or within half an hour after your workout ends.

Your body should use the carb boost to repair and restore itself, and you won’t be kicked out of ketosis.

How to Eat For Ketosis

Finding the perfect ratio for ketosis is very important. Keto advocates for low carbohydrates and low glycemic index foods.  Examples of such foods include peppers, leafy greens, cauliflower, eggplants, and many others.

If you have 3 meals a day, each serving should have less than 10 grams of carbs. Additionally, these carbs must be -low on the glycemic index scale. You should avoid foods high in carbs or that affect your GI scale even when they are low on carbs.

Alternatively, there are plenty of low carb alternatives. You can replace wheat flour with almond, coconut, and other nuts flours.

Replace dairy milk with low carb alternatives like almond and coconut milk. Avoid artificial sweeteners or regular sugar and switch to natural sweeteners like erythritol and stevia.

Eat plenty of fat to boost your ketosis. Fatty cuts of meat, sour cream, olive oil, nuts, and butter contain fatty acids that your liver will easily convert into ketones.

In the long run, your body will use stored fat to make ketones for energy requirements hence boosting weight loss.

How Many Days until Reaching Ketosis?

How many days to reach ketosis?

In most people, it takes 2-4 days to reach ketosis. However, for some, it may take up to a week or longer. (*)

Factors that affect how long it takes to reach ketosis include:

  • Your age
  • Your metabolism
  • Exercise
  • Your daily protein and fat intake
  • Typical daily carb intake

For example, those who consume a high carbohydrate diet before starting a ketogenic diet may find it harder to enter ketosis than those who consume low carb foods.

This is because your body will need to deplete stored glycogen before it can enter ketosis. (*)

Reaching ketosis takes three phases. As long as you restrict your daily carbs below 50 grams, boost your fat intake to 80% of your daily calorie requirements and proteins to 20-25% of daily calories, you’ll be guaranteed to reach ketosis.

Below are the three phases to enter ketosis.

a) Glycogen Depletion

In the first 1-3 days on a ketogenic diet, your body will switch to muscle and liver glycogen to raise blood sugar levels. Glycogen will be converted to glucose to provide your body with required energy.

b) Fat Oxidation

After all stored glycogen is used up, your body is forced to use stored fat for energy production. Some of the fats are used for energy while others converted into ketones.

Your body produces ketones as a source of energy for body cells that cannot run on fatty acids. If you keep your fat intake high enough, your body will instead use dietary fat for ketone production other than using stored fats.

c)    Ketone Utilization

The third phase is ketone utilization, where your body has fully adjusted to ketosis. While it may take 2-3 days, for some it makes take up to 2-4 weeks or longer.

Some of the adverse effects of ketosis include keto flu also known as carb flu, which is a collection of symptoms similar to the common flu.

How to speed up getting into ketosis?

How to speed up getting into ketosis?

Patience isn’t something everyone wants to hear, especially when it comes to weight loss. We all want to shed off those extra pounds as quickly as possible without having to wait for weeks.

1. Exercising

Exercising is one of the best ways to speed up weight loss in ketosis.

An intense workout can deplete glycogen stored within hours. (*). With moderate activities, it can take up to 48 hours to completely drain glycogen stored.

2. Supplements to Speed up Ketosis

Besides exercising, some supplements can fast track your way into ketosis without breaking a sweat. They include:

Exogenous Ketones

These are dietary supplements designed to boost ketosis. They are laboratory ketones available in powder and pill form. Studies have shown that these supplements make you enter ketosis within hours. (*) You can also use them to correct keto dietary mistakes and shorten keto flu.

MTC Oil

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are the type of fats that don’t require bile salts or enzymes for digestion. They are absorbed directly in the digestive tract and transported to the liver where they’re used for ketone production.(*)

3. Try intermittent fasting

Fasting doesn’t involve going without food for weeks. There are two ways you can fast, with the most common one being time-restricted fasting.

Time-restricted fasting can either involve eating during an 8-hour window (first meal at 1200pm and no eating after 8:00 pm) or eating during a 4-hour window (first meal at 400pm and no eating after 800pm). You can also try intermittent fasting which involves fast for a day or several days

How to Test For Ketosis At Home.

Knowing when you’re in ketosis is important as it will help you determine whether you’re on the right track or if you need to make adjustments to your carbs, proteins, and fat intake ratios.

Keto Flu

Keto flu is one of the first signs that your body is transitioning into ketosis. You may feel achy, tired, and nauseous in the first few days. Keto flu can take up to a week or two before the body full adjusts into new metabolism.

Urine test strips

They are cheap and easy to use. However, these strips may not be reliable after the first few weeks of ketosis. This is because, in the first few weeks, your body will excrete large amounts of ketones.

As your body adjusts to low carb diet, it’ll excrete fewer ketones, which may be impossible for urine test strips to detect.

Thirst

Ketosis may make you feel thirstier than usual, which occurs as a result of water loss. Additionally, high ketone levels in the body can also cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. It’s essential to drink plenty of water and keto-friendly sodas to avoid dehydration.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is one of the simplest ways to test for ketosis. Ketones produced by the liver leave the body through urine as well as through the breath.

Unusual lousy breath following a low carb diet program is a sign that your body has entered ketosis. Mask the smell by chewing sugar-free gums or brushing your teeth a couple of times per day.

Carb foods to eat on a keto diet.

When it comes to carbs on the keto diet, you’ll want to keep the portions small. Avoid starchy vegetables, high carb grains, and high sugar fruits. You should focus on foods such as:

  • Low sugar berries including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • Eat leafy veggies including arugula, kale, asparagus, and lettuce
  • Eat cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, and Brussels.

Final thoughts

To enter the ketosis state, you shouldn’t exceed 50 grams of carbs per day. However if you participate in intensive training and workouts, you can raise your carb intake during workouts and immediately after exercise.

Not only knowing how many carbs you need for ketosis, but you also need to keep tabs on your protein and fat intake. Too much of proteins are bad for ketosis.  To enter ketosis as fast as possible, try exercising or supplements such as exogenous ketones and MCT oil.

Categories
Fat Loss Keto Facts Keto Nutrition Weight Loss

Diet Soda On Keto: Everything You Need To Know!

Dieting comes with its share of challenges, and right from the start, irresistible cravings kick in. If you’re reading this, you’re probably sick and tired of drinking water on keto, and wondering if diet soda on keto is the right way to go.

Diet soda is sweet like any other carbonated soft drinks, contains zero carbs, and doesn’t have any added sugar. From a nutritional point of view, diet soda sparks debate because it contains artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame which could have adverse effects on your health.

In this article, we shall be discussing everything you should know about diet soda on a keto diet.

What is Diet Soda?

What is diet soda?

Diet soda is a beverage that mimics the taste of regular soda but has no sugar. It combines artificial sweeteners, carbonated water, natural flavors, caramel color, caffeine, phosphoric acid, and preservatives. Let’s have a detailed look at each ingredient.

  • Phosphoric acid– is found in bubbles of diet soda and can ruin your bone health. A study on the NCBI website revealed that high contents of phosphoric acid could lower bone mineral density.
  • Carbonated water– its water infused with carbon dioxide (CO2). It’s also known as fizzy water or sparkling water. People prefer carbonated water because it more refreshing than plain water.
  • Preservatives– some of the chemicals found in diet soda include potassium sorbate and potassium benzoate, which help prevent fungi and mold growth hence preventing food spoilage.
  • Natural flavorings- The FDA defines natural flavorings as any product containing flavors obtained from fruits, vegetables, eggs or similar material. Its purpose is to provide flavor.
  • Artificial sweeteners- Sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K, and saccharin are zero-calorie sweeteners that are 100 times sweeter than sugar.
  • Caramel color- is responsible for the brownish color of diet soda. An article posted on the NCBI website revealed that caramel color isn’t genotoxic, meaning it doesn’t cause cancer.
  • Caffeine- when consumed in doses above 400mg, it can cause anxiety, nervousness, and jitteriness. (Source).

Can You Drink Diet Soda on Keto?

We’ve seen users on different online communities asking, can I drink diet soda on keto?

The answer is YES. While diet coke is not healthy, a few drinks once in a blue moon won’t ruin your keto lifestyle. Just watch for the addiction.

Additionally, diet sodas can’t be justified as healthy from a nutritional standpoint. They aren’t healthy and shouldn’t be a regular feature in your diet menu.

Nutritional facts of diet coke:

  • 0g sugars
  • 0 calories
  • 0g carbohydrates
  • 0g proteins

Because ketogenic diet purposely aims to cutting carbs in your diet, from keto standpoint diet coke is allowed.

Replacing regular soda with diet soda will help you significantly cut carbohydrate consumption and at the same time satisfying your cravings. Remember, you shouldn’t consume diet coke regularly.

Additionally, diet soda has zero nutritional value but linked to some health problems when in excess. The artificial sweeteners can also disrupt your body’s metabolism and spike up your sugar cravings.

Benefits of Diet Soda on Keto

Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of diet soda in your ketogenic lifestyle.

Zero carbs and calories

The rule of thumb in your ketogenic lifestyle is that; carbohydrates should never exceed 50grams per day. Cutting your carbs intake significantly helps in weight loss.

Additionally, to shed off those extra pounds, you need to burn more calories than you eat. To lose 1 pound of your body weight, you’ll need to burn 3500kcal. Typically, you should cut 500kcal daily (Source).

Drinking diet coke is an excellent way of satisfying your “sugary glands” while at the same time reducing calorie intake.

Satisfies your cravings

The artificial sweeteners in diet soda are 100 times sweeter than regular sugar. If you’re craving for something sweet but hate to gain extra pounds, a can of diet coke once in a will quench your sugar cravings.

How Diet Drinks Can Ruin Your Ketogenic Lifestyle

While diet soft drinks are sugar-free, they contain artificial sweeteners that allow you to get that sweet taste without worrying about carbs or calories.

Artificial sweeteners may indirectly ruin your ketogenic lifestyle in ways you never thought possible. Let’s see how?

On weight gain

You may argue that there’s no way you’ll weight from light drinks since they don’t have any calories or carbohydrates. That’s true, but the fact is that you’ll be promoting weight gain in other ways.

A 2019 study published in Pediatric Obesity found out that people who drink artificially sweetened drinks consume up to 450 more calories per day than those who only drink water. The reason being the sweet taste will make you feel hungrier than you would have without it.

According to a 2017 report, researchers found a correlation between artificial sweeteners and obesity. These sweeteners can affect the bacteria in your gut, resulting in decreased satiety hence prompting you to consume more calories.

On Sugar Cravings

One way to quench your sugar cravings when on a keto diet is to drink diet light drinks. You get to satisfy your sugar buds without any of the calories or carbohydrates.

Anything sweet you eat activates different pathways in your brain. However, the sweetness of artificial sweeteners without calories will only partially activate these pathways, and this leaves your brain “yearning” for more. Because artificial sweeteners don’t fully satisfy your brain, it’ll continually seek what it wants until it gets it – in this case sweet flavor with some calories (Source). If you give in to your cravings, you’ll only end up developing tolerance and preference for all things sweet making you utterly dependent on artificial sweeteners.

On metabolic Dysregulation

One of the primary purposes of ketosis is to regulate insulin and glucose levels, the two of the significant factors that help you to keep tabs on your weight.

A 2013 study by Diabetes Care found out that diet beverages work directly against the keto mechanism by disrupting glucose and insulin levels in the body. This results in increased risks of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity, that’s according to Reviews of Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders.

Avoid Diet Soda If you’re On Keto Diet

Although diet drinks won’t directly kick you out of ketosis, it’ll affect you in other ways and make it almost impossible for you to lose weight.

The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are linked to other health problems like:

  • Fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Short term memory loss
  • ADHD

How to Cut Down Diet Soda on Keto

To get rid of diet soda from your menu, you need to understand the reason why you drink soda and find a good alternative.

Some people drink diet soda to satisfy their sugar cravings while others want a quick caffeine jolt. For people not on keto diet, switching to tea and coffee may be a good alternative. However for people living keto lifestyle, they’ll need to find a sugar-free option and calories free.

You can replace diet soda with another keto-friendly drink and smoothies that provide same sweetness as soda.

Recommended Keto Friendly Drinks:  Best Diet Soda Alternatives

As more medical publications are made available to the general public about the health risks of diet soda and possible artificial sweetener addiction, manufacturers have responded by offering light drinks made with stevia, which is an all-natural no-carbohydrate, no-calorie sweetener.

However, there isn’t sufficient information whether stevia has the same effects as artificial sweeteners.

Below are keto-friendly sodas that have been crafted to satisfy your taste buds without knocking you out of fat-burning ketosis:

  • Homemade sodas
  • LaCroix, a sweetener-free drink that uses a combination of natural flavors.
  • Homemade recipes (discussed below)

6 Ketosis Friendly Homemade Diet Soda Recipes

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

Humans can’t survive without water. It’s the best drink for everyone on the planet that not only quenches your thirst but also keeps you hydrated and cures headaches.

While water is a must, not everyone appreciates its taste. Sometimes we want to quench our thirst with something that tasty and sweet. Below are different keto-friendly recipes that you should try.

1. Zingy Salted Lime Soda

Generally, you can use sparkling mineral water, club soda, and seltzer water interchangeably unless you’re specific. The minerals in these three only change the taste slightly. It’s important always to check the ingredients since some have artificial flavors.

Ingredients

  • 1 lime
  • 1 ¼  cups of club soda, sparkling mineral water o seltzer water (adjust amount to taste)
  • 1/8 to 1/4  teaspoon salt (adjust the amount to liking)

Preparation:

Juice 1 lime and then mix with club soda, mineral water, or seltzer water and salt. Stir the mixture gently until all the salt dissolves and serve chilled.

This is the perfect homemade diet soda to keep in the refrigerator for those hot days as it’s quite refreshing, and the small salt added can help with rehydration. You can dip a slice of the lime to the rim of the glass to make it look like some fancy summer cocktail.

diet soda on keto
Zingy Salted Lime Soda

2. Cucumber Lime Water

Cucumber waters are served in spas, probably to help you relax during the session. This recipe only requires three ingredients and can be prepared in less than five minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 lime
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1.5 liters of water

Preparation:

Gently peel the cucumber and slice it into small slices. Add the slices to jug. Extract juice from 1 lime and add it to the jug. Add water to the mix and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

Cucumber is an excellent cooling vegetable that adds flavor to water. The lime adds some zingy freshness to make the drink even more refreshing. Alternatively, you can use a water bottle with infuser in the middle to help you drink comfortably without the cucumber slices coming your way.

3. Sparkling Pomegranate

You’ll only need about 5 ingredients to make this refreshing pomegranate drink. It’s important to note that it does contain some caffeine to spice up your mood on those boring afternoons and boost your energy.

Ingredients:

  • 20 drops of stevia
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup of cold green tea
  • ½ cup of pomegranate juice
  • ½ of sparkling water

Preparation:

It takes less than 5 mins to have the sparkling pomegranate drink ready. Combine the five ingredients in a jug and serve over ice.

This recipe contains 18 calories and is sugar-free making it perfect for people living ketosis lifestyle.

4. Ginger Ale

Ginger has been attributed to many health benefits. This ginger-flavored keto drink will not only quench your thirst but also help you balance blood sugar, relieve cough symptoms, and digestive problems.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of sparkling water
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons of erythritol
  • Ice cubs
  • Mint
  • 22-inc pieces of ginger

Preparation:

Wash your ginger, peel and grate it. Place the grated ginger in a cheesecloth or muslin and squeeze it until you have 2 tablespoons of ginger juice.  Mix the ginger juice in a jug with other ingredients and serve immediately.

5. Easy Flavored Water

In the past few years, it’s been discovered that store-bought flavored water can have hidden additives. Here’s how you can turn your “plain” water into ketogenic friendly flavored water using ingredients such as raspberries, lime, blueberries, and blackberries.

Preparation:

Slice the lemon into small slices and wash all other ingredients. Then dip a lemon slice and small pieces of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries into a glass of water. Serve over ice.

6. Pink Grapefruit Soda

This is one of the best diet soda alternatives that give the same fizzy feeling as diet soda without artificial sweeteners. It contains real juices from lemon and grapefruit and can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 cups of sparkling water
  • 1 pink grapefruit, juiced
  • 20 drops of stevia
  • ½ lime juiced

Mix lemon juice, grapefruit juice, 20 drops of liquid stevia, and salt. Divide this mixture into four different serving glasses. Add ice cubes to each glass and fill with sparkling water.

Pink Grapefruit Soda
Pink Grapefruit Soda

Ketosis Smoothies and Other Beverages

Many keto friendly smoothie recipes can help you satisfy your sugar cravings without impacting negatively on your health or affecting your keto lifestyle. The best way to make low carb smoothie or keto smoothies is by using fats like coconut oil, nut butters, or coconut oil and some low carb vegetables like cucumbers, leafy greens, beets or celery and smaller portions of fruits like apples, pears or berries.

Other keto-friendly beverages include unsweetened almond milk, which sugar-free and contain about 30 calories per 8 ounces serving.

Final thoughts on Diet Soda on Keto

Although diet soda may seem like the best way to satisfy your thirst without worrying about calorie intake, its damages to your health exceed the benefits. It doesn’t matter whether it’s calorie-free or carb-free, you should avoid it as long as you want to enjoy the full benefits of a ketogenic diet. Consider our six alternatives; they are all low carb, sweet and good for your health.