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Newb Questions about Ketosis

Okay so I have been reading some articles on here regarding ketosis and forum posts as well. I think I am finally ready to begin it, however I have a few simple (I think) questions that maybe I have either missed or have gotten loss in all the reading I have done. I was wondering if someone out there can help.

If I am wrong in any of my questions please correct me as I may be missing something.

  1. When under ketosis I have read that both muscle and fat are used as “fuel” due to not finding glucose in the blood and no glycogen in the liver. Then I read that fat is considered the last option to be used as fuel. But why is it, under ketosis, that fat is used before muscle? What is it about ketosis and the body not finding any glucose to use or glycogen to use in the liver that causes a last option to all of a sudden jump to the first option in front of muscle for breakdown? Maybe this is a stupid question, I just am looking for clarification I guess.

  2. I understand that ketosis requires something like 60% fat calories, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrate calories. This is what I have read from some people in the forum. If this is incorrect or a better ratio is found, please tell me. However my main question deals with making it easier to do this ratio on a daily basis. Is there some sort of program or android app that I can use to make this easier to figure out. As in a list of foods that contain accurate nutritional content that I can enter to make sure I am upholding this ratio on a daily basis.

  3. There’s a post on another website that members on this forum often refer to others when one wants to enter ketosis, but we are not able to link to it. However, the post explains the “quick, easy, reliable” way of entering ketosis, and I am quite confused by some parts of it. It says to start on day 1 to not eat anything after 6 pm. Day 2 start with HIIT before you eat, then begin a strict keto diet 0-2% calories given to carbs. Then Day 3 do HIIT again before you eat, then eat 5% of calories of carbs, which is considered “normal keto”.

My first question is why is day 1 even considered a day if we arn’t specified any specific dietary restrictions in the form of keto other than not eating after 6. Should not eating after 6pm be considered a constant throughout the whole diet? Also, why do you eat so few carb calories on the second day then start a normal keto on the 3rd day? Why not just simply start a normal keto diet and excercise regimine on day one? Basically whats the purpose of the first two days?

  1. I have found conflicting information regarding “keto strips”. Some say they are great, my ex-girlfriend who had type 1 diabetes had to use them in the doctors office, yet I constantly hear from others that they are unreliable. I ordered some from the pharmacy yesterday and I pick them up tomorrow. First, when should I begin using them (like the first day to begin making sure I’m in ketosis) after I begin the diet and what is the correct way of using them? Some say to pee in a cup and put the strip in the cup while others say that doesn’t even really matter and just pee on the stick directly. Some advice here would help greatly.

  2. Medications. I am on a number of medications that I don’t know or haven’t seen in any of the posts talked about, if they may affect the ability to go through ketosis. I guess I’m just making sure I am not doing anything negative to my body and wanted to double check to see if anyone else has been on similar medications and still done ketosis sucessfully or if these medications can be conter-productive in any way. First, I am on adderall 10mg a day. Not a very large dose but I have read some discussion around here that it is catabolic. Does this mean that it would burn muscle as well as fat if I was to do ketosis or should I not worry about it and keep my ADD under control? Second, I am on androderm 4mg. I have low testosterone that hasn’t responded to either gels or the patches. I have some gain in testosterone some months, but I hover around the 280-300 range currently as a young man in my early 20s. My neurologist wants me to see an endocrinologist to get shots. Anyways, will this have any affect on the diet at all in terms of keeping muscle from being destroyed?

  3. Maybe my biggest question. Once I get the ratio of fats-protein-carbs down, how should I determine the amount of calories to eat? Is there a good calculator for this? I don’t know where a good calculator for this is, however, the one I did find on the post on the other website didn’t seem to make much sense. Maybe I misunderstood the wording. I wasn’t sure if we could link it here so I didn’t to be safe. In addition, to the calorie question, is there a rule regarding how many times to eat per day, like 6 small meals that is advocated by others to keep metabolism up?

I’m sorry for writing such a large post. But I really want to lose fat and better my health. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read and answer some of my questions and correct some inaccuracies I may have.

Thank you very much and have a great day.

  1. Fat is an efficient energy substrate, protein is not. In a hyper- or eucaloric diet [edit: in the absence of carbs], fatty acids are used as fuel.

  2. Any calorie counting cell phone app should have the nutritional info you want. I find keeping my total carbs - in absolute terms - under 60 grams per day is sufficient to remain in ketosis.

  3. No idea. Try it and report back.

  4. Seriously? Just pee on the damn thing. The sticks are cheap, start checking on day 1 and report back what you find.

  5. You may have to do some strategic Google’ing to find out about this.

  6. It depends on what your goals are. I do see you’ve mentioned “lose fat”, but I’m unsure of the overall context. Do you want to only lose fat? Lose fat and maintain lean mass? Increase lean mass? What is your overall objective? How many calories are you eating now? Are you gaining or losing?

<------------- Not an MD, but have adhered to a keto diet for 15 months and has a decent layman’s understanding of the mechanisms involved.

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

  1. Fat is an efficient energy substrate, protein is not. In a hyper- or eucaloric diet, fatty acids are used as fuel.

  2. Any calorie counting cell phone app should have the nutritional info you want. I find keeping my total carbs - in absolute terms - under 60 grams per day is sufficient to remain in ketosis.

  3. No idea. Try it and report back.

  4. Seriously? Just pee on the damn thing. The sticks are cheap, start checking on day 1 and report back what you find.

  5. You may have to do some strategic Google’ing to find out about this.

  6. It depends on what your goals are. I do see you’ve mentioned “lose fat”, but I’m unsure of the overall context. Do you want to only lose fat? Lose fat and maintain lean mass? Increase lean mass? What is your overall objective? How many calories are you eating now? Are you gaining or losing?

<------------- Not an MD.[/quote]

Thank you for your quick reply. I really appreciate it. My doctors have said my main goal should be fat loss, but of course keep the lean mass that I have, which isn’t much. I read that increasing the lean mass while in ketosis is something that is difficult to achieve and some posters said that you should only stick to one thing at a time. So I would say my main overall objective, right now, is to lose body fat percentage. I haven’t really counted my calories recently but I know they are pretty high, because my weight is about 230 pounds and I am only 5 foot 9. I don’t have any information about body fat percentage, but I know it is most likely very high. My blood work in terms of cholesterol and everything else is very good my doctor has said, except for my testosterone, which I commented on above.

Thanks again

  1. the point is probably to deplete glycogen stores. At least, it sounds like that.

Also you should be worrying less about ratios and more about total carbohydrate consumption. Less than 30g a day is ideal.

[quote]Sutebun wrote:
3) the point is probably to deplete glycogen stores. At least, it sounds like that.

Also you should be worrying less about ratios and more about total carbohydrate consumption. Less than 30g a day is ideal.[/quote]

Okay thank you for your reply. But does that mean it shouldn’t matter how much total fat and protein I’m getting as long as I am getting below 30g of carbs, or is there just a simple rule that you should eat more fat, middle protein, and low carb with a caloire deficit?

Thanks

How active are you?

If you are largely sedentary, figure 1 gram of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. If you’re active, and especially if you’re lifting, figure 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Then add in your net carbs (carbs less fiber) and the rest of your diet should be made up of fat.

For example, let’s say you weigh 220 lbs to make the math easy: If you’re sedentary, you should be eating 100 grams of protein a day or 400 calories. Figure another 45 grams of carbs (some people say 30, I do well with up to 60 so I picked something inbetween) or 180 calories worth of carbs. If you’re total daily intake is 2400, then the balance of your calories, or 1820 calories, should be fat. This is approx 200 grams.

If you’re a strength athlete, you can bump your protein up to 150 calories and adjust fat down appropriately.

Protein requirements derived from: Evaluation of protein requirements for trained strength athletes, Tarnopolsky MA J Appl Physiol. 1992 Nov;73(5):1986-95

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
How active are you?

If you are largely sedentary, figure 1 gram of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. If you’re active, and especially if you’re lifting, figure 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Then add in your net carbs (carbs less fiber) and the rest of your diet should be made up of fat.

For example, let’s say you weigh 220 lbs to make the math easy: If you’re sedentary, you should be eating 100 grams of protein a day or 400 calories. Figure another 45 grams of carbs (some people say 30, I do well with up to 60 so I picked something inbetween) or 180 calories worth of carbs. If you’re total daily intake is 2400, then the balance of your calories, or 1820 calories, should be fat. This is approx 200 grams.

If you’re a strength athlete, you can bump your protein up to 150 calories and adjust fat down appropriately.

Protein requirements derived from: Evaluation of protein requirements for trained strength athletes, Tarnopolsky MA J Appl Physiol. 1992 Nov;73(5):1986-95[/quote]

I appreciate your response Dr. Pangloss.

To answer your question and to be more specific about me, I weigh 235 and am 5 foot 9. 24 years old. I would say my activity level has been, until now mostly sedentary with the exception of walking about 2 miles a day at a very slow pace(I’m recovering from abdominal surgery for the past 6 months approximately). I was just cleared last week to be able to weight train again. However, I don’t know if weight training is good on a ketogenic diet? Probably a stupid question.

I will begin posting what I eat tomorrow since I started today to see if experienced people such as yourself think I am on the right track and what I need to change.

Thanks for the help I really appreciate it. Also if anyone who comes across this post and can answer some of the questions that haven’t been answered yet, that would be a great help. I have been researching and still can’t find some hard answers to those questions. However, I appreciate those who have contributed thus far.

Have a great day!

[quote]Haymaker33 wrote: However, I don’t know if weight training is good on a ketogenic diet?
[/quote]

Yes, it is but it takes getting used to.

Expect about a month transition period or more and don’t be frustrated if strength gains come a little slowly at first.

Since you are just starting out, likely you will not even notice since you will be making gains right out of the gate.

Hello everyone. I hope everyone is doing well. As I said today is the second day of my first ketosis experience in losing fat and hopefully, building some muscle too.

I am encountering a quite a bit of problems however.

  1. My doctor just increased my dosage of adderall yesterday, which screwed my plans around completely for yesterday. If anyone knows anything about amphetamines, in many people, including me, it destroys your appetite. To go further, in some people if you can’t eat and you try to force yourself to eat, you get sick to the point of having to vomit. This is going to take some getting used too.

  2. So in regards to my first official day, I think it went obysmally. I was only able to consume a total of…
    540 calories
    29g Carbs
    39g Protein
    24g fat, of which 6 was sat fat

I tried my best to eat what I could, which included a 6oz chicken breast and 4 fish oil caps. I also had a small, low carb gatorade that morning which added 7 carbs to the total which was also a screw up. As a small upside I didn’t eat after 6pm as stated by the protocol, which used to be very difficult for me.

Day 2 (Today)

Today has gone much better so far. I did HIIT on the treadmill on an empty stomach, as stated by the protocol.

Breakfast
-2 Fishoil caps- 20cal/2 g fat

-3 fiber caps- 1,500 methylcellulose

-Orange Juice- 110 cal/26 carbs/2 protein I made a huge mistake here and I know that. Hopefully I can redeem myself the rest of the day.

-3 whole eggs, Scrambled, with a teaspoon of cheese (I hate cheese on eggs so I should have done this separately. So during my next time I will eat the cheese separately from the eggs)- This came to 220 calories/ 13g fat (3 saturated)/ 18g protein

-2 pieces of Canadian bacon- 90 calories/ 1 carb/ 4g fat (1.5 saturated, 2.8 monosaturated)/ 12g Protein

So far my calories are since breakfast- 470, Fat- 19g (4.5 sat, 2.8 mono), Protein- 32, Carb-35

I have a few quick questions, if you don’t mind. For lunch and dinner I have two thin porterhouse steaks I was planning on eating. What would be the ideal ‘add-ons’ to these two meals to ensure:

  1. I don’t raise my carbohydrates anymore
  2. Increase my fat percentage while keeping my protein content in check while still keeping a caloric deficit to lose weight based on my previous weight/height info. I am having a huge problem eating foods that have a high fat content but medium protein content even those same foods are considered “excellent” choices based on the ketosis protocol

I have come to realize that this is quite the learning experience, I have made some mistakes these first days but I will overcome and learn from them with the help of you great posters and the more articles I read.

I really appreciate the time people are taking to help me with this. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Have a great day!

First of all, congratulations on taking your first steps. Second, there’s no need to be so hard on yourself, this is an eating program, not a religion. The great god Keto will not come down from the heavens and smite you if you have a glass of OJ. So lighten up on yourself, no need to use words like “abysmal”, “screw up”, and “huge mistake”. This is the first day of a marathon, not a sprint. There will be plenty of time to work on good eating habits in the future.

With that out of the way, I’ll address one of my pet peeves: chicken breasts. I hate 'em. They’re dry, bland, and tasteless. Start using thighs and legs with the skin on. Much better nutritional profile for a high fat diet. Don’t just make scrambled eggs, make an omelette. Throw in whatever veggies you can find, plus cheese (if you can stomach it) and half of an avocado. I’ll throw some cut up deli ham in, too.

Good choice on the porterhouse, ribeyes are a great cut too. For additional items, I’d make broccoli with garlic butter, sautee’ed mushroom with garlic butter (are you seeing a trend here?), asparagus spears with balsamic vinegar or even a hollandaise, roasted cauliflower steaks topped with parmesian, sautee’ed spinach, kale with shallots, etc. Think of a vegetable you like, then think about how you can add oil to it. Not only does this work well for the diet, but many of the nutrients in vegetables are better absorbed in the presence of fats.

Ideally, you’re going to be eating a lot of vegetables on this diet, so get yourself a decent cookbook for some ideas and a mandolin. This is the one I have, they make a narrower model for $30 http://www.amazon.com/Benriner-BN3-Wide-Body-Large-Slicer/dp/B00032RZNK/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1361462255&sr=8-9&keywords=mandolin. You’ll be amazed at all the way you can cook vegetables. Last night, I used it to make cauliflower steaks as well as a fennel salad (shave the fennel thin, add a couple table spoons of fresh squeezed OJ, salt and pepper). Also, if cooking is a problem for you, check out a slow cooker. Lots of good, inexpensive cuts of mean get transformed into something great after 6 hours in a crockpot.

Thank you for your reply. I very much appreciate the kind words. Just since this is my first true keto diet, I thought I’d include what I eat on a more punctual basis. I don’t plan on doing this all the time. I would however very much appreciate any comments that I could use to help better what I am eating to begin ketosis.

Here is what I had for lunch…

-Water

-3 Fiber Capsules- 1,500 methylcellulose

-Porterhouse steak (I measured 3 ounces of meat, scraped from the bone for a more accurate measurement). Calories- 183 /fat-10 /protein-22 /carb-0

-Salad (Lettuce, 1/2 cup Cheese, 16 Pepperoni slices, Two table spoon of Ranch). Calories-480/ fat-43g (13.5 saturated fat) / protein-19 / carb-5.

-1 tablespoon of Olive Oil (Calories-120/ fat- 14g (2 sat, 1.5 polyunsat, 10 mono)/ 0 protein/ 0 Carb)

So for a summary of nutritional information for lunch…

Calories- 783
Fat-67
Protein-41
Carb-5

Total for today so far is
Calories-1,253
Fat-86
Protein-73
Carb-40

  1. Thank you for your information regarding the cookbook and vegetables Dr. Pangloss. Because as I have been reading about ketosis I have been quite hesitant about vegetables because of carb issues and keeping the protein/fat ratio in tact. But I think if one were to combine the vegetables with the oil, you could easily maintain a higher fat content, mid protein, and low carb ratio which is one of the goals of ketosis. If I’m wrong then I apologize and would need some correction. But I really appreciate you helping me with this. I’m trying very hard to better my health.

  2. While I’m on the topic of health, I’m sure this has been brought up before, but I found that a lot of the foods I have been eaten throughout the day have cholesterol in them. Is this an issue on a ketogenic diet? I have had some cholesterol and triglyceride issues in the past (they are fine now) but is this anything to worry about?

  3. My calories seem to be adding up rather quickly. I don’t want to go too high for dinner. I have the same 3oz meat porterhouse prepared for dinner. Would there be an optimum choice here in terms of reducing calories while keeping fat high and carb low? Should I try, as you suggested, to add vegetables to an oil of choice as a side to the steak? I would love to try to do this sort of things because I have all the ingredients you mentioned practically. I also realized that the lunch meal had a much closer high fat, mid protein, low carb ratio than the breakfast meal. However, as I said, I am worried if keeping a caloric deficit would be difficult.

Thank you so much for your and everyone else help (if anyone else can be so kind to contribute). I really appreciate it.

Okay so I just finished dinner. This is what I had.

-3oz Porterhouse Steak Nutrition (Given above)
-I had mixed vegetables, broccoli, green beans, peas, and mushrooms with a table spoon of olive oil.

So overall this is what my nutrition looked like today.

Calories-1601
Fat-112
Protein-96
Carbohydrates-42.5

  1. Is there a good free website I can go to to compute these foods and get numbers and a percentage for each type of nutrient?

  2. How did my first full ketosis day look in the end? I know I made some mistakes but how can I better handle my calories for the rest of these days. Did I take in too many calories? Should I lower my protein by a drastic amount? And should I try to get my carbs to 30 as a goal or should I just shoot for beteween 30-50?

Thank you so much. I appreciate for the help and anyone who is keeping up with my “journey”.

Have a good day.

Your day looked very solid. Where do you want your overall calories to be?

Try this: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

For cholesterol concerns, read here: http://chriskresser.com/cholesterol

Try to get your carbs down to 30. As time goes on, you can slowly increase to see how your body responds. Pay attention to net carbs (carbs less fiber), not necessarily overall carbs.

Make sure you’re getting 1g or protein per kilo of bodyweight, add in your 30g of carbs, and the rest should be fat. Note: get 5 grams of salt per day. See my explanation at this link: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_senior/weird_feeling_in_my_chestheart_during_strict_diets

Thank you for the kind post. I have been told that I should have 1,550 total calories per day to lose 2 pounds a week? My goal is to be at my previous weight of 170. Should I push that down to a lower level?

Thanks I am using it now.

Okay thanks. Tomorrow I will try my best to stay down to 30 carbs.

I appreciate all the help. Thank you so much.

1550 cals for a 230 pound man isn’t a lot. Let us know how things go.

Hello I just wanted to update my post. I previously reported my more accurate weight at 235 almost a week ago. It has been about 6 days since I started the diet and I am currently exactly 230 right now.

I bought ketostix from bayer and I am still not in ketosis. I might be doing something wrong, I’m not sure. I’ll try to get my exact nutrition intact from the website later.

But I guess the good news is I lost 5 pounds so far. I don’t want to lose it took quick and I’m guessing its water weight or whatever, but it made me feel better seeing the number come down.

You’re probably not doing anything wrong, there are numerous factors that determine when someone is utilizing ketones. For example, your previous carb intake, current fat intake, your individual biochemistry, etc. Phinney and Volek (2 of the leading researchers into ketogenic diets) claim that it typically takes 2-3 weeks of constant carb restriction to become fully adapted, and as long as 7 weeks in some instances.

Just keep carbs as low as possible, and keep on keepin’ on.

Make sure you’re drinking lots of water.

You can use the keto strips as an indicator, but don’t rely on them. Ketone levels in the urine are not always a reliable indicator of serum levels.

Get adequate salt every day.

Eat your vegetables, esp those containing lots of fiber (keto diets can sometimes lead to constipation) as well as potassium (dark leafy greens, mushrooms).

How are the workouts coming along? How about your general dispostion?

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
You’re probably not doing anything wrong, there are numerous factors that determine when someone is utilizing ketones. For example, your previous carb intake, current fat intake, your individual biochemistry, etc. Phinney and Volek (2 of the leading researchers into ketogenic diets) claim that it typically takes 2-3 weeks of constant carb restriction to become fully adapted, and as long as 7 weeks in some instances.

Just keep carbs as low as possible, and keep on keepin’ on.

Make sure you’re drinking lots of water.

You can use the keto strips as an indicator, but don’t rely on them. Ketone levels in the urine are not always a reliable indicator of serum levels.

Get adequate salt every day.

Eat your vegetables, esp those containing lots of fiber (keto diets can sometimes lead to constipation) as well as potassium (dark leafy greens, mushrooms).

How are the workouts coming along? How about your general dispostion?[/quote]

Thank you for keeping up with my thread, I really appreciate it. My general disposition is okay. I see a therapist every week so that helps me through the process. I explained to her what I was doing in terms of losing weight and diet.

My workouts, however, are not coming along all that well. I’m not sure if I previously mentioned in this thread in particular but I had abdominal surgery a few months ago. Whenever I try to lift weight I get tightness in my chest. * I don’t mean like heart trouble or tightness or anything like that, but the surgery required them to pull my upper abdominal muscles and they are still very tight. So when I do anything that requires my back to be straight it hurts.

This is making my progress slower than it should be, I’m sure. For example, lunges are difficult to perform and I can’t get the correct form like I used to when I was in high school about 6 years ago when I was working with a personal trainer. Laying on a bench to bench press is difficult, because it also requires my back to straighten. So I don’t really know what exercises I can do that don’t require my back to be straight and thus cause my chest to not tighten up on me. My doctor said it would still be a few months before it gets back to normal.

Thanks and have a fantastic day.

Ask your surgeon for a script for PT (if your insurance and/or budget allow for it). The PT should be able to design an appropriate regimen for you.

[quote]Haymaker33 wrote:
I bought ketostix from bayer and I am still not in ketosis. I might be doing something wrong, I’m not sure. I’ll try to get my exact nutrition intact from the website later.
[/quote]

I have been fasting for the last 60 hours and my ketone levels are still very low as measured by my aceto-acetate reagent strips - somewhere between 15 - 40 mg/dl.

I expected to see much higher levels but then the more I think about it - why would my unfed body want to rid itself of a possible fuel substrate in my urine. Wouldn’t I want these to measure low so that I know I am using them rather than wasting them?

I think the point of these ketostix are for the diabetic who may be in danger from ketoacidosis.

4 more days to go…