I fear it's impractical for me to become keto-adapted..

by 10 · March 11, 2012 at 05:50 PM

I'm trying to become keto-adapted because I read it can be therapeutic for depression and of course to lose excess body fat. I've eaten strict paleo for about 3 weeks, low carb about 2 of those weeks, and for the past 4 days I've been purposefully eating a ketogenic diet while intermittent fasting (about 1 to 5 pm eating window). The thing is, I actually started recorded what I'm eating on FitDay and I was shocked at how few calories I was eating for the first couple days of eating for ketosis- just about 800 or so. I've begun feeling ill from having to choke down a few tablespoons of butter, and high fat cheeses, just to get enough calories while maintaining the recommended percentages of 80F/15P/5C. Sadly, my calories have still not been higher than 1,600. I also haven't been feeling like I'm getting proper nutrition. My average day looks like half a pound of beef steak, a few tablespoons of butter, a bite of an apple, some leafy greens, avocado, a few eggs, a ton of high fat cheese like brie, mascarpone, etc. However I do take cal/mag/zinc, tyrosine, 5-HTP, cod liver oil supplements.

I have Ketostix and have confirmed a couple times that I HAVE been in ketosis....but how can I possibly keep this up on a longer term basis, to become keto-adapted????

Can I please have some advice for how to eat these crazy ratios long-term while being practical, not killing my tastebuds (the butter actually makes me nauseous now), and getting good nutrition???

edit: just want to make it clear I'd rather not eat cheese (it's fine for digestion but I have other qualms about it, also I don't want to ahve any addictions, and cheese makes me feel addicted). So eating all this cheese (8 ounces today!) is my sort of desperate grasp at eat the correct F/P/C profile and getting enough calories!

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8 Replies

1650 · March 11, 2012 at 03:13 AM

A few things before I get to your question.

First: you're not trying to be constantly ketogenic; you're trying to get through the carb flu. After that, feel free to introduce more carbs from sources such as fruit and tubers.
Second: diet should not be stressful. You shouldn't be worrying about eating too many or too few calories, or specific macronutrient ratios. That's one of the appeals of a paleo diet.
Third: WHY are you eating so few calories? Are you not hungry? If you are hungry, why aren't you eating?

To answer your question, though: What about coconut? Dressings? (There's some great homemade mayo recipes.)

3962 · March 11, 2012 at 02:53 PM

Fluffy, are you hungry on this food plan or just feeling a bit "icky" due to adjusting to using fat for fuel rather than carbs?

Here is Dr. Michael Eades' blog page on tips for this:


Taking magnesium, drinking meat broths, esp. bone broth, taking minerals, and even some potassium salt (the No-Salt salt substitute), drinking enough water, getting enough rest, etc., is all a great help while your body makes the switch to using fats for fuel. Also, many find it helpful to eat more meat at the beginning, until one adjusts to ketosis. You'll know when you are adjusted. You will wake up one day and feel better and be smiling! :)

Many people say it takes 2- 3 weeks for the initial adjustment. Some health challenges, as well as being older, can make this adjustment period take longer.

Are your tracking your exact carb and protein intake?

If you really feel unwell, then why not increase the amount of carbs a bit, just enough to feel better, but still stay in ketosis? If 30 or 40 will keep you in ketosis, and losing weight, and you feel better on it, why not? No need to suffer, out of hoping that the lowest carb amount possible might work faster.

I tried staying at 18-20 grams of carbs for a long time, but feel much better at 25-33. I have been eating very low carb since July 2010, and have enjoyed it very much.

There is no general reason to be concerned about staying ketogenic for a long time. What foods someone does best with, and the amounts of those foods, or levels of carbs, protein, and fat are best, depend upon someone's nervous system, how their neurotransmitters work, how foods and amounts affect their moods, brain function, digestion and elimination, metabolism, etc. Each one's genetic make-up and expression, dietary and health history, inherited sensitivities, age, sex, preferences, lifestyle, budget, etc., all are key aspects.

There is no way that someone on an internet forum can know exactly what someone else ought to eat, or how much food, or how many carbs, or how much protein.

Here is a thread on "how long is too long to be in ketosis", which may answer some concerns.

Many people stay ketogenic for life, for various reasons: diabetes, epilepsy, mental health, MS, to name just a few examples.

To give a specific example: Dr. Richard Bernstein, who is the diabetes expert, has thousands of his patients on 30 grams of carbs per day, normalizing their blood sugars.

There are many support threads at Low Carb Forums for those on ketogenic diets for the purpose of weight loss. These support threads can be a great, ongoing help. :)

The food list you posted provides good nutrition. If you are concerned about the nourishment you are getting, Barry Groves's site has good information. Before I started following Dr. Bernstein's plan, I used Barry Groves.

As to "killing your taste buds". I don't know what you mean, so can't offer any help on this.

ETA: Here is a very good website: http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/

Staying ketogenic helps many of us feel calmer and more poised. Other things that increase GABA, besides staying ketogenic: yoga and yoghurt!

Hope this helps some. I wish you much joy with your food plan. :)

10 · March 11, 2012 at 08:28 AM

First let me start by asking the question that no one asks before they give out all of their opinions... "What is your ultimate goal, and if you are on a fitness or workout program what is your program geared towards." If you are trying to reach a state of Ketosis then continue what you are doing and follow the advice of "Dustin", he hit the nail on the head. You must acclimate your body to your diet. You will go through major hunger withdrawals as well as weakness and lack of energy for the first couple of weeks. Try eating egg whites throughout the day with large amounts of water to try and trick your stomach into feeling like it is full. It is not entirely healthy to stay in Ketosis for an extended period of time. Is there anything that we actually do that does not have some sort of downside to it? Assess your goals and what you are trying to do. If you are trying to maintain a high level of fitness then long periods of ketosis will be counter-active. If you are not really into a workout regiment and just trying to keep a decent body by eating right then the route your going is in the right direction.

1540 · March 11, 2012 at 03:25 AM

If you're not trying to lose weight, then definitely eat about 45-50g total carbs a day. Volek & Phinney both agree that most folks get into ketosis and stay there at less than 50g a day; serious athletes may be able to support ketosis at even 80g. At around 50g, there's a lot of great veggies you can eat, so there's plenty of nutrition.

I would ditch the cheese. If you're female, eat 4-6 oz. portions of meats, enjoy huge salads (seriously, like a quart at a time), and eat leafy greens with butter or lard. As you enter ketosis, you'll lose your appetite for a few days, then it comes back. If you still need to add fat then, eat coconut oil or manna.

If you find you have the carb flu, drink some bone broth with salt and eat 1/2 an avocado a day. It goes away fast if you do.

3623 · March 11, 2012 at 03:32 PM

Keto is a good choice based on what you described. It takes time.

IF is for when you know you are keto adapted and can take advantage of it, don't rush into it.

If you restrict calories too much, your thyroid will adjust for it and slow weight loss. What is too much? Don't trust calorie calculators. Get settled in as a keto adapted fat burner and work calories down slowly.

Good luck, you can do it.

60 · March 11, 2012 at 08:15 AM

After about 4 weeks your body will be fully able to burn fat and happy doing so. All the unpleasant feelings you have now will disappear. You will feel the same after eating fat as you feel now after eating carbs. I eat no carbs and feel great. I went through 4 weeks of hell to get there. I am leaner than I've ever been.

2285 · March 11, 2012 at 07:24 AM

I'd like to say that you should probably tough out this rough part, as you'll likely gain an appetite in a few days, or shorter. I wouldn't try to IF yet - you want to do that when you're comfortably keto adapted.

I'd go with the other suggestions about eating a salad, just make sure it's only leafy greens. Also be wary of balsamic vinegar, I can tell I'm in deep keto when I can taste the sugars in the balsamic, and kind of want to drink it. I guess it kind of sounds like you need to find some fat carriers, one of my favorites is spinach and butter, or spinach and cream. Or you could drink cream, since butter is starting to make you gag.

So, my two cents boils down to: Find a way to make the food more tolerable, and therefore have a desire to eat more. Don't IF yet - eat when you want, and this is just a part of becoming keto adapted, learning how to eat keto.

11648 · March 11, 2012 at 03:42 AM

I do Paleo-Ketogenic, and I eat 1100 calories, but I'm very short. I'd say you should easily eat 1300 calories. You should simply eat more. Your ratio is way too skewed IMHO. I personally do 60%F, 10%C, 30%P (with goat dairy, not cow) with success. I eat up to 30gr of NET carbs per day. I don't feel I'm missing anything, although I do supplement with various vitamins.

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