Thumbnail avatar

How to start a ketogenic diet?

by 12362 · June 17, 2013 at 05:45 PM

My husband and I have been Paleo since October, he has lost 35 lbs and looks and feels great; I feel great, but have only lost around 5 lbs. I have read quite a bit on here about ketosis; but have come up empty when researching how to start up a ketogenic diet. Does anyone have a step-by-step guide on how to do that? Or just any good tips on how to start.

I really appreciate any help


Total Views

Recent Activity

Last Activity


Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

6 Replies

best answer

4544 · February 10, 2011 at 04:25 AM

Ketosis is the body's natural adaptation to starvation. It's what the body does naturally when there's no food. It's useful to remember this when we read that eating fat causes ketosis. In fact, ketosis is caused naturally by not eating anything.

When you eat a ketogenic diet, you are trying to trick the body into thinking it's starving even though it's not.

In order to perform this trick, three things have to be limited:

  1. Total calories (must be below the normal weight-maintenance level.)

  2. Carbs (easiest thing is to cut them to zero).

  3. Protein (maximum 0.8 g per kg bodyweight).

If you do all three of those things, the body says to itself, "My brain is craving glucose, but the only way I can provide glucose to the brain is by turning my muscles into glucose. But that will destroy my muscles, and I don't want to do that, so I'll switch my brain over to ketone-burning mode and start manufacturing ketones."

If you do those three things for a fairly short time -- it might be a few days or few weeks -- you will reach a pretty high level of ketosis. When this happens, something automatic will take over. Your appetite will practically vanish. You will probably find yourself eating only every other day because your body will be getting most of its energy from its own stored fat, and it won't need to make you feel hungry very often.

Two close friends of mine are doing this now. One of them started at 273 pounds. As of today, she weighs 165. She doesn't get hungry often, and she eats only about 300 or 400 calories every other day. She loses one pound every three days like clockwork. This is almost effortless for her. She feels fine.

The main reason why people have trouble achieving high levels of ketosis is because they don't limit protein. The body converts excess protein into glucose, and glucose is the thing that stops ketosis.

The crucial point is that ketosis is what the body does when it's forced to sacrifice muscle to make glucose. If it has any easier way of obtaining glucose, it will avoid ketosis.


In case anybody wants to know more about why the body creates ketosis, here's a link to the 1967 paper where the answer was revealed for the first time.

Brain metabolism during fasting

22684 · February 09, 2011 at 11:03 PM

  • Eliminate Carbs.

  • Drastically increase fat intake (80%fat/20% protein or 90/10 depending who you ask.) for fast entry

  • suffer through the initial adaptation. Couple days to a week, lethargy headache etc. Depends on the person.

  • Ingest MCT's (Medium Chain Triglycerides) for energy and ketone production.

  • Intermittently Fast, I like skipping Breakfast, Late lunch, early Dinner, no snacks.

  • Train Fasted, High Intensity interval work.

  • Enjoy increased endurance, autophagy, energy and more.

When you're done with weight loss or it doesn't feel good anymore(not counting the initial week) try some tubers to add nutritionally dense carbs back into the mix.

370 · February 09, 2011 at 11:06 PM

When I started down that road during my experimental days I did a quick Google search and found more than my fair share of good and bad information.

The best from what I read was in the form of a Carb cyclic diet. Basically you limit your carb intake <30g for the first 14 days. After that first 14 days give yourself 24 hours to refill your glycogen stores with whole food, paleo choice carbs. From there I went six on one off. It worked great for me, I was down to about 9% BF and had enough energy to do what I wanted to do and stay sharp at my job. My METCONs suffered, but hate to label why that was. Not sure...

This was just my road, no science to back it up. Just fit and felt right for the time I was doing it.

I did use the keto sticks for awhile. You'll notice you get this crazy energy spike once you are fully fat adapted. Once I ran out of sticks I used that feeling to measure how I was doing on the diet.

1010 · March 02, 2011 at 03:35 PM

This all makes perfect sense in theory, but I'm struggling to put it into practice. I'm tracking my food (MyNetDiary) but seem to keep winding up with too much protein and carbs (from vegs), and falling short on fat. Maybe I just need to wrap my head around reducing the volume of what I eat to make more room for calories from fat...?

If someone could post a sample of a day of ketogenic eating, it would be a huge help.

Thank you all for the info!

994 · April 29, 2012 at 09:16 PM

This is a "good" day from my first attempt at a ketogenic diet 1 year ago. I have stayed on it pretty well but allowed myself to snack on grains which then triggered binge events. read "Wheat Belly" I am just 4 days into a restart after eating way too much bread, cake, etc. I now Know I must avoid wheat like the plague.

I do not eat fruit, any grains,or white foods or processed other than canned fish, mustard, oils etc. I do consume full fat and mostly fermented dairy. Lactose intolerant can clarify their butter or use lard etc..

I found a day like this optimal for me. Much more protein than this I find very hard to manage. 5'8" about 180 lbs on this day -60 yr old female - Daily Totals:

Fat(g) 171.94 Carbs(g)56.86 Fiber(g) 30.5 Net C(g)26.14 Prot(g)77.80

Calorie Breakdown: 2024 total calories FYI

Carbohydrate (11%)based on whole carb not net carb count. net carb = carb minus fiber/food item

Fat (76%)

Protein (13%)

            Fat(g)  Carbs(g)Fiber(g) Net C(g) Prot(g)

Breakfast 35.86 3.81 - 3.81 13.92

3 servings 10% cream 4.50 3.00 - 3.00 1.20

1 1/2 tbsps butter 17.28 0.01 - 0.01 0.18

2 large egg 14.08 0.80 - 0.80 12.54

Lunch F47.41 C14.37 Fi7.4 Nc7.02 Pr24.55

3 oz avocado 13.11 7.35 5.8 1.55 1.67

1 serving baby greens - 3.00 1.0 2.00 1.00

1 serving Ceasar 16.00 1.00 - 1.00 1.00

1/2 serving feta 2.25 1.00 0.3 0.75 2.50

1 serving hellman's mayo 5.00 1.00 - 1.00 0.15

1 serving Sockeye wild red pacific salmon 11.00 - - - 18.00

1 oz, raw, yields tomato 0.05 1.02 0.3 0.72 0.23

           Fat(g)   Carbs(g)Fiber(g)NetC(g)Prot(g)

Dinner totals 56.61 10.30 2.1 8.20 22.22

40 g asparagus 0.88 1.61 0.8 0.81 0.93

1 oz butter 22.99 0.02 - 0.02 0.24

2 oz crimini 0.06 2.34 0.3 2.04 1.42

2 cloves garlic 0.03 1.98 0.1 1.88 0.38

1 1/2 servings hellmans mayo 7.50 1.50 - 1.50 0.22

1 serving olive oil 14.00 - - - -

1 serving sockeye salmon 11.00 - - - 18.00

3 oz summer squash 0.15 2.85 0.9 1.95 1.03

                   Fat(g)   Carbs(g)Fiber(g)Net C(g)Prot(g)
Snacks / Other  32.06   28.38   21.0    7.38    17.11    

1 serving Muffin in a minute)7.00 23.00 19.0 4.00 10.00

1 serving Peanut Butter 8.06 3.13 1.0 2.13 4.01

1/4 serving roasted almonds 7.00 2.25 1.0 1.25 2.50

2 servings whipping cream 10.00 - - - 0.60

I keep track at Fat Secret..has good tools. quite a few diet models from low cal-low carb-paleo etc..

sorry I cannot get it all to line up properly

0 · June 17, 2013 at 05:45 PM

When I go on a low carb diet my vitiligo spreads.

Since now I'm a pre-diabetic I have no choice

Does anyone have any thoughts on this problem

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account