FAQ: Keto Diet – Adapt Your Life® Academy

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frequently asked questions:
Keto Diet

Nuts are a slippery slope. They provide healthy fats but some nuts are higher in carbs than you might realize. (Peanuts, cashews and pistachios are especially high compared to walnuts, macadamias, pecans, and Brazil nuts, for example.) The biggest problem with nuts — and especially nut butters — is that they’re delicious and they’re very common binge or trigger foods. Many people can’t control the amount of these they eat and they find it’s easier to avoid them completely than it is to try to have only a small handful or one spoonful. Even for nuts that are ultra-low in carbs, they’re very high in calories, and calories do matter on a keto diet. If you can limit your portions, then nuts are okay.

All animal proteins are fine for keto — beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, bison, duck, venison, seafood, and eggs. Even lunchmeats (cold cuts) are fine if they’re low in sugar — opt for roast beef, pastrami, salami, or roasted or baked turkey rather than “honey baked ham” or “brown sugar glazed” cuts. Canned fish and rotisserie chicken are perfect budget-friendly choices, especially if you don’t like to cook. You can even get burger patties or grilled chicken from fast food joints – just skip the bun! It’s great to support local farmers in your area if you can, but your meats do not need to be organic or pasture-raised to get great results on a keto diet.

It’s best to avoid watermelon and most other fruits on a keto diet. You might be able to have a small amount and still get the results you want, but most people have a hard time stopping at only a small amount. Eating sweet foods like this often makes you want more and more and just keeps the cycle of sugar cravings going. If you want to get the sugar monkey off your back, it’s best to abstain completely. That doesn’t mean watermelon is “bad” for you. It just means that if you’re trying to get the most powerful benefits from a very low-carb keto diet, it’s best to avoid fruit.
The best way to curb sugar cravings on keto is to NOT EAT SUGAR. If you can power through for just a day or two, the cravings typically go away. You crave what you eat: if you don’t eat sugar, you won’t crave sugar! If you think eating something sweet will satisfy the craving monster and make it go away, thing again. That only makes it hungrier for more! The way to make the sugar monster disapear for good is to starve it. Stop feeding it and will get the message to pack up and leave. In the moment a craving hits, though, eating something fatty & salty can help take the edge off — reach for pepperoni, olives, salami, cheese, or pork rinds.
You don’t need to worry about being in ketosis all the time on a low-carb or keto diet. You can measure your ketones with a blood or breath meter, or urine test strips, but these aren’t required. You can lose weight and reverse many different chronic health problems without ever knowing your ketone level. Good ways to know you’re in ketosis without measuring are that you feel much less hungry and can go several hours between meals without needing a snack or craving sugar. Bad breath – “keto breath” – is also a good sign. You might also notice more physical energy and sharper thinking – so long, brain fog! If you do measure ketones, it’s important to know that higher ketones don’t make you lose more weight or lose it faster, so don’t worry about getting high levels.
The most important thing to limit on a keto diet is carbs – not protein. You don’t need to aim for any specific amount of protein every day, but you should consume protein with every meal or snack. Don’t worry about “macros” and getting a certain percentage of calories from protein – that’s not how keto works. If you’re trying to lose weight and control your blood sugar, protein is your best friend. You don’t need to gorge on it but don’t skimp, either. Women, in particular, often don’t eat enough protein. It’s OLD NEWS that your protein portion should be the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. Forget you ever heard that! Eating a substantial amount of protein can help you stay full for longer between meals and may help ward off sugar cravings.
When you follow a keto diet, the most important thing to look at on a food label is the total carbohydrate. Never trust the front of a package that says “keto” on it. Too often that’s just slick marketing and the item is actually high in carbs — like the “keto” ice creams, granola, and cereals that are now available. Stay away from these! If you want the best results from a keto diet, look at the line that says “total carbohydrate.” Don’t subtract the fiber or the sugar alcohols. Everyone differs in how many carbs they can have every day and still get the results they want, so just look at the total carbs and stay under your limit for the day. It’s okay if sugar is listed in the ingredients (like in bacon, sausage, or lunch meat) as long as the total carbs are very low.
The best remedy for keto flu is SALT. If you’re experiencing headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, and general sluggishness, use more salt. Keto changes the way your body holds on to electrolytes, so some people need much more sodium (salt) when they eat this way. You can use electrolyte powders or drops if you like but it’s fine to just salt your food generously or drink a cup or two of broth made with a bouillon cube. (Check with your doctor first if you have high blood pressure.) A tried-and-true home remedy for severe leg cramps & charley horses is a generous squirt of mustard or pickle juice. (In your mouth, not on your leg!) If you take medicine for diabetes or high blood pressure, feeling unwell can be a sign that your doses need to be adjusted (because the diet is working!), so work with your doctor.
Anything can be keto-friendly if it’s very low in carbs. Egg drop soup from a Chinese restaurant might have thickeners that are high in carbs, so ask about that when you order. (Even if there are some higher-carb ingredients, though, egg drop soup will still be much lower in carbs compared to rice, noodles, and dishes covered in sugary sauces.) If you make it at home, you can control the ingredients to keep it ultra-low-carb.
You don’t need a scale to follow a keto diet. If you’re trying to lose weight, your clothing will tell you how that’s going — you’ll know when you’re getting slimmer! You could also take your measurements instead of weighing yourself. (About once a month, measure your waist, hips, neck, thighs, or whatever else you choose and that will show you your progress.) You also don’t need a food scale. You don’t need to weigh and measure your food to get great results from keto — just always keep your carbs very low and don’t go overboard adding extra fat to your food. Too much butter, heavy cream, cheese, and oil are common obstacles to losing weight on keto.
Alcohol can fit into a keto diet but you have to be careful about it. Even if you’re drinking something low in carbs, alcohol is liquid calories, and if you’re trying to lose weight, liquid calories should be the first thing you ditch from your diet. If you choose to drink, stick to dry wines, lite beer, or distilled spirits. Things like rum, vodka, gin, bourbon, and tequila are zero carb; just be sure to use zero-sugar mixers (like diet cola, flavored seltzer water, or sugar-free or diet fruit drinks). You don’t need to buy special “keto wine”; just avoid sweet dessert wines. And go easy – alcohol tolerance is LOWER when you eat keto. Pace yourself and don’t drink on an empty stomach.
Salt is critically important on keto! Salt has gotten a bad reputation in the health world, but the truth is, it’s an essential nutrient! It’s especially important on keto diets because when you eat very little carbohydrate, it changes the way your body holds on to electrolyte minerals, including sodium (salt). This means you might need to eat more salt than you’re typically accustomed to. If you take medication for high blood pressure, check with your doctor before increasing your salt intake, but for most people, a main cause of hypertension is actually too much sugar, not salt! Blood pressure often improves a lot when people follow a keto diet.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to get great results from keto. The main thing you need to do is keep your carb intake very low, so stock up when things are on sale. Buy ground beef or chicken thighs & drumsticks in bulk and put some in the freezer for future use. Stick to the non-starchy vegetables that are on sale each week. Look for markdowns at the store — buy meats and other proteins that are close to the “sell by” date and stash them in the freezer. And don’t forget eggs – the PERFECT budget keto food! You don’t have to buy any special fancy “keto foods” or devices. You don’t need to use MCT oil, collagen powder, or expensive supplements. You don’t have to buy only organic foods or shop at fancy health food stores. Keto is as budget-friendly as you make it for yourself.

Not sure if keto is right for you? Take our quiz to discover your own personal level of carb tolerance: https://adaptyourlifeacademy.com/carb-threshold-bonus/

BPC is short for “bulletptoof coffee” – a brand name for coffee doctored up with butter and MCT oil. But you do NOT need to drink fatty coffee to get results from keto. In fact, it often sabotages people and gets in the way of weight loss. There’s nothing magical about putting fat & oil in your coffee. It doesn’t make keto work better or faster. People were doing great on keto long before this trend got popular. Save your money for steak, chicken, and non-starchy vegetables!

It’s best to avoid drinking regular dairy milk on a keto diet because it contains lactose — “milk sugar.” (That’s carbs!) If you need something for your coffee or tea, consider using heavy cream or half & half, which are much lower in carbs. You may also use unsweetened nut or seed milks, such as almond or cashew milk, or a blend with coconut milk. Always be sure to buy the unsweetened variety — the package often looks almost the same as the full-sugar version. And you might find that you don’t need any milk on a keto diet because you’re no longer eating cereal, cookies, and other things you probably used milk for in the past.

Seafood is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and micronutrients (vitamins & minerals), so it’s perfect to include on a keto diet. All types of finfish are fine (cod, tilapia, salmon, flounder, catfish, trout, snapper, etc.). Most shellfish and crustaceans are great for keto but some are a bit higher in carbs, such as oysters. Any shellfish is still a much lower-carb choice than foods high in sugar and starch, though, so don’t worry too much about the carbs in shellfish. And canned seafood is a fantastic budget-friendly keto food. Since they’re shelf-stable, stock up on canned salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna when they’re on sale.

The number one thing that gets in the way of weight loss on keto is too many carbs. If you’re struggling to lose weight on keto, start there: make sure your carb intake is ultra low. (Ditch the keto ice cream, keto cereal, granola, and other treats. These are big-time stallers!) The second most common thing that stalls weight loss is too much fat. It’s true! Keto doesn’t mean you can have unlimited fat. If you overdo high-fat things like heavy cream, butter, cheese, and mayonnaise, then your body will get all the fat it needs from those instead of tapping into your stored body fat to use for fuel. Consider eliminating nuts if you’re stalled on keto and go easy on cheese and heavy cream.

Need healthy snacks for your keto or low-carb diet? We make delicious, guilt-free snacks to make your low-carb lifestyle easier & more sustainable. Our products include great sources of protein, healthy fats & real ingredients to help minimize insulin spikes & reduce sugar cravings. You can buy Adapt keto bars here: https://www.adaptyourlife.com/shop/

Shopping for someone else but not sure what to give them? Give them the gift of health with an Adapt Your Life® Academy gift card. Gift cards are delivered to the recipient of your choice via email with instructions on how to redeem. Gift cards are available in increments of $25, $50, $100, $150 & $200 and/or a full price course option. But gift cards for Adapt Your Life Academy courses here: https://adaptyourlifeacademy.com/gift-card/

Remember, fruit is “nature’s candy.” No matter what fruit you choose, it’s going to be higher in carbs than most protein foods or non-starchy vegetables. But that doesn’t mean fruit is off-limits. The best fruits for keto diets are berries — strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and unsweetened cranberries. You might be able to have other fruits depending on your personal level of carbohydrate tolerance, but it’s always best to eat fruit in its whole form — no juice or smoothies. Avoid dried fruit, since the sugar is more concentrated. If you love fruit but need to keep your carbs especially low, choose fruit-flavored sugar-free items instead, such as sugar-free jello.

The best app is your own body! Apps to track your food are not needed to get great results from a keto diet. You can use an app to track your carbs, protein, fat, and calories if you want to, but why make things more complicated than they need to be? The best way to keep track of things is how you feel. Is your brain fog gone? Joint pain getting better? Heartburn or acid reflux improving? Are you less HUNGRY? Is your blood sugar getting better if you have diabetes? All of these things will tell you more about how things are going for you than punching numbers into your phone. Tracking isn’t wrong, though. If you enjoy it and you feel it gives you a sense of control, then it’s totally okay to use an app. But it’s not required. You can do totally fine without it.

The main reason people get kicked out of ketosis is too many carbs! That’s it – plain and simple. What makes your body get into ketosis is keeping carbs ultra-low, so if you’re not in ketosis, that’s the first thing to do: decrease your carb intake. It’s also important to know that your ketone level fluctuates throughout the day. It’s normal to go in and out and for the level to be higher or lower at any given point in the day. The good news is, you don’t need a high level of ketones to lose weight or get the other benefits of keto, so don’t worry if you’re not in ketosis all the time.

No. In fact, keto diets are excellent for improving measurements of cardiovascular health, such as triglycerides, blood pressure, and large, fluffy LDL cholesterol particles. Keto allows for eating butter, egg yolks, red meat, and other foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but the cholesterol and fat in your food has very little effect on the fact and cholesterol in your blood. Two of the biggest risk factors for heart disease are type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance — and keto is dynamite for reversing both of these.

Keto works for people of all ages. Older people tend to lose weight more slowly than younger people, but it will still happen if you follow the diet correctly. Post-menopausal women often need to be especially strict with the diet in order to get the best results, but thousands of older women have done fabulously on keto. Since older folks tend to be on multiple medications, it’s important for them to work with a knowledgeable medical professional so that doses can be adjusted safely as needed.

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