No matter what your current diet consists of there is usually room for improvement.
I am still working to improve my diet. At the very beginning of my nutrition program, I became more aware of what I was eating. I had young kids. I would eat things off their plates without even really being aware that I was doing it. I’d finish their cheez-its and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I wasn’t even hungry. And, some of the foods I ate I didn’t even like. Bad habits were uncovered by simply food logging and paying attention.
A good way to improve your diet is step by step. An excellent first step is food journaling (especially in an app or computer-based program like Cronometer. Once you know your macronutrient intake (carbohydrates, protein, fat) averages you can start targeting better choices and numbers to help you achieve your goals and learn how to become fat adapted.
Step two: As you make better choices (usually more protein, adequate healthy fat, lower carbohydrate) you eat less often. Less snacking lets your body burn fat and not sugar/carbohydrates as fuel. This step can take some time as your body adapts to this change. An individual can’t go from a standard American diet high in carbohydrates to being fat-adapted overnight. Sometimes during this phase, you may need to increase your protein and fat to help you feel more full and allow you to decrease carbohydrates.
Being fat adapted means that when your body needs energy it can go into a fat-burning state to function. As you get more fat-adapted you can adjust your protein and fat intake to meet your needs. If you are trying to build muscle or are very active you may need to increase protein and fat. If you are trying to lose weight you may need to decrease fat to allow your body to burn your fat as fuel.
Intermittent fasting is longer periods without food. Increasing the amount of time you go without food encourages cells to renew and repair. This can help with weight loss, inflammation, and healing.
My most current diet experiment was with carnivore eating.
The carnivore diet is eating just animal meat for all your nutritional needs. There are no fruits or vegetables or any processed carbohydrate foods.
My husband and I did this starting in May. I did this elimination type diet so I could see what foods were not good for my body. I did it very strictly for three weeks and then started experimenting with what I could add in and still feel well. Within five days I was shocked by how good I felt and was in deep nutritional ketosis. While eating carnivore I lost approximately 8 pounds (my husband has lost 28 pounds). I noticed that my muscles were stronger and more defined without even adding exercise. We are still eating primarily (85%) carnivore in our house and my husband is having excellent results during marathon training compared to previous years.
My opinion: being fat-adapted and cycling in and out of ketosis periodically is the ideal state of health and healing. Ask your Practitioner if you need help with your diet. We look forward to helping you on your health path.
Yours in health, Kerry Cradit, B.S. Nutrition and Food Science
This is an article about high-quality, good fat foods for ketosis and low-carb diets.
Before I get into what those are though, I want to talk about the Atkins era. In the ’80s and ’90s, Dr. Atkins and his diet was pretty popular, but there were two things that were missing in his information related to eating fats.
Number 1: it’s most accurate and valuable to test ketones in the blood. Ketones are the fat that the body loves to burn more than any other fat: when you’re burning ketones, it’s called ketosis. To test for ketones in the body, Dr. Atkins was using “keto sticks,” which are little sticks that you urinate on, and they’ll tell you if there’s a certain quantity of ketones in the urine. Unfortunately, having raised ketone levels in the urine doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in ketosis. You see, if the level of sugar in your blood is greater than the level of ketones, it means you’re burning sugar. In order to be in ketosis, you have to have more ketones in the blood than sugar. With the way Atkins was testing, you might witness an increase in ketones from eating healthy fats, causing some of those ketones to spill over into the urine and make it seem, based on the keto stick reading, like you’re in ketosis, but if there’s still more sugar in the blood—something that can’t be measured using the keto sticks—then in fact you’re still burning sugar and are not in ketosis. Dr. Atkins missed this simply because there didn’t exist the correct technology at the time. But now it exits! You can buy something [link/product name] online to measure ketones in the blood, and compare that with glucose.
Number 2: Atkins was missing the concept of eating healthy food that’s not filled with chemicals. He recommended artificial sweetener, other preservatives, and processed food. As a matter of fact, they still make Atkins bars, and they’re filled with chemicals. You want to avoid that. Of course, it was more okay in the ’70s when most of the food was pretty good, but now our food is a disaster, so you want to eat as cleanly as possible.
Those are the things Atkins was missing. One more note before I get into the list of fats: ketosis is not the same as ketoacidosis. Ketosis is simply burning fat, whereas ketoacidosis denotes a Type 1 diabetic that’s dying because his or her glucose and ketones are out of control. The ketones might be 25, not 2.0 and the blood glucose is 350, not 100. Ketoacidosis is very dangerous. Saying ketosis and ketoacidosis are the same thing is like saying cat and car are the same thing: the words are similar, but obviously a cat and car are very different things.
Here’s the list of fats, broken into a couple of different categories.
The first category is fats that are really good for when you’re fasting. Let’s say you’re skipping breakfast and doing what’s called intermittent fasting: you eat dinner at 6:00 p.m., and your next meal’s at noon the next day. You just went 18 hours with no food. That’s intermittent fasting. These fats can be consumed while you’re fasting around 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. to help yogurt through it.
– MCT oil – which stands for medium-chain triglyceride oil (in fact, all of the fats in this category are medium-chain triglycerides, meaning they pass into the brain easily to feed it, as opposed to long-chain triglycerides, like what’s in bacon or steak).
– Coconut oil – EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Avocado oil – Fish oils- Butter – Bone broth
All of these you could just drink, or for the coconut oil, eat it with a spoon!
The next category is healthy fats that have some carbohydrates or protein in them. You’d consume these during your eating hours, since otherwise they would break your fast.
– Good Fat Bar. That’s a company I started with a couple of friends. The website’s “goodfat.bar”. The base of the bars is cacao butter, which is fantastic, super satisfying fat.
– Olives – Avocados – Organic pasture-raised eggs – Fish eggs – Nuts, seeds – Nut butters – 100% chocolate – If you find a chocolate bar that’s 90%, that means it’s 90% chocolate, 10% sugar. If your chocolate bar is 75% chocolate, then it’s 25% sugar. This is 100% chocolate. It’s bitter, but it’s full of fat.
The next category is dairy. Dairy’s very valuable for its fat. If your body can’t handle dairy, if you’re lactose intolerant or it causes a runny nose, then this category isn’t for you.
– Full-fat cheese, including cottage cheese. Raw and/or organic is best. – Yogurt, full-fat with no added sugar – Grass-fed butter or ghee (clarified butter) – Kefir, which is a thick, fermented dairy, full-fat of course. It’s a bit bitter. You can buy kefir that’s full of sugar and is low fat—don’t bother. – Whole milk, raw and from grass-fed animals. Some people are drinking goat’s milk. In any case, you want it to be as clean as possible, and not skim milk and not 2%. Skim milk is like drinking Gatorade with the amount of sugar that’s in it. You have to go with full-fat.
The final category is meat and fish.
– Red meat: steak, pot roast, beef – Fatty chili – Brats, sausage. You can go to a store and find all-lean brats and lean sausage. It’s dry, and it’s not very satisfying. You want to go with a higher fat brats and sausage. It has to make you happy. – Bacon. There’s turkey bacon, which has basically no fat, and then there’s regular bacon. If you’re going to eat bacon, you have to go with the full-fat bacon. This is to get your body into fat-burning mode; we’re trying to reduce the protein and the sugar. – Fats and organ meats from organic, grass-fed animals – Whole fish that’s fatty, like salmon. These fish swim deep in the ocean where it’s cold. Preferably the Atlantic Ocean, not the Pacific.
At the very least, you want to get into ketosis a few days a year. If you’re in ketosis four days a year, you’ve turned off bad DNA, cancer DNA, heart disease, diabetes. If you’re an endurance athlete, you should be in ketosis 15 hours every day. It’s a gradient, depending on what you want to do.
There are two subjects that people have been talking about on YouTube: fatty liver and insulin resistance related to eating fat and ketosis. Two doctors that I watch, Dr. Greger and Dr. Berg, have talked about this, but I need to put in my two cents because there’s some missing data. Let’s dive into the two topics and discover the best diet for fatty liver and diabetes.
says that chronic disease is fat deposited in the abdomen and in the organs of
the abdomen, and I agree with that; that’s a true statement. His next
statement, however, is that in order to prevent that, you have to go vegan, and
that isn’t true. In fact, ketosis is better at cleaning up all that fat.
Dr. Berg has
read his Guyton physiology textbook in his videos, and, reading from the
textbook, he says that ketosis is a low insulin state, which results in fat
deposition in the liver. There’s new research that disproves that—check out the
link below—and then think about it logically: when you go into ketosis and your
body’s burning fat, all the cells are burning fat. Fat is pulled from
everywhere. Ketosis won’t pull fat from everywhere except your liver or
put fat in your liver while it’s cleaning everything else up… that doesn’t make
any sense. Ketosis is going to clean up everywhere, including your liver.
I talked to a
guy yesterday on the phone, and he bicycles for exercise, and some days he’ll
do 100 miles or 200 miles in one day. And he told me that the last time he
biked, at mile 120, he got this energy suddenly, and then he started passing
everybody. That’s because, at that moment, his body went into ketosis. During
that time bicycling in that great state of health, in the middle of a 200 mile
bike ride, was his body creating chronic disease by depositing fat in the
liver? No, it was cleaning up the liver.
Likewise, if you go into ketosis after four days of fasting, and now you’re on day six or seven or eight, your body isn’t creating disease by depositing fat in your liver! There are many benefits of ketosis because it’s cleaning the liver and cleaning all your organs. Fatty liver disease is actually solved by ketosis.
In the link
below, there’s a study showing that there’s noticeable improvement in the fatty
liver problem in just three days of ketosis. That’s ridiculously fast. A
nutrient that helps with cleaning up fatty liver, by the way, is choline, which
is in dietary fat, and can be found in supplement form too.
says in one of his videos that insulin resistance is when the cells are filled
with fat, and that prevents insulin from working on the cells, therefore,
dietary fat is the cause of diabetes. That’s what he says, and it isn’t true.
So then, what is the cause of diabetes? It’s sugar consumption. Keep in
mind, however, if you add dietary fat into the equation, and you’re
eating sugar plus fat, now that’s the worst thing you can do.
Dr. Berg had
a rebuttal to Dr. Greger, and Dr. Berg had his physiology textbook out, and it
says, basically, that there are different causes of insulin resistance. His
rebuttal is that nowhere in the textbook does it say that fat in the cell is a
cause of diabetes. You can argue back and forth about who’s right, is it Berg
or is it Greger—Greger has newer information, new research—but the point is,
the solution to insulin resistance is always the same: ketosis.
If it is
the fat in the cells that causes diabetes, how do you get the fat out? You go
into ketosis and it cleans it out. Ketosis cleans the cells of fat, it cleans
the liver of fat, it cleans your organs of fat, it cleans your body of unwanted
A study on ketosis:
I was at a seminar January of 2017 called Low Carb USA in Florida. There’s this particular study I want to reference. In summary, there were three categories of mice, one was on the Western Diet (WD), the second group was on a ketogenic diet (KD), and the third was the control group (standard Rat Chow). At the conclusion of the experiment, they sacrificed the mice, weighed the organs and looked at the health of the organs, and tested the blood. They had opened up their abdomen, and you can see that the high carbohydrate mice had fat embedded in their abdomen and the organs looked sick—they looked brown when they should have been pink. The ketogenic mice were lean throughout and their organs were pink and healthy. The bottom line is, if you want to solve either of these problems like fatty liver or insulin resistance, do ketosis!
The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) is the easiest and fastest way to get into ketosis. The benefits are that you usually don’t have any keto flu symptoms, brain fog, and/or tiredness.
Eventually, your body slips into ketosis, sometimes by the end of the first or second day! If you do it for five days in a row, you’ll get deeper and deeper in ketosis. At my practice, we’ve had dozens of patients do the FMD. I’ve had a number of people on my YouTube channel do this and are experiencing the benefits of weight loss as well. I’ve heard from many people say they don’t like avocados, which is one of the primary foods used in the fasting mimicking (FMD) diet method I outline in one of my videos, so in this article I want to provide other food options to substitute.
The fasting mimicking diet I’m referring to involves the daily consumption of only two avocados and two green drinks for five days. The green drink is powder you buy at a health food store and we also sell it at my practice. It’s called Greens First Pro. I’m not talking about juicing kale and celery and romaine lettuce, because with that the carb total is too high, especially with kale. The goal is to get the most nutrition with the least number of carbohydrates.
Around 1910 to 1915 the federal government closed the fasting clinics that were all around the United States at that time. Fasting cured a lot of diseases back then, and it still does, but it was especially known to end childhood epilepsy. Because of the closures, in the 1920s the Mayo Clinic had to reproduce the results of fasting with a diet which they called “the diet that mimics fasting”. Later it became known as the ketogenic diet. More recently, Dr. Valter Longo has made “the fasting mimicking diet” popular with a specific program called “Prolon”. The point is that ketosis and the FMD have been around a long time and many people have benefited from it. Basically, when you are fasting or mimicking fasting, you’re burning more fat than protein or carbs. To achieve that, protein and carbs need to be lower in ratio to fat.
To explain further, I would like to share an equation that is super important! It is a stable piece of information that you need to always know and apply while doing the FMD. The equation of: quantity + quality = vitality. For this article, I want to focus on quantity, not quality. I watch other people on YouTube and read blogs, and a lot of doctors aren’t getting the quantities correct. They’re talking about the quality of various types of food, which of course is important, but if you neglect the correct quantities, you prevent yourself from getting better results, faster.
The point is we’re going to get it right the first time. So, I’m going to outline two categories of food. In the first category are the best foods for ketogenesis, and in the second category are the foods that you might think are ketogenic or we hope they are, but in fact, they’re not.
We’re going to talk about fat versus protein plus carbs, and then the calories. For example, one avocado is approximately 227 calories, and when you do that twice a day for the fasting mimicking diet, you’re at about 500 – 600 calories.
The green drink is going to have calories, so you might be up to 800 calories a day. So, it’s a low-calorie diet, but it’s fine because your body slips into ketosis and starts burning the fat that you’ve been storing for many, many, years.
The ratio of fat versus protein plus carbs with the avocados and green drink is 4:1, which is very ketogenic and we want to shoot for at least 2:1 ratio. If it’s 1:1 it can be ketogenic for some people but not for everybody. So, first off, you’ll want to use an app that gives you the fat, protein and carb count (macros) so you get it right the first time. Cronometer is the app I use to find these numbers, and you can use Cronometer, too. Please do so for your own knowledge and information. It’s free. I am using it for the examples below.
Let’s talk about other foods to substitute for the avocado. These are the foods that fit in the first category, the foods that are excellent for getting into ketosis. The first one is four tablespoons of macadamia nuts. That’s 240 calories and we’re trying to stay around this mid to low 200 calorie mark. Basically, you would have this quantity twice a day in your fasting mimicking diet. The ratio here is 25 grams of fat to 4 grams of protein plus carbs. So it’s about a 7:1 ratio with the macadamia nuts and that’s better than the avocados.
Better yet would be five tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. That’s 225 calories and is basically a 7:1 ratio. That’s 27 grams of fat to 4 grams of protein plus carbs. Two tablespoons of butter are 200 calories, but here we have 22 grams of fat compared to 0 grams of protein plus carbs. Butter is very, very, ketogenic. It beats all of these, as does coconut oil, avocado oil, and macadamia nut oil. These oils are all very ketogenic. So, keep that in mind because you can add these oils to any food to try to raise up the fat content.
Guacamole is the next substitution for avocado. One serving of guacamole is 287 calories, and it’s 24g fat versus 12g protein plus carbs. So, it is ketogenic because it’s a 2:1 ratio. Guacamole is not the same as avocados unless you make your own and you do it right.
How about ice cream? We all want ice cream to be ketogenic. But from Cronometer it says that there are 15 grams of fat versus 36 grams of protein plus carbs. It’s got too much sugar. By a lot. You can get a no sugar ice cream and see what those numbers are. Just look it up yourself on Cronometer. In one cup it’s 282 calories.
Next, we have different types of nut butters. Three tablespoons of hazelnut butter are a 2.6:1 ratio, which is pretty good. That’s 270 calories. Two tablespoons of almond butter is a 1.5:1 ratio. That’s not bad. Two tablespoons of peanut butter are 1.3:1, that’s not as good, but it’s still better than the 1:1 ratio. It just depends on how your body reacts—I’m just giving you the numbers.
Lastly, I will give one example of cheese. In two ounces of cheddar cheese, there are 19 grams of fat to 15 grams of protein plus carbs… so, it’s okay. It’s better than a 1:1 ratio. But if you eat cheese all day you may not get into ketosis unless your body has already been fat adapted and the mitochondria in your cells transfer easily from sugar burning to fat burning. But if you’re new at this, and you’re trying to get into ketosis, cheese is not the food for you to start off with. You want to go with avocados (if you like them), macadamia nuts, heavy whipping cream, butter, and oils.
This is workable and if you need to, do it on a gradient. Do it at what rate works best for you. I do have a video on getting into ketosis on a gradient called Benefits of Ketosis by Degree.
I hope these foods help you to do the fasting mimicking diet and getting into ketosis fast! The benefits of these fasting mimicking diet foods are numerous! You may think that it might be weird that there are people that don’t like avocados… well, I don’t like them either. 🙂
As a practitioner, this is what I hear from the people I help who are trying to get into ketosis:
“I need help to calculate my macros for ketosis.” “I just don’t know if I am doing it right.” “I don’t know what is wrong, but I can’t quite get it right!”
If you need help changing your diet, calculating your macros, and/or identifying what you need to do for success, follow the three steps below and you will be heading in the right direction.
But first, you need to know what makes up your food! Does your food contain carbs? Protein? Fat? and how much of each. This is learning your macronutrients (macros). Second, you need to make changes to your diet based on the information you learn. It’s not always lower carb, you may find you need to increase your fat, or decrease your protein. You might even find you need a higher carb count. Third, you need to measure how your body responds to your diet. Learn how to calculate macros below.
Here are the 3 steps explained in detail:
#1: Learn your macronutrients. In order to learn, or decode your foods, you can use an app on your phone or computer, or buy a macronutrient book. I personally use Cronometer , it’s an app on my phone and it goes with me everywhere which helps my success of using it. It’s what I encourage my patients to use. I’ve had patients who use My Fitness Pal or other apps and websites that count macronutrients also. Regardless of which app or book you use, the goal is this: at the end of every day, you want to write down a total of net carbohydrates eaten, protein, and fat. I record these in grams, not in percentages. Percentages aren’t as helpful in most cases for making adjustments to your daily diet. Be sure if you use an app other than Cronometer, that it counts carbs as “net carbs.” Cronometer counts net carbs. This is important because net carbs are the number of carbs minus the grams of fiber. This is important. It allows you to have quite a bit of vegetable and still maintain low carb status. Step one isn’t about understanding your macros or making changes, it’s about learning what you eat on a regular basis so you can identify what to change after you’ve identified patterns.
#2: Alter the quantities of foods you eat: After a few weeks of recording the macronutrients (macros), now you begin to make sense of it all! Examine if you go too low on fat, making you feel overly hungry, or if you go too high on protein, making you gain weight or feel bloated. In step 2, you write out all of your totals for each day in a grid pattern. I’ve attached an example of mine. My sample is not a sample you should try to reproduce. It’s just a sample from my real daily food log. I can tell you some days were optimal, and others weren’t. You can examine your own macros and pick out the obvious areas to change. If you’re having trouble, you can get help from your practitioner too. My most successful patients bring a grid with their macros to every visit. Your grid might look something like this:
Once you start looking at a graph like this, you can see the days where you had more carbs, more protein, and days when you had more fat. This helps you to make adjustments. Maybe on day 4 when you ate 120 carbs, you also felt bloated and sluggish the next day. But you thought you did well because you attended a health fair and ate the “Paleo Pumpkin Spice” cookies, muffins & bread. Although food can have good quality (non-GMO, organic, local) it does not mean those same foods have the quantity (# of protein/net carbs/fat) that you’re looking to eat. Counting macros isn’t about never making a mistake again with your diet, it’s about learning and being in control of how to make more days optimal and get control after you have a day that is non-optimal. It’s about knowing exactly what foods are made of and what works best for you! Don’t forget about incorporating the Good Fat Bars into your diet. They are a great alternative for people on the go or for a quick snack.
#3: Measure your body’s response! Now you’ve got control with your macros. But, you don’t know how your body is responding to these macros! Yes, you might say, my headaches are less, and my bowels are better and other symptoms of dysfunction may be improving…but I don’t feel like I’m getting ALL of the “benefits of keto” that people talk about! Now it’s time for step 3, time to purchase a ketone & glucose meter. I use the Keto Mojo and for your ease, we sell them here at the NHCAA! Every night, I wait two hours after my last meal (this includes drinking water and taking supplements too)! Then I poke my finger and measure my blood ketones & my blood glucose. I record it next to my macronutrients. Now, in order to understand what the blood glucose & blood ketones mean, you’ll learn how to calculate Glucose Ketone Index (GKI). To do this, you will use Glucose divided by 18.016 divided by Ketones = GKI.
SO, for a blood glucose of 72, a blood ketone of 1.0 it would be as follows: 72/18.016/1.0= 3.99 GKI.
Your initial GKI goal is anywhere between 0.7-8.0. 0.7-1.0 is true ketosis.
A range from 1.0-8.0 is where many patients get good results with their health. You may need to stay in a true ketosis range of 0.7-1.0 if you are working on a health concern like seizures. 1.0-8.0 may help if you’re working on mood stability, hormones, or skin issues. Above 8.0, you’re simply out of ketosis. You either need fewer carbs or protein, or more fat, or a combination of all 3. Sleep, hormones, and other health issues can also keep your body from reaching a state of ketosis as well. If you’re having trouble reaching a GKI of 0.7-1.0, bring the above data for a full month and ask your practitioner for help. Adding intermittent fasting, high carb days, the 5-day fasting mimicking diet, carnivore diet, or other nutritional supplements, lifestyle factors, or diet variations may be needed for your success. These first 3 things help to determine which of these you need next!
Make the best of your health program and do these 3 things consistently. Bring your data from these measuring tools to your visit to show your practitioner so that he or she can help guide you! When you put forth the necessary effort to learn, gather the information you need, and make the change, you will create consistently sustainable, and most importantly, repeatable results!
Yours in health and longevity, Kristen Clore, OTR, Holistic OT, Nutrition Expert & Certified Wellness Coach
Ketosis is a state of the body where it is being fueled mostly by fat. The source of fat could be healthy fats in the diet or the fat stored in the body. The burning of fat produces energy for the body.
This is different than ketoacidosis which can be a dangerous problem associated with diabetes. In cases of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus the body may not be making insulin, blood sugar is uncontrolled, and the blood could become too acidic. Nutritional or therapeutic ketosis is safe and can be achieved through a higher fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet. A great resource for getting started with the ketogenic diet is: https://ketonutrition.org/
I have been in ketosis three times in the last two years as demonstrated by blood testing. In my first ketosis experience I got there by what I call teeter tottering in. I slowly increased my healthy fat intake while lowering my carbohydrate and protein consumption. This was done incrementally over the course of about six weeks. The second time I got into ketosis with a Fast Mimicking type diet. Because I was adapted to burning fat I was in ketosis by day two of this plan. The Fast Mimicking type diet mimics fasting but still provides nutrition making it easier than fasting alone. This is a link to Dr. Schmidt’s video about the Fasting Mimicking diet. Most recently I was in ketosis while doing Whole30®. This was my most successful Whole30® to date because I made sure I was eating an adequate amount of fat to keep me full and well nourished.
Now, I hover near ketosis by eating low carbohydrate (50- 60 grams), moderate protein (50 – 60 grams), higher fat (80 grams) on a daily basis. Also, I intermittent fast during the week. I don’t typically eat breakfast, but I do put healthy fats (coconut oil, coconut cream, or butter) in my coffee in the morning. Because I am fat adapted I can go long periods of time without getting hungry.
My recent blood work shows that this type of diet and being fat adapted has worked for me. My total cholesterol was 192 (normal). My triglycerides were 42 (normal is 0 – 150). My blood sugar the day of the blood work was 63 (normal 60 – 109). I had fasted approximately 15 hours before the test. I was hungry. But, not feeling any low blood sugar symptoms at all – no dizziness or lightheaded feeling, no moodiness, no problems. Ask your Practitioner and try it to see if a fat adapted or ketogenic diet could help you, too.