By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Ketogenic or “Keto” Diet. It seems like you can’t go anywhere without hearing about this magic diet full of as much fat as you could ever want. And I’ve been getting a LOT of Keto-related questions lately too: What is Keto? What do you think about Keto? How does Keto work? And more. While I definitely agree there’s not a one-size-fits-all diet for everyone (heck, Chris and I handle carb cycling differently because we have different goals), the questions remains…is Keto right for you?
So to answer all of your Keto questions, I’ve teamed up with the incredible Drew Manning—the King of Keto himself—to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly of Keto. Check out Drew’s incredible wealth of Keto knowledge below AND don’t forget to join me and Drew TONIGHT at 6 PM MST on Facebook and Instagram Live to get even more info about all things Keto!
Drew is such an amazing person, friend, and trainer, and we are lucky to have him in our corner. Not only was he a part of Extreme Weight Loss, but he also had his own show, Fit2Fat2Fit. Guys, Drew knows his stuff! I can’t wait for him to share his message with you. So listen up and take some notes—Drew has Keto down to a science…literally!!
Keto 101 + The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make!
by Drew Manning
Hey y’all! Drew Manning here from fit2fat2fit.com. I was the crazy trainer that purposely gained 76 pounds in 6 months back in 2011 to better understand my clients. More recently, I’m becoming known as the Keto Guy. You may have been hearing more and more about this Keto diet, where you get to eat all of the bacon, all of the cheeseburgers (wrapped in lettuce of course), and all of the butter. But Keto is actually much more than just eating fat, so I am here today to help you better understand just what this Keto diet is all about and the top 5 mistakes people make when going Keto.
What is Keto, exactly? Keto is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet that causes the body to burn fat as fuel instead of glucose (aka carbs). Generally, this means that your diet consists of 70% fat, 25% protein, and only 5% carbs. Your body enters a totally different metabolic state in this situation where your liver breaks down fatty acids and converts them into ketones that then can be used as fuel for your brain, muscles, and organs.
Glucose is a very fast burning energy source that much of our generation has widely used for the majority of our energy needs. All of the breads, pastas, rices, sugars, and cereals get converted to glucose in the body. Glucose is like throwing paper on a fire. There will be a big increase in the size of the flame, but only for a short period of time before the flame returns to its original size very quickly. Ketones are like the coal or the logs of the fire…a very slow burning, but sustained, energy source.
As I mentioned before, living a Ketogenic lifestyle is so much more than bacon and butter. People often get so focused on the macronutrients that they forget about the MICRO nutrients. This is mistake number 1.
Micronutrients are all of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that our bodies need to thrive. Most Americans are overfed and undernourished, meaning that they eat way too many calories, but are barely getting in the minimal amount of nutrients required to have a healthy body and mind. These are highly processed foods like white breads, cereals, sugars, sodas, granola bars, pastas, chips, cookies, crackers, etc. When people are only eating bacon, butter, and cheeses, although that might fit into their macros, they are neglecting their basic nutrient needs from nutrient dense foods like vegetables.
When you become deficient in things like magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin C, etc., it can lead to a long list of illnesses. So when going Keto, don’t forget to add in your nutrient dense, non-starchy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, and so on.
Mistake number 2 is neglecting electrolytes.
Something people often experience in the beginning stages of the Ketogenic lifestyle is the Keto Flu. These are symptoms like lethargy, dizziness, lightheadedness, cramping, low energy, brain fog, nausea, etc. This happens when our body doesn’t know how to use ketones as a fuel source just yet and is lacking glucose (our primary fuel source that has been used pretty much our entire lives), which can cause our electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and magnesium) to become imbalanced.
Some tips to help combat the Keto Flu are to drink more water, take in a lot of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt (5-10g per day), and supplement with exogenous ketones. Anytime you experience any of these symptoms while on Keto, it’s usually due to an imbalance of one of these electrolytes (mentioned above). By simply adding salt to all of your food or taking a couple of salt tablets with a LOT of water can help relieve these symptoms for most people.
You could also look into an exogenous ketone supplement, which are new to the market, but are wildly popular. This is because they put your body into a simulated version of ketosis. It’s not the same as nutritional ketosis, but it still offers benefits like improvement in mental clarity, a boost of energy, appetite suppression, neuroprotective benefits to your brain, and many more. I’ve seen this work great as a pre-workout or during the first two weeks while transitioning into the Keto diet.
Mistake number 3 is eating too much protein.
People often think that fatty protein sources like ground beef, steak, sausage, and chicken wings are what they should be turning to when Keto. And yes, you CAN have those, but you need to remember protein is only 25% of your macros each day. For some people, eating too much protein can cause your body to turn that excess protein into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. This can actually kick you out of ketosis.
Be aware of how much protein you are consuming because you can easily over do it on the amount of meats and protein sources. I recommend tracking your food in an app for your first week or two until you get the hang of things.
Mistake number 4 is undereating.
This one may come as a surprise to some, how can you UNDER eat?? But Keto is a much more satiating way of eating, so you become fuller much faster. Fat is a very satiating macronutrient and combining it with protein is even more so. I’ve seen people only eating 900 -1000 calories because they’re just not hungry when on Keto. It’s still important to stay within a safe range of calories when eating Keto. In those type of situations, I actually have people cut back on fat, up their protein, and sometimes even carbs to increase satiety until they get back up to a safer range of appropriate calories.
Mistake number 5 is impatience.
To truly become fat adapted, it is important you stay strictly Keto for at least 60 days (this is just my opinion…for some it might be 30 days and for others it might be 90 days…remember, we are all different). This fat adaptation phase is EXTREMELY important as it takes your body a while to become efficient at using ketones as a fuel source. The longer you’re in ketosis, the more time your body has to adapt and use them efficiently. If you only stick with it for a few days and then have a big bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you pretty much have to start over again. But if you’ve been Keto for 60-90 days strict, when you do have a high carb meal, your body’s ability to get back into ketosis will be so much more efficient that you’ll be able to get back into ketosis much quicker.
Remember, be patient with yourself as your body adapts and really listen to your body. Some people might want to stay in ketosis long-term because they feel so great and others might want to cycle in and out of ketosis. There’s a lot of flexibility AFTER the initial Keto adaptation phase depending on your goals and lifestyle.
There’s obviously a lot more to this diet, so if you are interested in learning more and following a Ketogenic diet, I have a great program available. It is a 60 day meal plan with workouts and grocery lists to help you get started on living a Ketogenic lifestyle. You can find it at keto.fit2fat2fit.com. I hope this has helped you understand Keto a little bit more and realize that it is more than just bacon and butter!
More about Drew…
Drew Manning is the NY Times Best Selling Author of the book, Fit2Fat2Fit, and is best known for his Fit2Fat2Fit.com experiment that went viral online. He’s been featured on shows like Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The View, and many more. His experiment has become a hit TV show, called Fit2Fat2Fit, airing on A&E.
Connect with Drew here: