The differences between a Low Carb Diet and Ketogenic Diet and my 6 Week Keto Results!
If you're following my blog then you are most likely into a sugar free diet and many of you are also low carb. But I'm guessing there aren't too many of you following me that are on the keto diet so I figured a post all about the differences might be needed.
Most of my recipes are all low carb, some lower carb then others and fit nicely into a keto lifestyle. You'll see below my 6 week results. I'd love to hear if you are new to low carb, or on keto and your results, please share in the comments!
THE LOW CARB DIET
I've been on a low carb diet for the last four years. My meaning of low carb might be different from yours as there really isn't a one size fits all. Every persons body will respond in a different way to the amount of carbs you are taking in daily.
It's often understood that a low carb diet is one in which your carbohydrate intake is under 150 grams per day, yet others say under 100 grams is better. My low carb diet consisted mostly of carbs from veggies and fruits and my range was between 50-70 grams per day.
I was quite high in protein and ate a moderate amount of fat. It was just right since I was maintaining my weight, but not low enough to firm, tone and see the muscle I wanted to achieve. I've been seeing a trainer twice a week for the last year for full body workouts, but just wasn't satisfied with how my body was responding. I recently decided a keto diet might be best to really achieve the tone and muscle I was looking for.
When you're on a low carb diet, you can certainly lose weight, but you are still using glucose (sugar) from the carbs you are eating to fuel your body. This means you'll often have to eat every 3-4 hours because you'll be hunger and you need that glucose to function throughout the day.
THE KETO DIET
The Keto Diet may seem extreme to some of you at just 20 net carbs per day which is about 5% of your daily food intake, some people even do less! In fact, I was reluctant to trying this for a long time, years really, feeling like so low in carbs would be too difficult for me since I love my veggies.
Protein is more of a moderate approach consisting of about 15-25% of your daily food intake. If you're weight training and active like I am, 20-25% is appropriate. If you lead a more sedentary lifestyle you don't need as much protein, more like 15-20%.
The biggest difference is in the fat!! Your fat should be around 55-75% of your daily food intake! UPDATE 2021; How Much Fat Should You Eat to Lose Weight On Keto?!
When I first heard that, I was like, "Are you kidding, No Way, I will surely gain weight!" I was truly wrong and misguided. I think we've all been too accustomed to hearing for years and years that fat makes you fat! That is the farthest thing from the truth. Let's not blame the butter for what the bread did. Sugar and Carbs are the culprit to gaining weight among other health related issues.
Once you start eating this very low amount of carbs, your body will become keto adapted. You are starving it from the carbs therefore it needs to find a source of fuel. There is a bit of controversy on how many carbs a day will get you into ketosis, but a range of 20-30 is a good start. When you're in ketosis, your body will no longer have the carbs it once used to fuel your body. It will have to resort to using your own body fat for fuel. This is amazing because you'll lose body fat if that was your goal and many other benefits you'll see below.
It could take a few days to a few weeks to a few months, everyone is different. Since I've been low carb for a few years I really thought I'd get into ketosis in a few days, that was not the case. It took almost a month!
The Benefits of a Keto Diet vs Low Carb
- You're Not Hunger between meals. You can go anywhere from 6-12 even 16 hours without feeling starving!
- You don't have cravings for sugar as you once did. Instead you'll start craving good, healthy fat!
- Your hormones will be balanced. No crazy mood swings or irritability.
- You'll have great mental clarity. No more fogginess.
- You'll have a ton of energy without the need for caffeine!
- You'll lose body fat and see the differences in your body, not just the number on the scale!
ARE YOU IN KETOSIS?
Besides having the benefits mentioned above, if you really want to make sure you are in ketosis I would suggest buying a glucometer which is a blood test. A simple prick on your finger using ketone strips to measure. Anywhere from 0.5 and up means you are most likely keto adapted. It's definitely not cheap but it is the most accurate measurement. There are other methods as well, like using urine ketone strips but not as accurate I don't feel. There is also a breath ketone meter if you hate the blood pricking idea.
You'll find it's not as hard as you think it will be if you're just starting out. Keep the fat high and you'll be satisfied and never hungry. My recipes are low carb though some are not as low as others. If you are browsing my recipes, sticking to less than 10 net carbs per serving will easily fit into your macros for a keto lifestyle!
My 6 Week Keto Results
My video above goes into a lot more details of what I did for the 6 weeks. But basically you can see the results in the photos below. May not be as dramatic as I would have hoped in 6 weeks and I may need to change some things over the next few weeks if I don't see results, but overall I'm happy with my small improvements.
Like my Coffee shirt in the video? You can get one for yourself at this link!
I realize the right pic looks different or that I'm more tan looking, but it was just taken at night and the bathroom light was needed whereas the first pic was in the morning with daylight from the window.
Crazy right though? I just can't even believe it for myself until I see this picture of my mid section! I'm truly in shock how it was just 2.4 pounds I lost in 6 weeks and just a half percent in body fat. But clearly the keto diet produces results. I feel better. I look leaner and more toned and I'm just motivated to continue on even though I'm not one of those people who have lost a crazy amount of weight in a short time. I'm in it for the health benefits I mentioned above, but also I'm feeling pretty darn good in my size 6 pair of jeans!
MY 3 YEAR UPDATE HERE
IS KETO RIGHT FOR YOU?
Maintaining a healthy weight has never been easy for me. I've struggled with sugar addiction and weight gain since I was a teen. You can read about my whole journey here and see Before pics as well. But since I've been low carb over the last 4 years I've been able to easily maintain my weight. Now with keto, I'm hoping to change my body even more. I may not lose "pounds" but just seeing these results shows the scale number is just one measurement and to me the body fat number is more important.
It's worth it and I hope you'll be encouraged to do something different in your life if you are at a plateau or just dissatisfied. You can't keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
If you have any questions getting started, just leave a comment on this post. I'll be happy to answer as much as I am able and if I don't know the answer as I'm fairly a newbie to this, I will certainly do my research or ask a keto expert friend, since I do have a few of them!
I am just starting my low carb journey over past 3 months but already losing some weight (approx 7 lbs). I estimate my net carbs to be on average 50 - 100g carbs. I do not now need to lose anymore weight and as I am sure I never went into ketosis I am assuming that to maintain my current weight I keep to
my 50 - 100mg carb daily total and just up my fat?
Yes and just up calories too if you are still losing weight.
I have been on a low calorie low carb diet now for 3 months and want to start keto but since my carb intake is already so low how do I do it? Or can I? I definitely don't have enough fat in my diet but I am terrified I will gain weight if I up my fat which will up my calories. Do I have to up the fat in order to start the keto process?
You don't need to up the fat too much, you do need at least 50 grams a day to keep your hormones happy and balanced. Are you losing weight or stalled? Are you hungry with what you are currently doing? Then increasing the fat can keep you satiated for longer between meals.
Hi. I started keto about a month ago.. first week very strict keto with basically no carbs.. lost 7 lbs.. when i started to introduce a small amount of carbs from fiber rich fruits and veggies i went straight out of ketosis.. I was well under 20 carbs… very frustrating as this plan is from a weight loss dr! Gained back 3 lbs. I desperately need to lose 20 lbs! Help
How long do you think it takes in average to get into keto state?
I think it could take someone anywhere from 3 days to a couple weeks, we are all so different.
I started KETO three weeks ago and have already dropped 10 pounds on the scale. My clothes are looser and my belly is smaller. I've been riding a stationary bicycle and just started walking after 19 months of being sidelined with ankle, foot and knee injuries 🙁 I feel a lot better plus my blood pressure is under better control to where I have been able to get off the medication. One issue I'm having: I have been trying to find guidelines on fat/carb intake...like do you have to eat low every day, or is it more important that your numbers balance at the end of the week? Do you know where I might find that information?
Tom here 56yrs 5'11" 230lbs. I like the comment " how can I lose weight by eating fat " ie: the keto diet. In the back of my head I hear a voice. It's Mr. Spock saying " that's highly illogical " so I question the keto diet, but I'm willing to try it. I've tried everything else. I've been on so many yo yo diets. From 243 to 208 lbs. but then the plateau. Hitting the wall, gradually gaining it back. It Didn't Stay Gone For Long LoL... I am on a sugar & gluten free diet as per dr recommendation. I didn't know the wheat gluten is what was making me feel bloated ?. go figure. Can you help me ? Thx. TF
Hi Thomas, My husband was reluctant for years and years and finally in 2018 he listened to me and lost over 50 pounds. He loves eating higher fat and low carb because he enjoys wings, ribs, brisket, etc so it was a win for him. My stall buster 4 week course might be something you would enjoy.https://sugarfreemomtribe.com/custom-keto/
Great article, and I'm glad you have found something that works for you! Keto and low-carb is definitely not for everyone, but it's always smart to try out for yourself and see what works and not 🙂 Keep up the good work.
I absolutely relate to your hypothyroid story. I was told in 2018 I was subclinical hypo. (My 3rd child was 4 at that time.) They retested (just TSH) a few months laters and said I didn't need meds. Fast forward, now I'm 15lb heavier after gaining quickly during an 8-week pregnancy last summer (then miscarriage within 2 weeks after that) and haven't been able to lose it a year later, even doing mostly carnivore. More hair thinning, this time my head and eyelashes, and just fat. My testosterone has tested low since 2017. My dr. still only wants to test my TSH. If she doesn't put in for the others, I'm going somewhere else.
Oh it is so frustrating! I had to pay to get my records sent to an endocrinologist, please do the same and demand that doctor refer you because your symptoms are being ignored.
My GF had multiple hot flashes every day. She ate very little, skipping dinner most evenings, and could not lose weight.
I do not ask her to lose weight, and I think she looks OK to me.
tried to introduce her to Dr Lee's book about menopause. Got her the Emerita brand of progesterone cream (brand DR Lee used). All hot flashes vanished, and she was losing significant weight. She has a history of skin cancer, works in a hospital with friends in medical profession. She stopped due to fear of getting cancer. Personally, I think doctors know 20% of what is best, but they think they know 99%.
For those posters who talk about menopause making weight loss very difficult, I'd recommend DR Lee's book. My interest in his book was because he completely reversed osteoporosis in hundreds of his female patients during his California family doctor practice, along with eliminating menopause symptoms.
I was surprised it greatly aided my 60 year old GF to lose weight. I had not read about it for weight loss, but it makes sense.
At menopause, progesterone levels go to zero, but estrogen levels are reduced but still there, making a high estrogen to progesterone RATIO.
Love the blog! I've been 80/20 paleo for a little over 2 years plus removing almost all added-sugar from my diet. I could probably go lower on the carbs (it'll be tough cause I love my fruit!) but I'm afraid of losing muscle mass. I'm a weight lifter and atm have almost 38% muscle. My fat % is 24.9. I am trying to remove my "hanging belly" tho. It's tough! I've been diagnosed with PCOS so the hormones are constantly at war within me lol would keto still work without risking muscle loss?
Absolutely! Follow Danny Vega and his wife Maura, both lifters and both very lean.
I binge in carbs which is why i try to eat low carb...i just stood on the scale and im disgusted with myself. Help!
I've been on the keto diet for 3 years now, and I am keto for life. It hasn't all been smooth sailing, though. I did initially lose 60 pounds in the first 8 months. The rest of the time, I've been stalled, and I've even started gaining weight. I believe the stall is due to being in perimenopause, as I'm 55. The weight gain may be due to that as well, but it's more likely that I'm not being strict enough due to discouragement. I started feeling like it didn't matter much because I wasn't losing weight and was even gaining. Also, I've never counted my macros and really don't want to. I think I'm also insulin resistant. I have some ideas about what I need to do now. I just need to get tough with myself. I actually started a blog about the keto diet because I believe in it so much and wanted to help other people. I haven't posted anything for quite a while because I got discouraged and felt like I didn't have anything to offer anyone since I'm not having much success anymore. My blood tests always come out really great, though. That in itself is enough reason to continue. I wanted to say that I love your blog and your recipes. I've been following you for a while, and yours is one of the few blogs that I continue to subscribe to. You look great, by the way! I recently tried your Lemon Cream Pie with the Coconut Flour Pie Crust, and it was so good. The crust is awesome, and I couldn't even tell the pie wasn't made with real sugar. Yum! Keep up the good work!
Hello, I found your recipes after reading A Year of No Sugar by Eva Schaub and needing some delicious sugar free recipes. I recently decided to try keto and am almost done a 2 week challenge (more low carb than true keto but have kept the carbs below 70g, except 1 day). My questions are is alcohol allowed in your view? I'm not a huge drinker but I do like a glass of wine with dinner. What about "cheat" days. I'm not planning to go back to eating all the processed foods but denying them completely seems pretty counter intuitive and I'm hoping for ideas. Last question, what about fruit? How can any food plan completely rule out fruit? That also seems unhealthy and I'm wondering if you think ekto should be used as a temporary weight loss plan, with low carb being the longer term plan? Thank you! And you look amazing in the photos.
Brilliant to see, really good. Just shows you low carb is only the start, the keto is the key to burning fat for fuel!
Unless you burn off those carbs it isnt happening.
Keep it going, sugar free mom still applies to keto so nothing lost!
Next make sure you look at roles of magnesium and salt, and the key to keeping them high.
For me only well balanced diet and slowly process shown results whic last. In a year I lost 40 pounds and I completly changed my diet, which is just a healthy way of life. Everything thanks to this guide - parental-love.com/weight-loss/the-just-cut-it-method
Hello, I have been on keto for a solid 4 weeks and just started my 5th. I have lost ZERO pounds and Zero inches. I had my throid checked 2 weeks before starting and it was normal. I'm so frustrated, I have eliminated nuts, dairy, and now this week berries hoping something would budge. I'm 54 years old, and in full blown menopause. I did have my hormone levels checked and there wasn't enough in my system to register on the panel. As a side note I have also had my gallballar removed. I wish I knew what was going on. I'm down to OMAD and feel like crap. Headache, leg cramps, and not a whole lot of energy. I went into this cold turkey- no sugar, no carbs. I'm not craving those but I do wake up hungry and throughout the day. I increased coconut oil and take ACV every night and lots of lemon water for the past two weeks no. Still nothing. My clothes still fit the same. I'm not going back to sugar, starches, processed foods but this is disappointing. I have gained 51 pounds in 12 years. I hate the way I look and feel and nothing seems to be working. I have never tried so hard as lossing weight with no results. It stinks.
Just because a doctor tells you your thyroid levels are normal doesn't mean it's optimal for you and I wonder if he just tested TSH. Read my thyroid journey here: https://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/keto-and-hypothyroidism/