I’ve joined the 21st Century and have finally started becoming active on a few Facebook groups dedicated to low-carb and ketogenic diets. Some focus on fat loss and bodybuilding, some are exclusively for discussing the science behind the strategy, and some are geared more toward overall health, with members implementing these types of diets to improve, manage, or reverse conditions like type 1 and type 2 diabetes, PCOS, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, cancer, and more.
Now that I am more active in these groups, I can see why I stayed away for so long. And I’m considering retreating back into my Twitter comfort zone, because if I don’t see the madness and morass of misinformation being propagated on Facebook about ketogenic and low-carb diets, then I can pretend it doesn’t exist. (It’s more difficult to say idiotic and flat-out incorrect things in 140 characters, although it’s certainly possible. [And it happens all the time.])
I realize I am breaking my own rule here and juxtaposing “ketogenic” and “low-carb,” which might give people the impression that these two dietary approaches are exactly the same, and that the words are interchangeable. They are not. However, just for now, I’m using both phrases for the sake of simplicity, since the same inaccuracies abound about both of these.
With this in mind, here is a comprehensive and exhaustive list of everything required in order to implement a ketogenic diet:
- Foods that are low in carbohydrate
- (Maybe) supplemental electrolytes (specifically, sodium, magnesium, and potassium)
Here is a list of things that are not required in order to implement a ketogenic diet:
- A blood ketone meter
- A breath ketone meter
- Urine ketone test strips
- MCT oil
- MCT powder
- Exogenous ketones
- Coconut oil
- Coconut butter
- Flavored stevia drops
- Protein powder
- 400-calorie cups of “coffee”
- Fat bombs
Now, the thing is, there are tips, tricks, “hacks” (even though I loathe that word), and other add-ons that can be beneficial—in certain circumstances. As always, context, context, CONTEXT! (As the theme song to the old 80’s show Diff’rent Strokes said, “What might be right for you might not be right for some.” But I would reverse that: what might be right for some other people might not be right for you.) It all depends on your goals, and WHY you are implementing this type of diet. Is it for fat loss? As an adjuvant to conventional cancer treatments? To reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures? To boost ketones to fuel the brain because of Alzheimer’s or another form of cognitive decline? There might be—might be—a role for some of the more esoteric (and expensive!) substances, supplements, and measuring/tracking devices in some of those cases. And some people can truly benefit from fasting, while fasting could be disastrous for others. But in terms of just getting started and mastering the basics, stick with that first list and stop driving yourself crazy.
Again, just so we’re clear: I’m not saying any of the things in the second list are outright harmful. I don’t think they are, and some of them can, in fact, be quite helpful … in the right #CONTEXT. As I wrote about recently: different goals may necessitate a different strategy.
That’s all for now.
Keep calm and keto on.
Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.