August 24, 2017

How to Cut Fat on a Ketogenic or Low Carb Diet (and Why You Might Want To)




Reduce fat intake? On a low carb or ketogenic diet?

Amy, have you done lost yo' mind?

You know people use the abbreviation “LCHF,” right? And that means low carb high fat, right?

Yes. Yes, I know. But remember what Ted Naiman, MD, said:





I’ve heard from many, many people who are struggling to lose body fat on a low carb or ketogenic diet. And while there are many possible reasons for this, the simplest, most obvious, and most common one is, they’re eating too darn much fat.

Too much fat?

On a ketogenic diet?

What is this madness you speak of?

Too much fat. On a ketogenic diet.
This is possible. It is, as they say, “a thing.”
Remember: when you reduce your carbohydrate intake to the point that your body must switch over to running primarily on fat for fuel, you go from being a “sugar burner” to being a “fat burner.” But what this means is that you’re burning fat. It doesn’t mean that the fat you’re burning will automatically and unfailingly come from your love handles and thunder thighs adipose tissue (your stored body fat). It could be coming from your fatty coffee, avocado smoothie, fat bombs, or a heavier-than-you-realize hand with nuts, cheese, and ranch dressing.

Bottom line: the more fat you eat, the less of a need your body has to tap into its stored fat to use for fuel. If you’re already lean and happy with your weight, this is no problem. You might need a bunch of fat just to maintain your weight. (I hate you. Lucky you.) But if you’re struggling with fat loss on low carb despite doing “all the right things” and being on-point with your diet, there’s a chance you’re simply overdoing the dietary fat.

It’s true. If your carbs are very low, then insulin will be pretty low, which is what allows you to get into “fat burning mode.” But just because insulin is low doesn’t mean you’ll magically drop body fat regardless of how many calories you take in. Even if you’re in ketosis, the food energy you take in still has to go somewhere. It has to be used or stored. And if you’re using the fat from your food, you’re not going to be using the fat from your hips or belly. After all, that’s what stored body fat is there for: as an energy supply to be used when there isn’t enough energy coming in. If you drink a cup of coffee loaded with 400 calories of butter and coconut oil, your body has no reason to use its backup supply of fat.

Am I saying it’s all about calories? After writing a post like this one, am I actually saying that?! No. It’s not all about calories, but it’s maybe a little about them. Contrary to popular opinion, you cannot eat unlimited fat and still lose body fat on a low carb or ketogenic diet. If you are following a strict ketogenic diet and adding extra fat to things in order to arrive at a “ketogenic ratio” in the ballpark of 75-80% of your calories from fat but you’re having a hard time losing weight, stop doing this! This is the single biggest mistake I see people making with this way of eating. (And I’ve done it, myself. Believe me; I’ve learned the hard way. The running joke on this blog is that I’m not allowed to keep mayonnaise in my house, because it starts as a spoonful with my food, but then, before I know it, it’s me, the jar, a spoon, and 3000 calories later...)

If you’re using a low carb or ketogenic diet for the purpose of losing body fat, you do not need to eat a super, super high-fat diet. If you’re using this way of eating to manage a specific medical condition that might require a high level of ketones for efficacy, that’s a totally different story. (See here for details on this.)

So, if your goal is weight loss, but you’re having a hard time, here are some tips for reducing fat intake while still keeping carbs low:



Eliminate:

  1. Nuts and cheese. These are the two most notorious culprits standing in the way of fat loss. To be clear: Nuts and cheese are totally acceptable on low carb and ketogenic diets. It’s not that they’re “not keto.” The issue is that they are very delicious and very easy to overeat. Many of us suffer from “hand to mouth syndrome” when it comes to nuts. You’re on the couch or in your work cubicle, you’ve got the bag within arm’s reach, and before you know it, you’ve blown through half the bag and about 1000 calories with what was supposed to be a snack. Same with cheese. Maybe one string cheese is no problem, but if you sit down with a block of aged gouda or sharp cheddar and a knife, it’s game over. The problem isn’t these foods, per se; it’s that most of us overdo them. If you can control your portions, have at ‘em.
  2. Fatty coffees & teas. If you’re having a hard time with fat loss, stop drinking calories. Much better to get fat that occurs naturally in your food (steaks, pork chops, eggs) than to add gobs of it to a beverage. This is the low carb equivalent of fruit juice and sugar-sweetened soft drinks: you know enough not to drink liquid sugar anymore; now you can progress to not drinking fat, either. (What about heavy cream, you ask? Keep reading.)
  3. Fat bombs. Again, nothing wrong with these if you’re at your ideal weight. But if you’ve been eating these tasty morsels of extremely high fat and you’re frustrated because your body fat isn’t budging, well, I’ll leave you to connect the dots here.

Alternatives:

I’ve found that for many people—myself included—a great deal of extra fat comes in the form of condiments. Ranch or blue cheese dressing, sour cream, mayonnaise, etc. The key to keeping things delicious and low carb without racking up a lot of extra fat is to swap out the fattier condiments for things that provide flavor without much fat. Here are some suggestions:

·      Hot sauce – just read labels; you’d be surprised what they sneak sugar and corn syrup into. Our beloved Sriracha has sugar in it, but if you’re using small amounts, this is fine.
·      Mustard – yellow, spicy brown, dijon, horseradish – all are fine except honey mustard
·      Pickles/relish – read labels; some contain sugar or HFCS
·      Soy sauce, fish sauce, coconut aminos, or tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
·      Salt & pepper – you’d be amazed at how good these two simple seasonings can make just about anything taste, if you use enough of them. Don’t be shy. Salt is good for you! (Especially on a low carb diet.)
·      Herbs & spices – garlic, basil, oregano, sage, thyme, dill, curry powder, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, parsley, cilantro, etc. – they’re all fine!
·      Vinegar – all varieties are fine, but go easier on balsamic (slightly higher in carbs)
·      Homemade vinaigrettes – heavy on the vinegar, easier on the oil; use mustard or an egg yolk to emulsify/thicken
·      Fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice – in the amount you might use on a salad or squeezed over a grilled chicken breast or piece of fish, the total amount of carbs is almost negligible. (Fresh squeezed lime is totally underrated!)
·      Canned tomatoes – read labels; many have only 3-5g of carbs per fairly generous ½ cup serving, and there are several varieties available, all of which lend a ton of flavor. (Plain, Italian herb, fire-roasted, green chilies, etc.) Don’t bother with any reduced sodium varieties. You want the sodium on a low carb diet. Canned tomatoes are great for both sodium and potassium.
·      Low-fat salad dressingsHeresy, I know! When you have a few minutes to spare in the supermarket, read labels on some low-fat or “lite” dressings. You might be surprised at what you find. I was. Not all low-fat items are loaded with sugar. I found several that have 1-2 grams of carbs more than their full-fat counterparts, but this small increase in carbohydrate was more than offset by a dramatic reduction in fat. Maybe they don’t all have the greatest quality ingredients (e.g., soybean oil), but only you can decide what’s right for you.
·      Sugar-free dressings – I’ve found some pretty good ones. I’m a big fan of Maple Grove Farms. These aren’t labeled as low fat, but most of them have much less fat than other dressings, with still only about 1-2 grams of carbs per 2-Tbsp serving. (I’ll have a detailed post on these coming soon.)


Other tips & tricks:


Here are some simple swaps & substitutions that will keep the flavor while reducing the fat:

Trade heavy cream (a.k.a. heavy whipping cream) for half & half. Again, total heresy, I know! If you are really, truly, using only about a tablespoon or so in your coffee (or tea, or whatever), then heavy cream is fine. But if it’s more like 2-3 Tbsp multiple times a day, that fat adds up quickly. Just like with the low-fat salad dressings, the very small increase in carbohydrate (literally like 1g) between half & half and cream is almost negligible compared to the large difference in fat & calories. (Depending on where you live, you might see “table cream” or “light cream” at your local store. This is richer than half & half, but not as thick & rich as heavy cream. It's basically in between the two.)

Consider using reduced fat cream cheese & sour cream. You might be better off cutting these things out entirely if you’re having a very difficult time with fat loss, but if you really enjoy dairy and having these things makes low carb/keto easier for you to stick to (this is true for many people and it doesn't make you a bad person, I promise!), then read the labels and see if you’d be wise to switch to the reduced fat versions for a while. They often have only 1 or 2g more carbohydrate than the full-fat versions, with significantly less fat. (Some of them don’t even have more carbs at all!)

Water down your dressing. If you absolutely cannot stomach the thought of buying anything with a low fat or “lite” label and you must, must have your favorite blue cheese, ranch, caesar or other high-fat dressing, consider thinning it a little with water and vinegar. (Use plain white distilled, apple cider, or champagne vinegar, depending on the dressing.) This changes the texture a little, yes, but you do want to lose body fat, right?

Enjoy your food without added fat. Just because you can add butter, sour cream, mayo, olive oil, and cheese to your food doesn’t mean you have to. I know I sound like a broken record here, but if you’re using this way of eating to lose body fat, then you don’t need to add heaps of extra fat in order to keep your diet at a certain “ketogenic ratio.” In fact, doing this might be directly contradictory to your goal. If your steak is already fatty, it doesn’t need butter melted on top of it. And seriously, don’t underestimate the power of salt & pepper. They really, truly do make things taste better, even without any added fat.

EAT ENOUGH PROTEIN.  The #1 biggest pitfall I see people getting into on low carb and ketogenic diets for fat loss is that they eat higher fat at the expense of inadequate protein. DO NOT DO THIS. If you are trying to lose body fat, protein is your friend. Like, your best friend. Don’t be afraid of gluconeogenesis. It is not true that too much protein “turns into sugar.” This is a total misunderstanding and bastardization of the biochemical mechanism at work there, and I wrote a very long post (as usual) about it here. How much protein should you be eating? Probably more than you are.


I’m gonna borrow from Dr. Ted Naiman again, because he is that good at explaining things simply and clearly



If you’re aiming for fat loss, think higher protein, lower carb, and lower fat. Not only is this a post-bariatric surgery diet intended to help people lose fat and keep it off, but it’s also an approximation of the diet bodybuilders use to lean out. You’ve already mastered the low carb part. Now, to get the stubborn body fat moving, cut back a bit on fat. This doesn’t mean you’ll be living on grilled tilapia and steamed broccoli, or skinless chicken breast over lettuce. I don’t mean for this post to make anyone afraid of eating fat. Fat is delicious and yummy and good for usWhat I’m trying to say is, when you’re looking for fat loss, the percentage of calories you’re getting from fat will be high, but only some of that will come from dietary fat. The rest of it will come from your own body’s stored fat. You will be able to increase the amount of dietary fat you consume as you get closer to your goal weight and there is less stored fat for your body to draw upon. And when you get to the point where you are trying to maintain weight (not lose any more), you might be able to eat even more. 

Even during active fat loss, though, you do need some fat in your diet, for optimal nutrient absorption, keeping your gallbladder up and running, and for mental health. You will go stark raving mad and your hormones will get wacky if you go too low fat for too long (no, really, you will), but there’s a difference between avoiding every speck of fat & oil in preparation for a physique competition and simply cutting back a bit because you’re stalled on a low carb diet.

To get stubborn body fat moving, think low carb higher protein. I know you’re all semi-terrified of “too much protein,” but don’t be. Seriously, don’t be. It’s okay to have skinless chicken or lean pork, and add a little olive oil (or avocado or toasted sesame oil if you like those). It’s okay to eat low fat cottage cheese, or tuna or sardines canned in water. You’ll still be getting plenty of fat; the difference is, it’ll be coming from your body instead of your fork.


Want to read more about this?
This is a good one, from Tom Naughton, who created the fabulous movie Fat Head.

Also, we’ve got to—got to—talk hormones. All that I’ve said here applies to those of you whose metabolism-regulating hormones are within normal operating parameters. On the other hand, if you are one of the many, many people out there whose thyroid or pituitary glands have been slacking for a few years, you will struggle mightily to lose weight almost no matter how diligent you are with respect to diet and exercise. I have a few posts coming up on thyroid function for those of you who—LIKE ME—feel like your best efforts are stymied by things that feel out of your control. (They’re not, but they sure feel that way!)






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.

52 comments:

  1. This makes a lot of sense! But for those doing keto, we concentrate on the macro percentages. What percentage would you suggest?

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    1. Actually, for the specific purpose of fat loss, I don't suggest ratios at all. That's kind of the problem here. People add a lot of extra fat in order to reach their percentage, but that sometimes works against them in the context of fat loss. If you're happy with your results, then don't worry.

      KetoGains has a good macro calculator: ketogains.com

      Regarding ratios: http://www.tuitnutrition.com/2016/12/ketogenic-diet-rant.html

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    2. Wow... what a good argument for limiting fat on a LCHF diet. Very informative however, your suggestion to increase protein confuses me though. It's my understanding that protein causes an insulin spike that I really am trying to avoid being insulin resistant. Did I get something wrong?

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    3. Hey Fred, thanks for reading. In the section where I discussed increasing protein, I link to at least three posts regarding this issue. Please consider taking some time to read them. I think they will explain everything. That's kind of why I bothered putting the links there at all. ;-)

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  2. I follow keto and I threw my macros out the window. Best thing I ever did. I have found that worry about macros caused me to overeat in an effort to "meet" them...this is crazy..I was eating when I wasn't hungry, and that is what got me into needing keto to begin with! I count only whole carbs, and I carefully monitor my added dietary fat. The rest takes care of itself, and I am happily burning off the junk in my trunk.

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  3. We use a calculator that gives a minimum and maximum fat range. Even at the max range it should give a 20% calorie deficit. But obviously eating at the lower range results in faster burning of your own body fat.

    We advise people to get the minimum amount of fat. And eat up to the maximum as dictated by hunger. This usually results in being high in the fat range to start, and much lower as their hunger decreases.

    http://impulsiveketo.com/wp/macros/

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  4. In our groups we use a macro calculator that gives both a minimum and maximum fat range. The maximum puts you at a 20% calorie deficit so body fat should still come off.

    We advise people to eat as close to the minimum as they can in order to burn more of their own body fat.

    This typically results in people eating towards the maximum as they start and then moving towards the minimum as their hunger decreases.

    http://impulsiveketo.com/wp/macros/

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  5. Thanks for this article. My downfalls are coconut butter-that spoon thing you mention with mayo! And bacon and dark chocolate.

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  6. You mentioned thyroid issues at the end of this post. After I had been eating low-carb for about 4 years, I found that I was no longer hypothyroid and didn't need to be on thyroid meds anymore. When the inflammation in the rest of my body went down after I stopped eating most carbs, apparently my thyroid healed itself. I was on the meds for around 10 years and have been off of them now for almost 3 months. I noticed recently that my eyebrows are growing back at the outer parts of my eyes. I haven't had hairs there in a long time. :-)

    One other thought. Even when I was having thyroid issues, the biggest factor came down to calories in versus calories burned. When I crammed less down the old pie hole, there was less of me to go around. It might take me longer to lose than someone who wasn't hypothyroid, but it could be done.

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    1. Nice! Glad you found what works for you. :)

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    2. Oh yes, thyroid can be, er, interesting! Having been relentlessly normal (TSH around 1) for over 60 years the damn thing suddenly blew up and I went hypERthyroid. Strangely not much weight change, except for all the fluid I collected around my gut and ankles, I assume because it jacked up my appetite to match.

      After being in control for about a year, it suddenly shut down. Stopped the carbimazole, which in retrospect was a mistake, I should just have reduced the dose, and it equally suddenly ran away. This time I DID lose weight, to the extent my doctor noticed.

      Kept it back under control by tinkering with my carbimazole dosage, then after nearly another year it suddenly ran away again and it needed more than double the dose for a while, before dropping low again. This time I not only collected more fluid (probably from the hyper)I also gained actual fat weight, probably from the hypo.

      I suspect this was because my energy level went through the floor but my appetite didn't: mostly I eat low carb/keto with one main meal a day (sometimes two smaller ones) dictated by when I get hungry, and mostly run off stored energy from the previous day except for a snack-sized breakfast and occasionally other snacks, and now it's back on the rails again most of the collected fluid has gone down the toilet just leaving a layer of fat all around my gut which looks like it will require manual intervention to remove.

      Yes I'm also a fan of Ted (and Tom, and you of course) so I think my best course of action will be to up the protein for a while and back off the dietary fat until the body fat has been eaten . . .but carefully. Look forward to your thyroid material, your analytical approach will hopefully be another epic like your insulin and other post series.

      chris c

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  7. How is not having a gall bladder affected by this info?

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    1. It is no different from not having a gallbladder if you were already eating a low-carb or ketogenic diet. But if you are new to this way of eating and you're asking *in general* about eating a higher fat diet after having the gallbladder removed, that's a different issue. I recommend these:
      1. http://realeverything.com/enjoy-bacon-without-gallbladder/
      2. http://balancedbites.com/faqs-how-can-i-eat-paleo-without-a-gallbladder/

      I wrote about general gallbladder function here: http://www.tuitnutrition.com/2013/11/digestion-for-not-so-dummies-gps.html

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    2. Nice article, Amy! Thanks! The link to Tom Naughton's "This is a good one" appears to be a bad one..?!

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    3. Looks like it's a problem with his website. I'm not able to get to any of his pages at the moment. I wonder if it's down for maintenance or if there's a server issue for him. Thanks for letting me know, though. But that is the correct link. Hopefully his site will be up and running again soon.

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  8. But what about protein triggering gluconeogenesis?

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    1. Did you read the post, Mandi? I provided links to no less than three blog posts and one video on this topic. I think those will answer your questions. But if you don't feel like going back to find them, here's the one that will likely explain the details the best: http://www.tuitnutrition.com/2017/07/gluconeogenesis.html

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  9. Amen, Amy...

    This always seemed so logical to me. If my body already has a ton of fat to use, why would I purposefully ingest more? That never made sense to me! Now, I pretty much just count carbs and protein (to keep one low and the latter high enough), and eat fat to satiety. And, it doesn't take much fat to do that. Some days is higher than others. It all works out, and I still feel great. :)

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  10. Amy, do you think there is a minimum of dietary fat that you should eat when you need to lose weight to keep your body functioning?

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    1. Yes, there is. Hard to say exactly how much, but yes, you do need some fat. There is something called a protein-sparing modified fast (PSMF), which is extremely low in fat, low in carbs, and high-ish in protein. Total calories are fairly low. It is a quick, SHORT-TERM fat loss strategy. NOT to be done long term because of the severe restriction on fat.

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  11. So how do I get that comfortably full feeling? If I'm reducing fat and carbs, what else is there to eat to be able to get to a comfortable satiety? More protein?

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    1. Beef, pork, seafood, eggs, bison, poultry, broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, eggplant, zucchini, jicama, bell peppers, fennel, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, carrots. Unless you're actually doing a "zero carb" (carnivore diet), there's plenty of room on a low carb diet for non-starchy vegetables. And I tried to emphasize that I did not mean to make anyone afraid of fat. Don't eliminate fat altogether. Just go a little easier if you happen to be having a difficult time with fat loss. If not, then no worries. Carry on as normal.

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  12. I have been following a Reversing Diabetes woe....63 yo and struggling to lose...not on any meds...food control...was very surprised by your comments about protein not turning to sugar(haven't read the post yet but I will)....so is there somewhere some sort of menu plan/suggestion for this....I struggle so much with percentages...would really love to get something like a WeightWatchers menu laid out until I get accustomed to what I should eat and see some weight coming off....been very frustrated

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    1. Google for diet doctor recipes. Loads and loads there. Keep it simple. Steak & eggs!

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  13. Amy, this is my first time to the re-designed website. I find it MUCH harder to read with the colored background. There's just no enough contrast. It's really hard for these eyes to read.

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    1. Thanks for your input, Michael. I assure you, this is NOT The website redesign. As I mentioned in more than one post, the redesign has run into some snags and it is on hold for a while. I have ZERO SKILLS whatsoever when it comes to web design and graphic layout, so please pardon the growing pains. If you know of someone who can help me for a reasonable price, I'm all ears! Send them my way! Thank you.

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  14. Amy, thank you for your important articles. I had a 70+ pound loss, then inadvertent weight re-gain 8-10 pounds. Through a combo of IF (17:7) AND bringing my fat grams close to my protein grams I stayed LCHF/Keto.

    I dropped the 8-10 pounds, brining a total of 72 maintenance pounds over 5.5 years back into play! I was previously overweight ages 6-46. So this was not a small feat. Best news: my health insurance weigh in is in 1-2 months and this is the 7th year of being weighted measured and not charged. Plus no T2D dx. Came close.

    I had Hashimotos in '97. 20 years and no other auto-immune DX. Thanks again and I added your blog link to my non-commercial weight maintenance page. Hope you see you in person at a future Low Carb USA even??!! :) wishing..... Karen P

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    1. Hey Karen! Thanks for weighing in here -- no pun intended, haha! I've been a fan of yours for a while now. :) You are living proof that it *can* be done. I know it's not always been easy for you, but you are a wonderful example for so many of us. I've been having a very, very hard time, myself, for a long time now, for various reasons. Ultimately, though, the only one who can take responsibility for me and my weight and health is me. You set a great example. I enjoy your blog. :) I attend very few of the low carb conferences and events, partly because I'm a gigantic introvert, and partly because I simply can't afford them. Funds are...well, they're just not there right now. I'm sure we'll cross paths at some point, though. There are *so many* of these events popping up all over the country now; one will eventually happen in a way that's economically feasible for me. :)

      Be well!

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    2. Deb Griffith aka The Fat WhispererAugust 29, 2017 at 5:33 AM

      Amy,once again, you are my hero! I've been championing this idea for months after stalling, having lost 50 lbs on LC, then realized what was happening. I spend a lot of time on the Ketogenicforums(where I told you I've seen you mentioned before), and whenever someone posts that they are stalled or gaining, everyone answers "eat more fat!". I'm like,what?!! How crazy is that?! I get beat over the head with my "off the wall" ideas but a lot of people say they make sense. I feel so strongly about it, especially as it applies to us older women, that I wrote a book (almost done!) and would like to use some of your blog post, and include your name and site if I could. The book, The Fat Whisperer, isn't a "this is the only way" typical diet book; but a primer that gives people the best LC choices at different levels of fat loss. And I have developed a formula for figuring out how much fat to include in your daily eating as well, which no one else has that I know of. Keep up your great work, woman!

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    3. Hey Deb. :) See Karen's comment -- you're right, and it seems to apply especially to post-menopausal women. I'm not sure if you're in that particular category (you did say "us older women," so I'm guessing), but I think Karen is somewhere around there, although maybe slightly younger. It does seem some people are successful even while consuming "a lot" of fat, but many of us do a little better with a bit more protein and not such quite such a heavy hand with the butter and cheese. ;-)

      Feel free to use excerpts from any post on my blog, as long as there's a link back or some kind of attribution to me as the author. Good luck with your book!

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  15. Thank you for posting this article Amy. It's right on the mark for me. I started cutting back on the added fats a couple of days ago. I've found that there is lots of misinformation on certain FB groups that I need to leave. I too am a gigantic introvert and very rarely leave comments unless I'm feeling very strongly about something. I love your Blog and am so thankful that I have been redirected here once again. Thank you for all that you do. Sorry no hug. I'm not a hugger:)

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    1. Hehheh...I'm a hugger, but only with people I know well. Then, I'll take all the hugs I can get! Its hard to know what to believe - there are so many different forums and groups out there. I spend a good deal of my time with new clients trying to de-program some of the myths they've read about. The thing is, like I told Deb here in the comments, every strategy works for *someone* out there, so it's not that very high fat (or whatever other strategy) isn't effective. But if it was working for *that* particular person, they wouldn't have written to me for help. ;-) I hope things go well for you!

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  16. I'm having a hard time trying to understand how much fat is too much fat. It's so easy to stay under 20 grams of carbs. I'd like my body to burn the fat it already has! I just found your blog and I love it

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    1. Thanks for reading!
      Don't worry too much about the exact numbers. If you're happy with your results and where you are, then it's a non-issue. Only something to think about if you're not getting the results you want.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Another great one Amy. I was part way through reading it and thought to myself that I should link to this similar post by Tom Naughton. Lo and behold you already read it. :)
    The thing I find a lot, and I commented in Tom's post, that there are so many zealots not matter what food camp you are in. Even between primal and paleo, when neither Robb Wolf nor Mark Sisson are full of this zeal, some people who follow their plans just ratchet it up too far and push it on every one else.
    ps. I am a Web Developer/Application Developer by trade. I will email your tuitnutrition address and we can discuss your site if you want.

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  19. Hi Amy...This is the first of your posts I've read...I just discovered your blog. I love it! I'm a very short (under 5") woman in my early 70's. This is my second try at the ketogenic diet and both times when I began to go into ketosis my blood pressure went up.... way higher than usual. Has anyone else experienced this or even heard of it? Maybe I'm eating too much fat for my small frame? I need to lose about 25lbs.

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    1. Hi there! Did you send me an email about this, too? I sent you a reply earlier this evening. If that wasn't you, let me know and I'll answer here instead -- or contact me through the form toward the right.

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  20. For me, this is still an open question. I have lessened the amount of fat I've eaten (no more fat bombs), but then I don't get into ketosis. That may be because I've been low carb for almost 4 years. As an example, I fasted last week for about 40 hours, lifted weights at the gym, and then ate all meat (no vegies, condiments, anything other than two cups black coffee...all meat) during the day. The meat was low fat (relatively speaking). The next day, my ketones were 0.2 BOHB, which is out of ketosis. And this happens all the time. It seems to me that more fat = higher ketones. It also seems to me that higher protein = higher blood sugar levels in the morning, but that's difficult to tell. It also seems that more protein = more hunger, but that's also difficult to gauge. This is especially true, since I'm trying fast 2x40 hours and 1x24 hours per week.

    Also, nuts may cause weight gain because of high Omega 6 content, which might cause insulin resistance at a cellular level. See:

    https://proteinpower.com/drmike/2016/07/27/are-nuts-paleo/

    Personally, I do not eat canola or other seed oils that are relatively high in Omega 6. I make my own oil/vinegar or mayo, usually with EV olive oil. And I don't even trust olive oil, but I do like to have a salad or mayo sometimes.

    So, for me, would I benefit from higher fat and possibly higher ketones, lower insulin, and lower hunger; or lower fat, higher protein? I'm not sure. I guess it's also possible to lower just fat while keeping protein the same, but I'm near 100% carnivore/zero carb, so this is a bit of a challenge while eating basically meat. I have also found that fat fills me up. The fullest I've ever been is after eating a fatty meal, to the point where I could not eat at all for hours. That doesn't seem to happen with higher protein, lower fat meals. I'm hungry -- I just refuse to eat until dinner.

    BobM

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    2. This is only an issue if you feel a need to maintain a state of ketosis all the time. If not, then it really doesn't matter if eating more meat and less fat brings your ketones down. I write about this all the time. You do not need to be in ketosis to be running primarily on fat, and you don't need to be in ketosis to be fat adapted. Some people need constant ketosis for disease management, but this doesn't apply to many other people using keto for general health. But as always, do what's best for you.

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  21. (corrections)

    This idea about fat is wrong!

    Why?

    The reason people do not loose weight is because everyone's metabolism differs by degrees and factors and the problem is misunderstanding what is occurring physiochemically.

    I am going to explain what is happening here to resolve the mystery! The number one reason people do not loose weight ("I am in ketosis but I am not loosing weight?") is NOT ENOUGH FAT or not enough protein OR TO MUCH PROTEIN (glucogenesis). You have to do some bench marking ( 3 or 4 oz. protein) with your physiochemistry by increasing or decreasing protein or ADDING MORE FAT (you need fat or your liver will do it for you in the form of cholesterol and you will not lose weight or see changes in body composition). Another reason could be a very alkaline (i.e. gerd, heart burn, acid reflux etc.) stomach (not acidic) as stomach acids decrease with age and prevent the breakdown of nutrients (especially food laced with preservatives, pesticides, non organic, genetically modified foods) and you may want to add hydrochloric acid pills with pepsin (always take right after eating protein and not without eating protein), amylase, lipase and bromelain to your regimen or ibid. 1 table spoon of organic apples cider vinegar and one table spoon of organic lemon juice to a glass of water once a day which usually does the trick and prevents gallstones and kidney stones (calcium oxalate)also besides many other benefits e.g. increasing human growth hormone during the delta phase of sleep which is the most important fat burning hormones known to science besides DHEA.

    DO NOT TRY TO DECREASE FAT (stay away from exogenic sugar as much as practically possible) YOU WILL DAMAGE YOUR METABOLISM EXOGENICALLY AND CAUSE PERMANENT ENDOGENIC DAMAGE AND IF YOU DECIDE TO GO BACK TO EATING AS YOU WERE BEFORE YOU MAY DOUBLE YOUR WEIGHT GAIN!

    Ketosis is a way of life not a temporary fad diet!

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  22. Amy,

    Thanks for this post. I have been thinking about it for two weeks now. I have been off and on low carb?Paleo for about two years--mostly because I couldn't seem to stay away from sugar for longer than a few months. I finally kicked the sugar habit nearly 7 months ago. I have PCOS, insulin resistance, borderline diabetic and all of that was my reason. I have been eating strict keto for 7 months now. I lost 40 pounds but while I lost 20 pounds the first few weeks, the last 20 pounds has been slow. And I have 150 pounds to lose.

    I eat in 16:8 intermittent fasting window. I added in 15 minutes of weight lifting 2-3 times a week. I walk 30 minutes every day. I don't do dairy or nuts. I feel like it has to be the fat. I watch my carbs and don't do more than 20 grams of total carbs a day. Because of the Rosedale talk I have been very cautious about my protein and have been doing 70-90grams a day but from what you said, I should be able to increase my protein. My fat has been 70% of my diet (and I so get your mayo comment! love the stuff). So, if I just cut my added fat and keep eating eggs and fattier cuts of grass-fed beef, lamb, pastured chicken and keep my green, non-starchy veggies at or under 20 total grams of carbs, then dialing back on the added fat will be my next experiment. I really would like to speed up the weight loss since there is so much to lose.

    Anyway, I really appreciated your thinking on this topic. I especially appreciate your view as a woman who has done keto and low carb!

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    1. Thanks, Eden! Glad it's helpful. 70-90 grams of protein is actually pretty good compared to what I hear from other women sometimes. You could probably go up to more like 100-110, though.

      There are a ton of women in the low carb/keto world, but I hear this often -- that it's hard to find us. *Shrug.* Either way, at least you found me. :)

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  23. Thanks for writing your blog. This is my first time seeing it. It was great.
    I am semi new to keto. I have lost 180 pounds. The first 120 was following a weight watchers type (anything goes as long as my calories are right) mentality. Then I started to regain.
    I was exercising the heck out of myself and gaining. So after I gained back 70 pounds, I went on a clinical low carb/low fat (prepackaged) program and lost 80 pounds. As soon as I added back starches and sugars I spent the last year gaining back 40 of those :-/ so enters keto diet. I am only 1 week in.......
    The idea of adding more fat seemed crazy to me, however, I spent the last week adding back in good fats (avocado, real butter etc). I have pretty much lost my sugar cravings, and feel full most of the time.

    My dilemma is this: I KNOW you are right, but if I am keeping my carbs below 20 grams (this is outrageous to me, but I am...I usually eat more veggies that make it equal to about 60-90 grams) and I am just keeping my fat from my proteins for the most part (makes the most sense to me) how do I keep from eating the door posts? :-)

    What do you tell your clients.... I was snacking on cucumbers/celery...and realized...I was over the 20 grams of carbs real quick.

    TIA>

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    1. Hi Lesa,
      How much protein are you eating?
      Honestly, if you are brand new to eating this way, don't worry so much about the macros (protein, fat, carbs). Eat fat to satiety and see if you get good results. I wrote this post for people who are struggling with fat loss after having already eaten this way for a while. Since you're new, just do what feels right to you. If you get to a point where the fat loss is not coming, then maybe re-evaluate your fat intake. But after just one week in? Don't make yourself crazy over the details yet. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. ;-)

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  24. Hi Amy,

    the point is that if you want to reduce your body fat you should reduce your fat intake, but you should be eating enought calories to avoid entering into starvation mode and reduce your metabolism. Am I right?

    Thanks

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  25. Great post! Thank you, that definitely cleared up many questions I had regarding this

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  26. Thank you for all your insightful advice. I'm learning. My situation is I want to lose 20 lbs and I'm following a strict keto diet - under 20 carbs, high protein, even higher fats. no fat bombs and no artificial sweateners. I've only lost 5 lbs in 5 weeks. i try to track macros but don't reach my goals. even if I eat breakfast lunch and dinner or eggs bacon, chicken, salad, pork chop and veges for dinner. I am not hungry to eat anything else! I'm barely getting to 1000 caleries. today I only got to 57 grams protein, for instance. and I do drink the bullet coffee to get those fats in. I'm 51, starting weight 145, goal 130. I've been told I wasn't eating enough! I'm moving around all day, walking dogs, gardening, etc. no strength training. any advice for me.

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    1. MORE PROTEIN, LESS FAT. Your answer is in what you, yourself said: You're drinking BPC so you can "get those fats in," but you're not eating enough protein. That was the entire point of this post, CK. ;-) Your fat grams for the day are a LIMIT, not a GOAL. You don't have to drink down liquid fat to get it in, because you don't need to *aim* for that amount of fat, you need to stay *under* it. Protein, on the other hand, should be a goal/target. Aim for 1 gram per pound of our desired body weight. This is probably about twice what you're eating now, if not *more.*

      But yeah: the whole point of this post was that, if you are having a hard time with fat loss, specifically, then it's not the best idea to be guzzling liquid fat. Don't be afraid of protein or getting "kicked out of ketosis." Burning fat and being in ketosis are not the same things.

      Also: Please assess yourself and be sure that your goal weight is realistic. I don't know how tall you are, so I don't know if 130 is a reasonable goal for you. You're also 51...hormones could be getting wacky, making fat loss more difficult.

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  27. Just came across your posts. Was doing keto and not losing. Hard time losing on really any diet... even if doing an hour of cardio a day! Had thyroid checked and it was the low end of normal. I believe beginning menopause as well. When reading up on “normal” thyroid levels; I’ve found that so-called normal levels can be different for everyone. You mentioned dealing with similar issues...? What suggestions can you offer?

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      I have a multi-part series on thyroid starting next week. This is a very big issue, and under-recognized when people are struggling with fat loss.
      So you can wait for me to post the post, or feel free to email me privately and I can give you more detailed information. You can use the "contact me" button on my website. If your thyroid function is not optimal, you will definitely struggle to lose fat even with a good diet and exercise.

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