Challenge Forum: GOING INTO KETOSIS - KEEP total daily intake at | 70-75% fat | 20-25% protein | 5-10% carbs |

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Joined: Dec 12
Posts: 40

Posted: 09 Jan 2013, 23:18
Good day to all my LCHF partners.

Keep on going strong!

Here's some valuable information which every LCHF "revolutionary" should know Smile

I am quoting extractions from Ketogenic Diet Resource below:

The goal of a low carb, ketogenic diet plan is to achieve a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis is simply a normal metabolic process in which the body cells burn fragments of fats called ketones instead of glucose for fuel.

Ketosis is a beneficial process and helps the body survive during times when no food is available. It has also been shown to improve disease conditions such as epilepsy, autism, Alzheimer's, cancer and others.

A ketogenic diet plan requires tracking the carb amounts in the foods eaten and keeping carbohydrate intake between 20-50 grams per day. The daily protein requirement will be moderate, and depends on height, gender and how much exercise is done. The balance of calories will be from fats. These ratios ensure that most people go into ketosis and stay there, which is the main objective of the ketogenic diet.

The nutrient intake on a ketogenic diet typically works out to about 70-75% of calories from fat, 20-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrate on a daily basis. Since a ketogenic diet reduces hunger, most find they don't really need to get involved in calorie counting, unless one feels more comfortable tracking them.

Even if you are starting a ketogenic diet plan for weight loss purposes, don't focus on your weight. Don't weigh yourself every day. Your weight can vary between 2-4 pounds each day because of changes in water intake and absorption. You won't be able to track any fat loss accurately on a daily basis, and the fluctuations will make you crazy if you focus on them. Instead, weigh yourself once a week, or keep track of your body measurements to track your progress.

Better yet, focus on the health benefits and the long term health changes that come with eating a low carb diet. Knowing that you are greatly improving your health is a powerful reason to stay with a ketogenic diet plan, even if you don't lose any weight.

Switching to a ketogenic diet plan is not easy at first. Here's a list of all of the common side effects that will happen the first week or so of starting a ketogenic diet. If you know about them, you can take steps to minimize them, and save yourself some carb withdrawal misery.


1. Frequent Urination: After the first day or so, you'll notice that you are in the bathroom urinating more often. Your body is burning up the extra glycogen (stored glucose) in your liver and muscles. Breaking down glycogen releases a lot of water. As your carb intake and glycogen stores drop, your kidneys will start dumping the excess water.

In addition, as your circulating insulin levels drop, your kidneys start excreting excess sodium, which will also cause more frequent urination.

2. Fatigue and Dizziness: As you start dumping water, you'll lose minerals such as salt, potassium and magnesium as well. Having lower levels of these minerals will make you very, very tired, lightheaded or dizzy, give you muscle cramps, and headaches. This is one of the most common of the low carb diet side effects, and it can be avoided for the most part by making sure you get enough replacement minerals.

You can counteract the mineral losses by eating more salt or drinking salty broth, and eating potassium containing foods. (Dairy foods, green leafy vegetables and avocados are high in potassium).

As long as your carb intake is below 60 carbs a day, you will need to continue to eat a moderate amount of salt (5 gram/day which is about the same as the standard American diet provides). However, if you take medicine for high blood pressure, check with your doctor.

In addition, you may want to take 400 mg of magnesium citrate every night before bed. (Check with your doctor first if you have kidney or heart health issues).

It's also really important to eat at least 2 cups of raw green leafy vegetables every day. These vegetables provide potassium and vitamin K, and will also help with hunger.

3.Reactive Hypoglycemia: If you've been eating a higher carb diet, your body is used to putting out a certain amount of insulin to take care of the sugar which gets created from all that carbohydrate intake.

When you suddenly drop your carb intake on a ketogenic diet plan, you may have some transient low blood sugar episodes that will feel very scary. See my reactive hypoglycemia page for more information on the symptoms, and what to do.

4. Constipation: This is another one of the most common low carb diet side effects, and is usually a function of a magnesium deficiency. The magnesium mentioned under the fatigue entry above will help with this. If 400 mg of magnesium citrate isn't helping, you may want to cut back on your dairy product consumption.

I've found that a daily cheese habit is a factor in this side effect. If I avoid cheese, or at least limit my cheese intake to less than 1 ounce per day, I find that my entire system just seems to perform more normally. You could also add another 100 mg of magnesium to your daily intake, but don't go overboard. Magnesium is powerful stuff, and you don't want to take too much. You'll know if you have because you'll spend the day in the bathroom.

5. Sugar Cravings: As your body goes through the process of retrofitting itself to burn fat instead of sugar, there's a 2-5 day transition period where carb cravings will be worse. Try some of tips I recommend on how to stop sugar cravings. If you can wait it out, the cravings will subside and eventually disappear, as long as you don't cheat. Eating a large amount of carb will bring the cravings right back.

6. Headaches: being in ketosis can cause headaches for some people. You may also feel a little lightheaded, and may experience some flu-like symptoms for a few days. Up your salt intake, and power through it, if you can. It will get better after 3-4 days.

7. Diarrhea: This usually happens to people who unwisely decide to also limit their fat intake on a low carb diet, which results in eating too much protein. Eating a high protein, low carb AND low fat diet will cause symptoms of "rabbit starvation". My advice is to not fall into that trap. Make sure you replace the carbs you are cutting with more fat, preferably saturated fat such as butter or coconut oil. Following a ketogenic diet menu means you can choose fattier cuts of meat, and use heavy cream in your coffee.

8. Shakiness or weakness: this is a side effect of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. It could also be a symptom of low mineral levels. Add some more protein to your daily diet to offset the drop in blood sugar levels, and eat more salt and potassium containing foods. You could also take a 99 mg potassium citrate supplement.

9. Muscle Cramps: This is another side effect of the loss of minerals, specifically magnesium. In their excellent book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable, Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney recommend taking 3 slow release magnesium tablets such as Slow-Mag or Mag 64 for 20 days, then continuing to take 1 tablet a day afterwards. NOTE: if you have kidney problems or kidney failure, don't take oral magnesium supplements without checking with your doctor.

Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.
(Og Mandino)

Joined: Jan 13
Posts: 20

Posted: 31 Jan 2013, 17:25
Taking magnesium helps not only with muscle cramps but with constipation - as in, I don't think you can be constipated with enough magnesium. The trick is to determine what amount is enough. Build up slowly because too much may well cause some frantic dashes to the nearest bathroom. Or worse. We don't want to talk about the worse aspect..
If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." - Roald Dahl

Joined: Dec 12
Posts: 40

Posted: 13 Feb 2013, 10:29
Hi there LynCaro

Thanks for your excellent advice. I seem to be suffering from constipation - and will definitely try to get in enough (and/or supplement with)magnesium.

Well done on your challenge progress!
Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.
(Og Mandino)