Keto in focus, part two: The evolution of keto… ‘We’re seeing people eating more of a higher protein ketogenic diet’ (2023)

As with any diet (candy and soda are ‘plant-based’), some choices are better than others, said Lowery, noting that you can maintain a state of ketosis (whereby you’re burning fat, not carbs) on a diet of Big Macs (minus the bun) and keto peanut butter cups, but that’s probably not a great long-term strategy for optimal health.

I think the whole sticking butter in your coffee and adding coconut oil to everything, I think those days are over,” ​said Lowery, who has published widely on human performance and sports nutrition with a focus on the impact of ketogenic diets and exogenous ketones on performance, cognitive function, and longevity.

“I think people are transitioning with keto and eating more of a higher protein ketogenic diet than an 80, 90% fat ketogenic diet, which is more of a therapeutic ketogenic diet, utilized for epilepsy and some other conditions. Now we're starting to see more people eat 60 - 70% fat and trying to eat a well-formulated whole foods based diet.”

'You want to focus on whole foods… but most people want some [keto] snack options and treats'

While many ‘keto’ packaged foods products are what you might call ‘highly processed,’ with a long list of ingredients and a tendency to rely heavily on a small group of go-to ingredients you won’t find in Grandma’s kitchen (erythritol, stevia, sucralose, soluble corn fiber, allulose), these are often treats or snacks that should be used to supplement your diet, not form the basis of every meal, he said.

“The first thing I say to people is that you want to focus on whole foods. But the reality is, most people want some snack options and treats.”

He added:‘I’ve been keto for over 10 years, and what I typically tell people is that in every meal, you should aim for quality sources of protein, four to six ounces of quality protein, add fibrous carbohydrates ​[such as vegetables and salads]and then use fat as a lever, so if you're really hungry, add a little bit of butter or some dressing. You don't need to force fat into your diet and add butter to every cup of coffee. It's unnecessary.”

‘You don't need to force fat into your diet and add butter to every cup of coffee’

While many dietitians query the premise of a diet that limits or excludes everything from whole grain farro, brown rice and quinoa, to chickpeas, lentils, black beans, apples and bananas, keto doesn’t mean bacon 24:7, stressed Lowery.

“We encourage people to eat leafy greens, cauliflower is a big part of a well formulated ketogenic diet, plus broccoli, spinach, and asparagus, all of those have carbs in them, but they're mostly fiber. Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, they’re also fine.

“One of my favorite things is a Cobb salad, so I get a little bit of grilled chicken and salad, and then dinner is high quality ground beef, steak, some type of vegetable, and sometimes I'll do a side salad with that as well, so pretty simple stuff.”

‘We just saw people coming out and labeling products as keto early on with no rhyme or reason behind it’

Theketogenic certification scheme​,which has now verified more than 120 products, emerged from frustration, claims Lowery, who notes that it is attracting moderate to large CPG brands such as Quest Nutrition and Blue Diamond rather than startups or SMEs, who“are looking for a cheaper way to just have keto on their product so are opting for the basic certifications ​[that do not require product testing].

“We saw people coming out and labeling products as keto early on with no rhyme or reason behind it, which was super confusing, so we felt there was a need to have some clarification so consumers knew what to trust. What sets us apart is that we have a lab in Tampa, Florida, called ASPI​ [Applied Science and Performance Institute] Labs, where we do testing to see if products will spike people’s glucose.

“ASPI is a separate company​[that specializes in human performance testing, from body composition and arterial function to resting metabolism], from​, but I'm partnered in it so we can leverage those resources for the ketogenic certified testing.”

Ketogenic Certified products have a fixed ratio of macronutrients (think of a Quest Nutrition peanut butter cup), whereas Ketogenic Friendly products might encompass something like a sugar-free Gatorade that doesn’t contain fats and proteins, he said.

But testing is key, says Lowery, noting that some companies, for example, will include ‘tapioca fiber’ in products, which comes in different forms, and might mean isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMOs), which are not considered to be dietary fibers by the FDA and can bump up blood sugar.

Testing: ‘Some bump in blood sugar is perfectly fine; what we’re looking at is will it knock someone out of ketosis and is it out of a normal range’

Some bump in blood sugar is perfectly fine, said Lowery. "What we’re looking at is will it knock someone out of ketosis and is it out of a normal range?

“So we've done standardized testing where we've taken a ketogenic meal, something that's 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs, and we've done tons of blood glucose testing, to look at what’s a normal variation. And so we have a window in which as long as your product stays within that, you're good. If it falls out of that window, something's up.”

For someone with epilepsy, for example, a product that is inaccurately ketogenic certified and throws you out of ketosis“can mean the difference between having a seizure or not,” ​he pointed out.

For everyone else, let’s say that an individual product knocked you out of ketosis, he said, “Could you get back in throughout the course of the day? Sure, but the reality is most people that are consuming these​ [packaged]keto productsaren't just consuming them once a week; they're probably eating these cookies or brownies as their [daily] night time keto snack.”

‘I think a lot of people come into keto for short term weight loss, but then see other benefits’

But how sustainable is a diet excluding pantry staples from bread to bananas, and requiring a pretty fanatical level of monitoring and measuring (from blood tests to breathalyzers)?

There’s no question keto can be a challenging dietary pattern to sustain, he acknowledged.

I think a lot of people come into keto for short term weight loss, but then see other benefits around improved cognitive function or clearer less foggy thinking,” ​claimed Lowery, who refers to Alzheimer’s disease as ‘type three diabetes​’​ [some researchers argue that insulin dysregulation could contribute to neurodegeneration].

“I think the cognitive benefits of keto are way under talked about. Then there's the anti-inflammatory effects of ketosis as you're cutting out a lot of those refined carbohydrates that are probably contributing at some level to inflammation. So people just report feeling better, as well as having better focus.

“The benefits of keto for short-term weight loss and body composition are great, but I'm personally most interested in the longevity and brain benefits that ketosis offers.”

Keto is not the only tool in the toolbox

That said, keto is not the only game in town when it comes to optimal dietary patterns, he concedes, acknowledging that there is nothing wrong, per se, with a bowl of whole grain farro with some black beans (both are excluded on the keto diet as they are too high in carbohydrate despite their fiber and protein content).

“The problem is that most people aren't consuming whole foods or high-quality​ [complex]carbohydrates; they are eating highly processed refined carbohydrates in very large amounts. Keto is just a tool, but it’s by no means the only tool in the toolbox to help people on the road to overall health and longevity.”

Ketogenic Certified​ products must not contain sugar alcohols including maltitol and sorbitol that are known to have a metabolic impact, although up to 15g erythritol per serving is permitted. The total added sugar content may not exceed 2g per serving. There is a minimum 1:1 macronutrient ratio (1 gram of fat for every 1 gram of protein and carbohydrates) requirement. All vegetable oils must contain a minimum 2:1 ratio of omega 3s and omega 9s to omega 6.

Further reading:

  • Keto in focus, part 1: From hardcore keto dieters to the ‘carb-conscious’


What is Phase 2 of the keto diet? ›

The second phase of the cyclical keto diet involves choosing 1–2 days per week to “refeed” your glycogen stores. During refeeding days, you should consume more carbs in order to break ketosis. On refeeding days: Carbs should comprise 60–70% of your total calories.

Is the keto diet high in protein? ›

Today, other low-carb diets including the Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets are all high in protein but moderate in fat. In contrast, the ketogenic diet is distinctive for its exceptionally high-fat content, typically 70% to 80%, though with only a moderate intake of protein.

What is the difference between high-protein keto and regular keto? ›

A High Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD) is similar to the standard keto diet in terms of fat making up the majority of your daily macronutrient intake, but just like the name infers, this version on the keto diet requires eating a higher percentage of protein.

Do keto gummies actually work? ›

The main benefit of keto gummies is that they can help you lose weight. In addition, they can also help to increase your energy levels and decrease your appetite. Keto gummies are a convenient and easy way to get the benefits of the keto diet without having to give up your favorite foods.

What is the difference between keto and keto 2? ›

Keto 2.0 isn't so different from a normal Keto diet. You just subtract meat, replace the protein with fish and nuts, and go big on vegetables. You also have the flexibility to add more carbs. But since this could interfere with the health benefits of Keto, you'll want to approach this shift mindfully.

What stage of ketosis is best? ›

The sweet spot for weight loss is 1.5 to 3.0 mmol/l. This level of nutritional ketosis is recommended by researchers Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek. Ketone levels of 0.5 to 1.5 mmol/l, light nutritional ketosis, is also beneficial although not to the degree of full nutritional ketosis.

What happens if you eat too much protein on keto diet? ›

Thus, if you consume excess protein, your body will use those amino acids to produce glucose before starting to break down fat into ketones. The result: You get stuck in sugar-burning mode and can't shift into ketosis.

How much protein is too much protein on keto? ›

Mistake #1: Too much protein, not enough fat

Most healthy individuals require between 1.5 and 1.75 grams of protein per kg of 'reference body weight' (Phinney 1983, Davis 1990) to maintain lean body mass and function during a ketogenic diet. Intakes above 2.0 g/kg reference weight show no additional benefit.

What happens if you don't eat enough protein on keto? ›

Too little protein can compromise your lean tissue mass (Hoffer 1984). When daily protein intake is inadequate, the body turns to lean tissue to meet its protein needs. This happens more rapidly when fasting for a prolonged period (greater than 24 hours) (Owen 1969).

Should I eat more fat than protein on keto? ›

75-80% of calories should come from fat. 20% of calories should come from protein. 5% of calories should come from carbohydrates.

Is it more important to hit fat or protein on keto? ›

The keto diet is all about fat. This is, after all, an eating plan in which up to 80 percent of the total daily calories are supposed to come from fat, so it is going to be the main nutrient you focus on most.

How did Melissa McCarthy lose weight? ›

American actress Melisa McCarthy is also known for her weight loss journey. The two-time Academy Award nominee lost 70 pounds in four months with the right combination of diet and exercise. She attributes this success to lean protein, fruits, and vegetables in her diet and cardio in her daily exercise routine.

How did Oprah lose her weight? ›

Oprah Winfrey weight loss transformation also included working out six days a week. Her workout routine consists of both aerobic exercises and strength training. She usually starts her workout with cardio exercises for about 45 minutes, consisting of jogging, rowing, stair climber, elliptical exercise, or treadmill.

What vitamins should I take on keto? ›

Supplements you should take on a ketogenic diet include a B-complex vitamin, Vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, and a daily omega-3. In addition, fiber and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) supplements may also be beneficial.

How do I avoid too much protein on keto? ›

How to Reduce Protein on Keto. One option is to eat higher fat cuts of meat and less lean meat like chicken breast and turkey. If you keep your portion size small, this will increase your fat intake while keeping protein low.

What kind of bread is keto friendly? ›

Cloud bread, or oopsie bread, is very popular with low-carb and keto dieters. Cloud bread is a protein-rich alternative to regular bread and makes an excellent sandwich base or English muffin replacement.

Is keto better for diabetics? ›

Low-carb diets for diabetes

To manage or prevent diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends the Mediterranean diet and other low-carb diets, as long as they minimize added sugars and refined grains and include non-starchy vegetables. The ultra-low-carb ketogenic diet fulfills these criteria.

What's the longest you should stay in ketosis? ›

According to a recent survey of doctors by Readers Digest, dieters shouldn't stay on the high-fat, low-carb Keto diet for longer than six months, although one local dietitian said adults shouldn't be on the diet at all.

What time of day is ketosis highest? ›

These results indicate that ketonuria in subjects with stable ketosis is highest and can be most reliably detected in the early morning and post-dinner urine.

What week of keto is the hardest? ›

Keep in mind that the first week of keto eating is the hardest. Once you're done with the first week, you will most likely feel good… maybe even great! You may feel energized and you will most likely wave goodbye to those first pounds, too.

What foods reduce ketones? ›

It is recommended that you drink 8 ounces of water or carb/caffeine free beverage every 30-60 minutes to help flush out the ketones. Again, ketones are a sign that your body needs more insulin. Some people might already have an insulin dosing plan in place related to ketones.

What happens if you don't eat enough fat on keto? ›

When you don't eat enough fat on keto, you deprive your body and your habituated brain of sugar, but you don't replace those calories with the satiating benefits of fat. This can lead to strong carb cravings that make you more likely to binge on highly processed and carb-loaded junk food.

Can you get kicked out of ketosis by eating too much protein? ›

Protein consumption will typically cause both insulin and glucagon to increase. As a result, insulin levels may elevate to the point that you are “kicked” out of ketosis. The likelihood of this happening, however, depends on specific aspects of your health and how much protein you consume.

What happens if you eat too much fat on keto? ›

Fat is a key component of the ketogenic diet. In fact, how much fat on keto in your diet will determine whether you achieve your goals or struggle to get the scale moving. For example, If you eat too much fat, then your weight loss progress will stall, and you may even start to gain more body fat.

Can you eat too much meat on keto? ›

If you're embarking on a ketogenic lifestyle, you should know that you actually can't eat a ton of meat on the keto diet. In fact, eating too much protein can kick you out of ketosis, so while meats are definitely okay in moderation on a keto diet, they shouldn't be its number one staple.

What are good breakfast proteins? ›

9 High-Protein Breakfast Foods
  • Eggs. Eggs are a no-brainer breakfast protein, but it's important to remember that there are so many different ways to use them. ...
  • Greek Yogurt. ...
  • Turkey Sausages. ...
  • Cottage Cheese. ...
  • Smoked Salmon. ...
  • Tofu. ...
  • Black Beans. ...
  • Dinner Leftovers.
Apr 9, 2020

How many ounces of protein should I eat a day on keto? ›

Moderate Protein

For example, ketogenic experts Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Steve Phinney recommend about 1.5 to 1.75 g of protein per kilogram of “ideal” body weight or reference weight for most people. For a person weighing 68 kilograms, this is about 102 to 110 grams of protein every day.

What happens to your body if you eat only protein and no carbs? ›

Some high-protein diets limit carbs so much that you might not get enough nutrients or fiber. This can cause problems such as bad breath, headache and constipation. Some high-protein diets allow red meats, processed meats and other foods high in saturated fat. These foods may increase your risk of heart disease.

How many carbs can you have on Phase 2? ›

You can eat between 25 and 50 Net Carbs daily. Phase 2 lasts until you are about 10 pounds from your desired weight.

What are the 5 stages of ketosis? ›

The 5 Stages of Intermittent Fasting with the LIFE Fasting Tracker app: 1) Ketosis and heavy ketosis, 2) Autophagy, 3) Growth hormone, 4) Insulin reduction, 5) Immune cell rejuvenation!

What is the average weight loss in 2 weeks of keto? ›

The lowdown

The keto diet changes the way your metabolism works by encouraging it to use ketone bodies instead of glucose for energy production. In the first couple of weeks, it's possible to lose up to ten pounds. After that, you could be losing one to two pounds per week.

What do you eat the first 2 weeks of keto? ›

The keto diet deliberately reduces carbohydrate intake to encourage the body to burn fat instead. What do you eat during the first week of Keto? Meat, vegetables, cheese, nuts, and other dairy products are a great way to get started. Limit fruits to 2x day.

How much weight do you lose if you don t eat for 2 days but drink water? ›

After day two (maybe earlier) your body has nothing to run on but your own fat. The water weight you lose will come back quickly, but that fat loss is real. You can expect to lose ~1-2 pounds per day, but consider this a nice benefit, not the primary motivation.

How much weight can you lose on a high protein diet in 2 weeks? ›

On any diet, you can safely lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, according to Harvard Medical School. You'll achieve this by consuming 500 to 1,000 fewer calories than you burn for energy each day.

How many carbs on keto 2? ›

Keto 2.0 Allows for More Carbohydrates

At 2,000 calories per day, 5-10% carbohydrate equates to just 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrates daily.

What are 7 signs your body is in ketosis? ›

Ketosis is defined as a natural metabolic process that involves the production of energy from the breakdown of fat into ketone bodies. Signs that suggest you are in ketosis include fatigue, bad breath, dry mouth, weight loss, flu-like symptoms, and decreased hunger and thirst.

What foods get you into ketosis fast? ›

What are some foods that get you into ketosis fast? Some foods that can help you get into ketosis quickly include avocado, cheese, eggs, fish, meat, and oils, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil. These foods are high in healthy fats and protein, which can help your body enter ketosis.

Can you lose 20 pounds in 2 months on keto? ›

“If the patient can maintain a steady calorie deficit, I expect them to lose one to two pounds per week,” says Dr. Seeman. So after 12 weeks, her clients are usually down around 20-25 pounds.

Can you eat peanut butter on keto? ›

Peanut butter can definitely be part of a keto diet, but it's best to stick to plain options that are free of extra flavors and sweeteners. Almond butter is a good choice, too, and it's slightly lower in carbs. Additionally, you should be mindful of your portion size if you're trying to lose weight.

How long to lose 40 pounds on keto? ›

The pace will slow down eventually, and you can expect 4 to 10 pounds a month of burned fat while sticking to Keto. That means you can largely expect to lose 40 pounds in the same 4-5 months as on average.

How can I speed up my ketosis weight loss? ›

7 tips for reaching ketosis faster
  1. Significantly reducing the carbohydrate intake. ...
  2. Increasing physical activity. ...
  3. Fasting for short periods. ...
  4. Increasing healthful fat intake. ...
  5. Testing ketone levels. ...
  6. Checking protein intake. ...
  7. Consuming more MCT oil.

What kind of bread is keto-friendly? ›

Cloud bread, or oopsie bread, is very popular with low-carb and keto dieters. Cloud bread is a protein-rich alternative to regular bread and makes an excellent sandwich base or English muffin replacement.

Can I eat cheese on keto? ›

In fact, cheese is basically the perfect keto food: high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb. “Cheese can add flavor, variety, and new textures into your meals,” says Wagner, adding that the best varieties for the keto diet are high-quality, grass-fed, and full-fat.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Last Updated: 23/09/2023

Views: 6192

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-03-23

Address: 74183 Thomas Course, Port Micheal, OK 55446-1529

Phone: +13408645881558

Job: Global Representative

Hobby: Sailing, Vehicle restoration, Rowing, Ghost hunting, Scrapbooking, Rugby, Board sports

Introduction: My name is Geoffrey Lueilwitz, I am a zealous, encouraging, sparkling, enchanting, graceful, faithful, nice person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.