DON'T LET BAD INFO POSTPONE PROGRESS!
Misinformation is rampant in the world of healthy eating, especially regarding ketogenic diets. Let's face it: It takes a bit of a learning curve to confidently figure out the ins and outs of keto which leaves the field wide open for bad advice. We're going to set the record straight on these keto diet tips by counting down the Top 11 Worst Pieces of Keto Advice so you can stay on track towards a happier and healthier you!
The HUGE list of keto friendly foods.
1. "Calories Don't Matter."
Calories absolutely matter. The science is simple: you have to expend more energy than you consume to lose weight. That's not to say that other factors can't come into play, such as dieting history, metabolic damage, medications you are on, or your day to day activity level.
Some people are more successful with keto because it is easier to track macros and for many there is a dip in appetite. We personally like to focus on our macro ratios because we find that we feel best when we do. After all, you are what you eat and when you are consuming the right portions of the food groups, you function and feel best.
We find that having fat at no less than 75% and protein anywhere from 20-25% with the remaining % being carbs is a great place to be. With 20 net carbs (or less), you will find success with being in a state of ketosis. Calories come into play for weight loss when eating at a deficit. We also like to make sure each of our meals has at least the same amount of fat grams, if not more, than protein grams to help us stay on track!
2. "If Food Contains Certain Ingredients, It is NOT Keto."
To us, being keto is eating any foods you can consume and still stay in a state of ketosis. Don't get hung up on the details and just focus on your macros, mainly carbohydrates. Some people are quick to dismiss foods as not being keto if they include ingredients such as cellulose. Are you familiar with the phrase "they can't see the forest for the trees"? Don't get hung up on the trees. Look at the bigger pictures and keep your carbs low.
3. "You Burn More Fat with Intermittent Fasting."
Whether you consume 2,000 calories over the course of a full day or you consume all of them after a period of fasting, the bottom line is that you still consumed 2,000 calories that day. Some interpret this advice as giving permission to have whatever they want just as long as they waited to consume them during a specific period of time. It doesn't matter when you eat. It matters what you ate.
Some find success with Intermittent Fasting because they aren't eating for a portion of the day. Where you might have been eating three large meals a day, you are now only consuming two large meals. In that regard, Intermittent Fasting can be beneficial.
4. "You Need to Buy Supplements to be Successful."
As keto becomes more mainstream, a multitude of Multi-Level Marketing companies (including Pruvit) have tried to cash in and profit on the popularity of this diet. The people who get caught up in these pyramid schemes are desperate to make a sale so they will push their products relentlessly. The phrase "if it's too good to be true, it probably is" rings very true when it comes to the claims of these companies. All you need to be successful with keto are fresh ingredients and time to prepare your meals. It's just that simple. Don't be pressured to buy supplements from people who are desperate to make a sale.
5. "You Should Use Urine Strips to Determine Ketosis."
We have tested them time and time again and we can say without a shadow of a doubt that urine strips are not reliable. We get questions every day from people wondering where they went wrong with their diet because their urine strips had a less than ideal reading. Don't worry! The only way they may prove beneficial is to someone who literally just started keto so they can see that their body is responding well to the diet by producing ketones. Other than that, urine strips are incredibly inaccurate and unreliable. If you truly want to monitor ketone levels, the best way to do so is with a blood ketone meter and we like the ones over at Keto-Mojo.
6. "If You Take Ketones, They Cancel Out Cheat Meals."
Exogenous ketones have hit market shelves and many are under the impression that if you consume more of them, then you can cancel out or lesson the impact of cheat meals. After all, you want your body to produce ketones. If you consume more, you will lose weight faster, right? Wrong! If you chase a big piece of cake with store bought ketones, your body still has to process all of the sugar and carbs in that piece of cake. You still put all of that into your body and your body will respond as such. Of course, if you use a blood ketone meter after consuming these ketones, the reading will be much higher leading you to believe that you are crushing the keto game. What truly matters are the ketones that your body has produced naturally.
However, exogenous ketones can sometimes be beneficial for other reasons. We don’t normally recommend them as most people are attempting to use them for weight loss. They aren’t for weight loss, but more so for endurance and even focus aspects. We have taken them occasionally to boost performance in the gym or when we have a long day of work ahead. They are also filled with electrolytes so they are good in that regard. One thing is certain: store bought ketones will NOT cancel out that cheat meal.
7. "Don't Count Carbs from Vegetables."
This is one of the bad keto diet tips that we hear a lot. To be truly successful with keto, you have to count everything you consume. Yes, even the veggies. Everything you eat counts, especially if you are tracking to make a goal. Some vegetables have a surprising amount of carbs, so track everything!
8. "Don't Eat Fat if You Want to Lose Fat."
We feel that this is probably the most egregious of all the the bad keto diet tips. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories than you burn. What kind of calories and how you divide up those calories among the fats, proteins, and carbs is up to you. If I stand on a tall building and drop 500 pounds of rocks in one bag and 500 lbs of feathers in another, which will hit the ground first? Your knee jerk reaction is to say the bag of rocks, but in reality they are both the same weight and will both hit the ground at the same time. The same applies to calories. When counting calories to lose weight, 500 kcals of proteins and 500 kcals of fats are the same thing. However, finding the right ratio of those macros will not only help you lose weight, but will make you feel better, have more energy, and achieve mental clarity. Fat is your friend.
9. "All Sugar Alcohols are The Same."
Not all sugar alcohols were created equal. In fact, some are very different from others. For instance, maltitol is one that we strongly advise against using or consuming as it still spikes your insulin even if the carb count is deceptively low. Erythritol, one of our personal favorites, is a close impersonator of sugar without all of the carbs.
To find your net carbs, you will always subtract the dietary fibers from the total carbohydrates, but when do you subtract the sugar alcohols and when do you ignore them? We like to subtract the sugar alcohols if you are using a sugar alcohol that does NOT impact your blood sugar. We do NOT subtract the sugar alcohols from total carbohydrates if they DO impact your blood sugar.
Our "Best Sugar Substitutes for Keto?" article will help determine the pros and cons of each sugar substitute and whether or not you should count them when figuring out your net carbs.
10. "Net Carbs Were Invented by Marketers."
Net carbs have always been a thing, However, marketers and sneaky companies have contributed to the gray area that is now surrounding net carbs. With whole fresh foods, net carbs are as straight forward as it gets. There's no wiggle room or questions. The numbers are written in stone. However, with the more processed foods, such as diet bars, companies will often pack the food with things like soluble corn fiber which technically inflates the dietary fibers listed in the nutritional information on the back of the box. Companies then use that info to boast a low net carb number on the front of the product enticing people who follow low carb diets to purchase the product when in reality, the item isn't as good for you as they led you to believe. Stick to whole foods and your net carbs will never be in question.
11. "You Have to be Within the Optimal Ketone Range."
Everyone's bodies are different and with that, so are the optimal ketone ranges. There are many charts and graphs floating around the internet that proclaim you aren't in ketosis until you are specifically between a certain range which often discourages and confuses people trying to be faithful to a ketogentic diet. Don't stress! Many say the optimal ketone numbers usually range from 1.5 - 3.0 and if you were to put a bell curve on that graph, we would probably believe it.
However, other people would disagree with that. We've seen a multitude of keto professionals say a variety of numbers for their proposed optimal ketone ranges. We've personally had our ketones range from 0.0 to 7.0 and we have never felt that they were optimal at any point. We have personally tried to test this by noting what our ketones were when we felt our best and the numbers never correlate. We think that a lot of this information was originally derived from people that are actually under medical guidance in a therapeutic setting who were prescribed a ketogenic diet and were given a range to aim for to mitigate their medical issues, whether it's epilepsy or other reasons.
There is a common misconception that high ketones will always equate to more fat burning and that's just simply not true. All you really need to do is stick to the plan and eat fewer than 20g of carbs a day. Don't fret. You're doing great!
Let us know what bad keto diet tips that you've gotten that we might have missed. We'd love to hear about the misinformation and bad advice you've encountered while on the keto diet.