Frequently asked questions about LCHF/KETO diet (2.part)

Katja's blog

There are a lot of different questions about the LCHF/KETO diet. There are some questions that keep appearing and that's why I decided to and answer them as briefly and efficiently as possible. I already answered some of the most common ones in the first part of this blog, which you can find here.

It's time for the second part.

1. How much fat do I need to eat to keep the nutrient ratio within the LCHF/KETO diet?

The LCHF/KETO diet is a high-fat diet. But this still does not mean that we can exaggerate with fat indefinitely. In addition, not every fat is suitable. The basic philosophy that needs to be understood in the LCHF/KETO diet is that we have eliminated all carbohydrates from our menu, which were the only/basic source of our energy until that moment. And when we delete a certain thing, it needs to be replaced. In this case, we replace the calories from carbohydrates with fat. Why? Because in the LCHF/KETO diet the main source of energy is fat! So it must be at most in %. If we were to eliminate carbohydrates AND fat (that is, we would be on a low carb low fat diet), our organism would eventually begin to save on all functions. In order for this not to happen, it is necessary to replace the missing calories from fat.

The percentage of calories from fat depends on how much carbohydrates you eat, but basically it's around 75-80% of calories. 

How do we calculate this? 

A gram of carbohydrates and a gram of protein has 4 calories, while a gram of fat has 9 calories. Therein lies the essential difference. 

Calculation example:

With a daily intake of 1600 kcal and a limited intake of carbohydrates (25 g per day) and 117 g of protein per day, the calculation is: (25 + 117) x 4 = 142 x 4 = 568 calories from carbohydrates and protein per day. We have to consume the rest of the calories from fat, and in this case that means 114 g of fat. 

Of course, our everyday life is hard to squeeze into grams and percentages. But these data are the framework within which, in the long run, our organism adapts to fat, starts producing ketones, starts burning our own fat and goes into a state of ketosis. This is the essence of the changed diet and the transition to the LCHF/KETO diet. 

A few more examples of daily fat intake for orientation:

  • 1,500 calories of total intake: about 83-125 g fat/day
  • 2,000 calories of total intake: about 111-167g fat/day
  • 2,500 calories total intake: about 139-208g fat/day

2. How many carbohydrates can I eat on a LCHF/KETO diet and still be in ketosis?

The amount of carbohydrates consumed is limited in the LCHF/KETO diet. The upper limit of consumed carbohydrates varies from individual to individual and ranges from 20 - 50 g/day. Some have a destroyed metabolism and insulin resistance, and in such individuals it is necessary to limit the amount of carbohydrates consumed in the beginning (below 30 g/day) in order to achieve nutritional ketosis. Still others can eat a little more carbohydrate and still maintain a state of nutritional ketosis. 

3. Alcohol and LCHF/KETO diet? 

As with any meal on the LCHF/KETO diet, there are also certain restrictions with alcohol. All sweetened drinks (cocktails, liqueurs, etc.), beers and sweet wines are discarded. The selection is narrowed down to pure spirit drinks (whiskey, vodka, gin, ...) and dry wine. 

It should be noted that alcohol without the presence of carbohydrates works differently. Many people notice that they can tolerate much less alcohol than before they changed their diet. In addition, our metabolism must first burn and clear the alcohol from the system and during this time fat burning stops. This must be kept in mind if we want to lose weight. 

My opinion is that it is completely easy to give up alcohol... but the choice is, of course, a matter for the individual.

4. Do I need to take any nutritional supplements with the LCHF/KETO diet? 

Technically, no. The LCHF/KETO diet is essentially unprocessed food, with lots of vegetables and healthy fats. Of course, the question about the quality sources of our food and the actual content of nutrients, vitamins and mineral arises.

However, it is necessary to point out a couple of nutrients that we need to pay a little more attention to in our daily diet:

  • Magnesium – an important mineral found in meat, green vegetables and nuts. With the LCHF/KETO diet, a lack of electrolytes can occur at the beginning, so it is wise to take magnesium in the form of a dietary supplement. Especially if we do sports, if we sweat a lot, have cramps or headaches. It can be replaced with magnesium citrate powder (in the form of concentrated tri-magnesium di-citrate, you can get it here) or with a mixture of electrolytes in powder form (Premium electrolytes). We need between 300 and 500 mg of magnesium per day. Women tend to need more of it.
  • Potassium - an important electrolyte that regulates blood pressure, muscle contraction, nervous system... It can be found in meat, green vegetables and avocados! Magnesium and potassium are released into the water during cooking, so it is better to cook vegetables with steam than in water. Potassium is a component mixtures of Premium electrolytes, which you can buy here. It is necessary to consume between 3000-4000 mg of potassium per day.
  • Sodium – is one of the most important electrolytes, especially at the beginning of the LCHF/KETO diet. An intake of 4-5 g of sodium per day is recommended. Potassium is a component mixtures of Premium electrolytes, which you can buy here.
  • Omega 3 fats - if you do not eat marine fish 2-3 times a week, then it is wise to consider adding Omega 3 fats. Human metabolism cannot synthesize EPA and DHA fatty acids (a component of omega 3) on its own, but it absolutely needs them, as they are essential fatty acids. In food of plant origin, omega 3 is only available in the form of ALA fatty acids, which our organism must first convert into EPA and DHA form. The conversion and yield from plant sources is extremely poor. At least 1.2 g of EPA+ DHA per day is recommended. Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have a number of proven positive properties. Read more about it in a blog post: All about omega 3 fats.

5. Abbreviations and basic concepts encountered in the LCHF/KETO diet

LCHF - abbreviation for the phrase Low Carb High Fat (low carbohydrate high fat diet)

IF – Intermittent Fasting or intermediate fasting. It means that for a certain part of the day we do not eat any food that can affect the metabolism. It is usually marked with 16/8, which means that we fast for 16 hours a day (this can also include the sleep cycle) and consume all the necessary food within 8 hours.

MCT - Medium-Chain Triglyceride – more about this in the entry: About MCT oil

ALA and EPA 

  • alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the shortest type and is 18 carbon atoms in length and contains three C=C bonds. It is most often found in plants, such as soybean sprouts, flex seed, green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach and lettuce)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is medium in length and contains 20 carbon atoms and five carbon-carbon C=C bonds.

EPA and DHA are ONLY found in the oil of marine organisms, including fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, squid and salmon, and in dietary supplements made from fish oil and other aquatic organisms such as seaweed or phytoplankton. ALA is found in various plant sources, but positive effects have not been proven (source 2). It should be pointed out that the body must first convert the ALA fatty acid into EPA and DHA. This conversion is extremely inefficient, as only 8-21% of EPA and 4-9% of DHA are converted (source 3). This means that vegetable oils that are rich in omega 3 (i.e. ALA) are not exactly the best choice for replacing omega 3 fats.

6. Where can I find LCHF/KETO recipes?

I will make sure that cooking and baking will be easier and there will be no shortage of ideas.

On the website www.lchf.style you will find a selection of recipes that are regularly updated. Click on the link and choose your favorite.

Additionally, I regularly post ideas for meals, desserts, keto meals, side dishes, snacks, procedures, recipes, etc… on the LCHF Style Facebook page. You can find albums: Desserts, Potice, Main dishes part 1, Main dishes part 2, KETO meals, Soups, Breads...

You can also find me on Instagram.

I have also prepared a useful folder with LCHF recipes, which you can organize as you wish. A couple of new recipes are released every month, which are added free of charge to every purchase in the online store. In case you missed a certain month or you want to have the entire collection of recipes, a new collection of recipes will also be available regularly. You can get the folder for collectiong recepies here.

7. Are there any side effects if we eliminate carbohydrates from the diet? Is it harmful? 

It is NOT harmful, as carbohydrates are not essential nutrients. Our body can easily obtain energy from fat as well. Therefore, the statement that carbohydrates are the only source of energy for the brain is NOT true! Our metabolism has to get used to and adapt to another source of energy. This transitory initial phase may bring some inconvenience. We can get KETO flu, short-term malaise, fatigue, possible dizziness, more frequent urination... All this takes a short time and does not necessarily appear at all. Salt and electrolytes help tremendously. Why this happens and what electrolytes are and why they are so important, read in the article: Electrolytes – What They Are and Why They Matter….

8. Headache in the first days after changing the diet? 

Many people complain of mild or severe headaches after changing their diet and cutting out carbohydrates. And many people very quickly conclude with the opinion: "LCHF/KETO is not for me, because obviously my body needs sugar..." because when they consume carbohydrates (sugar) again, their head miraculously stops hurting. The reason is not in the sugar that needs to be eaten, but in the GLYCOGEN. Glycogen is a reserve polysaccharide, or as it is colloquially known - a store of glucose in the body. Glycogen binds water. And when glycogen stores are depleted, all bound water and thus bound electrolytes are excreted. As a result, the weight loss is quick in the first days/weeks. The reason is the water that the body no longer retains. A headache is the result of the lack of carbohydrates intake, the body quickly excretes water and electrolytes, and since they are not replaced, dehydration and a broken electrolyte balance occur. All this can be easily prevented by increasing the intake of salt and of electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, sodium) and, of course, enough fluids. Bone broth also helps. And when electrolyte reserves are restored, the body very quickly switches to a secondary source of energy, which is now no longer glucose and glycogen, but fat and ketones. And from here on everything goes like clockwork.

9. I have type 2 diabetes. Is the LCHF/KETO diet safe for me?

Of course! Not only safe, but IDEAL! Reduced carbohydrate intake has a direct effect on blood sugar, which becomes much more stable and without severe fluctuations. Fat does not affect it. Of course, it must be taken into account with such a medical condition that any change must be carried out under the supervision of a doctor. 

10. Will I lose muscle mass if I stop eating carbs?

No, as long as you consume enough protein and calories daily (both are important!) your muscle mass will not decrease or even disappear due to a reduced carbohydrate intake.

11. I'm at the beginning of LCHF/KETO and my urine and sweat have a weird smell that reminds me of the smell of overripe fruit and acetone. Is something wrong? 

No, nothing is wrong. It is a normal phenomenon with the increased production of ketones, which the body does not yet use and the excess is excreted through the skin and urine. Ketones have a characteristic smell that can best be described as a mixture of the smell of overripe fruit and acetone. 

12. Almond flour appears in many recipes. I only have coconut flour at home. Can I replace almond flour with coconut flour? Which flour can I swap the almond flour with?

No, replacing almond flour with coconut flour in 1:1 ratio is not possible and will never work. We can use a 4:1 ratio (4 parts almond flour and 1 part coconut flour). Coconut defatted flour is much more absorbent and behaves differently than almond flour. Almond defatted flour can be successfully and equally swaped with sunflower defatted flour, hazelnut defatted flour... but not with golden flax flour or coconut flour.

13. What if I don't like eggs or have an egg allergy and still want to eat LCHF/KETO?

We can use an egg substitute. If the eggs cannot be consumed for any reason, eggs can be substituted. The recepies bellow will help you. The recipe replaces 1 egg. Buy whole seeds and grind them yourself in a coffee grinder:

Ingridients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds
  • 3 soup spoons of warm water

PREPARATION

Mix ground seeds and warm water. Mix well with a spoon, then place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes so that the mixture hardens nicely.

As said - in some recipes, such a combination works perfectly and provides binding, but it does not work in all recipes.

14. What is MCT oil? What does it taste like?

More about MCT oil is written in the blog post: MCT oil. MCT oil (in oily and powdered form) is completely tasteless and odorless.

15. What is the difference between MCT oil and MCT oil powder?

The difference is in form and solubility. MCT oil is in oil form, in liquid form. If it is added to liquids (e.g. coffee or tea) it floats on top, like any oil. It can be mixed in and foamed with a milk frother or with the help of a blender, if we don't like the oily aftertaste. 

MCT oil powder: In this case, MCT oil is bound to prebiotic fibers and thus soluble in liquids. It does not leave an oily layer and dissolves completely in liquids. It is WITHOUT maltodextrin and added starch (most similar products on the market have added corn starch and maltodextrin).

What they both have in common is that they ensure a quality intake of MCT fats (medium-chain fatty triglycerides C8 and C10).

20.02.2020, Katja, LCHF Style

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