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Keto Results: How to Get More Out of Your Keto Diet

Keto Results: How to Get More Out of Your Keto Diet

  • The keto diet is very high in fat and low in carbs. By cutting way down on carbs, you force your body to burn fat rather than glucose for fuel.
  • Keto promises rapid weight loss and increased energy, but sometimes you’re just not getting the results you want.
  • Here’s a troubleshooting keto guide that highlights some snags in the diet, and the ways you can tackle them to feel amazing.
  • Ways to boost your keto results: try intermittent fasting, do cyclical ketosis, drink Bulletproof Coffee, don’t give up too early, watch your carb intake, and don’t eat too much protein.

The keto diet is full of enticing promises — you’ll lose weight fast, any brain fog will disappear, and you’ll have more energy than you know what to do with. But what if you’ve been following the high-fat, low-carb plan for a couple of weeks and you’re feeling lousy, or the weight just isn’t melting off? This can happen, and it means that you probably need to make some simple tweaks so you can get the most benefits out of your keto diet. Read on to find how keto works, and all the ways you can boost your keto results.

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RELATED: Download our free Keto Diet Recipes for Beginners Cookbook

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is very high in fat (75 percent of your daily calories) and low in carbohydrates (less than 5 percent). By cutting way down on carbs, you force your body to burn fat rather than glucose for fuel. This puts you into ketosis — a metabolic state when your liver converts fatty acids into molecules called ketones to use as energy. Without glucose, your blood sugar remains stable. The result? No more energy crashes or distracting cravings.

Related: Ketosis and the Ketogenic Diet Explained – A Complete Beginners Guide

The benefits of the keto diet

Rapid weight loss: The keto diet causes you to burn fat fast, and a lot of it. [1] Ketones suppress ghrelin — your hunger hormone — and increase cholecystokinin (CCK), which keeps you feeling full.[2] That means you can go for longer periods without eating, which encourages your body to use up its fat stores for fuel.

Increased energy: When you have ketones circulating in your system, your brain and body have constant access to an immediate source of energy. When you’re running on glucose, however, you experience sudden energy crashes, brain fog, and crankiness since your body is relying on carbs for fuel.  Ketosis also helps the brain create more mitochondria, the energy generators within cells.[3] 

Sharper mental focus: Another benefit of eating lots of healthy fat? You’re feeding your brain. The brain is the fattiest organ in the body — it’s 60 percent fat, and it needs plenty of good fats to keep it strong.[4] Brain cells are covered in a fatty layer of insulation called myelin, which helps the cells communicate with each other via electrical signals. When your myelin is weak, communication between your brain cells slows down. Saturated fat in particular strengthens myelin and keeps it intact.  

Less inflammation: The keto diet is anti-inflammatory, and could protect you against serious disease such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. In one study, obese patients showed less inflammation in their liver after following the keto diet for 6 months.[5] 

Ways to boost your keto results

The benefits of the keto diet are all well and good, but what if you’re just not experiencing them? Here’s a troubleshooting keto guide that can help you ramp up your keto results so you can lose weight, burn fat, and feel better than ever.

Try intermittent fasting to accelerate weight loss

Intermittent fasting isn’t a requirement on the keto diet, but it’s a powerful way to help your body create those valuable ketones. With intermittent fasting, you eat all of your daily calories within a shortened period — typically 6 to 8 hours — and fast for the remaining 14 to 16 hours. Fasting gets you into ketosis and keeps you there — it drains your body of its glucose reserves, so you switch over to burning fat for energy.

In a 2014 study, adult mice who ate all their food within a 9- to 12-hour period put on less weight and had less fat mass than mice that ate whenever they wanted.[6] 

That’s why you typically skip breakfast most days on the Bulletproof ketogenic diet plan. Luckily, there is a hack to keep hunger away.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting for Beginners

Drink Bulletproof Coffee

When you drink a Bulletproof Coffee in place of breakfast, you remain in ketosis without the distracting hunger pangs. Each cup contains grass-fed butter and Brain Octane Oil — a purified form of saturated fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), sourced from 100 percent coconut oil. The high dose of good quality fats keeps you full for hours, so you can power through your morning without the “hangries” setting in. (Just don’t add any protein or carbs to your brew, like milk or sugar.)

Brain Octane also raises ketones — four times more effectively than ordinary coconut oil.[7] Get the official Bulletproof Coffee recipe here.

Practice cyclical ketosis (aka carb cycling)

On the standard keto diet, you’re eating very few carbs (less than 50 grams of total carbs a day), all the time. But restricting carbs for a long period can create issues like fatigue, thyroid problems, insomnia, and dry eyes. [8][9]Your body needs some carbs to perform at its best.

With Bulletproof cyclical ketosis, you eat more carbs on one day of the week — what’s called a carb refeed day. The other six days are identical to the standard keto diet. By upping your carb intake periodically, you satisfy carb cravings, improve your sleep, keep the weight off, and boost your healthy gut bacteria. Be sure you’re eating clean sources of carbs, like squash, sweet potatoes, berries, and carrots.

You can learn more about the benefits of carb cycling and how to do it here.

Eat just a moderate amount of protein

People often think the keto diet is high protein — it’s not. You eat a moderate amount of protein on the keto diet — 20 percent of your daily calories. A bit of protein, around 4 ounces, is plenty with a meal — it helps satiate you. But too much protein and your body converts it into glucose. That means your body will reach for that sugar first for energy, rather than burn fat for fuel. This will impact your keto results. Read more here on how to calculate your ideal protein intake.

Add Brain Octane Oil to your coffee and food

Using high-quality MCT oil like Brain Octane throughout the day — in your coffee, or drizzled over your salad and vegetables  — allows you to eat more carbs while staying in ketosis. Brain Octane creates a background level of ketones — it can keep ketones up to 0.7 (that’s millimoles per liter). A blood ketone level of 0.5 is enough to suppress appetite.[10] 

Check the quality of your fats

Keto is a high-fat diet, but you want to make sure you’re tucking in to good-quality fats — these will keep your gut balanced and help you see keto results. A healthy gut lowers inflammation, which in turn keeps the weight off. Learn how inflammation causes weight gain here.

There are different types of fat in food — some are more anti-inflammatory and stable than others. Choose foods rich in saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and a bit of polyunsaturated fat.

Avoid vegetable oils and trans fats (found in fried foods, candies, stick margarine, and packaged baked goods) — these fats are the least stable, which means they’re easily damaged by oxygen (aka oxidized). Oxidized fats create free radicals in the body which lead to inflammation, aging, and weaker cell membranes. Trans fats have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as impaired memory.[11][12]

Low-quality fats can also raise your triglycerides to unhealthy levels.[13] A triglyceride is a type of fat in the blood, but too much of it puts you at risk of heart disease.[14] The standard goal is to get triglyceride levels below 150mg/dL, although getting them between 50 and 100 mg/dL is ideal. (Intermittent fasting, by the way, can lower triglycerides by as much as 32 percent.) [15]  [16]

Related: Is Fat Good For You? Everything You Need to Know About Dietary Fats

Saturated fat is your best bet — it’s the most stable fat that there is, so it’s the least likely to be oxidized.

The best source of saturated fat is grass-fed butter. It’s jam-packed with antioxidants and fatty acids, including fat-burning conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that boosts gut and brain health. [17] Stir it into your Bulletproof Coffee, or drizzle over wild salmon and steamed vegetables for lunch.

Best sources of good-quality fats:

  • Grass-fed beef and lamb
  • Wild-caught fish such as salmon, sardines and trout
  • Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 75 percent)
  • MCT oil like Brain Octane Oil
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Avocadoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pasture-raised eggs

Give your body time to adapt

It’s normal to feel lousy for the first two weeks on keto. You’re experiencing what’s known as the keto flu — your body’s natural response as it adapts to burning fat, and not glucose, for energy.

Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Stomach pains

It’s easy to give up at this point and think the diet is just not for you. But remember that you’re changing the way your body fuels itself — that’s going to take some getting used to. You’ll find that if you ride through these unpleasant symptoms and stick with it, you’ll soon feel better than before you started. You can find out more about conquering the keto flu here.

Be strict with limiting carbs

You may be eating carbs without even realizing it — they are hidden in unexpected foods like dairy, nuts, and vegetables like peas. These are all keto-approved, but eat them in moderation. Too many and it’ll impact your keto results. 

Also watch your overall carb intake. On keto, you can eat up to 50 grams of total carbs a day, or 20-30 net carbs, depending on your body. Some people may be able to get into ketosis eating more carbs, while others may have to eat less. It’s a process of trial and error, so experiment and you’ll soon figure out the best carb amount for you.

To keep your carbs within the limit:

  • Fill up on low-carb vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, and broccoli.
  • Eat keto-friendly fruit like blueberries and raspberries as an occasional dessert,  once or twice a week.
  • Avoid carbs at lunch and save them for dinner time. Starting your day with carbs can spike blood glucose levels, setting you up for cravings and energy crashes.  
  • Focus on high-fat proteins like grass-fed meat, pasture-raised eggs, and wild fish. Pair these with avocado and a leafy green salad and you’ll be satisfied for hours.

You can also calculate how many carbs are in each food with the help of a food tracker app. Learn more about the best keto diet trackers here.

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