“Typically, a low-carb diet focuses on protein and non-starchy vegetables, and limits grains, fruits, breads, sweets, and starchy veggies like legumes, potatoes and peas,” Zeitlin explains. Protein and veggies are extremely helpful in aiding—and maintaining weight loss—she continues. Plus, a general low-carb diet can be more sustainable in the long run, since it requires way less macro counting (read: obsessing over hitting that 70/20/10 ratio).
Focus on fresh low-carb foods: Even if you don’t eat sugary and starchy foods, you may still be consuming ingredients that can cause skin issues. Bologna and other processed meats often contain sugar, corn syrup, fillers or other additives that raise insulin levels and potentially provoke inflammation. Stick to fresh food whenever possible, and read labels on processed meats and other packaged foods.
Let’s say you decide to give it a try. You decide to avoid refined sugars entirely, throwing candy and beverages out of the window. You also cut down on other types of carbohydrates, avoiding potatoes, bread, corn, pasta, and rice. Basically, the only carbohydrates you will eat are those found in vegetables and fruit, but you may want to limit them as well.
Long-term effects can include constipation, diarrhea, lack of energy, iron deficiency, vomiting, and kidney stones. Not to mention, eating such a high-fat diet like keto can also contribute to high triglyceride levels, which increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as high cholesterol. Lastly, going keto can also contribute to a weakened immune system (since carbs help boost immunity) and chronic inflammation, says Zeitlin.
While little research has been done specifically around the diet's long-term effects, some studies suggest there are health benefits in following such a strict low-carbohydrate diet, such as its ability to improve type 2 diabetes and shrink some forms of brain cancer. However, more research on humans is needed and, as Professor Collins warns, this diet is used in medical nutrition therapy as a short-term test diet for specific medical conditions such as epilepsy and should only be used medically under the supervision of experts.
But with all that said, there are a few big macronutrient patterns that tend to emerge within the Paleo/keto/ancestral health community because they work well for a lot of people and offer some kind of structure for people just starting out. For example, a lot of people adapt Paleo food choices to a ketogenic (keto) macronutrient pattern. But there are a lot of Paleo-friendly macro choices that aren’t anywhere near keto. Paleo is a way of thinking about food that could theoretically be adapted to a wide range of macros, while keto is a specific set of macronutrient ranges – you can combine the two, but you can also do Paleo in a non-keto way.
I’m 68 yrs. old & was diagnosed as diabetic 6 mos. ago with an A1C of 6.8. My Dr. prescribed Metformin for me, but after seeing the side effects it could cause, I decided to not take it & try Low carbing instead. In 6 weeks, I lost 16 lbs. and lowered my A1C to 6.4. That was enough to convince my Dr. that I could forego the medicine and stick with my diet. 4 mos. later, I’d lost another 14 lbs. and my A1C was down to 5.9! My cholesterol ratio is in the middle of the recommended range, and my triglycerides (I have Fibromyalgia which is said to raise triglycerides) have dropped 100 pts. I’ve lost another 5 lbs. in the last 2 weeks. My Dr. And I are both thrilled, so I highly recommend a Low Carb diet for controlling your glucose level and cholesterol.
First, you need to look at this a little differently. Most people, when trying to lose weight, aim for about 4-6 lbs. a month. Slow and steady is the best weight loss, no matter how you do it. Ten pounds in 2 months is pretty good. Yes, some people lose it faster. But we are all different. I’m the same as you. Even when I do Keto perfectly, the weight comes off painfully slow. But it does come off. The weight didn’t end up on our bodies overnight, and it won’t disappear overnight either. I know Keto is often promoted as this incredibly fast way to lose weight, and for some people, that happens. But for the rest of us, it’s no different than any other type of diet. You have to have patience. Your body needs time to adjust. You will have plateaus too. It’s totally normal. The ten pound mark is sort of when you can switch from knowing that you are losing water weight, to losing actual fat. So you’re in the right zone. The trick with Keto and slow fat loss is to not give up. It takes patience.
But Paleo isn’t even really about imitating hunter-gatherers, ancient or modern; it’s about how humans can eat to be healthy and strong. And the research here also backs up the “different strokes for different folks” theory of macros. Different people have hugely varying “optimal” macro ratios, and some lucky people who are relatively healthy can adjust to a huge range of equally acceptable options.
As the year comes to an end and the holiday indulgences just keep on coming (d*mn you, office cookie parties!), you may already be considering a weight-loss plan to try out for the New Year. One that's been around for years and likely isn't going anywhere? Cutting carbs. And then there's keto, the über-popular, high-fat extension of that. But if you're considering slashing those delicious carbohydrates at all, you might be wondering: What exactly makes keto different from low-carb diets in general? And really, who would win in a low-carb vs. keto face-off?
Low carb eating is a broad term that can be applied to many different approaches and eating plans. It can be based on just about any number of carbs that are less than what you would typically eat. Every low carb diet out there from South Beach to Atkins will give you a different number of carbs to shoot for. So if you want to eat low carb, but are not interested in a Keto diet, you will need to do your research on the many, many low carb diets available on the market today.
Hi. When using the calculator the choices for activity only consider what type of “job” or lifestyle you have. I am back in school, so mostly sedentary but I work out at least 5 days a week eithere circuit training cardio/weights, body pump class, or stairmaster for 45 min to an hour. Does that not count toward anything? Is that still considered sedentary? Thanks!
Thanks for this low carb slash keto macro calculator! I’ve been on the keto diet for almost 7 months now, but I have to admit that whenever I use these calculators, I get confused when it comes to what I should put under activity level. Say, I work an office job, where sedentary could be the option to choose because I’m sitting down 6-8 hours a day, but I also go to the gym up to 5x a week, which I guess would fall under moderate active? What do you think?
A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared a medium-carbohydrate, high-protein diet with a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and found that after 4–6 weeks the 17 subjects lost significantly more weight and were less hungry on the ketogenic diet than the medium-carbohydrate diet. However, according to another study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, low-carb diets were found to be no more effective than low-fat diets in the long term (more than one year).
I’ll treat my self to a cheese cake occasionally too. It works for me so far. My brother got me on this diet, the first week I told him I don’t know if I can do this and he basically said carry on as you were then and nothing will change and there really is no other way, either you want to lose weight or you don’t and it’s not like you’re suffering or anything so don’t give up. Find a replacement for everything that you miss one by one and soon you will get used to it and you won’t even think about eating any of that junk anymore and if you really do then treat yourself occasionally but just don’t give up.
Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use or store sugar as fuel. Ketogenic diets make you burn through this fuel quickly, so you don’t need to store it. This means your body needs -- and makes -- less insulin. Those lower levels may help protect you against some kinds of cancer or even slow the growth of cancer cells. More research is needed on this, though.
Mai Funaki. Thank you for your comment. You do touch on some interesting points concerning low carb, overweight, obesity and diabetes. It has certainly been suggested that carbohydrate restriction may be beneficial in type 2 diabetes. Here is an interesting overview that you might want to read: https://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/5/1/9. I do agree with you about physical activity. I think it is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and a key to physical and psychological wellbeing. The japanese experience is certainly interesting and proves that carbohydrates don´t necessarily make you fat. This may all depend on the type and amount of… Read more »
I too love your site. Your keto recipes are the best! ….I’ve been on Keto for over a year now and have lost 100 pounds. I still have another 100 to go, but I’m still losing……. Another thing to look at is the influence that the sugar industry has had on today’s high carb diets. When food went low-fat, they added extra sugar. The sugar industry has a lot of money and lobbyist tied up in the way Americans eat. They really don’t want us to know that doing without sugar and eating more fat is the healthy way to go.
Ada – You want to count all your carbs. In the beginning, before you get to really know what you can and can’t have, yes. You’ll be counting everything. But you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. Carbs are carbs no matter where they come from. So just keep track of your total carbs for the day and try to ensure that the majority of them come from low carb veggies. In my 101 section, you’ll find lists of the lowest carb fruits and veggies. Hope that helps!
Angel – Our bodies get used to doing the same thing all the time. Sometimes you have to keep it guessing. There are a lot of approaches to this. Some people to “carb up” days (where they eat a specific amount more in carbs), some people throw in a different exercise, some people do an egg fast or even do a zero carb day or two. Depends on what you feel is right for you. Keto stalls are tough. But don’t give up.
Blood sugars are often high in the morning (dawn phenomena). If you are only on 15-22 carbs per day I would check every label of everything you are eating to ensure carbs are not sneaking in somehow to still give you a reading of 200, or is your protein too high? Do you have insulin resistance? These are all factors which may be at play here. Healthy fats won’t raise BS at all.
If you select Lose Fat (lose weight) as your goal, then you can select the Deficit. The macro calculator will then recommend that you eat this percentage fewer calories than you need. Eating less calories than you need will result in weight loss. For example, if you select 15% as the deficit, the calculator will output 15% fewer calories than your body needs for maintenance.
Ketogenic diets usually do cause weight loss and may improve insulin sensitivity in patients with diabetes. In fact when compared to a low-fat diet a ketogenic diet appears to achieve greater long term reductions in body weight. However, the success long term is dependent on your ability to adapt your dietary habits once you start to introduce a more balanced and healthy approach to eating.
"The classical ketogenic diet has a ratio of 4g of fat to 1g of combined carbohydrates and protein. So basically it's 85–90% fat, [which] isn't a palatable or exciting diet, as you can imagine, due to the massive restriction in types and quantities of foods that contain carbohydrates, including breads and cereals, fruit, some vegetables and even dairy products."
Hi Megan, Sorry about that – there was an issue with that section and you should now see it in the FAQ above, explaining how it’s determined. The weight loss per week will depend on how much weight you have to lose, as weight loss happens more rapidly the more overweight you are. But in general, between 0.5 and 2 pounds loss per week is reasonable.
I am researching everything I can find and at the same time, have cut as many carbs as I can until I can figure it all out; back-tracking from the decision to do keto. The first few days of doing this, I DID increase the fat, going so far as the bulletproof coffee and using even more butter on my food, etc. Monitoring blood sugar and now, ketone strips, I saw no reduction in blood sugar and no burning of ketones as I kept expecting. It DID seem counterintuitive to ingest fat for my body to burn when I have WAY more fat to burn already stored! So, what I’m thinking (and what do I know?) is this… wouldn’t the stored fat be considered in the “macros” balance until a person achieved a more normal weight, and therefore, eliminate the need for all that extra dietary fat to be added? So, though it appears to be different than what we call a low carb diet, it would essentially e one in the same? IDK…still trying to to figure it all out!
Last month, I was diagnosed pre-diabetic. I was only .3 from being classified as diabetic. My doctor told me to eat low carb and low sugar. Hopefully by losing 20 – 30 lbs, I won’t have to take medication. I have been researching the internet for information on a Low Carb diet and your website has been the most helpful to me. I have been doing the best I can with the low carb diet with what little I know. I haven’t lost much weight (6 lbs), but I do feel much better. I am proud that I have not had a Dr Pepper in 4 1/2 weeks! I have an appointment to see a nutritionist on Wednesday so I am hoping to get more info. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!