Low-Carb Diets – Your Questions Answered

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21 comments on “Low-Carb Diets – Your Questions Answered

  1. I eat a salad for lunch and I use red wine vinegar and oil for the dressing. Is there a certain type oil I should use? Is any better than the other for this?

    Another question? should I be counting carbs or net carbs?

    1. Hi Linda

      Oil is zero-carb, so you can use any type. However, some oils are more healthy, with better omega oils ratio and richer nutrient content. High-quality cold-pressed vegetable oils (for example, avocado oil, virgin olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil) are better than cheaper, highly refined products (e.g. sunflower oil, soy oil, canola oil) – although they do tend to be much more expensive.

      KetoDietApp did a good summary of different oils and their benefits. You can find it here: https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/FILES%2f2014%2f08%2fOils_table.pdf.axdx

      Regarding net carbs vs total carbs – depends on which diet you are on. Generally, it only matters if you are on a very low-carb ketogenic-style plan, like Keto or Atkins Induction – with 20-30g of carbs a day limit.

      When you can only eat 20 grams in total, every gram matters. So it makes sense to subtract non-digestible carbs like fibre and certain polyols, so that you are not restricting yourself beyond what’s necessary.

      If you are on a more relaxed diet, or just generally trying to eat less carbs, then you could disregard net carbs and just count the total.

      I hope this helps, and best of luck with your diet!

  2. I am just trying to lower my carb intake. I’m one of these idiots that have been able to eat whatever I want throughout my life, not gain and pound and never get sick. I’m 57 now, and feeling the effects of my terrible eating habits and know I need to change something. I don’t want to go in to ketosis or cut carbs out completely. I’m just setting myself up for failure. But for the last 9 days, I haven’t eaten any bread, pasta, rice, no pop tarts, peanut butter filled crackers, potato chips, candy bars, candy, stuff that I was eating daily 10 days ago. I’m eating a lot of protein, meat, nuts, etc., some fruit, cole slaw like there’s no tomorrow, taking vitamins, probiotics, cinnamon, red yeast rice, calcium with magnesium, a B-12. I make sure I go outside and work in the yard and sweat (in South Louisiana, this only takes about one minute outdoors). After explaining all this, Day 9, I’m so exhausted I can barely function. I feel like I’m drunk, like I’m in a haze. I guess I would have hoped that I would be feeling even a little better. I expected to feel bad for a few days cutting down (not out) the extreme amount of sugars and carbs. The reason I started this whole thing was because I was feeling so out of it. I guess I just need more time?

    1. Hi Kris,

      First of all, well done on deciding to change your eating habits. All doctors agree that cutting out sugar and junk food is the right thing to do.

      You say that you don’t want to go into ketosis, but just trying to cut down on carbs. This makes it a bit more tricky, as ketosis does improve your energy once you break through to it.

      I think the key in your situation is to figure out exactly how much you should get of each macronutrient – carbs, protein and fat. Any carbs that you cut out should be replaced mostly with fat – you need either one or the other for energy.

      Start by using a macro calculator (like this one: https://keto-calculator.ankerl.com/) to figure out how many calories you need, and how best to split them between carbs/fat/protein.

      If you don’t want to go into ketosis, set your carbs level anywhere between 60-100g a day, and use the form to determine the optimal amounts of fat and protein.

      You will then need to track your food for several weeks to make sure you are hitting your targets across all macros. Use a tracking app or a diary, and weigh your food. If you never had to watch your food in the past, you might find that your estimates are well off.

      This may seem tedious but it is important if you are serious about changing your eating habits completely. With such a major change to your lifestyle, your habits will try to hold you back – so tracking is crucial.

      I would also recommend cutting out fruit and nuts during this transition period. Fruit is quite high in sugar and can spike your blood glucose just like candy.

      If you balance out your carbs/fat intake, your energy levels should improve. Your body will also gradually get more used to running on fat.

      Best of luck – and shout if you have any further questions!

  3. Somehow, I dont loose weight right now – I am doing keto. I wondering why. Maybe the adaption time takes some time (before two weeks one day cheat day?!). What could it be? I have also some fatigue, but it is getting better. I have enought protein and I think I have enought fat. My carbs I guess are maybe at 20- 30g.

    1. Hi Ben,

      If you are having any problems on Keto – such as slow adaptation or weight-loss plateau – the best thing to do is to start tracking your food and macros precisely, rather than guessing it.

      Many scientific studies show that humans vastly underestimate the amount of calories (and carbs) consumed – unless you specifically track and record everything. Many are shocked by the results when they first start tracking – it could be well off from your estimates.

      So I would definitely suggest precise food tracking as the first step.

      Best of luck!

  4. Is the recommended dosage of daily carbs net carbs? Because I know Atkins etc was a big thing on net carbs, not just total carbs.

    1. Net carbs vs total carbs count is important if you are based in the USA. Their food labels show total carbs – both digestible and non-digestible. That’s why Americans need to do the extra step of subtracting fibre from total carbs, to arrive at the “net carbs” figure.

      In Europe, Australia and Oceania, food labelling regulations are different. Food labels already show only digestible “net carbs” – there is no need to subtract fibre again.

      I agree this issue is really confusing – I wrote a detailed post about this a while back: https://low-carb-support.com/net-carbs-mistakes/

      If you are in Australia (OZbloke – Aussie Bloke? Apologies if I got that wrong…), here’s an article from Atkins Australia about the same issue:
      https://au.atkins.com/blog/carb-counting-in-australia-and-nz-it-differs-from-the-usa/

    2. I am not only feeling extremely fatigued. I am severely nauses to the point of the thought of food makes me want to throw up. And moving just makes it worse. Going on day 5 not feeling any better. No fever or chills or cough. Do have cramping diarrhea as well. What else can help. Caffinee, sugar withdrawals also have stopped taking this week as well unisom and Excedrin pm, large doses of both. Could this be adding to my suffering as well? Detox overload. My boyfriend is having a hard time believing this is real. Please jelp me help him understand that it is real and I am not able to just push through right now. I really feel sick. Help!

      1. Hi Shell,

        What you describe doesn’t sound like a typical Keto flu.

        It could be that your symptoms are worse due to withdrawal from caffeine, plus also cutting out your sleeping pills and migraine meds all at the same time. That’s a lot for your body to tackle all at once!

        I strongly recommend discussing the symptoms with your doctor or another health professional ASAP.

        They will be able to recommend the optimal strategy for diet/detox for you, based on your symptoms and your health history.

        Best of luck, and I hope your doctor will provide more precise recommendations to make the diet work for you.

  5. Hi,

    I’m day 1 into my keto diet and already feeling fatigued and low on energy. I believe this may be an issue related to insufficient caloric intake. How can I increase the amount of calories to a suffient enough level whilst maintaining active ketosis?

    Thanks,

    Jordan

    1. Hi Jordan,

      It’s highly unlikely that you are already in ketosis after just 1 day of Keto. It can take several days, or even weeks, to switch to ketosis. Feeling fatigued at this stage is normal.

      Calories are actually not that important at this stage. Your macronutrients breakdown is the crucial part – making sure your carbs are low enough, and that you are also getting plenty of fat. Other points mentioned in this article may also help – like electrolytes supplementation.

      Generally, it is perfectly normal to go through at least few days of fatigue when you are first starting on Keto. Give your body some time to adjust!

      Best of luck, and I hope you will feel much better soon.

  6. Hello Carbophobic 🙂

    I just wanted to get a rundown on my diet which i have been eating for 3 days now, to see if you could flag an area i’m going wrong, rather than being on this meal plan for 3 weeks and realising it wasn’t an ideal breakdown for reaching ketosis.

    3x decafe coffees with 2tblspoons dbl cream (6 in total for the day)
    1x boiled egg with salt/pepper
    1x red bell pepper
    1x can mackeral in brine/water
    with 2 tblspoons full fat mayo & mustard
    handful broccoli
    with 2 tblspoon mayo & hot sauce
    50g rasperries
    4 tblspoons full fat greek yoghurt
    8 almonds
    4/6 oz cheddar cheese
    green smoothie:
    1 avocado
    1 strip/handful of cucumber
    1 large knob of ginger
    handful of coriander
    small handful spinach

    Just by having a quick look, does this ratio seem balanced?
    I’m 5’4 / 41 yrs with just excess fat around my midriff, and a bit all over to lose.

    I’m on my 3rd day and feeling very sluggish, but that is all.

    I do light running/lunges/sit-ups but have only been once since starting but the next morning i did get that metallic taste in my mouth which i know to be from ketosis.
    I haven’t had that taste again this morning.

    Any advice would be great!
    Many thanks
    Alexandra

    1. Hi Alexandra

      In the beginning of your diet, it’s important to be very precise with your carb counts. Otherwise, it is easy to go over your limit without realising. I definitely recommend weighing all your food on the kitchen scales – at least for the first 1-2 weeks, until you get the feel for correct quantities.

      I did a quick approximate calculation (but not precise, as you haven’t listed the exact weight of your food), and I think you may be going over your carb limit a little bit. Remember that some high-fat foods – like double cream, Greek yoghurt, avocado, almonds – still have some carbs in them, which quickly adds up.

      But once again, the only way to tell for sure would be to weigh everything and log it using an app or an online tool.

      Best of luck!

      1. Ok thanks Carbophobic, your thoughts are helpful, I will start using a scales as you say.

        I appreciate you taking the time to answer me.

        Many thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Loretta, in order to get into ketosis, you need to keep within the following macronutrient ranges:

      Carbs: 5-7% of calories (between 15-40g of net carbs a day)
      Protein: 15-25% of calories
      Fat: 60-80% of calories

      The best way is to actually track all your food for at least 1-2 days. Use an app like FatSecret, KetoDietApp or CarbManager to help you.

      Then you can compare the amounts you are eating with the target range, to check if you are getting too much protein.

      If you want to calculate more precise nutrient targets for yourself individually, use a Keto macro calculator.

    1. Hi Jay, do you mean 75g of carbs a day? That’s way too high for ketosis, but too low for a standard high-carb diet. So I am not surprised if you feel crap.

      if you want to go low-carb, you need to drop your carbs to about 20g a day – and wait for ketosis, after which you will feel much better. Or you could just go back up to eating a standard diet with about 200-300g of carbs a day.

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