Difference between Keto and Low Carb - members’ experiences

HSSS

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Hello I’ve been sticking to keto for 3 months and although BS readings have been okay I have not felt good. Extremely tired in the mornings and so lacking in energy.
Was trying to keep under 20g of carbs a day. I find it quite restrictive. Then I start to feel miserable and the old need to binge pops into my head.
I use Carb Manager app and i just looked and saw I can change my macros to Low Carb High Fat which will allow 50g of carbs which I think will be much more doable.
I haven’t lost any weight on keto either - I am eating about 1800 cals a day and am satiated
But it just feels a bit miserable and draining.
Anyone got same experiences or any advice?
Newly diagnosed PD even though I prob have been PD for a long time.
Wearing a CGM for next month so am noting all the foods and how I react!
Thanks x
It’s late and I’ve not read the other replies yet but wanted to make a few points whilst i remember.

Tired : electrolytes. I cannot say this enough as they are the first and foremost reason people feel rough on keto. Sodium, mag and potassium especIally. Get the from food it you can but otherwise get them somewhere. Also fat adaptation (burning ketones) takes longer than just getting into ketosis. If you exercise a lot it can take longer too.

20g a day: A common confusion is USA/uk listings. Are you including fibre in that 20g. USA v UK measurements get confusing. Count (net) carbs (excluding my fibre). Also whilst 20g is shouted about a lot many can remain in ketosis at higher levels. Urine sticks become unreliable after a while and only a blood or breath test can be certain but it’s still quite likely you’ll remain in Ketosis even if you relax a little.

carb manager: check numbers. Don’t trust other peoples listings And check the fibre thing in case it’s a USA person listing the item as total carbs.

ignore calories for now. If need be look at them when settled into keto longer and more happily. Most of us don’t need to at all. A few might need to later. Carbs are a limit, protein a goal (to protect muscle and important on keto so the body doesn’t scavenge from them for glucose manufacture) and fats a lever to adjust satiety and weight if need be.

weight : have you checked measurements or actual physical size? The scales lie sometimes. Fat is physically bulkier than muscle Lb for lb

test food before eating and 2hrs later. You want to aim for a rise of less than 2mmol to mimic the non diabetic response of returning to baseline in 2 hrs. But remember meters are not precise and this is a goal. Also even normal non diabetics can take longer with a few things and rise higher than ideal occasionally. Under 7.8mmol at that 2 hr mark is another goal to mimic normal. If you rise more reduce the carbs. If not it was a good meal for you.
 

lorib64

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Have you heard of "keto flu"? if you don't get enough electrolytes on keto you can feel sick. I get plenty of salt in my diet and take a magnesium supplement. It can get tricky if you have a reason to eat low sodium.
 

Lobsang Tsultim

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I actually sometimes eat up to 2000 cals a day, olive oil and cheese plays a big part in that! I am quite active also
Now I'm back in Italy, my diet is vegetarian and cheese and olive oil are on my plate every lunchtime and dinner but I still don't eat more than about 1000 kcals a day. I can't imagine eating enough cheese or olive oil to take me up to 2000 kcals!
 

samcham

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It’s late and I’ve not read the other replies yet but wanted to make a few points whilst i remember.

Tired : electrolytes. I cannot say this enough as they are the first and foremost reason people feel rough on keto. Sodium, mag and potassium especIally. Get the from food it you can but otherwise get them somewhere. Also fat adaptation (burning ketones) takes longer than just getting into ketosis. If you exercise a lot it can take longer too.

20g a day: A common confusion is USA/uk listings. Are you including fibre in that 20g. USA v UK measurements get confusing. Count (net) carbs (excluding my fibre). Also whilst 20g is shouted about a lot many can remain in ketosis at higher levels. Urine sticks become unreliable after a while and only a blood or breath test can be certain but it’s still quite likely you’ll remain in Ketosis even if you relax a little.

carb manager: check numbers. Don’t trust other peoples listings And check the fibre thing in case it’s a USA person listing the item as total carbs.

ignore calories for now. If need be look at them when settled into keto longer and more happily. Most of us don’t need to at all. A few might need to later. Carbs are a limit, protein a goal (to protect muscle and important on keto so the body doesn’t scavenge from them for glucose manufacture) and fats a lever to adjust satiety and weight if need be.

weight : have you checked measurements or actual physical size? The scales lie sometimes. Fat is physically bulkier than muscle Lb for lb

test food before eating and 2hrs later. You want to aim for a rise of less than 2mmol to mimic the non diabetic response of returning to baseline in 2 hrs. But remember meters are not precise and this is a goal. Also even normal non diabetics can take longer with a few things and rise higher than ideal occasionally. Under 7.8mmol at that 2 hr mark is another goal to mimic normal. If you rise more reduce the carbs. If not it was a good meal for you.
Thank you for this, thank god for a forum like this, I am slowly understanding it a bit more. I do keep an eye on carb manager re total carbs versus net. I think the way forward for now is to forget the calories, and see. I already feel mentally better for giving myself permission to do that (unlearning diet culture can be hard) - but to eat when hungry and stop when satiated. Weirdly I do feel better today, bit more energy!
 
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samcham

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Now I'm back in Italy, my diet is vegetarian and cheese and olive oil are on my plate every lunchtime and dinner but I still don't eat more than about 1000 kcals a day. I can't imagine eating enough cheese or olive oil to take me up to 2000 kcals!
I do eat other things as well, I am also very active. So I can eat 4 eggs at breakfast, avocado, feta, rocket, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, flax, and fish for evening meal with green veg and butter, plus nuts and greek yoghurt. I guess we all have different appetites, I swim in the sea all year round, walk everywhere and lift weights, and cycle so I am often hungry but I do only eat 2 meals a day but I eat well. Personally I could not exist on 1000 calories a day so there we go we are clearly different. :)
 

samcham

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Have you heard of "keto flu"? if you don't get enough electrolytes on keto you can feel sick. I get plenty of salt in my diet and take a magnesium supplement. It can get tricky if you have a reason to eat low sodium.
Hi, I have started to drink apple cider vinegar with fresh lime, sea salt, in fizzy water and I do feel better today!
 
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Brunneria

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Hi,

It looks like others have got there first, but ELECTROLYTES was my first thought.
You can get keto electrolyte powders or drops (Ketochow sell some good ones on Amazon, and I use an amazing lemon one
1680704015940.png
which can be hard to find, but worth the hunt. I have not listed the brand name, because I don't want to 'advertise' it).

One of the quickest quick fixes I know is generously salting your food, or drinking a salted broth (even a stock cube in a mug of hot water).
If you are low on electrolytes, the result can be amazing.

Another possible explanation for your feeling grotty may be the tofu. I don't do well with soy in any form, and it makes me feel sluggish, brain foggy and generally awful. Sometimes also thirsty.
 

samcham

Active Member
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35
Type of diabetes
Prediabetes
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Hi,

It looks like others have got there first, but ELECTROLYTES was my first thought.
You can get keto electrolyte powders or drops (Ketochow sell some good ones on Amazon, and I use an amazing lemon one
View attachment 60195 which can be hard to find, but worth the hunt. I have not listed the brand name, because I don't want to 'advertise' it).

One of the quickest quick fixes I know is generously salting your food, or drinking a salted broth (even a stock cube in a mug of hot water).
If you are low on electrolytes, the result can be amazing.

Another possible explanation for your feeling grotty may be the tofu. I don't do well with soy in any form, and it makes me feel sluggish, brain foggy and generally awful. Sometimes also thirsty.
Thank you will check it out! I also realise that I did have covid in end of Feb and although it was mild, I went back to exercising and life as soon as I could and I have now read some research that giving yourself 6 weeks of post covid rest time may be better as exerting yourself too quickly afterwards could cause long term fatigue. So I am chilling out a bit, and am going to stop counting calories and just keep as low carb as possible eating whole foods, plus get some electrolytes.
Good thing is that my blood sugars seem much better the last few days and I am feeling better.
This forum has been invaluable!
Thanks Everyone x
 

Kirtomy

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Arrogance, broad beans,
Hello I’ve been sticking to keto for 3 months and although BS readings have been okay I have not felt good. Extremely tired in the mornings and so lacking in energy.
Was trying to keep under 20g of carbs a day. I find it quite restrictive. Then I start to feel miserable and the old need to binge pops into my head.
I use Carb Manager app and i just looked and saw I can change my macros to Low Carb High Fat which will allow 50g of carbs which I think will be much more doable.
I haven’t lost any weight on keto either - I am eating about 1800 cals a day and am satiated
But it just feels a bit miserable and draining.
Anyone got same experiences or any advice?
Newly diagnosed PD even though I prob have been PD for a long time.
Wearing a CGM for next month so am noting all the foods and how I react!
Thanks x
Dear Samcham
I read your post and really sypathise with you feeling so rotten and yet having tried so hard - you must feel so fed up and frustrated. I have Type 1 and have follwed a lowcar/keto diet for 6 years now, which has been much better for me BUT I also feel quite tired, especialy in the mornings and recently have been wondering whether I need more of some vitamins or minerals. I don't tend to eat red meat ( like you, I see from your later replies in this chain) and I am wonderinf if I am low on Iron or other vitamins and am just about to look into it. Others also suggest that we need more salts like magnesium etc. So it could be that you are missing something, rather than the low carb does not work for you. Could you ask your GP about it and see if they woudl do a blood test to check whether you are anaemic given you are so tired and discuss vitamins and minerals with them. Just a thought. It sounds like you are working really hard on it My husband finds it hard to lose weight, even when he is low carbing with me too. So frustrating. Good luck. I doubt I could keep to 20g of carbs a day so I really would try upping it - I'm sure that 50g of carbs will be fine. I just eat and sometime have to take glucose tablets - and the odd test shows me that I am ketogenic - so you will be fine. The CGM will be interesting. Jane
 
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samcham

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Dear Samcham
I read your post and really sypathise with you feeling so rotten and yet having tried so hard - you must feel so fed up and frustrated. I have Type 1 and have follwed a lowcar/keto diet for 6 years now, which has been much better for me BUT I also feel quite tired, especialy in the mornings and recently have been wondering whether I need more of some vitamins or minerals. I don't tend to eat red meat ( like you, I see from your later replies in this chain) and I am wonderinf if I am low on Iron or other vitamins and am just about to look into it. Others also suggest that we need more salts like magnesium etc. So it could be that you are missing something, rather than the low carb does not work for you. Could you ask your GP about it and see if they woudl do a blood test to check whether you are anaemic given you are so tired and discuss vitamins and minerals with them. Just a thought. It sounds like you are working really hard on it My husband finds it hard to lose weight, even when he is low carbing with me too. So frustrating. Good luck. I doubt I could keep to 20g of carbs a day so I really would try upping it - I'm sure that 50g of carbs will be fine. I just eat and sometime have to take glucose tablets - and the odd test shows me that I am ketogenic - so you will be fine. The CGM will be interesting. Jane
Hello, thank you for this, I just started taking a multi vit with added Iron, I also take B12, Vit D and Pre and Pro biotics each morning. I have been upping my calories more and I feel like I look slimmer, or less puffy I guess, and am starting to feel a bit better - weight is still not budging on scales though but that is okay! I have not done my usual exercise this month too as I think I need to rest a bit from having Covid in Feb. I have also decided to up my carbs to up to 50g and that gives me a bit of leeway, I dont usually eat that much, more like 25g to 35g and mostly from veggies.

A more mindset win for me this last weekend was that I want to mention so that I continue to stay positive is that I went away to Belgium and its Easter and obvs its THE chocolate and waffles place, but have to say for first time in decades I didnt over consume on my holidays. I also brought some keto foods I had made, and some of my own 100 percent dark chocolate and nuts and I had those after my meals (as my mates had puddings!!0 I didnt binge eat (which is what a holiday usually means for me, before the holiday, during and after) and I ate mindfully - had more carbs than usual but not excessive and part of a proper meal! I am also getting into the idea of having meals and not seeing a snack as anything but a real sort of emergency (cant get any proper food and truly hungry). So I didnt get into the constant munching I would usually do on holiday, just had lovely meals. So am happy with that. This mindset change is almost bigger than anything my body is doing right now. It is the foundation and I think the rest will follow, so as I hear a lot on these type of forums "keep calm and keto on"
Thanks again to all who have taken the time to reply, really appreciate it! Sam x
 

samcham

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As a matter if interest, does your gym (assuming you use one for weights?) have body composition scales? If they do, that could be really interesting for you.

Weve had a set at.home for several years now and I love them. They measure the various metrics by your feet on the scale plate, but also tiny electrical passage through your hands, via hand grasps. They measure weight, body fat, muscle and visceral fat (around the organs). Those could help you understand if indeed you do carry goodly levels of muscle, but also how much visceral fat we have. For those of us with T2, that can be an important metric.

In the meantime, my steer would be to keep the carbs low, then have good portions of protein (on the proviso your kidneys are fine), rather than going mainline on fats.

A well known GP once said to me, when talking diets, that those with T2 should moderate the carbs to satisfy their blood sugar readings (from finger prick tests), and moderate their fats to satisfy the bathroom scales.

to be clear, I’m absolutely not advocating a low fat diet, or even any low fat products, but really to ensure you are having adequate protein to maintain your muscle mass when trimming up. When we lose weight, it is easier for our bodies to metabolise muscle than fat, so we need to be mindful of maintaining it.

I hope that hasn’t confused you too much but it’s early morning here, before what could be a busy day, but I wanted to respond Before cracking on.
Sorry I thought I had replied to this one. I will check re the scales at the gym. I do know I have had impedance test before and I scored highly on the muscle scale. I will try to eat more protein and less fat, just dont eat meat so that is an issue, but eat fish daily. So will have a go. I deffo look slimmer, I saw a photo of myself this weekend and was shocked at how different I look but scales say same! Clothes also looser!
 

AndBreathe

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Sorry I thought I had replied to this one. I will check re the scales at the gym. I do know I have had impedance test before and I scored highly on the muscle scale. I will try to eat more protein and less fat, just dont eat meat so that is an issue, but eat fish daily. So will have a go. I deffo look slimmer, I saw a photo of myself this weekend and was shocked at how different I look but scales say same! Clothes also looser!

If your gym do have appropriate scales, if they measure visceral fat, that's the stuff we're most interested in as that's the stuff around our organs.

Good to hear your body is changing in a pleasing way. Stick with it. In terms of my suggestion of eat more meat and a bit less fat perhaps, for meat it's really protein. Meat is just an easy place to find it, but fish is your friend too.
 
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LINMARIE

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Forget the scales for a while. Find (or buy) a good strong belt. Note which hole you need. Then eat as low carb as you can, maybe miss the odd meal when you don't feel hungry, walk daily, and watch the holes move. The scales may not move, but your belt will.
Absolutely spot on!! LCHF Diet for me every day as a way of life and yes my weight has stabilised to my annoyance stuck at 11.3 stones but wanted to lose another half stone but clothes and belts tell me hey you are going and staying in the right direction as a year on from starting LCHF and compliments give me the boost i need and success stories in this site
 
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Robbity

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For me "keto" is simply a point on my low carbs eating scale where I'm mainly burning fat (and ketones) as well as any glucose from carbs for energy. Basically if there's a deficit of carby fuel then our bodies will also use either dietary or body fat, and this last is the reason we may also lose weight on this type of diet.

I believe that we are designed to be "duel fuel " burners, but if we've been used to eating a high carb diet then it can take time for our bodies to (re-)adapt to using fats as well, and the possible side effects of this adjustment are generally known as low carb or keto "flu". As already mentioned, to help avoid those "flu" symptoms while our bodies are making this transition we should drink enough water, and ensure we include enough electrolytes (e.g. magnesium, potassium, salt) as they may unfortunately get flushed out by our kidneys. Much of the low carb foods we eat are also excellent sources of these minerals (check https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/supplements or Google), or as suggested, you could investigate suitable supplements.

When I was first diagnosed I didn't know about glucose meters, and simply cut out all my obvious high carb foods. I've always eaten normal full fat rather than the reduced/ow/lite/ stuff, and I believe this helped me avoid possible keto flu fuel issues. I also initially lost around 20kg weight without knowing or trying after my body changed its main source of fuel. Getting a meter taught me what my target carbs levels need to be to keep glucose levels down , and I generally keep to (often well) under 50gs a day , but initially to ensure ketosis I cut down for a while to around 20g - just to make sure!
 

samcham

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Thanks again all, I have felt a lot better the last week or so, upped the calories, and saw a drop on the scales for first time in weeks! I have really sort of settled with this a bit more in the sense I think I have been so caught up in diet culture mentality which I think got me here in teh first place - ie yoyo diets, fat and thin, up and down, all my life since a teen and really messed up my metabolism plus mental health. I have had therapy this last year to deal with specific binge eating behaviour (caused by restricting so much) so I do have to be careful. But the prediabetes diagnosis really just put everything into a clear perspective in that "I just cannot have certain foods and that is a biological fact" - and so I am really trying to move the focus off weight and to how I feel and enjoy the foods I can have. Which is plenty isnt it!
I have been having fabulous meals and really enjoying my food, I also have hardly any inflammation now which is another non scale victory.
Had time off from the gym and sea swimming (as I have long covid it seems) but planning to go back to it gently next week.
Also starting to get the compliments on how fresh I look, skin clear, looking slimmer. My mate took a full body pic of me on holiday last week and have to say I was shocked at how different I look, just taller and leaner!!
 

samcham

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Thank you for taking the time to write I really appreciate it and this advice!
 

AloeSvea

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Hi @samcham. I have always said that the difference for me between LCHF and Keto is how many berries I am eating. At 1g per blueberry I'm not kidding. (keto being about 20g of carbs in my reckoning - if you have 6 blueberries - well!) (Cherries and raspberries are a half a gram each from memory...) (I hope I am remembering such correctly! I can't be bothered checking.)

Anyway, for me - deep knowledge of carb counts in food is the basis of my eating life. Reading the nutrition panel of foods in stores a way of life. Lots and lots of cooking from scratch, and finding low carb substitutes for favourite foods - ditto.

Yeah, I would ditch the scales, as others have suggested. Much better for you, if you have had eating disorders in the past, I would imagine?

If you want to track your health and body fat markers, and there are good reasons for doing that for T2D prevention, which is your path I take it, then go for the waist height ratio, and for that you just need a tape measure and a fave calculator online. Then you can let your muscles develop and weigh at will, without you having to note it apart from admiring your muscles in the mirror. (I do a bit of that I have to admit. I also marvel at having a waist, after decades of not having one.) But calorie count? Egads! I have done that only when embarking on Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCD) to see if I could ditch the type two that way (I couldn't), and would go nuts if I was counting, weighing food and looking up calorie counts online the way I 'had' to do in those two VLCDs. The knowledge about how many calories I need to survive on, versus, am happy and energised on, though, was great to have. I used to think I was a big eater because of my hearty appetite, then came to understand that that was not the case - I just feel hunger keenly, and really like my food (not uncommon - either of those things). And you just don't know those sorts of things unless you do some extreme calorie counting and eating/fasting regimes, imho at least. And I do need to say - I only needed to know or it was interesting to know, because I have this blasted disease and I wanted to be as healthy as I could, and one of the pitched paths to that is weight loss. Anyhow...

A terrific book for the sporty is the companion to a terrific book for low carbing generally, and that is by Profs Volek and Phinney 'The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance', to complement their 'The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living'. Best wishes with the T2D prevention!
 
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MissMuffett

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Have you made sure you’re getting electrolytes. Salt, magnesium, potassium? You can get them from Amazon but make sure they're zero carbs. This will help with fatigue, headaches etc
 
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samcham

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Hi @samcham. I have always said that the difference for me between LCHF and Keto is how many berries I am eating. At 1g per blueberry I'm not kidding. (keto being about 20g of carbs in my reckoning - if you have 6 blueberries - well!) (Cherries and raspberries are a half a gram each from memory...) (I hope I am remembering such correctly! I can't be bothered checking.)

Anyway, for me - deep knowledge of carb counts in food is the basis of my eating life. Reading the nutrition panel of foods in stores a way of life. Lots and lots of cooking from scratch, and finding low carb substitutes for favourite foods - ditto.

Yeah, I would ditch the scales, as others have suggested. Much better for you, if you have had eating disorders in the past, I would imagine?

If you want to track your health and body fat markers, and there are good reasons for doing that for T2D prevention, which is your path I take it, then go for the waist height ratio, and for that you just need a tape measure and a fave calculator online. Then you can let your muscles develop and weigh at will, without you having to note it apart from admiring your muscles in the mirror. (I do a bit of that I have to admit. I also marvel at having a waist, after decades of not having one.) But calorie count? Egads! I have done that only when embarking on Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCD) to see if I could ditch the type two that way (I couldn't), and would go nuts if I was counting, weighing food and looking up calorie counts online the way I 'had' to do in those two VLCDs. The knowledge about how many calories I need to survive on, versus, am happy and energised on, though, was great to have. I used to think I was a big eater because of my hearty appetite, then came to understand that that was not the case - I just feel hunger keenly, and really like my food (not uncommon - either of those things). And you just don't know those sorts of things unless you do some extreme calorie counting and eating/fasting regimes, imho at least. And I do need to say - I only needed to know or it was interesting to know, because I have this blasted disease and I wanted to be as healthy as I could, and one of the pitched paths to that is weight loss. Anyhow...

A terrific book for the sporty is the companion to a terrific book for low carbing generally, and that is by Profs Volek and Phinney 'The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance', to complement their 'The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living'. Best wishes with the T2D prevention!
Thanks and I am sorry i didnt reply sooner! This is great and you nailed it. I had a blip on holiday and went a bit mad eating everything but now I am on day 2 again of back to low carb. I do struggle with binge eating but I have had some great therapy specifically for it this year and that is why I am a bit all over the place with everything. I will have a look at the books you recommended! Thank you.
 
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Robbity

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Have you made sure you’re getting electrolytes. Salt, magnesium, potassium? You can get them from Amazon but make sure they're zero carbs. This will help with fatigue, headaches etc
Diet Doctor discusses whether or not we may actually need to add electrolytes as supplements.

For me, all my potassium, magnesium and salt comes from my diet - one of the first things I discovered was that many recommended low carb/ketogenic foods include these essential electrolytes, and I was already eating some of these anyway. Before diabetes , high potassium - and unfortunately also high carb - bananas had been my regular go-to fix for occasional bad leg cramps caused by diuretics, so I just had to find a suitable low carb option to replace these.
 
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