Saturday, February 14, 2015

Why Isn’t The LCHF Ketogenic Diet Working for Me? Common Mistakes- Part Two

First here is a summary of Part 1.

Some of the most common mistakes that are made while following a LCHF Ketogenic diet are: 
1- Not being aware of hidden sugars. 
2- Too many carbs or using “net” carbs. 
3- This must be good for me because it is healthy. 
4- Portion Sizes and timing issues. 

See part one here:

My Disclaimer- I am not a doctor or a science writer.  I blog about my experiences and the experiences of others.   This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such! 

Now let’s move on to the next and perhaps the most common two mistakes made.

Not eating enough fat! 

That is the most common mistake made and I find myself addressing it with newcomers to the diet on a regular basis. For most it is very hard to get this part down without using some kind of food tracking app. At least that is the case at first. After a while you get a feel for it. 

In order to lower blood sugar and lower insulin resistance fat needs to be as high or higher than 70% according to "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living”, a book written by Steve Phinney and Jeff S. Volek. They point to some studies including one of Dr. Phinney's. 

A small study of insulin resistant patients showed that insulin resistance (high blood sugar) was not improved until fat in the diet was at least 70% and carbs were less than 20 gr. per day. At lower fat percentages (35-60%), insulin resistance DID NOT improve! This is key for diabetics to really see good control!  They discuss this in their book.  

 Here are some tips to add more fat to your diet every day.

*Add butter, lard or bacon drippings to bone broth, chicken broth, etc. 
*Add extra melted lard or bacon dripping to ground beef before cooking or making your burger patties or meatloaf, etc. You can add ground flax to meat patties too. 
*Add heavy cream and butter to chicken broth to make a cream soup 
*Pour pan drippings over a side salad and over vegetables 
*Mix coconut oil into almond butter and make a dip for celery sticks 
*Mash avocado into your scrambled eggs or omelets 
*Use an extra yolk with your eggs, toss the extra white or use it elsewhere. 
*Top eggs and meats with sour cream or mayonnaise or avocado ranch sauce. 
*Top steaks and chops with a seasoned cream cheese spread, feta or bleu cheese 
*Add cream cheese and lots of butter to mashed cauliflower or make a cheesy creamed cauliflower dish 
*Cream your veggies-creamed green beans, creamed spinach, creamed brussel's sprouts, etc. 
*Drizzle extra fats or flavored oils over your meats and vegetables.  Garlic, tuscan, lemon, etc. 
*Roast vegetables in the oven with oils rather than cooking 
*Add avocado and olives or egg yolks to your salads
*Make a sour cream gravy by adding a few Tbsp. of sour cream to the meat drippings in a warm pan.

*Coconut oil in coffee, tea or in warm homemade lemonade 
*Fat bombs made with coconut oil,     butter, almond butter and some stevia 
*Flax cereal/pudding with butter and cream. Add a few berries if you like. (breakfast or a snack) *Make a creamy berry ice cream. I use a small custard cup and just make up one serving. Mash a few berries, mix in 1/3 cup cream, 1 tsp melted coconut oil and stevia.    Freeze and stir regularly until nearly frozen. Eat this while still semi soft and creamy.

I hope this is helpful! Now, let’s move on to my final point.   


The most common mistake in regard to protein is either eating too much protein per day/per meal or not considering the amount of protein that may be in high fat foods like bacon or avocados. This is often the final thing that has to be tweaked and sometimes it needs to be tweaked several times because it is so easy to eat more than your body needs to provide your essential amino acids and repair tissue. This part of the equation is so individual that your really can’t follow someone else’s ratios.  Do not listen to others tell you what works for them.  You must figure this out for yourself.  I like to use this calculator as a beginning point to determine protein levels.

Do not make the mistake of under-calculating your BMI. Here are some tools to help you.

I find it works best to take the minimum requirement and subtract 10%.  Make that your starting point.  Personal testimonies from others in my face book groups seem to indicate that blood sugar issues do not resolve completely by using the standard protein requirements suggested.

The requirements for non-insulin resistant people seem to be too high for diabetics. Many diabetics or insulin resistant people who are eating low carb seem to be more adept at converting protein to glucose.  Often the body is stubborn and wants to continue to use glucose for fuel rather than change over to fat burning.  You will continue to be a carb burner rather than a fat burner as long as you have excess protein available to be stored in your liver.

You should also consider your activity level.  Body builders, runners or those doing extreme exercise may need to allow for a bit larger protein portions in this case but according to Volek & Phinney that is not necessarily the case.  Volek himself seems to limit his daily protein requirements to below 60 grams.

Tips for avoiding too much protein:

Weigh your meat portions until you learn to eyeball portion sizes or limit to the size of your closed fist. 

If your carb and fat ratios are good and you have adjusted them well but your blood sugar is still higher than you like and you seem to be seeing your bloods still rising at 2.5 or 3 hours post meal this may be a sign of excess protein consumption. 

Make sure that you add up ALL of the protein on your plate!   Two eggs and 3 slices of bacon may be too much.  Bacon can have up to 50% protein  It is not pure fat!   Add the protein from avocados and even vegetables and cheese sauces or sour cream. 

Stick to easily calculated meals at first.  It is difficult to determine totals of LCHF casseroles or hot dishes.   It is easier to count meat, fats and salads or hot vegetables and the oils you use on them.

Use a calculator like Fit Day, My Fitness Pal or even Spark People to get the total of your meals.  Do this before you eat, not after.   You may find that you need to cut something out in the meal that you have planned.

You will not need to do this forever!  You will learn these things as you go and soon you will no longer need to be as vigilant once you will learn the LCHF ropes!

Back to Part 1 of “Why Isn’t The LCHF Ketogenic Diet Working for Me? Common Mistakes”


  1. Very well explained. I need to do some tweaking.

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