How to Add More Fat to Your Low Carb Diet for Nutritional Ketosis
Lately the interwebs have been buzzing with Jimmy Moore’s summer 2012 weight loss success after tweaking his macronutrient ratios. I have been on the edge of my seat waiting to see how he did it. He is basing his new refined low carb diet on the advice from the great book The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance by Dr. Phinney and Dr. Volek.
Just like Jimmy, many long time low carbers and nutrition enthusiasts have tried various methods – thyroid/adrenal protocols, parasite cleanses, homeopathy, HCG diets, colonics/enema’s, Leptin resets, green juices, bone broth diets, probiotics, meditation, EFT, positive thinking, HITT training, Slow Burn, Crossfit – you name it. We can all relate to his struggle of “doing everything right” but not losing weight. Maybe Jimmy Moore, Dr. Phinney and Dr. Volek have found the missing link to the low carb weight loss puzzle: restricting protein? Jimmy’s success in losing weight has given us all hope that if he can do it, maybe we can also bust through our own personal plateaus.
Is monitoring protein and increasing fat the answer to low carb weight loss stalls? It is worth a shot and it can’t hurt to try, as long we make sure to eat the highest quality fats. Read my article about which fats are healthy to eat here: Which Fats Are Healthy at GrassFedGirl.com. Please make sure and eat the right fats or you will not succeed long term on a low carb diet.
Protein free for all:
I came into low carb and paleo in the summer of 2010, and have always eaten plenty of protein and fat without worrying about percentages. This lifestyle has kept my weight stable, tamed my autoimmune condition and helped me regulate my blood sugar but I would love to lose a few extra pounds (who wouldn’t?). I have seen Paleo and low carb work wonders in my clients as well, but some people need extra help to fine-tune their low carb results.
In their book, Phinney and Volek instruct readers to restrict protein and carbs to lose weight and become keto-adapted. Keto adaptation is where the body burns fat instead of relying on glucose (carbs) for fuel. The authors think that if we eat too much protein it will also turn to sugar, preventing the body from becoming keto-adapted and burning its own fat as fuel.
What should my protein intake be?
What does limiting protein mean in practical terms and how much do we actually need daily to get into nutritional ketosis? This chart should from A New Atkins for a New You, should help:
Don’t forget to keep counting those carbs:
Another tip Dr. Volek and Dr. Phinney give readers in The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance is to keep carbs very low — 50 grams or less.
Getting into the optimal Ketone Zone:
It is my understanding that optimal levels for nutritional ketosis and fat burning are (1.5 – 3 mmol/L) mode. This can be measured with a blood ketone meter. It can take a week or so to get into this zone, so keep checking and don’t give up.
How to increase your fat:
If someone is limiting protein and carbs, they need to increase fat to be full after meals. Fat is very satiating. But who wants to eat plain butter? I wanted to give you some interesting ways to lower protein intake but still feel fulfilled without resorting to drinking olive oil.
Add butter to each bite of meat. Dr. Volek and Phinney advise using Irish grass fed butter because it is more nutritious. I like to add a big bite of grass fed butter to each bite of meat to speed satiation. Don’t forget about ghee which is just butter with the casein removed. Ghee is extra delicious on top of steaks and soups. Some people who can’t tolerate butter can tolerate ghee.
Add a variety of cheese if tolerated, but try to get organic and/or raw milk cheese whenever possible. Hormones and antibiotics that are given to animals are concentrated in milk products. Use caution on serving sizes; in his New Diet Revolution, Dr. Atkins advised a limit of 4 oz of cheese per day. If your weight loss stalls, removing dairy may help speed up results. It is a common food sensitivity, causing intestinal stress.
Cream of the crop:
Add cream if tolerated; again go for grass-fed and organic dairy to lower the chemical burden on the liver; this will improve fat burning. Also check for the thickener carrageenan, a carcinogen and gut irritant.
Veggies as Fat Vehicles:
Use low carb veggies like kale chips, spinach, celery, endive, romaine, etc, as a fat vehicles. See my last article on CarbSmart.com about adding crunch to your low carb diet.
Mucho (homemade) Mayo:
Try this easy recipe for macadamia nut oil mayo, it will add life to chicken or ham. Beware low quality fats like soybean and canola; Volek and Phinney find they can make low carbers feel unwell.