Keto Concern Low Carb Keto Diet Made Easy Sat, 13 Jul 2019 18:56:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Keto Concern 32 32 Is Arrowroot Keto-Friendly? Sat, 13 Jul 2019 18:55:48 +0000 Is Arrowroot Keto-Friendly? Read More »

arrow roots are good for keto dietIf you’ve been dabbling in the ketogenic lifestyle, you’ve probably been looking for substitutions for traditional high-carb foods and ingredients, including those that you cook with.

More specifically, there are plenty of no- and low-carb flour options available that you can bake with and substitute for conventional wheat flour and cornstarch.

Since wheat and cornstarch are chock full of carbs, substituting them with something like arrowroot that has far fewer carbs and sugars would be essential when following the ketogenic diet.

Arrowroot flour is often used as a substitute for cornstarch. But does arrowroot make a good keto-friendly substitute?

What is Arrowroot?

Arrowroot powder is a flavorless powder that’s made up of starches and extracted from the arrowroot plant. It’s used to thicken soups, sauces, gravies, and other types of foods. It can also make baked goods much fluffier and spongier.

Since arrowroot powder has twice the thickening power as wheat, less of it is used in baking recipes.

More specifically, one teaspoon of arrowroot powder can be substituted for every one tablespoon of flour, while two teaspoons of arrowroot powder can be substituted for every one tablespoon of cornstarch.

Nutritional Makeup of Arrowroot

One tablespoon of arrowroot flour contains the following nutritional values:

  • Calories: 29
  • Carbs: 7.1g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 0g

Arrowroot vs. Cornstarch

The macro makeup of arrowroot powder is very comparable to that of cornstarch in terms of calories and carbs. But what’s so different about the two is how the starch is extracted.

Unlike cornstarch, arrowroot powder is extracted using safer and simpler traditional methods, without the use of harmful chemicals or high heat.

Cornstarch is usually made of genetically-modified corn, and its extraction process involves chemically extracting the components to create the final product, making it a less healthy option.

Further, arrowroot powder has a more neutral taste than cornstarch, which leaves behind a more overpowering flavor that you might not want in your recipes.

Arrowroot powder is gluten-free, grain-free, and paleo-friendly. It can even be vegan because it can serve as a substitution for eggs in recipes for muffins or cookies, as long as all other ingredients are suitable.

Arrowroot powder is also a good substitute for cornstarch for those who suffer from corn allergies.

Since arrowroot is not a grain, it is often easier to digest. It also has more fiber than many other starches, keeping the digestive tract moving along and hunger at bay.

Is Arrowroot Keto-Friendly?

Clearly, arrowroot powder is a healthier choice compared to cornstarch. But is it keto-friendly?

Based on the fact that both arrowroot and cornstarch have relatively the same number of carbs per serving, it would seem as though arrowroot isn’t exactly a low-carb substitute compared to products like almond or coconut flour.

Two tablespoons of arrowroot flour contain about 14 grams of carbs. Considering the fact that the maximum carb level is around the 30-gram mark, that wouldn’t leave very many carbs left to play with throughout the remainder of the day.

Based on the macronutrient makeup of arrowroot powder, it would appear as though it may not be considered keto-friendly.

But when used in the right low-carb recipe, the amount needed is minimal, thereby lowering the overall carb count. As such, using arrowroot powder can be keto-friendly.

Not a lot of arrowroot powder is required in recipes to achieve the desired effect.

The key is to use a limited amount of arrowroot powder – and any other product with carbs in them – in order to ensure you stay within your daily carb limit to maintain a state of ketosis.

Arrowroot Recipes to Try on the Keto Diet

There are so many different low-carb recipes featuring arrowroot that you can enjoy while keeping your ketone levels up. Here are a few to try out.

1. Low-Carb Flatbread


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 6 tsp of butter or ghee
  • Pinch of salt


In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until it’s the consistency of pancake batter.

Lightly spray a skillet with some olive oil spray and heat at medium-high heat.

Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter and cook until firm, about 3 minutes.

Flip the batter with a spatula and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Repeat for the remainder of the batter.

Top with your favorite keto-friendly ingredients.

2. Grain-Free Keto Brownies


  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 3/4 cup erythritol
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 8 oz 100% dark baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup stevia-sweetened chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8″ x 8″ deep pan with parchment paper.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the coconut oil with the baking chocolate in the microwave for a couple of minutes until melted.

Add all other ingredients and mix.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Allow the brownies to cool before serving.

3. Keto and Vegan Chocolate Pudding


  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup stevia-sweetened chocolate chips
  • 5 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch sea salt


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk with the salt.

Add the arrowroot powder, then continuously whisk for 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and agave and continue whisking.

Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then add the chocolate chips, stirring until melted.

Allow to cool before serving.

Final Thoughts

Fortunately, there are so many low-carb substitutes that can be used in place of traditionally high-carb foods and ingredients to help keep you in ketosis.

While arrowroot powder isn’t traditionally a low-carb product, only a small amount of it needs to be used to achieve the desired effect.

Also, considering the fact that it’s a healthy option compared to cornstarch or wheat flour, arrowroot can be a great alternative.

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Is Aspartame Keto-Friendly? Mon, 17 Jun 2019 06:40:54 +0000 Is Aspartame Keto-Friendly? Read More »

Aspartame Chemical StructureAspartame is one of the most well-known artificial sweeteners on the market. It’s regularly used as a substitute for regular sugar and marketed as a calorie-free alternative.

As a keto dieters, one of the cardinal rules is to avoid sugar as much as possible and keep your carb intake to a minimum while ramping up your healthy fat intake.

There are plenty of low-calorie, low-carb sugar substitutes available and often used by dieters everywhere, some of which are natural and others that are artificially created.

Aspartame is an artificial non-saccharide sweetener that is made up of two amino acids that are both naturally occurring in the body: aspartic acid and phenylalanine (1). Aspartame is metabolized into these amino acids when consumed with a small amount of methanol in the body.

Aspartame is much sweeter than regular sugar. In fact, it’s as much as 200 times sweeter, which is why only a tiny amount is needed compared to sugar to sweeten a food or beverage.

While both sugar and aspartame contain four calories per gram, a much smaller amount of aspartame is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness, keeping the total number of calories from aspartame very low.

You can typically find aspartame as the main sweetener in brands of sweetener products such as Equal and Nutrasweet.

Is aspartame keto-friendly is it even healthy or safe to take on the ketogenic diet?

Let’s take a deeper look at what aspartame is and whether it makes a good substitute for sugar to help you maintain a state of ketosis.

Carbs and Macros on Aspartame

One teaspoon of aspartame contains the following:

Calories: 13

Carbs: 3.1g

Protein: 0.1g

Fat: 0g

What Foods Contain Aspartame?

There are all sorts of foods that traditionally contain sugar that may use aspartame instead to sweeten them.

In an effort to eliminate the sugar, aspartame can be added instead to achieve the same level of sweetness. Some products that often contain this artificial sweetener in include:

  • Diet sodas
  • Calorie-reduced juices
  • Chewing gum
  • Candy
  • Yogurt
  • Sugar-free ice cream

Is Aspartame Keto-Friendly?

Aspartame has not been shown to impact blood sugar or insulin levels when consumed. As such, one would assume that this sweetener is keto-friendly and is suitable for the ketogenic diet.

Studies have found that those who consume aspartame in place of sugar tend to have lower body masses thanks to the reduction in calories and less impact on blood sugar levels (2). That said, aspartame consumption may also negatively impact gut bacteria and even potentially lead to insulin resistance.

However, the evidence surrounding artificial sweeteners like aspartame is somewhat mixed and their use is often considered controversial.

So, is aspartame good to consume on the keto diet?

While small amounts might be fine and shouldn’t impact your state of ketosis, some of the potential side effects and impact on long-term weight and insulin resistance point to the need to consider other natural sweeteners instead.

Things to Consider About Aspartame

While swapping table sugar for a low-calorie sweetener may help to keep the carb content down, there are some potential issues with aspartame.

Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved aspartame as a product that’s safe for consumption, it’s important to be aware of some of the potential side effects of consuming aspartame.

More specifically as it relates to weight management, aspartame consumption may actually be linked to an increase in appetite.

When regular sugar is consumed, certain chemicals and hormones of the brain are released to induce a feeling of satisfaction.

This food reward pathway is important to feeling satisfied after eating. While artificial sweeteners feature a sweet taste, the low calorie factor prevents the food reward pathway from being completely activated.

As such, artificial sweeteners like aspartame may be associated with an increase in cravings and appetite, which can eventually lead to binge eating and ultimately weight gain (3).

Having said all that, the research on artificial sweeteners and their effect on the appetite is still minimal and not entirely conclusive.

Aspartame Substitutes On Keto Diet

While aspartame is often used as a substitute for sugar, there are other, more natural substitutes that consist of fewer calories than sugar and don’t have much of an effect on blood glucose levels.

And because they’re derived from natural sources, they may be better options than aspartame:

  • Xylitol – A natural sugar alcohol with 2.4 calories per gram.
  • Erythritol – A natural sugar alcohol that has only 0.24 calories per gram.
  • Stevia – A natural sweetener with zero calories.

Final Thoughts

A little bit of aspartame shouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

But while you may want to avoid any added sugars while on the keto diet, aspartame might not necessarily be the best sugar substitute.

Considering there are natural alternatives that are low on the glycemic index and have a very calorie count compared to sugar, you may be better off with these natural sugar substitutes.

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Is Alfredo Sauce Keto-Friendly? Tue, 11 Jun 2019 04:41:41 +0000 Is Alfredo Sauce Keto-Friendly? Read More »

Who doesn’t love a creamy bowl of pasta, drenched in rich Alfredo sauce that’s loaded in flavor and texture?Alfredo Sauce on the ketogenic diet

It’s the ultimate comfort food and is tough to beat. But what if you’re following the ketogenic diet? Is Alfredo sauce on the list of foods that are allowed, or should you steer clear of it in order to maintain a state of ketosis?

Obviously, the pasta will need to be substituted, but the sauce itself is what we’re looking at.

Read on to find out if you should ditch your Alfredo sauce or keep it as part of the keto-friendly diet.

Carbs and Macros in Alfredo Sauce

The following macros define the nutritional makeup of 1/4 cup of Alfredo sauce:

Calories: 50

Carbs: 3g

Sugars: 1g

Fat: 3.5g

Protein: 1g

Is Alfredo Sauce Keto-Friendly?

When you look at the macro content of Alfredo sauce, it seems as though you may be able to safely add this yummy sauce to your diet, as long as you keep your portion sizes under control.

Alfredo sauce is loaded in calories, which can really add up if you drown your dishes in this particular type of sauce.

Further, store-bought Alfredo sauces tend to hide some sugars, so you’ll want to be careful with that as well.

But the fat content is certainly conducive to the keto diet. Obviously, you want to maximize your healthy fats while keeping carbs to a minimum.

And it seems as though conservative servings of Alfredo sauce might be OK for the keto diet.

Alfredo Sauce Recipes

Rather than being at the mercy of what your grocery store has to offer in terms of Alfredo sauces, why not make your own instead?

That way you can be sure that there are no added sugars and that the fats included are indeed healthy.

Here’s a great homemade Alfredo sauce recipe you may want to try out to top your next meal with:


  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the garlic and saute for approximately 30 seconds.

Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer, allowing to simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken.

Reduce heat and whisk in the parmesan cheese until smooth.

Add salt and pepper.

Now that you’ve got your delicious homemade alfredo sauce, what should you add it to? Here are a few ideas to stimulate your taste buds:

Chicken and Alfredo Bake


  • 1 pound chicken breast, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 cup leeks, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups alfredo sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 390°F.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil.

Add the diced chicken until thoroughly cooked.

Add the cooked chicken to an ovenproof dish.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the mushrooms, leeks, and garlic.

Cook for about 4 minutes, then add over top of the chicken.

Pour the alfredo sauce over top, then sprinkle some parmesan cheese if desired.

Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

Zucchini Pasta With Alfredo Sauce


2 zucchini

2 tbsp butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 cup alfredo sauce

Salt and pepper to taste


Using a vegetable spiralizer, create “noodles” out of your zucchini.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.

Add garlic and saute until fragrant, then add the zucchini noodles and cook about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, then add the alfredo sauce, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

Final Thoughts

The great thing about the keto diet is that there are so many delicious high-fat foods that can be enjoyed while still allowing for fat loss, and alfredo sauce can be one of them.

While you can always use store-bought alfredo sauce sparingly, you may find making your own batch more keto-friendly.


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Is Almond Butter Keto-Friendly? Tue, 28 May 2019 04:24:49 +0000 Is Almond Butter Keto-Friendly? Read More »

almond iconIf you’re following the ketogenic diet, you already know that you should be loading up on healthy fats.

But while certain fatty foods are well-suited for the keto diet, others come with a slew of other things that you don’t necessarily want to be included in your diet, including hidden sugars.

Nuts are a staple on the low-carb diet, and almonds in particular are a great snack to enjoy while fueling your body with healthy fat for energy.

But what about almond butter? Is this calorie-rich fat appropriate for the keto diet? Or will you be sacrificing your state of ketosis if you include this product to your regimen?

In this article, we’ll discuss almond butter in more detail and determine whether or not you can safely add it to your list of foods to eat.

Nutritional Value of Almond Butter

Almond butter has the following nutritional makeup:

Calories: 101

Carbs: 3.4g

Fiber: 0.6g

Fat: 9.5g

Protein: 2.4g

Generally speaking, most types of nut butters are great for the ketogenic diet.

They’re basically just nuts that are ground up and concentrated into a buttery format. Many are free of dairy and gluten as well, so they can work well with other diet plans too.

Generally, nut butters have the right macro composition because they’re low in carbs, high in fats, and moderate in protein. And certain nuts, like almonds, have just the right amount of protein to keep your mind and body humming along all day.

Nut butters like almond butter also come with a bunch of important vitamins and nutrients that the body needs, including:

  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese

That said, it’s important to pay attention to the brand of nut butter that you’re consuming, as some contain a bunch of hidden sugars, which is not what you want to maintain your ketogenic lifestyle.

Things to Consider

Certain nuts are better suited for the ketogenic diet than others because of their ideal macro makeup.

More specifically, they have just the right amount of fat, protein, and carbs to help you maintain your ketogenic state.

For the keto diet, the following nuts tend to work best:

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts

These nuts are best because they’re very low in carbs and very high in healthy fats.

Almonds might not be the number one choice for keto dieters simply because they’re slightly higher in carbs compared to others.

For instance, the carb content of 1/4 cup of almonds is 6g, compared to 4g in the same serving of macadamia nuts or pecans.

However, that doesn’t mean that almonds are not keto-friendly. In fact, they are.

But while almonds by themselves are definitely great for the low carb keto diet, certain types of almond butters might not be. It all depends on what the manufacturer adds to the mix.

Many nut butters – especially peanut butter – available on the market contain added fillers, processed ingredients, and sugars.

While the base of the nut butter might have started out OK, the end product contains more than what keto dieters bargained for.

When shopping for almond butter, be sure to look for a natural product that has the following traits:

  • Very few ingredients
  • No added sugar
  • Very low carb content (ideally less than 3g per serving)

In order to give the butter flavor and texture a boost, it’s common to see additional ingredients.

But while certain ingredients might be fine, others can start to enter non-keto territory.

Adding too many ingredients to the list can start to make it difficult to decipher whether an almond butter product is keto-friendly or not.

Further, certain types of oils that may be added are not conducive to a keto diet, or to good overall health.

For instance, certain vegetable oils (such as canola oil, corn oil, or sunflower oil) are inflammatory and can be harmful to your health.

Whether or not you’re following a keto diet, these types of products should be avoided whenever possible.

Is Almond Butter Keto?


Just be sure to choose the product wisely to make sure there are no other added sugars that could inch you closer to getting kicked out of ketosis, as well as any additives that are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

Almond butter can be a great addition to your ketogenic lifestyle as they can be an easy, satiating, fat-packed snack that you can enjoy in a number of ways.

Like any other food product you buy, it’s always important to check the label.

Not only should you check to make sure the ratio of fat, protein, and carbs is in the ketogenic range, you should also read over the list of ingredients to ensure that there aren’t any hidden sugars that you don’t need.

Ideally, the almond butter you use should have no more than 3g of net carbs per serving and a limited number of ingredients on the list.

Almond Butter Recipes to Try

Aside from just eating a scoop of almond butter right out of the jar or just adding a dollop to a celery stalk, you can enjoy almond butter in a number of yummy recipes. Here are a couple to try out.

1. Almond Butter Fat Bombs


  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 packet of stevia


In a medium-size bowl, mix the almond butter, coconut flour, and stevia together until thick. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the freezer. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and roll to form balls.

Place each ball onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring that they’re spaced apart.

Place them in the freezer for about half an hour to firm them up before serving.

2. Keto Chocolate Fudge Cookies


  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup erythritol
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, mix the almond butter, cocoa powder, erythritol, and egg together with a fork until mixed well.

Add the almond milk and continue mixing.

Add the chocolate chips.

Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into balls.

Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and press down gently to slightly flatten them.

Bake for 12 minutes, then allow them to cool for at least 10 to 20 minutes until they firm up.

Final Thoughts

There are so many foods to enjoy on the keto diet while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of a healthier body composition.

And almond butter can safely be added to your roster of foods to take pleasure in.

It’s filling, delicious, and has a relatively ideal macro content that’s well-suited for the keto diet.

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Is Agave Keto-Friendly? Tue, 21 May 2019 04:13:31 +0000 Is Agave Keto-Friendly? Read More »

agaveAvoiding sugar while following the ketogenic lifestyle is a no-brainer but it can be tough to completely ward off sweets in the name of maintaining ketosis.

Luckily, there are plenty of sugar substitutes available that help keep blood glucose levels at bay while still providing a certain level of sweetness.

Many of these sweeteners are free of calories and carbs and are low on the glycemic index, making them ideal for the keto diet.

But some sweeteners still hide a lot of carbs, making it a challenge for keto dieters to decipher which sugar substitutes to use and which ones to avoid.

Among the many sugar substitutes out there include agave, a sweetener naturally found in many different types of health foods.

The question is, is agave keto-friendly? And further, is it a safe and healthy alternative to traditional sugar?

What is Agave?

Agave is a plant that’s native to southern parts of the US and South America and has actually been used for hundreds of years in Mexico, mainly for its medicinal properties and its sweetness after boiling the plant’s sap.

Today, agave is widely used as a sugar substitute and sweetener because of its relatively low glycemic index (GI), a ranking of how food impacts blood sugar levels. Agave’s GI is 17, compared to regular sugar’s GI of 68.

Agave is produced by extracting the nectar from the agave plant, which is then heated and processed to make a syrupy substance.

It is much sweeter than honey or sugar, so less of it is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness.

But because of this, using agave in place of sugar in recipes can be tricky because of the viscosity of agave.

Macros and Carbs In Agave

One teaspoon of agave nectar has the following nutritional value:

Calories: 25

Carbs: 6g

Sugars: 6g

Compare these macros to sugar:

Calories: 15

Carbs: 4.2g

Sugars: 4.2g

While there are actually more carbs in agave nectar in the same serving size as sugar, you would use a lot less of it because it is so much sweeter.

Generally, agave is about 1.5 to 2 times sweeter than sugar. As such, you would only need to use half a teaspoon to achieve the same level of sweetness as regular sugar.

Pros and Cons of Agave

As already mentioned, agave has a low glycemic index, which is a measure of how fast sugar enters the bloodstream.

Foods with a higher GI cause blood sugar levels to spike and are generally considered to be more detrimental to a person’s health.

When agave is processed into a syrup, the fructans are metabolized into fructose when the sap is exposed to heat.

Fructose has a low GI and doesn’t suddenly raise blood sugar or insulin levels the way glucose does. As such, it is often marketed as a “healthy” sweetener.

But high amounts of fructose can have negative health effects, despite its low GI ranking.

When agave is heated to extract a syrupy substance, the process destroys all the potentially beneficial health effects of agave. The end result is an unhealthy, heavily-refined syrup.

In fact, agave syrup can actually be compared to high-fructose corn syrup.

Consuming too much fructose can be detrimental to metabolic health because the liver – which is the organ that metabolizes high amounts of fructose – can get overloaded.

Once that happens, the fructose will start turning into fat, which increases levels of blood triglycerides and causes fatty liver disease (1).

Further, high levels of fructose can lead to insulin resistance (2). Since agave nectar is approximately 85% fructose – which is a lot higher than sugar – it’s important to consume agave in conservative amounts.

Is Agave Keto-Friendly?

At first glance, agave may seem like a great alternative to sugar because of its low GI ranking. But it’s actually not the best sugar substitute that keto dieters should be focusing on.

Because agave nectar is about 85% fructose, it can lower the body’s insulin sensitivity and potentially lead to metabolic syndrome (3).

In turn, this can make it more difficult for the body to regulate blood glucose levels, which is the last thing that keto dieters want.

Agave manufacturers do a great job at marketing their products as healthy, low-calorie and low-carb alternatives to sugar.

But it can be damaging to the liver and end up causing more problems, especially when used in high amounts.

Keto-Friendly Alternatives to Agave

Rather than opting for agave as a sugar substitute to maintain a state of ketosis, keto dieters have plenty of other alternatives to choose from, including the following:


While not a natural sweetener, sucralose is an artificial sweetener that has no calories or carbs because it passes through the body undigested.

While not necessarily ideal for baking with, sucralose is better suited for sweetening drinks and foods by just adding it to the mix.


A natural sweetener, stevia is much sweeter than sugar and has very few calories and carbs.

It’s considered a healthy sugar substitute because it may actually help lower blood sugar levels.


This is a type of sugar alcohol that’s almost as sweet as sugar but only has a fraction of the calories.

Research has shown that the carbs in erythritol don’t impact blood sugar levels the way that regular sugar does, making it a sound keto-friendly sugar substitute (4).


Another type of sugar alcohol, xylitol only has 4 grams of carbs per teaspoon, but they don’t actually count as net carbs because they don’t increase blood sugar or insulin levels like sugar does (5).

Monk fruit

Derived from the monk fruit, this natural sweetener is anywhere between 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar and has no calories or carbs, making it a great alternative for the keto diet (6).

Final Thoughts

While agave may be low on the glycemic index, it can still negatively impact blood sugar levels by contributing to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Further, it’s not without its calories or carbs, especially when compared to other sugar substitutes.

To stay true to your keto diet while maintaining optimal health, it’s advised to stick with other sugar alternatives aside from agave.

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Is Celery Keto-Friendly? Fri, 03 May 2019 10:21:14 +0000 Is Celery Keto-Friendly? Read More »

celery on the keto dietTrying to find vegetables that are low in carbs can be a challenge when following the ketogenic diet. While there are plenty of healthy veggies out there, not all of them are necessarily low in net carbs.

But celery isn’t one of them. Low in carbs and calories, celery makes a great addition to the keto diet.

Read on to find out why celery may be a great vegetable to add to your keto-friendly food repertoire.

Nutritional Profile of Celery

One medium celery stalk (40g) contains the following nutritional makeup:

  • Calories: 6
  • Carbohydrates 1.2g
  • Fat 0.1g
  • Protein 0.3g
  • Sodium 32mg
  • Potassium 104mg
  • Fiber 0.6g
  • Vitamin A 4%
  • Vitamin C 2%
  • Calcium 2%
  • Iron 0%

Types of Celery

It might come as a surprise that there is actually more than one type of celery. While we might be most familiar with stalk celery, there are other celery plant varieties, including the following:

  • Leaf Celery – Features a thin stalk and is grown mainly for its leaves and seeds.
  • Celeriac – Grown for its root that is then peeled and can be eaten raw or cooked.
  • Pascal – Most commonly eaten in the US.

Is Celery Keto Friendly?

Based on the fact that there are merely 1.2g of carbs in a stalk of celery, it’s safe to say that celery is certainly keto-friendly.

And the extremely low calories contained within one stalk make it an even better addition to the keto diet, and any diet in general.

Anyone looking to keep daily caloric counts low and lose weight would benefit from including celery in their diet.

As an added bonus, celery is rather high in potassium, which is a vital nutrient that helps make sure that electrolyte levels are high enough to avoid flu-like symptoms, particularly during the initial phases of the keto diet where the “keto flu” is somewhat common.

Things to Consider

As already mentioned, celery is low in calories in carbs and high in potassium.

It’s also crisp, refreshing, and rather versatile in terms of the types of dishes it can be added to.

Celery can make a convenient snack that can be taken on the go, or can be added to various recipes for delicious and hearty dishes.

That said, consuming too much celery may come with some drawbacks. Since celery is rather high in fiber and sodium, eating too much of it may lead to digestive upset.

Celery may also contain high levels of residual pesticides, which are toxins that can lead to toxicity in the brain and nervous system.

Pesticides in the body can also increase the risk of cancer, hormonal complications, and skin/eye irritation. That said, this can be combated by eating organic varieties.

It’s also possible for certain individuals to suffer an allergy or sensitivity to celery. In fact, celery allergies are rather common.

Those who suffer from pollen allergies may find themselves particularly sensitive to celery. Symptoms of celery allergies may include something as mild as itching of the throat to something as severe as anaphylactic shock.

Keto-Friendly Celery Recipes

Since celery is considered a keto-friendly food, you may want to enjoy it in more ways than just on its own.

Here are a couple of recipes you may want to try that are conducive to the ketogenic diet:

1. Cream of Celery Soup

A classic comfort food, this version of cream of celery soup is low in carbs but high in taste:


  • 6 cups chopped celery
  • 12 oz cauliflower rice
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 16 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, then add onions and celery. Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Leave 1-2 cups of the vegetable mix aside that will be added back in at the end.
  • Add riced cauliflower and garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth, whipping cream, and salt, and bring to a simmer.
  • Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Blend in a food processor until smooth, then add remaining vegetables back in.

2. Baked Cheese Celery

Cheese is a staple on the keto diet, and this recipe will satisfy your palate and your belly!


  • 8 celery stalk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Cut the celery sticks in half across the center. Boil them in water in a large saucepan, then let simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Drain the celery and place in an oven-safe baking dish.
  • Add the heavy cream, 1/2 cup of the cheese, broth, and salt to a small pan and cook over a low-medium heat. Continue to stir until the cheese melts.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the celery sticks, then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  • Place in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

Final Thoughts

Celery’s low carb and calorie content make it an ideal vegetable to include in your keto diet.

It’s also quite versatile, making it easy to snack on or add to your favorite low-carb, high-fat dishes.

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Can You Eat Rice On The Keto Diet? Sun, 17 Mar 2019 07:46:35 +0000 Can you eat rice on the keto diet?There’s a reason why rice is such a popular food all across the world: it’s filling and delicious.

Rice is an abundant food source and is the base of all sorts of different dishes.

Many developing parts of the world depend on rice because of how accessible and affordable it is, yet it also serves as the base of many upscale dishes as well.

But as delicious and healthy as rice can be, it’s also loaded in carbs. Rice is classified as a grain, and as keto dieters know all too well, grains are typically high in carbs.

That’s why people who are following a low-carb meal plan are usually instructed to eliminate it from the diet.

But can you eat even a small amount of rice while following the keto diet, or will it completely derail your state of ketosis?

Different Types of Rice

Rice comes in several different varieties, including the following:

Arborio rice – This type of rice is a medium grain rice. Its texture is somewhat chewy and sticky because of its high starch content. When cooked, Arborio rice tends to be creamy, which is why it’s often used in dishes such as risotto and soup.

Basmati rice – This long grain rice has a bit of a nutty flavor and is a common base for many different Asian and Indian dishes.

Jasmine rice – This type of rice is popular in many Asian dishes and has a jasmine aroma when it is cooked. It’s used most often in stir-fry dishes.

Brown rice – This particular type of rice is a 100% whole grain food and is rich in vitamins and minerals. “Whole grain” basically refers to the fact that it contains all parts of the grain, including the germ, endosperm, and bran. Brown rice is slightly chewy in texture and fluffy when it’s cooked, which helps it avoid sticking.

White rice – The more commonly used type of rice in North America is white rice. It’s sticky in consistency when it’s cooked and is a versatile food for many different types of dishes. Unlike whole grain rice, white rice has had the germ bran removed, which are the most nutritious components of the grain. As such, white rice contains very little nutritional value.

That said, while some types of rice might be more nutritious than others, all rice is almost entirely made up of carbs, with trace amounts of protein and no fat. More specifically, all rice types have approximately 45g of carbs per cup.

Should You Eat Rice on Keto Diet?

Considering the fact that rice is nearly 100% made up of carbs, it stands to reason that this particular type of food is not conducive to the keto diet.

If you’re working hard to maintain a state of ketosis, your best bet is to steer clear of all types of rice, at least during the first couple of months of following this diet plan.

If you’re just starting to embark on the keto diet and are working your way towards achieving a ketogenic state, then rice should probably be avoided completely.

It can take a few days or longer to get your body to start producing more ketones in an effort to deplete your body’s glycogen stores and burn more body fat.

As such, any additional carbs can make this process take longer.

Your metabolism is modified when you get into ketosis.

Once you’re there, high carb foods can quickly kick you out of ketosis, making it more difficult for your body to use body fat as its main source of fuel.

Further, your blood sugar and insulin levels will surge when you eat high-carb foods like rice. This, in turn, will throw off your efforts to reach or maintain ketosis.

Once you reintroduce starchy carbs into your diet again, your body will start using carbs again for fuel instead of your stored body fat.

What About “Cyclical” Keto Dieting?

Having said all of the above, you may be able to eat minimal amounts of rice if you’re very physically active and are following a “cyclical” keto diet.

With this diet plan – also referred to as “carb-cycling” – you would follow a low-carb diet for a few days, then break things up with periodic intervals of moderate- or high-carb days.

Adopting this version of the keto diet can help athletes to maximize fat loss while still being able to perform at high-intensity.

If you are an athlete that needs some carbs on high-intensity training days – or “carb-loading” days – then a cyclical keto diet might be more appropriate.

In this case, you may be able to get away with eating some amount of rice. If you do choose to eat rice on your high-carb days, consider reaching for whole grain rice as opposed to the nutritionally-empty white rice.

Rice Substitutes on Keto Diet

While you might not be able to enjoy bowl-fulls of rice while following the keto diet, there are some rice substitutes you can dine on instead, including the following:

Cauliflower rice. Probably the most popular substitute for rice is cauliflower rice. All you need is a food processor or cheese grater and you’ve got a low-carb rice substitute.

It’s only got 5g of carbs per 100g serving, compared to 28g of carbs for rice of the same serving size. You can even use cauliflower rice as part of a low-carb pizza crust recipe that involves a little mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Cauliflower may help to improve digestion, balance hormones, lower inflammation, and even lower the risk of certain cancers. It’s also loaded in vitamins C and K.

Cabbage rice. Easy to find at all grocery stores, cabbage is cheap and low in carbs at only 6g of carbs per 100g serving. Again, all you need is a food processor to shred the cabbage into tiny pellets resembling rice. Saute the cabbage rice with all sorts of different spices and herbs to mimic the taste and texture of real rice.

Cabbage is chock full of nutrients, including iron and vitamins C and K. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that may protect against certain cancers and heart disease while promoting good vision.

Shirataki rice. This special type of rice comes from the root of the konnyaku plant and actually contains zero calories or carbs! That’s because it’s made up of soluble fiber which can help promote good digestion and keep cholesterol levels balanced. It’s also a good source of iron.

Shirataki rice can be found in most health food stores and makes a great low-carb substitute for regular rice. Use it in your pilaf, stir-fry, or even in soup.

Final Thoughts

Because of the high carb content, rice is usually not on the list of keto-friendly food. You should stay away from rice unless you’re an avid athlete that is carb cycling.

If you miss the texture and density of rice, there are some solid alternatives that you can try out that are extremely low in both carbs and calories.

As long as you’re careful with the sauces you add on top, you can enjoy a great-tasting dish that mimics the texture and taste of the real thing!

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Exogenous Ketones: Health Benefits and Side Effects Thu, 14 Mar 2019 02:04:41 +0000 If you’re on keto diet and struggling to get into the optimal zone for Nutritional Ketosis, you might be wondering if it would be beneficial for you to use an exogenous ketone supplement.

If you’re not on keto yet, you might be thinking that exogenous ketones will help you get into the state of ketosis faster than if you just used keto-friendly foods.

Perhaps, you went over your carbohydrate tolerance or flat out cheated on the keto diet and now you need a quick way to recover.

Maybe, you’re on keto, and doing fine, but have heard good things about exogenous ketones and wondering if they can help you lose weight faster.

Ketones cannot be stored by the body.

They are a by-product that occurs as the liver breaks down triglycerides into fatty acids.

Fatty acids can fuel the liver during gluconeogenesis, but ketones cannot, so the liver dumps the ketones into the bloodstream to fuel the brain.

The brain can use ketones for up to 80 percent of its fuel needs, so getting your blood level for ketones up into the optimal zone for Nutritional Ketosis, 0.5 mmol/L to 4.0 mmol/L, is important to experience the benefits of ketosis.

And that’s where these exogenous ketones come in.

Supposedly, they can take the place of endogenous ketones and:

  • get you into the state of Nutritional Ketosis faster.
  • increase your energy and stamina.
  • improve mental clarity and performance.
  • decrease appetite and cravings.

But how true are the claims?

In this guide to exogenous ketones, we’re going to take a closer look at what these ketones are, their health benefits, side effects, advantages, and disadvantages.

We’ll also explain when these supplements are useful and when they’re not.

What are Exogenous Ketones?

There are two main types of ketones:

Endogenous ketones – Made by the liver during the process of separating the glycerol molecule from the back of a triglyceride.

This procedure is demand-driven.

Ketones are created internally, as needed, and is a natural process that occurs when you restrict the carbohydrates in your diet.

These types of ketones do not come from food.

Exogenous ketones – Made in a laboratory by attaching a ketone to a salt or molecule of alcohol.

The salty ketones are called ketone salts, and packaged by the manufacturer as a powder.

This powder is then mixed with a liquid by the dieter and drunk. The other ketone supplement is called ketone esters and already comes packaged as a liquid.

The salt used in ketone salts is three of the four mineral salts:

  1. sodium
  2. calcium
  3. magnesium

Ketone salts are cheaper to make than ketone esters are, but ketone esters are more potent than ketone salts. However, they taste terrible and are difficult to find commercially.

Ketone salts taste better than the esters and are more marketable, but they are far less potent.

This means that ketone esters can increase your ketone level in the bloodstream higher, up to 3.0 mmol/L, but the rise in ketones doesn’t last very long.

Ketone salts, on the other hand, won’t raise your ketone level very much, only between 0.3 mmol/L and 1.0 mmol/L, but the rise you get will last awhile.

Ketone salts come in a powdered form. You mix the powder with a liquid, such as water, and then drink it like a protein shake.

Due to the conversion to a liquid, ketone salts can leave the stomach fairly quickly, so marketing claims say they can raise your ketone levels within 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the brand.

The idea behind exogenous ketones is to raise the level of ketones in the bloodstream, which can help you get you into the optimal zone for ketosis.

Ketones can’t be stored by the body, so like your natural ketones, these oral salts will build up in the bloodstream and become measurable, as well as usable.

The body makes 3 types of ketones:

  1. acetoacetate ketones
  2. beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones
  3. acetone ketones

The acetoacetate ketones are the ketones you measure when you’re using urine test strips at the beginning of the Atkins Diet. These ketones are not as plentiful as beta-hydroxybutyrate.

Beta-hydroxybutyrate are the type of ketones that the brain uses best, and can be measured by a blood ketone meter.

Some of these ketones are also present in the urine, but the urine testing strips cannot detect them.

Most of the acetoacetate ketones the body makes are eventually converted into beta-hydroxybutyrate for use by the brain after you’ve been restricting carbs for a few days.

Acetone ketones are produced in much smaller quantities by the liver than acetoacetate or beta-hydroxybutyrate and are the ketones you give off in your breath and urine that produce that very distinctive smell.

Each ketone is used by the body differently.

After a few weeks on your low-carb diet, the beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones are most prominent, so these are the ketones that manufacturers use to make exogenous ketones.

However, these exogenous ketones are not carb blockers.

While the supplement will affect the number of ketones in the bloodstream, they do not affect the carbs you eat at all. You can’t use beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones right after you indulge in a cheat meal and expect the body to ignore the carbs you just consumed because that’s not what these supplements do.

Exogenous ketones mimic endogenous ketones, the ketones the liver makes, so the body treats them as if they were regular ketones.

This means that as long as exogenous ketones are around, the body will produce fewer natural ketones.

Health Benefits of Exogenous Ketones

Exogenous ketones claim to boost the effects of ketosis, which means you can experience:

Appetite Control – Scientists do not understand why the state of ketosis tends to dull the appetite, but this can be an important benefit for those who tend to binge on carbs.

Fewer Cravings for Carbs – Likewise, if you’re feeling deprived on Keto, a few extra beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones can help you say no to those chocolate chip cookies.

Consistent Energy – Since ketones can be used by the muscles to fuel activity when body fat isn’t readily available, energy tends to stay more consistent than it does when using glucose for energy.

On glucose, you’re going to get tired when your glycogen stores run low. Getting into ketosis faster will help you avoid feeling so tired.

Increased Physical Endurance – Endurance can improve when you’re using ketones for energy instead of glucose because the body will have more energy stores available.

Mental Clarity – Many dieters find that the extra beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones available for the brain help improve their comprehension skills.

Better Sleep – Some people sleep better when in the state of ketosis, but others find it more difficult.

Improved Mental Performance – If you have a sit-down desk job, you might see an increase in your ability to think through problems and get things done more quickly.

Much Better Mood – For those with insulin resistance, anything that relieves stress on the body will increase your feelings of well-being.

Better Athletic Performance – If you are on maintenance, extra ketones can improve your athletic skills, endurance, and abilities because consistent energy sources are always available.

All of these benefits may or may not be true for you. Everyone doesn’t experience the same results when taking endogenous ketones.

What these supplements definitely do not do is accelerate weight loss.

This is because weight loss is directly related to your energy deficit and has nothing to do with the level of blood ketones you have built up in the bloodstream.

At least, not directly.

Beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones do not make you burn body fat.

They are a form of energy that can be used by the brain and every cell in your body with mitochondria.

Muscles will use them when you have an ample supply, but this is not always beneficial.

The presence of ketones in the bloodstream is a life-saving act. Without them, the brain would die.

Weight loss occurs because the liver has to convert triglycerides into fatty acids for fuel, and it does that by pulling triglycerides out of your adipose tissues.

If triglycerides are not pulled out of your adipose tissues to fuel gluconeogenesis and low-intensity exercise, fat loss will not occur.

Side Effects Of Exogenous Ketones

Some of the side effects from using exogenous ketones include:

Higher insulin level – It is not true that you can’t have too many ketones.

In fact, if you raise your ketone level too high, due to supplementation, the body will secrete insulin to shut down ketone production until you have used up all of the excess ketones in your bloodstream.

Caffeine – Some supplements include a lot of caffeine, over what you’d get in a single cup of coffee, so some of the above benefits, such as an increase in energy or feeling of well-being, might be due to the caffeine, rather than the extra ketones you’re drinking.

High-Sodium – Since the most common type of exogenous ketones comes in the form of mineral salts, they are not suitable for those on low-salt diets.

Ketone salts are very high in sodium, about 700 mg, and sometimes, even more than that.

Gastrointestinal Distress – Depending on the amount of magnesium in the supplement, drinking ketone salts can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as cramping, stomach ache, nausea, or even diarrhea.

Degree of these side effects is dependent on the dosage.

To avoid stomach issues and gastrointestinal reactions when using ketone salts, start out using a very small dose, maybe only a quarter of a serving, and gradually increase the amount you take, as your body adapts to these beta-hydroxybutyrate supplements.

Advantages of Using Exogenous Ketone Salts

These supplements can make the transition from the Standard American Diet to a low-carb lifestyle easier to move into, so for some people, exogenous ketones can be a life saver.

By reducing the time it takes to reach ketosis, you can begin to experience appetite reduction and an upswing in mood right away.

Lower hunger hormones makes it easier to eat at a calorie deficit. The appetite suppression can lead to weight loss if you were eating too much before.

In addition, since these supplements contain sodium, calcium, and magnesium, you can also avoid the Keto Flu.

Keto Flu is not a virus, but is due to imbalanced electrolytes. If you’re experiencing constipation, headaches, muscle aches, diarrhea, or muscle cramps, you’re going to see an improvement with these supplements.

However, some people consider exogenous ketones a fairly expensive way to get those extra electrolytes.

Are Exogenous Ketones Keto-Friendly?

If you’re taking in a large amount of ketones by mouth, your body is going to begin to make fewer ketones for itself.

This can be counterproductive to weight loss if you’re taking the supplement to try and get into the optimal zone for ketosis and stay there for an extended period of time.

The optimal zone is about teaching your body to burn fatty acids for fuel over glucose, and if your state of ketosis is dependent on exogenous ketones, that isn’t going to happen.

Also keep in mind that ketone salts will only raise your ketone level slightly, so you’ll have to take the supplement consistently to see any benefits.

In addition, and much more important for keto dieters, the body will burn those extra beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones for energy, instead of body fat, which means that weight loss can slow down quite dramatically while using these supplements, and even stop completely.

The supplements also contain calories, so you’ll need to adjust your dietary intake to make up for those extra calories or you could actually gain weight by supplementing your keto diet with exogenous ketones.

Ketones contain about 4 calories per gram, the same amount as protein or carbohydrates have.

Serving size differs between brands, with some brands higher in calories than others due to the MCT oil added to the formula.

MCT oils cannot be stored in the body, so like ketones, they have to be used before body fat, so your weight loss will slow down.

To manage your ketone levels, you’ll need to consume more than just one serving per day, which can also be very costly in calories.

Final Thoughts

Exogenous ketones are not a good substitute for a well-planned ketogenic diet.

While they can be beneficial under certain circumstances, such as avoiding the keto flu, the majority of low carb dieters won’t see much benefit from taking them except for a boost in mood and well-being, unless you are not trying to lose weight and already eating at your maintenance level of calories.

On maintenance, the supplements can help you to stay in the optimal range for well-being and energy and will ensure that you’re getting an extra supply of sodium, calcium, and magnesium, but you will have to take several servings per day to enjoy those benefits.

On keto, the body is perfectly capable of making its own ketones, as needed by the brain, and finding alternative sources of glucose as well.

Helping the body to do its job better only results in the body creating fewer ketones than it was making before.

While this is fine for those who are not in the weight-loss phase of the Keto Diet, if you’re trying to ditch those excess pounds, you’ll want your body to use up as much body fat as possible.

Anything that interferes with body fat mobilization will slow down weight loss.

And in some cases, if you’re taking a lot of extra ketones in, you can even make your insulin resistance worse.

A much better plan for those in the weight-loss phase is to make sure you’re getting enough sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium in your daily diet — and let your body do the rest.

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Beta Hydroxy Butyrate (BHB) on Keto: Complete Guide Tue, 05 Mar 2019 02:56:32 +0000 Beta-hydroxybutyrate (or BHB) is one of 3 ketones created when you restrict your carbohydrates.

In fact, of the 3 ketones that result when fat is broken down and metabolized in the liver, BHB is the predominant ketone body.

This is because BHB can easily cross the blood-brain barrier.

When glucose is in short supply, the brain uses BHB for most of its energy needs. And depriving the body of glucose is the whole idea behind moving into the state of Nutritional Ketosis.

Ketosis is a natural state and defined as a blood level of Beta-hydroxybutyrate of 0.5 mM, or more.

Those who are first entering into Nutritional Ketosis do not always have blood levels that high, and of those who do, this level isn’t always consistent throughout the day.

BHB level in the blood will rise and fall, depending on how many ketones are made in the liver, their use by the brain, and how intensely you exercise.

Ketones do not normally rise above 0.5 mM unless you’re severely restricting carbohydrates, on a ketogenic diet, fasting, semi-fasting (also referred to as intermittent fasting), or taking BHB supplements.

Supplements can hasten the production of beta-hydroxybutyrate, but their ability to sustain ketosis is very limited.

You have to consistently take supplements in order to maintain the small rise in blood BHB that you get from taking them.

In this guide to beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones on keto, we’re going to take a look at why you need to know about BHB, their chemical structure, health benefits, side effects, and how to boost your levels — both naturally and artificially.

What are BHB?

Carbohydrates are broken down during digestion into glucose.

When carbohydrates are restricted in the diet, the lack of glucose causes the liver to drain its glycogen supply. Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates.

The liver can store about 80 carbohydrates worth of glycogen at any one time.

While the muscles also store glucose in the form of glycogen, about 200 to 300 carbohydrates worth, muscle glycogen has a different purpose than liver glycogen, so the muscles do not share their glycogen with the liver.

Liver glycogen is used to maintain your blood glucose level within a very tight margin.

The liver uses fat to fuel the conversion of glycogen into glucose. As glycogen gets used up, more fat is needed to create ketones.

There are 3 types of ketones, the by-product of fat breakdown in the liver:

  1. acetoacetate ketones (AcAc)
  2. beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones (BHB)
  3. acetone ketones

Ketones are produced by a process called ketogenesis.

Fatty acids are broken down to produce acetyl CoA, which then travels through a variety of chemical reactions and eventually results in acetoacetate ketones.

Acetoacetate is the first ketone the liver makes as it breaks down fat, but acetoacetate isn’t very stable, so once it enters the liver mitochondria, it is acted on by the B-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase enzyme and converted to beta-hydroxybutyrate, which is stable and usable by the brain.

Acetone ketones are not used for energy at all.

The small amount that results during fat breakdown are tossed off into the breath and urine, giving your breath and urine that distinctive smell that signals ketosis.

Chemical Structure of BHB

bhb structure

Beta-hydroxybutyrate does not have the chemical structure of a ketone.

A ketone has carbonyl carbons, which is carbon that is bonded to oxygen with a double bond. The double-bonded carbonyl carbons are then attached to two other carbon atoms.

That is the chemical structure of a ketone.

BHB are carbonyl carbons that are attached to only one other carbon atom, so even though one carbon is missing, BHB behaves similarly to a ketone.

The brain can use it just fine, so BHB is often spoken of as if it were a ketone, especially since it starts out as acetoacetate, is converted to BHB, and then converted back into acetoacetate once it crosses the blood-brain barrier and enters the mitochondria of cells, during the metabolic process.

Why You Should Know About BHB on Keto?

Maintaining Nutritional Ketosis (a blood ketone level of 0.5 mM to 4.0 mM) takes awareness, persistence, and dedication.

Knowing how ketosis is achieved, what beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones are, and how to manage them during the weight-loss phase, and beyond, will go a long way toward helping you reach your weight-loss and fitness goals.

Keto is founded on the idea that you need to stay within the optimal range of beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones to see effective weight-loss results, fat adaption, and heightened performance during maintenance.

You can’t do that if you don’t know what BHB is, nor how to measure them and increase them, when needed.

According to Dr. Phinney, fat adaption isn’t something that occurs overnight.

You have to get into the optimal zone for ketosis and stay there for several weeks before your body becomes efficient at burning fats for energy instead of glucose.

How to Measure Beta-Hydroxybutyrate Ketones?

Beta-hydroxybutyrate can be measured using a ketone blood meter.

A ketone blood meter looks like a blood glucose meter and works in a similar way:

  1. Prick your finger,
  2. Place a drop of blood on a ketone strip,
  3. and insert the strip into the meter.

These meters are not the same thing as blood glucose meters, but some blood glucose meters have dual capacity and can measure both glucose and beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones with a single finger prick.

While the distinctive smell of your breath and urine and drastic drop in hunger and cravings will tell you that you are in ketosis, using a ketone blood meter is the only way to know for sure if you are in the optimal zone for Nutritional Ketosis.

Keto Supplements that Contain BHB

The ketones that the liver makes are called endogenous ketones. Endogenous insinuates an internal process.

Exogenous ketones (external) are not produced by the body and must be taken as a supplement.

There are two types of BHB supplements:

  1. ketone salts
  2. ketone esters

Ketone salts are powdered supplements created in a lab by bonding a beta-hydroxybutyrate ketone to a molecule of sodium, calcium, or magnesium.

Many supplements contain all 3 mineral salts, which makes them great for improving your electrolyte balance, but a pretty expensive way of doing that.

The power is mixed together with a liquid and then you drink it, like a protein shake, In liquid form, these BHB ketones are going to get into the bloodstream rather quickly.

Ketone esters are BHB ketones bonded to esters and sold in the form of a liquid, but they are difficult to find.

They also taste horrible, and cost more than the ketone salts, so the salt form of supplement is far more popular within the low-carb community than the esters are.

The idea behind these BHB supplements is to raise your blood level of BHB, but since ketones can’t be stored in the body, ketones not used will back up in your bloodstream and, thereby, raise your ketone level into the optimal range for Nutritional Ketosis.

They are marketed as a quick way to do that.

These ketones perform in the body in the same way that endogenous ketones do. That much is true.

However, while the amount of ketones in your bloodstream can tell you if you are in the optimal zone for Nutritional Ketosis, or not, the body will use these foreign ketones first, before your own.

This means less fat breakdown, fewer of your own ketones made, and less weight loss.

In addition, the supplements do contain calories, so you might see yourself go into a lengthy stall if you don’t cut back on calories elsewhere or raise your activity to compensate, especially since most dieters have to drink several servings of the supplement per day to reach and maintain optimal ketosis.

Health Benefits of BHB

There are several health benefits of BHB:

Lessens Oxidative Stress – Free radicals form when the body burns glucose for fuel or oxidizes oxygen during normal body processes. These by-products of oxidation can damage your cells and DNA when they accumulate. When the body burns fats and BHB for fuel, rather than glucose, fewer free radicals are produced.

Anti-inflammatory – BHB blocks the inflammatory protein called NLRP3 Inflammasone, which causes inflammation. While inflammation is a natural part of the healing process, chronically high levels of inflammation can trigger insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Anti-Aging – BHB fights against oxidative stress by activating the proteins that protect your cells from free radicals. BHB acts as an antioxidant to increase longevity by slowing down the aging process.

Improved Satiety – Protein and fat are what bring satiety, but the liver creates ketones from breaking down dietary fat, as well as body fat. One of the most common benefits of going into the state of ketosis is a drastic reduction in hunger. This occurs due to an increase in satiety.

Increased Endurance – Since the body can use ketones for energy, when exercise is intense, upping your activity level and increasing your intensity will often result in an increase in stamina and feelings of well-being.

Lower Ghrelin Hormone – The higher Ghrelin is, the hungrier you get, so low levels of Ghrelin mean a lot less hunger.

Fewer Cravings for Carbs – When satiety increases, there is less desire and temptation for sweets and starches. You’ll find much more strength to pass on the chocolate cake if you feel stuffed.

Improved Cognitive Performance – With BHB being a clean energy source, mental functions and performance can improve with higher levels of available BHB.

What are the Side Effects?

If you’re taking a BHB supplement to help you get into ketosis faster, you’ll still have to go through a period of adjustment.

While some supplements claim you can get into ketosis as fast as an hour, these supplements only raise your ketones by 0.3 to 1.0 mM, so during the first few days, many people experience:

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Low energy
  • Brain fog
  • Raving hunger

While keeping your electrolytes up will ward off the keto flu, these above side effects occur when BHB is low, as the body becomes stressed when it first runs out of glucose and begins to move from a glucose metabolism to one that predominantly oxidizes fatty acids and ketones.

As the BHB level goes up, so do your feelings of well-being.

These side effects calm down and pretty much go away. However, there is a disadvantage to high BHB levels in the blood that we need to talk about next.

Disadvantage of High BHB Level

The main disadvantage to having too many BHB ketones in the blood is the reaction your body has to ketone levels that go higher than about 4.0 or 5.0 mM.

The body will secrete insulin to bring those high levels of ketones back down.

This is why ketoacidosis is not a problem for the average Keto dieter, unless you have Type 1 Diabetes. The body will stop ketone production if ketones go too high.

This will result in higher circulating insulin and can affect the way your body metabolizes body fat if you have Insulin Resistance.

Once the excess ketones are used by the brain or during activity, your insulin level will return to where it was before.

Best Way to Raise Your Beta-Hydroxybutyrate Ketones

Ketosis is driven by carbohydrate restriction. It is not driven by fat or protein consumption, while some people who are sensitive to protein will over-secrete insulin when consuming protein and will need to eat less.

This means that the best way to get your ketones up into the optimal ketosis zone is to lower your carbs and keep your consumption of low-carb products to a minimum, so the liver has a chance to empty out its glycogen stores and turn to more body fat to make BHB ketones.

If that doesn’t work, lower protein a little bit at a time and watch how your body responds.

The trick is to change only one variable at a time, so you’ll know which variable produced results.

Final Thoughts

Getting into the state of ketosis quickly and easily is the best way to ensure that you have plenty of beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones to fuel the brain and your daily activities.

While keto supplementation is available, they are not economical and don’t work for everyone.

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Sucralose on Keto: Benefits and Side Effects Sun, 17 Feb 2019 04:30:10 +0000 Everyone who’s following the keto diet knows that sugar should be completely avoided.

Going over your maximum carb level can easily throw you out of ketosis, and even the slightest bit of sugar can tip you over the edge.

But when those sugar cravings kick in, it can be tough to fight them.

Luckily, there are several sugar substitutes that keto dieters can reach for that are almost entirely void of carbs and calories, and that includes sucralose.

But what is sucralose, exactly? And is it appropriate for the keto diet?

Let’s find out…

What is Sucralose?

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is used to substitute sugar.

That said, it’s actually made from real sugar – or “sucrose” – that has had its three hydrogen-oxygen groups replaced by chlorine atoms.

It’s calorie- and carb-free and is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar.

Sucralose passes through the body nearly entirely undigested because it lacks digestibility properties that sugar possesses.

More specifically, about 85% of sucralose is not absorbed by the body.

Because sucralose is made from actual sugar, many people might think that’s a natural sugar substitute, though it’s not.

Foods That Contain Sucralose

If you ever go to a coffee shop or restaurant, you’ll likely see a container of different sugar packets.

Some are real sugar, while others might be something called “Splenda,” which is a popular brand name for sucralose.

In addition to being widely available to add to coffee and any other type of beverage, sucralose is also found in many food and beverage products, including:

  • Diet soda
  • Gum
  • Frozen desserts
  • Gelatin products

You can even bake with sucralose instead of sugar thanks to sucralose’s heat-stable properties.

Many sugar substitutes are not able to be baked with because they lack this particular trait.

Because of how much sweeter sucralose is than sugar, however, you’ll need to make adjustments with the quantities used in recipes.

Is Sucralose Keto-Friendly?

Since sucralose is free of calories and carbs, it would seem that it is indeed keto-friendly.

By swapping real sugar for sucralose, you can effectively reduce the number of carbs and calories that you consume every day.

This, in turn, can help you stay in a state of ketosis.

But the brand that you buy matters. For example, even though Splenda is a popular brand name for sucralose, there are other sugars in this particular product.

More specifically, Splenda is made up of a combination of sucralose, dextrose and maltodextrin.

Maltodextrin has 4 calories per gram, which is the same amount of calories as regular table sugar.

But what’s worse is that it also has a high Glycaemic Index (GI) from anywhere between 106 to 136, which is similar to table sugar.

This could be a problem for the keto dieter because foods that are high in GI can cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels.

The dextrose in Splenda is also problematic, as it has a GI of more than 90.

Having said all that, sucralose on its own doesn’t appear to have an effect on blood glucose levels.

But, there are some better low-carb sugar alternatives aside from sucralose that may be better suited for the keto diet, which we’ll get into later.

Side Effects of Sucralose

Since sucralose is an artificial sweetener, it makes sense to consider whether or not it is safe to consume.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), sucralose is safe. The organization approved the use of sucralose for human consumption in 1998 after having over 100 studies conducted on its safety.

That said, sucralose might not necessarily be void of any side effects.

In fact, some studies suggest that sucralose should not be recommended as a sugar substitute. Although most of this product is not digested and absorbed in the body, a small portion is.

And it’s this part that can cause some adverse health effects.

Some studies have shown that sucralose can be associated with obesity, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, heart problems, diabetes, unhealthy blood insulin levels, and gut inflammation.

It may also negatively affect gut microbiota.

Sucralose Alternatives For Keto Diet

Sucralose might be free of carbs, but because of its artificial nature, it might be best to look for alternatives that are more natural, including the following.

Erythritol Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that has only 0.24 calories per gram and tastes nearly identical to sugar. Most of the erythritol consumed is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and excreted without being digested, so it doesn’t have the same negative effects that table sugar does.

Erythritol not only has virtually no carbs or calories, but it also doesn’t raise blood sugar levels or insulin.

Xylitol – Xylitol is also a sugar alcohol that comes from corn or birch wood. It has 2.4 calories per gram, which is almost half of regular sugar. It also does not increase blood sugar or insulin levels like sugar does.

Xylitol may actually have some positive effects on health, including helping the body better absorb calcium and even fighting cavities and tooth decay. Just make sure to keep it away from dogs as it is highly toxic to them.

Monk fruit – One teaspoon of monk fruit sweetener only has 0.4 grams of carbs, making it a great sugar substitute. Monk fruit sweetener – also known as ‘luo han guo’ – comes from the monk fruit and contains natural sugars. It gets its sweetness from antioxidants called “mogrosides” and is anywhere from 100 to 250 times greater than table sugar.

Stevia – This sweetener comes from a natural plant source and contains zero calories. There are no known adverse health effects, and it does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. In fact, it may actually be linked to a reduction in blood pressure and may even help fight diabetes. Stevia comes in powder or liquid form and can be added to baked goods.

Final Thoughts

Sucralose is definitely a potentially effective sugar substitute for the keto dieter.

It’s got no calories or carbs, so satisfying your sweet tooth without indulging in sugar and spiking your blood sugar levels is certainly made easy with sucralose.

But because it’s an artificial sweetener that may be partially absorbed into the body, it could pose certain negative side effects, even though the FDA has deemed it to be safe for consumption.

The good news is that there are plenty of other sugar substitutes that keto dieters have at their fingertips.

These other sweeteners are natural and are void of carbs and calories, making them great candidates as sugar substitutes for the keto diet.

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