Busting Myths - Part 1

blog keto and low carb success myths Jun 07, 2023

Busting Myths - Part 1

This is a four-part blog. I originally had it split in two, but you would have had over 4000 words in each one (that’s a lot of reading!).  So I decided to make June the month of myth busting! I am covering both keto and low carb and trust you will find answers to some questions you didn't even know you had!

I am going to be busting myths in no particular order, because they are all important. It's so beneficial to have all the information in one place especially when you pick up bits and pieces of information on the internet or through social media.  Some have to do with just Keto, others just with Low Carb, and a lot of them have to do with both!

Here is your roadmap to Busting Myths - Part 1:

Myth #1: Specialty Foods

Myth #2: Fasting

Myth #3: Organic?

Myth #4: Expensive?

Myth #5: Weighing & Measuring

Myth #6: Counting Calories 

Actionable Coaching Advice

Now let's get started with BUSTING MYTHS!

Myth #1.  For Keto I have to eat foods made with coconut, bacon, heavy cream, coffee, tea, fat bombs and anything else that is popular in social media posts.

The ancillary myth for Low Carb is, I will have to shop for all sorts of low carb foods such as low carb bread and low carb desserts. 

  • There are no required foods on Keto. PERIOD. This includes coffee, tea, and all renditions of that coffee and tea. The reason that this question pops up so often is that there are certain foods that are popular on Keto, but they are not requirements.
  • Fat bombs represent an unnecessary “must eat” that you see on social media. When you first start Keto, especially if you are coming out of a fat-free culture, it may be hard for you to eat fat in any shape, way or form. Fat bombs are designed to give you little blasts of fat in easy – sometimes fun – ways. You can make savory fat bombs with meats or fish, or you can make them sweet like candy.
  • When I started Keto I immediately bought two fat bomb cookbooks. I almost also immediately gave them away. I did this for two reasons:
  1. With the savory fat bombs, I found I would much rather just eat a plate of food for the same fat hit I was getting in something the size of a marble.
  2. With the sweet fat bombs, I quickly learned that I was no better off with Keto candy than conventional candy. So, for me, no, I do not eat or even recommend fat bombs – but have at ‘em if you like them (but be careful!).
  • For Low Carb, no, you don’t need to buy all sorts of specialty products. If you want to have a low carb bread or cracker occasionally that is okay, but my advice is to have the real thing in smaller portions and less often. Remember, when the carbs are taken out of a food the taste must come from somewhere. So there might be an overabundance of other things, like fillers and chemical ingredients, that will bulk up the food and give it more flavor.

Myth #2.  I have to fast.   

You absolutely do not have to fast.

  • Because of some of the health benefits that have been found with fasting (a correction in blood glucose, improving fasting insulin, autophagy, to name a few) and because of the in-depth work done by Jason Fung, who has made access to all this information available at the layperson’s fingertips, the information on fasting has become mainstream information, especially for the Keto community. That is why there is so much talk about it, but you do not have to fast to be on a ketogenic diet.
  • Furthermore, once you are on a successful Keto or Low Carb diet, your hunger and fullness hormones (ghrelin and leptin, respectively) are corrected and brought into normal range because of the decrease of insulin which had been kept elevated because of high carbohydrate intake.
  • With these hormones no longer wreaking havoc in your body, you are satisfied with less food and with eating less often. It is not unusual to want to eat only one or two meals a day instead of three meals and two snacks (or 6 small meals a day), and you might automatically fall into an intermittent fasting pattern. But no, you do not have to force this on yourself.

Myth # 3.  I must eat clean and organic. I have to eat grass-fed and pasture-raised meats.    

No, you do not.

  • Although Keto definitely is based on whole healthy foods, you do not have to eat organic and grass-fed, pasture-raised foods.
  • There is no controversy over some of the benefits of these foods, with pesticide use being the least of them.
  • Many organic fruits and vegetables are considered more nutrient dense than conventionally grown produce.
  • This is because organic crops are rotated, and soils naturally amended to grow strong and healthy plants, and not provide a “gang’s all here” environment for pests.
  • With regard to produce, nutrient density refers to amounts of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (the thousands of chemicals – some of which are not even known yet – that are produced by strong healthy plants and which are valuable to one’s health).
  • Totally steering clear of political and ethical arguments with regard to grass-fed and pasture-raised meats (as opposed to feedlot-sourced meats), it has been shown that animals from these sources help support healthy blood sugar levels, contain electrolytes, help fight cancer because they contain roughly twice the amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to grain-fed beef (CLA is considered to be one of the strongest nutrients that can defend against cancer), contain more healthy fats (up to six times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef, while grain-fed beef contains higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids), contain less bacteria, and can decrease your risk of heart disease because of high antioxidants such as vitamin E, high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and a high CLA profile.
  • However, although you do not have to eat organic and grass-fed foods, if your budget permits, you may want to include more of these foods in your diet no matter which eating style you are following.

Myth #4.  Eating Keto and Low Carb is expensive, even if I don’t eat organic and grass-fed.

When you first eat Keto or Low Carb, you may have a few weeks of high grocery bills, but this is only temporary.

  • First of all, when you start any new way of eating your grocery bills go up because you are probably not eating foods that you, as a rule, keep in your house. That could be anything from packaged foods and shakes for something like Slimfast, to what seems like tons of fresh produce for something like Paleo.
  • The difference with Keto and even Low Carb is that your appetite will naturally decrease, and you will be buying less food. I always like to give this example: Before Keto, my husband would buy two 1-pound (at least) ribeye steaks to go on the grill for our dinner (just the two of us). After a few months on Keto he would buy one 1-pound steak for the two of us. Now he buys the one steak, he eats half, and I eat about 2/3rds of my half and use the rest on top of some salad for lunch the next day.
  • Now we find that we have that “left-over” money in our budget and more and more often buy the organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, and wild-caught versions of the food we eat.
  • Even when I go in and out of Low Carb from strict Keto I find this to be true, because my hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are finally in check.

Myth #5. I have to weigh and measure and count macros.   

Let me tell you a story that cemented this way of eating for me:

  • When I was on Weight Watchers, we could have baked potatoes, but the Points were based on 10-ounces pre-cooked. I laid my kitchen scale inside my purse but across the top so that when I put the potato down, I could prove I wasn’t shoplifting. I took loose russet potatoes one by one and weighed them to find the 10-ounce ones (I eventually got good at just picking up a potato, and right on the money, knowing it to be 10 ounces). I did this at restaurants to weigh meat and fish portions (and oh my, the applause I got in the meeting room for doing that!).
  • Granted, that was obsessive, but welcome to my world, and I am sure many of your worlds too.  
  • Study Dancing with Keto and see how you can start to learn to let go of the weighing, measuring, and tracking.  It will make a world of difference in your life, I promise.
  • This is MY experience why I was so grateful to turn to Keto, and then Low Carb with that window into my obsessive weighing and measuring, but here is the answer to whether or not you have to weigh and measure:
    • The gold standard of doing Keto is to measure your macros, which are protein, fat and carbohydrates. The general rule of thumb is that no more than 5% of your calories should come from carbohydrates, or, if you are not dealing with calorie counting, generally 20 total carbohydrates a day should do it.
    • Of course, you can count net, which is not subtracting the fiber in a food, or my hybrid way, which is not counting green leafy and above ground vegetables at all, but counting total on everything else.
    • I go through this in depth in my book Conquer Cravings with Keto and my course, Keto and Low Carb Success, but for now, that is the gist of it.
    • So yes, at the very beginning of your journey you will probably want to count macros and even calories, if you are working off percentages.
    • But if you actually pay attention to what you are doing – and counting and logging – you might get to a point where you do not have to count anything, especially if you are paying close attention to your hunger and satiety cues.
    • Protein and fat have feedback loops, and you are unlikely to miss your fullness cues if you listen for them, unlike with carbohydrates that you can eat until you are sick.
    • So just like that with that russet potato that I could eventually pinpoint to the ounce because I had weighed and measured it and held it so often, you will be able to eyeball the food you are thinking of having – as well as really tuning into your satiety cues – and know it is what is right for you.
    • In my blog post, Keto Made Simple, I talk about making a Keto plate and how it ties into your Keto meals for the day. I have pictures and graphs on that blog post as well, so I encourage you to check it out.
    • It took a while to get to the point where my macros were spot on and I never again had to take out a measuring cup, spoon or scale to double check.
    • As long as I was eating food that did not raise my blood sugar and insulin, I was golden to eat as I saw fit.
    • Also, with quantities being so much more generous than on a traditional diet, combined with finally regulating my hunger hormones, I wasn’t hungry between meals and my portions at my meals just seemed to magically fall into place.

    When I am in a Low Carb cycle, I find it just as easy because I am following those Keto bones, and then am carefully adding carbohydrate selections. In addition to what I would be having on Keto, like a piece of bread or a small serving of rice or if I want a dessert that night, I might not have any extra carbs during the day. The point is that it becomes very intuitive without the weighing and measuring.

    Myth #6.  I have to count calories.    

         On one level the answer is the same NO as “Do I have to count macros?”

  • The type of calorie matters more than the number of calories (in the short run). By this I mean that 100 calories of broccoli or butter do not deliver the same nutrition to your body as 100 calories of potato chips or chocolate cake.
  • With the broccoli and butter, you will have little to no insulin response.
  • With the potato chips and chocolate cake, you will have a rise in insulin, your fat storage hormone.
  • As long as you begin to decrease your carbohydrates and increase your fats, and eat only when hungry and stop when satisfied, you will have successful weight loss and maintenance, and that is why many Keto proponents totally dismiss the “CICO” theory of “Calories In – Calories Out.”
  • In the long run, however, yes calories ultimately matter. Eating 1,000 extra calories of fat, for instance, is more than your body needs or can burn, and you will not burn your body fat.
  • Chances are, however, if you are eating that many extra calories (even the “good” ones), then you are not listening to your hunger and satiety cues. Get good at that, and you will never have to be concerned.

Some Actionable Coaching Advice

  1. This week I would like you to take just one meal, and either while you are preparing it or before you eat it, I want you to write down the macros, calories or size portion you think it contains.
  2. Then I want you to look things up with weighing and measuring.
  3. The point of the exercise is to see how close your eyeballing is.
  4. Did you think it was a cup of rice and it is? Did you think the protein macro on that piece of chicken was 35 grams and it is?
  5. Ultimately a few grams of something on either side of what you are expecting shouldn’t send you back to all the diet prison gadgetry like food scales, measuring cups and measuring spoons, digital trackers or pencils and paper.
  6. HOWEVER, that being said, you are learning a new way of doing things, and it does take practice.  I am not saying not to practice. But what I am saying is that when you are ready for the show, take a deep breath and carry on.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, Busting Myths - Part 1, and I hope it will help you navigate your journey. Don't forget to subscribe to the mailing list (below) so that you don't miss the next one!

Now, let me remind you. If you’ve ever got a question you’d like to ask me or share a topic idea that you would like me to cover in a future blog, don’t be a stranger! I always look forward to hearing from readers like you. You are welcome to email me directly… [email protected].

All Free Resources

Learn more about this with my book and course:

Book Conquer Cravings with Keto 

Course Keto and Low Carb Success

Tips for Keeping a Food Journal - Part 1

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