Step one of the ketogenic diet is displacing all but 30 grams of daily net carbohydrate with fat. This is the “High-Fat, Low-Carb” part. Every calorie of carbohydrate you remove must be displaced by a calorie (or more) of fat. This is carb displacement.
Newbs make the mistake of decreasing total daily calories when they restrict carbs. They fail to replace the missing calories with fat. Do not begin by restricting calories, you will fail. If anything, increase daily calories, at least during the first three weeks. The first three weeks of keto are NOT for weight loss; they’re for managing cravings, growing new/stronger mitochondria and training your metabolism to burn fat. #FatAdaptation
Body fat VS Dietary fat – The inverse bell curve of fat intake
The online keto community’s answer to everything is “Eat More Fat.”
“How do I lose weight? Eat more fat!”
“How do I gain muscle? Eat more fat!”
“How can I increase energy? Eat more fat!”
“Is this reality, or am I a hologram within a computer simulation, centuries in the future? EAT MOAR FUCKING FAT!”
As you can see, more fat is not always the answer to our weight loss or existential life questions. For keto’ing, increasing fat works about 80% of the time. More fat is the answer in the beginning. The first month of my coaching program typically goes like this:
Client – “My carb cravings are cray, I’m dying!”
Me – “Did you increase your fat intake?”
Client – “yes, I’m eating an extra avocado each day!”
Me – “Try eating an entire stick of butter tomorrow, spread throughout the day”
Client – “lol, good one.”
Me – “….”
Client – “Wait, are you serious? Is that safe?”
Me – …20 minutes of explaining how saturated fat actually has no scientific link to heart disease and that the sugar industry bribed scientists to alter data, shifting blame to fat. Then I forward scientific articles and a selfie of me eating a stick of butter…plus copies of my bloodwork and a recommendation to watch The Matrix on weed.
…two days later…
Client – “OMG Kerrygold butter is life!”
…Eat More Fat…
Then eat less fat…
…if you want abs.
Decreasing dietary fat intake, without changing daily energy expenditure or carb intake, will burn more body fat. The energy has to come from somewhere. If it’s not coming from food, it’s coming from you. Unless it’s coming from The Matrix, in which case, there is no spoon…there is no fat.
Decreasing fat after adaptation isn’t necessary. If you want to remain ultra-high fat because it’s deeply satisfying and makes you feel and perform like Neo (or Trinity), go right ahead, that’s what I did. But, if you want to get shredded, you have to taper back. When you reach your target body composition, fat intake can ramp back up. Welcome to Shredzville.
Step one - Increase fat intake to god like proportions while restricting carbs.
Step two - Decrease fat intake, if you’re trying to get shredded. Begin by removing processed, calorically dense fats like butter, cream, cheese, excess oils etc. Eat whole food fats attached to protein (steak, eggs, avocados, fish, poultry, etc.).
Step Three – Maintain relatively lower fat whilst restricting carb. Body fat will provide a larger portion of energy expenditure and you will lean out.
Step four - When you reach your target body composition, when you have abs, increase fat to maintenance and enjoyment level.
Every gram of fat you eat is a gram of body fat you are not burning. Every exogenous ketone you consume, is a ketone you are not making from body fat. If your goal is fat loss, target body fat as fuel.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. For a deeper dive into managing calories on a keto diet, check out this outstanding article originally published by my friends over at HVMN.