Monthly Archives: January 2021

We count Carbs, not Calories

On any good low-carb/keto eating plan, this is the rule: we restrict carbohydrate grams, not calories! If you have a choice between eating a hundred -calorie pack of a high carb food and 400 calories of zero-carb steak, our eating plan says eat the steak.

Some detractors of our way-of-eating claim that Atkins, low-carb and keto only cause weight loss in people who also cut calories. From a scientific perspective, these people are wrong.

A scientific study by Kekwick and Pawan compared three 1000 calorie diets. One was mostly carbohydrates, one mostly protein and one mostly fat. If the common beliefs about calories were true, we would have expected all three groups to have the same outcomes.

But that is not what happened. The carbohydrate diet did not produce weight loss. The protein diet did, and the fat version had even better results.

This study shows that in the body, not all calories are treated in the same way. Which is a big ‘fail’ for the calorie theory.

But some people persist and try to mingle the two approaches. Which is likely to leave you hungry, malnourished and miserable.

Think about a typical ‘dieting’ day. You’re hungry, and you only have about 100 calories left. So you eat one of those 100 calorie packs of high-carb food, you get hungry again very shortly, and you have to hope a magic dose of willpower kicks in so you won’t eat again until morning.

The same situation on low-carb/keto: you are hungry, you’ve eaten all your carbs for the day— and so you have yourself a nice zero-carb steak. Maybe that’s 300 calories, maybe 400, but you don’t have to care about that. You don’t count calories, you count carbs. And the carbs are zero.

Many, many people have lost weight with low-carb eating more calories than one would dare to consume on a calorie-counting diet. Others do eat less on keto, but that’s because being in ketosis makes you unhungry.

So don’t believe it when they say low-carb only works when you are counting calories as well. The science backs up low-carb, and the idea that on low-carb you can actually eat food when you get hungry. It’s not a semi-starvation plan.

Bulletproof Mornings on Keto/Low-Carb

Many of us drink bulletproof beverages on low-carb. A bulletproof beverage is a hot beverage like coffee, tea, bone broth, or very-low-carb hot cocoa or carob, to which a good fat has been added.

The original fat for a bulletproof beverage was butter. MCT oil is also popular— I used to use that when I could afford it. Heavy whipping cream (NOT creamer) is used both as a fat source and a ‘lightener’.

Coconut oil, bacon fat, beef tallow and extra-virgin olive oil are all fats I have used in bulletproof beverages. Recipes for bulletproof coffee tend to call for 2 Tablespoons of fat and 1 Tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. I tend to use a bit less fat than that, and omit the cream when I’m out of cream.

Why do we want fat in our bulletproof coffee? Both fats and proteins are essential for humans. It’s the carbohydrates which are non-essential. That old ‘fat will kill you’ mantra is NOT science based.

One thing fat does for us is make us feel fed and unhungry. High-carb, low-fat foods, on the other hand, are easy to eat and eat and eat.

Sweeteners are usually not added to bulletproof beverages, except that I do add a few drops of Sweetleaf liquid stevia to the cocoa, cacao or carob in hot cocoa/carob.

Dr. Jason Fung in his book on fasting sometimes makes it sound like you can have full bulletproof beverages while fasting, and in other parts of the book it seems like you are only allowed one very lightly bulletproof beverage with only a teaspoon of fat.

I translate that into 2 kinds of fasting— strict fasting with only one lightly bulletproof beverage, and bulletproof fasting with full bulletproof beverages allowed.

I do one kind of fasting or the other most mornings, and only open up my ‘eating window’ at lunchtime. On days I have bulletproof morning fasting, I am at least giving my body a break from carbs.

I stay in ketosis most of the time, even when I have a carb indulgence. I really think my bulletproof beverage custom helps with that. They are so low carb you can even have them on Induction! (They are NOT low calorie— but we count carbs not calories.)

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Reading: Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes will help you understand why our society is so fat-phobic yet unworried about high carb even for dieters and diabetics.