Keto and Low Carb Success

What is Keto?

February 02, 2023 Miriam Hatoum Season 2 Episode 35
Keto and Low Carb Success
What is Keto?
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 35 - What is Keto?

This episode is all about Keto - its origins, what it is, and how to follow it. There is in-depth information on counting the three important macronutrients - carbohydrates, protein and fat. I explore common mistakes and how to avoid them. This week's actionable coaching advice directs you to blogs that you will find most helpful in your Keto journey. The most important part though, is understanding, overall, the "bones" of Keto which are used in all the eating styles I explore next.

3:48.        Personal Story
8:30.        The bones of Keto
12:16.      Carbohydrates
14:08.      How to count carbohydrates
16:08.      Protein
19:08.      Fat
21:06.      How to comfortably increase your fat intake.
23:12.      What mistakes are we making?
24:51.      Why are we making these mistakes?
26:08.      What is the cost of making these mistakes?
28:43.      This week's actionable coaching advice
30:41.      Special Offer: End Keto Confusion
33:25.      Episode 11

FREE 35-page Keto and Low Carb Planner
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Book
Breaking Free Facebook Page
This week's Special Offer: End Keto Confusion
Access Transcript Here

What is Keto?
Is Keto Hard?
Three Ways to Count Carbohydrates
Keto FAQs

Episode #: 35 What is Keto?

Hi Everyone! I want to welcome you to the Keto and Low Carb Success Podcast. Season 2. For the next two episodes, 35 and 36, I am going to do something a little bit different by offering a rebroadcast of two episodes that I shared with you last August. Some of you might now be considering Keto or Low Carb and want easily digestible – yes pun intended – information. Neither way of eating is hard or complicated and I hope that by listening to these two episodes you will find that to be so. 

Episode 35 is entitled “What is Keto?” and Episode 36 is entitled “What is Low Carb?” I give you the entire easy rundown. To make it as easy as possible, I help you understand the bones of Keto that will serve you in either way of eating. The show notes for both episodes direct you to my blogs so that you can more fully understand these bones. They are, What is Keto? Is Keto Hard? Three Ways to Count Carbohydrates and Keto F-A-Qs. 

No – you don’t have to do Keto if you are doing Low Carb, but understanding the Keto bones is essential to your Low Carb success.

The way I guide my clients to eat Low Carb is to take these bones and add back carbohydrates in very mindful ways. This way you never have to weigh or measure your food again! You will have total freedom with either Keto or Low Carb!

At the top of the show notes you will also see a direct link to get my FREE 35-page Keto and Low Carb Planner. There is no obligation to purchase the course, I just want you to take a look. At the bottom of that page, if you put your name in to go on the waitlist (again NO obligation to purchase – no deposit or anything like that!) you will get this free planner. The feedback I have received on it has been wonderful, and I want you to have it as part of your tool belt going forward in your journey.  As I said, there is a direct link in the show notes or you can find it at

 Now let’s go to the episode!

You’re Listening to the Roadmap to Diet Success Podcast, Episode #10 , What is Keto?

"Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Breaking Free From Diet Prison, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl! 

Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or services, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams.

3:48      Personal Story: 

            In Episode #3, It’s the Food, I told you about my personal story in finding Keto. Instead of finding it restrictive, I found it liberating. After years on the diet hamster wheel, I no longer needed to weigh, measure or track my food. I am saying that with the caveat that I did measure and track my food at the beginning because I didn’t even know where carbohydrates were hidden, and how much I was actually consuming. For a while I used My Fitness Pal and did keep track just so I could understand my intake for the day. I didn’t use tracking as punishment, or even as a boundary, I just needed to understand what I was eating. Eventually I kept a notebook with my favorite foods, and ultimately, I didn’t even do that. 

            I found Keto so liberating and successful that I wanted to help other people who were well on the road to diabetes and insulin resistance, and who were unable to successfully lose weight because they didn’t understand the nature of the food they were eating. I studied to become a health coach to help other people. In my studies and experience, I realized that Keto is not the only way to eat to lose weight, but I did learn two things.  When nothing else works, it is a wonderful springboard to get your metabolism humming and your hormones into line. I also learned that it is important to understand the bones of Keto. In other words, it is important to understand the role of carbohydrates in regulating insulin, which in turns regulates your hunger hormones and fat storage. 

            I find that once a client understands the insulin-to-hunger hormone-to-fat storage connection, that the client can take that information and apply it to any preferred eating style such as Mediterranean, low carb, paleo, and the like. It can even be applied to diets, such as Weight Watchers. Forget the unlimited fruit nonsense and throw out those 100-calorie snack packs they hawk. 

            So that is what has inspired me to do this series on popular eating-plan styles. I am starting with Keto because of those bones I talked about, but you can look forward to future episodes on low carb, Mediterranean, paleo, primal and Whole 30. By the way, let me just say this here: Whole 30 is truly meant to be ONLY 30 days, and I will explain it in case you want to do it at some future point. I will also explore some of the diets, such as Weight Watchers (now known as the hip WW, but we know it’s still Weight Watchers), Volumetrics and South Beach. One listener would like me to talk about Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat-to-Live diet, and I am going to do that. If there is any eating style you would like me to cover, let me know.

            The series episodes on eating lifestyles and diets will be sprinkled in with other episodes. It is so important to explore and coach on mindset issues that are as important – or even more important – than whatever eating approach you take. My goal is to make this a well-rounded Roadmap to Diet Success.

Even if you have no intention of ever eating a Keto diet, and I am not saying you should, even though that is where I started out, I encourage you to listen to the entire episode because there is a lot of information that you might be interested in such as how and why you develop Type 2 diabetes. Take the time to learn the bones of Keto so that even if you ultimately have no interest in Keto, you at least understand a little better the role of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in your body. Having and understanding this information, will guide you with your food choices within any other eating style or diet. It will even help you make something like Weight Watchers more successful.

8:30     It is important to understand the bones of Keto so that you can be successful with Keto, or use it as a strong springboard for other eating styles.

·       Here is a short definition: A Ketogenic (or Keto) diet is a high-fat, adequate protein, low-carbohydrate way of eating that forces the body to burn – and run on – fat rather than carbohydrates.

·       Eating this way makes the liver convert fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. 

o   An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood is a state known as ketosis.

o   This is not the same as ketoacidosis, and as long as your body produces even a minute bit of insulin this will never happen to you. This is a dangerous state in a Type I diabetic but can be avoided.

·       The Ketogenic diet was first used to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children. Physicians used this protocol in the 1920s so it is not a fad or new to the scene.

o   The medical ketogenic diet has a ratio of 4:1 fat to protein.

·       The nutritional Ketogenic diet most people use is not as severe as the medical Ketogenic diet.

·       When you say, “I’m eating KETO,” it generally means the nutritional Ketogenic diet.

·       You become a fat burner instead of a sugar burner!  

·       Ketosis is your fat-burning state. 

·       Ketosis, not to be confused with ketoacidosis, will be your metabolic state:

o   where your body’s energy supply comes from fat;

o   where ketone bodies are produced when you metabolize fat; and

o   fatty acids are converted into ketones.

·       There are three different types of ketones that are measured different ways:

o   Acetone is measured in the breath using a breathalyzer

o   Acetoacetate is measured in the urine using urine strips

o   Beta-Hydroxybutryate (BHB) is measured in the blood using a blood monitor.

o   When you are in ketosis, you will have measurable ketones and you can be sure that you are fat burner!

I mention the “bones of Keto” in several places. In a minute we will get into the three macronutrients (which people call “macros”) – Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat, but first I want to give you a very short description of how to eat keto:

            Do not eat grains and things made from grains such as bread, pasta and cereal. Do not eat any type of sugar, syrups, or fresh items that are high in sugar, such as dried fruits, tropical fruits or even most fruits. Eat protein (chicken, fish, meat, eggs, dairy), veggies, nuts, seeds, good fats such as avocados and olives, and berries. Use good oils and eat root vegetables sparingly, if at all.  

There. You have it. Those are the bones of Keto and you never have to weigh, measure or track a single thing. Just honor your hunger and satiety cues.  

12:16    Now let’s talk about Carbohydrates and why we limit them in the Keto lifestyle

·       The very first thing you do in order to be eating Keto (and get into ketosis) is to limit your carbohydrates.

o   Carbohydrates is a class of macronutrient (macro means LARGE). (Micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, are needed in smaller amounts.)

o   Carbohydrate-rich foods are anything that contain any form of sugar (fruits to candy!) or starch (potatoes, bread or pasta) which turn into sugar (glucose) in your system.

o   These sugars (whether straight sugar or sugar that has been converted in your body from another food) trigger an insulin response.

o   Insulin is responsible for fat storage.

o   Over the years by eating high-carbohydrate food, you can develop insulin resistance.

o   Insulin resistance (IR) means that your blood sugar cannot get into your cells to be used for energy and remains floating in your blood. That is why your blood glucose readings will be high when you have Type 2 diabetes.

o   Your body actually makes the glucose it needs from other food you eat so that you do not need to worry about having it available where and when needed.  

·       Very few people eat zero carbohydrates and I wouldn’t expect you to eat that way.

14:08         Counting Carbohydrates

You can choose several levels of carbohydrates and you have the option to count them as total or net carbs:

  • Total is the full amount of carbohydrates in the food
  • Net is the amount of carbohydrates in the food after you have subtracted the fibers in the food.
    • When using packaged or prepared foods or even food you make yourself, people usually also subtract the sugar alcohols in the foods as well.

·       If you want to do "full-on Keto," you might want to start at 20 total carbohydrates and see how you feel and whether it is best for you to go up or down from there, or whether you would feel best, and do best, counting Net carbs.

·       I have a successful Keto system, that I call "Hybrid Counting" that combines Net and Total.

·       Whatever you do, please do not get caught up in the net carb myth. A food can have 2 net carbs (sometimes called impact carbs) but be loaded with, for instance:

o   sugar alcohol

o   various types of fiber

o   starches

·       For example, the label on PowerBar®’s double chocolate flavor "ProteinPlus Carb Select" bar says it has "2 grams of impact carbohydrates." The Nutritional Facts label on the product says it has 30 grams of total carbohydrates. 

·       Unless you are talking about fresh vegetables, net carbs are usually a manufacturer's way of making you think they are inconsequential when, in fact, many of the subtracted carbohydrates do impact blood sugar and insulin in many people.

16:08        The next element in a Keto diet is to eat moderate amounts of protein

o   The Keto "policy" is to moderate your protein intake.

o   There are calculators for this (based on height, age, lean body mass, etc.)

o   My rule of thumb is 75-100 grams of protein for a woman and 100-125 grams for a man. These grams are not calculated by weight but by the actual grams of protein in the food.

o   The older you are, the closer you can be at the higher range because as we age, we process protein less efficiently.

o   Some people can add more if they are young, athletic and not metabolically damaged.

o   This, like finding the sweet spot on carbs, is individual but within a reasonable range.

·       Sources of Protein

o   Your sources of protein would be from animal proteins, but if you are using a digital tracker, don’t be surprised that protein will show up in some vegetables! One cup of chopped kale, for instance, has 2 grams of protein! Minuscule amounts like these normally do not make or break your success, but just be mindful!

o   There are vegetarian approaches to eating Keto, but you would not be able to eat Keto if you are a vegan.

·       Why do we moderate protein on Keto even though Protein is an essential macronutrient?

o   Proteins are the building blocks of cells and muscles, and it is essential for brain function and other functions such as healing cuts and wounds.

o   However, the body "recycles" much of its protein and you do not need to consume large quantities to have a health body.

o   Also, by a process called gluconeogenesis, the liver can turn too much unneeded protein into glucose, thus spiking insulin. However, this appears to be demand driven and not supply driven.

o   In addition, protein contains a lot of phosphorus that is a stimulant, and you will find you might not sleep well after a heavy protein dinner.  

·       Measuring protein

o   When you measure protein (or carbohydrates or fat) the reference to how many grams you are eating is the amount of protein in the food, not the weight of the food.

o   For example, 3 ounces of ground chuck, cooked, weighs 85 grams and contains 22 grams of protein. The 22 grams is counted toward your protein total.

19:08   You can't answer the question "What is Keto?" without addressing the last macronutrient, fat.

o   The rule here is to eat to satiety.

o   There are various ratios. The medical one where the Ketogenic diet is used to treat and control epilepsy, can be as much as a 4:1 ratio of fat to protein.

o   A more comfortable ratio is, at the very least, 1:1, but most people settle in at 2:1, fat to protein.

o   Even at the 1:1, some people find starting Keto difficult to eat so much fat especially those of us baby boomers who grew up in the fat-free era — and even younger people have been fed the myth of fat-free.

o   2:1 means that if you are eating 60 grams of protein you will be eating at least 120 grams of fat. Eating 1:1 is much too low – you will be hungry and the only other thing to eat will be carbohydrates! 

o   If you are hungry, go ahead and eat more protein but absolutely do not skimp on fat.

o   FAT – AND ESPECIALLY SATURATED FAT – DOES NOT CAUSE HEART DISEASE. It is the sugar and carbohydrates in your diet that cause hardening of the arteries.

o   HONESTLY. If you need convincing please start by reading Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman. Bring the book to your doctor if you have to!

o   And once you are comfortable using your hunger scale, you will never have the worry of going overboard.

21:06    How to increase your fat intake comfortably

o   The easiest way to start to increase your fat intake is to go for fattier cuts of meat.

o   Forget the boneless skinless chicken breasts or turkey deli meat (and these are highly insulinogenic, meaning they tend to spike your insulin which makes you fat!!!). So you don’t want to have that anyway.

o   Move to roast beef, corned beef and pastrami, chicken thighs with skin or even duck!

o   Enjoy rib eye steak and a nice, marbled chuck roast instead of lean sirloin and London broil.

o   Eat more fatty fish like salmon and mackerel — don’t feel you have to eat cod or other white fish because they are leaner. If you enjoy them go ahead and enjoy them, but don’t eat them because they are lean.

o   Move to full fat dairy. Yes, I said FULL FAT:  

o   butter to top your vegetables

o   heavy cream in your coffee

o   REAL cheese  

o   Do not add fat just for the sake of adding fat, like butter on a ribeye. Use fat if it adds flavor to the food – such as butter on vegetables or good-quality olive oil on your salad. Use fat if it is part of the cooking process – forget the PAM and non-stick pans. Use butter and oil as you see fit, and especially if it adds to the flavor profile of a food. Use fat when it is part of the “package” such as fattier cuts of meat and full-fat dairy.  

o   Other sources of fat:

o   Avocados

o   Real (but low-carb) dressings: Blue Cheese and Ranch are favorites.

o   Seeds and nuts - but do be aware of the carbohydrates in them

23:12 What mistakes do we make when we first approach Keto?

o   First of all, it is the fear of fat. Fat is not a culprit unless it is also eaten in excess with carbohydrates, poor oils, and processed foods. Once you clean everything else up, eating fat is a non-issue.

o   Another mistake is macronutrienting ourselves to death. (Yes, I made up that word.) We are not computers and machines. As I said at the beginning of this episode, yes, you do have to track things at the beginning – if nothing else but the carbohydrates because chances are you don’t have a clue where they are and how much of them there are. But give yourself some credit. You are an intelligent person and certainly know that a bagel for breakfast with a muffin chaser and a coffee drink is not the same as bacon, eggs and a few olives. 

o   We think following Keto is restrictive and hard. I say, pick your restrictions and pick your hard. I think it is harder to always be weighing, measuring and tracking your food. I think it is harder to have hunger hormones so out of whack so that I am never full and am always hungry. I think it is harder to live in a state of beating myself up because once again, I think I failed the diet (instead of understanding that the diet failed ME). 

24:51  Why are we making these mistakes?

o   We make these mistakes because after eating a standard American Diet all these years with processed foods, bad oils, and heavy on the starches and sugars, it is almost heresy to think there is another way other than just limiting those processed foods, bad oils, starches and sugars, as most other diets and eating plans do.

o   Another reason for mistakes is that we don’t fully understand and accept that the foods we eat may be more important than the quantity of the foods we eat.  

o   We also make the mistake of thinking that everything should be quick and easy. After you get to know the bones of Keto it really won’t be hard, but it’s not as easy as a diet that says, “eat this much of this and this much of that”. You actually have to LISTEN to your body! And this might be the first time in your entire life dieting that you’ve ever done that. It is a little difficult to do that but it gets easier and it is ultimately much easier than tracking your food for the rest of your life.

26:08  What is the cost of making these mistakes?

o   You can lose weight with any diet and any eating plan. So I would never say that the cost is not losing weight.

o   But there is a cost of not finding the foods that are best for your health and hormones. The cost is not being patient enough with a new eating life-style (Keto or otherwise) that cannot instantly turn things around in your body that have been in the making for a lifetime.

26:38 I want to call out a new way of doing things 

o   Instead of limiting foods that cause poor health (such as sugar, processed foods, high starch and bad oils), cut them out.

o   Take the time to learn the bones of Keto so that even if you ultimately have no interest in Keto, you at least understand a little better the role of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in your body.

o   Don’t necessarily turn this into another diet of weighing, measuring and tracking, but give some forethought to your meals. You’re smart. By now you know the Good-Better-Best choices for health (and if you don’t, read up a little bit more on carbohydrate consumption, specifically).

o   Listen to your body to see what foods in the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat, feel best in your body. Use your hunger scale. Become informed. 

o   And this is why I don’t have my clients do their macros in percentages. The different macros feel different in your body. Maybe you need some extra vegetables. Maybe you need extra protein. Maybe you need a little extra fat. You’re going to start the process of listening to your body, not watching a tracker.

o   Don’t be a robot following a diet. Be your own leader. Take the chance.

o   I want to say one last thing about freedom. My niece and her husband did Keto the way I told them to. They never measured a thing. They cut out bread, pasta, starchy vegetables and sweets, and both lost over 40 pounds and are still going strong. I find this to be freedom, not restriction.


o   I am sending you to my website to read the following specific blogs. The direct links are in the show notes and transcripts.

1.      What is Keto?” In this blog you will learn more about what you may have heard of as “the keto flu.” This is entirely avoidable. 

2.     Is Keto Hard?” In this blog you will find the short list and the long list. You can eat this way entirely from Yes/No lists. It need be no more difficult than that. Your keto plate and keto day are illustrated to give you visual ideas of what and how much to eat. I also give you a short list of general rules and what worked for me.

3.     I would also like you to go to my website, and under the BLOG tab you will find a sub-tab for Keto FAQs. There is so much information there, but for this week, if you are interested in Keto, make sure you read the one entitled “Three Ways to Count Carbohydrates.”

4.    After you have done this reading, I would like you to journal about the restrictions you have in your life such as not having the clothes you want or not doing the activities you would like to do, and weigh that against possibly limiting or eliminating some foods that you want to eat. I’ll tell you, lower blood sugar brings more satisfaction than eating a bagel. Or, finally losing some belly fat brings more satisfaction that that bowl of pasta. And, by the way, everything from that bagel to that bowl of pasta can be made Keto!

30:41 Special Offer  

This episode’s bonus guide is “End Keto Confusion,” which you can download from As always, the direct link is in the show notes and transcript.

 Even though this is not a Keto podcast, a lot of eating styles I will review in this series use the bones of Keto so it is important to understand them. Also, as we delve further into hunger hormones it is important to see what foods may stress them, causing difficult weight loss and inability to lose belly fat.

 I also want to invite you to have a look at my course, at that is based on my original Granny Keto Transitions program that helps you begin a low-carb lifestyle or even go all the way to Keto if you want. My book, Breaking Free From Diet Prison (link in the show notes and transcript) is what this course is based upon. The direct links to both the course and the book are in the show notes and transcript.

 And before I go, I want to ask you: How would it feel to hear your name featured on my podcast and shared with my community? When you leave a 5-star review, you’ll get the chance to be featured on air as our next listener of the week! Just scroll down in your Apple app, or wherever you listen to this podcast, tap the 5 stars and leave a sentence or two letting me know how this show has impacted your life or how you expect it to. Your review helps others find the show, and I would be so grateful to receive these reviews, especially because I am just starting out. Positive reviews by my listeners are so important.

 By the way!! 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 on a future episode, don’t be a stranger! I hang out on Instagram @Keto and Low Carb Success, or you can contact me through my Facebook page, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, which I would love you to Like and Join. I always look forward to hearing from listeners like you. You can also email me directly…

33:25  Next week’s episode

Coming up in the next episode I will be talking about the many ways of doing Low Carb. It is important to have the facts about these various eating plans so that you can make an informed decision about what would be best for you.

So go share the show with your friends, let them know that’s coming up in the next episode, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison with my Roadmap to Diet Success.

 Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.