Keto and Low Carb Success

10 Myths about Keto and Low Carb...BUSTED!

March 15, 2023 Miriam Hatoum
Keto and Low Carb Success
10 Myths about Keto and Low Carb...BUSTED!
Show Notes Transcript

Episode #41: 10 Myths about Keto and Low Carb... BUSTED!!!

There is so much misconception about what you need to do, buy and eat for Keto and Low Carb, I thought it would be a good time to depart from some of the sciency and emotional things and just get into a list of myths and questions. This is a two-part series because if I did all of them in one fell swoop the episode would have run well over an hour! I hope you enjoy these first 10.

2:55    Myth #1For 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.

5:34    Myth #2.  I have to fast.

7:10     Myth # 3.  I must eat clean and organic.I have to eat grass-fed and pasture-raised meats. 

9:46    Myth #4Eating Keto and Low Carb is expensive, even if I don’t eat organic and grass-fed.

11:30    Myth #5.I have to weigh and measure and count macros.

13:05   Myth #6.  I have to count calories.

14:34  Myth #7.  I have to eat all the fat on my meat.   

16:24   Myth #8.  Ancillary to the myth above is, I have to add cream sauces and butter to my vegetables.

17:48  Myth #9.  I’m afraid I will upset my metabolism because I hear I won’t be feeling I need to eat three – or even 2 – meals a day.

23:41   Myth #10I am afraid I won’t know any more if I am hungry.

25:38:  Back to Myth 5 for a moment

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Episode #41             10 Myths about Keto and Low Carb… BUSTED!

You’re listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode #41, 10 Myths about Keto and Low Carb… BUSTED! 


Enjoy Keto and Low Carb success by becoming aware of what foods work best in your body and why. Master your mindset to make the journey an easy one. Learn all this, and more, with this podcast based on my trademarked Granny Keto Transitions Program. Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, as I give you actionable coaching advice with each episode that is sure to empower you and take any confusion out of following a Keto or Low Carb diet. It’s like being a private coaching client while you listen at your convenience!

But before we start, I wanted to offer my free gift to you for just for taking a peek at my course, Roadmap to Keto and Low Carb Success. No obligation – just take a peek! At the bottom of the page you will find a spot to put in your name and email address and like magic, my 35-page Keto and Low Carb Planner will appear in your in-box! The feedback on this Planner has been fabulous and it is yours free for just taking a look over at The direct link will be in the show notes and transcript.

1:39     And now to the episode, 10 Myths about Keto and Low Carb… BUSTED!


In last week’s episode I promised I would do an episode about emotional eating but I realized I covered that in Episodes 19 and 20 about Urges, Cravings and Triggers. I’ll revisit that again later. But for now, I have gotten so many questions since switching this podcast over to Keto and Low Carb, that I want to take some time to answer them here. 


This will actually be a two-part episode, with Myths 1-10 this week, and Myths 11-20 next week. I tried editing every which way and no matter what I did, all 20 would run over an hour, so thought breaking this into two episodes would be a better way to go.


I am going to count these myths off in no particular order. Some of them I have already talked about in other episodes, but it is handy to have them all in one place! Also, some have to do with just Keto, others just with Low Carb, and a lot of them have to do with both! 


2:55    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. 


I want to digress a little bit here to talk about fat bombs because they 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: 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. 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. 


5:34    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.


7:10     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 it contains 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), contains 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. 


9:46    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.


11:30    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 a little 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.


13:05   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. 


14:34  Myth #7.  I have to eat all the fat on my meat.   Well the easiest away around this if you can’t make yourself eat straight fat (not me, my friends: when people cut the fat off their steaks I ask for it on my plate!), you can eat fattier cuts of meat that are marbled, and if you are using ground beef, forget that love affair with “diet lean” which is usually 90% – 95% lean. Enjoy salami, pepperoni, corned beef, pastrami. Enjoy bacon, duck, chicken (thighs and legs with skin on, please), and sausage. Buy the cheap cuts (usually fattier) and learn to slowly braise or use a slow cooker. 


For Low Carb, the advice is a little different because you will not be so freely eating fat, as you are still eating a lot of carbohydrates, even though not even close to the amount you may have been eating in the past. So, for Low Carb I would not keep the advice of eating all the fat on your steak, skin on the chicken, or large quantities of something like bacon or salami, but I would keep the advice to not fear fat. Use olive oil on your salads, real butter where you eat butter, and cream – not fake creamers – in your coffee. If you treat fat as an enjoyable and unrestricted condiment, rather than a whole portion of your plate, then you should be fine.


16:24   Myth #8.  Ancillary to the myth above is, I have to add cream sauces and butter to my vegetables. Again, don’t fear the fat. The answer to both is no, but do you really not like butter and oils? A lot of this is coming from the fat-free mindset that is so hard to shake. When you need to add some fat but don’t want to go straight to butter or oil, try adding sour cream, make cream dressings with blue cheese, or add full fat cheese to your salads, such as feta and brie. Again, with Low Carb, you are welcome to do this, but you might either want to cut back a bit on how much fat you would eat for Keto, or sub out some lower fat items, like low-to-no fat dairy. Just please do not eat the fake stuff!


17:48  Myth #9.  I’m afraid I will upset my metabolism because I hear I won’t be feeling I need to eat three – or even 2 – meals a day.   As odd as this question might seem, this is a source of anxiety and worry for a lot of people, myself included at the beginning. The natural progression of Keto is that you are less often hungry because your hunger hormone (ghrelin) and fullness hormone (leptin) begin to throw off their shackles of insulin resistance. I was absolutely a three-meal-a-day plus two-snack-a day eater with plenty of after-dinner eating as well. The progression for me with Keto started with having breakfast and coffee, then lunch, then something on the way home during my long commute. When I got home, I wasn’t hungry, and I missed having dinner, especially on the evenings that my husband was off from work. On those occasions I often ate when I wasn’t hungry and that just didn’t feel good. I thought to myself, if I want to eat dinner what is logical to cut out? I cut out lunches, but I hated that because I had a lunch hour at work. In the nice weather I could go for a walk, but in the colder weather I stayed in my office and I just didn’t know what to do with myself for that hour, when I had always enjoyed shutting my door and having a leisurely lunch. I finally cut out breakfast (I had been a huge breakfast eater) but didn’t want to forgo coffee. So now I have a couple of coffees with heavy cream in the morning, a light lunch and then enjoy a later dinner so that I am not looking to eat in the evening and also, I am not that hungry in the morning.

Another similar adjustment comes when you go out with friends to eat and you are just not hungry. I know it is difficult in a social situation to not eat, especially if everyone is out to dinner or lunch at a restaurant. I would never say to eat anyway, especially if you have been trying so hard to get your hunger cues where you can feel them. Have a cup of tea or coffee. If you are at about a 3 (on a scale of 1 – 10), it is okay to have something light. No one would question you if you just ordered a salad. The other thing is to plan to be hungry at the meal. If it is lunch, maybe have an earlier dinner the night before and cut your coffee or other beverage consumption in the morning. If it is dinner, that one is easy – perhaps have a light breakfast that day and then skip lunch or have something light but filling, like a few slices of salami and cheese.

A lot of times this anxiety can come just from breaking your habits around food. If this is the situation, stop and breathe, and then ask yourself, “Am I hungry? What do I really need here?” I got very anxious at lunch, so in the nice weather I tried to get out for a walk, but eventually I adjusted my meals so that I was hungry at lunch. I would want to eat in the evenings after dinner, and in the midst of breaking that habit I would get very anxious. I stopped and asked myself what was really going on to cause that level of “head hunger”? Was I just unable to relax? What would help?  Was I rethinking things that happened during the day that might have upset me? They are only thoughts, sit with them and let the anxiety wash over and pass. Is it purely habit, for instance watching TV and eating? Get up and brush your teeth and get ready for bed. 


Once you get used to not reacting to mealtimes, social situations, habits and anxiety, this question is moot. It won’t even phase you that you are not eating the usual quantities and number of times. 


When I am in a Low Carb cycle, I find that I usually am hungry for three meals because I am not using fat to the degree that I am with Keto, and eating more carbs which, in themselves, cause hunger. However, when I am very tuned into my hunger scale, I find that I don’t have a need to overeat and I am not usually hungry for snacks between meals. When I do have carbohydrates such as fruit or a grain product, I have those with breakfast and lunch. If I have carbohydrates for dinner I do find that not only do I want to eat at night, but I am much hungrier in the morning. Having my carbohydrates early in the day seems to better regulate my insulin response, thus taking care of hunger.


23:41   Myth #10.  I am afraid I won’t know any more if I am hungry.   If you have been strongly ruled by an external-locus-of-control way of eating (listen to Episode 24 for more on this), you may have no clue what hunger is. This is because you relied on a clock or social situation to tell you it was time to eat. I do a lot of hunger-scale training with my clients, but in a nutshell here, let me say that if you absolutely have no clue what feeling hungry is, I suggest a short intermittent fast. If you must, have your coffee in the morning but go until dinner with nothing but water. Still not sure you are hungry? Wait until the morning to eat. Short intermittent fasts clear up a lot of the “How do I know if I’m hungry?” questions. Another way to learn is to pay attention to how you feel after you eat. Please don’t eat until the “I can’t eat another bite” stage – take one serving of whatever you are eating and put the fork down. Sit quietly and really home in on how you are feeling. Do you feel sort of neutral (5) – that you could probably eat a bit more without being stuffed? Okay – hold on to the feeling. Next time you wonder if you are hungry, recall this feeling you have right now. If this is how you feel you are not hungry enough to take a meal. Episode 6, The Hunger Scale, goes into depth on this. You will also find a hunger scale worksheet in the show notes of that episode.


25:38:  Back to Myth 5 for a moment: I want to circle back to Myths #5 about counting macros. I gave you 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 I realize I didn’t really answer the question. 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, which I will link to in the show notes and transcript, 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. If you go back and listen to Episode 36, What is Low Carb, you will see how that plays out with allowing one or two carb choices a day – in addition to what I would be having on Keto, like a piece of bread or a small serving of rice. 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.


29:27  Actionable Coaching Advice

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. Then I want you to look things up with weighing and measuring. The point of the exercise is to see how close your eyeballing is. 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? 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. 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.


30:36  Coming up Next week:  So that’s it for this week’s episode. Next week we will tackle 10 more common myths.


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 always look forward to hearing from listeners like you. You are welcome to email me directly… And don’t forget to leave a review wherever you listen to this podcast. Leaving a review makes it easier for other people who are looking to listen and learn about Keto and Low Carb.

Please 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 Keto and Low Carb Success podcast.


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