Nutrition

Everything Fit Women Need to Know About the Keto Diet

Why the nearly 100-year-old keto diet is finding some modern-day love.

Chicken Thighs

StockFood / Getty

It can be helpful to see a nutritionist throughout the duration of your diet to make sure your macronutrient (protein, carbs, fat) ratios are dialed in. You can also use a keto calculator like the one on ketodietapp.com to keep tabs on your intake. And make sure to monitor your ketones daily via urine stick, finger prick, or breath tests.

Maybe you’ll initially have great success going keto and then find down the road that you need more carbohydrates. Look for warning signs like poor exercise recovery, fatigue, low female hormones, low thyroid and/or missing/irregular menstrual cycles. These symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, says Roberts, since they may mean it’s time to rethink your keto diet strategy.

In fact, experts caution that evidence can be misleading. “If the keto diet is compared with poor nutrition, then absolutely it’s better, but if it’s compared with a well-thought-out, balanced diet, then, no, it’s not,” says Bell. “Most people would live longer if they ate fewer carbohydrates and followed some form of a low-carb diet. But given the amount of research on the subject in 2017, we know that carbohydrates are a superior energy source, even to ketones,” he adds.

Ketchum's Keto No-nos

1. Don’t assume how many carbs are in a food—look it up. Many people are surprised to find out how many carbs an onion has, whereas most berries are surprisingly low-carb. And strangely, mollusks like oysters, mussels, and scallops actually have carbs, although they seem like they should be all protein. For packaged foods, always read the labels.

2. Avoid all grains, starchy foods, and sugars. (And yes, maple syrup and honey are sugars.)

Q&A With Ketchum

Q: What can put you back into ketosis quickly?

A: Bacon or anything that’s a fatty protein—eggs cooked in butter with a side of bacon really help. I feel full and less likely to go back to indulging. A day of eating that way, and I will be back in ketosis.

Q: Favorite keto food for athletes post-workout?

A: Chicken thighs or leftover steak; I love eating dinner leftovers the next day. When I come home from a tough CrossFit workout and am ravenous, I just grab these. Sometimes I am too impatient to even heat them up—I just caveman them right into my mouth. Good thing no one is watching!

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