What should I do if I’m gaining weight on low carb?
The answer to this and other questions – for example, how can you live life without sweet tastes? And should you count fiber as carbs? – in this week’s Q&A with Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt:
How can you live life without sweet taste?
Hello Dr. Andreas!
On an LCHF diet, you basically dismiss everything that has a sweet taste, as it contains sugar or fructose and moreover, you cannot have artificial sweeteners, because they have laxative effects and other issues.
How can we expect people to live their lives without any sweet-tasting foods at all? Is this really the best solution? I understand that sugar is bad, that it can be addictive, etc., but at the same time, we evolved to like sugar, so have humans evolved in the wrong direction? To disease and death? I also understand that in nature, sugar is rare and not available in all seasons, and that in our civilization we have plenty of sugar available, but is the solution to sentence humans to a life without sweet-tasting foods?
No. But there are very few things in nature – including fruit in it’s original, non-modified form – that are so incredibly sweet as much of what we find in the grocery store today.
When getting off the hyper-sweet junk food of today, there’s a period of adaptation – a few weeks or so. After that, we can begin to appreciate the more subtle sweet taste in natural foods, like a moderate amount of berries.
For special occasions there are many good low-carb options that are fairly sweet. Check out our low-carb dessert recipes for example.
Gaining weight on low carb?
I am 43 years old and have hit 99.9 kg (220 lbs) today after 2 weeks doing LCHF. I am 165 cm (5 foot 4 inches) tall. Two weeks ago I was about 97 kg (214 lbs). So I have gained almost 3 kg (6 lbs) in two weeks. Needless to say I was at panic point when I started, but now things are worse!
I have commenced LCHF many times over the past 5 years or so, but I keep falling back into old habits. So I am trying again. But instead of losing I am gaining. I bought a ketone meter the other day. My first reading taken in the middle of the day was 0.9. The next day I measured after taking a 1-hour spin class (curiosity) and I was at 1.3.
This morning I took a reading as soon as I woke up before eating. I’m at 0.7. So I can see that I need to work on getting my carbs lower still, to get to optimal ketosis, however I am in mild nutritional ketosis. I would have thought that even if I weren’t losing at this level, I would certainly not be gaining.
I do have a sluggish thyroid – Hashimoto’s, but I feel pretty good and I do feel ‘lighter’ since starting LCHF (again!) – I just don’t understand why I am in fact heavier.
Could you please offer some explanation as to why this might be happening to me and what I can do about it. I’d like to persist, but my weight gain is really worrying me.
Good question. Hard to know for sure from your information, but clearly it’s not impossible to gain weight on a ketogenic diet, just usually hard to do without quite some eating when not hungry. I’d suggest trying to eat only when hungry, and if necessary add some intermittent fasting. Also have a look at this list of things to consider:
How does fiber play into the equation
My name is Amy. I have been tracking my foods for a while, just to see what my ratios of fat, protein and carbs are. I am also tracking fiber. I want to stay in ketosis for as long as possible because the weight loss results have been pretty good so far.
My question is twofold. First, when calculating the number of carbs ingested, does fiber play into the equation as it did under Atkins (ex. at 30 g of carbs, 10 g of which are fiber – do I count that as 30 g or 20 g of carbs?).
Second, daily recommended intake of fiber is about 25 g per day for a woman of my age. I am not getting anywhere near that, even with copious amounts of fibrous veggies. Does it matter? If so, how can I amp up my fiber? I am worried about things like cancers of the colon from not getting enough fiber. Thanks.
Yes, you can subtract included fiber from the carb count (in the US fiber is included).
Secondly, I would not worry much about the exact amount of fiber you get. High amounts of fiber is likely most important when eating lots of carbs. But getting some fiber from vegetables is likely a good thing.