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What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Fat on Keto?

What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Fat on Keto?

There are many reasons why people follow a keto diet. Some try it to help them lose weight or maintain their weight, while others might try a keto diet to help them with health problems such as type II diabetes. The ketogenic diet is built on being low in carbs and high in fats, with the principle of replacing carbs with fats. But what happens if you don't get enough fat when you're on keto? 

Previously, we believed that carbohydrates were the only food that could be used as a fuel source to give us energy. However, as people discovered the Keto diet to be effective, It become clear fat could also act as this fuel source. This is why it is essential to get enough fat in your diet.

But what exactly happens if you don't eat enough fat when you're on keto?

What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Fat on Keto

The Essential Elements of a Keto Diet

The basic principle of a ketogenic diet is that it's low in carbohydrates and high in fats. Having a low amount of carbs in your diet works to put your body in a ketogenic state - this is when it starts to break down stored fat. This breakdown ensures your body gets the energy that it needs and helps you to lose weight too. It can be a big lifestyle change,  so it is smart to check with your doctor before starting to change your lifestyle. Especially if you have diabetes or another medical condition.

Both carbs and fat can still be part of your diet, but you need to eat carbs in small amounts and increase the fat content in your diet. About 70% to 80% of your daily calories should be coming from fats when you are on the keto diet.

Fats Are Needed for Energy

If you're on a low-carb diet, you need to replace the calories you were previously getting from carbs with fat-rich food. With the keto diet, these calories should come from fat. If you're not getting enough fat from your diet and you're not eating many carbs, then, you're not getting enough calories.  Even if you're trying to lose weight, your body needs enough calories and energy to function. If you're not eating enough, your metabolism could slow down because your body doesn't have the necessary energy to maintain it.

Eating Healthy Fats Delivers Multiple Benefits

Not getting enough fats when you're on the keto diet means that you miss out on the benefits of eating healthy fats. Some of the best types of fats to include in your keto diet are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats are available in many different foods, so you can enjoy a varied diet and get the fat that you need.

Some of the best sources of healthy fats include:

  • Avocado and avocado oil
  • Nuts and seeds (and nut and seed butters)
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Coconuts and unrefined coconut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Canola oil
  • Oily fish - e.g. tuna and anchovies
  • Cacao nibs

Other high-fat foods that you might include in your keto diet could be full-fat Greek yogurt, cheese, butter, and whole eggs.

Getting these fats into your diet will help to lower your low-density lipoprotein level, which is the bad cholesterol in your body. It also helps your body to develop and maintain your cells.

What Fats Should You Avoid?

There are some fats that are worth avoiding on a keto diet. These include artificial trans fats, processed meats, and fried foods. Avoid some frozen foods like sausages, hotdog, hamburger patties etc. because they tend to be rich in trans fat and other additives that may not be optimal for health. It could lead to other health problems too. You should only have a very small amount of calories from foods containing these fats each day.

If you want to make sure you're eating the right types of fats, check the nutritional information on foods before you buy. If there's no information available on the packaging, you can look online or even find useful apps that help you to analyze the foods you're eating.

Consequences of Not Eating Enough Fats on Keto

So, eating plenty of fats while you're on the keto diet is important. Increase the fat in your diet if you want to lose weight. When you drastically reduce the number of carbs in your diet, make sure your body produces enough energy. If you want to make sure you're satiated, fats are an important part of your diet. They can help you to feel full so that you can regulate what you eat more easily. However, although it's important to make sure you get enough fat on keto, you also have to make sure you eat the right fats and avoid having too much fat.

When you don't eat enough fat on keto, you will feel hungrier. 

When you're hungry, you're more likely to eat any available food. The more you snack, the more calories you will eat, and you could end up eating more than you really need. Also, if you're eating the wrong foods, you'll miss out on the benefits of healthy fats from the right foods.

How to Get Enough Fats on Keto

To balance your keto diet, you need to make sure you're getting enough fat. Depending on your source, you might be recommended to get around 60% of your daily calories from fats but it could be up to 80%. In contrast, about 5-10% should come from carbs and about 10-20% from protein. This means the bulk of your calories should be coming from foods with healthy fats in them. If you're having 2000 calories per day, that translates to around 165 grams of fat at the higher end.

The foods suggested above are a good start if you want to get the right food into your diet. There are also various techniques that you might use to increase your fat intake.

What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Fat on Keto

Use High-fat Toppings and Garnishes

An easy way to get more fat into your diet is to top your meals with high-fat garnishes. You can use things like nuts and seeds, cheese, avocado, and cured meats to add more fat to your food. It also has the added bonus of giving more flavour to whatever you're eating. Try things like grated parmesan or cheddar, pancetta, black olives, macadamia nuts, or guacamole.

Of course, as well as solid foods, you can add more fat to your meal by adding oil or a dressing or even just melted butter. It's another great way to add flavour and get more fat into your meal, whether it's a salad or a sandwich.

Add Fat to Drinks

As well as adding fat to your food, it's easy to add to drinks too, particularly hot drinks. You can put creamer, whipped cream, whole milk, and other ingredients into your coffee or tea. You can even put butter into your coffee, which is a popular option for people following the keto diet. It's been popular in several Asian countries for a long time, but it's grown in popularity in Western countries over recent years too.

Pick Whole-Fat Foods

It can become a habit to reach for the low-fat options when you're shopping if you're trying to have a healthy diet and perhaps lose weight. However, when you're on the keto diet, you should consider going full-fat instead. Whether you're getting cheese, milk, yogurt, or anything else that might have a low-fat or light option, get the product that has all of those useful fats instead. They will give you the energy that you need. Look for other fatty ingredients too, from fish to fatty fruits and vegetables.

Eat Fatty Fish

Fish can be a great option for your high-fat meals. Fish meat is a good choice. There are several options that have plenty of monounsaturated fats. Tuna and salmon are two excellent options that are delicious and keto-friendly. 

What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Fat on Keto

Use Fat to Cook

Have you slowly cut out extra fat from your cooking process? Maybe you've been using a low-calorie spray for frying and other tasks. There's no need to do this if you want to get as many healthy fats into your diet as possible. You can use fat to cook your meals as a great way to get lots of calories from fat. Olive oil, butter, and other types of oil or fat are not only great for adding fat to your meals but they will also make your food taste amazing. You can try everything from peanut oil to duck fat. You can even reuse the grease from your bacon, which adds some amazing flavour to the other things that you cook.

Eat the Right Snacks

Snacking too much isn't ideal, but sometimes you get peckish and can't wait until your next meal. If you have to snack, there are some options that will likely serve you better. You can have "real food" snacks that are high in fat and low in carbs, instead of picking processed, junk food snacks. Try things like nuts, meats and cheeses, and hard-boiled eggs. Another way to get snacks right is to go for "fat bombs" - snacks that are low in carbs and high in fat. But make sure it's safe to add these to your diet.

Explore New Recipes

Starting a new diet often means that all of your favourite and regular meals go out the window. You might try to find low-carb versions of these meals, but they can often turn out to be disappointing. As an alternative, why not look for delicious new recipes to try instead? There are plenty of recipes available that are designed to be low in carbs and higher in fat, making them perfect for anyone who is on the keto diet. It's a great excuse to try out new things and to get excited about your new diet, instead of feeling like it's something that you have to suffer through. Keto makes it possible to enjoy your food, so look for meals that you love.

What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Fat on Keto

Choose Fat Bombs for Dessert

If you're going to go for a dessert, choose an option that helps you to get more fat into your diet. Fat bombs are good for this too, giving you plenty of fat but avoiding too many carbs. Of course, desserts shouldn't make up a big portion of your daily or even weekly calories. But if you do decide to treat yourself, there are some great keto-friendly desserts that you can enjoy. Another easy way to make yourself a high-fat dessert is to add some whipped cream to some berries or other fruit.

Have Fun with Avocados

Avocados are high in fat, tasty and healthy too. Introducing them into your diet, if you're not already a big fan, is a good way to get the fat that you need. They're great in salads, to make guacamole, top with different flavourings, or even just eat on their own. Even if you don't like the taste of avocado, you can use it in recipes that cover up the flavour, such as avocado chocolate mousse or brownies.

Keep Up Your Fat Intake on Keto

What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Fat on Keto

The majority of your calories should come from fat when you're eating keto. When you first start the diet, slowly transitioning to eating more fat can be helpful. Some high-fat foods can taste rich if you're not used to it. If you're losing weight, it's important to get a good balance between having enough fat and having too much.

Intermittent Fasting 101

Intermittent Fasting 101 - Ketolibriyum

Hippocrates recommended fasting as a treatment for a wide range of ailments, and he wasn’t the first. In fact, fasting has featured in our history books since as far back as the 5th-century BCE, and has especially been used within a religious context through festivals like Ramadan, which aim to help individuals towards self-improvements and spiritual enlightenment. 

More recently, intermittent fasting has been adopted for its health and personal benefits. Frontrunners like Michelle Harvie and Mark Mattson have especially brought intermittent fasting into public consciousness, making it a popular menu item for many individuals looking to enjoy a wide range of benefits. Whether you’re interested in attempting intermittent fasting yourself, or are simply curious about this interesting dietary choice, this intermittent fasting guide will cover the how, what, and why of this eating pattern, providing you with the tools you need to get stuck in and see real results from your efforts. 

 

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent Fasting 101 - Ketolibriyum

Unlike traditional, and typically unsuccessful, diets, intermittent fasting is best thought of as a kind of eating pattern that’s all about when you eat, rather than what you’re eating. While there are variations (as we’ll discuss below,) a typical intermittent fasting regime might involve fasting for as long as 24-hours around twice a week.

This can seem like an outlandish option for someone who’s used to consuming 3-4 meals a day, but the backing for intermittent fasting is very much based on fact and verifiable research, and studies actually tend to suggest that this may be a more natural way of eating than consuming large meals daily. 

We’ll discuss the specific benefits of fasting in this manner below, but according to Mark Mattson, a fore founder of the intermittent fasting movement, success in this area stems from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who would often go days without food. Mattson’s 25-years of study have led him to believe that our bodies have evolved to go without food for several days or longer. What’s more, Mattson states that, ancestrally, we would never have stayed up late enough for late-night snacking, and the weight gain this can bring. 

Experts believe that it’s these less natural eating habits that are fuelling issues like obesity, which now impacts 13% of the population, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. By taking us back to our ancestral roots, intermittent fasting aims to directly address these modern-day ailments. In this intermittent fasting 101, we’ll help you to get on top of the benefits that this eating pattern stands to bring to your life and mindset.

 

How does intermittent fasting work?

Intermittent Fasting 101 - Ketolibriyum

According to Mattson, “If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and they’re not exercising, then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.” As such, on a fundamental level, intermittent fasting works by withholding calories and prolonging periods during which your body burns only fat reserves. This is something that Mattson refers to as ‘metabolic switching,’ and is the foundation on which fasting-based benefits sit. 

But, that’s an incredibly simplistic way to consider an eating pattern that is, in many ways, quite complex. On a hormonal level, especially, fasting facilitates significant shifts that ensure fat stores are more easily accessible meaning that, far from simply burning fat during fasting periods, long-term benefits are also on the table. Cellular changes also occur off the back of even brief periods of fasting, and these, alongside hormonal shifts, can lead to significant beneficial changes within the body, including – 

  • Increases in human growth hormone (HGH) - HGH is produced by the pituitary gland and helps to maintain, build and repair healthy tissue around the body, while low levels have been linked to obesity and a generally increased risk of disease. As such, increasing HGH brings a wide range of health benefits, and studies consistently show that fasting can make that happen, with one 1982 study, in particular finding that fasting for three days increased HGH by 300%, while a week-long fast led to an astonishing 1,250% increase.
  • Cellular repair - Studies also reveal that fasting can initiate a cellular repair process known as autophagy, where cells digest and remove dysfunctional proteins that can sometimes be attributed to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. Autophagy also encourages the regeneration of healthy cells, which keep the body younger and better able to fight disease, etc. 
  • Lower insulin levels - Around 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, you enter what’s known as a ‘fasted state,’ which allows your body to burn fat that was previously unavailable. This is because fasting also decreases insulin levels in the body, making stored fat more accessible, and thus facilitating weight loss.

Each of these benefits, alongside potential links to changes in gene function that can help to prevent brain deterioration or even cancer, fuel the health and weight loss benefits that fasting brings to the table. Intermittent fasting provides a quick and accessible way for even keen eaters to access these benefits without having to actively change what they eat when no longer fasting. 

via GIPHY

 

The benefits of intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting 101 - Ketolibriyum

Intermittent fasting is linked to a wide range of benefits, hence why fasting habits have such a strong place in our cultural history. From Hippocrates through to modern-day dieters – the benefits have long spoken for themselves. But, if you’re just now starting to consider intermittent fasting, it’s important to ask - what benefits can you actually expect to see from your efforts here? 

  • Weight lossA 2014 study is just one of the latest to find that intermittent fasting can facilitate 3-8% weight loss over as little as four weeks. In some respects, this is due to a reduction of calorie intake, especially considering that those who binge after fasting fail to feel these benefits. That said, the hormonal changes mentioned in the previous section also play a significant role here, and are largely where long-term weight loss benefits lie. Notably, increases in norepinephrine and decreases in insulin work together to burn fat stores, facilitating Matson’s theory of ‘metabolic switching.’ The ease with which intermittent fasting can be implemented is another significant factor in this sense, preventing the need to get to grips with sometimes complex dietary eating plans that we all too often stray from. Rather, weight loss is possible here through inaction alone, driving the way for reliable results at last.
  • Extended lifespanStudies dating as far back as the 40s have suggested links between fasting and longer lifespans. More recently, studies have also pointed towards the fact that restricting calorie intake to 60-70% of normal adult requirements can prolong lifespan 30-50%. In some sense, you could say that this is because of the wider disease-fighting benefits of fasting, but from a lifespan perspective, in particular, the cellular changes mentioned provide an adaptive stress response that causes the body to go into attack mode, thus preserving life, and keeping cells healthier for longer. 
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes - As well as lowering levels of insulin in the body, intermittent fasting can also reduce insulin resistance, which ultimately lowers blood sugar by as much as 3-6%. This can drastically reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes, especially if intermittent fasting is implemented for extended periods. Furthermore, studies have shown that combining Intermittent fasting with a ketogenic diet can potentially be an effective way to treat Type 2 diabetes. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32641437/
  • Brain benefitsIntermittent fasting also improves various metabolic features that are important for brain health, including oxidative stress, reduced inflammation, and lower blood sugar levels. What’s more, fasting facilitates the production of the brain hormone, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), low levels of which have been linked to issues including depression and anxiety.

These are the things we know for sure, but studies are very much ongoing in this area, and benefits continue to emerge, especially in areas such as disease resistance. Most notably in recent years, studies have shown potential links between fasting and cancer treatment, with a study of 10 cancer patients showing a strong correlation between fasting and the prevention of negative effects from chemotherapy. Further studies have also revealed a potential for improved heart health off the back of periods of intermittent fasting. One thing’s sure from what we do know – your health and your waistline will thank you for your efforts here. 

 

Types of intermittent fasting

 

Intermittent fasting provides undeniable benefits, but it’s also vital to note that you need to do your research before you jump into a potentially dangerous or unhelpful fasting plan. Obviously, the best way to get started with an extreme physical change like this is to talk to your doctor, who will be able to advise you on a tailored plan that’s undertaken with professional supervision. 

All of that said, a few key intermittent fasting plans are doing the rounds right now. Each of these involves splitting the week into eating and fasting periods, but they do vary slightly in terms of approach. The options you may want to consider include – 

  • The 16/8 method: First popularised by fitness expert Martin Berkhan, the 16/8 method (also known as Leangains protocol) involves a 16 hour fast followed by 8 hours in which eating is permitted. This 8-hour eating window can be at any time you prefer, though most users tend to skip breakfast so that they can implement their sleep routine within their fasting period. This is a fantastic starting point for intermittent fasting thanks to short fasting bursts and an eating window that still largely makes room for two-three meals each day. Some people will then move to 18/6 for a longer fast period.
  • Eat-stop-eat: Brad Pilon developed the eat-stop-eat method which focuses on fasting for 24-hour periods over at least two non-consecutive days a week. Participants are then free to eat as normal on their non-fasting days, making this a popular option for those who prefer uninterrupted treat days between their fasting efforts. 
  • The 5:2 diet: Championed by British journalist Michael Mosley, the 5:2 diet involves eating regularly for five days of the week, and then limiting calorie intake to one 500-600 calorie meal for the remaining two days, as long as these are non-consecutive. This is a popular option in modern culture thanks to the limited periods of fasting involved, especially considering that there’s no research to suggest these shorter fasting periods are any less effective than entire 24-hour stretches.

 

Fasting safely: what can you consume

Intermittent Fasting 101 - Ketolibriyum

As touched on in the last section, safety should always be a priority during periods of fasting, and speaking to a healthcare provider is essential to avoid potential health detriments off the back of your efforts here including – 

For individuals who are underweight, pregnant, or diabetic especially, the detrimental impact of fasting can often outweigh any negatives, so it’s vital to seek a professional opinion in these cases. 

However, if you’re well-nourished and generally healthy, intermittent fasting is a safe process, especially if you ensure you understand the things you can consume during those periods. Notably, it’s important to remember that fasting does not mean ‘nil by mouth.’ Ongoing hydration is crucial even during fasting periods, if not more so as you aren’t absorbing water from food sources as normal. Note, too, that zero-calorie black coffee and tea are permitted, and can be fantastic as an energy booster if you’re struggling. And, remember – if you’re even in doubt about whether fasting is for you, speak to your healthcare provider to discuss this on a case-by-case basis!

What to Eat When Your Break Your Fast

Many people combine a ketogenic diet with Intermittent Fasting.

There are  potential benefits of practicing both. 

Fasting and a ketogenic diet both will put you into ketosis and practicing both can speed up the rate that you enter ketosis and ensure you maintain a state of ketosis.

A ketogenic diet when you break your fast will prevent having to fight cravings after your meals.

Intermittent Fasting 101 - Ketolibriyum

 

Start enjoying food again with the help of intermittent fasting

Though it may not seem like it, intermittent fasting is an amazing way to start enjoying food again, putting a full stop under restrictive and often ineffective diets, and opening you up to a wider range of health benefits as a result. The main thing is to develop an intermittent fasting schedule that works for you, enabling you to enjoy life, and food, in ways that you possibly haven’t in years.

 

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie by The Bespoke Bites

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie by The Bespoke Bites

Developed and written by Kendall Smith of The Bespoke Bites

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie 

What’s better than a deliciously satisfying, super healthy, keto-friendly smoothie? A deliciously satisfying, super healthy, keto-friendly smoothie that tastes like actual dessert! 


This Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie is a great option for breakfast or an afternoon snack and is perfect for those following a keto diet. It’s loaded with good healthy fats, lots of fibre, and keto-approved fruit! If you’d like to use this smoothie as a post-workout recovery, add a scoop of your favourite keto protein powder- a vanilla flavour would work perfectly! 


Both flax seeds and chia seeds are included to deliver healthy doses of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to improve heart health, lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation in the body. These seeds are also low in carbohydrates and provide fibre to aid the body in blood sugar stabilization. 


This smoothie also makes use of hemp hearts, which are little keto-friendly powerhouses high in both omega 6 and 3 fatty acids. They’re an incredible source of plant-based protein and are a great supplement to add to any smoothie. For this recipe, I chose to blend my hemp hearts with the rest of the ingredients, but you could sprinkle an extra few teaspoons on top at the end as well! 


Finally, MCT oil is added for a quick source of fuel for the body that will leave you feeling full longer and help curb those cravings! If you want to know more about why MCT’s are so beneficial to those following a keto diet check out MCT’s: for calories that count not just for counting calories!

Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • 4 tbsp (60g) full-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp erythritol or other sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp MCT oil 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds for sprinkling on top 

Directions

Add all of the ingredients, except for the chia seeds, to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Divide between two glasses and top with chia seeds for a dose of extra healthy fats! If you prefer a thicker smoothie, stir the chia seeds in and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The chia seeds will become slightly gelatinous as they absorb liquid.

P.S we recommend checking out The Bespoke Bites for more awesome keto and low-carb friendly recipes.