Sue's Keto Quest

Follow Sue's epic adventure into ketosis on the keto diet!

SUPPLEMENTS - From my personal experience I can speak to three supplements:

1. Magnesium!  Not really a keto specific supplement but helpful on a keto diet.  I found myself getting leg cramps which is unusual for me.  I did some internet research and found that on a keto diet, it may be difficult to meet your magnesium needs.  Many of the magnesium-rich foods are high in carbs and therefore avoided (like beans and fruits).  Supplementing with magnesium can help reduce muscle cramps, a statement I found to be TRUE.  

The website  contains a listing of how much magnesium is in your food.  Surprisingly, pumpkin seeds and spinach are near the top of the best available sources.  Avocados, the wonder food, and tofu are good sources.  Sadly, bananas, legumes, whole grains, whole wheat flour and dark chocolate are good sources of magnesium but are not keto friendly. 

2. MCT oil is confusing supplement only because I can’t decide if it’s more natural or synthetic.  MCT oil doesn’t occur in nature but makes up about 50-60% of coconut oil. Coconut oil is processed through multiple steps to create a colorless, flavorless and odorless liquid.   The way our body uses MCT oil is fascinating and if you want to know the science, it makes for interesting reading. 

But here’s what can happen if you take MCT oil.  You can experience significant gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea, nausea, bloating and cramping.  Personally, I didn’t have any trouble putting 1 tablespoon in my morning coffee.  It was actually nice, more texture than taste and a little bit of a lip moisturizerHowever, as soon as I tried 2 tbsp in a larger cup (20 oz) there were problems!!  The possible distress is for real believe me!  However, if you start slow, I think most of us can avoid problems. 

The reason I’m totally on board with MCT oil is that I would not stand a chance in Hades of meeting my daily fat requirements without it.  I still struggle to eat enough fat – which is why I disastrously tried 2 tablespoons at one sitting. 


There is a popular morning product called Bulletproof coffee. Some folks have this for breakfast because it’s around 400 calories.  I haven’t tried it yet, although I did buy a necessary ingredient, the “Brain Octane Oil”.  This was an internet purchasing mistake when I first started researching MCT oil.    Bulletproof Coffee has the oil, 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter or a substitute of 1-2 teaspoons of grass-fed ghee. Ghee is a form of highly-clarified butter that may be used in cooking (think dunking your lobster)Ghee is made by melting regular butter. The butter separates into liquid fats and milk solids which are subsequently removed.  This coffee is probably very filling but personally I like some texture/food to start my day!  I digressed because in keto dieting, most folks are familiar with this coffee. I included the following link about 10 Morning Habits That Help You Lose Weight because I’m a breakfast lover and believe that your body really needs fuel to start in the morning!

3. Exogenous ketone supplements are considered a safe and effective way to increase ketone body concentrations. People take ketone supplements along with a ketogenic diet to help reduce the time it takes to reach ketosis.  However, supplements alone are not enough to put your body into ketosisYou still need to follow a keto diet to sustain the round the clock presence of ketones in your body.   

Helpful Hints!

Helpful hints before embarking on a quest for ketosis from a newbie dieter at ANT!! 

  • Commitment – to reach ketosis takes 3-7 days depending on how strict you want to be with your carb intake.  They say you can reach ketosis in 3 days eating 20 carbs.  You can also go slower at 40 carbs a day and presumably take longer.  Certain supplements are supposed to accelerate achieving ketosis.  However, you only need to be on the keto diet until you lose the weight which you want to loseOn the keto diet, you can lose up to 20 lbs. a month! 

  • Knowledge – apparently all carb counting is not the same.  Atkins carb counting is different from the standard ketogenic diet (SKD).  There is a cyclical keto diet, a targeted keto diet, a high protein keto diet, paleo diets, intermittent fasting and the list goes on! 

  • Macros – refers to the ratio of fat, protein and carbs.  Not to be confused with the fact that carbs and fiber also have a relationship and how much protein to consume in a day is related to your weight.  Plenty of guidance is available on the web for beginners. 

  • Fruit!  Say good-bye to pretty much everything except berries.  This is a problem for me because I love fruit and I eat a lot of it.  You can get the same nutrients found in fruit in many antioxidant supplements. 

  • Like a beer or wine with dinner? Forget it for a little while. 

  • Drink lots of water! 

  • Supplements – I have not been using them, but many supplements can help you to achieve ketosis quicker.  

  • BEST thing I read – clean out your refrigerator and cabinets so that only low carb foods are around!  Even a small portion of a cheat can throw your efforts off. 

  • Get a carb counter app and start tracking!  The best way to be successful is to have a food diary. 

  • In keto recipes, less than 4 per cent of total energy comes from carbs, and the rest comes from protein and fat. Keep the protein moderate, because too much protein reduces ketosis. 



How weird that on the keto diet, nuts and seeds are good!  They help you hit the fat requirements and keep you filled. However, be warned that all nuts are not created equal (see below to get the idea).  Also, the preparation and presentation of the food can change the carb count. It doesn’t seem like a big deal when you first start carb counting. However, as you quest to hit the elusive 20 gram goal, every single carb counts!! 


Net Carbs(g) 

Total Fat(g) 



Protein (g) 

Total Carbs (g) 

Sunflower seeds -   Roasted salted in shell, oz 






Oil roasted sunflower kernels without salt, 1 oz 






Salted peanuts, 1 oz 






Walnuts   1 oz, 14 halves 






Roasted salted cashew, 1 oz 






Jif, Peanut butter creamy,  2 tbsp  







Tee hee – my new diet food!! 






Cucumber without peel, 1 cup 






Cucumber with peel 1 cup 







NUTS – I am already fallen!! 

So, I had a cheat day - be fair, a weekend!  I wanted a beer because sometimes they are sooo good!  I made a spinach crust pizza and was so proud of myself.  But then my husband pulled a cold beer out of the fridge and sadly I caved. I learned that cheat days on a keto diet are way more devastating than on a regular diet.  You leave ketosis (or however close you have gotten) and have to fight your way back.  Since I’m a newbie, that means it takes a couple days to bounce back.   

My “fall” has helped me figure out something significant…  not everybody is going to react the same to the keto diet.  A number of blogs state some people might only achieve ketosis by eating 20 grams of carbs per day, while others may be successful with a much higher carb intake.  While I cut my carbs to under 25 per day, I am struggling to hit ketosis.  The standard claim of “3 days eating a low carb diet will put you into ketosis” did not work for me. It is extremely helpful to have hard evidence of your progress to ketosis.  I have been counting net carbs, fat and protein and my resulting keto score as measured by Akers Nano’s KetoFit.  This is what happened to me… 

Let’s call my beginning diet days a prep for carb restriction as I was using the less restrictive Atkins carb counting method.  I took a few days break to get my MCT oil, a new carb counting app and some more information.  The variety of keto based diet approaches is huge! There is the standard ketogenic diet (SKD), a cyclical keto diet, a targeted keto diet, a high protein keto diet, paleo diets, intermittent fasting and the list goes on!!  I chose the SKD and then realized I needed to understand “macros”.   


"Macros" are the ratio of fat, protein and carbs in your daily total calorie intake.  The goal of a keto diet is to have approximately 75% of your calories come from fats, 20% of calories come from protein and 5% of calories from net carbs (net carbs are the total grams of carbohydrates found on the nutrition fact label minus the grams of fiber).  Fortunately, the app I chose tracks these macronutrients for you.  While plenty of guidance is available on the web for beginners, it is not a quick diet to understand!  Also, the amount of fat required is crazy!  I can’t normally hit it which is why you need the MCT oil as a supplement.  And in case it scares you – MCT oil is basically just coconut oil!!  YEA!  I avoided it initially because it sounded too close to STP and chemicals.  Really, it’s something natural packaged to sound edgy! 

Back to a real life example – me!  I started hard core counting carbs and trying to hit macros using my carb counting app.  It took me six days of eating between 16-28 carbs (my target was 23) to hit ketosis at a value of 8ppm (in breath).  I took one day off to carb indulge and the NEXT DAY, I was 1ppm!  It took me the next EIGHT days to get back to 6ppm!  Then… things started happening and by day 10 of dieting, I was at 13ppm.  YAHOO - not too shabby!!  I don’t know what I would do without feedback of where my ketone level was – it helped to motivate and inform me!  It really showed how important it is to try to hit those macro goals! 

The following explains the meaning of the result numbers I have been babbling about. Most published data on ketosis relating to diet agree that blood ketone levels between 0.5-1.5 mmol/L (5-15ppm in breath) indicate nutritional ketosis. Levels greater than 1.5 mmol/L or 15ppm may increase weight loss, but also carry some health risks.  Diabetics need to be careful of blood ketone values as it may lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis.  The Akers Nano KetoFit breath test correlates to the blood values and uses the same numerical scale when talking about ketosis. 


More Fun Stuff 

The more time you commit to looking into this, the more you find!  There are tons of great blogs with recipes. Even long term keto folks need goodies and Bakers Gonna Bake! I can’t wait to try a keto pound cake! 


One of my favorite new websites is this recipe nutrition calculator which helps you swap and compare ingredients   


Next time: supplements!  More on MCT oil, endogenous ketones and magnesium.  And since I have the experience (twice actually) the terrible truth about bounce back water weight gain!!! 


Hello world!

Here is the story of one middle aged, slightly overweight girl.  I went to Barnes & Noble looking for a book (hence middle aged).  The diet section is huge! After an hour and a half of shopping and conquering a strong desire for a hot chocolate chip cookie, I chose a book.  It had shopping lists and menus, so I figured I was done. It ended up being only the beginning.  I realized only half of the information would be helpful, so I went to the web. About 6 bookmarked websites later – I downloaded an app.  Then I went to Amazon to look for more books, downloaded another app and now have my free kindle keto diet book which links to more websites.  The amount of information is super time consuming to wade through but mostly consistent. Thank goodness there are also lots of recipes available.  The recipes range from esoteric foods outside my normal diet (hemp milk, stevia & erythritol sweeteners, fat bombs, coconut flour, homemade “keto” condiments etc.) to “normal “ foods like chicken and fish.

What I found…

I decided to start slow because I didn’t want to get the keto “flu”.  Who has the time or desire to feel bad for a diet?? 20 carbs daily supposedly gets you into ketosis faster but you will probably get the keto “flu”. I don’t know how I could have achieved 20 carbs with my baseline knowledge.  Doing my “own version” I lost about 4 pounds at 40 Atkins carbs per day and was going strong with regular exercise.

Then nothing!!  No more weight loss What, I was eating like this for nothing!  So, I went to work (Akers Nanotechnology) and checked my ketone levels.  Zip – I was not anywhere close to ketosis (0.2 with a target of 1.5)!! Are you kidding me!  What??? So I re-examined the information about carb counting and made the sad discovery that the Atkins method is less strict than a standard keto method (see below). Dammit, I’m in this now and I’m going to get to ketosis or at least understand how hard it is to achieve! I’m going to try the standard keto counting method because obviously this carb thing has something going for it and I’m curious.  

So maybe I’ll try the medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil supplement but I’m not there yet.  MCT oil supposedly can help you lose weight quickly. MCT oil creates ketones and helps us burn the fat we already have. Even I have heard of the coffee folks make with coconut oil or MCT oil.  

There are lots of creative, yummy keto recipes! There are also lots of long term keto dieters who swear by the lifestyle and its health benefits. Apples, oranges, bananas, and even a huge salad have a ton of carbs – really – that’s just wrong in my opinion.  I now know what walking in keto diet shoes feels like. It’s hard! You want/need to know if it’s working because of what you are giving up! After some experimenting with a keto diet, I’m gonna have those carbs and not feel guilty about it!

So just as an FYI of my experience and results – see below. The first 6 days I used Atkins carbs which are: Atkins carbs=total carbs- fiber-sugar alcohol/glycerin.  This didn’t seem too bad. Then, I wanted just one piece of dove dark chocolate, so I started the math: 17g carbs-0 fiber-13 sugar= wow 4g carb. Could this be right? Sadly, this is the moment I went on the web again and finally understood the difference in carb counting.  Using a “regular” keto method of counting carbs, it’s really 17 carbs.  I also found this out because my one baby clementine orange had values of either 0 carbs or 6.5 carbs.  Clearly my first 6 days were not keto accurate!! However, from April 9th on, I mean business!!  I am counting standard keto diet carbs. I am trying to hit 20 carbs per day and I’m going to test myself daily.  I will update you to let you know how this goes. Also, I’m super curious if there is a weight bounce back when you stop.  

Day 1: 33 carbs

Day 2: 18 carbs

Day 3: 39 carbs

Day 4: 29 carbs

Day 5: 20 carbs

Day 6: 36 carbs, Ketone Level: 0.2 in am

Day 7: 20 carbs, Ketone Level: 0.7 after exercise

Day 8: TBD carbs, Ketone Level: 0.4 in am

There are so many websites dealing with keto diets and ketosis it’s amazing.  I put in a few below in case you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.