Insomnia on a Ketogenic diet | Keto Diet and sleep issues

Ketogenic Diet and Insomnia

Many low-carb and ketogenic dieters often find sleep to be an issue once they eliminate carbohydrates. Insomnia is a common side effect of the diet but doesn’t have to stop you from following the diet.

One of the reasons for insomnia on keto is from the lack of the amino acid L-tryptophan getting into the brain because of the reduction of carbohydrates. Tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin, serotonin converts to melatonin the sleep hormone. Some people find that taking take some 5HTP, which is a precursor for serotonin to help in this regard.

Very low carb and ketogenic diets may drive serotonin and melatonin low leaving you unable to sleep. It is estimated that 90% of the serotonin is made in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and reducing carbohydrates or any major diet change often disrupts healthy gut bacteria. Often a good probiotic can help alleviate those issues. In addition, supplemental melatonin may relieve some of the issues that come with low melatonin levels.

This study here; showed that the proportion of rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep to total sleep time was significantly reduced in the very low carb diet group of study participants.

Its common knowledge among keto dieters that adequate intake of electrolytes improves most issues on a ketogenic diet. Just like keto flu is partially due to an electrolyte imbalance, so is trouble sleeping/insomnia on a keto diet.

Magnesium seems to be the most important electrolyte to increase intake of to help get better sleep. 200-400mg before bed is a common dosage.

One thing that seems to be more common among keto dieters than any others is their love of coffee/caffeine. This overstimulation can lead to sleep problems. Limiting coffee would help for sure or stop drinking any caffeine drinks earlier in the day.

Because ketogenic diets involve a reduction of dairy foods, lowered vitamin D levels can be an issue. Researchers analyzed the sleep patterns and Vitamin D levels among a group of men. – This study shows that the use of vitamin D supplement improves sleep quality, reduces sleep latency, raises sleep duration and improves subjective sleep quality in people of 20-50 year-old with sleep disorder. In addition, disruption in a persons circadian rhythm can cause sleep issues. Vitamin D can useful for helping restore a natural circadian rhythm.

One product that combines many of these potential remedies and more is Snooze Control.

Last but not least, avoid the use of artificial, blue lighting and electronics at night.

Blue light in the evening disrupts the brain’s natural sleep-wake cycles Smartphone’s, tablets etc emit light of a blue wavelength, this blue light makes your brain function as it if was still daytime. In addition this blue light can also inhibit melatonin production.  Here are some ways to reduce blue light at night according to

  • Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
  • Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed.
  • If you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices at night, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses or installing an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night.
  • Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.

Ketogenic Diet without a gallbladder | Keto and Gallbladder removal

Can you follow a ketogenic diet if you do not have a gallbladder?

Many people have successfully maintained a low carb, ketogenic diet after gallbladder removal surgery it just requires a little more attention to what and when you eat.

Those without gallbladders store less bile, which is used to digest fat. The liver produces bile but may not be able produce enough to make up for the lack of gallbladder. Basically your body will no longer be able to regulate the bile that is released when anything in your stomach triggers that release.

There is often more fat excreted during bowel movements as well as possible build up of fat in the intestines as well as a chance for absorbing less nutrients. Many people who had their gallbladder removed report that they often have a quick bowel movement after a fatty meal.

Often Doctors recommend a low-fat diet for pain management. Fatty foods seem to be the main culprit for the issues those without a gallbladder experience which would make it seem a keto diet would not be the right type of diet to follow but that does not have to be the case. These type of people need to avoid most saturated fats and trans fat, choose foods high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats as well as fish, coconut, avocado and olive oil.

A keto diet is higher in fat than most diets but as long as those without a gallbladder eat regular small meals, so the amount of bile needed for each meal is not excessive, they should be okay. So you will still eat adequate fat for a ketogenic diet but spread out throughout the day.

Another issue seen with those who have had their gallbladder removed is they may not absorb electrolytes and other nutrients as well as they used too. This could be remedied by consuming foods rich in sodium, magnesium and potassium as well as supplement with an all-in-one electrolyte product like Keto-Lytes.

Because of possible loose bowels, increasing fiber intake is a good idea. Pysllium husk is an excellent option to help offset loose bowel movement but at the same time prevent constipation which can also been seen in those without a gallbladder.

Finally, the most popular supplements to take for those without a gallbladder are Ox bile salt and  digestive enzymes as well as a vitamin B complex and niacin. These can help the body produce enough acid to digest fats and proteins as well as encourage the body to produce enough bile to break down foods fatty foods.

As long as those without a gallbladder take these important but easy steps, a ketogenic diet can still be maintained.

Links to some helpful products, click each image below:
ketogenic Digestive Enzymes keto flu support supplement Psyllium Fiber

4 Ways the Keto Diet is Excellent for Your Teeth

The ketogenic diet and healthy teeth

-A Guest Blog By Nicholas Napier    –

The keto diet continues to grow in popularity and new benefits are regularly being studied and discovered. While its astounding weight loss potential has been established, many continue to follow keto for the advantages it provides for other aspects of your health. From reducing food cravings to enabling you to live with more energy, the effects of ketosis have proven to be much more substantial than those of other diets. One of the lesser known ways that keto can improve your appearance is in the benefits it provides for your smile.

Many Benefits, Same Reason

If you’ve had issues with your dental health, switching to the keto diet offers major advantages that can set you on the path to a better smile. For the most part, the fact that the keto diet eliminates high-carbohydrate foods from your diet is the core reason for the advantages to your smile. What’s interesting is that the lack of carbs benefits your dental health in several key ways.

1. The Keto Diet Can Reduce Gum Disease

Inflammation in the body is often a sign of declining health or oncoming problems. In his book, The Inflammation Syndrome, author Jack Challem discusses a clear link between your diet and the health of your gums. In this excerpt, he confirms the benefits that a low-carb diet can have on your gums:

“It is not as well known that sugary foods increase gingival inflammation. Cutting the consumption of sugary foods and soft drinks reduces gingivitis, just as increased intake of protein and eating less refined carbohydrates . . . reduces gingivitis.”

When it comes to the link between gum health and your diet, it’s as simple as not eating the carbs that stick to the base of your teeth and cause gum disease. It’s important to note that this doesn’t just include products like refined sugar and corn syrup, but also breads, rice, potatoes, and any grain-based foods.

2. Keto is Excellent for Preventing Cavities

Cavities, also known as dental caries, are essentially craters where decay has eaten through your teeth. The primary cause is sugars that stick to your teeth for prolonged periods of time, until they attract bacteria and plaque. All carbohydrates have traits that contribute to the accumulation of acid and development of cavities. Since the keto diet inherently minimizes these cavity-causing carbs, it’s easy to see how it’s a great way to reduce dental caries.

3. Carbohydrates Secrete Acid Even After You Consume Them

In a study of dental caries and the bacteria that causes them, carbohydrates were found to neutralize the cleaning effect of saliva. In his book Medical Microbiology, Samuel Baron breaks down the effect of consuming fermentable carbohydrates:

“The tooth surface normally loses some tooth mineral from the action of the acid formed by plaque bacteria after ingestion of foods containing fermentable carbohydrates. This mineral is normally replenished by the saliva between meals. However, when fermentable foods are eaten frequently, the low pH in the plaque is sustained and a net loss of mineral from the tooth occurs. This low pH selects for aciduric organisms, such as S mutans and lactobacilli, which (especially S mutans) store polysaccharide and continue to secrete acid long after the food has been swallowed.”

What this excerpt shows is that carbohydrates, more than any other type of food, have the potential to neutralize your saliva and attract bacteria that continually produce acid in your mouth. With its emphasis on consuming little to no carbs, the keto diet perfectly counteracts this effect.

4. The Keto Diet Greatly Reduces the Phytic Acid You Consume

Minerals are among the most underestimated nutrients. Mineral deficiencies can cause you to lose your hair, develop diseases, or suffer worsening conditions for your teeth.

Phytic acid is found in a wide variety of foods, but it’s heavily-present in grains. The main effect that phytic acid has on your health is that it impedes mineral absorption. This means that phytic acid prevents your teeth and other parts of your body from receiving the crucial minerals they need for maintenance and growth.

In a study that was published in the British Medical Journal, Dr. Mellanby separated three groups of children with cavities, fed each group a different diet, and monitored the outcome. The results overwhelmingly showed that children who consumed diets low in phytic acid healed exponentially quicker than the other groups. This study and others show that diets low in carbs, and therefore, low in phytic acid, are far superior options for your oral health.  

Can Damage to Your Teeth Be Reversed?

While the keto diet is effective for preventing dental damage, if your teeth have already suffered the effects of a lifetime of sugar and carbs, professional help from a dentist who offers cosmetic procedures may be required. Just as there is a strong connection between nutrition and oral health, the connection between keto and a healthy smile is strong as well. Ultimately, following keto won’t reverse damage that has already occurred to your teeth, but it can prevent further damage from occurring.

Try the Keto Diet for a Lean Body and Healthy Smile

Despite all of the research that exists touting the many benefits of keto, there is still much more to learn about this life-changing dietary lifestyle. No other diet boasts significant weight loss benefits, boosts to your energy level, and has studies confirming that it’s great for your teeth as well. Whatever your reasons for trying the keto diet, there are numerous ways that it can improve your health and help you achieve your fitness goals.

Best form of potassium for a ketogenic diet

Best form of potassium for a ketogenic diet

Potassium Chloride vs Potassium Citrate for the ketogenic diet

Did you know that an electrolyte imbalance is common when eating keto? In addition to sodium (which seems to be the most important mineral to take when on a ketogenic diet)  Potassium is a mineral needed by the body which often runs low on a keto diet.

According to WebMD, symptoms of low potassium include:

  • Weakness, tiredness, and cramping in arm or leg muscles, sometimes severe enough to cause inability to move arms or legs due to weakness (much like a paralysis)
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping, bloating
  • Constipation
  • Palpitations (feeling your heart beat irregularly)
  • Passing large amounts of urine or feeling very thirsty most of the time
  • Fainting due to low blood pressure
  • Abnormal psychological behavior –  depression, psychosis, delirium, confusion, or hallucinations.

A lot of electrolyte products contain the wrong form of potassium which could cause serious problems for the ketogenic dieter. The form of potassium that many products contain is potassium citrate, probably because it is very inexpensive but it is not the best form to take for a ketogenic diet.

Potassium citrate is a potassium salt of citric acid. Many ketogenic dieters report that citric acid prevents them from entering ketosis.  There was a study, examining very-low-calorie diets and found that the consumption of citric acid inhibited ketosis and increased appetite in many individuals.

Potassium citrate is an alkalizing agent. It is used when your urine is too acidic, Potassium citrate is used in the treatment of kidney stones.

One of the preferred forms of potassium for a ketogenic diet would be Potassium CHLORIDE. Potassium chloride is a form of potassium for people who have low levels of potassium which is the preferred form to use on a ketogenic diet. The best electrolyte products use potassium chloride. This is why we formulated our Keto-Lytes product to contain the preferred form of potassium, potassium chloride.

Click the image below to learn more:

keto flu support supplement

Do you need to be in Ketosis to Lose Fat – Does Ketosis Matter

Do you need to be in ketosis to lose fat?

Will getting “kicked out of ketosis” put a halt on your fat loss efforts?

No……Because ketosis has ZERO to do with fat loss. Ketosis is the side effect of the ketogenic diet, not the goal…. Confused yet? 

Since this comes up a lot, lets talk more about ketosis.

Ketosis is a state at which your body produces ketones in the liver, shifting the body’s metabolism away from glucose and towards fat utilization. If you do not give the body carbs/glucose it has to burn something else as fuel…it is not that ketones are the preferred fuel source, it is (for the most part and for this discussion) the ONLY option the body has when eating keto (when carbs are restricted)

Why do some prefer a ketogenic diet/being in ketosis while they try to eat right/less calories and order to lose fat?

Let’s look at the benefits of ketosis/ketogenic diet:

– Possibly the #1 benefit of ketosis for most dieters is that it increases the body’s ability to utilize fats for fuel and adherence to a caloric restricted diet.
– Ketosis has a protein-sparing effect (if and ONLY if you are consuming adequate quantities of protein)
– Decrease in appetite – easier to maintain a caloric reduction and lose fat.
– improvement in insulin sensitivity, less sugar cravings,
– reduction in fasting blood sugar and fasting insulin levels
– more energy
– often better sleep
– better skin
– major reduction in inflammation
– improvement in digestion
– and more..

Keep in mind many/most of the items/benefits above are realized in ANY diet that results in fat loss…keto, paleo, high carb, low carb, iso-caloric etc.

Are you in ketosis but still not losing weight?

Being in ketosis does not guarantee weight loss. It’s just the amount of ketones in your bloodstream. Low-carb diets in general are beneficial for weight loss (appetite suppressing effects + effective way of using body fat as fuel, etc …see above). What this means is that going “zero-carb” vs low carb (under 50 gms/day) will NOT help you lose more weight nor will eating more fat – don’t aim for high ketone readings.

If you haven’t succeeded by following the ketogenic diet, chances are you need to start monitoring (TRACK!) your calorie intake, lower your fat intake (and up protein), increase exercise or a combination of these.

Level of ketosis (high(er) ketone readings) are irrelevant to fat loss. MANY people gain weight/fat in ketosis.

This can be seen in the numerous keto Facebook groups and online forums where people are eating a lot of fat (since they assumed keto is “high” fat), have very high blood ketone readings but are not losing any weight and many of them are gaining weight. The issue is energy balance;  eating too much.

Calories/energy balance matters, not ketosis for fat loss. Hormones are on the way bottom of the fat loss totem pole and usually come into play well after someone has lost a lot of weight, not at the start of their fat loss journey.

Ketosis matters for other things unrelated to weight.

Many keto people in the “eat more fat” camp of keto and those who are mainly concerned about ketone readings and blood glucose numbers after their initial weight loss are often struggling to losing fat. They are often “stalling” or putting on fat. They have been misled that ketone level, higher fat intake as well as hormones are dictators of fat loss. When the reality is that energy balance/calories, etc rule in that department;but of course other factors are in play and are not ignored.

Eating more fat does NOT equal a better keto diet. It may taste better though 🙂

You can eat ZERO grams fat or 500 grams of fat and you are still eating a ketogenic set up. ONLY carbs matter, no other macronutrient.

The fat on your body is basically stored energy. If you do not eat enough fat to supply your body with the energy it needs, then it taps into the fat reserves to make up the difference. But most of us realize we do want a decent amount of fat to be in our diet for various reasons but keto is not a “high” (in context) fat diet, it is a LOW carb diet. High Fat is a marketing term to sell books.

Many low-carbers think that being in ketosis (as indicated by Ketostix which lie and are not accurate) is the way to lose body fat. People lose weight eating at much higher carb intake. Keto is not the only way to lose weight. In fact the early (original?) keto studies done on epileptic children were HIGH fat (sadly like how many keto dieters follow today), they were HIGH fat for 2 reasons; to get higher levels of circulating ketones to stop/reduce seizures and to prevent the children from losing weight. …..Yup, they realized HIGH fat is a recipe for NOT losing fat since the children were NOT on a DIET to lose weight but to control seizures.

Truth be told I lost WAY more “weight” on a low-fat diet then I ever have on low carb but I would never do it again, way too many issues, way too much muscle loss, hormones getting messed up (low testosterone, thyroid,) etc. I also enjoy the list of benefits I wrote above that come with being on a ketogenic diet.

Ketogenic diets work for some people that have trouble losing fat because they are carb sensitive and binge at the site of carbs. However, even in ketosis, if you eat more than your body burns, then you will still not lose fat.

As I said above there are MANY examples of people in many low carb Facebook groups that have stalled with weight loss while in ketosis. In fact many of them reached out to us for help and we have helped fixed their thinking and macros and the weight melts off them. Most recently a lovely woman who was doing the “high” fat keto was stalled for 6 months, we reworked her macros and she is down 50lbs and loving her results.

Ketosis does NOT mean that you will continually burn fat. It just means that your body is primed to use fat as the preferred fuel it chooses to burn.

Ketosis is a SIDE EFFECT of this diet, not the goal of the diet.

Are Ketostix useful – Should you use Ketostix

Are Ketostix useful – Should you use Ketostix to Measure Ketosis

Are they telling you what you want to know or just half the story?

Seeing purple on the Ketostix doesn’t also mean what you think it means.

They measure excess ketones and only measure one of two major ketones and thus are unreliable for measuring whether you are in ketosis or not. You cannot use them to titrate your carbs.

Factors affecting color/readings on the Ketostix:

Dilution – drink more water, the Ketostix level changes and if you drink enough it will read negative…false negative result

Excess ketones – only measure excess, if you’re using them all you won’t have any excess excreted. When you first start keto, your body overproduces ketones but with time and adaptation you produce just enough for your brain and thus no longer spill them into the urine, Ketostix will be negative…false negative result;

Eat a bunch of carbs, immediately inhibits ketosis and you return to glucose-based metabolism and thus your body has no use for ketones in circulation and you excrete them, many then check Ketostix and get a false security that they are in ketosis because they get a false positive result

Ketostix only measure acetoacetate – there are two major ketone bodies acetoacetate and beta hydroxybutyrate, Ketostix only measure the former; the longer you’re in ketosis the more of the latter you have in circulation so if you are spilling excess Ketostix can’t detect it and you get a false negative

Consume exogenous Ketones = purple shows up on the sticks…of course they do you just drank Ketones; another false positive and you are not in nutritional ketosis.

They are intended for diabetic ketoacidosis, not nutritional ketosis and often seem to cause confusion, frustration and false security because many people don’t know how they work and yet continue to use them in a way that they hope they work.

Amy Berger, a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) and certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, explains it nicely here:

I’m not saying ketostix are useless for providing any other information besides whether or not there is acetoacetate in your urine. We can certainly use ketostix to speculate about issues other than the presence of acetoacetate, but that’s all it is—speculation, based on your diet, activity levels, stress levels, and more. They provide information, but they do not always provide answers. Are you showing deep purple on your urine test strips but not losing body fat? All that tells you is that being in ketosis doesn’t guarantee fat loss. (Which you already knew, right? Right?!) It doesn’t tell you why you’re not losing fat.

4 Common Side Effects of Going Keto and Why They Happen

– Guest Blog by Nicholas Napier –

The keto diet has changed the lives of thousands of people, and the products available on make its challenges easier to navigate. From crucial vitamins and minerals that tend to be deficient for a lot of keto followers to digestive enzymes that improve comfort while on keto, Ketogenic supplements can be a real lifesaver. I’m honored to have the opportunity to contribute to and help others overcome the challenges of going keto.

4 Side Effects of Going Keto and Why They Happen

While low-carb diets have been popular for over a decade, the keto diet is scientifically different. Rather than creating a daily deficiency of calories, keto causes a major chemical change in your body, completely revamping the way it processes energy.

With this major change comes serious weight loss and other benefits – but also some common side effects as your body adapts to these changes. These side effects have causes ranging from mineral deficiency to lack of electrolytes, but they have one thing in common: Understanding their causes can help you minimize these problems in the future.

Why is Keto Such a Big Adjustment for the Body?

From the day you were born, your body’s cells have depended on glucose for energy. This energy is needed for a wide range of vital purposes, including internal processes involving your organs and brain function. Long story short, this process of entering ketosis has an effect on your entire body. That’s why it’s understandable that such a major change would come with some side effects. Luckily, they pale in comparison to keto’s numerous benefits.

1. Leg Cramps – Caused by Frequent Urination

Ranging from minor pain to feeling like a vice grip tightening on your calf, leg cramps are a fairly common side effect of the keto diet. Why they happen is simple. Going into ketosis results in frequent urination, which causes both water and minerals to leave the body. With this mineral deficiency comes a variety of symptoms, with leg cramps being among the most disruptive.

Solution – Hydration, Salt, and Mineral Supplements

While the side effects you experience show up in the form of leg cramps, increased urination is the real culprit. In fact, it’s responsible for depriving your body of the salt, water, and minerals it needs to function properly. By using a supplement to restore these lost minerals, you can minimize or eliminate side effects like leg cramps while on keto.

2. Fatigue – Caused from Dehydration and Vitamin Deficiency

Whether you’re a hardcore gym rat or someone who exercises just enough to make it home after work, fatigue is a side effect that can take you out of your game. When first entering ketosis, it’s common to experience a noticeable drop in your energy level. Dehydration can bring on this fatigue, but it can also be a sign that you’re low in crucial B vitamins.

Solution – Hydration, Vitamin B, and Time

As you enter ketosis, your body has a major job ahead of it. All of the cells in your body must completely alter the way they supply energy. While hydration and various supplements that contain vitamin B can help alleviate your fatigue, part of it is just your body adapting to this new way of living.

3. Heart Palpitations and Trouble Focusing – Caused by Lack of Vitamin D

Whether or not you follow the keto diet, vitamin D deficiency is among the most prevalent types found in adults. While going outside for 15 minutes can give you a sufficient amount of vitamin D, weather and other issues make it challenging for many individuals to meet this requirement, leading to unwanted side effects.

Solution – Try a Vitamin D Supplement

Many Americans suffer from a lack of vitamin D and this deficiency can manifest as a variety of unwanted conditions. Choosing to replace your vitamin D with a reliable supplement is a great way to make up for this deficiency and put an end to your heart and brain-related symptoms.

4. Lethargic or Not Losing Weight – Caused By Not Eating Enough

If your plan is to do keto and not eat a lot of fats on a daily basis, you’ll essentially be starving yourself. While that may seem like the ideal path for losing weight, it will actually bring your weight loss and your energy production to a screeching halt. Although it may take some getting used to, it’s vital to eat a lot of fats and proteins throughout the day to make up for the carbs you aren’t consuming.

Solution – Increase your intake of fats and proteins

Most people who follow the keto diet report higher energy levels than ever before. If you’re not having that same experience, then a lack of crucial fats and proteins may be the culprit. Consider packing some keto-friendly snacks to sustain you throughout the day. Planning ahead for times when you won’t be able to eat for a few hours, like while at work or in class, will help you get the nutrients you need to feel your best.

Keto is Worth Powering through the Side Effects

No matter the path you choose, weight loss is a notorious challenge for just about everyone who attempts it. But for those who won’t give up until they have the body they want, the keto diet is a sure way to make it happen. With advantages that include weight loss and increased levels of energy, there are numerous reasons why keto is worth your best effort – even if it means overcoming some side effects along the way.