Top 3 Mistakes of Keto & How to Avoid Keto Flu

From the Show: Talk Fitness Today
Summary: Many keto novices think the diet is just about eating a lot of butter, bacon and cheese, but they don’t really understand the ins and outs of how the diet works.
Air Date: 2/14/18
Duration: 21:43
Host: Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Drew Manning
Drew-ManningDrew Manning is the NY Times Best Selling Author of the book, Fit2Fat2Fit and is best known for his experiment that went viral online.

He's been featured on shows like Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The View and many more.

His experiment has become a hit TV show, called Fit to Fat to Fit, airing on A&E.
  • Book Title: Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose
  • Guest Facebook Account:
Top 3 Mistakes of Keto & How to Avoid Keto Flu
Do you really know what's all involved with the keto diet?

Many novices think it’s just eating a lot of butter, bacon and cheese, but they don’t really understand the ins and outs of how the diet works.

And, ketosis (the state your body enters upon adhering to a proper keto diet) has applications other than just weight loss and fat loss. In keto expert Drew Manning's mind, he looks at it as nutrition for your brain.

Drew joins host Lisa Davis to explain which foods you should be eating on a keto diet, the mistakes many individuals make when embarking on the diet, and how you can avoid the "keto flu" (a period where you may feel lack of energy, brain fog, dizziness, cramping in your muscles, lightheadedness). 

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Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose

Top 3 Mistakes of Keto & How to Avoid the Keto Flu with Drew Manning

This episode of Talk Fitness is in partnership with The Vitamin Shoppe, where knowledgeable health enthusiasts are standing by to help you thrive every day.

Lisa Davis (Host): So glad you’re listening to Talk Fitness Today. The other day I was talking with my husband about keto and wanting to do keto and he said, yeah, you know I have thought about that too, but I don’t want to get that keto flu. I hear that for a couple of weeks you feel lousy and blah, blah, blah and I thought well, I know the guy to go to about this, my friend Drew Manning. He is a regular on all my shows, It’s Your Health, Talk Healthy Today, Talk Fitness Today. Drew I have to have you on Naturally Savvy and then you will be on all my shows. We are going to be talking about the top three mistakes of keto and how to avoid keto flu. Drew, welcome back.

Drew Manning (Guest): Thanks Lisa. It’s a pleasure to be back on.

Lisa: Alright, so Drew, first of all, for people who are like okay what is this keto thing. I’ve heard about it. Let’s jump into some of the basics and the mistakes and then let’s avoid that flu. Maybe I can get my husband to do it with me.

Drew: Yeah, so first of all, people need to understand what keto is before they just jump into it. A lot of people think it’s just eating a lot of butter and bacon and cheese and then they are doing keto, but they don’t really understand what it means. So, basically, ketosis is a totally different metabolic state that your body enters into when there is no glucose available. So, basically, what that means is that is if you cut out carbohydrates, which turn into glucose in the body; your body is forced to produce these things called ketones to be used as energy. Right, so it is kind of our body’s backup system. So, if we stopped eating today, we wouldn’t die within a day, right. Our bodies can live a long time using our stored fat as energy. So, basically you are becoming a fat burner instead of a sugar burner, right, which come from carbohydrates so that we have to put in our body. But our bodies can last a long time living off of its own fat stores but to do that, you can get into ketosis one of two ways. One is either just stop eating, right which isn’t always fun for some people. So, I get that. Or you can hack that by eating a ketogenic diet which is really high fat, so about 70% of your calories coming from pure fat and then about 25% from protein. So, it’s only a moderate amount of protein, not a lot and then 5% or less of carbohydrates. So, it’s very low carb, but that forces your body to breakdown the fatty acids in your body and convert them into ketones and then ketones are used as energy instead of glucose for our brain, our muscles and our organs.

Lisa: Oh, that’s nice. And this is something that you do, and you look like a million bucks and you sound like a million bucks, so I’m assuming you feel better? Because I know like a lot of people are going towards things for looks, but I want to look and feel better.

Drew: Yeah, so, ketosis has a lot of applications other than just weight loss and fat loss. Now a lot of people use it for fat loss and weight loss, but I look at it as nutrition for your brain. So, for me, the big thing I noticed when I did it, when I first did it a few years ago, was that my mind felt so much clearer, so the improvement in cognitive function and mental clarity was like night and day compared to what it was before. And I wasn’t a slave to food all day. So, I didn’t have – I didn’t feel the need to eat every two or three hours like I usually did to “keep my metabolism going.” I could eat once or twice a day and feel fantastic and my brain was so much sharper and there were no crashes in energy throughout the day. I even just finished a three day fast recently, running off of ketones as an energy source and not feeling hungry. So, it just takes a while for your body to get used to it and get adapted to it. So, the number one thing I tell people, when they go keto, is to be patient with themselves and with their bodies.
Lisa: Alright, that is good to know. Okay so, here’s one of the things for me and I know other people out there; I can’t do dairy. If I eat any dairy; I’m like I don’t want to be gross but like, but I’ll leave it at that. I mean there must have been butter in something I ate yesterday because I got it at Whole Foods and honestly, I was up last night like not able to sleep because I was just like so phlegmy, okay I’ll say the word. It’s horrible. So, I hear about the butter and the coffee and the butter and this and the butter and that and I think well what am I and even ghee I’m sensitive to and I know other people out there, whether it’s lactose intolerance or this sort of issue. What do we do? Because I’m nervous I’m going to run out of things to eat because I don’t eat cheese either. Right and isn’t that part of it or are there ways around this?

Drew: Oh, there are totally ways around it. That’s the problem I think a lot of people if they can only eat too much dairy when they go keto, like I said they just think it’s a lot of cheese and butter and cream cheese. It can be that for some people that tolerate dairy, but most people have some type of allergy to dairy right and, so I used to be lactose intolerant, so you can do it dairy free for sure, so you are adding in a lot more plant based fats instead of animal based fats. So, avoiding the butters and the cheeses is definitely doable. You can use MCT oil instead of butter, right or you can use coconut oil instead of butter. So, there are a lot of different options out there. You don’t have to eat dairy especially if you are sensitive to it.

Lisa: You know you brought up a good point with the MCT and the coconut oil which brings me to a question by the way, I eat both. My husband was asking me the other day, again he said you know here he comes and here you come this is great and you are going to help us out. He said, hon what should I be taking every day in my smoothie like a teaspoon of coconut oil or some MCT oil? And I said well, I’m going to ask Drew. Because I want to make sure I get the right answer. So, what do you use for what? Because I would just love for you to answer that because I think that is something that is kind of confusing, right because I kind of go back and forth.

Drew: Yeah. So, first of all, coconut oil contains a lot of MCT oil, right, so coconut oil is comprised of about 60% MCT oil. MCTs are medium chained triglycerides, so it is a type of fat that is used very quickly and efficiently as energy inside of your body. So, MCT oil basically, they extracted that from the coconut oil and then you just get pure MCT oil. So, it’s concentrated. So, that’s the difference between those two things. The only problem is that for a lot of people, they have to be very careful at first with MCT oil because you have to build up your tolerance to it, so if you eat too much the first time, you will have disaster pains and you will be running to the bathroom. Yeah so, it’s not very fun. So, start out small and then build up from there but you will feel great adding MCT oil to your coffee, to your smoothies, you can cook with it. There are a lot of great options for it but the thing with keto is you have to be adding in these high-quality fats to get that 70% of your calories from fat.

Lisa: Yeah, that’s true, but you don’t want to put too much. Now what about with the coconut oil? Why would someone take that over the MCT oil? Do you get more lauric acid? Do you get more of the other antiviral properties of the coconut oil if you just take the regular coconut oil versus the MCTs?

Drew: Yeah, there is going to be more lauric acid and I like to mix it up to be honest with you. It’s not like one is better than the other, in my opinion, but I like to get my fat from a lot of different healthy sources. So, sometimes it’s grass fed butter, sometimes its ghee, sometimes coconut oil, sometimes its avocado oil or olive oil. I like to mix up my fats and get them from a lot of different sometimes plant based sources, but sometimes for me, animal based sources so fattier cuts of meat, sometimes are where I get a lot of my fat from as well.

Lisa: So. Take us through like a breakfast, lunch and dinner, just so people can get an idea and try and if you can include some dairy free ones too that would be great.

Drew: Yeah. So, I start off my day usually with some type of what is called bullet proof coffee which is some type of coffee with healthy fats added to it. You can do a tablespoon of grass fed butter, a tablespoon of coconut oil or MCT oil and then you add it into your coffee and you blend it up and, so you have a fatty coffee for breakfast and actually it is really filling, and it is pure fat, right. So, you don’t get a big insulin spike from this bullet proof coffee and you have great energy without like a hard crash later on like you would with a – it you add sugar to your coffee. And so, that’s my breakfast and I go work out and then honestly, I’m not hungry until around lunchtime. So, around lunchtime, is my first big meal of the day which will be comprised of probably maybe like four or five eggs, a couple of tablespoons of grass fed butter or coconut oil, a lot of spinach or broccoli sautéed in that as well. I’ll add in chicken sausage or pork sausage sometimes with the grease, I know that sounds weird, I add it in there as well and then that’s my lunch. And then I’m not hungry, honestly until dinnertime. So, this is where it’s nice, I don’t have to plan my meals and meal prep all day long, not having to eat every three hours, I’m not a slave to food. I can go throughout the day, my mind is clear, my stomach is full and I’m feeling great energy and then dinnertime; maybe I’ll have a couple of grass-fed burgers with bacon and avocado on top with a side of sautéed cauliflower and I’ll sauté the cauliflower in butter or coconut oil with a lot of salt on it and then that’s my dinner. And that’s like a typical day for me. So, like I said, I eat two main meals. I’ll have the bullet proof coffee every now and then and sometimes I will do one meal a day, one large meal and I feel great. So, that’s kind of like a typical day on keto.

Lisa: Wow. Now what about a salad. Like I love a big salad with beets and celery and cabbages and cucumbers and tomatoes and I mean does that fit in at all. Because I do love that, those fresh vegetables.

Drew: Totally. I have a great recipe called – I call it the keto man salad, but you can call it the keto woman salad too. It’s a huge portion. Right, it’s a huge portion and that’s why I call it the man salad, but take a huge salad bowl, and I’m talking like big and I put in all the vegies, so when I say vegies, I mean non-starchy nutrient dense vegetables like spinach, and kale and broccoli and Brussel sprouts and I cut them up really, really small, all these vegetables. I will throw in maybe almonds or brazil nuts every once in a while as well to bump up the fat and then I’ll add in my meat, right, whether it is like left over steak or even eggs or some type of fattier cut of meat that I like and I’ll add that, that’s my protein source and then I will drizzle like maybe a half cup of olive oil, I know it sounds like a lot, but like I said, you need to get in a lot of high quality fat and then I’ll cut up an avocado and add that in there with some olives and then I just toss it and that’s my go to meal. It takes me a good like thirty minutes to eat, to chew all that, but I love that.

Lisa: I love that too. You know you really need to make sure you have enough time to. Sometimes I’ll make a huge salad and I’ll be like oh crap, I got to leave soon, and I still have this ginormous salad left. Alright, so now that we know the basics, let’s talk about what are the top three mistakes of keto?

Drew: Yeah, so the first this is people don’t drink enough water initially. Because here’s the thing, when you eat a lot of carbohydrates, your body retains more water. But when you stop eating the carbohydrates, your body will push out a lot of that water so that’s why a lot of people lose a lot of water weight initially but at the same time, that can dehydrate you because it causes an imbalance of electrolytes, so you need to be supplementing with sodium, potassium and magnesium specifically to replenish those electrolytes and that’s why a lot of people experience the keto flu is because they are not drinking enough water one and then two, they are not adding enough salt to their food. So, you need to add – you need to have about five to ten grams of sodium per day from high quality sources. So, pink Himalayan or sea salt, these types of salts still have the minerals intact. The regular table salt that is like iodized, that is stripped of all its minerals, isn’t the type of sodium I’m talking about. You want real salt, so five to ten grams of that and then maybe sometimes you need to supplement with magnesium or potassium to make sure that your electrolytes are balanced. So, that would be like the two, that would be the top two mistakes that people make right there and then the third one honestly is not being patient.

So, to go keto, you need to give it at least I would say sixty days minimum of consistency and keto is not one of the things you can just do for a few days and then stop and then do for a few days and then stop, because you never really get into a state of ketosis. So, you need to be consistent with your efforts for at least sixty days to train your body, give your body time to adjust to using ketones as a fuel source. If you think about it, you have been running off of glucose for thirty, forty, fifty plus years, for some people and now you are trying to say okay, no more glucose, let’s run off of ketones but your body has never used ketones as an energy source. It’s going to take a good two to four weeks to get adjusted and go through that transitionary period. So, at first, you might feel some symptoms of the keto flu, but like I said, if you drink enough water, you are supplementing your electrolytes are balanced, you won’t feel those keto flu symptoms nearly as much as if you just stop eating carbs one day and you just try to eat keto and for a lot of people, they experience keto flu.

Lisa: Sounds like even if you are doing the right thing, you might feel it a little bit but, it does pass and what are some of the symptoms? Do you feel like you have like a regular flu?

Drew: No, it’s not like a flu like symptoms, but it’s things like lack of energy, brain fog, dizziness sometimes, cramping in your muscles, lightheaded, those kinds of things. But those are usually caused by an imbalance of electrolytes so what I tell people to do if you experience any of those symptoms, you can do a couple things. One is take about a half teaspoon of salt, put it in the palm of your hand and just down it and then chug a bunch of water afterwards with it. Or just take a big gulp of pickle juice. That’s another hack that I do to help alleviate those symptoms if you are experiencing them and you want to get rid of them like right away. Another thing you can do nowadays that is really popular, is you can supplement with these things called exogenous ketones which are a supplement that you can take that essentially puts your body in a simulated version of ketosis, not true nutritional ketosis, but a simulated version within thirty to sixty minutes and they are really popular. They are available online nowadays and that can help alleviate the keto flu symptoms during that transitionary period.

Lisa: Now what do you think about using those on your own. Somebody sent me some, I think it was Pruvit. Does that sound familiar?

Drew: Yeah, that’s a popular company that makes them.

Lisa: Okay, so I haven’t tried it yet because I wanted to talk to you first. So, how would I just even if I am not keto yet, someone could just take that and what’s the benefit of that and how often should they take that?

Drew: Yeah, well it’s going to help out. It is going to help out if you are doing a nutritional ketogenic diet with taking a supplement. It just helps out during that transitionary phase but also, it gives you a big boost in brain power. So, Ketones are a very efficient fuel source for your brain so if you have a long day at work where you have, you don’t have time to eat for example; it is kind of like a meal replacement, because there is an appetite suppressant effect with taking exogenous ketones, so you don’t feel as hungry, but your brain feels mentally sharp and clear. So, I will use it if I have a long day of like travel or podcasting or speaking engagements or I will also use it as a pre-workout. So, take it 45 minutes pre-workout to fuel your body with ketones and your body starts to learn how to use those ketones a little bit quicker than waiting for your body to produce the ketones. There are also therapeutic applications. There is a neuroprotective benefit for your brain taking exogenous ketones and it helps to reduce inflammation as well. So, there are other therapeutic applications to taking the ketones. Are they necessary? Definitely not. Just like any other supplement. But they can give you a boost if you want to invest in it.

Lisa: Yeah, Invest. They are expensive. Oh my gosh, when my husband saw me ordering it, he is like what the heck is that? What are you buying? He said just do the keto diet. They are really expensive.

Drew: Yeah, they are. They are more affordable than they used to be. There are some other companies like Keto Logic is a good one, Perfect Ketones is a good one that is more affordable. Those ones are some really good ones that I have tried and tested before. And they work pretty good. And they taste really good. There are other ones that are more expensive, so yeah, it’s just a newer supplement. Over time, the demand will continue to rise, and the price will probably drop at some point.

Lisa: Oh, that is good to know. Alright so Drew, so let’s say somebody is listening and they are like so I’m not ready to do keto yet, I want to – I want to get through the winter, whatever their reasoning is, should they start taking those ketones, that we just talked about? I mean is that something – and would they – and how often would you do that? Or would you just do it like you said, if you have a long day or you have a big workout or something like that?

Drew: Yeah, so me, personally, I take them almost every day as a pre-workout or just like as a brain boost first thing in the morning, but then I can go a couple of weeks without them, just to make sure I don’t get dependent on them. But yeah, I would say if you are going to go keto; I would just use them effectively and use them when you actually do a keto diet so that the transitionary period is a lot easier taking the keto supplements to be honest with you.

Lisa: Now you have a whole program. Tell us about it. Because I definitely feel like if you have guidance from an expert; it makes it so much easier than trying to Google it and figure it out yourself. I mean you can do that, but I feel like it is safer to work with someone like you. So, tell us about your program.

Drew: Yeah, so I went on the Dr. Oz show a couple of years ago talking about the ketogenic diet, but I had no program in place and so, so many people reached out to me saying heh, I saw you on Dr. Oz, I want to do the keto diet, but I need some kind of program or guidelines and I’m like oh yeah, duh. I should have had that in place already. But, so I created after the demand of people asking me for it. So, what I did was created an intro to keto course first as a sixty-day program with detailed meal plans, detailed grocery lists, easy to make recipes that taste really good, with no weird ingredients that are really quick to prep and there is also sixty days of workouts included in there to maximize your results and if you just go to, you can check it out. It’s a sixty-day eBook, really easy to follow, very basic for beginners to get started, but it has transformed thousands of people’s lives from all over the world and it’s a very popular, very effective program that a lot of people have used and seen great results on.

Lisa: Yeah, it is on my list of things that I definitely want to do. One concern I have though is I’m happy with my weight; I definitely have some fat on me I would like to lose, but I do like my curves, so, I don’t want to lose too much weight, so what about somebody who is like, they are pretty happy where they are, but they want the brain boost, but they don’t want huge changes in their body? Will they lose too much weight? Or how do you deal with that?

Drew: No, that’s a great question. I mean honestly, I don’t use keto for fat lose or weight loss at all. Like my body pretty much stayed pretty lean when I changed from traditional kind of more of a paleo diet to a keto diet. I didn’t lose weight, I didn’t lose fat, like to be honest with you, but for me, yeah, I haven’t I don’t use it for that. I use it for nutrition for my brain and longevity and antiaging, inflammation, decreased inflammation in the body; that’s why I use it. So, you are not going to lose a ton of weight if you go keto unless you are just eating not enough calories. So, it’s still comes down to how many calories you are burning, how many calories you are putting in. so, yeah, if you don’t want to lose weight, yeah, you just up your calories, up your protein a little bit and you are not going to just all of the sudden get rid of all of your fat in your body. That’s not how it works.

Lisa: Now if you do want to lose weight, that’s going to happen too, right, I guess if you just have smaller portions of the things we are talking about?

Drew: Yeah, but the cool think about it is that first of all, the food doesn’t taste like diet food. The food actually tastes good. You are adding high fat. You are adding like butter and salt and high fat cheeses and creams to your food and so the food is actually going to taste good, like you are going to think oh my gosh, this is keto? Yeah, the food is going to taste amazing. So, first of all, the food tastes really good and the second of all, you are not going to feel as hungry. So, the goal isn’t to starve yourself. The goal isn’t to feel hungry. The goal is to kind of listen to your body and when you are hungry, eat food, but when you are full, stop and you are going to notice that you are not hungry as often throughout the day, so that is why you probably drop to one to two meals per day and still feel fantastic and still feel optimal in the gym, at work, being a mom or a dad, whatever it is. You will be able to kill it.

Lisa: Well, you know what, after this interview, I’m going to try those ketones I bought because I want to see how I feel. I’m excited. Drew you are always so awesome. Tell us all the ways we can find you on social media.

Drew: Yeah, it’s really easy. My brand is called fit2fat2fit with the number 2 in between and that’s the name of my book, the name of my podcast, and my website, my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, social media handles; all just fit2fat2fit. You can find me online pretty much everywhere.

Lisa: That’s awesome. I also want to mention that Drew is in my book that is available now on Amazon Clean Eating, Dirty Sex. It’s not about dirty sex, it is about connecting with your partner, connecting with yourself and learning all the great foods and exercises and things you can do with your partner to have the best sex and best healthiest life, so, hope you will check that out. I want to thank everyone for listening to Talk Fitness Today. You can check us out on Twitter at TalkFitness2day. I’m at HealthMediaGal1. Thanks so much for listening and stay well.

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