Okay, listen up! There is so much dogma in the various camps about the right way or wrong way to do Keto, that it is enough to make a person’s head spin — even for someone who has followed Keto for quite some time. Net carbs vs. total carbs. Tracking vs. not tracking. Moderate protein vs. high protein. Plate fat vs. body fat. Extended fasting . . . intermittent fasting . . . never fasting. If it fits your macros (IIFYM). Lazy Keto. One Meal a Day (OMAD). Peanuts, no peanuts. Soy, no soy. Calories matter vs. calories do not count. GNG (gluconeogenesis): immediate horror vs. not-so-fast negligible. Count macros, don’t count macros. On and on. All these rules (which are supported in as many varying measures as the people who live by them are varied) add up to a big pile of confusion for newbies and experienced alike, and often are fodder for huge social media drama — including, but not limited to, people being kicked out of Facebook groups! I henceforth declare this drama DOGMANTICS.
I have worked my way through every piece of that dogma since my beginnings with Keto. As a matter of fact, my first stab at social media was "Keto My Way." I was so confused that on almost a weekly basis I changed what I was doing (most notably my issues with tracking vs. not tracking, and net carbs vs. total carbs). I called it my journey, but actually I was just fumbling around, advancing very little in my understanding of how to do Keto. I lost weight and my health markers improved — just by virtue of the fact that I kept my carbs low, be they net or total (I finally settled on a melded system that I describe in this FAQ).
When I became a coach, my very first promise to myself was that I would not take part in any of these dogmantics and that I would do my best to help my clients do Keto their way with the knowledge I had and the information I respected. But even with that promise to myself and to my clients, I felt more like a wanderer than a confident Granny Keto. Recently I had a very long talk with Amy Berger, the author of The Alzheimer's Antidote. She is so incredibly the voice of reason; she helped me sort out many of my questions and concerns, and also helped me see that I have a right to be a voice in this community — even if the voice is to only say “STOP THE DOGMANTICS!” I also have the right to say NO to some of the dogma out there, i.e., you must fast, you must keep your protein moderate (and how do you even define “moderate”?), you must eat fat — lots of it, and if you are hungry or are stalled then for sure you must eat more fat!
Paradigm shift within the paradigm shift
I realize that it is important to know what Keto is all about, but ultimately it is about keeping your carbs low (and even that can have a range once you get to know your body). Keto is so much simpler than the perpetrators of dogmantics would have you believe. Keep total carbs below 20 (to start). Eat plenty of fresh leafy green and above-ground vegetables that either do not have to be counted in those 20 carbs, or if you must, at least count them as net (no, this is not permission to eat a bathtub full of salad — but neither do you have to measure out a scant two cups and take out the extra three lettuce leaves). And as far as protein and fat are concerned, I really depart from the dogmantics of the issues and instead venture into the more reasonable, kind, and loving viewpoints.
Back to my conversation with Amy Berger: I told her that I am hungry all the time and she was aghast when I told her how scaled back my protein is (50–60g daily). She said that 80–100 grams of protein should be the basement level of what I am eating, and that I am probably not losing weight because I am eating too much fat in an attempt to assuage that hunger. In most dogmantics camps, if someone says they are hungry or aren't losing weight, the answer always is "EAT MORE FAT." For me, however, the extra fat will never stop the hunger, but a bit of tuna will always increase the time I can go between meals! I intuitively knew this, but because of the dogmantics between the “plate fat camps” and the "body fat camps," and although I understand that calories don’t count (in the context of 200 calories of butter is better for you than 100 calories of candy), I felt shunned by some groups for leaning towards the view that if you excessively eat plate fat you will never burn body fat. (By the way, there is a lot of self-shaming going on in social media dogmantics.)
Again, the success of Keto is keeping carbs low. Period. I am experimenting with moderating fat and reversing my stance on keeping protein low (defined as moderate, but actually it is low!). This is not permission to eat a 2-pound steak in one sitting! It just means that if I am hungry, maybe I will reach for a chicken leg or a deviled egg instead of a fat bomb or broth with butter.
On Amy’s advice, I am reading Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution and New Atkins for a New You. I also devoured work by Dr. Ted Naiman. Please look him up — he has his own site as well as wonderful articles, graphics and videos on The Diet Doctor site. Please also — especially — visit Amy Berger’s site for some fabulous blog posts on these issues! It is possible for all these voices of reason to knock the dogmantics out of your own head so that you can move forward and find all the success you deserve!