My Latest Nutritional Ketosis Update

Salad with Bacon Rolls is a Common Nutritional Ketosis Meal
Bacon Rolls stuffed with cream cheese is a
Nutritional Ketosis meal

*Similar to the previous Nutritional Ketosis Disaster post, this article was written before I understood what a real Nutritional Ketosis Diet Plan was. Like most people who are trying to do LCHF, I thought Jimmy Moore's version of Nutritional Ketosis was what Dr. Phinney wrote. 

Please keep that in mind while reading this post. I have tried to clean up the misconceptions as well as I could.

After writing my prior post about the first two weeks that I spent doing the Nutritional Ketosis Diet Plan, I received a Tweet from Jimmy Moore (the popular low-carb blogger who made Nutritional Ketosis popular) informing me that the visitor on his next podcast was going to have the answer to my problem of digesting fats.

Because I didn't want to jump ship too early, if there really was an answer for my fat malabsorption issue, I decided NOT to go off the Nutritional Ketosis diet until after I'd listened to that podcast. 

This post is a result of what I learned during the podcast, as well as my research into digestive enzymes.

You Need Enzymes to Digest Protein, Carbs, and Fat

The podcast sponsored by Jimmy Moore discussed the problems that occur when you don't make enough enzymes in the small intestine to digest protein or fats. In the clinical experience of Jimmy's visitor, enzymes have always been the problem with her clients.

For those who don't digest protein properly, hydrochloric acid (or apple cider vinegar) can correct the problem because a lack of stomach acid is responsible for faulty protein digestion. 

For those who don't digest fats properly, she said there was also an enzyme you could take for that, too.

Since I had already experimented with dietary enzymes while on the Atkins Diet, without success, I decided to do a bit of research on them to see if there was something new that I could find out. 

Meanwhile, I continued to follow the low-carb high-fat diet as laid out in my previous post.

Research on Enzymes that Digest Dietary Fats

The research wasn't good. 

What I learned is that fat malabsorption is hereditary. This coincides with what my oldest son was told in the military about having a genetic form of hepatitis. There is basically nothing you can do for it. 

However, fat malabsorption also occurs temporarily when you have celiac disease or food allergies and sensitivities that are not being treated properly through diet or temporarily flair up due to cross contamination. 

Anything that causes inflammation or damages the villi in the small intestine, including illnesses or accidentally being glutened, will temporarily interfere with the body's ability to absorb and metabolize fats. 

The same goes for Grave's Disease since a higher metabolic rate causes the digestive process to kick into high gear, shoving food into and through the digestive tube quicker than nutrients can be digested and absorbed properly.

Fat digestion does not begin in the stomach. 

Every resource I could find said that the acidic environment within the stomach caused the enzyme supplement for digesting fats to break down in the stomach, making the supplements useless. 

This news was disappointing. 

I was hoping that Jimmy's insistence that he could fix me was going to be accurate, but apparently, taking enzymes to break down dietary fat only works if you don't have enough stomach acid to degrade it. 

On a standard low-carb diet, your stomach acid will be higher than normal, since the protein level of your diet is so high.

Steak on a Bed of Spinach, Tomatoes, and Onions
Digestive enzymes for fats won't survive the acid
content of the stomach long enough to reach the
small intestines, where fat is broken down and absorbed.

What Happened When I Kept Following the Nutritional Ketosis Diet?

In the meantime, I continued to gain weight from the version of Nutritional Ketosis I was following. 

At the time, I had no idea that what I was doing was NOT Nutritional Ketosis. It was simply Jimmy Moore's n=1 experiment that a large subset of the low-carb community had latched onto and were calling Nutritional Ketosis.

On this meal plan, I was eating:
  • 60 grams of protein
  • 20 grams of carbs
  • and the rest of my calories in fats
The idea I was testing out was whether lowering protein actually made a difference in the way the body fat came off.

It didn't.

Just as I had gained weight each and every time I had attempted to follow other low-carb, high-fat diets, the same thing happened again. 

I came to the conclusion that going dairy free for 2 years and corn free for 1-1/2 years hadn't healed the intestinal tract at all, making it easy to blame the diet for what was happening.

After almost three months of doing this diet, I was up 22 pounds!

Moved Back to Maintenance

In December of 2012 I moved back to maintenance to try and get the weight gain to stop. It didn't happen immediately, so I ended up gaining a lot more weight before it finally stopped its upward climb. 

To get it to stop:

I had to pay attention to my calorie intake and drop my daily calories lower than what I was able to eat before trying this high-fat Nutritional Ketosis weight-loss plan. 

For some odd reason, this version of Nutritional Ketosis caused my maintenance calories to drop by 300 a day, even though I weighed over 30 pounds more!

Chicken Leg Quarter, Roasted, and Potatoes with Herbs
Amount of food I could eat after going off the
high-fat Nutritional Ketosis plan was less than what
I could eat before, even though I weighed more!

My best guess is that the body interpreted the low protein intake as starvation, and coupled with the celiac disease that I still hadn't healed from, the body stored most of the fat calories I was eating.

Storing fat isn't uncommon in low-carb dieters who move to maintenance, after spending months on carbohydrate restriction. The body considers filled fat stores to be a normal condition and will do whatever it can to refill them. 

Generally, this tendency shows up as an increase in hunger or urges to eat, which is why maintenance requires a good deal of awareness.

What was abnormal for me was the way the maintenance calories dropped by so much. On a typical weight-loss diet, your maintenance calories will be a little bit higher than what you have to eat to carve off the pounds. Not lower.

I gave Jimmy Moore's version of Nutritional Ketosis a longer trial period than any other low-carb high-fat diet I have tried up to this point, except for the times I did zero carb. Zero carb really sent my metabolism into a frenzy, which is why I think that the low protein and high fat did the same thing.

Overall, carbohydrate restriction has been very discouraging for me, especially when those who became aware of my experiment were not very accepting of the outcome. 

Just like how people rejected my own tweaked version of Atkins, and told me I was starving myself eating that way, I have learned over the course of my journey that n=1 experiments only have validity within the low-carb space if your results are what they want to hear.

Individual metabolic differences are pretty much shunned by the low-carb community as their mindset and belief system is that everyone should be eating low carb, including children.

While it's true that kids don't need tons of junk carbs, the blood sugar spikes that low carbers use to justify their beliefs only occur in those who have some form of metabolic damage. They do not occur in everyone. Those with good insulin sensitivity do not experience blood glucose spikes.

Reaction of the Low-Carb Community to My Experiments

It seems that many people feel that if you try something and it doesn't work for you, then you either:
  • did it wrong
  • have metabolic issues that make your test invalid
  • you weren't serious about low carbing in the first place
One woman even pointed out to me that the name of this blog -- There's Life after Low Carb -- proved I wasn't sympathetic to the low-carb cause, so how could any low carber take me and my experiment seriously.

Apparently, she didn't know that I'd lost over 100 pounds following a low-carb diet and have a popular low-carb blog that's alive and thriving called Kickin' Carb Clutter.

Since my experience didn't match her beliefs and other Nutritional Ketosis advocates, I'm guessing that my results didn't count.

I started this blog before the Kimkins Diet scandal came out and all the Atkins followers insisted that I stop doing what worked for me -- a lower-fat, low-carb diet with adequate protein -- and move back to the high-fat Atkins Diet to heal my broken metabolism. 

My metabolism definitely wasn't broken. 

I was losing 2 to 3 pounds of body fat per week eating at my sweet spot, but these people still insisted that:

1) My doctor (who approved of what I was doing) didn’t know what she was talking about.

2) The tests she ran on me that proved my health was excellent eating the Kimkins way were invalid.

3) I needed to stop what I was doing immediately or I was going to die.

They didn't really want me to do Atkins by the book. 

That was obvious. 

Dr. Atkins always said that his diet was NOT designed to be a high-fat diet, but Atkins advocates still wanted me to follow their ideas of what they believed a low-carb diet should be:
  • very low-carb
  • very high-fat 
Well, you know what? 

High-fat has NEVER worked for me. 


Not even when I returned to the Atkins Diet in January of 2007 after many years of being disabled and bedridden.

The only low-carb diet that has ever worked for me was an adequate protein, lower-fat, low-carb diet with carbs in the 20 to 60-gram range, fats at 60 grams, and protein between 72 and 90.

What saddens me is that there is so little acceptance within the low-carb community for those who fall outside the norm. I suppose this is because in general, people need to see everyone in their environment doing exactly what they are doing to prove to themselves that they've made the right choice. 

Did You Know that Dr. Atkins Didn't Put ALL of His Patients On a Low-Carb Diet?

Bowl of Uncooked Millet
The Meat and Millet Diet was Dr. Atkins diet of choice
for those who didn't need to lose weight!

Most low carbers believe that everyone in the world should be doing a low-carb diet, even though Dr. Atkins did NOT put all of his patients on a low-carb diet. 

He put those who were normal weight on what he called the Meat and Millet Diet. 

The Meat and Millet Diet was a balanced, moderate-carb diet that included fresh fruit and whole grains. He recommended eating whole grains before the push toward eating whole grains from the food industry even started!

Weight was the criteria he used to determine which diet was best for any one patient, as well as how they reacted to fruit and grains in their diet, so it's ludicrous to think the entire world needs to convert to low carb. 

Keto is a corrective diet for those with metabolic issues. 

So It's Okay to Do What Works for You

It’s taken me a long time to wrap my head around the idea that it’s okay to individualize your diet to suit your own:
  • tastes
  • lifestyles
  • and metabolic defects
You don't have to do what everyone else is doing because everyone else might be wrong. Do what's right for you, and that includes listening to Dr. Atkins’ suggestions rather than the standard cookie-cutter low-carb platform that is so popular today:

“One of the big reasons this diet works so successfully is because you eat protein and fat. And you eat them in just about the sixty to forty proportions in which they usually occur in nature: in a reasonably lean cut of beef for example. Some people actually don’t like fat. They do better on a low-fat diet, but I don’t encourage a low-fat diet, ever.”

The low-carb community sees what they want to see: 

"I don't encourage a low-fat diet, ever." 

Instead of:

"Some people actually don't like fat. They do better on a low-fat diet . . ." 

So, if that's what works for you, then that is what works for you, and who is anyone else to say otherwise?

The low-carb community has traveled a long way away from eating as the Atkins Nutritional Approach originally recommended. They have left Dr. Atkins’ advice behind, that his diet works best if you eat just enough to keep yourself from being uncomfortably hungry, and have adopted a very high-fat calorie-free mindset instead. 

Dr. Atkins' definition of eating luxuriously, of not being afraid of fat, and the role that calories play, differs tremendously from the definition that low-carb dieters were using in 2007. 

And today, the definition of a low-carb diet has gotten even more wayward and distant. 

But that’s fine. 

If it works for them, that’s great. 

You don’t have to follow that path if that path isn’t helping you to achieve your goals. You can create your own path. You can create your own diet or don't diet at all, if that's more to your liking. DO what works for you. Everything else is just  window dressing.


  1. Meatest and millet! I have not heard of that. I have been low carb for 5 yrs+ and am dissatisfied with it. I like the idea of lower carb/fat. Looking forward to exploring your blog.

  2. Few people have heard of the Meat and Millet Diet, but that's what Dr. Atkins used for patients who were not overweight. He didn't preach the "Low Carb for Everyone" mantra that is so popular within the low-carb community today. In fact, his older diet books have a lot of lower fat, lower carb "hints" that most low-carb dieters have missed.

    I've been very slow in implementing a lower fat, lower carb diet into my life, due to circumstances, but that's about to change. So my posts will soon become more frequent and helpful.

    Thanks so much for your comments.


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