Here are what I like to call the 3 great pitfalls that people who are insulin resistant can fall into when trying to lose weight on Zero Carb or any Low Carb, High Fat diet.
- Counting calories or counting fat grams. The great secret is to ensure that you are eating high fat food then trust your own body to tell you when you’ve had enough. If you start counting things and stop eating before you are full you are going to fall into the “calorie restricted diet” trap and you will lower your metabolic rate making you feel sluggish and weak, disrupting your sleep and making you get hungry outside your eating window. If you do not believe me, I urge you to read Dr. Jason Fung’s wonderful book “The Obesity Code”.
- Succumbing to lipophobia (fear of fat). We have all been brain washed all our lives with the lie that eating fatty meat would make us get fat, get sick and die a miserable early death. This myth actually started as a revelation that Ellen G. White, the prophet of Seventh-day Adventism had on June 6, 1863 that “God’s people were urged to abstain from flesh food in general and from swine’s flesh in particular”. They founded a low fat, vegetarian Medical School, Loma Linda University and sent out missionaries to spread the word about the dangers of meat and fat and many of their adherents are still pushing the ideal in high places as this blog details. Fat is the greatest secret to success!
- The final and one of the most dangerous pitfalls is running up a sleep deficit. Most adults need to sleep 8-9 hours per night minimum. missing just 2 hours a night for 5 nights in a row can make a person who had a normal glucose tolerance test for insulin resistance at the start have a glucose tolerance test showing they are diabetic at the end. I strongly advise you to set a nightly alarm that will let you get a full eight hours before you have to wake up and when it goes off, ignore it only at your great peril. If you don’t believe this then you need to read the book: “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker Ph.D. One of the 2 or 3 most important books I have ever read in my life!
Here is the simple plan that I use to eat Zero Carb and eat all I want during my eating window without eating too many grams of carbohydrate or protein, both of which can stall weight loss on a ketogenic diet like Zero Carb for people like me who are insulin resistant. If you are unsure if you are insulin resistant please see this post. For truly insulin resistant people Zero Carb doesn’t work very well for weight loss unless you also include protein restriction and intermittent fasting. The eating window (the period each day when you consume anything that contains calories) needs to be no wider than 8 hours per day and I had to use a 6 hour window with 2 large, all I wanted meals with snacks in between the meals to get to my goal weight. I now use an 8 hour window every other day because it fits my lifestyle better and is equally effective. I have been at my goal weight for almost 3 years now which for me means wearing size 32 jeans comfortably. I no longer believe in scales and feel they give confusing and basically useless information.
The big secret that helps me eat all I want till I’m thanksgiving full during my eating window is selecting foods that get between 70-80% of their calories from fat. I find out how much fat is in the foods I commonly eat. If it is less than 70% fat I add fat in the form of a thin slice of butter with each bite. You could also as something like Mayonnaise, Hollandaise, or Bearnaise sauce. Recently I have been making Craft Zero Carb Cheese Sauces, see more below. I cook everything in bacon grease, especially eggs. It is in my opinion impossible to overeat protein if your food is fatty and it tastes delicious. If you go to the Fatsecret website you can look up the percent fat calories of any food you like. Just find the food then look at the “Nutrition summary:” the 3rd line is “Calorie breakdown” there you will see the % fat calories.
Another reliable indicator that meat is more than 70% fat calories is if it has less than 4 grams of protein per ounce which you can also see on the Nutrition Facts Website. Here are my favorite low protein, high fat foods.
- Oscar Mayer Beef Bologna 3.0 grams of protein per ounce.
- All beef hot dogs 3.1 grams of protein per ounce (Nolan Ryan Brand)
- All beef sausage 3.25 grams protein per ounce (Nolan Ryan Brand)
- Oscar Meyer Uncured All beef Sausage 3.0 grams protein per ounce.
- Fried eggs 4.0 grams protein per ounce
- Pork belly that I often roast with my ribs is only 2.6 grams of protein per ounce .
The fattiest steak I have found is RibEye at 6 grams protein per ounce but that is with all the fat trimmed off. Primitive rib eyes (they are untrimmed and are surrounded by an inch or more of fat) and untrimmed ribs are probably much better around 4-5 grams of protein per ounce. Other steaks like sirloin, strip steak, flat iron and other steaks are quite lean and therefore high in protein at about 7 grams of protein per ounce. Roasted chicken breast is a whopping 9 grams of protein per ounce. I avoid chicken breast like the plague unless somehow mixed with large amounts of fat. I do not eat anything that has over 4 grams of protein per ounce without adding additional fat by frying it in fat and pouring the grease back over it, making a fatty sauce like my Zero Carb Cheese Sauce or I simply add a slice of butter to each bite which is why I never eat out without taking a 4 oz stick of butter and usually eating ½-¾ of the stick.
Lately I’ve gotten very creative in adding fat the flavorful way. I make custom cheese sauces and add them to anything I eat. They’re all 96% fat calories. Here’s how I make the base cheese sauce I use a small saucepan on very low heat (we have a small “warmer” or “simmer” burner in the center of our stove. A double boiler would probably be best. I melt three 4 oz sticks of butter (I have tried both salted and unsalted butter and I prefer salted for the queso sauce but use unsalted when I eat butter alone with meat). I then add 4 oz hot water from our electric hot water pot, then put in 4 oz shredded Monterey Jack Cheese and stir until melted.
Next I add my spices (see below) and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Then I put the small saucepan in the sink to catch any spatter and get out my immersion blender. I use the high setting and put it in and blend. Often at first the cheese is so think it will “gum up” the blender but I just keep stopping it, pulling it out, shaking out the cheese, stirring it around and blending again. I usually angle my blender to the side at about 60 degrees and go round and round the pan. After about a minute or 2 it seems to “soften up” all of a sudden and blend easily. The finished product after 4-5 minutes is the consistency of whipped cream. I put it in a tupperware container and leave it on the counter with no refrigeration. I have left it up to 7 days with no mold or spoilage. To make different flavors I just put the spices in with the melted butter and boiling water before I add the cheese, stir and let them simmer the stir again, add the cheese and let it simmer 15-20 minutes longer.
- Mexican Queso Dip flavor I add 1 tbsp Valentina Mexican Hot Sauces (ground red peppers, vinegar and water)
- Ranch Queso Dip: I add 2 tbsp of sour cream,then about ¼ tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp onion powder. It’s great on pork rinds or over chunked meat. I often buy a roaster chicken, chunk up about 8 oz of meat and pour 2-3 ounces of the Ranch cheese sauce over it and call it Zero Carb Chicken A La King.
- For my “Pizza Topping” Cheese Sauce I added 1 heaping tablespoon of tomato paste (<4 grams of carbohydrate). I then dust the top of the pan with a ¼ tsp of garlic powder, ½ tsp of onion powder and 1 tsp of mixed Italian spices.
- German Mustard Cheese Sauce: I add 2 tsp of German Mustard, 2 tsp of dill pickle relish and a teaspoon of freshly grated horseradish. Definitely best over Fatty German Sausage. But I use it to make “Deviled Egg Salad”. I hard boil 3 eggs, crush them with 3 heaping tbsp of German Mustard Cheese Sauce, mix it all together, then sprinkle it with paprika and stir it in. You could actually halve the eggs, mix the yolks with the cheese sauce, fill in the holes in the egg halves and dust with paprika and it would be Zero Carb Deviled eggs.
- Queso Stroganoff – Add a beef bouillon cube to the 4 oz water in the standard recipe and add 2 tbsp of sour cream before blending. Serve over thin ribeye steak strips
- Enchilada Queso – 2 tbsp sour cream, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp cumin powder. Serve over scrambled eggs
- Indian Tikka Masala Cheese sauce: add 1 tbs tikka masala spice mix. Serve over chunked roaster chicken or turkey. I use the McCormick Tikka Masala Spice pack.
For you “macro counters” out there both the cheese and the butter labels list 0 carbohydrates per ounce which means it could contain up to 0.9 grams of carbohydrate in a worst case scenario for 14.4 carbs max (and probably much lower) in the 20 ounces, which is under my “no more than 1 carb per ounce in anything I eat rule. It contains 272.4 grams of fat from the butter an 36 grams of fat from the cheese for a total of 308.4 grams of fat. It has 3 grams of protein from the butter and 24 grams of protein from the cheese for a total of 27 grams of protein. This means 108 calories from the protein and 2775.6 calories from the fat for a total of 2883.6. So the percent fat calories is 2775.6/2883.6 X 100. It is 96% fat calories! It keeps at room temperature and it’s a fun, delicious way to add fat to your meat!