Keto Without the Fat: Achieving Ketosis on a Low-Fat Diet?


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A keto diet might deter some people because the premise of it is to generally consume more fat, which can be off-putting. 

Of course, when we talk about eating more fat on a keto diet, what we mean is healthy, beneficial fat from natural food sources.

Healthy fats can be sourced from foods such as natural oils, like olive oil, or other foods like fatty fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fattier cuts of meat. 

Those of you who still don’t like the thought of increasing your fat content might wonder, “Can you still reach ketosis without eating fat?”

So, can you?

Throughout this article, we will look at whether reaching ketosis is possible without the need for excess fat and what happens if you choose not to eat it. 

Why Do You Need to Eat Fat on Keto?

One of the most common errors people make on the keto diet is not consuming enough fat. This might sound alien to anyone who’s never done keto before and is used to low-fat diets. 

However, keto works by lowering your carb intake to such low levels that after a few days, your body starts to burn fat for energy instead of carbs. At this point, you’ve reached ketosis

This is why eating more healthy fats is essential when on keto. 

You can find a great list of foods to eat on keto, which includes these beneficial fats, here. 

Overall, 75% of your daily calorie intake should come from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbs. Sticking to this balance of macronutrients is what ensures that the body will stay in ketosis.

Is it Possible to Reach Ketosis Without Eating Fat? 

So, while many people might have the misapprehension that eating more fat will lead to weight gain, this is, in fact, the only way you will reach ketosis. 

So, the answer to the question is: Can you get into ketosis without fat? No, you can’t. 

As long as the fats you’re consuming are not saturated and come from healthy, natural sources such as meat, dairy, nuts, and avocado, you will reach ketosis. 

If you attempt to start a keto diet by reducing your carbs and still restricting fat, all that will happen is your body will go into starvation mode. This significantly damages your health; you will feel constantly hungry and crave carbohydrates. Your body will also start to cling to your fat stores as a way of survival. 

Yes, you might lose weight quicker doing this, but it’s neither sustainable nor healthy and could lead to weight gain down the line, failure to maintain the diet, and severe health complications.

If you don’t think you can keep up with the amount of fat consumption keto requires, it might not be the diet for you, and perhaps a diet such as Paleo might suit you better than the two diets here. 

How to Consume Enough Fat on Keto

If you’re struggling to keep up with your fat goals on keto, there are things you can do to ensure you’re consuming enough. 

Start by downloading an app such as MyFitnessPal and setting your macros to the correct percentages: 75% fat, 25% protein, and 5% fat. 

Note: These macros can be altered slightly; if you’re new to the diet, you might want to start with a higher carb ratio, like 10%. 

Secondly, set alarms on your phone for certain times of the day to prevent you from missing meals. 

If you don’t like the idea of loading every meal with cheese, butter, and oil, there are some supplements you can take that will increase your fat load, such as MCT powders. 

The Bottom Line

So the answer to this commonly asked question, “Can you reach ketosis without eating fat?” is a clear no. But you don’t have to worry about this extra fat consumption making you gain weight. 

The fat you consume and the fat you already have stored break down in very different ways, so while in ketosis, your body will use the fat consumed to digest while using the fat stored for energy, resulting in weight loss. 

Overall, keto has proven to be one of the most effective diets for weight loss, so science speaks for itself. If this guide has put your mind at ease and convinced you to begin a keto journey, check out our ultimate beginner’s guide to the keto diet.