This low-carb chicken pad thai is one of the best keto recipes for replacing Asian takeout. It’s got all of the flavors that come with normal pad thai, like ginger, crushed peanuts, tamari and chicken, but all served up on spiralized zucchini instead of carb-heavy noodles. Best of all, you’ll have this keto chicken recipe on the table in just 30 minutes.

Whether ketosis is taking place can be checked by using special urine test strips such as Ketostix. The strips have a small pad on the end, which the user dips in a fresh urine specimen. Within seconds, the strip changes color to indicate the level of acetoacetate ketone bodies, which reflects the degree of ketonuria, which, in turn, gives a rough estimate of the level of hyperketonemia in the body (see table below). Alternatively, some products targeted to diabetics such as the Abbott Precision Xtra or the Nova Max can be used to take a blood sample and measure the β-hydroxybutyrate ketone levels directly. Normal serum reference ranges for ketone bodies are 0.5–3.0 mg/dL, equivalent to 0.05–0.29 mmol/L.[29]
The BBB, largely formed by the brain capillary endothelial cells, provides a protective barrier between the systemic blood and the extracellular environment of the CNS. Passage of FAs from the blood to the brain may occur either by diffusion or by proteins that facilitate their transport. Studies indicate that FATP-1 and FATP-4 are the predominant FA transport proteins expressed in the BBB based on human and mouse expression studies (Mitchell et al., 2011).
KBs can cross the BBB but not in a homogenous manner. For example, past experiments have demonstrated that BHB utilization is different in various brain areas (Hawkins and Biebuyck, 1979). Areas without BBB, hypothalamic regions and the lower cortical layers have a higher BHB metabolism compared to the lower one of the basal ganglia (Hawkins and Biebuyck, 1979). Also the metabolic meaning of the three KBs is different: while the main KB produced in the liver is AcAc, the primary circulating ketone is BHB. The third one, acetone, is produced by spontaneous decarboxylation of AcAc, and it is the cause of the classic “fruity breath.” Acetone does not have any metabolic functions, but it can be used as a clinical diagnostic marker. BHB acid is not, strictly speaking, a KB because the ketone moiety has been reduced to a hydroxyl group. Under normal conditions the production of free AcAc is negligible and this compound, transported via the blood stream, is easily metabolized by various tissues including skeletal muscles and the heart. In conditions of overproduction, AcAc accumulates above normal levels and a part is converted to the other two KBs. The presence of KBs in the blood and their elimination via urine causes ketonemia and ketonuria. Apart from being the fundamental energy supply for CNS, glucose is necessary for the replenishment of the quota of oxaloacetate, since this intermediate of the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) is labile at body temperature and cannot be accumulated in the mitochondrial matrix. Hence it is necessary to refurnish the TCA with oxaloacetate via the anaplerotic cycle that derives it from glucose through ATP dependent carboxylation of pyruvic acid by pyruvate carboxylase (Jitrapakdee et al., 2006). This pathway is the only way to create oxaloacetate in mammals. Once produced by the liver, KBs are used by tissues as a source of energy (Fukao et al., 2004; Veech, 2004; McCue, 2010): initially BHB is converted back to AcAc that is subsequently transformed into Acetoacetyl-CoA that undergoes a reaction producing two molecules of Acetyl-CoA to be used in the Krebs cycle (Figure ​(Figure22).

Before we get started, here’s a short recap of the tips so far: The first and most crucial piece of advice was to choose a low-carb diet. The next were eating when hungry, eating real food, eating only when hungry, measuring progress wisely, being persistent, avoiding fruit, beer and artificial sweeteners, review your medications, stressing less and sleeping more, eating less dairy and nut products, stocking up on vitamins and minerals, using intermittent fasting and finally, exercising smart.
The process of generation ketones (ketogenesis) is kept in check by the presence of insulin in the body. Insulin regulates the flow of fatty acids from our fat cells, and it acts in a feedback loop to regulate ketogenesis. As long as insulin is circulating within the body, in general, the flow of fatty acids and the production of ketone bodies will be limited to a range that is not dangerous.  In contrast, ketoacidosis is a condition associated with a lack of insulin.  For example, it can manifest in type 1 diabetics who fail to inject enough insulin, or who are newly diagnosed.

Drink lots of water. This is especially crucial on a low carb or keto diet. Why? When you eat carbohydrates, your body stores the extra as glycogen in the liver, where they are bound to water molecules. Eating low carb depletes this glycogen, which allows you to burn fat – but it also means you are storing less water, making it easier to get dehydrated. Instead of the traditional recommendation of 8 cups of water per day, aim for 16 cups when following a low carb lifestyle.

Made this for the first time tonight, excellent! I read the comments before I started so I knew to beat the eggs well and drain the beef. Thank you to everyone who commented! I didn’t use pickles, instead I put a few dots of sweet relish on top of the beef/bacon layer then spread them out a bit. Not so keto friendly but there isn’t much in a portion and it’s much quicker than dealing with pickles. Hubby asked me what I thought of it as he went for seconds. I quite enjoyed this and he did too! I had much more beef than called for, I used all 3 eggs and beat them well before the whipping cream and yellow mustard went in.There was no eggy taste. I will definitely make this again!
The trick here is not only to avoid all obvious sourced of carbohydrate (sweets, bread, spaghetti, rice, potatoes), but also to be careful with your protein intake. If you eat large amounts of meat, eggs and the like, the excess protein will converted into glucose in the body. Large amounts of protein can also raise your insulin levels somewhat. This compromises optimal ketosis.

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The trick here is not only to avoid all obvious sourced of carbohydrate (sweets, bread, spaghetti, rice, potatoes), but also to be careful with your protein intake. If you eat large amounts of meat, eggs and the like, the excess protein will converted into glucose in the body. Large amounts of protein can also raise your insulin levels somewhat. This compromises optimal ketosis.
In dairy cattle, ketosis is a common ailment that usually occurs during the first weeks after giving birth to a calf. Ketosis is in these cases sometimes referred to as acetonemia. A study from 2011 revealed that whether ketosis is developed or not depends on the lipids a cow uses to create butterfat. Animals prone to ketosis mobilize fatty acids from adipose tissue, while robust animals create fatty acids from blood phosphatidylcholine (lecithin). Healthy animals can be recognized by high levels of milk glycerophosphocholine and low levels of milk phosphocholine.[76] Point of care diagnostic tests are available and are reasonably useful.[77]
"Plenty of people jump right in, thinking all they have to do is cut carbs and increase fat. All of a sudden, they hit a wall and get 'keto flu.' They feel tired, lethargic, and experience headaches," Wittrock says. "The primary reason they get these symptoms is lack of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you're deficient in any of these, you'll suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet."
Moreover, in the above study of Sumithran et al. (2013), ketosis maintains post-prandial secretion of CCK as previously demonstrated by other researchers (Chearskul et al., 2008). Note that the orexigenic effect of BHB is blocked by transection of the common hepatic branch of the vagus nerve (Langhans et al., 1985). The hepatic branch contains fibers from the proximal small intestine, stomach and pancreas, and is sensitive to CCK (Horn and Friedman, 2004); ghrelin signals to brain are also transmitted via vagus nerve (Habara et al., 2014). Thus, the effects of ketosis on these two appetite-related hormones could be one of the many factors related to the effects of such nutritional regimen on food control.
Many low carbers continue to enjoy caffeine-containing beverages with no serious impact on their weight-loss efforts. However, there are some sensitive individuals ... and persons who are extremely insulin resistant may need to restrict or even eliminate all caffeine. If you have been losing successfully then find your weight loss stalled for a month or two, and you are following your program to the letter, you might consider stopping all caffeine for a while, to see if that will get things started again.
Even though intracellular metabolism and activation of the ATP-sensitive K+ channels appear to be necessary for some signaling effects of FAs, a great amount of the FA responses in the ventromedial hypothalamic neurons are mediated by interactions with fatty acid translocase (FAT)/CD36. Translocase is a FA transporter/receptor that activates downstream signaling even in the absence of intracellular metabolism (Moulle et al., 2014).
We've tested this recipe upwards of 10 times and have never had the burn warning come on; however, several readers have had the warning come on, so we want to give a tip. In step 1 of the Instructions above, after removing the bacon from the pot, we recommend adding a splash of water, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom to deglaze the pan. After that, continue on with step 1 and press "Cancel" to stop sauteing.
As a matter of fact, in animal models intracerebroventricular injections of long-chain FA reduced hypothalamic expression of NPY. NPY is an important orexogenic neuropeptide that is a downstream target of leptin and insulin in the hypothalamus. In some forms of hyperphagic obesity, characterized by elevated plasma leptin and insulin levels, the lack of action of insulin on NPY expression could explain the pathological condition. Central administration of oleic acid, fatty-acid synthase, or CPT-1 inhibitors prevents the rise in hypothalamic NPY mRNA induced by fasting (Obici et al., 2003). But glucose level is also involved in KD's food control mechanisms. According to glucostatic theory (Mayer, 1955) data indicates that ketosis did not influence FA glucose but instead stimulated the elevation of post-prandial glucose (Sumithran and Proietto, 2013) in non-diabetic subjects, while in diabetics there was a reduction of fasting glucose (Westman et al., 2008). It is important to note that carbohydrate availability may increase cellular levels of long-chain FA-CoA through an increase of malonyl-CoA, which inhibits oxidation of FAs.
"It was extremely difficult," he recalls. "You spend your entire life hearing that fat makes you fat and causes heart attacks and strokes. Now, all of a sudden, you're eating 200 grams of fat per day. There is a huge psychological component to conquer before you can become successful with the keto diet. In the beginning, it's like trying to convince people 1,000 years ago that the world is in fact round, not flat."
What is the link between ketones and diabetes? Ketone is a chemical produced by the body when fats are broken down for energy. Ketone testing is important for people with diabetes, because high levels can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), when acid levels become too high in the blood and the person loses consciousness. Find out when and why to do ketone testing. Read now
Tracy, We haven’t tried this recipe with another cooking method, but it should actually be pretty easy! The objective is to cook the chicken (any way you like, poached, baked, grilled, or even rotisserie) until it can be shredded, and then mix the shredded chicken with the creamy sauce. To cook the creamy sauce on the stovetop, we recommend crisping the bacon in a saucepan and then removing it and adding the water and spices. Once the water is simmering, add the cream cheese a bit at a time (slightly softened would probably work best), whisking until it’s incorporated. Cooked this way, you may need to add a splash more liquid (water or broth, if you prefer) to the sauce, because some of the liquid will evaporate off as the cream cheese melts down. Finally, stir in the cooked shredded chicken and shredded cheddar, and serve! If you try it this way, please let us know how it goes!

Hi Gigi, Low carb and keto is about the balance of macronutrients eaten (fat, protein and carbs), not specifically meat or lack thereof. Most people on keto do eat meat, though some people do vegetarian keto. Fat is actually necessary for many body processes. There is no issue for the kidneys with a high fat diet, but if you eat too much protein that isn’t great for the kidneys. It’s a common misconception that keto is high protein (it isn’t). Keto is great for diabetics as it naturally helps stabilize insulin. All of this being said, please know I’m not a doctor and you should consult your doctor on any medical questions or before starting any diet. If you have more questions that aren’t medical questions, I recommend our low carb & keto support group here.
Wow!! This was sooo good! Tried another crack chicken recipe with a ranch packet and had to throw away the leftovers…no one would eat them. This, however is much better!! Didn’t change recipe other than use pre cooked bacon that I cut up. Probably would be better with the grease involved, however, this is AWESOME!! Also, my chicken tenders were still 3/4 frozen and I didn’t adjust time. They were just fine. Thanks for sharing!! A def do over say myself, hubby, and kids!!!
Lisa, Technically Instant Pot doesn’t recommend cooking frozen chicken breasts; however, when we cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, we usually add an extra 3 to 5 minutes to the cooking time. For the slow cooker, you could add all the ingredients as-is (just cook the bacon on the stove top first, add the bacon fat to slow cooker, and store cooked bacon in the fridge until serving). We recommend cooking on high 3 to 4 hours or cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

Hi Laura, just reading your comment and I feel the need to reply to let you know that ketogenic diets and ketoacidosis are completely different states in the body. If you have indeed read as much as you claim, I’m sure you’re aware that ketosis or a state of burning fat for fuel, is not even similar to a state of ketoacidosis seen mostly in type 1 diabetics.


Wondering what fits into a keto diet — and what doesn’t? “It’s so important to know what foods you’ll be eating before you start, and how to incorporate more fats into your diet,” says Kristen Mancinelli, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet: A Scientifically Proven Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss, who is based in New York City. We asked her for some guidelines.
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