I am trying to get into ketosis and am finding it very difficult I think because I am having microbinges at almost every meal (I have a long history of doing this). Is it possible that eating too much, even if it's spoonfuls of ghee, would prevent me from entering ketosis because of blood sugar spikes or something?
also, does anyone have info on damage I could be doing to my body just from overeating...like is it stressing my body out to be in this constant overfed state?
I am 5'4 112lbs and currently (over)eating at about 2000-2500cal/day, walking is my only exercise, and I have gained 5lbs in the past couple months since being more strict about eating a clean Paleo diet. I consume between 20-35g carbs/day and 35-60g protein, the rest is fat.
asked bynursling (1178)
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on September 30, 2012
at 11:33 PM
I would address the binges and not worry so much about ketosis.
Chances are that you are binging because you are needing some micronutrients.
Are you taking Magnesium?
Getting enough Zinc?
Do you eat liver? Seafood?
on October 01, 2012
at 07:11 AM
Your carbs and protein are too high. Here's what I suggest. For a few days, eat only 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram of your ideal body weight. You weigh 112 pounds, so at most that's 41 grams of protein. The rest of the diet will be fat. No carbs at all. Make sure you're really measuring accurately and really counting every calorie you swallow. Every single calorie. People tend to eat more than they think they are eating.
Limit your overall calories to whatever amount maintains your weight on a long-term basis.
By the third or fourth day, and probably sooner, I guarantee your ketone meter will read higher than 0.6 unless it's broken. After that, if you want, you can gradually add some carbs back in until your ketones fall.
I ate that exact diet for months to treat my migraines, with about ten grams of carbs thrown in from things like celery. My blood ketones (plasma beta-hydroxybutyrate) averaged about 6.5 mmol/dL. That's 10 times higher than your reading. To get that high probably takes a few weeks.
I think it's very unlikely that ghee is lowering your ketones. If anything it's adding ketones to your blood because it contains ketogenic fatty acids. Dairy fat is ketogenic.
Formulas and prescriptions are only rough guidelines. You have to adjust your diet according to what the blood meter tells you. Trust the meter, not formulas. Your ketones are low so obviously you have to adjust the diet. The easiest way to make the adjustment is to crank the volume up all the way (in other words, restrict protein to 0.8 g/kg and eliminate carbs). Then gradually dial it down.
By the way, you can gain weight on this kind of diet if you eat too much. People have the idea that you can't gain fat when your ketosis is high. It's not true. I've added a few inches to my waist on this sort of diet and had to reduce calories to lose it. In fact I've gone through several cycles like that, with my waist expanding and shrinking several inches.
If you are doing this in order to treat your hypoglycemia, I'm not sure ketosis will help. When you cause ketosis by removing glucogenic foods from the diet, blood glucose and ketones usually move inversely. In other words, as ketones rise, glucose falls and vice versa. (I don't know if this applies to diabetics.)
The whole point of this kind of ketosis from the body's point of view is to reduce its use of glucose. Ketones are just a means to an end. The end is lowered glucose consumption. That's why blood glucose falls.
You may be tempted to use your ketone meter to check your glucose level to see if you're hypoglycemic. Unfortunately neither of the two existing blood ketone meters (Precision Xtra and Nova Max Plus) is capable of measuring low glucose levels. The Nova Max Plus starts giving crazy high results when glucose gets below about 80. I've gone through dozens of glucose test strips with the Nova and never once did it show a blood glucose lower than 80 even when my blood glucose was actually in the low 60s. In fact just a few hours ago my Nova told me my glucose is 103 when it was actually in the low 60s. The Xtra's a little better but it becomes erratic somewhere around 70. I've tried about five different home glucose meters and they all have this problem. The only way I've found to measure low glucose levels accurately at home is with a HemoCue 201 which costs about $400. (The reason I know my real blood glucose is the HemoCue, plus the fact that I've been fasting for twelve days, so my glucose should be in the low 60s.)
These comments apply only to glucose readings. The Xtra and Nova Plus are very accurate when measuring ketones (BHB).
on October 01, 2012
at 01:03 AM
Maybe you need to take a break from ketosis and do some carb cycling-- I have started to do this with berries, butternut squash, and steamed carrots (potatoes, even sweet, are too heavy for me!) and I feel much better. I also eat these foods separate from the rest of my meals for maximum digestion especially since they will secrete more insulin. I feel higher energy and I don't feel the need to over-eat ever. Actually my appetite has decreased too much! I hope this helps.
And also you'd be surprised how many carbs you can get away with while still staying low carb. It is the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
on September 30, 2012
at 10:14 PM
No. Too much carbohydrate or protein will knock you out of ketosis, too much fat generally will not. You do get some gluconeogenesis from the glycerol part of triglycerides (at about 10% by weight), but you'd have to eat an incredible amount for fat for that to be a factor.
From your macros are (at the top end): 35g Carbs 60g Protein 235g Fat
KR=(Fat * .9 + Protein * .46) / (Carb * 1 + Protein * .58 + Fat * .1)
- < 1.0 Not ketogenic, if healthy you won???t register ketones
- 1.0 ??? 1.5 Mildly ketogenic, you may register ketones at this level
- 1.5 ??? 2.0 Ketogenic, most people will register ketones
- > 2.0 Very ketogenic, you should definitely see ketones in this range
Your score is 2.56 which should be highly ketogenic. The KR is only a rough indicator, but you should be producing ketones at that level.
Why do you think that you are not in ketosis? Ketostix are a pretty unreliable indicator.
on October 01, 2012
at 08:29 PM
thank you for your response, it helps a lot.
I am mostly trying to heal my brain with ketones...
That's why I did it too. In my case, migraine. Ketosis can be an effective treatment for some neurological diseases. It has been used for nearly a century to treat epilepsy in children, and it helped my migraines tremendously.
I have been trying to limit my protein per Ron Rosedale and Nora Gedgaudas' guidelines...
I haven't read their work but you may be making the same mistake I made. For a couple of years I wasted time trying to learn how to enter high (therapeutic) ketosis from books by people who aren't experts on therapeutic ketosis. Finally I discovered the extensive medical literature on therapeutic ketosis and learned how to adjust my ketosis however I want it. You've made a great start by buying a blood ketone meter. A goood place to begin is with books and websites for parents of kids with epilepsy. The original ketogenic diet -- the one that neurologists call the ketogenic diet -- was invented for epileptic kids in the 1920s. I've put a lot of links about this stuff on my website (which unfortunately is under construction):
Finally, it's very useful to know that there are two ways to raise blood ketones. First, you can add ketogenic foods to your diet: MCT oil, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, branched chain amino acids, and dairy fat. I've listed them in order of what I imagine is their ketogenicity but I don't recall seeing any test results to back up my impression. If anybody knows of such tests, I'd appreciate a link. These foods tend to raise blood ketones regardless of whatever else is in your diet.
For some illnesses, this type of "ketosis" may be enough. Dr. Mary Newport has reported good results with this approach with Alzheimer's disease. (See links on my site.)
The other way of raising ketosis is to remove foods from which the body can manufacture glucose. This includes both carbs and protein. This is the basis of "the" ketogenic diet (the classical medical diet invented in the 1920s). This is what you've been trying to do, but unsuccessfully because you didn't realize how drastically carbs and protein have to be limited. A lot of research has been done in this area by pediatric neurologists. The two books linked on my site (both of them about diet for kids with epilepsy) explain how to construct this kind of diet in excruciating detail.
my carbs come from vegetables or trace amounts from coconut, nut, avocado, etc, but I will curb them too...
A teensy amount of carbs can lower ketosis tremendously. You have to experience it yourself to believe it. Sometimes my ketosis gets too high (meter readings of 7.5 aren't unusual) and it feels pretty crappy, and I'll eat a single stalk of celery and it has a noticeable effect. That's why I suggested starting with zero carbs and the lowest amount of protein consistent with good health. That will certainly get you into high ketosis (above 3 mmol/dL BHB). Once you've done that, you'll have a better understanding of how this works and what it feels like, and if you want, you can add a little more protein and carbs to your diet and see what happens. It won't take long -- once your glycogen is depleted, which takes 2 or 3 days, it happens rapidly.
Oh, one other thing. About binges. I've noticed (and it seems to be true for most people) that high ketosis suppresses appetite. A lot of people barely get hungry at high levels of ketosis. For example, right now I'm on day 13 of a fast and I'm not hungry.
However, heavy cream seems to override the appetite suppression. Of course dairy isn't paleo, but I mention heavy cream because it's the most palatable pure fatty food and it's used heavily in recipes for kids with childhood epilepsy. I find that it's very easy to pig out on heavy cream. If I swallow a tablespoon of it I can easily go on to drink a pint straight from the container. This seems to be a special property of dairy and it may be caused by the growth-stimulating substances that nature has put in milk. This may be a good thing for kids on these extreme diets but probably not for grown ups. I can tell you from experience that if you pig out on cream this way more than occasionally, you'll quickly get fatter no matter how high your ketosis.
I use grass-fed tallow as my main fat. Coconut oil is probably good too if you can tolerate a large amount.