I started this question as a response to dooliemcjules' question about VLC, Crossfit, and ketosis. My answer quickly moved in the direction of my pet topic, and I've been wanting to ask about this for a while, so here goes:
I'm no longer doing VLC, but I continue to be interested in being in ketosis. I believe that it provides neuroprotection and that it also may play a part in lifespan extension (implying a shorter morbidity tail, which is what I'm primarily interested in).
The VLC diet was a great hack for initially losing that 30 pounds I needed to lose, but after about four months it stopped being all that effective at further leaning out. I continued VLC for several years, but I had problems with it, not the least of which was that Crossfit workouts just wore me out and made me want to sleep all the time. There were also other problems like random bouts of insomnia and random bouts of intestinal distress. Adding some carbs back in helped immensely.
But then the ketosis goes right out the window...
So, I've been spending a lot of time wondering if you can have a higher-carb diet and still be in ketosis. Over at Perfect Health Diet, Paul Jaminet has some interesting posts about therapeutic ketogenic diets for children with NBIA. Part 1. Part 2.
So we have three ways to make the diet ketogenic:
1) Make Wilder???s ???ketogenic ratio??? high by eating a lot of fat, very few carbs, and not too much protein.
2) Supplement with the ketogenic amino acids lysine and leucine.
3) Supplement with coconut oil or another source of short-chain fats.
If we do (2) or (3), then the diet can be ketogenic even if it has a fair number of carbs.
EDIT: I meant to include a mention that there's a lot of discussion out there about using MCTs in conjunction with IFing.
I recently started my N=1 experiment. Coconut oil and palm kernel oil are about one-half MCTs, and so are a good source. However, I'm one of those folks who finds coconut oil unpleasant (haven't tried palm kernel oil). So I bought a bottle of 100% MTC oil and some powdered 100% leucine, and I'm experimenting with ways to incorporate these into my daily diet. 1 Tablespoon of MCT oil and 5g powdered leucine daily. Other than these supplements (and some vitamins), my diet is almost 100% real-food Paleo.
Preliminary results are that I seemed to have obtained a new superpower: I can make ketostix turn deep, dark purple, even while consuming 75-100g carbs daily. This is definitely a change from before.
EDIT: Just to be clear, the goal of this hack is not necessarily to lose fat. The goal is to induce ketosis without being VLC. Why? To gain the possible benefits of ketosis: neuroprotection and life-span extension.
Am I out of my mind? You can't have it both ways. This could never work. Thoughts?
The MCT oil is flavorless. The powdered leucine tastes like crap. If I can't figure out a way to make it more palatable, I'm going to have to abandon it. How do you make leucine more palatable? I swear, I'm going to need psychotherapy to get over the flavor and aftertaste.
asked bysmcdow (641)
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on September 13, 2011
at 02:00 AM
This is my life. I love this question, because it seriously is my life.
I was ZC for three full years, eating only meat and the fat in which the meat resides. Three years. It's a long time to avoid dinner parties, dates, meals with family and friends. I managed to stay pretty darn pure during that time.
The reason I ate ZC was because I lived with disfunctional eating for most of my 45 years. I had a bottomless hunger; I couldn't eat one plate of food, I had to eat three. Or four. I can't begin to explain the hunger of the dog that haunted me. Every meal was an opportunity to continue feasting until my belly extended into unknown dimensions.
I started four years ago by eating a standard low carb diet. I ate meat, cheese, fat, green veggies, tomatoes, and some of those Frankenfoods and so called "Candy Cigarettes" like artificial sweeteners, almond flour, coconut flour, pork rinds from a bag. My hunger started to abate. The extra pounds I carried began to disappear into some unexpected ether. I could last four, maybe five hours between meals. I can't begin to explain how much my life changed. I stopped thinking about food, I stopped planning my life around grocery shopping, around the times my family wouldn't be at home to watch me gorge. My life became almost normal.
The more I constricted carbs, the more my life made sense. When I finally gave up carbs altogether - and by carbs I mean anything other than meat or fat, as I know that liver and heart and eggs have some amount of carbohydrate, but for the intent of this post I will consider those amounts unconsiderable...
I kept a ZC diet for three years. I didn't think about food, almost had to force myself to eat. I ate upward of 3500 calories a day, though I am 45 and 5'6" and a woman. I lost all of the weight I needed to lose, and my body wanted to move, wanted to celebrate its new freedom.
But living ZC is frakkin' tough. No salad. No nothin' other than ribeye and loin cut and drumstick and wing. I ate butter, I drank cream. And I found that if I tried to be social, I would fuck up my diet; I would find myself face-down in the N6-laden dressing or attacking a plate of lasagna. My life revolved not around the pursuit of food for once, but the avoidance of food. Either way - SAD or ZC - my life was fucked.
I started reading all that I could, and decided to try something new. I've been doing this for three months, and I am astounded. What I've done is a bit crazy, and a bit smart. I added a bunch of carbs - 150 grams a day of carbs - and at the same time I added crazy amounts of MTC and coconut oil. I thought that if I could keep some semblance of ketosis going, I could be social. Isn't that nuts? I didn't make the switch for basic body health but for mental health. And the results?
- I eat potatoes, root veggies, and green veggie along with my meat and fat.
- I don't eat grains or any "Frankenfoods."
- I eat more than 6 tablespoons of MTC and coconut oil a day.
- I eat more than 3500 calories a day, and exercise three times a week other than basic walking here and there.
I feel the best I have ever, ever felt in my entire life. Times a million.
I can eat out with friends - a Cobb salad, perhaps, or a nice sirloin and eggs with hashbrowns.
I feel strong.
I don't think about food.
And... I ended up losing weight, though I eat in excess of 3500 calories a day, and my workout consists of three hour-long crossfit workouts a week - so that I look pretty damn hot for 45 and don't ever, ever, ever think about food except when I know I "should" eat.
I can't begin to tell you how my life began when I added carbs and then added MTC and coconut oil. It's a miracle.
on September 11, 2011
at 04:24 PM
I have a question about this part:
"I'm no longer doing VLC, but I continue to be interested in being in ketosis. I believe that it provides neuroprotection and that it also may play a part in lifespan extension (implying a shorter morbidity tail, which is what I'm primarily interested in)."
Do you think these benefits accrue simply by producing ketones, or by being in a typical keto diet context of low carboydrate? It may be a mix of those two, or even predominantly the latter.
NEUROPROTECTION: If the liver is producing ketones despite having an adequate glycogen supply, I would presume the brain would not need to totally switch to ketone use.
LIFE EXTENSION: This seems to be partially due to fat burning vs carb burning. If you are still eating carbs, they will be burned, no?
So in summary, I am curious as to whether this diet is really doing what you want it to do. You can have your ketones and eat them too, but that also means you can have your carbs and eat them too.
on September 12, 2011
at 05:24 PM
This is an excellent question, and something that I've been thinking a lot about, too. I have had to go to a ZC diet to get my weight and mood needs met, and one hypothesis about why VLC isn't good enough for this for me is simply the degree of ketosis. I too have bought MCT oil and leucine, but I haven't started experimenting with adding carbs yet, because I'm still stable, and reluctant to try to fix something that isn't broken.
My suspicion is that this could work, simply because it seems to help epileptic children. I think (don't have ref at this moment) that there is some proportion of children that get remission just on MAD (modified Atkins), but others who have to use the more traditional MCT oil supplemented diet to get better. Of course, that diet has calorie restriction, too, so it's not really clear what is doing what. But my point is that inducing deeper ketosis through factors other than the carb level does seem to help some people, and if so, then it must be affecting the brain in a positive way.
Also, if you look at this study, (which is one of my favourites), it seems to indicate that the ketones alone are the powerhouse. See especially section 5.1 which talks specifically about injecting ketone bodies or ingesting MCT oil independent of diet.
Trying to choke down leucine is one of the very few times I've resorted to using a sweetener in the last couple of years. It's nasty! It also doesn't mix in water, which is annoying. The capsules that Simibee mentioned is a good idea, but it would take a lot of them to get substantial amounts in.
on September 12, 2011
at 12:13 AM
Wouldn't the fact that you're excreting ketone bodies so heavily tell you that it's not the preferred energy substrate when fatty acids and glucose are available?
on September 11, 2011
at 04:23 PM
I honestly don't see why there's any reason you can't have your proverbial cake and eat it too, as the production of ketone bodies is what is important here, regardless of whether this happens through avoiding food which inhibit ketosis or consuming foods which induce it. Also, even with the level of carbs that you are consuming you are most likely slipping in and out of ???true??? ketosis overnight anyway.
Just a quick suggestion for getting the leucine powder down - buy some of those cheap gelatine capsule shells and fill them up with the powder. Alternatively, melt a square of dark chocolate, stir in the powder and form into little lozenges. When set the chocolate will contain the dry powder and provide a pleasant tasting coating, allowing you to neck back the leucine.
on September 13, 2011
at 12:53 AM
i am confused. you can eat a high fat diet and have carbs but just b/c your showing ketones just means your spilling over excess ketones in your pee. theres no advatage to that. if your eating glucose prodcuing food your going to produce glucose, and burn glucose.you dont get to pick which you run off of unless you purposely diet. i am guesinng with the carbs your eating close o underprotein? what are your stats?
i am not saying you CANT eat this way, just that it isnt doing what you think it is, theres no advantage to turning sticks colors. a longterm keto dieter wont even turn the sticks colors