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Hack my ketogenic diet! and other ketosis questions

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 13, 2013 at 4:39 PM

I'm trying to induce nutritional ketosis in an attempt to glean its mood-stabilizing and mental clarity benefits, and to stabilize my energy and alertness levels throughout the day.

I'm currently employing the following diet:

8am:

  • 2 tbsp MCT oil

1pm:

  • 2 tbsp MCT oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup steamed spinach

7pm:

  • 2 tbsp MCT oil
  • 10 oz grass-fed beef (swapped out for wild salmon and beef liver once weekly)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup steamed spinach

This comes to 100g protein, 187g fat, 5g net carb for an energy total of 1950 kcal (I'm a 6'1" male weighing 192 lb). I'm also supplementing with all of the vitamins/minerals listed on the Perfect Health Diet supplements page to cover micronutrient bases, and taking 5g BCAA to leverage the ketogenic properties of leucine.

Questions:

  1. Am I taking in enough calories to sustain a reasonable energy level throughout the day? Once in ketosis, does the body seamlessly switch between burning dietary fat for energy and burning bodyfat when dietary fat is not consumed, or will energy/alertness levels dip on a day when fewer calories are consumed?

  2. In the absence of significant quantities of consumed sugars, is there any level at which saturated fat intake becomes toxic or ill-advised?

  3. How does "getting knocked out of ketosis" work? Does whether or not the body is burning ketones instead of sugars for energy depend mainly on the insulin response to/glycemic load of consumed carbohydrates (and so could slowing the digestion of consumed sugars with fats and acids prevent one from getting "knocked out"), or does the body's fat vs. sugar metabolism simply depend on the absolute quantity of carbohydrate consumed in a particular span of time?

  4. I'm interested in Paul Jaminet's idea of eating 50g carb/day from safe starches while pounding ketogenic fats, to benefit from ketosis while also consuming enough carbs to supply the body's assorted glucose needs. Has anyone had success with this? I'm planning on starting CrossFit soon and I'm operating on the notion that taking in some starches on workout days will improve my performance. Can anyone comment on this, or on a ketogenic diet's impact on workout performance in general?

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on May 13, 2013
at 09:37 PM

i agree linds. i eat at least 2500 calories a day and i weigh 100 lbs.

7e7aefadfbe6648e244722e6df91d00a

on May 13, 2013
at 05:25 PM

Thanks Linds. I agree it seems low for my age/size - I'm having trouble figuring out what to eat to increase caloric load of the diet without compromising its ketogenic quality, either through too many carbs or too much protein (via gluconeogenesis). I guess I could always just drink more MCT oil ...

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2 Answers

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 13, 2013
at 05:36 PM

I suspect you will need to increase your food intake, if not now, soon. As your fat stores dwindle, you will begin to have less energy. You may not feel it now, ten to twenty lbs later, you definitely will.

The 'ill advised' level of saturated fat is usually determined by gastro-intenstinal difficulties. You will notice these difficulties and adjust accordingly.

From the carb backloading/refeed/etc... experimentation among athletes, it seems, assuming your muscles are really depleted of carbs, that you can eat something with a relatively high glycemic load, the muscles will fill relatively quickly since they are primed to through a means independent of insulin. Then the athletes can return to pre-workout level of ketosis relatively quickly. Therefore, it seems the tendency to try for slow-carbs and/or carbs mixed with fat to slow things down may actually cause problems. Insulin seems to rising higher and sticking around longer for these mixed meals, so even though the blood glucose profile looks pretty good, people could be suppressing their ketone production. (This is the picture I am getting from all my reading/listening anyway.)

So, given that, you'll probably do good eating those carbs post workout. I started eating a lot of carbs and I finally managed to put on some weight, but then I got a little worried and tried to put the brakes on it. So, now I am trying a cup of white rice on my workout days. Sometimes that ends up being two. It turns out, when you tell your body you want to build muscle, it turns around and tells you it wants food. After years of dieting, this feels very unsettling, like I've just feng shiu-ed the place and now somebody is pulsing some unharmonious chi across the coffee table.

1
5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on May 13, 2013
at 04:53 PM

Wow. I can't answer your questions but I just had to say that only 1950 cals seems quite low for your height/weight/age. I eat more than that and I'm a 5'7" 110 lb 25yo female.

I'm sure other PHers who are more experienced with ketosis will chime in here, but have you tried using something like this ketosis calculator to see what your basics should be in terms of calories/macros?

Also where are your veggies? You should be trying to get your vitamins/minerals from whole foods and not out of a pill. Track your macros in cronometer and see where you're lacking. I'm not against supplementation but it would probably be much more enjoyable (and less expensive) to get what you need out of your meals. You can achieve ketosis on a whole food diet with plenty of fresh veggies (the fiber doesn't count towards total carb count, so keep that in mind).

Good luck!

7e7aefadfbe6648e244722e6df91d00a

on May 13, 2013
at 05:25 PM

Thanks Linds. I agree it seems low for my age/size - I'm having trouble figuring out what to eat to increase caloric load of the diet without compromising its ketogenic quality, either through too many carbs or too much protein (via gluconeogenesis). I guess I could always just drink more MCT oil ...

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on May 13, 2013
at 09:37 PM

i agree linds. i eat at least 2500 calories a day and i weigh 100 lbs.

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