Remission and Keto 3 Week Experiment

Once again it has been a crazy long time since I’ve posted a blog entry.  I started a new little experiment yesterday and thought it might be helpful to return to blogging to document my experience.

Update on my autoimmune progress:  I haven’t had a hive attack since back in July when I did those two competitions back to back, so it’s been a bit over 6 months and I am feeling good about it.  I also have competed twice since then and neither time did I really end up with hives leading up to the competitions.  Basically I do feel like I am really in remission now and I have been able to stop worrying about hive outbreaks altogether.

I started modifying my eating habits again a bit yesterday and I plan on trying out this new diet for a strict 3 weeks and seeing how it goes.  The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, moderate protein, very high fat diet and is designed to help your body burn fat for energy.  A consequence of keeping your diet very low in carbs is that you will also have a very low sugar intake, which is one of the things about this diet that appealed to me (I mean, besides the idea of having bacon every day because really, who doesn’t like bacon?).  I have a pretty serious sugar addiction which I am very aware of and chocolate is the main craving that comes up for me time and time again.  Whether it be peanut m&ms or a brownie batter crumble donut from Dunkin’ Donuts (seriously those are just too freaking good), chocolate is my ultimate weakness and unfortunately, I am already very aware of how bad sugar is for me and yet I continue to give in to the cravings.  I am hoping that my little 3 week test run of the ketogenic diet will get me to a place where the cravings aren’t quite so bad.

SCIENCE BEHIND THE KETOGENIC DIET

  • keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it makes the body produce small fuel molecules called “ketones”
  • ketones are produced if you eat very few carbs (that are quickly broken down into blood sugar) and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can also be converted to blood sugar)
  • ketones are an alternative fuel for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply
  • a ketogenic diet causes your entire body to switch its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat
  • on a ketogenic diet insulin levels become very low and fat burning increases dramatically
  • benefits include rapid weight/fat loss, less hunger and reduced sugar cravings, increased mental focus, and a steady supply of increased energy
  • when the body produces ketones it is said to be in ketosis
  • your body typically takes about two weeks to adapt to ketosis while following a ketogenic diet

The two week adaptation period is a large factor in me deciding to give it a full 3 weeks and see how it goes.  It is also the type of diet that you really can’t screw up/cheat on, or it will start you back at square one.  The biggest problem I seem to be having is keeping my protein to a moderate level.  I tend to have about the same amount of grams of protein as I do fat, because most of my sources of fat have the same or more protein.  I ordered some emulsified MCT oil in vanilla and coconut from Onnit though, which is a good source of just healthy fat, so hopefully when that shows up it’ll make it easier to keep my fats higher than my protein.  I plan to try it in my coffee or add it to a smoothie.  My ideal macro percentages are 10% carbs, 20% protein and 70% fat, which for me equals out to about 42 g carbs, 85 g protein, and 131 g fat (I eat close to 1700 calories each day).  My protein usually ends up closer to 30% and my fat is usually closer to 60 or 65% at the end of the day, but I haven’t seemed to have an issue yet keeping my carbs super low.  They usually fall below the 10% mark and I am counting total carbs, not net carbs like some people on the keto diet do.  Counting net carbs allows you to get in more green veggies by subtracting grams of fiber from total grams of carbs.  I do keep net carbs in mind throughout the day, but I feel the lower my total carb intake is the faster I might be able to adapt to ketosis.

You can also measure whether or not your body is producing ketones by getting some urinalysis strips, which I bought for this little experiment.  See below or click on the link for the kind that I bought.

ketone-test-strips
Ketone Urinalysis Strips

I used one of the test strips already to get a baseline, which obviously showed that I was not producing any ketones.  I am going to test myself again at the end of the first week and then at the end of the second week to see where I am and if I have adjusted to ketosis.  Just as a side note, I also already was practicing intermittent fasting, so I am combining that with my keto diet.  I will do another post on intermittent fasting and its benefits in the future.