Ketogenic Diet Round X

I resumed a ketogenic diet┬álast month because I started having issues with carb crashes and brain fog again. The last time I tried the diet I gave up after approximately 3 weeks due to lethargy and weakness. I hit the 3 week mark at the beginning of this week and encountered the same symptoms. There is an excellent subreddit on keto dieting and several people noted that this was normal (even after 3 weeks) and usually due to lack of fluid and electrolyte management. I found that after increasing fluid and electrolyte intake I felt much better. I’m now enjoying the cognitive benefits and constant energy levels this diet is known to provide.

Best Of 2015

Despite the bad condition of the global steel industry (excluding China) and the very bad condition of electrode companies, 2015 was a decent year for me. I started thinking about a “best of” list for some reason and so put it together for the things that came to mind right away.

Best New Tech: Evernote
I know that it has been around for several years, but I didn’t start using it consistently until a few months ago. Evernote has made it much easier for me to stay organized. Dump everything into it and forget about it for a few weeks and see how easy it is to find it later. I like it so much that I upgraded to premium ($50 / yr) even though I didn’t need the features. I just wanted to support the company.

Best New Steel Tech: My colleague Dirk Riedinger from BSE gave a paper at the METEC conference. The presentation was titled “a new dimension of designing arc furnace high current systems” and detailed research he and his team have conducted into EAF secondary magnetic induction. I felt like I was the only person in the room that understood the potential of this technology. This is a big deal and I expect very good things to come from this.

Best Travel Trip: Berlin
I was stationed in Germany for 3 years in the USAF but never had the opportunity to visit Berlin. I finally made it there for a few rainy days over the summer. It is an awesome city and I would really like to spend a lot more time there.

Best Book: Capital in the 21rst Century
This was the summer book to read in 2014, but I didn’t get around to reading it until 2015. It’s an excellent book and I can highly recommend it.

Best Movie: Lone Survivor
I read the book and watched the movie. I don’t like reading/hearing about US servicemen/women becoming casualties. I’m glad that the military allowed Mr Luttrell to tell his story. Hopefully the military learned from this and incidents like this don’t happen again.

Best TV Series: The Americans
Season 3 aired in 2015 on FX. It just keeps getting better. Season 4 starts in March.

Best Music: Mastodon Leviathon
This was released in 2004 but I bought it this year and was blown away. This was a really tough choice between this and Dream Theater’s Metropolis Pt 2 which I also bought this year and was blown away by.

Best Meal: Tacos at Taqueria El Paisa
This is a small taqueria in Celaya Mexico. A colleague took us there for a late quick supper. The tacos were outstanding, and cheap.

Best Fitness Lesson: Be careful with protein
This year I learned that certain proteins such as whey and amino acid supplements can cause spikes in insulin levels. This is similar to the response from high glycemic carbohydrates and results in fat storage. I started losing weight (fat) as soon as I reduced my whey intake to <25g / day and eliminated amino acid supplements.

Ketogenic Diet Week 6

I am almost finished with 6 weeks of ketogenic dieting. I have lost 8.8 Lbs, some of which is water and unfortunately some is probably muscle. I have lost strength which I knew would happen based on past experience. Every ketogenic dieting book I have read claims that the strength will come back, but this doesn’t seem to be the case for me. I am convinced that you have to have carbohydrate to to build, or at least maintain muscle.

I am planning to continue this diet for at least a few more weeks. I would like to lose another 10 Lbs, but am not sure how feasible that is. The one thing I really like about this diet is that once you establish ketosis you have constant energy throughout the day (at least I do). Another thing that I have noticed is that my brain seems to work better, it’s hard to explain but I feel smarter. I have read about other people having the same experience and it is due to the brain utilizing ketones as fuel instead of glucose.

Ketogenic Dieting (Again)

My body really wants to store every gram of carbohydrate I take in right around the middle. I’m convinced that my ancestors were arctic explorers. I don’t really care for the heat, I don’t mind the cold at all and my body wants to store fat right around the vital organs which helps to hold heat in and I can maintain low intensity cardio for hours. Perfect physical qualities for an arctic explorer (the kind that walked anyway).

I have had fat around the middle since I was a teenager and have tried several different approaches to dieting in order to get rid of it. I am not overweight by medical standards, approximately 15-17% bodyfat, but I would like to be at about 10%. I have tried ultra-low carb dieting several times with mixed success. I decided to give it another try about a month and a half ago and am down approximately 8 Lbs. I assume at least half of that is water. My waist measurement is probably the best indicator of fat loss for me and it has decreased 2 inches which is good.

I thought I would mention a few pros and cons about this diet for anyone that is considering trying it.

Pros:

  • Constant energy throughout the day. This is the biggest plus for me. I used to get these really bad carb crashes after lunch and for years I wondered what the problem was. The first time I tried a low carb diet they completely stopped and it dawned on me. I have also noticed increased mental focus and clarity. This is a side effect of the brain utilizing ketones instead of glucose. Some people stay on this diet just for these reasons alone.
  • If done properly, it works.
  • It is muscle sparing. You may lose a small amount of muscle initially, but much less than low calorie carbohydrate based diets.
  • Once fat adapted, you won’t really be that hungry.
  • Theoretically you will tap into a huge store of energy, on the order of 10’s of 1000’s of calories depending on your bodyfat content. My experience has been that this is sort of true, but I feel like there is a rate limit on the metabolism of fat. When I am running I do run out of gas. However, there are athletes who do marathons in a ketogenic state and so it is possible.
  • There are many proven positive health impacts: reduced cholesterol, remission of diabetes, reduction in blood pressure, reduction of swelling, etc.
  • I really enjoy eggs fried in butter, cheese, whole cream, fatty meat, etc.

Cons:

  • Availability of compatible food. If you travel, this diet can be difficult. You can usually find decent things in restaurants, but finding something in an airport can be a challenge. The best bet is to carry a bag of nuts.
  • I don’t believe it is possible to build muscle on this diet. Others disagree, but everyone is different. I have continued to lift hard and I have continued to lose strength despite doing everything correctly.
  • Water secretion. You will have to pee a lot because your body will not store water. Not a huge deal, but annoying sometimes.
  • Salt secretion. Your body will no longer store salt and you will pee all of it out. Electrolyte management is a huge issue for me. I find that I need to take in on the order of 4 grams of salt/day or I start feeling lethargic and get crampy. I typically drink a few cups of bouillon throughout the day and salt my food liberally.
  • Fat/Protein balance. Some sources recommend 50-60% of calories from fat. I have found that I need to keep it much higher, on the order of 75% or else I will feel like hell.
  • Adaptation period. This can be rough and can last a while. Most sources say 2-6 weeks. You won’t be tired throughout this period, probably just a few days, but you will be weak. If you’re just sitting around then it isn’t an issue, but if you have an active lifestyle (like me) then it gets annoying.
  • Loss of Strength/Muscle. Most sources claim that you will initially lose strength but it will come back with a vengeance after a few weeks. I haven’t experienced this. I am still weaker than when I started and it has been 6 weeks.
  • No sugar, bread, rice, potatoes, tortillas, etc. It is as hard as it sounds, at least for me. Especially when you see everyone around you drinking coke, eating ice cream, cookies ….

I really feel bad for people that have a lot of weight to lose after going through what I have just to get rid of a few Lbs. It is not easy.