Peanut Butter and jelly. Ham and cheese. Some combinations are just made in heaven. For me, it’s chocolate and peanut butter.
In the food/nutrition/diet world, it’s intermittent fasting.
I sort of laughed hysterically at this crowd when I first heard about this a year or so ago. I spent considerable time veering away from these videos. I loved food TOO much. Why would someone skip a meal? HOW could they skip a meal? I mean, don’t these people get hungry and can’t function? Headaches? Let’s not forget….catabolism!
Well, it turns out, it’s a hell of a lot easier than I thought, and doing it on keto is almost a natural step.
The first week of any low carb diet – you are so happy with the amount of fatty foods you can eat. For me, it was the wings and drumsticks. And the eggs and butter. You just eat. It’s fun. And then, suddenly, your hunger dissipates. You drop some weight, and suddenly, shit gets real. You no longer want to eat 5 chickens for dinner, and you struggle through 3/4ths of a small rotisserie chicken.
As the weeks go on, your body gets better and better at burning fats. Your satiety levels are off the chart. You no longer really NEED that big lunch you packed. You no longer WANT to make up 5 eggs for breakfast.
Then you find bulletproof coffee. Suddenly, you cut 300 calories out of breakfast without realizing it. Your lunches shrink in size to 400 calories. You find yourself looking down the barrel of a 1600 calorie deficit you need to fill for dinner. You eat a GIANT bowl of cabbage and chicken thighs and a massive spinach salad…and then realize you’re still 900 under. And you are stuffed.
This is what happens on keto after some time. You become “fat adapted” and your body seems to be constantly satiated.
Enter intermittent fasting. There’s all kinds of this, but the most popular is the 16-8 eating window. This means that you have dinner at 7PM, then don’t eat again 11AM the next day. You then have all of your calories in an 8 hour window. So, for me, it’s 2200 calories in 8 hours. Or…1100 calories in each meal. Daunting for where I am. But what about losing gains?
As long as you have .6-.8 g/pound of lean body mass, you’re not really going to lose any muscle.
Of interest though, IF plays a role in significant gains in testosterone and growth hormone. This process may actually help BUILD muscle. I’m also pretty sharp during the day these days, and don’t have a ton of hunger.
This week, I’m trying 24 hour windows of IF. Apparently, the longer you delay the fast (up to 24 hours), the more gains in testosterone/GH. This means I’m not packing a lunch any day this week.
What fasting means on a 16/8 window is that my bulletproof coffee turns to black coffee. Never had it before last week, and it’s growing on me. There went another 300 calories. For lunch? I’m having 2 cups of hot tea with nothing in it. I can also have some bone broth, but didn’t take any to work yet.
What you find about hunger is interesting. You get hungry around the times you think you should eat, and about an hour after that, your hunger goes away. Then it comes back around 11-12:30, then leaves again. When I’m driving home at 4ish, my body feels “trim” as my stomach is completely empty. I feel alert. The hunger has not been unmanageable as I thought it would be – it’s more of a gentle nod every now and then.
So, I’ll monitor my weight this week and see if this had any massive impact. Mostly, I can’t fit 2200 calories into a “healthy” meal. I think I hit 1600 last night. My pot roast/cabbage bowl is about 1,000 calories, then I had a big salad and some of my keto chocolate. I might have hit 1400-1600, then went to “body pump” with the wife and had massive calorie burn with an hour after burn noted on my Fitbit.
As I’ve heard more than a few people say, with keto, you can “burn the fat on your plate or on your waist”. The catabolic effects I’m reading/listening do not start until after 24 hours. As long as you have .6-.8g/pound of lean body mass, that should provide enough protein to convert to glucose for your brain with gluconeogenesis without catabolizing muscle mass. From what I read, with fasting, if you continue to fast, you may lose 4oz of muscle mass every day you fast without putting protein in you. THIS is what people who have hit the gym for years want to avoid. You spend years making gains, you want to lose them in a few weeks of not eating? F that.
To be clear, I’m feasting for dinner. This is not a small side salad and a piece of cheese.
I wanted to see how this worked this week, and next week I may put a lunch back on the menu. We shall see.
Brown fat and white fat.
Calories in/calories out might not be as simple as they make it. Especially with keto. Under the existing calories in/calories out model, they talk about conservation of energy and how a calorie is a calorie. This is not exactly true. Especially with the standard diet promoting so many carbs and having insulin spiking on you all day long – when can you actually burn fat? Seems like most people will start to reduce insulin 12 hours after dinner – so your fat burning window on a standard diet starts around 6AM – and then you’re about to load up breakfast and a nice starbucks.
I just watched an awesome video the other day on brown/white fat. White fat is exactly that – and where fat goes to be stored. Brown fat is a “good” fat which is used for regulation of your body temperature. It “burns” for heat.
Of interest, with a ketogenic diet, they are finding the white fat “turns” to brown fat. This has more to do with building blocks and amino acids/fatty acids beyond my education level, but of interest was this….
The laws of conservation with calories in/calories out, don’t account for the waste with keto. Meaning, this is how someone can “burn” more weight off, despite having a diet with close to the same calories, if not more.
Let’s review something really quickly. If you lose 10 pounds of fat, where does it go? 8.4 pounds of this is carbon dioxide (CO2) and 1.6 pounds of it is water (H2O). Fat is CHO, in its basic form, so this is broken down with equations far beyond my level of chemistry knowledge into gas we breathe out in CO2, water droplets we breathe out, and water we pee out.
So, apparently with the keto diet, turning this white fat into brown fat has an effect of then burning more of the fat for your body heat. The video mentioned something like when a baby gets out of a bath, they aren’t cold – because they have a LOT of baby fat which regulates their temperature. As you get older, you lose this. All of us still have brown fat. This is the “good” stuff we need.
But how does this work with keto? Ketones are…
Beta hydroxybuterate (BHB), acetoacetate, and acetone. That fun breathalyzer I have that I bought to measure if I’m in ketosis? It lights up to .05 when I wake up in the morning.
Meaning, these fats I’m burning break down into ketone bodies. All day long, I’m breathing out CO2 and acetone. Every breath I take out, fat is being burned. When I am at body pump and gasping for oxygen? I’m breathing out fat. I’m peeing it out with ketones – which is why people use ketone strips to determine if they are in ketosis.
So…calories in/calories out may not exactly apply to the keto diet due to the waste not accounted for. Glucose is stored or used. That is your standard model. With ketones, if they are not used, they are flushed from the system.
And this is your magic bullet. This is why people on a ketogenic diet seem to lose so much weight over time. They never store energy due to significantly low insulin levels combined with a very low and moderate protein intake. The protein intake seems to satisfy the brain’s requirement for 600 calories a day of glucose and the rest goes to repairing muscles. Most people see protein with keto and scream “gluconeogenesis”. However, this accounting does not take brains usage of that protein into glucose into effect. You aren’t storing that glucose. The insulin you do get when ingesting protein is taking that glucose to the brain.
But, maybe you need a steady diet of glucose throughout the day to feed the brain? From what I’m seeing, on a fast, the muscle is not broken down until the end of 24 hours. Until then, it uses glucose from the proteins you take in and it also seems to be able to run on ketones.
Overall, I’m finding distinct differences with how I think.
With a glucose-based diet, I was a ridiculously deep thinker. I’d be able to be lost in my brain for hours. Inventing shit. Figuring out the universe. Philosophy. Just things that made me really think deeply – but there was a catch with this. I would have so much on the tip of my tongue, clearly getting out my message was a problem. Lots of white noise as I was trying to form sentences. Almost every spoken word I had, I’d almost have to rehearse it before I said it. This sometimes made oral communication very difficult for me.
What I’m finding with the fat-based diet is the reverse. I am sharp. Quick thinking. Saying things that after I say it, I’m like, “shit, that was profound”. Actions that are razor sharp. Like I’m kicking some ass. However, my “daydreaming” is almost non-existent. I can’t get lost in my head anymore. My “pathways” seem to just stop. I cannot really contemplate shit for hours on end like before. And I believe that IS a big difference with the two means of operating your brain.
While there is something to the concept of the paleo diet, I do like some modern conveniences. I do like to consider – what did our ancestors do for survival? 95% or so of my genetics has me coming from Germany/scandanavian peninsula. My people are a cold weather people. Fair skin.
I believe a LOT in your diet based on your genetics. It’s how your people have survived and thrived for thousands of years. My guess is people who came from hotter climates near the equator are better adapted to carbohydrates and were used to moving around all the time. This glucose never was then really stored as body fat. My people had a lot of problems finding carbs for 6 months a year.
So, when my people are introduced to carbohydrates 365 days a year, our bodies are not meant to chew through all of that glucose. Our bodies thousands of years ago would eat carbs over the warmer months and store fat for the winter months. Over the winter months, we’d burn through our body fats by living on fats/proteins of animals. Perhaps we fished a lot. My last name is Fisher, by the way, and my German family crest from 300 years ago does have fish on it. So I believe my genetics going way back had these aspects to it. 6 months or so of keto-like diets eating meats, and 6 months or so eating vegetation, berries, fruits, etc.
I feel like this is a natural state for my body. It does not feel like a “fad”. Everything seems to make sense over the years. Why for a vast majority of my life I ate 1800-2200 calories per day and still put weight on. My diet was probably 60-75% carbs, based off of the food pyramid. Exercise was never something I couldn’t do. Played tons of sports to a relatively high level.
Will I have carbs again? Yes. I feel over the summer I might take a few weeks off from this, especially my yearly trip to New York. I feel like when it is too cold to go hiking outside, this is when keto should start. However, until I’m at a weight I’m comfortable with, there’s no need to introduce carbs back. There’s zero need for carbs for me anyway, but I’m a realist. I don’t think it’s natural to be like this 24×7 for the rest of my life, but it’s also not natural for me to eat a 70% carb based-diet all the time either.
This is going to serve a purpose of burning all of the stored fats, then I can understand how to live a “normal” life 🙂