Monday, July 13, 2015
NUTRITIONAL KETOSIS REVISITED
As is my pattern, I seem to get ridiculously close to my goal body fat, and then it all falls apart and I gain some of the body fat back. Sigh. And here is the reason it always happens: I stop tracking what I am eating and try to eat instinctively. That seems to work for a lot of people, and it seems to be the advice that is always given to people eating the LCHF way. The only problem is that when I can't seem to do that, I feel like a failure.
I suspect that there are a lot of people like me, that are so messed up, metabolically speaking, that they will have to be vigilant for the rest of their lives if they want to stay trim and healthy. So why does everyone say that, after an adjustment period, a person should be able to let their appetite be their guide? This is my theory about that: If the LCHF experts told people that there was a chance that they were going to have to micromanage their food intake for the rest of their lives, they would probably not even try to begin with!
Anyway, since getting back from vacation at the end of February of this year, I have been trying to return to some of my old "systems" of eating. I have even tried a new one, called "Optimal Ketogenic Living" which a friend told me about because it has been working for her.
Two small problems with this plan:
1. I did not lose any significant weight doing it, and
2. The plan involves eating almost three times as much protein as I had been eating when I was doing Nutritional Ketosis, as recorded in this blog. It also involves eating a lot less fat. All lean meats and virtually no added fats, so no butter, mayo, coconut oil, fat bombs, etc.
Ninety-nine per cent of the research I have read has said that too much protein will knock you out of ketosis. Not only that, but excess protein will be converted to glucose and raise insulin and blood glucose. The Optimal Ketogenic Living group (OKL) says that this is a lot of hooey, and there is no research that supports those ideas. My regular readers might remember that I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes three years ago, so keeping my blood glucose low has been a priority.
In the OKL way of looking at things, the small (in their opinion) amounts of protein that are recommended by the "popular keto" advocates are way too small. The last time I was seriously doing Nutritional Ketosis, I was only eating 54g of protein per day, along with 135g of fat and 27g of total carbs. The recommendation for my height of 5'3" by the OKL group is 63g of fat, 91-136g of protein and 23g net carbs.
I tried this, and eating only 63g of fat per day was impossible without eating lots of egg whites, skinless chicken breast and 95% lean ground beef. The thinking is that a person is still eating high fat, but the fat is coming from their body and not from their plate. As a person nears their goal weight, they will start to increase fat until weight stabilizes. But until it does, it felt very low fat to me! But eating more grams of fat than protein while trying to lose weight with OKL was anethema.
I do want to mention that there are a LOT of people in that Facebook group that are doing wonderfully well with this way of eating, including the friend that suggested it to me, and if anyone wants to try it, I would say to go for it. I do not think it was a bad plan. I was just not enjoying it, and my weight was going up and down.
The thinking about protein is that a person must eat at least 30g of protein with each meal, in order to signal mTOR (the way that the body rebuilds, but others say to keep it below that, because signaling mTOR is a bad thing, which will cause other growth, such as body fat and even cancer!). There is so much mixed research about this, that I am totally confused. Is signaling mTOR good or bad? All I know is that when I was eating less than 30g of protein at each meal, I was losing body fat and gaining lean body mass.
As I was trying to adjust to OKL, I also got involved with a couple of Diabetes Facebook groups. In each one, when I told them that I was eating over 100g of protein per day, there was horror all around! My blood glucose will go through the roof (they warned) and I will develop breast cancer!
Well, I have been checking my blood glucose, and that amount of protein was not causing any spikes. And, the last time I checked, I have not developed breast cancer. Of course, their answer to that is that I won't know until it's too late! Sigh. Again.
Here is the thing: I have been pouring over my vast records of every LCHF plan I have tried, and the fat loss that resulted from each one, and the one that seems to have been the most successful was - you guessed it - Nutritional Ketosis. For me, that is 135g of fat, 54g of protein and 27g of total carbs, not net carbs. I knew I didn't want to do this again, because my memory tells me that it was no fun and that I was hungry all the time. But, today I looked back on every post that I wrote about it, and was reminded that I was happy, healthy and un-hungry while I was doing it. Hmmm...
So, I guess I'm going to start doing that again. And we will see what happens. From what I have read, I was eating a pretty fatty breakfast, a fat snack around lunch, and a LCHF dinner in the evening.
Looking back, I also noticed that since I re-engaged NK in 2013, I changed my goals to varying amounts of fat and protein, with the fat being between 110g and 137g and the protein being between 56g and around 100g. I'm not sure why I was fluctuating that much with my goals from week to week, but when I looked at the resulting weight loss, it was working, even when the fat was slightly lower and the protein was slightly higher.
To get me started, I guess I will start at the beginning, the way I was doing it then, back in the summer of 2012. As I go along, I will continue to monitor my blood glucose, and if it is possible to begin raising protein without raising blood glucose and/or gaining body fat, I will raise protein. I can say that I will miss eating the amount of protein that I have been eating. It was fun!
I can't promise when I will post again, because I'm sure I will have similar results as the last time I did this, and I don't want to bore anyone with identical details, but I will leave you with this:
April 15, 2015 stats:
Neck - 12.125"
Bust - 37.5"
Waist - 33"
Belly - 40.5"
Hips - 41.25"
Thigh - 23"
Calf - 14.5"
Scale weight - 149.6 pounds
Body fat - 57.6 pounds - 38.5%
Lean mass - 92 pounds - 61.5%
July 8, 2015 stats after 12 weeks on OKL:
Neck - 12.125"
Bust - 36"
Waist - 31.75"
Belly - 39.75"
Hips - 40.25"
Thigh - 22.5"
Calf - 14.25"
Scale weight - 146.4 pounds
Body fat - 52.6 pounds - 35.9%
Lean mass - 93.8 pounds - 64.1%
So, in the past 12 weeks on OKL, I lost 5 pounds of body fat and I gained 1.8 pounds of lean mass. That's less than a half pound of body fat per week. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but eating lower fat was making me unhappy, and I lost better and quicker eating more fat and less protein.
To reach my goal of 136 pounds with 30% body fat, I need to lose another 11.7 pounds of body fat and gain another 1.3 pounds of muscle. The muscle should be the easier part - I'm starting back at the gym, lifting weights, this week.
So here goes...
Wish me luck!
(If you are a first time reader of my blog, click on the tag below for Nutritional Ketosis, and it will take you to other posts from my past experiences with that way of eating.)