While fat was once viewed as the WORST thing to put into your preciously toned bod (even avocados were frowned upon!), it now seems to be all the hype! I am talking about something called the ketogenic diet. A diet that allows you to eat butter, oil, avocados, delicious meat (lots of steak and ribs), cheese- but no bread- and supposedly, you drop weight like crazy…. sound like my type of diet! So obviously I had to put it to the test! So I started with some background research… here is what I found:
This diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, and VERY low-carbohydrate diet (consuming no more than 20g of carbs a day). When the body’s main source of energy (carbohydrates) are cut out, the body turns to burning fat as its main source of energy, inducing the body into a state known as ketosis. (I find it amazing how the human body can adapt and compensate based on what you put in it).
While in a state of ketosis, fat is converted in the liver, resulting in an increased level of ketones in the blood. Body cells then utilize these ketones to make energy, instead of relying on carbohydrates. The body basically becomes a fat burning machine! Not only does it result in weight-loss, there are said to be many beneficial effects on the human body: improves insulin sensitivity, normalizes blood sugar levels, decreases food cravings, improves blood flow, enhances function of the mitochondria, improves oxygen capacity, etc. In fact, medical professionals have been prescribing this diet for many years to treat conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, autism, Bipolar disorder (type II) and even Alzheimer’s.
You get the point, there are a LOT of benefits to an increased level of ketones in the body. But I do need to mention that there are quite a few side effects as well…
Basics of the diet: Headaches, bad breathe (keto-breath), cramping, constipation, indigestion, etc. None of which sounded too terrible to me… So almost time to give it a go.
Step 1: get your body into a state of ketosis. This step is (what I was told) the hardest part of the diet. To achieve ketosis through dietary nutrition you need to restrict your carbs (less than 20g per day), restrict your protein intake, stop worrying about fat intake (70 % of nutrition should come from fats), drink lots of water, and stop snacking. It can take time to get your body into a state of ketosis- and can be challenging. Once you reach optimal ketosis, you will notice signs such as increased urination, dry mouth, bad breath, etc., and can test your ketone level using urine strips. Keep in mind that if you have a cheat meal and eat a ton of carbs, you will be thrown out of the state of ketosis you worked so hard to achieve… yikes.
Just as I was about to dive in head-first, I heard about a thing call ‘Exogenous Ketone Supplementation,’ basically a way to trick your body into a state of ketosis… A company called Pruvit sells this ketone supplement in the form of a drink mix, to be consumed 1-2 times per day. Pruvit claims this product does the following:
YEP… this is definitely where I would be starting. Only down side is the cost… rather expensive. So I ordered my first couple boxes of ketones and I gave it a go!
I gave this a very genuine effort, let me tell you. I was told part of the way through my journey that if I cheated at all on this diet, then I would gain a ton of weight. Not about to let that happen, so I stuck to the diet as best as possible. My biggest struggle was cutting out the red wine…
After trying every flavor of Pruvit, I stuck with the Keto Kreme in the morning (in replacement of breakfast), and the Keto Max in the afternoon. Within an hour of taking my first drink, I was in a state of ketosis. I felt the side effects- the bad breath, the crazy digestion things occurring in my gut, and the headaches. None of which were unbareable. In addition, I lost my appetite completely. When I did attempt to eat, the food I was able to eat was delicious: cheesy, buttery, avocado-y, fattening, YUM. So I was pretty excited.
About a month into the diet (and a couple hundred $$ later) I stepped on the scale for the first time with high expectations. My clothes were feeling looser, so I must have lost weight! To my surprise, I had only lost one pound… in a month. Bummer. But I stuck it out and did not loose faith yet. I continued the diet for another month. I have to admit, I did not cut out red wine completely (maybe this is where I went wrong). Around month two, my appetite returned, even when on the drinks, almost like my body had built up a tolerance to the exogenous ketone supplementations. Suddenly, I found myself being hungry ALL the time.. Finally, after eight weeks, I stepped on the scale… only to find out that I had gained back that one pound I originally had lost.
Overall, I did not loose or gain any weight, I did get to eat a delicious diet of fatty foods, but I also blew a couple hundred dollars ($500+). On the up-side, I did experience many benefits of the ketones, including: increased energy levels, increased concentration, etc. While I did not experience the weight loss expected, I do know many people who swear by this product for weight loss. This diet definitely seems to work for some people… so do your research and give it a go if it sounds appealing to you! One thing I can say- it was very nice to get such a yummy diet and NOT gain any weight!