Keto

Is A Low Carb/ High Fat Diet For You?

About a month and half ago I started a keto diet.  The first week was hell.  The second week was a lot better.  By the third week I felt fat adapted.

After three weeks of keto I had lost a lot of weight, nearly 15 lbs.  My sleep was improved, and I no longer felt intense hunger pains throughout the day.  That was the good.

The bad – I didn’t have the same energy during my workouts, I lost muscle mass, and I had intense heart palpations.

The last few weeks I’ve been upping my carbs.  My carb intake comes from vegetables, fruits, quinoa, and sweet potatoes.  I have stayed away from all “white” carbs completely.  I will continue upping carbs especially on workout days.

I’m glad I experimented with keto, but keeping a strict keto diet just isn’t for me.  I feel that my lifestyle is too active to limit myself to under 50 carbs a day.  It may be the same for you.

Is a low carb/high fat diet for you?

It depends.  I know, it’s the not the answer you want to hear, but it’s impossible to answer without knowing a little bit more about you. There is no one size fits all diet.  The right diet depends on many factors like lifestyle, age, genetics, and goals.  I wouldn’t tell a 16 year old to go low carb if he’s trying out for the football team.  Just like I wouldn’t tell a 40 year old office worker to eat six meals a day.

With that said,  I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that there are some foods that should never be a part of any diet. 

– Grains: Refined or whole, breads, pasta, cereal, baked goods.  Basically anything with flour.

– Sugar: candy, caked, cookies, high fructose corn syrup, soda, pastries.  This should be obvious.

– Vegetable Oils: Corn, Soybean, Canola, Margarin are like eating poison.

– Processed Foods: Energy bars, frozen dinners, chips

– Fast Foods – Just say no

– Booze – Enjoy in moderation.  Some booze is better than others.

If you eliminate all of the above you will lose weight, have more energy, and be less likely to die of heart attack at 50.  This goes for everybody.  When it comes to specific diets like keto, paleo, and slow carb there is more of a grey area.  These diets are all leaps in and bounds better than the Standard American Diet (SAD), but one of them might suit you better than the other.

The War On Carbs

Not all carbs are bad.  If you live an active lifestyle or trying to put on muscle it may not be that beneficial to drastically reduce carb intake.  It’s not necessarily bad to eat a lot of carbs, but it is important that you eat the right carbs.

Most of your carbs should come from vegetables.  This will be a tough task.  Most vegetables are low in carbs and they will make you full before you can eat a lot of them.  In general, starchy vegetables like onions have a lot more carbs than leafy greens like spinach.

Next you should get carbs from fruits.  Fruits are a good source of carbs and other vitamins, but some have high levels of sugar so they should be eaten in moderation.  Bananas are high in carbs.  Eating one banana on a keto diet would put you out of ketosis, but it’s not a bad choice for a person with an active lifestyle.

Other supplemental carbs can come from nuts, legumes, and sweet potatoes.  Like fruits these foods should be eaten in moderation. Also these foods would never be eaten on a strict keto diet.

Conclusion

A successful diet comes down to eliminating certain foods from one’s diet.  One won’t have to count calories when they get rid themselves of things like grains, sugars, processed foods etc.  This is the most important thing to understand.  You don’t have to be a carb nazi to get results.  Test things for yourself and see what your body responds to.  Here is my suggestion:

If your trying to cut weight fast and you don’t mind a little pain than go keto.  Once you reach your goal you can slowly reintroduce some more carbs.  *I don’t think a strict keto diet is sustainable long term.

Trying to simply lose weight at gradually pace than go low carb or primal.  Aim to eat between 100-150 carbs a day.

If you live an active lifestyle you shouldn’t have to follow strict guidelines when it comes to carbs, just make sure you’er  eating the right carbs.

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Sneak More Fat Into Your Diet

A high fat low carb can prove to be difficult.  It’s hard to eat lots of fats while keeping protein moderate and carbohydrates low.  Since I started a high fat low carb diet I find myself sneaking fat into my meals as much as I can.  One of the best ways to sneak fat into your diet is by fattening up your morning coffee.

Every morning I add two tablespoons of coconut oil and four tablespoons of heavy cream to my coffee.  That’s around 550 calories and 50 grams of fat before you even start your day.  This is the perfect breakfast for me since I’m usually never hungry in the morning, but still want to make sure I keep up my calories up.

Unlike a lot of people who start high fat low carb diets my goal isn’t to lose weight. I enjoy the other positive aspects of a high fat low carb diet.

I want to get at least between 2,000-2,500 calories a day to maintain regular bodyweight.  This is another challenge when eating high fat and low carb.  A high fat and low carb diet is so effective that it’s not always beneficial for people with no desire to lose weight.  This is why I have abandoned a strict keto diet and added more carbs.  I was wasting away without them.

Even after upping my carbs my diet is still mostly fats.  I still won’t touch white carbs or legumes.  But this leads to calorie deficits.  Without the high calorie meals like a bowl of white rice or pasta your body may not be getting sufficient calories.  This is why it’s important to go heavy handed with high calorie fats.  Coconut oil, olive oil, and heavy cream should become your best friends.  Sneak them into as many meals as you can.  They’re high in calories and fat, and low in protein and carbs.  The perfect combination.

They’re also relatively cheap if you buy in bulk.  You can buy a 5 Liter Container of EVOO for $12.  This may last you an entire year.

In conclusion, if you’re want to keep eating a high fat low carb diet but maintain body weight make sure to sneak in fats.  Drink a fat coffee every morning.  Put a little more olive oil on your salad.  Cook with lots of coconut oil and then pour the remaining oil from the pan on top of your meal.   

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation By Mark Sisson

There are thousands of health & fitness books out there.  Most of them are forgettable, some are counterproductive, a few are actually good.  The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson is the latter.

Living “primal”, as Mark Sisson has coined it, is not a diet but a way to approach life.  It sounds cliche, but makes sense.  Your overall health is about more than just the food you put in your body.  It also how about you train, sleep, and manage a work/life balance.

The Primal Blueprint is about getting back to your roots.  Sisson argues that with a few minor exceptions, we are identical to our ancestors in how we metabolize food, respond to exercise, cycle through sleep phases each night, absorb sunlight, and deal with various environmental influences.  I agree.

The problem – our genetic recipe is not made to function in today’s modern world, and we’re all suffering for it.  The Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with carbs & sugars, we work jobs where we remain sedentary for long stretches of time, and most of us sleep in rooms filled with artificial light.  All things that would be alien to our hunter gathering ancestors.

The Primal Blueprint gives you a way to live in the modern world while staying true to your roots.

The book is broken up into the 8 key concepts of the primal blueprint and 5 steps you can take to start living primally.  The last 20% of the book is a 21 day program to follow that’s also available in PDF form.  I found this part of the book to be unnecessary, but it’s worth giving a quick glance over anyways.

Here are the 8 key concepts of the primal blueprint:

1. You can reprogram your genes:  Sounds like an outlandish statement, but make sense when you apply it to your “homo sapien” genes and not your familial genes.

2. The clue to optimal gene expression are found in evolution:    “Civilization ushered in a decline in human health, due to eating, exercise and lifestyle patterns that compromised optimal gene expression for the first time.  We’ve mismanaged out genes even more severely over the past century to become the fattest, sickest, least fit population in the history of mankind.”

3.  Your body prefers burning fat over carbohydrates:  Agriculture has only existed for the last 5,000 years.  The first human was recorded about 50,000 years.  This means that for 45,000 we lived as hunter gatherers and had diet high in fats/ low in carbs.

4.  80% of your body composition success is determined by how you eat:  “The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve reveals that eating 150 grams per day or less results in effortless weigh loss or maintenance; eating over 150 grams ( per SAD recommendations) results in lifelong insidious weight gain and accelerated disease risk.”

5.  Grains are totally unnecessary (and so are legumes, for that matter): “Grains elect a high insulin response, offer minimal nutritional value relative to Primal foods, and contain anti-nutrients that promote inflammation and compromise digestion and immune function.  They are a cheap source of calories and entirely unnecessary for health.”

6.  Saturated fat and cholesterol are not your enemy: Go ahead and have extra bacon with those eggs cooked in kerry gold butter.

7.  Exercise is ineffective for weight management:  “Frequent medium-to-difficult intensity exercise promotes the consumption of additional calories and less general activity in the ensuing hours.  The ‘compensation’ principle asserts that exercise is a wash when it comes to weight management.”

8.  Maximum fitness can be achieved in minimal time with high-intensity workouts:  Your hunter gather ancestors weren’t doing bicep curls and cross fit training.

Conclusion

If you have been reading my blog you know that I’ve been doing a ketogenic diet.  This is similar to a primal diet, but it’s more restrictive when it comes to carbs.  On a primal diet your aloud to eat up to 100 grams of carbs, whereas a ketogenic diet you’re allowed only 20 -30 grams of carbs.  Besides that, the diets are almost identical – high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs.  I’ve been transitioning to more of a primal diet in the last week since I’ve been losing too much weight on the keto diet.

If your interested in learning more about high fat/low carb dieting or just interested about being healthier I suggest reading The Primal Blueprint.