How Do You Feel After A Few Months On A Ketogenic Diet?
As far as I am concerned, Keto is a very powerful nutritional tool. But living in the KetoZone also has some drawbacks, problems and pitfalls over time, if slavishly adhered to.
SUMMARY: A Ketogenic diet is an appropriate dietary strategy for most people. A high percentage serious and dedicated dieters will be able to maintain the required discipline of this type of diet without too much pain or suffering for a period of roughly 4–12 weeks. They can do this effectively and successfully, dramatically decreasing body fat levels. It is however, likely to be a double-edged sword.
I will explain myself a little better, please read on.
About 4 years ago, as the result of a £50 bet, a scheduled trip back to California (from Guernsey where I’ve been running a gym for the last 25 years or so), and a sort of “you’ll never do it” Facebook challenge from an advertising competitor, I embarked on an experiment in ketosis, determined to see it though, look good on the beach and be £50 richer.
The first couple of weeks was reasonably difficult. Up until that point, I had always felt that a life without CHOs was no fun and probably not worth living. From week 3 continuing through to week 10 on a strict KD (CHO intake of not more than 60 g/day), I was euphoric and felt tremendous, both mentally and physically.
Here are the benefits that I found:
1. Improved mental clarity, thought process were noticeably more acute.
2. Blood glucose levels remained at rock solid straight line values. A very pleasant and energetic calmness (this calmness lead me to label the Ketogenic Diet as “Nutritional Prozac”).
3. A reduction in systemic inflammation. This was especially important to me as I have extensive vertebral and connective tissue damage.
4. Body weight loss of 20 lbs. while simultaneously experiencing a body fat level decrease from 18% to 8.1% as accurately measured by DEXA scan, performed at UCLA’s David Geffen Medical Center, (see copy in Footnote 1 * below.
5. Overall, I looked pretty ripped and felt really good, notwithstanding my age, 56 at the time of the experiment. (See photos below and *Footnote 2*).
START of Ketogenic Diet
Roughly 10 weeks Into Our Keto Experiment
I have kept up a quarterly blood work schedule, fairly consistently, for the last 20 years. I maintain a large file of all tests conducted, as well as various other biometric data. I like to think that I try to keep things scientific to best assess results and to make sense of whether a protocol or theory that I have in mind is relevant or realistic.
About the 10th Week of Ketosis things started to get a little weird.
- My Cholesterol Levels went sky high (a quadrupling in cholesterol values from 4.5 mmol/L to over 17 mmol/L)
- Blood Cortisol levels were measurably elevated: (@O8:00 = 750 nmol/L and @16:00 = 450 nmol/L).
- I also felt that from week 8, the euphoria that had lasted up to then stopped. This beatific feeling had disappeared and was replaced with an anxious, ill-tempered mindset. It even went so far that my partner of 10 years began packing her bags and threatening to look around for more pleasant companionship.
- While I have never been a heavy sleeper, I also wrestled with a great deal of insomnia during this period. Most probably due to decreased serotonin levels as a result of the low level of carbohydrate intake.
Throughout my youth and later bodybuilding career, the diet that I maintained was High protein/Medium-High Carbohydrate/Low Fat. My body fat (even in competition) had never dipped below the 10% level (usual maintenance average was about 13–15%).
After 9-10 weeks of strict keto discipline: Caloric Ratio: FAT >75% , PRO 10–20 %, CHO <5%, my BF reached a low of 8.1%.
In over 40 years of bodybuilding, half of that time spent competing, this level was the lowest level of BF that I have experienced, either before or since. This dramatic result was the direct outcome of strict adherence to a modified ketogenic diet.
NO FREE LUNCHES
A KD is a great way to lose a substantial amount of body fat, reduce inflammation, sort out unwanted spiking in blood sugar levels and maintain an overall energy-rich, Zen-like attitude… for up to about 3 months. Beyond this period, depending on genetics, age and other factors, a subject is likely to suffer from unwanted side-effects, probably outweighing the positive aspects of remaining in Ketosis.
- A copy of the first page of a DXA Scan performed about 2 weeks after stopping this experiment:
2. Obvious quality of the “after” photos is poor, a good argument against using a cheap webcam to document anything. But these photos should give the reader a feeling of the level of muscle definition and fat loss experienced during this experiment.