By T.J. Murphy
Some observations on my first three weeks practicing a “well-formulated” ketogenic diet, meaning about 50 grams of carb or less per day, moderate protein and high fat.
Coffee with heavy cream is basically encouraged by the ketogenic diet folks and is fantastic and there’s no going back for me, not even to half-n-half.
Double-check keto dessert recipes. I made the chocolate recipe from a ketogenic diet book called “Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog” and I hope to hell the author just made a typo and the recipe didn’t call for enough stevia sweetener because although it looked really good in the end, it didn’t even come close to tasting as OK as low-carb keto-friendly 85% cocoa dark chocolate. And let me just quote Dave Scott on what he thinks of 85% cocoa dark chocolate:
“It tastes like cardboard.”
So the chocolate I made had about the same bitterness you’d sample if you grabbed a handful of 100% cocoa and swallowed it whole. Just a warning—if you try one of the ketogenic dessert recipes out there (many depending on stevia-type sweeteners, cream cheese, whipping cream, etc) don’t try the chocolate recipe I did. (and I should say that I think if the stevia amount had been more, it might have been very good chocolate, very low in carb.)
You’ll accidentally miss meals. Dr. Colin Champ, MD, is a keto guy and for breakfast he seems to prefer bone broth, and he’s good to go. It’s my understanding that Dr. Tim Noakes, a high-carb ultra-running MD and author saved his life (no exaggeration) by going low-carb and now pretty much just eats one high-fat/moderate-protein/low-
carb “Banting” meal per day.
Ok, this gets to the heart of why keto advocates and biochemistry super-experts like Dr. Dom D’Agonstino say about going low-carb: Once you get off the crack cocaine nature of high-carb and the insulin rollercoaster that comes with it, you’re blood sugar stabilizes, you burn more fat more efficiently, and the onslaught of cravings ceases. This has happened for me. I have been at work and completely forgotten about lunch several times. This wouldn’t have happened in my days of french toast and super burritos.
So as D’Agonstino puts it, the low-carb, ketogenic diet has the potential to help you manage hunger.
An important point on this is that trying to manage hunger with willpower is a game you and I will lose. Think about it: the sensation of hunger is why our caveman ancestors were able to survive when the food supply ran out and they were motivated enough to run down and kill some big animal. Hunger is not to be simply repressed. It can turn a human being into a killer.
Was Paula Newby-Fraser a keto pioneer? This is a question to be asked to 8-time Hawaii Ironman champ Paula, for sure, because in a podcast discussion between Dr. Noakes and Mark Sisson (former ITU doping officer. Before that a good marathoner and one of the early top Ironman triathletes. Now a major voice in the Paleo/Primal movement) Noakes reports that he had once advised Paula to cut the carbs and she had great success with it. All to be confirmed but it’s a good podcast and here it is below:
Coconut oil tastes very coconutty. Coconut oil is a cornerstone of nutritional ketosis. I could be wrong on this, but Dave Scott, a keto guy now, likes it for his coffee. But it tastes like coconut (not sure why I’m surprised about that). A scoop in the morning smoothie will be noticed.
I could technically be using coconut oil in a whole bunch of meals. Which I won’t do because it reminds me of the sad predicament of Gilligan’s Island.
My new obsession with nutrition panels. Being ketogenic now has me looking at every nutrition panel on every package that I come into contact with. Looking for a low-carb bar at a convenience store was pretty funny. It’s amazing to see how much sugar some of the companies can pack into a small rectangle of food.
Here’s a fascinating fact: The average American consumes roughly 3 pounds of sugar a week. That’s 3500 pounds over the average lifetime.
Just some fun facts about keto.