So first off I’d like to change my description of a Ketogenic diet. I have been referring to it as “The Nuclear Option” since it’s sort of a last-ditch final effort to lose weight. Over on a reddit thread there was a great write up about how when you force your body into ketosis, you are deliberately creating a (non-fatal) deficiency in a (mostly) essential nutrient: carbohydrates (glucose). Yep, that’s exactly it. Our bodies have the ability to run on carbohydrates, amino acids and fatty acids; essentially we’ll take anything we can get so as to not starve.
Ultimately any time you lose weight it simply comes down to your body using/burning more energy than you recently consumed so it’s forced to use reserves. You have some glucose reserves in your liver and muscles, protein that can be broken down into glucose in your liver; and you have fat. Some cells burn fat just fine, most would rather use glucose. Traditional weight loss (just less calories) works because as you have a calorie deficit, your body will eventually convert stored fat into energy. Some will be made into glucose via Gluconeogenesis, some will be made into ketone “bodies”. Specifically forcing your body into a state where it is mostly doing the ketones is the cheat.
Here’s how I normally play a video game: I’ll start it out normal, playing along, collecting ammo and dying every once in a while. After a few days of 1-2 hours playing in the time I can get, I’ll start to notice that I need to concentrate on other stuff (kids, wife, yard, etc…) so I’ll find the cheat codes, give myself all the weapons, ammo, health, the ability to fly and walk through walls; all the good stuff. Then I plow through the rest of the game and I’m done. I think Unreal Tournament 2004 was one of the few that I did (and still do! Onslaught FTW!!) play normally.
Ketosis/ketogenic diets as a biological cheat? Absolutely. Is it something I’m planning on doing forever? Probably not as strict, but more on that in just a bit. Is it difficult to not eat pizza when lunch at work is from The Pie? It was brutal. Will being on a ketogenic diet teach me to eat better after I go off it? …
UPDATE Feb 18, 2015: Initially I didn’t think it would be a lasting change, reexamining this after a few months on Keto I think I have changed my eating habits permanently. If I ever get down to the point that I’m happy with my weight and am super skinny I guess I can lay off being such a stickler on ketosis and eat a few carbs on select occasions. The new recipe that I’m using (Keto Chow) is better tasting than People Chow ever was, I’m not going back. I see no reason NOT to continue on Keto Chow unless something even better comes along. END UPDATE.
One other fun aspect of ketone bodies is they are water soluble. If your body produces too much for you to use, they do not get re-converted back into fat; instead they are excreted from the body. along with coming out in urine, they can also come out in sweat and even respiration. In really high concentrations (undiagnosed diabetes, for example) the amount coming out through respiration cam give the person “acetone breath” which is usually described as “fruity”.
Well, that was fun, now let’s talk about “Raspberry Ketones”. Raspberry ketones are all the rage right now for weight loss. A while ago I ordered potassium citrate from bulksupplements.com and they offered to send a 100g packet of anything they sold if I would review it on Amazon. I had already gotten the stevia, MSM (for kicks, you should be getting all the sulfur you need if you have the right amino acids balance), and they didn’t have pure caffeine that I could give to my brother-in-law as a Christmas present; so I had them send me some raspberry ketone powder. I figured “ketogenic diet, raspberry ketones? why not!” After mixing some into a week of ketofood I actually did some research and found out more about raspberry ketones.
- There is nothing to actually, for realsies, indicate they help with weight loss in humans
- They don’t come from actual raspberries (unless it’s crazy expensive and even then there’s no way to know)
- For all intents and purposes, “raspberry ketones” is just “artificial raspberry flavoring” but new and fancy somehow
- It will give a marked raspberry flavor to stuff, I don’t like it in my ketofood
I can’t find the original source, but there’s a great write-up about why NOW doesn’t do anything with raspberry ketones. So my official recommendation: don’t bother with it. I really (really) don’t like the additional flavor even though I like raspberries; and it’s not even going to actually do anything for you.