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One is the cause and one is the effect, conventional wisdom has them switched

So I was listening to the 2 Keto Dudes podcast and something Richard Morris said struck me as extremely important. There’s a lot of heated debate in fitness and nutrition about “Calories In = Calories Out” – also known by the shorthand CICO. The basic premise is that: You lose weight if you eat fewer calories than you need, including calories from exercise. This thinking also assumes that people who are fat got that way because they eat too many calories (it’s a character flaw they should be deeply ashamed of) and they stay that way because they are too lazy to just exercise (again, it’s a character flaw they should be ashamed of). People who are fat got that way and stay that way because they indulge in “sinful” behavior and as a society we condemn them, mock them and denigrate them openly. It’s pretty much the only socially acceptable prejudice nowadays.

I think that line of thinking is stupid and reprehensible, among other things.

 

Here’s what I got from Richard’s comments. Conventional wisdom says that:

(Calories Consumed) – (Calories Burned) = (Calories Stored as fat)

Everything I’ve seen (with decent science behind it, and the fundamentals of how insulin works) say that instead:

(Calories Consumed) – (Calories Stored as fat) = (Calories Burned)

It’s a slight change in the order – which one is the cause and which one is an effect, but let’s look at what this means: If we take the standard CICO model and I eat 2000 calories a day, my BMR burns off 2500 calories (it was actually 2218 last time I had it measured but let’s keep the math simple) and I do absolutely no other exercise during the day I would have a negative energy balance of 500 calories. The standard model says each pound of fat is 3500 calories, so my 500 calorie deficit would have me losing 1 lb a week. Isn’t that a nice simple story? Guess what, our bodies aren’t that simple, especially considering the active metabolic management we have going on. If you cut intake by 500 calories a day, your body isn’t going to simply continue on at 2500 BMR, it will adapt down to fit the energy it’s given… unless you are able to mobilize the stored energy you have it your fat cells.

There’s a problem with that: if you have high levels of insulin in your blood, your body WILL NOT allow you to access energy stored as fat. From an energy balance standpoint, if your insulin is too high, you have the same energy stores as a theoretical person who has 0% body fat. Neither of you will have access to stored energy in fat and both will run out of energy when your blood glucose drops. “Carb Coma” anyone?

So let’s look at that second equation, it may not be a perfect model for the human metabolism but it’s far closer to explaining the observable data. So I eat 2000 calories in a day. If I eat mostly bread, fruits, and other carbohydrates; my body will dump insulin into my blood in an effort to deal with the potentially toxic levels of glucose running around. My cells (particularly my fat cells) will key off the insulin and dutifully pull the glucose out of the blood. I’ll be able to burn some of that 2000 calories in my muscles but much of it is going to go straight to fat storage. Let’s say that 500 calories (a number I’m making up out of thin air, again: easy math) gets stored – that means I only get to use 1500 calories for “keeping the lights on”… except I need 2500 today. My body will figure out a way to keep things going, either by breaking down non-essential muscle cells or other means, but you can be certain I won’t feel like running up the stairs, going for a walk… or anything. I’ll just want to lay down and find some food so my cells can get some energy (except the same insulin issue will arise). Eventually, my cells will get used to reduced calorie availability and my base metabolic rate will go down to fit what is available. Nature abhors a vacuum.

On the other hand, let’s assume I eat 2000 calories in a day, but most of that is in the form of calories that do not create an insulin response: a moderate amount of protein (so I don’t have to cannibalize muscles to rebuild cells), the smallest amount of carbohydrates possible, and the remainder of those calories as fat. This page about “Intermittent Fasting” does an astounding job of explaining how the different macronutrients affect insulin (and debunks the “you should eat many small meals” myth), but the short version is: fats have little discernable insulin response, protein has a slight-to-moderate response and carbohydrates cause a massive insulin response. Don’t believe me? ask a type 1 diabetic about dosing insulin for 500 calories of rice vs. 500 calories of cheese. So back to the thought problem: I have 2000 calories but my blood sugar didn’t spike and my insulin didn’t spike either. For argument’s sake let’s say 100 calories get stored away somewhere (probably as glycogen in my liver or muscles) so I still have 1900 calories to work with. I need 2500, so I need 600 more from somewhere… well my insulin is low… so I can mobilize energy stored in fat cells! Holy cow, I have all the energy I need! (usually 100,000 calories or MORE).

The funny thing is: this all still works if you decide you’d like to fast for several days. Your insulin is low and you have all the energy stored you could possibly want. Many people report massive energy after 36+ hours of fasting (you still drink water and get electrolytes). Anyhow, that’s the rant for today. If CICO is true then if you are overweight it’s because you suck as a human being, stop eating so much and should just get up and move more – is that really so hard? If the alternative is true (and I believe it is), then you are overweight because the foods you’ve been told are “healthy” (“low fat” cookies? “whole wheat” bread?) have messed up your insulin response to the degree that you are storing much of the energy you consume. So get rid of the rice, the pasta, the bread, THE SUGAR and go for the foods that will make you healthy. A ketogenic diet is essentially taking this a bit to the extreme, it’s a major intervention for people whose metabolism and insulin response are broken because of years of too much junk. Many people appear to be just fine living mainly off carbohydrates, that’s fine for them – I’m not one of those people.

I tell people I don’t eat sugar because I’m allergic to it, “how do you know you’re allergic to sugar?” they say. Simple: it makes me fat.

By | 2017-06-21T10:24:19+00:00 June 21st, 2017|Categories: Ketogenic, Weight Loss|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

21 days progress with strict Keto: Awesome Sauce! (also 2 years since my last “cheat” meal)

This entry is part 154 of 176 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

As mentioned earlier, starting January 1, 2017, I committed to writing down everything I eat in Cron-o-meter before I eat it. Turns out this works quite well, which I already knew but somehow was ignoring and doing “lazy keto” for the last few months by only eating Keto Friendly food but not really tracking food closely. Yes, Jalapeño poppers are, generally, keto friendly – but if you eat 20 of them you’re going to go over your net carbs for the day. Anyhow, I’m doing great and still writing everything down. I’m also still lifting – today I’ll be squatting 90lbs, it’s starting to get harder =) A couple days ago I failed to notice it was the 2 year anniversary of the last time I had a “cheat” meal on January 21, 2015. Since then, I’ve only deliberately eaten non-keto food once: a bite of breaded fish in September 2015, spat it out. I expect that I’ll be living HFLC for the rest of my life, sounds fun.

“Cheating” on Keto is self-sabotage. Imagine you’re trying to climb a giant sand dune. It’s really hard to get up to the top (and you get sand in your shoes, guaranteed) but once you’re there, staying on the top is easy. It’s especially easy compared to the amount of effort required to get back on top if you decide to roll down to the bottom. Being fat adapted is very similar to this: you’ve worked so hard to get your body burning fat instead of glucose, why would you ruin months of work? My advice: embrace living keto, focus on the awesome foods you can enjoy, not the foods you choose not to eat (not “can’t eat”).

Here’s an updated weight log of my progress:

Calories consumed per day (I had a tummy ache on Jan 15, ended up fasting a bit over 2h hours):

Net carbs per day:

On track with my New Year Resolutions

This entry is part 151 of 176 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

I have two health-related resolutions this year:

  1. Strength training 3x a week (StrongLifts 5×5).
  2. I’m not eating anything until it’s ALREADY logged into Cron-O-Meter.

So far, so good, on StrongLifts 5×5. I did it 3x last week (which is the recommendation for the program): Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday because Friday was a crazy evening. I did StrongLifts regularly last year but we remodeled some bedrooms in the basement and the workout area was turned into a bedroom with the power rack cage becoming a closet. That’s all done, as well as the Christmas mayhem so it’s time to get back into lifting! These first few weeks are relatively easy since the SL5x5 app had me “deload” all the way back down to starting weight. I see that as a good thing since even squatting an empty bar that first time made me sore for 4 days. There’s an excellent article over on Art of Manliness about various fitness programs – he didn’t like StrongLifts as much as he likes Starting Strength due to the number of reps. I might check that one out at a later date if I hit a wall. SS has an app but it’s $9 and I doubt it has the amazing Android Wear integration SL5x5 has. It’s seriously awesome to track my workout entirely on my watch.

As for tracking my food in Cron-O-Meter, I did this 100% all last week, I have a perfect record for 2017 =). Writing down what I eat before I eat it has an interesting effect on reducing what I’m eating. Either I decide not to eat something because I’m too lazy to write it down; or I write it down, check to see how the addition affects my macros and decide “yeah, not going to eat that after all.”

Due to the aforementioned laziness, all but one of my meals last week were Keto Chow. It’s pretty easy to enter 3x “Rich Chocolate with 50ml heavy cream and MCT” from the list of frequent foods. Saturday evening we needed to drop off some kids for a thing and then hang around for 2 hours until they finished, so we took the remaining children to dinner at Red Robin. I knew this was coming so I messed around with their nutrition calculator page (requires flash) and decided on the Guacamole Bacon Burger. I added the standard one in Cron-o-Meter, then edited a copy to change the values for carbs, fat, protein etc… I haven’t tried to do that on mobile, doing it in a web browser with multiple windows open was quite simple. Red Robin is pretty proud of the fact that they can make any burger “wedgie style” (lettuce wrap), and you can do bottomless steamed broccoli or side salads instead of the fries. I opted for the salads, ended up getting 3 of them by the time I was done =) You can see the spike in calories consumed:

Anyhow, looking at the averages for the last week, I’m quite happy with the 18.9g net carb average. I could probably go higher than 20g/day but I’m going to keep it low.

In the end, one of the big ones is: how is this affecting my weight? I’m happy to report that: Hey! I’m losing weight again! That big spike (banana for scale) in the graph below was the morning of Sunday, January 1 2017.

We had a New Year game party with our friends (who are also doing keto) and our kids (not doing keto). We made individual “fathead” (keto) pizzas for us and regular dough pizzas for the kids. I ended up eating a lot of salt and it clearly shows that following morning in water weight. I didn’t eat anything that wasn’t keto friendly that night but you eat too much keto food and you’ll be over your macros easily. I also noticed that my weight doesn’t fluctuate as much when I’m mostly eating Keto Chow and the mild heartburn I had in the morning since mid-December is gone.

So, here’s to a successful new year for everyone! May the odds ever be in your favor!

Excellent, short, BBC documentary on low carb diets

This entry is part 146 of 176 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

Over the weekend, a link to an excellent documentary showed up on /r/keto. It’s really a good overview of a high fat, low carb diet with a decent amount of time spent showing how to do it effectively. They do an excellent job exploring the controversies too. I would absolutely recommend it for anyone wanting to know some of the quick details of keto (and it’ll be a good intro to the junk you’re going to hear from doctors and family when you start!). For those in the US: a “stone” is 14 lbs; for those elsewhere, it’s 6.35kg – they really like their archaic weight measurements!

I read through some of the comments, one thing that jumped out was his GP (primary care physician) told him she can’t say how this affected his liver and kidneys. Yeah, they have blood tests for that. I’ve gotten them. She’s hard to take serious saying things like that. She also recommended he do it for only 3 weeks. Today is my 3rd Halloween where I will not be eating any candy since I started keto 3 years ago just before Halloween. Doing it indefinitely is awesome!

Others noted that it’s ironic that all of the doctors they interviewed who advocate the government dietary guidelines are overweight and some are obese. Especially the guy in charge of the obesity clinic, if he can’t lose weight on the accepted low fat diet, how can they expect people to take their stance seriously?

I also loved this comment:

“What we are concerned about is the lack of substantial long-term evidence for it’s ease of use…”

The “ease of use” argument always gets me. The only reason you could consider a LCHF diet harder to follow is because of how everyone else eats. If we never had to go to work events, family events, or parties where there’s nothing but carbs and everyone questions our diet, it wouldn’t be hard at all! But some of these doctors/dietitians in here are saying that’s a reason to question the inherent effectiveness of the diet. Makes no sense.

If the youtube link stops working, you can also get it from here.

By | 2016-10-31T11:25:36+00:00 October 31st, 2016|Categories: Ketogenic, Weight Loss|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

“We’re All Guinea Pigs in a Failed Decades-Long Diet Experiment”

This entry is part 177 of 176 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

So what occasioned this rant? A new article published over on Vice.com: “We’re All Guinea Pigs in a Failed Decades-Long Diet Experiment“. The thought of a class action lawsuit against some company is tantalizing but are we also going to posthumously sue “Doctor”Ansel Keys and Senator George McGovern for their roles in all this? I’m going to move on and help as many people as I can. That’s why I make Keto Chow.

As a kid, one of the things I loved to eat more than anything was a bowl of melted cheese. Cut off a slab, microwave it and eat it with a fork. I didn’t do it very often.

Part of that was cheese was (and still is) rather expensive. The main reason was that I knew that it was full of fat and fat is bad for you. I would even microwave it a bit longer and drain off the oil that over-cooking the cheese would render out. Why did I know that fat was bad for you? The 1980 US Dietary Guidelines said so, my parents, my teachers, EVERYBODY said that it was bad. So it was. End of discussion, or so we though.

For almost 2 years now I have been living with new knowledge: that refined carbohydrates are the true cause of the obesity I’ve battled almost all of my life. Some people seem to handle sugar OK; I don’t. For these past two years, I’ve lived with a High Fat, Moderate Protein, Low Carbohydrate lifestyle. I’ve only “cheated” twice (January 2015 when I ate carbs before a weight loss competition, and I ate some breaded fish at a party in September 2015 and immediately regretted it). Knowing what I know about diet and nutrition now, and looking back at my life; I sometimes get angry. It passes when I think that at least my kids won’t have to deal with what I did, but I still get upset.

Along with the aforementioned cheese I also really, REALLY like bacon and sausage. Emphasis on the sausage. Before October 2014, eating sausage was an extremely guilty pleasure. Like when I hear Backstreet Boys and it reminds me of living in Chile back in 1997. When I cook sausage now it’s typically because we’re camping and I cook 2 pounds of it, plus another 3lbs or so of bacon and a couple dozen eggs. Granted: there are 8 of us, but the kids usually don’t have to ask “how many pieces can I have?” – they just get what they want. I didn’t put butter on anything before November 2014 because it was “bad”. When I think about sausage, sour cream, cream cheese, butter, guacamole and the other downright awesome fatty foods I didn’t use to eat: I get angry too.

When I think about Type 2 diabetes, which I thankfully did not develop before I started Keto, I’m filled with grief and a bit of rage.

I suspect everyone has someone they know, love, or respect DIE because of the effects of refined carbohydrates ravaging their bodies. Some people I’ve successfully helped transition to getting rid of sugar, flour, rice and other carbs and turning their lives around. Other people, I’ve tried to help but they didn’t want to make the change. They like bread too much, or candy, or pasta, or potatoes. I’ve never had bread that’s worth dying for (which is saying a lot, we grew up on homemade sourdough bread). Again, while I acknowledge that there are some people who can healthily have some refined carbohydrates, the level of sugar consumption we have attained in our diet is astounding. If Peter Attia can develop T2 diabetes doing Iron Man races, then do the rest of us have any hope?

Probably not unless we ignore the official dietary recommendations and do something else.

When I get an hour block I’m going to watch “Fixing Dad” about two UK film-makers who intervened in their father’s life when he was facing likely amputations due to his diabetes. There seems to be an over-emphasis on extreme exercise but the message about changing his diet looks promising.

By | 2016-10-14T07:17:51+00:00 September 16th, 2016|Categories: Ketogenic, Weight Loss|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Why I make Keto Chow

This entry is part 138 of 176 in the series Ketogenic Soylent

I want to help people change their lives… and help them not go nuts in the process.

Nutritional Ketosis (aka “Keto” or “Ketogenic Diet”) can be highly effective but it’s daunting, especially for beginners. Keto is the only thing I have ever tried that has had any lasting effect on my health and my weight. I consider it like the “Konami Code“: a cheat or hack, because of how effective it has been in turning around my life (and the lives of family, friends, and former strangers =).  I’m committed to helping others get into the Keto lifestyle and Keto Chow makes doing Keto easier; not only for beginners that are just starting out, but also for grizzled veterans who have been doing keto for years.

My first introduction to the ketogenic diet was when our oldest son started having seizures. After trying most of the common anticonvulsants (with no success) the neurologist sent my wife home with some information on a dietary treatment to control the seizures. He told her that if they didn’t have success with a medication soon then we would need to try a ketogenic diet. Glancing through the information he provided, my initial reaction was “holy crap, that sounds impossible!” all of the dietary restrictions and rules were more than we could handle. We would be like this family. The next medication worked and I all but forgot about the ketogenic diet. Years later it came up again when I decided I needed to lose weight.

When you first start doing Keto, there is a lot of information to be learned. There’s new vocabulary, new science, new lists of things you should or shouldn’t eat. It can actually be a bit dangerous if you don’t do sufficient research and don’t know that insufficient electrolytes will make you feel terrible (it’s called “Keto Flu” and it isn’t any fun) – that was one of the mistakes I made when I started Keto. I also started keto using a meal replacement shake that was loaded with coconut flour, chia seeds and other gritty stuff.

My goals in making Keto Chow were:

  1. Make figuring out Keto easy. Easy on your brain and easy to prepare the food.
  2. Keep people from running into electrolyte deficiency (the aforementioned “Keto Flu”).
  3. Make it tasty enough that you’ll not just tolerate it but honestly, actually, for realsies, enjoy consuming it (and want more).
  4. Make sure people are getting the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they need to be healthy. Likely healthier than ever before.

Here’s the honest truth: I completely and entirely believe in this product and the Ketogenic diet. It’s not the end-all, be-all answer to everything in the world and I don’t eat it all day, every day for every meal (because: bacon and cheese). But I do have it for most meals.

I made Keto Chow for myself, it just happens to be the sort of thing that other people like too. It’s easy to prepare meals and I don’t have to worry about missing out on weird vitamins or minerals. I hit my macronutrient goals. I’m getting my electrolytes and it’s REALLY good tasting – like I’m always sad when my Chocolate Peanut Butter is empty. I mix up a couple days worth at a time and am able to just grab containers out of the fridge on my way out the door. Let me give you an example:

Last weekend our family went to help some friends cut wood. They use it to heat their home during the winter and you can get a permit to take dead pines (either that or they eventually fall over and block the road; the pines, not our friends =). It’s insanely cheap to get the permit ($5 a cord, 4 cords minimum – a cord is a really arbitrary measurement). We had to leave by 6 AM to get down to the place at the time we wanted. While I was packing the cooler with food for the kids I threw in several “blender bottle” containers full of Keto Chow… and that was it! I drank one on the drive and the other in between chopping up the tree. It’s easy, it’s effective and it’s tasty. I even brought along Keto Chow to Disneyland.

So I use it myself, how about other people? PrimitiveOrigins posted that he had lost 100 lbs on Keto Chow, complete with before and after pics. I asked him for a full review, here it is:

About a year and a half ago I was having a bunch of medical issues and it seemed my diet had to change and I needed to lose some weight. So after trying diet after diet nothing worked. A lot of this had to do with the nature of the diets themselves, I’m very “black and white” as a person and the diets I was attempting were very just avoid carbs at night or try to eat vegan for breakfast and lunch. That is fine for some people, but since these diets gave me an inch I became a ruler. I needed something as strict and rigid as myself, I stumbled across keto. It seemed very easy for me to do. Want pizza? Nope, can’t have it: carbs and sugar. Want a pineapple? Full of sugar: nope. So I went forth with this idea and it was fine for a while, but I soon realized I disliked cooking and eating; only keto gave me a realization that I was only eating for fuel so I started looking for something that would fit that idea.

I found Soylent quite quickly and marveled at the idea; this was exactly what I was looking for, but soon realized it wouldn’t work for me as weight loss was my goal and Soylent doesn’t really provide efficient weight loss. So I started looking for keto version of soylent and discovered […] Keto Chow. I placed my first order of a months’ worth of rich chocolate.

I explained to my wife what I was planning on doing, she was skeptical to say the least (amplified by the fact that the order came in a ziploc bag lol.), but I pressed and she agreed if anything was going to work it would be this. I got my order and mixed everything up and the next day I would have my first meal.

I had my first meal. Taste wise, I did not enjoy rich chocolate at all, but again I was drinking it only for fuel so I pushed through it. I drink 2 a day as it works for my schedule better, one at around 6am and the other at around 6pm, I have done this for about a year and a half now.

The toughest part was training myself out of eating socially, that took about a month to get used to. Once that was over it was smooth sailing, I started mixing my own.

I didn’t see any weight loss, but I got a scale and I was reading it on the scale, so something had to be working. It was insanely motivating and frankly addicting. When people would offer me food or soda my gut reaction was like: “Are you insane? I’m not working out and I’m losing weight at an aggressive rate, you couldn’t pay me to stop this!” My friends all thought I was nuts for the first month or two then after I dropped my first 50lbs or so they were very interested and I had at least 4 friends try it. None of which could stick with it as aggressively as I did/do. It’s a wonderful meal replacement, but real weight loss takes dedication and I was determined.

I’ve “cheated” on Keto Chow by, now and then – maybe once a month, getting plain meatballs from Noodles&Co. or having scrambled eggs and bacon and that was great while it lasted, but I was having some stomach trouble from that so I gave it up.

Overall my plans for the future are: Keto Chow until I cannot anymore. One of the reasons I’m going to be doing keto chow the rest of my life is because I had undiagnosed absence seizures. For the longest time, my wife and I just thought I’d get mixed up when speaking because of my stutter and forget what I was talking about. I’d have really bad headaches and get randomly tired throughout the day. I was going to the doctor to make sure I wasn’t losing weight too fast and that everything was going smoothly. It was, but one day I happened to “cheat” and grab some Noodles&Co. meatballs before my Dr. appointment; and I had an absence seizure right in front of him. He noticed and we started testing for epilepsy. Apparently I have a good deal of food allergies that also trigger seizures, but apparently I was an undiagnosed epileptic for some time and thanks to you I’ve been seizure free for almost 2 years. (Minus the forced ones.)

It’s so cheap, it’s so simple. I see no reason to ever change my diet at this point. My wife and my friends are all used to it; it’s a bit strange explaining it to new people, but the results speak for themselves. Overall I’ve never been happier or more healthy and it’s all thanks to Chris.

Seriously, that’s just awesome. This is why I make Keto Chow.

Found an awesome Keto blog – especially relevant for “the ladies”

OK, so I was kicking around /r/keto and found this post which linked over to this recipe over on ketokarma.com

Seriously good stuff and inspiring! She has a wealth of great information, recipes, and video updates. If you’re looking into starting Keto, wanting some more info, motivation to keep going, or whatever – check it out!

http://ketokarma.com/about/

By | 2016-07-22T14:06:56+00:00 July 22nd, 2016|Categories: Ketogenic, Weight Loss|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments