Diet update … I am willing and able to continue the diet plan that got me where I am now (100# down), Although I am a little hungry almost all the time on that plan other than on my high-calorie days, I prefer that to being fat and unhealthy.
However, at the suggesting of my friend “Otheus” Shelling, I’ve been reading Dr. Peter Attia’s blog (http://eatingacademy.com) – he claims (as I’ve seen before), that on a very low-carb ketogenic diet, most people can “eat fat to satiety” and still lose weight. That sounds very appealing! To oversimplify his claim – obviously change in weight is simply carbs out minus carbs in … but the interaction there is anything but simple. When in ketosis, the body primarily uses fat for fuel instead of carbs, and this requires the liver to convert fat to fuel the rest of the body can use, and that process is inefficient, which means you must consume more food energy to get the same useful energy, with the difference wasted as extra heat. Plus fat is better able to satisfy hunger than carbs or protein.
I started Monday. On a daily grams of macronutrient per kilogram body mass, the plan is to cut carbs to <0.5g/kg and protein to <1.5g/kg – so for me at 245#, that’s 56 g carbs and 167 g protein. Getting carbs under the limit was easy … just cut out fruit and refried beans. My carbs now mostly come from nuts, with a little from eggs and broccoli. Getting under the protein limit is proving more difficult. Apparently the liver can also convert protein to fuel, and does so preferentially over fat if protein is consumed at the levels I had been eating (2 – 2.3 g/kg).
I’ve continued counting calories, but not limiting them – I eat when hungry. I ate ~6000 kcal for my first two days (Monday and Tuesday). I doubt that can continue without me quickly gaining a lot of fat. But as of this writing at Wednesday lunch, I’m not hungry yet, and I’m only up to 1600 kcal. Scaling up from Dr. Attia’s experience and my metabolic rate (I’m still exercising the same as before), I figure I can probably maintain my weight while eating 4500-5000 kcal daily if in ketosis (it’s more like 3500 on my previous diet of 40% protein and 30% each of fat & carbs).
I tried Atkins 11 years ago with limited success. A few things are different this time – most importantly:
1. I’m exercising strenuously and consistently.
2. I’m trying to maintain weight loss rather than actively lose weight.
3. I know what happens if I don’t have a plan, and I have a fall-back plan that I know works.
So … I’m going to try this for at least of month. If I find I’m continually gaining weight, I’ll quit & go back to what I was doing before, which I know works. If it stabilizes, I’ll probably stick with this.
I had a high-calorie day Sunday. My weight is bouncing around 255 … but it has routinely bounced up that high from 245 after my high-calorie half-days – it is the weight of the extra food I’ve eaten plus a lot of extra water in my gut to digest it. It typically takes me 48-60 hours after a HCHD to drop back down to my baseline weight. Since I’ve eaten enough kcal to gain at most 3 extra pounds of fat, I presume the rest is additional food & water. Given that under this plan I’ll be routinely eating more than before, I expect (if this works as far as me maintaining my weight) my weight to settle higher than it had been – I’ll be looking for the trend after it settles out, not an absolute number.
Interesting piece by Dr. Attia – for him, it seems that his endurance while in ketosis is better than when burning carbs for fuel, but his 100% effort (like for sprinting or heavy lifting) is degraded in ketosis.:
Finally … an interesting quote:
“The late George Cahill did an experiment many years ago (probably would never get IRB approval to do such an experiment today) to demonstrate how ketones can offset glucose in the brain. Subjects with very high levels of B-OHB (about 5-7 mM) were injected with insulin until glucose levels reached 1 mM (about 19 mg/dL)! A normal person would fall into a coma at glucose levels below about 40 mg/dL and die by the time blood glucose reached 1 mM. These subjects were completely asymptomatic and 100% neurologically functional.