How I Got Started Eating High-Fat
After hearing about the ketogenic diet from many different sources, I decided to dive in a little deeper and give this a try for myself. Some of these people included; my buddy Lee Welton, podcasters including Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss as well as doctors like Dr. Hymman who wrote Eat Fat Get Thin. The “gateway drug” or Trojan Horse for me into the ketogenic diet was a delicious beverage known as Bulletproof Coffee. This, now famous coffee recipe by Dave Asprey which includes; high grade Bulletproof coffee beans, which is delicious and is third party tested for toxins and molds, grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold brand) and C8 caprylic acid MCT oil (sold as Brain Octane and comes from coconut oil). ALL OF THIS IS BLENDED TOGETHER, which is a very important step to ensure the fat and coffee are mixed together well for that delicious creamy taste. I started this with the knock-off recipe, where I used the coffee I had in the house (organic coffee from Costco), coconut oil and the Kerrygold grass fed butter. This was still a great cup of coffee, but definitely not the same as using the Bulletproof coffee beans and Brain Octane C8 caprylic acid MCT oil. At first, my girlfriend and I started adding this to our breakfast in the morning.
After about a week (maybe less), we had to stop eating breakfast AND coffee because we both kept getting so full that we ended up putting most of our breakfast in the refrigerator for later. One thing that we began to notice pretty immediately, was that we started getting hungry a lot later in the day, especially as we started adding more fat to our other meals in the day. With the Bulletproof Coffee and about two weeks of transition, I was then and am still now able to have this as my "breakfast", and I don't get hungry until lunch (about 1pm) or sometimes later. I now I will also do a green tea variation of the Bulletproof coffee, where I simply swap out green tea for coffee but keep the fat. After a few weeks of being consistent with my Bulletproof coffee or tea "breakfast", I began to work on some more fine-tuning of my diet. The next step for me was to adjust my other two meals, lunch and dinner, by increasing my fat intake. The nice thing about this is, I get to eat a lot of salad and vegetables and delicious high quality foods including; good quality hard cheeses, grass fed butter, avocado, green olives, coconut oil and more.
Stay Tuned for Part 4: My Current Regimen and Personal Stats
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
First off, it is important that you understand I am not a doctor, a dietitian, or nutritionist and am not advising on nutrition. I am simply sharing my experience and understanding through reading, listening, and lots of self experimentation. The material on this blog is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a healthcare practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diets, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.
My understanding of the ketogenic diet is that it was developed in the late 1920s for kids with epilepsy in which their seizures were uncontrollable with medication.
"The ketogenic diet was designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic. Despite being highly effective in treating epilepsy, it fell out of fashion due to the surge in new anti-seizure medications in the 1940s. In 1994 Charlie Abraham’s family started The Charlie Foundation after his complete recovery from daily seizures despite trying all available anti-seizure medications and enduring a futile brain surgery. Charlie started the diet as a toddler and remained on it for 5 years. He is now a college student and remains seizure-free." www.CharlieFoundation.org
Through research, they found that when these kids fasted, they no longer had seizures. Since you can't fast a kid or any human for that matter indefinitely, they began to develop a diet that mimics fasting physiologically, in order to provide the kids a way to avoid seizures, but still give their bodies the nutrients they need to survive. This was the ketogenic diet which is defined as make a diet with the macronutrient ratio of 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, 5-10% carbohydrates. -ketogenic-diet-resource.com (These ratios can shift slightly depending on your particular body type, and food history.) The diet gets its name from the fact that when you switch to a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet, your body begins to shift its main energy source away from glucose to ketone bodies, which come from fat and fat metabolism. When you are using these ketone bodies as your primary fuel source, you are said to be in ketosis, which can be tested a few different ways. This, at first glance, seems very extreme in a way, but I think after a little more explanation there will be some key points that make a lot of things clearer on this approach to nutrition. The first thing to remember, is that food volume and caloric density are different things. What I mean by that is, when you look at a plate of food, three-quarters of the plate should be covered by vegetables, with one-quarter remaining available for fat and protein. This can satisfy the proper ratio depending on the foods that are in those sections. One gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories one gram of protein is 4 calories one gram of fat is 9 calories. Therefore it takes less volume of fat to get the amount of calories that you need to satisfy the proper macronutrient ratio on this diet. So why is this important, and why the focus on eating such high fat? First of all, you need to have a basic understanding of how the body normally utilizes food for energy.
On a typical American diet, your body takes the food that you've eaten and starts breaking it down to its smaller components through digestion. As it does this, it distributes the smaller parts of your food including glucose, to different parts of the body. Glucose specifically is taken from carbohydrates, sugar (and sometimes protein) and converted to energy (via ATP in the liver) then distributed to the bloodstream where it then gives you energy. Since our bodies are not perfectly precise, this increase in blood sugar can go higher than your normal concentration ( hyperglycemia) in which the body now needs to release insulin (a storage hormone) to manage and store this excess blood sugar for fuel to be used later as bodyfat. When this insulin is released and store this excess glucose, the blood sugar becomes lower than normal (hypoglycemia) and now your body begins to recognize this and begins to signal hunger to let you know that it needs fuel from more glucose, and the cycle continues. (You can read more about insulin at the American Diabetes Association). When your body releases insulin, more releases than needed to manage the current glucose levels, your blood sugar then drops which makes you hungry again. This is one mechanism that's acting on your energy levels when on a regular American diet. Another, is that of your hormones. When you eat carbohydrates you promote Ghrelin stimulation. A hunger hormone specifically hungry for that of glucose and carbohydrates. Conversely, when you eat fat, you stimulate Leptin production. This is a satiation hormone which allows you to feel more full and satisfied. Another nice effect of eating a high-fat, moderate protein and low carb diet is that because your body gets used to burning fat for fuel. It will then begin to also burn your body fat for fuel throughout the day and with diminished eating or low caloric intake. Another interesting point to consider for me was that there are some negative associations with metabolism of excess glucose and carbohydrates. In general, some of the these negatives include increased blood sugar, increased need for insulin and the excess storage of adipose (fat) tissue from this. Also, these foods take away space that could be used for more nutrient dense vegetables or high quality fats. These are foods that my body needs including the vitally essential building blocks to create and repair important tissue throughout my body and brain.
Stay Tuned For Part 3: How I Got Started Eating High Fat
My Food Story
About 4 years ago, I was in school studying physical therapy. My life was full with studying, working as a personal trainer, working as a physical therapy aide and trying to manage all the stresses of life. I continued to finding myself with constant stomach problems that I attributed to stress at the time. These symptoms could range from day to day, but would be generally a combination of; upset stomach, increase bathroom trips, poor sleep quality, and trouble eating many types of food because they would increase these symptoms. I've always been into learning about health and nutrition and have mostly tried to eat foods that I thought were the healthiest for me. I've also been involved in sports as well as weight lifting and would try to match my eating with my fitness goals. This would include items you see typically in a “healthy” diet for most Americans who are trying to eat “healthy”. I was focused on getting enough carbohydrates to have energy for activities, enough protein to support my muscles and some fat to balance all of this out. I took a very similar approach to the very familiar Food Pyramid.
Some typical foods for me include, sandwiches, salad, chicken breast, eggs, broccoli and hummus, chips with beans and salsa, and multiple protein shakes throughout the week. I would fluctuate between trying to eat every 3 hours to just eating at the 3 meal times of breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also have struggled at times with cravings for sweets, mostly chocolate, ice cream and cookies as these were plentiful in my household growing up. And to be clear, I would not only indulge these cravings but would go to the extreme of eating so much of these foods that I would make myself sick that night and often times into the next day. I have been known in the past to eat an entire half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. This may be hard to believe for many of you but those who have lived with me in the past can attest to this unfortunate fact. Other than this, I would have the occasional burger and fries or fast food meal, but those were not daily occurrences. I finally started to try the elimination style dieting, where I would eliminate suspect foods that I think may be causing some problems, and then after a few weeks, try reintroducing them one at a time to see, if in fact this food did cause a problem.
I tried this with dairy and with wheat, and found out some very interesting things. Both of these for me are problematic, but in different ways and to a much different degree than each other. I find that for dairy, as I used to drink lots and lots of milk, milk was actually one of the biggest problems. But, butter, cheese and eggs all seem to be fine. As for wheat, I found this to be very problematic to the point where I have tested myself after months of not eating this and within 15 minutes of eating an english muffin, I was in the bathroom. I have also found that other grains although not as problematic, tend to affect my stomach and can cause some digestive problems including; corn and to a lesser degree rice. So, after figuring out which foods I know I should not be eating, I started to adjust my diet in a way that made me feel much better, but still left me with some lingering problems. I would oftentimes go from being slightly under what I needed for total food intake for the day, to taking jumps over what I needed by eating too much late-night dark chocolate and peanut butter, cookies and ice cream, which are my kryptonite. Then, I started hearing about this idea of the ketogenic diet which is a diet that is high in fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrates. This made me start thinking about my own fat consumption and realized that I had a very low fat diet. I used to think this was good but after reading and understanding more about food nutrition and biology, I understood that our bodies desperately need good quality fats for so many of the physiological processes that are going on, as well as for repairing tissue, such as nerve tissue and brain tissue. The more I learn about this, the more my view about nutrition has shifted. I have now been eating a modified (slightly more protein) ketogenic diet for about a year now and have never felt this good before in my life!
Stay tuned for Part 2: What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
Where I discuss my understanding of the Ketogenic Diet
Author : Jordan Proudfoot
Here are my thoughts and insights into fitness and wellness to be the best you possible.