Can you be Keto and get really fat?

(Doug) #62

You lost me here, Consistency. :thinking: Eating doesn’t necessarily stop ketosis, no? If one eats sufficient carbs to stop one from using fat for energy, then sure, but if one is eating ketogenically and using fat for energy, why would ketosis stop?

(squirrel-kissing paper tamer) #63

This has literally never happened to me in my life, nor anyone I know. What are you talking about?

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #64

@anon81060937 You have some very strange ideas. Refs please.

(GINA ) #65

I have come to realize in my years on this planet is that we are all different and what works for some will not work for others. It is all about the hormones.

I take a short-acting thyroid medication. If I forget to take it one day I will be up 2 lbs the very next day. It isn’t ‘water weight’ like you get when you eat out, it is a genuine 2 lbs that have to be lost like any other.

People don’t believe me. I can’t tell you how many times I have told that story and been scoffed at… “You would have to eat an extra 7000 calories to gain 2 lbs!” “No way! You aren’t counting/tracking right!” When I first realized it I didn’t believe it either, but it has happened consistently enough for long enough that I know it is true. I don’t forget often anymore because I don’t need any extra pounds.

You know what else people don’t believe? I can eat the exact same food early in the day and lose weight, but if I eat it late in the day I will stay the same or gain. I have heard the same scoffing… “Impossible! It is all about the carbs/calories/fat!” “It is just less food in your system in the morning when you weigh!” But again, it has happened consistently enough for long enough that I know it is true for me.

Given those two experiences of mine, I offer advice to people that want it if I have some, but I don’t doubt what they say, or take it personally, or go on a mission to prove them wrong if they say something counter to my beliefs.


The second is imaginable, late eating does something with your body, real CICO that always works is very complex. It’s okay.

But you simply can’t make fat tissue from pure air, water and whatever not-food you have. It stores energy and that must come from somewhere. I don’t know what is the explanation but surely not magical appearance of energy/matter. Maybe (be ready for baseless not scientific wondering) it’s partially water and it change something in your body so it starts to use up less energy and forms fat tissue and continue to do it for a long time. It doesn’t sound right but maybe I could make my point more clear…? Maybe not. I believe it’s not an easily losable water weight if you experienced that multiple times but there must be some other explanation. It’s still odd but that doesn’t make it not real, the human body is complex and sometimes seemingly defies nature laws but it can’t do that actually.

The “wrong tracking” person probably believes in simple CICO and that everyone is pretty stable regarding energy output. Still, what do they think, you eat like a super hungry monster when you forget your medication? I wouldn’t think so.

(Prancing Pony) #67

That’s fascinating, I’m hypothyroid and although I’m on T4 I can tell my metabolism is different to other people so I totally believe you. May I ask which foods you have to keep to the morning?

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #68

For discussion purposes I’ll take your statement at face value. It’s an interesting experience. Since you’re dealing with thyroid issues, I would suspect that missing your medication causes your homeostasis to go out of balance. That in turn could cause less energy to be directed towards maintaining body temp and getting stored instead. Do you feel cold or even slightly cooler when you miss your meds? That would indicate less energy being directed towards thermogenesis and could be upwards of a thousand kcalories per day. If the change in body temp is only slight, like less than a couple degrees F, you might not feel it (much), so a good thermometer would be needed to detect it. Either way, at least part of the weight gain is water. But it may be somehow ‘bound up’ that prevents it being excreted quickly. That’s a whole topic on its own, so won’t go into it here. It’s also possible that when your homeostasis goes awry, much more energy than simply the amount used to maintain body temp gets stored as well. Do you monitor glucose? The effect could also drive more glucose out of the blood and store it as both fat and glycogen. The glycogen would then store up to 2-3 times its own weight of water. If/when this occurs you would probably feel more hungry than usual. Are you in ketosis consistently? If so, do you measure ketones? Changes in ketone levels could also be affected and instead of ‘dumping’ unused ketones in urine and breath (this can be a significant amount of energy) - Bikman discusses this ‘ketone wasting’) you could be storing the energy as fat.


What is the biological mechanism here? Cortisol? Did he/Dr Cole test this? I’m genuinely curious as I have two full time jobs and if “stress” is contributing to my stubborn remaining 10 lbs, I’d like to understand that science better and know how I can quantify “stress” such that I can declare it’s a legitimate biological thing that is causing me to hold (and Jimmy to hold) this excess weight, and then do something about it.

As for Jimmy’s 6 month stress sabbatical, I wish him the best. My concern for him though is that he is changing some sources of stress (social media posting, podcast creation, speaking engagements, etc.) for just different types of stress (“how are my handlers doing handling my accounts in my absence?”, “will I still be relevant upon my return?”, “Am I losing enough weight to make this worth it?, etc”).

Again, I really hope he figures it all out and quiets the naysayers, but we shall see.

(Sheri Knauer) #70

Chronic stress can lead to a chronically high level of cortisol. I don’t know if Jimmy had his cortisol levels tested. Chronic stress can affect someone in the following ways:
Digestion can be drastically down regulated and can cause leaky gut.
Chronic stress increases blood glucose and insulin levels which lead to inflammation, dysregulated blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance.
It impairs fatty acid sufficiency because it impairs proper digestion.
A decrease in digestion equals a decrease in mineral utilization and absorption.
Increased cortisol also negatively affect osteoblastic ability, bone mineralization, and proper collagen synthesis.
This paper from 1992 has a lot of info regarding stress


I recall listening to his presabbatical bloodwork show. Very high inflammation. Systemic. Low vit D. Here’s the part where the doc mentioned stress as possibly contributing to it as well as poor dietary habits/eating (no mention of cortisol measurement that I recall).

26:57 mark

(PJ) #72

I don’t know, the body IS capable of endogenously generating all kinds of chemicals, and reducing its own metabolic rate drastically so the food you do eat might almost entirely store on you (and still be in you literally).

In my distant past I repeatedly showed myself and my friend that I could eat a lot of pizza in evening and weigh 10# more the next morning even though the pizza itself even with soda did not weigh 10# so this seemed totally impossible to me, yet it happened several times, I would show my friend C. the scale because we were both agog, how could it be possible.

I had a friend with hashimoto’s who was a gym strength trainer, she gained 30# in a month, she was almost suicidal! – she did not eat anywhere near enough calories to add 30 pounds to her lean hardbody in a month. But it happened. It took thyroid medication and so on to help.

Clearly there is something else we haven’t got a handle on yet.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #73

@GME @Shinita As a younger man my dad had hyperthoroidism. No matter what or how much he ate he could not gain weight. He was and looked emaciated. He received the standard ‘treatment’ of the day, which was to irradiate his thyroid sufficiently to burn it into a lump of charcoal. That ‘fixed’ it alright. From then on no matter what nor how little he ate he gained weight. Quantity didn’t matter; calories didn’t matter. He suffered the next 50 years growing steadily more obese, got T2D and CVD. He was on diabetes medication the final 30+ years of his life. He had his first heart attack at 63 and quadruple bypass surgery before 65.

The thyroid is one of the master control glands. If it’s haywire and you require medication to keep it functioning within the normal range, I can believe you might experience significant weight fluctuations when you miss a day. It might be as simple as cellular water management. The body is 75-80% water. All that water doesn’t just sit around, it’s constantly cycled. It brings nutrients into the cells, removes waste from the cells and provides the environment for all biochemical processes to occur. If cells retain even a small amount of water that would otherwise be eliminated, there would be a quick and significant overall weight gain. It might also take several days after missing a single day of medication for the water to return to normal circulation again.

My dad spent most of his life gaining and retaining weight. Why? Probably because he did not have a thyroid to control his metabolism. It was as if he was stuck in storage mode. As you point out, Shinita, generating fat is not magic. But if one’s metabolism does not function normally, because there’s no thyroid or the thyroid you have goes haywire if you miss one day’s medication, then it can seem like it. Like my dad, no matter how much or little he ate, no matter how much or little he exercised - he gained and retained weight.

Thermodynamics in an open system, which is what our bodies are, is complicated. Yes, fat is stored energy and that energy must come from somewhere. But in an open system it is often not clear exactly where. Things are just messy sometimes.

Stokies and CICO die/blow hards
Strange fasting experience
(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #74

PS. The last couple years of his life my dad modified his diet to lower carbs. Not keto, but significantly lower carbs. He actually managed to lose weight and looked quite healthy for his age. Even with no thyroid and seemingly stuck in storage mode most of his life, he still got better by reducing carbs.

(Doug) #75

I’m thinking increased water retention is a good bit of it there. The salt and carbs make us retain more water to make our electrolyte concentration remain somewhat stable. I once ate 3 lbs. of very salty pretzels, and could feel my fingers swelling that very day. Didn’t weigh myself, but later calculated that I’d taken in enough salt to require 18 lbs of water to dilute to normal concentration for a human body.

The average person breathes in about 1.7 lbs. of oxygen per day, and uses about 1/4 of that. Now, if you didn’t take in any water, just the pizza and soda, and had accurate weights on everything, and you took in less than 10 lbs among the items, yet gained 10 lbs, then yes, that is impossible. :smile:

(Rebecca 🌸 Frankenfluffy) #76

I am so sorry this happened to your dad.
Did they not put him on thyroid replacement medication after they’d zapped his thyroid?

I had radioiodine to kill my overactive thyroid some years ago, and after some complications related to the hyperthyroidism went into hospital in the July with my UK size 8 clothes falling off me. Was discharged just before Christmas that year a UK size 20. Guess what they’d forgotten to give me?

All fine now, but my dose gets tweaked occasionally. The thyroid gland is so important that anything awry with it - or a lack - or excess - of replacement thyroxine - can have catastrophic effects to both body and mind.

If I’m not on enough, I get slow, sluggish, cold and bigger. If I’m on too much, I’m skinny and whizzing about like a mad thing, hot flushes a go go. And it’s a surprisingly small difference in the amount of thyroxine that can send me one way or the other.
Too little thyroxine makes me very sad and low. Too much makes me crazily unstable.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #77

It was a long time ago, early 50s. I don’t know what if any subsequent medication my dad received after his thyroid was destroyed. I was too young at the time to understand and by the time I was old enough it was years in the past and my dad never said anything about it.


Something is surely there but whatever the body can make, lots of fat tissue without the required energy just couldn’t happen, I am sure about this much, it’s impossible.
Energy need may go down but that can’t explain 2lbs fat gain in a single day (is it possible even with eating food with enough energy?) while not eating much. That’s why I thought it’s water (it’s a common culprit in sudden weight gain and we consume it often) AND slowed down metabolism but it takes time to form the fat tissue. No one is able to make lots of fat from a little amount of food (I mean energy content, we can’t make lots of fat from lots of cucumber either), no matter how little their body uses up, it’s still definitely not nearly enough. It just can’t happen.
And we always need more than minimal energy to stay alive. No one can live on 1-200 kcal, I’m quite sure of it, we need energy for so many things, there is a limit, mammals need lots of energy (dropping body temperature cuts that though quite seriously). I should read about these things, they are highly interesting. Especially the extreme, special cases. Normal people very quickly lose fat (and muscle) when they are starving (despite some people’s belief… there are so odd ideas despite lots and lots of experiences and experiments), it slows down but extreme little food still isn’t enough, not even when they are emaciated. But certain conditions mess that up, I am aware, I just don’t know how much. Our energy need could be cut into half if we have an enough serious problem as far as I know but living on almost nothing, it seems impossible and we probably would have heard about that if someone did it, there are so many people and so good communication and desire to do so, after all. (Well we heard about people living without eating and not even losing weight long term but it defy science so…)

(PJ) #79

Howdy Shinita,

  1. Ah - Was ‘fat’ specified here? The last few posts (unlike the thread title) are merely talking about apparent weight gain, not the assumption that it all has to be fat. Sudden out of the norm stuff usually is water, though it’s hard to know if that’s 100%.

  2. Does anybody have the ability to know precisely WHAT is adding to the scale the next morning in that kind of detail? Our tech isn’t really there yet.

  3. The body can store fat when you eat even if you are eating not very many calories, if insulin is present in enough quantity and saturated fat is not present in enough quantity. In theory the ‘overall’ metabolism (not just of that 20 minutes of eating time) would find equilibrium and use that fat later. But it can’t if insulin stays high (which can happen for several reasons unrelated to food intake). And it might not need to anyway, if the metabolic rate of the person is too low (which thyroid can cause). This is likely not possible in sufficient quantity to add pounds overnight, but the base dynamic is sound.

quick web search: during cellular respiration water is a by-product of the oxidation of carbohydrate and free fatty acids. In addition, water chemically bound to glycogen is released when glycogen is oxidized.

There may be other things but I assume that instant weight gain, and weight gain trackably more than what we can oh-so-loosely correlate to our food, is generally water. It’s essentially manufactured in a way.

There are other indirect routes. For example some health issues will cause loss of blood or lymph fluid from the vessels or valves, which goes into the body cavity / tissues, but it’s not an even transfer, because in addition to the body then generating edema for a couple reasons to add to that, the body also manufactures NEW blood cells for replacement. Obviously this is a tiny weight not something we’d see on a scale, but the underlying fundamental seems sound.

If you have not personally been, or been the intimate housemate of, someone who is very obese while saying they don’t eat enough to be that obese, it is probably best not to publicly opine and imply something about their either dishonesty or idiocy, honestly. Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, a molecular biologist, the leader of the Genetics lab (at the time of this interview ref) at Rockefeller U, the guy whose team discovered the hormone Leptin – he is the rockstar of endocrinology – had a lot to say on this topic. Among many other things, he ran a lab that after gastric bypass had patients inhouse being fed 700 calories a day. They lost weight. And then they didn’t. They were in a completely controlled environ plus their bodies wouldn’t even allow them to ingest much more. But after some weight loss, despite that they were still extremely obese in many cases, they didn’t lose any more weight, on 700 calories a day. He observed that there is clearly something very different going on with the metabolism of some people. I can’t think of any better example of a qualified person, with a controlled situation, observing the reality of this situation.

But… to get back to the subject of this thread, rather than some of the avenues it has meandered to: staying fat, or regaining lost fat (via metabolic adaptation’s many treacherous pathways to restoration), is not the same as gaining NEW fat.

I suspect that if one is eating keto, gaining NEW fat (not various water issues, which could range from serious edema to simple inflammation) is unlikely, and if it were present I would assume the person had a serious medical, possibly thyroid, condition.


Oh my, I can’t seem to handle this forum well yet. I wanted to copy paste my long text because I managed to make it not a reply to the previous comment as it was intended and now I lost all. Oh well.
It’s not like I am very knowledgeable (I try but if it’s chemistry, I just don’t get it. I learn this and that but too little, the human body is too complex) but I like thinking logically and I do love biology and evolution and its own logic…

I write only this then, that’s where fat came into play:

I do think it’s water weight at that point (or something else that is supposed to be temporal though water retention happens long term too) but the body clearly stores energy, it just can’t do it all on a single day, far from it, there is simply not enough energy for that and it can’t make it from nothing. The metabolism gets affected somehow but it takes time to form that much fat. And if it’s not fat, we don’t need to lose it like any other.

(Prancing Pony) #82

I went on one of those liquid diets of 600 calories a day for two weeks and stayed the same weight while swimming 2 miles 3 days a week (this was the normal level of exercise so not muscle gain)

When I went keto I ate 2000 to 3000 calories a day and played a lot of xbox and lost 1lb every week.

My ancestors survived starvation while looking for food, my genes remember this well :joy: