Christmas break and eating slightly more carbs in ketosis

(Nick) #1

Evening All,

I have had an interesting time over xmas, thought I would post my experiences and muses here, which might be of help to others.

I’m generally very strict with my diet, I IM until mid day to 4pm most days. Do a lot of exercise and normally eat 2 meals a day. I’ve stopped measuring my food relying on a blood tester to see where my keytones are. And I’ve got a good sense of what I can / can’t eat, plus some go-to meals.

I posted something recently about cycling: To Cycle or not to Cycle - Mercola's advice

After 3-4 months very strict keto, measuring / monitoring the whole time, I have softened my position on occasionally having higher levels of carbs and even experimenting with cycling every so often.

Since I started in summer last year I have lost 1.5 stone (21 pounds / 9.5kg) and I got to use some fancy scales that measure body fat percentage, I’m currently 14.5%, which for middle age is pretty good.

I visited friends in the countryside just before xmas, we stayed in hotels and there were limited eating out options. I chose the least carb intensive food and had MCT oil with me. After the first two days of my usual strictness, I softened and ate some sour dough bread with breakfast and rice with an evening meals. And even had a couple fo beers.

Testing my keynotes, I stayed in ketosis the whole time, reducing from my usual 1.5-2 mmol level to c0.5.

Over xmas I gave up altogether and had a traditional Christmas lunch with roast potatoes. And then gorged myself on chocolate of the worst kind and enjoyed every minute. Although, continued having lots of fat. I didn’t test myself over the holiday for a few days. So I’m not sure if I cycled out, but would assume I did.

Once back home, I fasted until mid-day and upon testing, was amazed to see I was still at 0.6 mmol.

So I have been playing with this a little more lately during January, in the week, I generally stick to my normal diet habits.

On the weekend, I have a bit more carbs. I had lunch with a group I was on a course with on Saturday. The only place we could find open was Japanese. I had a few sushi rolls, dumplings, cooked salmon as a main with no rice but extra salad. And then ate dark chocolate with coffee after.

For dinner I had Turkish kebab with came in bread, I had a small amount of it, but also had fried halloumi cheese to make up for it.

Again, I did not come out of ketosis with my levels remaining 0.5mmol that evening and 0.6mmol in the morning after.

I am taking Niacin B3 (the flushing kind) my friend says this helps you stay in ketosis, although I’m yet to get to the bottom of why but this might be part of the answer.

I also eat tonnes of fibre in the form of nuts, greens, avocados, so I assume some of the carbs I have been eating lately are being countered by the fibre.

Either-way, It’s really nice to have a little bit of flexibility, mainly around eating with others, I don’t want to be the one who is super fussy and difficult to cook for or in terms of eating out. Or avoid it altogether as the social element is also nourishing.

I’m also of the belief that stress is not good for you at all. So although I’m very strict on the whole, I don’t ever want to be in a state of stress or anxiety about food or conflict with people in order to get my personal nutritional needs met.

My friend jokes, it’s better to have a joyful donut than a miserable broccoli. I mean, I don’t agree with this from a nutritional perspective but the point is that being very stressed and anxious around food isn’t healthy either.

So although I have wanted to experiment with cycling in and out of ketosis, I have yet to really come out even with more carbs, and I’m quite sure my carbs have been over 50g a few times in the above examples. My normal diet would be aiming for 20g or less.

I also don’t find that my mood is affected, that I get any more cravings or any sense my blood sugar or insulin levels are going haywire (although they might be).

I’m really happy with the above, it’s working really well for me to be in ketosis but still be able to have a little bit of the things I like, especially sushi!


(KM) #2

My thought has always been that if I am fat adapted, and my carb indiscretion is relatively low, and I have created a history of insulin sensitivity again, even if I do push myself out of ketosis my glycogen stores will be used up quite quickly, at which point it’s business as usual. I imagine this varies greatly depending on insulin resistance, and I wonder if it’s something like a brain pathway, the more you have gone down that particular road with IR in the past, the more likely your body will revert to that state, and vice versa?

(Chuck) #3

I am not sure what to think about myself even at my heaviest weight my blood sugar remained low normal but my triglycerides were somewhat high. After 4 and a half months on keto my blood sugar is middle of the normal range and my triglycerides are low normal. So I have about a 1 to 1 ratio for my HDL and triglycerides. By the way my HDL and LDL were both low normal but total cholesterol was below normal. The most important thing for me was how much my BP came down.


Sounds great and it is working for you. When I exercise at higher intensities or do longer workouts, my carb intake could be 100+ grams or more with no adverse effects. Keep in mind that I have been doing keto/cycling out for over 10+ years now. I lost about 2 lbs per week in the first 3 months and reached my goal weight in a short period of time. I tend to eat lower carb Monday to Friday and whatever whenever on the weekends, but not going overboard. My weight, body fat and muscle mass have virtually stayed consistent during this period. I believe that once you are fat-adapted you have greater flexibility in what you eat, especially if you exercise a lot. I also think that in the long term, this has helped balance some of the hormonal issues that are sometimes associated with elimination-type eating protocols. Just my 2 cents worth.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #5

If you live outside the U.S., try to get the ratio of triglycerides to HDL down to 0.9 or below. That is a marker for minimal cardiovascular risk. If you live in the U.S., then a ratio of 1:1 is superb, since 2.0 or lower in U.S. units is a marker for low cardiovascular risk.


Better yet, get an apo B test. The apo B/apo A-I ratio is superior when compared with the conventional TC/HDL CA . B/apo A-I is the best overall lipoprotein-related risk of vascular disease. This apo B/apo A-I ratio has also been shown to be a significant predictor of the risk of heart failure, whereas LDL and HDL cholesterol were not. Apo B is also a better guide than any of the cholesterol indices for judging the adequacy of LDL-lowering therapy. Again just my 2 cents worth

(Nick) #7

This sounds like the approach I want to follow, so great to hear from you on it.