This should be a stickie on this site! Thanks for sharing.
Certainly a challenging subject and probably gets down to the fact that there is a lot of variation in our indiviual base metabolic situation and how we respond in the long run. We have to also appreciate that a lot of this is relatively new information as a long term practice - so not all the answers are there that will apply to all equally. I have noted that there seems to be a lot of folks that report very good responses to keto in the early stages, and then kind of level off - and then you have to tweak things individually.
But what seems to be true, if you stay on keto - what doesn’t seem to happen is the extreme bounce back to pre-keto weights/metabolic markers. I know for myself this is the case - and as much as I would like to speed up the process to lose that last chunk of weight, I really can’t do much different than keto becasue to do otherwise would mean the return of hypertension, digestion/sleep/inflammation/general circulatory problems (to name a few). We are so, so conditioned to CICO theory its hard not to revisit, but it may be for some to be mindful of. But its also coming to a way to create that balance of being mindful vs overly obsessive. And actually if someone is determined to return to COCI - then I say try it out and see what happens for you.
Again, personally the closest I will go to considering calories is to implement fasting, which I appreciate is moving closer toward considering calorie theory - but its the way its done that I think is different. Fasting has quite a different effect on metabolism than daily calorie restriction. Also I’ve had a lifetime of calorie counting and just don’t have the will to go back to that. And if that means giving up few extra vanity inches off my butt - then so be it because the other benefits are worth it.
And that my friends is my two bits!
The really hard part about the calorie theory is knowing how to fit it in with the hormonal model, because at some level, everyone agrees calories really do matter. The hormonal model certainly seems to be the important part, but the complication is that no one can publish studies on various approaches to weight loss unless the diets are isocaloric.
I heard Dr. Westman saying he had done a paper on his success with patients and the journal review “peers” objected that the patients were losing weight and he couldn’t prove that if they lost weight by any other means that they wouldn’t get the same result. His view was that he’s a clinician first and it doesn’t bother him if patients reversed their diabetes because they lost weight.
I don’t think that anybody who has improved their “digestion/sleep/inflammation/general circulatory problems (to name a few)”, as you say, really cares very much if the benefits are from losing weight or eating low carb. Especially if you’re like me and likely to think you can’t reliably lose weight by any other approach.
@SarahSlan - Thank you!
Whaddya doing that for? You need to go back to doing what you know doesn’t work. And do that for 3 years.
Seriously, the targeted carbs is pretty amazing – it feels like rocket fuel to me. I almost think that when on Keto, I get more energy from the carbs than when I was not fat adapted.
Could you explain a little more about “targeted carbs?” I think it might be something I need.
My two bits is that I feel different when I fast (EF) … I can tell that something different is going on, and it melts off weight. So far, keto hasn’t been a miracle in itself, so I’m basically holding out hope that using fasting to achieve weight goals and using keto as a way of more-or-less maintaining + avoiding western diseases associated with metabolic syndrome will work as my personal health-and-weight protocol. I like the idea that not counting calories and eating lots of fat works because of a metabolic difference in how fat and carbs are processed so I’m biased to hope it’s true, but I’m open to the idea that it’s not so much metabolic magic as natural calorie ‘restriction’ based on satiety signals that maintains my weight in keto. Either way, for now I will KC and KO.
Yes of course. Just for context, I watched a really interesting interview on YouTube by High Intensity Health (a keto channel) and Danny Lennon, from Sigma Nutrition. The latter was talking about how he helps to get the athletes in his care to perform at their best while respecting their ketogenic diets. He said for some physical activity the keto diet actually helps performance but for others (HIIT, for example, which is what I do) you need a hit of easily digestible carbohydrate to kick into high performance. There was loads of science behind it but basically after testing some of his athletes (some with target carbs, others without) the ones without the carbohydrates really struggled to give powerful performance and struggled to give their best because they didn’t have access to enough glycogen. To combat this he recommends having some carbs, targeted about 30-40 minutes before a workout and afer a workout. This helps with performance and refeeding.
I have been trying to do my usual workouts (I believe I am fat adapted) without carbs but I was finding that they were suffering significantly. I increased my electrolytes, which helped somewhat, but I found I lost power and strength despite this which I had before I went ketogenic. After feeling very frustrated and disappointed after my last workout I decided to look into carb cycling. This wasn’t for me, but then I read about targeted carbs and tried it out. Wow! The difference was incredible. I couldn’t believe the difference in performance. I felt like I did before keto in that I was able to push myself and regain some of my old strength and it felt wonderful. I don’t use grains- I have removed those permanently from my diet with no chance of return. But I had some sweet potato and a ‘Bounce’ protein ball pre workout and a larger portion of fruit and veg afterwards with some meat. I am definitely going to build this in to my life as it’s so effective. I know for some it is not acceptable keto but I don’t mind that. I’m not a purist if the pure version doesn’t work for me. I’m into this to improve my life and not make it harder! So I’m keto the rest of the time, and on non exercise days I keep carbs to under 20g, but on workout days I add in carbs.
You got some glucose and burned it off. . . No foul. Definitely something for athletes to consider.
I find that interesting. I know for me, it took at least 6 months to become fat adapted and than my workouts improved. Now I find that I perform even better in a fasted state! I actually hate it when I have to do HIIT on days I am not fasted because I am sluggish on those days. But again, that took over a year to get to that point. But I am definitely able to perform way better while fasted and without any carbs than I did before. But you had to be patient.
Of course, I am not an athlete, nor will I ever be so I am have the luxury to be patient.
Yeah. I’m not prepared for it to take a year!
keto, along with any other diet where you track macros, is essentially a calorie restrictive diet. You are counting calories when you count macros, you’re just counting specific types of calories. If you aren’t losing any weight, or even gaining, you need to adjust your macros unless your goal is weight/muscle gains. I’ve found that after almost 7 weeks on keto, I have a new daily calorie intake. I used to eat at least 1800 calories every day (probably way more) on a carb loaded standard american diet, but since I’ve been on keto, I have essentially dropped down to around 1500. I’m not hungry and I’ve broken my very bad snacking habit. For me, keto is about counting calories, it just also ensures that you are eating the right types of calories to promote fat burning. I’m not sure the “eat less, move more” motto works though because it oversimplifies our ability to process calories equally. if you’re having a hard time losing weight, lower your fats and proteins by a small percentage. Stick with that for a few weeks to see if you see weight loss. I don’t believe in those charts that show height and weight and tell you what your macros should be. That doesn’t work for everyone, especially me because I exercise 6 days a week doing both strength training and HIIT cardio. I need more fuel than just using that standard chart.
Thank you. I am definitely going to give that a try. I don’t do HIIT, I mostly run and do some strength training. I know that, supposedly for aerobic exercise, fasted is good, but my body always performs better when it has a little food in it before I run. I’m hoping that maybe some targeted carbs following the workout may help with recovery. I’m 52 and I think my body may need a little extra help with that.
I’ve been working on getting in touch with my satiety signalling lately. It’s weak, it definitely doesn’t shout, but I’m starting to hear it. It’s swamped by the taste of sugar or even just spices and salt. I can ignore it and keep eating and it won’t yell at me to stop, at least until I’m stuffed. But I can definitely feel a “ok, we’re good, that’ll do” when eating blander food, even while enjoying it - like simple meat or veg.
I did the “potato hack” diet for a few days a couple weeks ago, ate nothing but white potatoes for 3 days (and remained in ketosis the whole time btw). That was the ultimate in bland. I let myself be fully driven by satiety signalling and gave myself permission to eat as many plain white potatoes (just a bit of salt, no butter). Three or four medium potatoes did the job every time I sat down to eat and wow after the last one, I was done, not stuffed but not at all interested in eating more. I think it really helped me get in touch with that little, weak voice.
Knowing what that voice sounds like now, I have tested and it just seems to depend on the food. Roasted, salty nuts? No satiety signal til I’ve eaten a heck of a lot. Steak? I feel pretty satiated at about where my macros say I ought to be.
Personally I think CICO works within broad strokes. The body uses hormones to fight back against weight loss and to defend set points, especially for us women. To create a hormonal environment favorable to long term weight loss AND simultaneously to create an energy deficit is not always easy or even possible, but that’s what’s necessary IMHO.
One more question? How are you determining how many carbs to target and when you do, about how many carbs do you eat for the day?
I don’t go crazy on the carbs but I include a carb-rich food instead of a more low-carb choice. So I would have sweet potato or some other root vegetables with meat instead of low carb spinach or greens. I do this about 30-40 mins before the workout. If I still feel a bit low energy beforehand, or if the workout is going to involve heavier weights, I might add in a good quality protein ball which is also higher in carbs. These work a treat! Post workout I always increase my protein over fat and will have carbs if I feel depleted. I’d i feel ok though I will keep the carbs to less than 5% meal. I think it’s a case of trial and error, depending on what exercise you do, what intensity you do it at and what your food preferences are. These extra carbs are on top of my usual 20g a day, not incorporated into it. Is that helpful?
No it isn’t. It may be for you right now but for many there is NO calorie restriction in the long term and certainly not enforced (except by satiety). Appetite varies wildly in the early stages (where you are) but many lose weight after adaptation with no restriction below their estimated TDEE. Some never can do this, but that is a function of their specific metabolic state and capabilities rather than the inherent values of the WoE.
It’s a bit like the people on here who aren’t prepared to wait for their bodies to adapt to their chosen form of exercising on keto. That’s fine that they want to add carbs that are immediately burned off by their workout to make up for the temporarily missing energy but it isn’t a deficiency in the WoE, just their bodies taking their own sweet time to adapt sufficiently well. Laird Hamilton isn’t eating some carbs before hours of surfing, the professional rugby players aren’t eating oranges at half time for a fructose boost… they are keto adapted athletes. People should do whatever gets them through their day but it doesn’t make them expert prognosticators about keto.
Thanks. I guess that’s why it is called targeting. I wonder… I guess one could eat a good portion of their daily carbs before and/or after their workout to replenish but not need to go over their carb tolerance for the day by just timing the intake.
Good for you, at least you KNOW what works. I’ve been criticized for even mentioning fruit, and then there’s others saying you don’t need vegetables either. Just ignore the zealots as I do and keep doing what works. Hell green leafy vegetables are a great way to add magnesium to your diet, at least the body knows what to do with it, never had to take magnesium, or extra sodium in the whole time I’ve been doing this keto gig. I actually like vegetables now!
Don’t feel persecuted… a lot of people came here very sick (the first wave of users for sure and many since) and even after a lot of healing, fruit is a no go for them. Forgive them a little over-reaction when other people state that fruit is fine.
The “no vegetables needed” thing is just a fact… needed is not the same as wanted or allowable within keto macros. Micronutrients (or the fiber myth) from fruit/veg is massively overblown given the historically low levels available in modern greens grown in typically mineral depleted soils. You get far more micros from offal than veggies. Good luck with getting 400mg of magnesium from plants. It’s your choice to get your micros from wherever you want (offal, veggies, fruit, supplements) but there’s no need to pretend that veggies are a superior option per se.
This is true if you plug your carb macro into a calculator, but many people who do keto just restrict carbs to 20 grams or less, add reasonable / moderate protein - with or without a macro goal, and then ‘fat to satiety’, which could be 500 calories or it could be 2500 calories. It’s only about calorie restriction if you chose to make it so.