ketosis

other

How To Transition Off Keto

Screen Shot 2018-07-20 at 12.57.15 pm.png

If you’ve followed along on my YouTube channel you are probably aware that in 2017 I followed a ketogenic diet for 11 months to help improve some of my PCOS symptoms. My body wasn’t using carbohydrates correctly, and I was having a very hard time maintaining my weight, with my body gaining fat despite the fact I wasn’t eating in a caloric surplus. No matter how much I trained or what I did, it just felt like my body didn’t ‘work’.

This was due in part to insulin resistance, which had tagged along as part of my PCOS. Insulin resistance is when your body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin (a peptide hormone), and glucose (sugar) cannot enter your blood cells as easily, this results in higher blood sugar levels and if left untreated can lead to Type 2 Diabetes (The Clinical Biochemist Reviews, 2005).

I’m happy to report after a few months my insulin functioned correctly (as shown in my blood work), and due to the high fat nature of the diet, my hormonal profile returned to a normal state (previously I had elevated free testosterone, and slightly elevated E3).

After 11 months of being on the ketogenic diet, not having any cheat meals, not a drop of anything with even the slightest bit of caffeine in it, and eating around 3000-4000 calories per day to try and maintain my weight (which had dropped from around 70kg to 56kg), I figured it was time to jump off the diet. That, and I had a concussion and all I wanted was sweet potato hahah.

 
Second month on keto. Video screenshot (filmed Feb 2017)

Second month on keto. Video screenshot (filmed Feb 2017)

During keto October 2017 (scribbles because I would take photos/videos in undies for my own reference)

During keto October 2017 (scribbles because I would take photos/videos in undies for my own reference)

When I felt I'd lost too much weight (I'm 5'8").

When I felt I'd lost too much weight (I'm 5'8").

 

I was hesitant about this at first, because I had gotten so used to eating a certain way, and I am a creature of habit. In the following few paragraphs I’m going to teach you the best way to jump off keto with the least amount of weight gain possible. I personally bent these rules because I wanted to gain back muscle mass, which I felt I had lost (I can cover this in a YouTube video if you are interested).

 
Current picture (July 12 2018)

Current picture (July 12 2018)

July 18 2018

July 18 2018

 

Be aware – you will gain SOME weight

The hint is in the name, carboHYDRATE. Carbs attract water! So the more you add them into your diet, the more water your body is able to retain (Journal of Applied Physiology, 2010). If you got really lean on keto, you’d probably notice you looked ‘drier’ – your abs popped more easily and (for women) during your monthly cycle there was probably very little fluctuation in your look/weight.

This is no reason to be scared of carbs though! Carbohydrates will give you more energy for training, particularly resistance-based training (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2003), and are better for helping you grow and retain muscle, combined with a moderate amount of protein intake of course.
 

Plan what you’ll do

Don’t just jump back in to eating oats for breakfasts, wraps for lunch and rice with your dinner. Plan your transition out of a ketogenic diet.

1. For the first 20 days increase your carb intake by 15% of whatever it was initially and reduce your fats by 15%. For example: If you were previously eating 40g of carbs per day, this will now increase to 46g of carbs, and if you were eating 150g of fats per day this will decrease to 127.5g. There will be some calories lost in this transitional period. Keeping in a slight deficit during the process will also reduce the chance of a large amount of weight gain.

2. For the following 20 days increase this to 20% carb increase and 20% fat decrease. Your protein is the only macronutrient that should not be adjusted; this should remain around 1g per kilogram of body weight for sedentary people, up to 2g per kilogram of body weight for highly active people.

3. After this 40-day cycle you can return to your preferred macronutrient ratio. You can learn more about your body type and it’s ideal macronutrient ratio in the Get Lean Nutrition Guide.

 

No processed carbs

Stick to low GI carbs that won’t spike your blood sugar. High GI carbs can cause a spike in insulin, and repeatedly doing this may result in body fat gain (Nutrients, 2011). Here are some carbs that I would recommend adding to your diet, if they weren’t already in it, when you are transitioning out of keto (and also a good base to keep around even when you’re fully off keto!)

  • Wholegrains
  • Legumes
  • Sweet potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Eggplant
  • Squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Green veg (e.g. beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc)
  • Berries
  • Grapefruit
  • Pear
  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Plum
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Coconut flour
  • Psyllium husk

 

Nutrient Timing

If your body is functioning correctly and you are not in the process of transitioning off a ketogenic diet, nutrient timing may not be so important (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2003). However, during the switch from keto back to a regular diet, nutrient timing is a brilliant way to get more carbs into your day whilst allowing your body to use them effectively and discourage them from being stored as body fat (Advanced Nutrition, 2015). This method is one that I stuck to religiously when transitioning off keto.

Here’s an example of how to nutrient time your carbs:

Breakfast: A meal with a moderate amount of protein, high carbs and low fat
[[Training]]
Post-training meal: A meal with high protein, high carbs and low fat.
Lunch: A meal with moderate protein, low carbs and moderate fat.
Dinner: A meal with moderate protein, almost no carbs, and high fat.

As you can see the carbohydrates are focused around my (weight training) session, so that my body can use them more efficiently.

 

Carb Cycling or Paleo

If you find that your body just works better on a ketogenic diet, you may find some relief by swapping to a more long-term sustainable diet such as paleo, or a carb cycling diet.

Paleo

Paleo is similar to keto in that has a ‘no grain/low carb’ approach to eating, however, unlike keto, a healthy paleo diet will give your body a more diverse range of micronutrients, and more access to low GI carbohydrates.

Carb Cycling

Carb cycling is another similar option to swap to. Carb cycling is when you have certain days in the week that you will eat more carbohydrates, it works on a similar principle to how body builders have ‘refeed days’ and allows you to build up your glycogen stores, and then return back to low carbohydrate days to ensure low blood sugar levels.

 

Best of luck on your way out of the ketogenic diet! Keto can be a great way to reset your insulin resistance, rebalance your hormonal profile, or aid in other medical condition improvements (such as epilepsy and Alzhiemer's), but it is not always a long-term solution for everyone! 

other

You Need Fats! Here's Why:

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 2.25.12 pm.png

We often think of fats as something to avoid in our diet; after all, take a look at just how many food products are labeled “fat-free” next time you go to the grocery store.

But the truth is, we need fats in our diet. Without fats, we wouldn't function as people. Read on to learn more!
 

Do I really need fat?

Short answer: Yes! The longer answer is still yes, but with the caveat that not all fats are created equal. We'll talk about that more shortly.

For now, know this: Fats are essential for energy, for cell growth, for proper organ function, and for insulation. They're also needed for some vitamin and nutrient absorption, brain function, and even hormone production. Without fats in your diet, your body wouldn't work very well, and soon, it would cease to work at all. So yes, you need fats.

For instance, consider the following functions fats fulfill:

  • Energy. Because fats are calorie-dense, they remain one of the best sources of energy we can consume. Additionally, when we don't take in as many calories as we're burning, our bodies can burn fats for that extra energy.
  • Vitamin absorption. For instance, vitamins A, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning that our body doesn't absorb them without fat. We need those vitamins.
  • Flavor. Fats are a huge part of what make some of our favorite foods so delicious!
  • Satiation. Fats can help us feel full longer. (Additionally, if you've ever gone on a low-fat diet, you've probably noticed your diet craving fatty foods. This is a big part of why: Your body needs fats!)
  • Nutrient transportation. It's fats that help nutrients get across cell membranes, allowing your body to use those nutrients.
  • Nerve insulation. Fat helps protect our nerves by insulating nerve fibers and helping facilitate nerve impulses.
  • Body insulation. Without fat, we would be so much colder in the winter, as fat serves an important function by helping insulate and protect our organs.

Without fats, our bodies would be in so much trouble!
 

What are the different kinds of fats?

There are four main types of dietary fats:

  • Saturated fats
  • Trans fats
  • Monounsaturated fats
  • Polyunsaturated fats

Each of the four types are different chemically, and as such, have different physical properties as well. Let's look at each of them a little more closely.

Saturated fats: Tend to be solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are generally considered a bad fat because they raise the LDL cholesterol levels in your blood.

Trans fats: Like saturated fats, trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature. They, too, raise LDL cholesterol levels, which can contribute to cardiovascular health concerns.

Monounsaturated fats: Tend to be liquid at room temperature. Monounsaturated fats are generally considered a good fat.

Polyunsaturated fats: Tend to be liquid at room temperature. Polyunsaturated fats are also generally considered a good fat.

 

How many calories are in fat?

Regardless of the type of fat, every single gram of fat contains nine calories; fats are much more energy-dense than proteins or carbohydrates, each of which offer four calories per gram.

This is one of the reasons fats have gotten a bad reputation: Because they are more calorie-dense, they've often been blamed for weight gain and obesity. Additionally, high consumption of the bad fats—saturated and trans fats—has been linked to heart disease and stroke.

As a result, most experts recommend replacing saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats whenever possible.

 

Does that mean “trans fat-free” foods are healthy?

Not quite. Partially this is because trans fats are often replaced with saturated fats, which also aren't very good for you. Additionally, when producers remove fats from a food item, they often add sugars and other similarly nutrient-low ingredients.

Instead, look for foods that are either naturally low in fats or instead of trans fats utilize monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

 

How can I make fats part of my healthy diet?

Fats can, and should be, part of your diet. A few principles to keep in mind when looking at fats in your diet:

  • Balance your nutritional plan for a healthy balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. While some special diets may recommend a different ratio, the general idea for most people might be in the neighborhood of 50% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, and 20% fats, for instance. If you are on a 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 1,000 calories from carbs (which at 4 calories per gram, is 250 grams), 600 calories from proteins (150 grams), and 400 calories from fats (or, at 9 calories per gram, 45 grams). As you can see, it doesn't take as many grams of fat to reach the same caloric levels because of the higher calorie-density.
  • Aim for a diet that prioritizes vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as well as lean meats, fish, and nuts, and limits red meats, sugars, sodium, and artificial ingredients. Doing so will help limit your intake of bad fats while ensuring you get plenty of good fats.
  • Whenever possible, replace saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This means olive oil, for instance, instead of margarine or butter.
  • Lastly, be sure to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn. 

 

Does this mean I have to give up my favorite foods, like steak and buttery lobster?

No. It does mean, though, that you should practice moderation when it comes to those red meats and other sources of unhealthy fats, instead working toward replacing some of those foods with healthier sources of fats.

For instance, fish, and especially fatty fish like salmon, are a great way to replace some of those steaks, as they're loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown beneficial for so many things, including brain function!

 

What should I add to my diet to get more good fats?

So many good things! Great sources of good fats include fish (especially salmon and tuna), nuts, legumes, and lean white meats, such as turkey.

 

Clearly, we need fat in our diet. Now we just have to make sure we're getting the good fats instead of the bad ones, and with the information above, you can do precisely that!

Food

Recipe: Power-Packed Green Curry

Makes 3 servings
(per serve) Carbs 11.5g / Fat 38.2g / Protein 22g / Calories 465


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 3 tbsp green curry paste
  • 500g (1lb) chicken tenderloins
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 1" ginger
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 green chilli
  • 2 florets of broccolini
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime

Method

  1. Put a pot on your stovetop on a low heat and add peanut oil until hot
  2. Add the green curry paste to the peanut oil and allow to cook for approximately 2 minutes on its own before adding the chicken
  3. Cut the chicken tenderloins up into small pieces and add to the pot
  4. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes, making sure to turn the chicken over so it doesn't burn on any side
  5. Add fish sauce, chicken stock, coconut milk, lemongrass, grated ginger, chilli, and cucumber
  6. Allow the pot to simmer for around 15-20 minutes on a low heat
  7. Add in broccolini and lime juice and cook for a further 5 minutes
  8. Remove the lemongrass stalk and serve! :)