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Ketosis/ Keto-adaptation/ Eating outside Primal realm

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  • Ketosis/ Keto-adaptation/ Eating outside Primal realm

    I have some Ketosis 101 questions, and hope someone could answer them--

    1. I know this greatly varies from person to person, but how long does it take someone to get to state of ketosis?
    2. Once the body gets to a state of ketosis, to what extent does a single, processed carb-heavy meal (around once a week or so) jeopardize that state? And how long would it take to "bounce-back"?

    If anyone can give me input on how they keep their bodies ketoadapted (and indulge in small "SAD" treats once a week), that would be much appreciated!

  • #2
    1. You're right, it varies from person to person. For me, I'm usually in ketosis within about 48 hours of going under 50g of carbs a day. It sometimes depends on how many carbs I've eaten within the days before dropping carb intake though, as it just takes long to burn out those carbs if I was eating a lot of carb heavy meals...then it might take an additional 24 hours, but not much more than that.
    2. This kind of depends on how ketoadapted you are. If you do this within the first few weeks of going LC, you're likely to knock yourself out of ketosis with one heavy carb meal. After a few weeks, I can eat carb heavy, and it not affect my ketosis at all.

    But, you kind of need to ask yourself why you're even asking question #2. It sounds like you're trying to build in "cheats" instead of looking at this like a lifestyle change. Yes, we all have occasional cheat meals/days, but it's best if they're not a planned, weekly occurrence. That seems like it might be setting you up for failure. I can't overcome carb cravings if I know I'm three days out from a scheduled cheat day. And it makes it more into a cheat day than a cheat meal.

    Also, I'm not clear on what "small SAD treat" means. A little vague. What exactly would the cheat be?

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    • #3
      Ketosis, Shmeetosis.

      I eat real food: meat, fish, some fruit and vegetables, safe starches like potatoes, yams, white rice. I think it's important to eat a good balance of healthy, fresh, locally raised (if possible) food. As long as you're doing that, I wouldn't worry about the keto thing. Seriously. Just eat good food and enjoy it.

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      • #4
        Hi Penady,

        Thanks for your reply.

        I think I need to explain myself more fully--I have been grain and sugar free for two years now, well, other than some bad binging meals/ days. For the past three months or so, I have been eating Primal. This is most definitely a lifestyle change, and I am not trying to plan in the cheat meals at all (like I used to in the past).

        In the past three months, I might have had what I called as small SAD treats, maybe three times or so. That, I should say, is a big achievement for me...and it also tells me that this is a huge lifestyle change. I ended up eating ice-cream or some milk chocolate....and even if I tried, I couldnt binge (!)

        So I guess, my question is, how far do set myself behind...every-time I eat "badly"? I gave once a week as a sort of reference point..

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        • #5
          Originally posted by reallygravity View Post
          So I guess, my question is, how far do set myself behind...every-time I eat "badly"? I gave once a week as a sort of reference point..
          I think the answer could be "quite a lot".

          Paleo builds in "open meals"; so does the Primal Blueprint. If you're basically healthy, with no GI symptoms, and merely trying to eat a more nutritious diet then a certain amount of food that's sub-optimal from that point of view doesn't matter a lot. (If you've some auto-immune problem, then, obviously, the picture changes.)

          If you want to keto-adapt, you're looking at a different situation. You have to move to a wholly different type of metabolism -- which, as I understand it, is governed by the fact that the brain (unlike the muscles) can use only either glucose or ketones, but not fat for fuel. So you have to have an adequate supply of ketones in the bloodstream (and not just eliminated in urine -- which happens quite fast with sufficient carbohydrate-restriction). This adaptation generally takes some weeks.

          I've heard Dr. Phinney, one of the leading experts on low-carbohydrate diets, say that it frequently takes up to four weeks and that a single day where the carbohydrate consumption is substantially over 50 g can put the adaptation process back another four weeks again from that point. AFAIK, this varies from individual to individual, but it seems for many people the keto-adapaption is easily derailed. If you really want to go low carb this is the guide:

          Amazon.com: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable (9780983490708): Stephen D. Phinney, Jeff S. Volek: Books

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          • #6
            I eat for ketosis every other week, and it's working.

            I don't know what I'm doing chemically, but it's burning up body fat and I have even, stable energy and very little hunger. This is what ketosis is described as, so I can only assume I'm in it - during my 8-day work week of 22-hour daily fasts. The first day is a little odd, and I do feel a slight wobble in my energy, but by day two I'm on track. Stable blood sugar and all. And for the rest of the week it's one meal a day except for my coconut milk in the early AM to get my hands warm for all the blood draws. This is leaning me out well, while preserving my strength and muscle mass.


            I don't test my urine, since you can't trust the results anyway. Yeah, on my six days off I eat at will, mostly primal but more sugar, sometimes a little ice cream, etc. This definitely keeps me out of ketosis, and I do notice a slight temporary bloat. But it's gone in the first two days back at work.

            So if I'm not getting into ketosis during my work week, I don't know how my body is getting energy. I'm not burning muscle. The most recent pockets of fat to be dissolved are what was left of my love handles. Now there's just a diagonal muscle there, no fat at all. And my neck. Yes, my body finally burned the sacred neck fat that I've had since I was 16 years old. I think my legs are next, because there isn't much left elsewhere.

            Is it possible that, after a long adaptation phase, my body has learned to switch tracks quickly? Is it true ketosis?
            Crohn's, doing SCD

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
              I don't know what I'm doing chemically, but it's burning up body fat and I have even, stable energy and very little hunger. This is what ketosis is described as, so I can only assume I'm in it - during my 8-day work week of 22-hour daily fasts.
              Well, you don't have to be keto-adapted to lose body fat. A moderate degree of carbohydrate restriction does that quite nicely. The only way I think you could know whether you were keto-adapted would be a blood test. Alternatively, I guess you could tell by regularly testing yourself by doing aerobic exercise to exhaustion. You literally get on a treadmill or a bicycle and go until you can do no more. As I understand it during the switch-over period people usually "bonk" quite quickly. When you get to the point that you can duplicate (or better) what your performance was before carbohydrate restriction, you are, obviously, adapted and using a different energy substrate.

              What seems to cause trouble is the brain's energetic needs. According to the book by Volek and Phinney that I linked above, the brain needs around 600 kcal of energy a day. (As they, interestingly, point out a low-calorie low-fat/high-carb diet of 1200 kcal and 50% carbohydrate only just supplies that.)

              Now, if you're eating a fairly standard Primal Diet providing, say, 150 g of carbs a day, you've got 150 x 4 = 600 kcal there. On 100 g of carbs a day you're may even be getting enough, because gluconeogenesis can probably make up the difference (another 200 kcal). So you've got enough glucose, and some to spare for when the muscles might use some of that. On less than 50 g carbs a day you're entering different territory until you can supply ketones to the brain easily. You can't be in a situation here where the muscles are using glucose that the brain needs and there aren't ketones around either.

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              • #8
                Okay, so my workouts should be awful when I'm switching gears, and better by the end of the week if I'm truly in ketosis? I'll do that! I can hit the stairs on my wobbly day, and again on day eight. I'll try to control the variables. And should I do this during my fasted state so I know I'm using body reserves? I already work-out fasted most days, anyway, so my body might have a curve on that, too!
                Crohn's, doing SCD

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                • #9
                  What's the goal?

                  Ketosis isn't an indication of "getting it right" when it comes to being primal.

                  Will a carb heavy meal (doesn't have to be non primal) knock you out of ketosis, maybe but who cares...
                  Last edited by Fernaldo; 06-13-2012, 11:17 AM.
                  "The problem with quoting someone on the Internet is, you never know if it's legit" - Abraham Lincoln

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                  • #10
                    As of now, for me, this is a test to see if a body can switch into real ketosis in a week's time. And actually, I think I'll use the old exercise bike I have, because it lets me see my exact pulse, heart rate, and time spent cycling. Much better control, and it's almost pure aerobic/cardio exercise. Going to start my own thread on this now...
                    Crohn's, doing SCD

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Fernaldo View Post
                      What's the goal?
                      That depends. You'd have to ask the O.P., as it was his question.


                      For the voyageurs, it was a way to fulfill arduous physical labor on provisions light enough to be carried in quantity on one's back in the wilderness -- c.f. fur trade and pemmican. (And hence the Pemmican War: it was a commercial necessity for man-haulage to be feasible, and when something that's important it can breed conflict.)

                      Nowadays? If one had a need to undertake sustained physical activity (but had a lesser need for bursts of anaerobic activity) then it would be a way to fuel that without subjecting oneself to the glycation and inflammation consequent on the high carbohydrate consumption that would otherwise be necessary.

                      Stuffing yourself with carbohydrate in order to be able to undertake sustained activity is probably not a good idea:

                      BBC NEWS | Health | Sir Steve Redgrave on diabetes

                      Of course, some people may have no particular scenario in mind, but may just be interested in experimenting. That's not illegal or anything you know!

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                      • #12
                        Here's my experience. I normally eat <25g of carbs daily because I am very carb sensitive. About every two months or so, I will have a carby indulgence that will easily bring me out of ketosis (because I'm so sensitive to carbs). The scale provides an indication because when the glycogen stores are replenlished, they come with about 4-5 lbs of water weight. When I return to my normal WOE, I'll weigh the the day after I begin to pee a lot, and those 4-5 lbs are gone--and I'm back in ketosis. This typically takes 3-4 days, rarely longer than 4 days. Perhaps this is because I've been eating low carb for so long and I don't 'indulge' in carbs at all frequently? I don't know, but it works this way in my body.

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                        • #13
                          Here's my experience. I normally eat <25g of carbs daily because I am very carb sensitive. About every two months or so, I will have a carby indulgence that will easily bring me out of ketosis (because I'm so sensitive to carbs). The scale provides an indication because when the glycogen stores are replenlished, they come with about 4-5 lbs of water weight. When I return to my normal WOE, I'll weigh the the day after I begin to pee a lot, and those 4-5 lbs are gone--and I'm back in ketosis. This typically takes 3-4 days, rarely longer than 4 days. Perhaps this is because I've been eating low carb for so long and I don't 'indulge' in carbs at all frequently? I don't know, but it works this way in my body.
                          My experience as well, but weekly. And I have no honest measure of ketosis.
                          Crohn's, doing SCD

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                          • #14
                            Chck out carb back loading. Or Carb Nite.

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