People go keto for many different reasons. Some want to get better at burning fat so they have a clean, reliable source of steady energy at all times. Some people are treating a neurodegenerative disease, or trying to prevent one from occurring in the first place. Others just want to lose body fat, take advantage of the cognitive effects of ketosis, or stop seizures. Those are all common reasons to go keto. Another reason people go keto is for the benefits to physical performance.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, what are some less expensive sources of marine fat high in omega-3s? Is canned salmon a good, safe, effective option? Second, a reader is training hard, eating low-carb/keto, doing IF, and feels pretty good despite not losing or gaining any weight? What should she do? What could she be doing wrong? And third, should you go keto while nursing?
Keto is exploding. No longer solely the province of cutting edge bodybuilders or longevity enthusiasts and neurodegenerative disease warriors, keto has invaded every walk of life. I hear about it in grocery stores, coffee shops, spin classes, business meetings, dinner parties, morning talk shows. Judging from our blog and sales metrics, women make up the largest group of recent entries into the diet. This is great, but it also comes with a small wrinkle: Just like they should do with fasting, most women need to take special precautions when implementing a ketogenic diet.
To begin with, one of keto’s main benefits is also its biggest stumbling block for women: The inadvertent reduction in calorie intake and massive increase in satiety.
Because humans were hunter-gatherers for hundreds of thousands of years, we evolved to use and favor the diverse plant and rich meat intake of our hunting and foraging history. Farming and its core crops (e.g. grains), by contrast, only came on the scene approximately 10,000 years ago and took at least 8000 of those years to spread across the world. Our evolutionary roots—and residual genetic expectations—favor the nutritional practices of our hunter-gatherer legacy. (For more on the history of the paleo diet, click here.)
The “paleo diet” today looks to the dietary model of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and translates those eating practices to the modern age for the purpose of optimum health.
The paleo diet favors nutrient-dense whole foods and eschews processed food products. Let’s look at the wide variety of flavorful (and healthy) choices within a paleo protocol as well as some basic principles for what to eat and what to avoid. For a PDF print-out of this list, click here.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering several questions drawn from the comment board of last week’s post on fasting vs carb restriction. First, how do I square my recommendations with the successful reports of potato dieters losing weight on a high-carb tuber diet? Second, is Leangains optimal for mass gain? Third, how do I use extra virgin olive oil, butter, and ghee? Fourth, could exogenous ketones help a man with dementia, MS, and seizures? Fifth, how should a woman with stalled weight loss integrate fasting?
Both fasting and carb-restriction appear to operate along similar physiological pathways. Both lower carbs. Both increase fat-adaptation. Both have the potential to get you into ketosis. Both lower insulin and blood sugar.
But is one better than the other? Are there certain scenarios in which an intermittent fasting protocol works better than a low-carb diet, and vice versa?
Let’s find out if the distinction matters.
And what scenarios are most impacted by any difference.