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Negative Press

There’s been a slew of negative press in the last few months calling fad diets out for being negative among other things. The other issue I have is lumping the Keto lifestyle in with other diets without doing the proper due diligence.

I was sent an article recently that quoted a prominent American cardiologist as saying that the Keto lifestyle can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality. (For reference)

I generally steer clear of these types of articles because the people like this specific cardiologist who ran the American College of Cardiology will generally adhere to the standard american diet view and find a way to down something that is low carb.

He mentions the Lancet study completed and published in Aug 2018. Here’s a rebuttal arguing that the science is flawed: http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2018/08/low-moderate-or-high-carbohydrate. Zoe Harcombe is an incredible resource and she dissects the science of studies like this with such finesse. I truly admire her dedication. Back to the flaws; One of the reasons that Zoe Harcombe states is the reliance on people reporting their own food intake and not being strictly Keto which is 70%+ of fat. There is strong science that says that 30-60% fat is not good for you which is why being Keto is defined as staying above 70%. You do not enter a state of nutritional ketosis below 60% fat and therefore do not reap the benefits of such a state.

The other study he mentions is actually just a review study of 17 others. Most of the data they’re analyzing is referring to Low Carb and High Protein diets. The accepted percentage to deem something as “high” is above 33% of the caloric intake coming from a specific macronutrient. That would mean these people are eating at least 33% of their calories in the form of protein which is not suggested on Keto either. It should be around 20-25% when Keto which is considered a moderate protein intake.

Basically, Keto ends up getting lumped into anything that is “low carb” where low carb essentially can mean anything that is less than 50% of calories from carbs. This is the danger when reading anything that refers to a scientific study measuring results including a low carbohydrate diet. It is very important to review their methods and data. The conclusions of the study and the interpretation of a writer summarizing the study may not always jive.

I would encourage everyone to take some time to read up on the topic and definitely question articles that come out until you’ve taken the time to really look at the studies they are referencing.

How Do You Feel?

I’ve gone through some pretty drastic changes over the last couple of years. I have made a number of changes to my lifestyle to optimize my health and with that has come quite a bit of weight loss. For those who know me personally, you know that I’m a big fan of self-experimentation and tweaking anything and everything to ensure I obtain the results that I want. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, my goal when starting on this journey was weight loss and it is still an important factor to me. The key is that it is no longer the most important factor. It has long become the second fiddle to feeling better both physically and mentally.


Back up a bit; I once snickered when told by a former colleague that he only ate once a day in a feeding window that resembled 6 hours of feeding and 18 hours of fasting. He’d come across this practice in reading about some military practices. I stuck to the conventional wisdom that I should eat as often as I could to avoid getting too hungry and overeating.

Fast-forward to today; I found intermittent fasting and the associated benefits through research. I happened upon the research and the work of Dr Jason Fung. Dr Fung can be found all over social media and he is constantly preaching the benefits of fasting. I’ve also read his books, The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting.

I have started an intermittent fasting protocol which resembles a 20 hour daily fasting window and a 4 hour feeding window. The benefits have been incredible. Yes, I have seen my weight go down overall since I started fasting almost daily. The other physical benefit has been the total lack of extra skin that becomes a problem for most people when they lose a significant amount of weight. I’m currently down 53 lbs overall and I haven’t had any issues with excess skin. The major difference I have seen has been in my mental clarity. I have never had the level of focus that I have while fasting.

Well, that is until now! I’m currently on day 4 of a 7 day extended fast. I have never felt as good as I have this week. Hunger has subsided and I have subsisted on water and tea. Most of it is based on how I feel throughout the day and would end any fast if I did not feel right. The benefits I have read about in my research are so attractive to me that I had to give it a shot. I stick to the keto lifestyle fairly lazily overall so an extended fast like this really gives my body the chance to get back into a stronger state of ketosis and ensure that I’m fat adapted. Fat adaptation means that my body is using fat for fuel efficiently and is not relying on glucose for fuel.


So, what is the point of the title of this post, you ask? 

I have come to realize that most people spend quite a bit of time focusing on overall weight loss and appearance over anything else. I get it, we focus on what we see first. Yes, I have lost quite a bit of weight and have not seen 177lbs since at least my years in college. Clothing doesn’t fit the same way anymore and I appear to be floating inside most of my shirts. My wardrobe is definitely due for a renewal and it will happen when I feel like I have achieved my goal. Here’s a post I did about my goals and progress.

I have come to realize that we all focus on physical appearance so much that we tend to forget about other benefits to a weight loss journey. I have lost a lot of weight and I am quite literally a fraction of the physical being I was just 2 years ago. Although that is a fact, it should not drive others to a negative conclusion that it may not healthy to continue doing what I am doing. It’s quite a shock to me too! That being said, I have never felt as good as I do today.


I’d like to propose a simple change to how we approach those of us who are going through any journey but specifically a drastic lifestyle change. Here are a few questions that should be asked instead of making our own assumptions about the person’s well-being:

  • How are you feeling both physically and mentally?
  • Are you happy with where you are right now?
  • Does what you are doing make you happy?
  • Do you have any information you can share about this journey?

Okay, the last one was a bit self-serving in that I do love to share research and I always prefer to do some research before jumping to any conclusion.


If you are content with the way that you feel both physically and mentally, then that is so awesome! Think about that when asking a friend, coworker or family member about their new lifestyle. Give them the chance to provide you with feedback prior to jumping to a conclusion.

Now get out there and support the people who are important to you! Go hero, go!


Here’s a comparative of before and after discovering a fasting protocol. The weight difference here is 18 lbs.

 

Alex is a friend and we can say “client” of mine who has been keto for the last month. He fasts almost 16-18 hours daily and he eats mostly in restaurants. He works out 4 days each week and has been quite strict in sticking with the lifestyle. Alex is down almost 25 lbs in his first month. I really wanted to highlight his progress thus far. Feel free to give him a follow!

Alex_Nguyen___vansilli__•_Instagram_photos_and_videos

Helpful Information

Rule #1 – Forget everything you know about nutrition!
Rule #2 – Keto is a lifestyle and not a diet!

I’m really excited that you asked for more information on the Ketogenic Lifestyle! It might seem like a daunting task to sift through all of the research right now but just know that it’s much easier than it seems. My biggest piece of advice is going to be to listen to your body! If you’re hungry, then eat. If you’re not hungry, then don’t eat! Just make sure you’re sticking to some pretty basic rules.

But first, what is Keto? 

Basically, you want to keep your Macro Nutrient intake as follows:
– Fat: 70%+
– Protein: 20%
– Net Carbs: 5% – This is carbs minus fiber
– 0 Sugar – This is KEY!

Your body will enter a type of starvation mode called Ketosis where you switch from using Glucose for fuel and your body will start converting fat to ketone bodies or Ketones. The ketones will then be used as fuel for your brain and cells. It appears as though ketones may be a more efficient fuel for the body. Do not fret though, your liver is storing 24 hours worth of glucose as glycogen and will dip into this reserve as needed. Proteins you’re ingesting will also be converted to glucose to replenish your glycogen stores meaning your body will not be attacking your muscles for fuel. If you have weight to spare, then you’ll lose weight as a byproduct of this lifestyle. The main benefit you’ll experience is mental alertness and clarity, lots of energy, and you will no longer experience that fog and fatigue you face every afternoon.

You may experience what is called a Keto Flu in the beginning which is like a hangover. Your body is just transitioning. Essentially, your body is lacking key electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, and potassium) that it might not be getting from your new lifestyle. You’ll want to make sure to add salt to your food and supplement magnesium and potassium. Avocados are high in potassium and you can use epsom salt baths for magnesium. Once you’re in a state of Ketosis, which can be measured through a blood test like diabetics do (above 0.5 mmol of Ketones in your blood), then your body starts burning all fat for fuel. This is called becoming fat adapted. If you’re not consuming enough fat for your body, which is normal, then your body will start burning the excess fat reserves that you have stored. The key here is to not consume sugar or carbs as it will invoke an insulin response from your pancreas and your liver will then trigger a fat storage response for your body. Stick to green leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, etc.

After some time of sticking to a high fat lifestyle, you should start noticing that you’ll be less and less hungry compared to a higher carbohydrate lifestyle you’re used to following. THIS IS NORMAL! Like I said, just remember to eat when you’re hungry. The practice of grazing or eating 6-10 meals per day is wrong. Along with making sure you’re eating healthy fats like butter, heavy whipping cream, animal fat, etc, you’ll want to make sure that you stick to foods that are low on the glycemic index. This means they are not causing an insulin response. Lower the amount of insulin in your body will encourage your body to stay in a state of ketosis and continue burning fat for fuel rather than storing it.

I think that’s enough to get you started! Here are a few resources that I’ve used to get to where I’m at today. If you have any other questions, then please just let me know!

https://celticketo.blog/ – My blog
– https://www.myfitnesspal.com/ – Tracking food and macros
– https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto#food
– http://tim.blog/2016/07/06/dom-dagostino-part-2/
– http://2ketodudes.com/ – Podcast
– https://www.ketoconnect.net/

Oh, here’s a progress picture that keeps me going:

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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me on this new adventure! I’m a Solution Engineer for a software company by trade and I have a real passion for everything related to nutrition, sleep, metabolism, physical activity, and just general lifestyle. I’m born and raised in Montreal, Canada. I’ve always been a very passionate person and that has come through into my thirst for knowledge.

I’m always looking for new and exciting research in fields that interest me. The issue I have continued to run into is the lack of aggregated information. When discussing something I recently read, I tend to forget where I found the information. I had a couple of people in my life suggest starting a blog where I can share the insights I’ve gained and associated research. I just added in the idea of sharing my story and journey as well.

Of course, how can I write and share about nutrition without recipes? I will add links to recipes I’ve found and have enjoyed while also adding some where I’ve thrown a little twist in to make them my own.

My Story:

I’ve been pretty active for most of my life and have always loved food. I spent a number of years working on shifts and so the excuse to eat badly was readily available at every turn. I went from quite thin in College to close to 200lbs in 2014. I tried a workout regimen and accompanying nutrition plan for some time in 2015 but that never really helped; I saw some of the weight come off but the other issues including being tired and generally unhappy with my body never subsided.

In 2016, I did a lot of traveling for my job and quite a bit of binge eating and drinking. I got up to my highest weight which was 230lbs. The weight slowly crept up so I just kept telling myself it would come back down and that I would get it under control “soon.” I was on a trip in Kentucky, USA in August 2016 and spent most of the time without a shirt on. A few pictures of me were posted on social media and when I saw them in late 2016, I decided to start doing research into what I could do to reverse the damage.

Along came Keto! I found keto through a number of different channels including Tim Ferris and Dominic D’Agostino, 2 Keto Dudes, etc. I did a fair bit of research ahead of embarking on this journey in January 2017. The first 20-30lbs came off quite quickly by March of 2017. I spent a good part of April to August in and out of ketosis and keeping my weight hovering around 200lbs. After coming back from a trip to Mexico and not feeling great mentally or physically, I decided to get back on the keto horse and was as motivated as ever.

I am currently down to my lowest weight in 10 years at 183lbs which is 47lbs overall. I exercise 5-7 times per week including ice hockey, flag football, running, cycling and basketball. I’m also training for a half-marathon that I’d like to do in November. I can truly say that I am in the best shape of my adult life. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been active for a long time but it was always a struggle. It is no longer a struggle thanks to Keto. I’ve now fully embraced intermittent fasting and just completed my first 72 hour fast that I’ll repeat monthly.

Some of the biggest motivators have been body composition changes, mental alertness and clarity, and overall endurance when exercising. The other motivator has been how keto has affected the people around me. I am seeing a number of people try and succeed with it! The benefits of keto and intermittent fasting as they relate to preventing or slowing neurodegenerative diseases have also hit home for me.

All in all, I have never felt as good as I do today. I thought it would be a difficult way of life but it has been much easier because of the way I have embraced it. It is not a diet, it truly is a way of life that needs to be fully adopted. I encourage everyone I meet to do a bit of research and try it out.

2018 – Side by side with a photo from March 2016Side-by-side.jpg

I’ve been inspired by a number of personalities over the last few years to share my insights. Where possible, I’ll be sharing their content as well.

Thank you again for joining me and supporting me in this endeavour!