Solo episode, chatting about how the ketogenic diet is different for women. How to navigate a keto world where results and suggestions are primarily focused on the results of men.
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
SHOW NOTES + LINKS
- What went wrong with my keto diet (12:47)
- Carb up strategies and alternatives (31:01)
- Fasting for women, thoughts, and experiences (43:59)
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2. Letters to Nature 401, 73-76 (2 September 1999) | doi:10.1038/43448; Received 7 May 1999; Accepted 13 July 1999.
3. Enriori PJ et al “Leptin Resistance and Obesity” Obesity (2006) 14, 254S–258S; doi: 10.1038/oby.2006.319.
4. “Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner.” Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Oct;19(10):2006-14. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.48. Epub 2011 Apr 7. Sofer S1, Eliraz A, Kaplan S, Voet H, Fink G, Kima T, Madar Z.
5. “Optimizing fat oxidation through exercise and diet.” Nutrition. 2004 Jul-Aug;20(7-8):716-27. Achten J1, Jeukendrup AE.
6. “Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Obes Rev. 2015 Jan;16(1):64-76. doi: 10.1111/obr.12230. Epub 2014 Nov 17. Gibson AA1, Seimon RV, Lee CM, Ayre J, Franklin J, Markovic TP, Caterson ID, Sainsbury A.
“Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss.” Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;67(7):759-64. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.90. Epub 2013 May 1. Sumithran P1, Prendergast LA, Delbridge E, Purcell K, Shulkes A, Kriketos A, Proietto J.
7. “Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner.” Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Oct;19(10):2006-14. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.48. Epub 2011 Apr 7. Sofer S1, Eliraz A, Kaplan S, Voet H, Fink G, Kima T, Madar Z.
8. “Metabolic rate and fuel utilization during sleep assessed by whole-body indirect calorimetry.” Metabolism. 2009 Jul;58(7):920-6. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2009.02.025. Katayose Y1, Tasaki M, Ogata H, Nakata Y, Tokuyama K, Satoh M.
“Relationship between overnight energy expenditure and BMR measured in a room-sized calorimeter.” Eur J Clin Nutr. 1999 Feb;53(2):107-11. Seale JL1, Conway JM.
“Metabolic rate and fuel utilization during sleep assessed by whole-body indirect calorimetry.” Metabolism Clinical and Experimental July 2009Volume 58, Issue 7, Pages 920–926. Yasuko Katayose, Mami Tasaki, Hitomi Ogata, Yoshio Nakata, Kumpei Tokuyama, Makoto Satoh.
9. “High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset 1’2’3.” Am J Clin Nutr February 2007 vol. 85 no. 2 426-430. Ahmad Afaghi, Helen O’Connor, and Chin Moi Chow.
10. “Night work may impair glucose tolerance.” American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Science Daily, 3 June 2013.
11. “Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner.” Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Oct;19(10):2006-14. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.48. Epub 2011 Apr 7. Sofer S1, Eliraz A, Kaplan S, Voet H, Fink G, Kima T, Madar Z.
TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE
Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to episode number 6 of The Keto Diet podcast.
Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to episode number seven of The Keto Diet podcast. Hey. I’m Leanne from hearlthfulpursuit.com and this is The Keto Diet podcast where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave.
What’s Keto? Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar burning state to becoming fat burning machines. The Keto Diet has helped me with fertility, has ended my constant weight struggles, blood-sugar regularities, in-balance moods, and so, so much more.
I want to share this magic with you using a realistic approach to this powerful diet. No restriction, new ways of looking at things, and positive support awaits. Let’s get this party started.
It may sound like I’m getting sick, but actually I celebrated Halloween at a really loud place and I had to yell the whole night, so I kind of lost my voice, but we’re just going to keep trucking on with today’s episode and, funny enough, it’s a solo episode, so I’ll literally be talking for an entire hour. All good things, I swear.
Before we get started with today’s episode, the awesome thing this week is that I just launched my keto holiday cookbook. It’s my newest digital cookbook that’s ready to help you celebrate the holidays keto style. Featuring a variety of over 30 low-carb appetizers, starters, side dish, dessert, and condiment recipes, each dish will bring your holiday meals to life, whether you’re hosting a group with a bunch of food allergies, your keto friends, or people that don’t even know what a keto is. You can find more details about this instant download that is only $9.99 over at healthfulpursuit.com/ketoholiday. I’ll also include a link in today’s show notes for that. Really, really pumped about this. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas and all of the things that are happening pretty soon here. I also included a bunch of dinner party menus, so it’s plug and play, super easy. I enjoyed creating this book for you, so that you can access instantly, download, print, whatever you’d like to do and get making some sugar cookies.
In today’s episode, we’re going to be covering what went wrong with my ketogenic diet, how I’ve adapted keto to work for my body as a women, carb up strategies, and some alternatives, as well as thoughts and experiences that I’ve had on fasting. The show notes for today’s episode can be found at HealthfulPursuit.com/Podcast/E6 and let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.
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Speaking of partners, if you guys listened to episode five of the podcast, you may have noticed that we have a new partner and it’s Primal Kitchen. I’m so stoked that they are partnered up with the podcast. You guys know how much I love their mayo. It’s in almost every picture that I ever post on Instagram. So, chatted with the crew over there, they were really stoked to jump in on the podcast. They’ve put together a really sweet offer for all of us. I’m going to be using it, you should use it. You can use the coupon code FAT, all in caps, no spaces, for 15% off everything. They just came out with a dairy free paleo, awesome keto ranch dressing. I’m not even kidding. This is literally the best dressing. I mean, I’ve already gone through a bottle and it’s been a day and a half. If you like dressing, and you like dressing up your foods, definitely give it a whirl and don’t think just salads, because I know it’s getting cold outside and who wants to have a ranch dressing slathered salad, but I made a bunch of shredded beef yesterday, last night, and then I drizzled, well, dumped, a bunch of the ranch dressing on there and it was so good.
If you have an idea for a podcast episode, or you want to submit praise over and above your review that you’ve already left for the show … Right? … you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s read a review really quickly, okay? This review comes from Shopper and says, “Good information and inspiration source towards health. Leanne’s new podcast is just full of yummy information. I love how freeing her approach makes me feel with this way of living. This is a true gem of a podcast and I highly, highly recommend it. Great job.” So great. To leave your review and support my show, you can go to HealthfulPursuit.com/Review and you’ll be directed to a page where you can submit your review. Click on “reviews” and write a review, give me five stars, hopefully, and write something nice. Or you can head to your favorite podcast app and search for The Keto Diet podcast and submit your review over there.
You guys loved episode two of the podcast. That’s where I was interviewing Katie on her experience going keto, so I’ll actually be doing a lot more interviews with regular ladies that are already adapted or in the process of adapting or they’ve learned certain things about their body because although I love having doctors and specialists on this show, oftentimes, and what frustrates me as well, being a woman on keto is the resources out there are geared toward men, sadly. Even when I have been asking these leaders in the space to talk about women’s health, there’s not a lot of knowledge about it, so instead of bashing my head against the wall multiple times, trying to come up with resources for you guys, I will still continue to have a lot of different guests and we have great interviews coming up. But I also will be interviewing women on their experience of going keto, on keto, lessons on keto, so that we can all learn from each other because that’s really where it all came from for me, and experimenting on myself.
I figured if I was going to be chatting with other women about their experience on keto, I thought maybe I should do my experience on keto, specifically for women and how carb ups have played a role in that, and my next phase of my ketogenic diet, because it is shifting and it’s very exciting. I wanted to share that information with you because the podcast is a great place to chat with you about what I’m experimenting with and what I’m finding in my own body as a woman on a ketogenic diet.
For those of you are new and don’t really know my story, I’m just going to go over it very, very briefly. Basically, when I started keto, I was massively calorie restricting as well as working out and fasting at the same time. And if you guys listen to the fasting episode, you guys learned that fasting as well as calorie restriction and working out causes a huge, hot mess and it did with me. My hair was falling out. I wasn’t having a very good time sleeping, if sleeping at all. It was just all bad, but I did experience drastic weight loss, so I kept going. If there was a night where I could go to bed starving, that was a high five in my books and made me feel really good about myself and the process and that could only go for so long.
After a bunch of months of losing my hair and not feeling so great, I started a carb up practice and over the next year and a bit, I continued to do carb ups within my ketogenic practice and I got my period back for the first time in over eight years. I have amenorrhea. It boosted my metabolism. I went from eating very, very limited calories, like 1,000 a day, to eating upwards of 5,000 calories and we’re actually going to have a guest on the podcast chatting about reverse dieting, which is what I did. We’ll get into that in a future episode, as well, I’m sure, I’ll talk about it in this episode, too, because I have a lot to share.
Now that my period’s been back for over a year, I’ve been practicing these carb ups, almost every night I am curious what would happen if I went more of a Full Keto Fat Fueled Profile. So I’m referring to my Fat Fueled Profiles, which you can find in my program Fat Fueled. That’s at healthfulpursuit.com/fatfueled, or you can just search Fat Fueled Leanne. You’ll probably find it on the inter-webs. But I’m switching from more of a Daily Fat Burner Fat Fueled Profile, where I’m having carbs almost every night, to more of a Full Keto Fat Fueled Profile. What that means is that I’ll be carbing up, maybe, once a week and I’ll be pairing that up with a bit of fasting.
How is this different than my old approach? Well, I’m not going to be restricting calories. I will never … I’m pretty sure I can say never. Well, never say never. You never know. … but for right now, I won’t be taking part in marathons or spending four hours at the gym because I ain’t got time for that and I won’t be going to bed hungry, ever. If I’m hungry, I’m going to eat. I’m not going to force my fasting and I’ve actually been practicing this now for about three weeks and I’m feeling pretty good so far. I’ve been documenting everything and taking note of things and it’s a different form of eating. So far, so good. I think the major takeaway for me was I need to make sure that I’m eating enough and in that first phase of my ketogenic diet, while I did lose a bunch of weight, I messed up my body.
It took me quite a long time to get back to a good place and then heal my hormones and balance my hormones, I guess, is the better way of saying that. For me, with my hormones, it was almost like somebody just flipped a switch and they all went off. When I say “heal my hormones,” I imagine just my body completely healing from the inside out. I’ve had a lot of people say, “You can’t heal your hormones.” I totally get it, but it was like balancing your hormones, healing your body, so I really, really need to be careful and really watch my body and listen to my body.
There are days, over the last three weeks where I’ve just been too hungry to fast. That’s okay. I’ve been finding that if i do have a rocket fuel latte, especially if I’m breaking a fast that’s, say, 12 hours, I find it makes me more hungry if I have a fatty drink than if I just continue to fast without the fat. Whereas when I was practicing a Daily Fat Burner Fat Fueled Profile, a rocket fuel latte or a fatty drink in the morning would just feel good and I could continue fasting. So it’s quite interesting.
For those of you who really, really require, and have asked for a very clear layout of the things that I explain on the podcast so that you can play around with it yourself, I’ll give just a basic overview of what I was doing and what I’m doing now and what I’m experiencing.
What I was doing previously was I would wake up. Usually I would have breakfast and then lunch and dinner. I rarely fasted. Maybe I would go 12 hours. That was usually the maximum that I would do and I would have carbs almost every evening. That last quite a long time. Now, I am finding that I’m probably fasting, now this is just water or sometimes I’ll have bone broth blending with some MCT oil, probably doing that about three to four times a week. I stop eating pretty late. I usually do a 10:00 pm snack before I go to bed because I hate going to bed hungry. Then I’ll wake up. I’ll go through my day. Maybe noon, so we’re sitting at 14 hour fasted.
At noon, I’ll have a bone broth or I’ll drink a ton of water throughout the morning. For example, right now, that’s what I did today and it’s now 4:30 pm and I haven’t had anything today. I’ll probably break my fast right after this, around 5:36. Have that snack around 10:00, but then because I only had two meals today, I’ll probably break the fast earlier tomorrow. You can see that it’s constantly ebbing and flowing and what’s been really key for me this go around of switching back to a Full Keto Fat Fueled Profile is for me to really not pay attention to my weight. I’m not weighing myself. I refuse to weigh myself. Not pay attention to my macros. I’ve been eating this way for a really long time. Basically, all I’m doing is removing the carbs in the evening, switching around my meal times, and eating more fat. That’s it. There’s no requirement to count anything. I’m just not going to do it. Not going to do it.
The other piece is listening to my body and not counting the clocks. As I’m talking and counting up these hours, this is the first time that I’ve really encouraged myself to do it just because I’m sharing information with you, but I’m not a big fan of, oh, my gosh, okay, so my last meal was at 8:00 pm, so I literally can’t eat until 1:00 the next day and blah, blah, blah, counting and tracking. No, I’m not a fan of that. I’m not going to prescribe that for my own personal journey. So, yeah, I’m excited about this next phase in my ketogenic journey and maybe I’ll try it for another two weeks and I won’t like it. Maybe there’ll be days where I have more carbs than normal and that’s totally okay.
Something that I’ve learned massively throughout my ketogenic experience is that just because you had carbs for breakfast or you doubled up on your carb up or you had too much protein, doesn’t mean you’re starting off at square one. Whoopdie do. It happened. Move on. No big deal. The really beautiful, amazing part to this whole thing is that I’m so fat adapted, so my body totally knows exactly what it’s like to burn fat as fuel and I could switch back to burning fat as fuel very, very quickly now that my body knows.
So, I just shared a bunch of things, said a bunch of words and maybe you’re like, “What is a carb up? What are these Fat Fueled Profiles? I don’t understand.” A bunch of months ago, I did a podcast on carbing up and a lot of you said that it was super, super helpful. So, I’m going to go through a bunch of new things that I’ve learnt, including protein ups. So, let’s go through what a carb up is.
Basically, a carb up is an adjustment to a ketogenic diet where you are consuming carbohydrating in various amounts. In my protocol, it’s in the evening and I’ll explain why in a moment, to help with a bunch of different things which I’ll also explain in a moment. There’s also a strategy that I’ve been playing around with on my body over the last year or so as well as a bunch of individuals in our private Facebook group have told me about this, are protein ups. So that’s basically where you’d have a carb up where you’re consuming a little bit more carbohydrates. Instead of using the carbohydrates, you’re using protein and there are people that resonate really, really great with this. I find that this works really, really great for me a couple of days before I ovulate. I’ve found that that’s been helpful. So know that that is an option for you.
So let’s go through what a carb up is, how I’m using this in my new protocol, and maybe you’ll learn something about your body along the way. I’m a high-fat ketogenic enthusiast who, as you know, promotes a low-carb diet, yet eats upwards of 75-150 grams a day and there’s other women in our community who resonate really, really well with this approach, too. We know that a ketogenic diet, or any diet for that matter, can fail because we’re thinking diet starts tomorrow. Let’s throw out all of the food and binge all the food that we won’t be able to eat tomorrow when the diet starts. Then you feel disgusted with yourself, and then you wake up in the morning and you’re like, “Yes, it’s my diet. I’m going to rid myself of all those things that I ate yesterday and I’m so guilty and I’m going to restrict.”
Then a couple of weeks later, maybe you’re down 10 pounds you’re like, “Yes.” Then somebody comes into the office with chocolate cake and you’re like, “I’m not going to eat the chocolate cake. Then I’ll go for a walk. I’ll drink some water. Have some tea. Oh, my gosh, I want that chocolate cake. I really want that chocolate cake. Okay, maybe I’ll just have a bite. I’ve been so good with my diet. Okay, maybe just one more. Screw it. I’m going to eat all of the cake.” Then it starts all over again with the diet starts tomorrow, throw out the food, eat the food, binge the food.
What I was finding on a very restrictive ketogenic diet where, like I said, I was restricting my calories, I was working out a whole bunch, I was going to bed hungry all the time, there became a time where I just couldn’t not binge on everything. I know that so, so, so many women in our community feel the same way. So many women that have gone through a ketogenic diet and just said, “There are days where I just want a brownie.” I wanted to find a place where that fits in because I really believe that the success toward healthful living is in finding balance and in finding self-love and swapping that out with all of the self restriction and all of the yucky feelings that go along with not being able to have “what you want, when you want it.”
I was doing these binges on this ketogenic eating style and so I really wanted to figure out a way to incorporate these treats and things in a way that felt good and of course, I’m a pretty science-y person and I really want to make sure that the strategies that I try have some backing because I want to make sure that I’m being kind to my body and I also want to make sure that I’m sharing information that I feel confident sharing. Not just going to say, “You know, eat hard candies at bedtime because it will make you thinner or whatever.” That was a horrible example, but you get it.
I came up with this strategy of using carbs in a timely fashion which really aligns with the cyclical ketogenic approach which a lot of people follow and then I realized that keto doesn’t have to be an every moment thing. A carb up is a period of time, generally in the evening, when one, AKA this girl right here, eats a touch of carbs with dinner or dessert by simply switching the fat that they would eat with carbohydrates. So this is a specific, really important point is that you need to switch the amount of fat that you would generally eat with carbohydrates. If you just make a keto meal and throw a bunch of carbs in there, you’re eating a lot more and you’re probably going to come up with some issues. You may not want to do that and I’ve been using this strategy now for quite some time to encourage health, longevity, and because many report just feeling better being fat fueled than a glucose-fueled, but want to continue living a normal life.
So if you’ve been placed on a ketogenic diet because of a health imbalance, condition, or a concern, it’s best to chat with your medical professional to determine if a carb up practice or a carb up approach aligns with your health care plan. As somebody with a tendency for hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, I mean the list goes on, paralyzing stress, ADHD, my carb up practice is at the core of my success with ketogenic living and will continue to do so even though I’m on more of a Full Keto Fat Fueled Profile. Right now I still have those carb ups once a week and I practice a carb up at Halloween because my sister and my sister-in-law hosted a big Halloween party and they made a bunch of gluten free, dairy free treats. A lot of them had sugar, tons of them had carbs, and that just allows me to have fun and eat all of the Halloween treats and then just get back on board the next day. It’s no big deal.
So why carbs on a low-carb eating style? So, while carbohydrates in excess are no good, they still are necessary for specific actions in the body including converting your thyroid hormone over to its active form and serving as fuel for the brain. Although much of the brain’s daily function can be ran specifically by ketones, glucose is preferred for some processes and it can also mitigate symptoms and the display of physiological insulin resistance. That’s a state that sometimes occurs in people who have been eating low-carb for quite some time. It’s not a big deal. It just happens and something that I have also realized over time is that a carb up practice is also really, really great for ensuring that you are eating enough resistant starch. Resistant starch is a prebiotic that passes your stomach and small intestine going right to the gut, and really helps build the microflora of your gut. So if you are concerned with your gut flora, and we chatted about this in a previous episode, talking about how everything starts in the gut and how your gut can influence anxiety, depression, a lot of mood stuff, I know that a lot of women out there, especially myself included, I’m always really interested on how my gut health influences my mood and such, so with resistant starch and a carb up practice you can definitely play around with that.
My favorite resistant starch is cooked potatoes that I then cool in the fridge, and then I reheat. The thing about reheating resistant starch is it can’t go over 130 Fahrenheit or, I think that’s 50 degrees Celsius, 50, 55 degrees Celsius. So to avoid the funkiness of oh, my gosh, I just reheated my potatoes and now killed all the resistant starch, I just make potato salad and stuff to ensure that I’m getting the resistant starch whereas a standard ketogenic eating style, where you are eating keto all of the time, no carbs ever, is going to be lacking in that resistant starch and could cause some imbalances in your microflora. So that’s something to look at at least.
I mention physiological insulin resistance and how by having a carb up practice, it can help with that. With insulin resistance comes leptin resistance and by increasing the leptin, achieved by a carb up practice which directly, positively influences leptin production, away goes insulin resistance. So if the insulin resistance takes hold, leptin resistance often occurs alongside. While some literature and personal statements account for the state as being a mere inconvenience with no real impact on overall health, I didn’t enjoy the way that I felt when I had this. So physiological insulin resistance occurs in those who have gone very low-carb. So low that they slide into ketosis and rely solely on ketones as their energy source for an extended period of time.
For me, it took about six months of full ketogenic eating to reach physiological insulin resistance, however some of my clients saw these effects in as little as two to three weeks. A classic sign that you’re experiencing physiological insulin resistance is when your glucometer, so if you’re testing your blood glucose levels, reads higher than normal all of the time. If it’s one little spike, it’s usually okay. So what’s happening here is that your peripheral tissues have entered into an insulin resistant state to preserve glucose for the parts of the brain that require it. Even if there’s glucose floating around, there’s a rule in place that tells no other cell to grab glucose except for the brain. Some feel that the state is totally normal and harmless but I felt like total garbage, like I said, and the carb up practice really helped that, so that is what I did.
Some people may disagree. You may say, “I tried that. It made me feel like crap.” That is awesome. So cool that you tried it. Everybody is so different but for me, having that touch of carbohydrate to replenish my body with the carbs that it needs, it amps up leptin, will carry over to the next day, making fasting way easier, and sliding back into fat burning mode effortlessly. What I notice … Okay, so Halloween party happened, had all the carbs, woke up in the morning, and I was very thirsty, so I drank a whole bunch. I had my electrolyte powder and I fasted for 24 hours. Boom, done. So easy. My leptin was totally reset, so great, wasn’t hungry, and it made fasting so easy, so easy.
I find, something that I’ve noticed lately on the Full Keto Fat Fueled Profile when I’ve done a carb up, I can fast pretty long periods of time, which is what it’s like on any Fat Fueled Profile, but with Full Keto, if I find it’s getting a little bit harder to fast, like I’m on my sixth or seventh day of fasting and that sixth day, I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. I’m hungry and it’s only been 11 hours since I ate last,” that’s a good sign for me, personally, that I need to do a carb up. Then I do the carb up and I’m easily able to fast for a longer period of time. So that’s what I’ve noticed in my own body and you’re probably wondering how can somebody possibly be ketogenic and yet have carbs? This makes no sense.
The key to a successful carb up practice is performing it on a body that’s fat adapted, one that understands, knows, and has set enzymes in place to choose fat as it’s primary fuel over carbohydrates. So I was actually speaking at an event last spring and I kept jumping from one side of the stage to the other, explaining how the body goes from a fat burning state to a carb burning state when they’re fat adapted. If you’ve had the carbs, you’re going to burn those carbs and go right back into fat burning, but if you’re new to the process, you’re going to mosey on over to fat burning and probably get some keto flu not feel so hot. The enzymes that make it possible to do the switchity switch back and forth easy are involved in that transition in the production of ketone body synthesis. There are enzymes that make that jump really quickly. As you being to adapt, you’re jumping back and forth but when you first get started, it’s going to be pretty slow moving.
So the interesting function of one of the enzymes, beta hydroxybutyrate, I hope I said that right, I’m not chemist, is that it stores energy equivalent to the coenzyme found in all living cells in the ketone body itself for export to tissues, like the brain muscles and heart. This produces a more stable molecule during its transition. So I really don’t want this to be a science episode where you’re like, “What did she say about the hydro-what-a-hace? I don’t even understand.” I just wanted to explain the carb up practice and why you can totally have a slice of cake and move on and go to your favorite bakery and totally rock your life.
So what I want to convey is that your carbohydrate amount is going to be different and probably for anyone that’s listening, your carbohydrate amount is going to be different than mine which is going to be different than Sue’s, and Sally’s, and Amanda’s, and Rachel’s.
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If you’re wondering why carb ups and why they shouldn’t scare you, and also why my protocol says to have your carbohydrates at night, let’s go through a little bit of the basics and then I’ll explain a little bit more in depth. So lipolysis is the breakdown of triglycerides that we store in our fat tissues and insulin is a blood sugar balancer that triggers the absorption of glucose by your liver, fat, and muscle cells, lowering blood sugar concentration. When insulin is out working, lipolysis is paused so that we can burn or store the glucose that’s coming in. So once glucose is handled, we go back to fat burning. Beyond insulin’s role in fuel metabolism, it also sends energy status signals to the brain, alerting it that we are in need of fuel.
The interesting thing with maintaining leveled insulin as a result of a ketogenic diet, is its immense ability in reducing these signals because of the fuel we need. Fat is on our bodies, so body fat. Thereby, reducing appetite naturally and insulin resistance is when glucose builds up in the blood, leading to raised blood sugar because the insulin receptors on the cells have become deaf to insulin. Think the boy who cried wolf is always how I think of it. He cries and cries and cries and all the townspeople stop listening regardless if there’s a wolf or not. So those are your cells. Insulin sensitivity is a state that we want to be in. This is where your body has a sharp handle on things when it comes to blood sugar stabilization and insulin is secreted, used efficiently, and we get back into fat burning or lipolysis.
Then there’s glycogen, and our muscles store glycogen, liver stores glycogen as well, and excess goes to body fat. Glycogen, as you remember, is stored glucose and is the body’s first line energy stockpile of fuel for harder physical efforts and keeping specific systems, brain, red blood cells, kidney cells running all day efficiently. The glycogen stores in the liver can be utilized by the rest of the body, whereas the glycogen in the muscles are for action in the particular muscle.
Then there’s ghrelin. This is an appetite increaser and the lover of fat, amassing in our belly region. Then there’s leptin, which is a satiating hormone triggered to tell us that we are full. So earlier I mentioned when I do a carb up practice, my leptin kicks in and I’m not hungry all day. That’s what we’re talking about there. Then there’s glucagon which is released when the concentration of glucose in the blood stream falls too low. So it stimulates the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose which is released into the bloodstream and this stimulates lipolysis. There is cortisol, which produced in response to stress, whether that be environmental, physical, psychological, the list goes on.
There are a couple myths about carbohydrates and eating them in the morning versus the evening. So the first one is that you should eat your carbs in the morning so that you have all day to burn them off. Okay, and the second one is if you eat carbs at night, you’ll gain weight. The third, your metabolic rate declines when you sleep, and the fourth myth is that you shouldn’t eat past 5:00 pm. So here are some of the truths and with all of these truths as well as some of the information I’ve already shared on the podcast today, I’ll include a bunch of the studies and literature that I used to come up with these points.
So the first truth is eating carbs in the morning sets you up for an endless feeding frenzy every two hours with the risk of brain fog, poor work performance, and imbalanced nutrition choices. The second one is that carbohydrates don’t magically add to your waistline when the clock strikes 6:00 pm, especially if you’re in a calorie deficit. I mean, calories is a whole other conversation which we chatted about in a previous episode with Dr. Jason Fung. So the takeaway here is that anything in excess can be stored as body fat, but if the body needs the food that you’re eating, then it’s going to use it regardless of its 7:00 pm or 12:00 pm or 7:00 am. It doesn’t matter. Third is that your metabolism slows down as you begin to fall asleep and stays around 35% below function, but only when it comes to fat and protein energy expenditure, not carbohydrates. In fact, carbohydrate oxidation shows no remarkable changes from the onset of sleep and begins to increase before you wake up. The takeaway here is your body loves to burn carbohydrates as it’s sleeping.
The fourth is that we are programmed to be night eaters. Imagine yourself living in a cave with no internet. Sadly, there was no internet in the paleolithic era. And you’ve just woken up. In the winter, you’ve probably woken up pretty late because the sun is rising at 9:00 am and you have all these things to do, and you have to find something, and you got to kill it and you got to eat it, and that takes time. By the time you’re chowing down on your first meal, it’s probably the end of your work day and I know that for myself, specifically, when I worked in an office, I would be somewhat hungry through the day, but when I got home, it was like, “Give me all of the foods,” because you’ve been out all day. You’re at home, you’re back in your cave and you just want to eat. Your circadian rhythm can play a major role in this entire rhythm of your body, so as you wake up, cortisol is elevated and therefore, so is your glucose availability. Your ghrelen is up, stimulating us to want to eat, so this is mitigated by your carb up practice which actually increases leptin sensitivity to carry you on through the morning, making fasting through the morning easier and mobilization of fat completely effortless because ghrelin is low.
So when you eat carbs at night, you create the hormonal state to mobilize fat, but when you eat carbs first thing, you end that mobilization to burn fat for the rest of the day. Cortisol acts to move energy out of the stores into readily available forms, and your blood glucose is slightly elevated and we’re ready to take on the day. Because of this raise in your blood glucose, literature points to us being more insulin sensitive at this time, but that doesn’t mean that we should be eating carbohydrates. From a waking state, so I’ve just woken up, to a carbohydrate based breakfast, you’re going to continue to already raise glucose and insulin in your body and experience ongoing hunger throughout the day, brain fog, insulin that’s chronically elevated, which insulin is constantly pulling glucose from the blood to be burned for energy or moved to be stored as glycogen. There’s going to be ups and downs in carbohydrate ingestion, brain fog, fatigue, focus is zapped, energy crash, and minimal energy to eat clean because I know that when I have carbohydrates first thing, all I want to do is eat all of the foods, all day. I don’t even care about my “diet.”
When we’re in this state, we’re not going to be burning fat because our insulin is elevated. Whereas, when we wake to do a low carbohydrate, high-fat breakfast and lunch, we’re going to be avoiding that brain fog, no energy crash, lowers inflammation, accelerates the fat loss process, and then when we finish our day with a carb up in the evening, it’s a more natural approach and the downward trend of our blood sugar occurs when we’re sleeping. It improves our weight loss, improves leptin sensitivity, which the spike in insulin promotes muscle protein synthesis. So when we eat those carbohydrates, we’re going to bump up our insulin a little bit and that’s going to help us with synthesizing our protein. It promotes fat loss and muscle retention. The boost in serotonin production leads to better sleep because we’re increasing our tryptophan as a precursor to serotonin. It increases our fat loss, increased recovery. I mean the list goes on.
So if you have been looking at practicing carb ups, and you just heard me talking about how I’m going to continue adding carb ups to my ketogenic experiment as I continue to be keto and play around with new things, I’m hoping that some of that information was helpful and maybe encouraged you to look at carbs in a different way.
Let’s chat a little bit about weight stalls and cortisol and stress because this is another piece that I’ve learned in my ketogenic experience. So earlier this year, we decided that it was a great idea to renovate our home and it ended up being a total complete nightmare that was so stressful that I gained quite a lot of weight. It was so crazy because if I test my ketones in that period, my ketones were bang on. Yet, I was still gaining weight. What I learnt very first hand is that to effectively burn through your glycogen stores, you need to be in an insulin supportive environment where cortisol isn’t left to spike and therefore increase insulin as a result.
Creating this common environment can be especially challenging for us ladies as we often live in a chronic stress response, leading to constant peaks and valleys of insulin abuse without ever tapping into our into a intramuscle or triglycerides. So we need to tap into these stores in the first 10 days as we adapt and we need to continue to do so. Okay, so if we’re in a completely high stress lifestyle and we’re trying to lose weight, or we’re trying to get fat adapted, when that cortisol is increasing, it’s spiking up our insulin, and it’s making it pretty impossible to maintain a balanced weight. This isn’t just about weight loss. I wasn’t trying to lose weight. I was just eating all of the same foods, having the same ketone numbers. I didn’t change anything and I was gaining weight. So if this is you and you’re feeling completely stuck in a rut and maybe you’re going through your own crazy time, there are so many different options. Maybe hockey season does it for you with all the kids in the cars and the vans and the equipment, and it’s stressful. One thing you may want to look at is getting your stress under control and reducing your insulin and then trying a carb up.
If you’re also working out in this period and pushing yourself super hard at the gym, I have news for you. If cortisol is an issue for you and your blood sugar is spiking up and you’re super stressed, no amount of working out is actually going to fix the problem. In fact, by working out and pushing yourself harder in a stressed state, you’re actually causing more cortisol to be produced, which is also going to break down muscle and cause just as many issues as before, if not more.
So especially if you’re of reproductive age, if fertility is an issue for you, as it was for me, it was really important for me to be fertile and not even because I want children, but just because I’m a woman and I should be able to get pregnant anytime I want. If I can’t, that, to me, is a really good sign of health, for me. If you’re in this state, I would highly recommend starting a meditation practice. It can be helpful starting a gratitude practice. Also very helpful, takes seconds, morning practice also very good. Pick a couple of things that make you feel good in the morning, do them. If you’re pushing yourself really hard at the gym, perhaps go for walks, do gentle yoga for a bit. If you have a significant other that can help you around the house to lower your stress load, awesome. If it means you have to say no to things, that is okay, too. I’m the girl that says yes to everything and I’ve really had to learn how to say no.
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So that’s carb ups. I wanted to chat a little bit about fasting because in episode four, I had Jason Fung on the podcast and it was a great conversation until we got to the part about women and fasting. I felt like there was a lot left out that we didn’t really get to talk about and during the interview, Jason’s answers surrounding fasting for women left me a little bit deflated. This is nothing about Jason. He is a fabulous doctor, just finished a great book with Jimmy Moore. Love it. I’ve read half of it. It’s fabulous. I plan on reading the other half next weekend. There are a couple of things that he said that, as a woman, I just couldn’t get behind at all.
A couple of the things that didn’t make it into the podcast actually because we had to cut some stuff and I knew that if I put it in there, there’d be a lot more questions than we could provide answers for. A couple of them were fasting is safe for all women and it’s exactly like men and there was another piece about nutrient deficiencies for fasting for long periods of time and it being not that great for pregnant women or breast feeding women because of those nutrient deficiencies. I think … Well, no, I know that when it comes to fasting, we’re missing a huge part of the conversation and it really surrounds women’s health. I don’t feel, personally, that saying that a woman can prepare for say, a colonoscopy, in a fasting state and their health is just fine is the same as a woman practicing intermittent fasting for every day for the next two years and comparing the two. It just doesn’t make any sense to me personally as a woman.
I wanted to bring up this fasting conversation, and I’m going to be having a really awesome guest on the show to chat specifically about fasting for women in the weeks to come, but I wanted to bring this up because I receive so many messages from women that try fasting and they hate it and it doesn’t feel good in their body and a lot of the literature out there and a lot of the people that are talking about fasting, one, it’s all based on men and when women are brought up, it’s basically like, oh, yeah, well, if it works for men, it works for women or it works for women that are fasting for blood tests. That is literally not the same thing.
Another piece is people talking about well, it work for people eons ago and tribes did it. Just because a tribe did it, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work well for me and I think the whole conversation around our heritage also plays a huge role. My husband is German. He can’t go one day without meat. It’s just not physically possible and my heritage is also German with a bunch of French in there, so I do really, really well with fatty foods and really hearty things but I don’t do well as a vegan. I sucked at a vegan, but some people, in their heritage, they do really fabulous with being vegan. To say that because tribes fasted, you can fast, too, I’m not sure is entirely fair. These are just my personal thoughts.
Let’s get to the nutrient deficiencies. We know and I have experienced that in a case of amenorrhea, this is a lack of period, hypothyroidism, adrenal dysfunction, if I fast for long periods of time, for sure there’s going to be nutrient deficiencies. Even in these last three weeks of me doing Full Keto, I am not eating as many nutrients. Period. I’m not as hungry for them. I don’t crave them as much. I’m not eating a lot. Maybe I’ll have one, maybe two meals as opposed to before I was eating three, maybe four meals. I’m just not eating as many nutrients. Period. You can’t debate that. There has to be some potential for maybe some nutrient deficiencies and if you have health imbalances, like hypothyroidism or adrenal dysfunction, where you require nutrients to heal your body, fasting may not be the best option for you.
When I talk about fasting, at least for me, it’s not an all or nothing mentality and it used to be. It was like, “Okay, so now that I’m practicing a 16/8 fast, that is what I do every single day. Day in day out, that is what I do. It doesn’t need to be like that, guys. Today I fasted for quite a long time. Tomorrow, I don’t know. I might not fast at all. I might get up at 4:00 in the morning and be so hungry that I just need to have something to eat and that’s totally okay. It doesn’t need to be an all or nothing thing. Something that’s quite interesting about fasting and something that I love is that when people have hit a weight plateau and they’re eating enough, that’s a huge key, they have to be eating enough, and they’ve hit a weight plateau, what I often look at is their fasting.
So if you are eating all of the time on a ketogenic diet, you do run the risk of gaining weight and that’s why so many people that try a ketogenic diet, they come to me. They’re like, “I tried keto for three weeks and all I did was get fat.” Well, how often were you eating? Then we look at it and it’s like, “Well, I had breakfast and snack and then lunch and snack and then dinner and snack and sometimes I had a snack after that snack. It’s like, “Well, yeah, okay. So why don’t you try fasting a little bit and see.” It’s not a all or nothing thing and especially as a woman, and maybe men too, but I’m not a guy so I can’t talk about it really that much. I’m not a guy. I don’t have a guy body. It’s completely different. I find that during my period, I can fast so easily. When I’m ovulating, no fricking way, man. I need a lot of protein. I need carbs. I’m going to be carbing up, and I actually haven’t. I’m supposed to be ovulating here pretty soon so it’ll be interesting to see on Full Keto what that looks like, how it feels.
With fasting, some women still report feeling anxious, emotional, short tempered, etc. while fasting. I definitely experience that. What could be helpful is fasting with a carb up practice. You could do a carb up practice, say, like the Daily Fat Burner Fat Fueled Profilecoupled with fasting so that the carbohydrates may mitigate some of that anxious feeling while you continue to fast. You cash in on the benefits of fasting while carbing up. Like I said, it doesn’t need to be every day, now you’re a daily fat burner, fat fuel profile. You could switch over to Adapted Fat Burner, back to Full Keto. Like I said, all of this is in my program, Fat Fueled, in the profiles and how to all make it work.
Know that with fasting, it’s all about experimenting and it’s not to say that anyone’s information out there is wrong or right or do my way or his way or her way or whatever. It’s just there were a couple of things in episode four that I didn’t get to explain and that we had to cut out because the interview ended up being an hour and a half and it was just too long for you guys. I hope that I can continue to share some of my experiments on fasting and supplements that I’m using and things that encourage fasting and how I feel about my thyroid. I’m going to be monitoring that pretty closely to make sure that nothing is affected by this new stage in my ketogenic journey. I’m really excited.
It’s cool to finally be on the other side of things. I really feel like I’m in a good, well, I know, I’m in a good place hormonally. I’ve spent a lot of work and energy and time really nourishing myself and listening to my body. Jason’s conversation also really inspired me to listen to my body and also play around a little bit more with fasting. He gave me some really good ideas. I actually completely forgot how great bone broth is and how you can continue to use that in an intermittent fasting process. I think it’s pretty fair to say, with my body and my health experience and where I’ve been in my life, I don’t know if I’ll ever do an extended period fast. That’s just something that I’m just not all that interested in. I have a history of an eating disorder and disordered eating and I think that anyone who has a history of any sort of disordered eating can be triggered by fasting. The key for me has been just don’t count the hours. Just let it happen naturally.
If it’s 12 hours, great. If it’s 16 hours, awesome. If it’s 24 hours, cool. If it’s five minutes, that’s okay, too. It’s totally fine. I think oftentimes, we can get really overwhelmed with all of the rules and things out there and, guys, your body knows. Your body knows. I mean now it’s 5:06 and I started this recording 54 minutes ago and I’m hungry and I need to eat. Probably because, I mean, we talk about food and all I can think about is breaking my fast, and that’s okay. It’s totally okay. So know that if you are feeling funky on your protocol that you’re on right now, you owe it to yourself to change and no amount of reading Reddit to tell you that you should just keep on fasting or keep on doing this or push yourself should dictate how you go about your eating style.
So I hope that that was helpful. I hope that explained a little bit of my experience on keto, how I got to carb ups from not doing carbs, how I’m now playing around with fasting while eating enough, and taking into consideration my personal health imbalances, I know that if my sleep starts to suck, or my energy is weird, that my thyroid and my adrenals are playing a role. I know that if I start to get anxious, I need to look at my carbohydrates, maybe limit my amount of fasting or switch Fat Fueled Profiles. That’s why I created the Fat Fueled Profiles. Because I firmly believe, with every single ketone in my body, that we all are going to experience ketosis a little bit differently. It would be absolutely ridiculous for me to say that this is the only way to do it.
Within those Fat Fueled Profiles, there are so many other variants, from the carb ups to the protein ups, to doing more protein, doing less protein, practicing intermittent fasting, not practicing intermittent fasting, having bone broth with your fast, having a rocket fuel latte with your fast, having nothing with your fast. So there are so many options, and I hope that by sharing my experience a little bit today you guys have some ideas of how you can shift things for yourself. We will continue with this awesome series. I’m really excited to interview more women on their ketogenic experiences and how they’ve adapted and how they are managing their time and their resources and money and supplements and everything. So more to come and if you want to be a guest, if you have a story that you want to share with our crew and you think that you would be an awesome person to come on the show to just chat about your ketogenic experience, you don’t need to be a doctor. You don’t need to be a professional anything to do with nutrition. If you are eating keto and you’ve learned a whole bunch about your body, and you think it could be helpful, definitely send me an email at email@example.com. I’d love to chat with you about coming on the show to share your story.
So the show notes for today’s episode can be found at HealthfulPursuit.com/Podcast/E6. I’m so surprised I still have a voice. I’ll see you guys next Sunday. Bye.
That does it for another episode of the Keto Diet podcast. Thanks for listening in. You can follow me on Instagram by searching Healthful Pursuit where you’ll find daily keto eats and other fun things and check out all of my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides and other cool things over at healthfulpursuit.com/shop. I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.