“Try Keto!” they said. “It’ll be fun!” they said. “You can have bacon!” they said.
They weren’t wrong.
Well, not about the bacon.
But that’s how they get ya. It certainly wasn’t fun. The ketogenic diet is a high fat, medium protein, extremely low carb diet that trains your body to burn stored fat by basically forcing it to – by starving it of carbohydrates.
In keto world, a lot of things are upside-down. Fat is good. Sure: olive oil, avocado, nuts, healthy fats are all good – but we knew that already. In keto, so is red meat, bacon, mayonnaise, and skin-on chicken.
And protein? The pillar of health and fat loss? Eat it with care when you’re in keto-world – you certainly need it, but too much will knock you out of ketosis.
Fruit? Absolutely not.
Even having too much of certain particularly sugary veggies is a no-no on this diet.
What really is “ketosis”? Well, usually, your body loves to burn carbohydrates for fuel. When it runs out of them, it eventually – kicking and screaming – has to turn to stored fat. In doing so, your body starts releasing “ketones.” (That’s where the name of this infamous diet comes from.) When you have testable levels of ketones in your blood (or urine), you know for sure that your body is in high-gear fat-burning mode.
Which is cool, right?
Well, yeah, except for that it sucks. Here’s my experience.
Experiment: Rapid Ketosis for Aggressive Fat Loss
You can enter ketosis by just following the prescribed keto diet – fats, meats, veggies, and absolutely minimal carbs – and let your body slowly suffer its way there. (The transition is, hands down, the hardest part. Once you’re in ketosis it gets just a bit easier.)
The thing is, this approach can take three or four days, or even up to a week or longer, to shift your body into full nutritional ketosis.
My goal (which I achieved), was to do it in 24 hours.
The recipe for that included:
- Already eating a healthy, fairly low carb diet.
- During transition day, chugging coffee and tea, and fasting throughout the day.
- Adding MCT oil (or MCT powder) to my morning coffee to help boost ketones.
- Chugging water like you would not believe, constantly, all day.
- Constantly moving & aerobically exercising during transition day.
- Adding exogenous ketones – supplementing with KetoCaNa.
Wait, what’s that last point? “Exogenous Ketones” and “KetoCaNa”?? It’s basically just drinking ketones, the stuff of ketosis. When you’re transitioning into a ketogenic state, this is very helpful.
Anyway, the rapid transition worked: I woke up the next day in nutritional ketosis with a blood ketone level of about 1.5 mmol/liter.
How did I know?
Urine test strips allow you to pretty accurately see exactly what’s going on in your body, and they are an absolute must for any keto-adventurer. They’re like $7, too.
Anyway, the tests were clear – success: zero to ketosis in 24 hours.
Getting into ketosis is hard enough, but actually adjusting to it was another thing altogether.
The next day or two were pretty rough. Plus, at first, even eating “keto foods” would briefly pull me out of ketosis. Soon things got a bit easier as I transitioned into a deeper, more consistent state of ketosis – at which point yes, I could eat red meat and bacon, and still stay in fat-burning mode. But damn, it still wasn’t fun.
I lost fat while doing the experiment.
While my scale weight fluctuated wildly, my body fat percentage – the important factor – did seem to improve.
Solely in terms of results, considering it was just ten days, I’d say: not bad.
However, the process? Out of every diet I’ve experimented with, this was the hardest. Keto is the worst. It beats out paleo, slow-carb, and intermittent fasting to take first prize as “most miserable diet out there.” It works, though.
Ultimately, for most people, I wouldn’t recommend it. I eventually had to stop, because it was interfering with my sleep too much. It was…a lot.
The biggest experimental weakness with this little ten-day test is that I didn’t do it longer.
Rumor has it, your body eventually adjusts to being “fat adapted,” and the keto diet eventually gets easier …or so they say. I couldn’t stick around long enough to find out.
Further, I wasn’t using any great body-fat percentage calculator. In retrospect, calipers would have been a good call. Meanwhile, low-tech photos did the trick as a means of tracking changes.
The rapid ketosis transition worked, and Keto can certainly help you lose fat, but damn is it rough. (If you’ve had better luck making this diet tolerable, let me know.)
That’s the approach I’ll be going with moving forward.
I bet I can even top Keto with it.