Keto Experiment & Why I Won't Go Keto

Today's day four of eating lower carb with a friend of mine who is experimenting with keto. I don't want to go all the way. I love my fruits and vegetables, and my rice and chocolate of course, but that's not the reason. I was explaining it to my husband yesterday over our dinner of shredded taco salad (cooked all by him, I might add *sigh*) and I think it came out the simplest it could have.

I did a lot of damage to my gut and my hormones when I was in high school. Anorexia lasted in the worst stages for about a year. There was a pre-stage of being underweight and I was in recovery for a few years after that, but the damage to my body was really done in that year. This is why I don't want to go into ketosis right now. 

In light of all of this, let's talk about what keto is because it can have its place. If you're curious, run yourself over to google scholar and type in something about ketosis, then explore the numerous articles about ketones for epilepsy and cancer. It's pretty cool. 

What Is Ketosis? 

Ketosis is when we are metabolizing fat (we will usually burn a little protein too) for fuel, this can be because of a lack of carbohydrate in the diet or a reduction of calories from what someone burns. 

A keto diet is a diet that forces your body to function off of ketones instead of glucose. Ketones produced as a bi-product of fat metabolism. Ketones are also produced by the liver when glucose is not present. Muscles and brain cells can utilize ketones for energy when glucose reserves or glycogen stores have dropped very low. People who are loosing weight on any diet will also be using ketones for fuel for periods of time. Ketones can be the bi-product of dietary fat metabolism or body fat metabolism.

Macronutrient Breakdown for Ketosis:

60-80% fat, 5-10% carbohydrate, 15-30% protein. 

Keto is much more than eating bacon all day, in fact, you may even reduce your meat consumption depending on how much you eat already. We also convert proteins into glucose, so you want to moderate your proteins as well. You are really eating a lot of fats and watery vegetables with some protein. 

Why I Won't Go Keto

I was in ketosis for a long time. Not because of a high fat diet, but because my caloric burn was higher than my intake. (I still ate while I was anorexic, but under my needs). This put me in ketosis and catabolism for much longer than any woman should be in it. I wasted away my body fat and muscle, but at the same time I was also wasting away at very important organ tissue. When a woman is using body stores for fuel, the first areas that get taken away from are the pituitary gland, intestinal lining, and the reproductive organs. I had imbalanced hormones and terrible IBS for a long time after recovery. I also had elevated kidney and liver levels in my blood work because these organs were working so hard to create fuel from proteins and fats. These repercussions lasted longer than the anorexia itself did. I worked with an acupuncturist to heal my pituitary and immediately gained 5 pounds and my boobs back. For my gut lining and reproductive organs, I have had to work really hard to build them back up. While I have fat on me now that my body could use, I don't want to risk doing any damage to my tissue. I also don't want to loose any of the muscle that I have built up since. 

That was a little personal, but I hope that helped someone. If it does nothing but to illustrate the long term dangers of keto/dieting, I think keto has its place in a natural healthy cycle, but I think we humans have a tendency to take things to an unhealthy place.

Ultimately, you need to be your own nutritionist in the end, you need to experiment and learn your body's needs. Playing around with keto may be a part of that journey for you. Someone like me (a nutritionist), can help you learn faster, healthier, and safer without having to go too far down the wrong path or experience hormone imbalance, metabolic damage, etc. But some people have to learn on their own. (I am one of them). I hope to give you some of these tools to grow on your food journey wether you work with me one-on-one or not. Life's all about trying things and learning from our experiences, heck, I am doing this every day. You may find that keto hits home for you. 

Have you ever tried keto? Are you doing it right now? Have you find a dietary lifestyle that really works for you?