Here's what this man learned from one year on a high-fat / low carb diet

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For some of those with a mood disorder that tends to swing towards depression (i.e. unipolar and bipolar II), the ketogenic diet may also be helpful in decreasing the severity and frequency of depressive episodes. All of the peer-reviewed literature I’ve come across so far consists only of case studies though, so emphasis on the words ‘some’ and ‘may’. One paper discussed two females with bipolar II, both of whom reported being able to discontinue their lamotrigine therapy once they’d stabilized on the ketogenic diet. (Oddly, another paper concluded that concurrent use of both therapies was less effective than lamotrigine alone.)

The working hypothesis (one of them, anyway) is that ketone bodies in the brain have an antiglutamatergic effect by competing with chloride for transport into the soma (body) of pre-synaptic glutamategeric neurons, raising their threshold potential, and thus reducing the release of glutamate.


I lost 150lbs over the course of a year and a half (and have kept it off for three years) by eating keto. I didn’t obsessively track calories or starve myself. No additional intentional exercise, though I am a bit more active now that I’m not morbidly obese. The only thing I did was limit myself to 20g of carbs per day, and I lost a person’s worth of weight. My cholesterol also went down, and my fasting blood sugar went from “pre-diabetic” to “healthy”.

Obviously keto isn’t going to work out this well for everybody. My wife had much more limited success, and eventually gave it up because it wasn’t working as quickly for her and she missed carbs more than I did. But it did work for me when 30+ years of various diets and soul-crushing exercise regimes didn’t, because it was something I could live with long-term. If you’re seriously overweight and can’t bear the thought of another diet that will leave you miserable with hunger all day, keto is absolutely worth trying.


Fascinating stuff… you hear about the risks of sustained ketosis but I think there’s really something there to explore. Many people poo-poo the Atkins diet but it seems to be the best method for successful weight loss. The hardest part is keeping under the 20g/day carb limit. It’s very difficult considering our modern diet. There are so many foods with hidden carbs and sugars it’s almost impossible to avoid.

I’ve been on a sugar restrictive diet for about 9 months now and can attest to many of the same benefits. I’m not strict about limiting carbs though - just sugars and starches. I also have increased my vegetable and protein intake - but mostly it’s been cutting out as much sugar as possible. I’m also going to the gym 5 days a week with a combination of strength training and cardio exercise.

Net result is a loss of 22 lbs and several inches from my waist from about a year ago. My pot belly and love handles are disappearing and I really feel great for the first time in years. Losing weight in your mid-40’s is tough and I have a target goal of another 15-20 lbs. before I’ll be satisfied.

Jim also describes the mid-course adjustments he made to reduce side effects such as including muscle cramps...

One banana a day did it for me.

...and increased sensitivity to cold.

I just assumed that was because I’d lost my blubber layer.



Why is there never a transcript?


My blood glucose readings are extremely sensitive to carbs; the higher the baseline gets the more that carbs will spike it, and vice versa. While I’ve been unable to get it under control with a combination of diet, exercise, oral meds and insulin so far, there’s a difference between waking up with it at 160, having it slide down to 150 after a no-carb breakfast and 110 after a no-carb lunch, vs. waking up with it at 200 and not seeing less than 180 all day.

(For comparison, normal is 80-120 on waking, and below 160 two hours after a meal.)

Lower blood sugar brings more cold sensitivity, but also (perhaps ironically) more energy. (At least until it dips down to 60 or so, at which point things get scary and weird.)


Fascinating. I recently backtracked off my low-carb diet (been about 4 years now) because I started exercising more and found it difficult to eat enough to be sated and to avoid bonking. I have never had a problem controlling my weight and when I have bothered to check my blood sugar, it’s always been fine, so, lately I have been eating whatever is around and seems appetizing, which is generally starchy. It’s basically solved the hunger problem although I immediately noticed myself being more gassy.

While I might not need to be in ketosis, it seems from the video that when I was most severely restricting carbs, I was probably eating too much protein and not enough salt. I have had the muscle cramping problem, although I never felt I was more sensitive to cold than before. I am going to look into this again.

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While there may indeed be something special about this diet, I’m curious as to whether it’s any better than simply eating less. It’s my completely unscientific observation that people who are fat have completely different ideas about what a normal amount of food is. I was talking to my (lardy) brother in law a while ago, who told me he was going low-carb so I quizzed him over what he would normally be eating right now. It came out to around 5,000 calories a firkkin’ day! Dude! No wonder you’re fat - just eat less it’s far easier for everyone.

But I’m probably missing some magic thing. Satiation or something I bet.


Of course, not mentioned on a ketogenic diet: Significant to potentially fatal liver damage,substantial vitamin deficit. Selective food Diets are awful. If you do something for x amount of time but it’s not safe to do for the rest of your life, maybe it’s not a safe diet. Duh.


[quote=“usagemayvary, post:10, topic:70873, full:true”]
Of course, not mentioned on a ketogenic diet: Significant to potentially fatal liver damage,substantial vitamin deficit. Selective food Diets are awful. If you do something for x amount of time but it’s not safe to do for the rest of your life, maybe it’s not a safe diet. Duh.
[/quote]Also the fact that it’s completely and totally unsustainable for the planet, and too expensive for all but the most affluent citizens of the most developed countries.


As someone whose wife just got out of the hospital yesterday night (!) suffering from DKA (the diabetic keto acidosis) - I can wholeheartedly say that if you decide to go on an all meat diet (also known as atkins or paleo), then you should really get the ketone pee-strips and test every day what levels you are at.

Too much and you risk fatal organ damage.


There is a huge (and important) difference between nutritional ketosis and ketoacidosis.

Nutrional ketosis associated with a properly formulated ketogenic diet is not dangerous because it is regulated by insulin within the body.

It’s simply the metabolic process of burning your own body fat for fuel, and unless you are diabetic and lacking insulin, or you are a raging alcoholic, it is perfectly safe. Levels for adults with a working pancreas and insulin production rarely get above 8-10 mmol/L.

It is pretty much impossible for someone who isn’t already severely metabolically compromised to develop ketoacidosis on a keto diet.


Bingo. Fats satiate hunger far more effectively than carbs. A ketogenic diet also stabilizes your blood glucose levels (as seen in the video), which means far fewer between-meal cravings. On keto, you end up eating fewer calories without actually trying - you’re just not as “hungry all the time” as when you’re eating carbs.


Do not mistake dietary ketosis for Diabetic Keto Acidosis. DKA can be fatal but it is an indication that a person’s pancreas is producing little if any insulin and they are not adequately treating their diabetes.

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If you’re emphasizing fats while avoiding sugars, go with an avocado or some spinach for your cramp-reducing potassium.


I ate a lot of both avocado and spinach. Only the banana a day seemed to prevent the cramps.


What reading I’ve done (though with little practical experience) seems to indicate this is the case as well. The most important factor in a “low-carb diet” seems to be the “diet” part, not the low-carb part, but changing what you eat can make it a lot easier to stick to that diet, or even unintentionally diet, as you say, due to saitation, more stable blood sugar, etc.


Because you didn’t transcribe one?

Fair enough.