[This is a sloppy post that I’m putting out here just to get my notes together before I write it up for real]
I’ve done several experiments where I measure my ketone levels: Prolon 5-day fasting mimicking diet, my SIBO issue, and during a few short fasting periods.
This time I’ll do it through diet alone and over a short term.
A ketogenic diet assumes you eat per kilogram of body weight:
- protein 1 g
- carbohydrates 10-15 g (about 5-15% of daily calories)
- fat the rest
For me (75 kilos):
- protein 75 g ; 75 * 4 = 300 calories
- carbohydrates 10-15 g ; 15 * 4 = 60 calories (importantly, carbohydrates are calculated net of fiber)
- fat = 220 g ; 220 * 9 = 1980 calories
If I eat 2200 calories / day, then I should shoot for
- 2200 * 15% = 330 kcal of carbohyrates = about 80g
After a few weeks of ketosis, most people see a drop in their blood ketone body levels (BHB).
Keto adaptation is a different, deeper phase of ketosis that happens after about a month when the body learns to run effectively on fats. It takes about 2-4 weeks to adapt, during which you may feel some “keto flu” and “metallic breath” but after about a month you’ll notice better endurance, energy, and clearer thinking.
Upon adaptation, some people notice low glucose levels (under 75, perhaps as low as 50) yet with no fatigue or hunger.
Basal Metabolic Rate
How many calories I need depends on my BMR, which you can calculate here:
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Daily Calorie Needs - Calculator Online (Harris-Benedict equation)
My BMR is between 1300 and 1600, and my calorie needs are between 2200 - 2700 depending on how much exercise I do. Although I don’t have a job that requires me to be physically active, I do tend to walk around a lot and generally spend at least 20 minutes per day at double my resting heart rate.
Day by day
Day 1 (Monday)
Later I had a ripe banana with several tablespoons of nut butter.
Mid-day I had a spinach salad and about a cup of quinoa.
For dinner I had a large amount of chicken and some mixed vegetables.
Day 2 (Tuesday)
This is the first day I checked my GKI. My last “serious” carb meal was two nights ago, when I had some pasta.
I ate one more banana
Dinner was a ribeye steak and a healthy amount of tomato bruschetta
Day 3 (Wednesday)
Instead of testing myself immediately after waking, I about two hours after my morning (almond milk) latte and brisk 30-minute walk. The resulting readings show I’ve slipped comfortably into ketosis.
I ate a big breakfast: 2 eggs, a ton of spinach, plus some kimchi.
But man am I sleepy today! I could barely keep from napping in the afternoon, and I was Fatigue is apparently an early sign of the body’s transition. Apparently fatigue is a common side effect during the transition from carbs to keto.
Dinner was pulled pork and a big green salad.
Day 4 (Thursday)
GKI is a bit higher, though I’m measuring it first thing in the morning today.
A big breakfast: gobs of spinach, plus three eggs and topped with half a cup of chopped walnuts.
I think I have noticeably bad breath. The fatigue I suffered on 07-14 was entirely gone yesterday but may have returned this morning. (my GKI is 5.9 an hour after coffee, no exercise)
Day 5 (Friday)
Another big breakfast: chopped squash with onions, more walnuts, and two eggs.
Mid-day I had another large salad with sardines, some cheese, and plenty of nuts.
Sashimi for dinner
Then I had a 16oz Pint of draft high quality beer. Although it didn’t affect my carbs much, the 3.9% alcohol is a bad idea for a keto diet.
Day 6 (Saturday)
Last night’s beer gave me a bit of a headache this morning, but I solved it by drinking lots of water in the morning.
Somehow in the afternoon I found myself drinking a Starbucks Chai Tea, and although it was supposedly low sugar, the Tall size contains 30g of carbohydrates. I drank maybe 3/4ths of the thing.
What I learned
One solution to the fatigue is electrolyte supplements, including salt. Bone broth is good too.
But reducing insulin causes an increase in circulating fats that displace an amino acid, called tryptophan, from its carrier. This circulating tryptophan causes an increase in serotonin in the brain and the increase in serotonin results in fatigue, even when you aren’t exerting yourself much.
Restricting carbohydrates acts as a body stressor by stimulating the release of cortisol. Because that much cortisol released can result in “cortisol fatigue”, your body becomes more susceptible to infections like the common cold.
Or maybe take some Vitamin B5: https://www.drberg.com/blog/what-to-do-when-you-get-fatigued-on-the-ketosis-diet