Challenges that come up when on the ketogenic diet

There are several recurring patterns that come up when a person goes on this diet.

Keto Adapting:  During the first month or so, your body will go through an adaptation process as it switches from primarily burning sugar to burning ketones for your energy.  Some of the common symptoms that people have in this phase are fatigue, flu like symptoms.  These are the exact same symptoms that you would experience in any kind of detox program.  If this comes up, check with Dr. Khalsa and he will make sure that everything is moving forward.  An adjustment will also probably help you move through these symptoms quicker.  This is not a sign that the diet is hurting you, just that it is putting you through some changes.

Exercise:  You can continue any exercise program that you have been doing while on the ketogenic diet.  If you do experience any of the keto adapting symptoms mentioned above, you may want to cut back your exercise for a short time.  There are many athletes competing on a very high level that are successfully eating low carb and high fat diets.  If you have any questions, ask Dr. Khalsa to be sure.

Cheating:  Cheating on your diet has become an American tradition.  Everyone does it.  And with a calorie restriction diet, it doesn’t interfere that much.  But the ketogenic diet is very different.  First of all, based on my experience, it has been quite easy to stay on this diet without any cheating.  If I feel hungry or some sugary dessert is looking good, I just eat a bunch of fat like almond butter, or my chocolate fat bombs (see recipe) or some nuts and I am no longer craving those sweets.  Because we are monitoring our ketone and blood sugar levels on this diet, we can see what happens when we cheat.  When you cheat and eat a larger amount of carbs even one time, it will bounce you out of ketosis and it can take several days to get back into ketosis.  So to put it simply: DON’T CHEAT!

Carb Creep:  When I first went on the diet, I kept very accurate track of everything that I ate and how many carbs I consumed each day.  After about a month, I decided to stop doing this.  Now I have found that a month later, I have let the number of carbs creep up and my ketone levels are dropping.  So based on my experience, keep in touch with your daily carbs.  In the beginning, don’t worry about the fat.  Eat as much as you can to feeling full.  Make sure that you are not overdoing the protein.  And keep very accurate track of your carbs.

Phases of the diet:  Having only done this for less than three months, I do not have any experience on the long term necessity of this diet.  One expert that I have been reading has kept himself on the Keto diet for the last ten years.  Another expert says that he has found that after 18 to 24 months, most people have healed the damage due to the high levels of insulin and can start to go back to a more balanced diet.  He recommends that when a person has reached their weight goal and their blood work is in balance, then they can add 5 grams of carbs to their diet and see what happens.  If their blood sugar goes up, or their weight goes up, or they feel a drop in energy, then the body is clearly saying that they need to stay at this level.  Then they can try again in a month or so.  If they do well with the added carbs, then they continue to raise it until they hit their tolerance point.