Two Weeks on the Keto Diet: The Good and the Bad

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The ketogenic diet seems to be the latest thing in weight loss circles. There are many articles about the diet and many celebrities are promoting it as well. So I decided to try the ketogenic diet for a couple of weeks and wanted to write about my experience.

The ketogenic diet—or keto for short—is basically a low-carb, high-protein, and high-fat diet. To get into ketosis, you need to consume fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates daily. The idea is to consume the majority of your calories from healthy fats (yes, there are such things) and protein. I recently penned a blog about the keto diet that goes into much more detail. Read “A Primer for the Ketogenic Diet.”

I have messed around with the keto diet for a few days at a time in the past but never really tried to sustain it for any length of time. Recently, I did the keto diet for two weeks and kept my carbohydrate intake down to under 50 grams a day and on several days fewer than 20 grams.

I found myself in ketosis (which is good) fairly quickly. The cool thing about ketosis is it tends to block your appetite. I didn’t get as hungry as I normally do. Overall, I dropped 2 lbs. a week for a 4-pound weight loss. Not to bad for two weeks. I also got to move my belt up another notch!

I did have a tough time with my workouts. I had trouble with energy. Our bodies will prefer to burn carbs as a primary source of energy, but when you are not consuming any carbs, our bodies turn to fats to burn energy. I was able to complete all of my workouts, but my intensity was down slightly. I think with time I could probably figure out a better way to fuel for workouts but did struggle for these two weeks.

I also had some trouble finding healthy fats to eat that were convenient. I do like avocadoes but after a while, I grew a little weary of eating them. Fortunately for me, my wife is an amazing cook and prepared some great ketogenic meals for me. I also consumed a lot of nuts. They are easy and convenient but do pack lots of calories. One of the good things about the keto diet is that it’s carnivore-friendly. You do want to watch your protein intake and not go overboard with it. (For me details about how much to eat, please read the previous blog mentioned above). I did probably eat too much beef jerky!

The interesting thing for me was my blood test results. I had previously tested my blood several months ago and then tested on the final day of my two weeks. My main personal go was to make sure I could get and keep my blood sugar down. My fasting blood sugar was well below 100 and my A1c was 5.4. (The A1c is an average of your blood sugar for 3 months.) The crazy thing for me was my total cholesterol. It went from being well below 200 to over 300! One positive thing about my lipid panel was my HDL (the good cholesterol). It went up really high as well. My ratio of good cholesterol to bad was okay.

My overall takeaway from my two-week experience was generally positive. I found the diet fairly easy to tolerate without getting too “hangry.” If I were to do it again and for a longer time, I would have to come up with some different snacks and meals. There are plenty of resources available for free on the Internet that gives you great recipes and other ideas for foods. I was disappointed in my total cholesterol number but hope to get it back to normal before long.

I hope this has been helpful for you and I would encourage you to try the ketogenic diet if you have any interest in it. It is especially good for getting your blood sugar down.

I am still a fan of my 10-Day Diet Challenge. It has worked the best for me over the years of just about anything I have done. Let me know about your experiences with your weight loss journey. I would love to hear from you about the keto diet or if you have done the 10-Day Diet Challenge.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown