The ABCs of the Keto Diet: Avocados, Bacon, Coconut oil, and beyond! – BioTrust Radio #28

Written by Tim Skwiat and Shawn Wells

The BioTrust Tribe has spoken and the feedback is unanimous: Our listeners want Keto, Keto, and more Keto. That’s why we had to put together this EPIC episode of BioTrust Radio: Our Ultimate Keto Diet Podcast, a compilation of three of our most popular shows on the Keto diet packaged into one fast-paced, information-packed episode.

Ways to Listen:

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Or Listen Here (press play below):

Where to Get Products We Mentioned:

  • IC-5 Keto Diet Booster (for improved glycemic control and glycemic variability)
  • Ageless Body Keto Diet Supercharger (for advanced antioxidant and mitochondrial support)
  • ***Remember, as a special ‘thank you’ for BioTrust Radio Listeners, you can get 20% off these keto-boosting supplements when you use the coupon code KETO at checkout!***

Simply put, this is your one-stop podcast (led by our resident Keto diet expert Shawn Wells) covering the ever-popular Keto diet from side to side, top to bottom, and from A to Z (almost literally). After all, avocados, bacon, and coconut oil wouldn’t be so darn popular if it weren’t for Keto (and Paleo), which we’ll get into in this in-depth episode designed to be your ultimate Keto podcast resource.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll discover in this epic episode of BioTrust Radio:

  • How the Keto diet works – what are the ideal macros, what are the best Keto foods (yes, Avocados, Bacon, and Coconut oil top the list), and what a day in the life of Keto expert Shawn Wells looks like
  • What are the evidence-based Keto diet benefits – from fat loss to improving glycemic control and glycemic variability to treating epilepsy and more
  • Is the Ketogenic diet dangerous – should you be concerned about getting into ketosis – is the same ketoacidosis
  • The myths and misconceptions about the Keto diet – it’s not just your typical low-carb diet, it’s not necessarily a high-protein diet, and you shouldn’t fear the fat
  • Keto diets tend to raise cholesterol…so what! What are the health variables you should be looking at – what are the TWO most important blood tests that everyone should be getting
  • What do Intermittent Fasting, Paleo, and the Keto Diet have in common – how can you combine all three of these approaches for the ULTIMATE diet
  • What can you do to avoid the Keto Flu, Brain Fog, and other common problems some people experience on Keto
  • What are some of the top strategies to get into your optimal ketosis zone – what tricks can you put to use to get into deeper ketosis faster so you can fully experience the benefits that the Keto diet has to offer
  • The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD), the Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD), and Cheat Days – what can you do to back into ketosis after high-carb days
  • Coconut oil, coconut oil, and more coconut oil – including the key differences between coconut oil and MCT oil and which is better
  • And much, much more!

Where to Get Products We Mentioned:

  • IC-5 Keto Diet Booster (for improved glycemic control and glycemic variability)
  • Ageless Body Keto Diet Supercharger (for advanced antioxidant and mitochondrial support)
  • ***Remember, as a special ‘thank you’ for BioTrust Radio Listeners, you can get 20% off these keto-boosting supplements when you use the coupon code KETO at checkout!***

Recommended Resources:



The ABCs of the Keto Diet

Part 1

Shawn:       Hey, this is Tim and Shawn of BioTrust Radio, your trusted resource for fitness, nutrition, supplements, and human optimization.

Tim:            Unless you’ve been living under a rock, which you haven’t been because you’re tuned into the podcast so I can guess that you probably are familiar with current going-ons in the world. The keto diet is about as hot as diets get. Today we’re going to cover the keto diet.

Shawn:       keto.

Tim:            Also known as keto. Shawn speaks around the world on keto. Even though it’s just become popular within last year, he’s been keto for how long?

Shawn:       On and off for 20 years.

Tim:            Twenty years. It’s a long time. It’s quite a long relationships. It’s longer than any girl I’ve ever been with.

Shawn:       Well, that’s a great intro, Tim. [chuckles] So, I will ask you, because I know you’ve actually written papers on the stuff. You are a sport nutritionists. You’re a very brilliant guy. And yes, I live the keto lifestyle, and yes I speak on it. But let’s trade off a little bit here because I know you’re very knowledgeable as well. So, to you, what is the ketodiet diet? How would you define it, Tim?

Tim:            That’s a great question, and the simplest answer that I would come up with is just that it’s a very low carbohydrate diet, and a high fat diet.

Shawn:       Right.

Tim:            So those are fairly arbitrary terms. And many people think that all low-carb diets are the same. But keto is significantly different from just your run-of-the-mill, “I’m going to eat less carbs. I’m cutting back on carbs.” We can talk more about percentages, but just to put it in perspective, “low carb” can mean anything in the research, it could mean anything up to like 25-26% of your calories, probably even 40%. I think we’ve seen some studies say low-carb is 40% of your calories. We’re talking about 100-200 grams of carbs, which is a lot of carbohydrate. By comparison, keto is typically less than 30 grams of carbs per day. And just as a general idea of how much fat we’re talking about when we say “high fat,” it can be up to 80%, maybe even more fat, depending on how keto is designed for you. So that’s just kind of an overview of how I would define keto, is very low carbohydrate and high fat diet. And probably just add to that moderate amount of protein.

Shawn:       That’s an excellent overview. Now why on the protein?

Tim:            Why on the protein? There’s a couple of different reasons, at least, that I can think of. On one hand, too much protein could potentially…

Shawn:       GNG.

Tim:            Yeah, could potentially lead to a process called gluconeogenesis, where the body converts the protein, basically—not to get too complex with deamination and whatever—the body can convert that protein into essentially a carbohydrate, and so that can interfere with ketosis.

Shawn:       Exactly.

Tim:            So that would be probably one of the reasons why. Another one, if you’re eating too much protein, you may not be eating enough fat. So that might be another reason why we want to keep protein. It’s not low, but it’s definitely not high, so it’s somewhere usually in that 15-20% range for keto, I would say.

Shawn:       Yeah, exactly. And I think one of the things I hear most often with the diet is, “It’s just not working for me. I feel this brain fog all the time. I feel hangry, which is the hungry/angry hybrid word. And almost nine times out of ten, when I ask someone, “How much protein are you eating?” and like sure enough, it’s like this idea of “eating clean,” which means I’m going to eat super low carb but I’m going to eat super low fat, which leaves you with a diet of like pure protein almost.

Tim:            Exactly.

Shawn:       And it’s punishing. And I don’t think it’s bad to have a lot of protein. We’ve seen studies from like Joey Antonio, like we were talking about the other day, that you can eat a very high amount of protein and it not affect your kidneys. That is a complete myth, unless you have kidney dysfunction, renal dysfunction. Then that is a different story. But I think when you’re eating super high protein and you’re going through this gluconeogenesis process and you’re basically inefficiently making glucose, and so you’re not really carbohydrate adapted as well as you should be and you’re not really ketone adapted as well as you should be, to use fats and turn them into ketones for fuel, it’s kind of like this nebulous world. It’s punishing.

You talk to a lot of bodybuilders that eat this super high protein diet, most of that protein you’re just oxidizing. It’s not even, let’s say, going to the amino acid pool to be used to build muscle. But nine times out of ten, that’s what I hear. And when I dig in, “Well, is your fat high enough? Is your protein moderate, like you said, 15? Fifteen is like, I would say, is for someone that’s very sedentary; 20, I would say, is for someone that’s active; 25% is where I would put someone who’s an athlete and maybe a bodybuilder. That’s as high as I would go. So it just depends on maybe level of activity and maybe lean body mass that you have. There’s no exact formula for that, but that’s what I’ve seen.

So, let’s get into the history of the ketogenic diet, which you have done some good work on. You know more about this than even I do. I know about there’s the Inuits that Jeff Volek, Dr. Jeff Volek has spoken about. That was a tribe that you can read up that they essentially were on the ketogenic diet. I think about 90% fat was their diet. Certainly there’s Eskimos, and then we can get into early 1900s and epilepsy and all that stuff. What can you throw at me, Tim?

Tim:            Yeah, sure. I think just going to the Inuit/Eskimo example. They’re not trying to be on the ketogenic diet. They’re just eating what’s available to them. And I also want to highlight what you said that even though we’ll give some percentages, we’ll give some numbers. Just a keto, just like any other diet, it’s about finding what works for you. So we’re going to come back to that, but there’s not like a “one size fits all,” and I like to actually talk about diets as being more of a compass than actual directions in terms of a map. In the sense that it’s basically designed to point you in the right direction, but you have to continually tune into your internal and external environment to see how it’s working for you.

Shawn:       Right, and actually just as a quick aside right there is that paleo and primal, paleo may have kind of started low fat, but it’s definitely I think now that we’ve dug in more, I think it’s definitely paleo and keto are aligning quite a bit. If you look online, you’re seeing those. You’re seeing intermittent fasting, paleo, and keto almost coming and converging on the one diet, the one true diet, and you’re seeing that quite a bit. And I think if you were to go back and look at those kinds of things, based on what you said, “availability,” I think you’d see that during the summer months—depending on where we live. Certainly Eskimos, I mean, it’s winter for them year-round. They could eat keto year‑round, probably.

But if we were to look at just regular Native American tribes or whatever further back, we would see probably during the summer months, spring and fall maybe, that it was largely a carbohydrate-driven diet. And then, maybe during the winter, before there was food storage techniques and some of those kinds of things where you could maybe even have grain silos and all these things that have come about with modern society, they would have been largely eating ketogenic. They would have been eating animals, and they would have been going several days probably without eating, which is just intermittent fasting, which puts you deeper into ketosis.

So most likely, there’s this idea of dual fuel, like glucose ketones, that this whole ketogenic thing is not that odd. It’s not that crazy. Quite often in your life, whether you knew it or not, you have been ketogenic just from when you didn’t eat for 18 hours because you went to sleep, you didn’t eat when you got up, and you raced off to work, and you had some coffee maybe, or maybe you just had some cream in your coffee. And there you go, you’re ketogenic. It may not be super deep into ketosis, but then maybe if you were really active and you just keep adding things on. Chances are you’ve been ketogenic at some point. And if you go back in history, I think it would have been very common where people weren’t eating all day long, which is not normal, especially as you as you pointed out, like with food availability. So even during those summer months, when they were eating carbohydrate, they may have gone a few days without eating because they were traveling and they just didn’t have food on them or because they were highly active, or those things.

Tim:            Yeah, there’s a lot of insight there, Shawn. That’s great. I guess we can go back to the history. There’s some things you touched on there that we kind of want to run with, because you talked about fasting a little bit. Actually, some of the history of the ketogenic diet, some would trace it back to the Bible, as Jesus using fasting as a way to cure epilepsy. So, we’ll tie that into the ketogenic diet in just a second. But fast-forward to the 1900s and people started to realize, or doctors started to realize, that fasting was the best way to treat epilepsy. So, after about 2 or 3 days of fasting, people that had epilepsy, their seizures would subsist. And so that started to raise some eyebrows. They weren’t really understanding why that was happening, but they just noticed that this fasting was highly effective at treating epilepsy.

One of the guys that really stands out to me is a gentleman named Bernard McFadden, and he was known as the “Father of Physical Culture.” He was the author of a magazine in the 1920s called Physical Culture, and he was of the belief, kind of like we are today, that many of our ailments could be prevented, treated, cured, what have you, with physical activity and nutrition. He was what I call a pioneer, because I think he was way ahead of his time, to really understand those things.

But he specifically was a proponent of fasting for treating disease because his mindset was that when you eat food, your body starts to focus on the digestion process. And if you eliminate that, which is a very calorically expensive process, that your body starts to be able to heal itself. So, he was basically going around telling people this and most people thought he was crazy, but there was one doctor—the name escapes me at this point—but there was one doctor who caught on to what Mr. McFadden was saying and he’s like, “Well, let’s look into this.” So they started to research it more and there were a few other doctors it caught on after they listened to presentations by this one guy. I have it documented in one of the longer reports that I wrote, so if you’re interested in finding the specifics of the history, we can give you that report to take a look at.

Finally, what they started to realize was that after two or three days, again, this epilepsy seizures related to epilepsy would go away. And as they did more and more research, they needed to figure out what it was, because you can’t fast forever. First of all, it’s hard to go that long. Second of all, it’s pretty final, if you continue to fast. [laughs]

Shawn:       That’s true.

Tim:            It’s kind of like, “Well, I don’t like the seizures, but I’d rather be alive.” Some doctors finally found what was going on and what we can shift into here is why it’s called the ketogenic diet. What they found was that the body was shifting away from burning carbohydrates for fuel and instead relying on fat and byproducts of fat. This byproduct is called a ketone, and I’m going to let you get into that a little bit more in just a second. But again, I can’t remember the name of the doctor off of the top of my head, but what he came up with was a ketone-producing diet, so that these patients that had these seizures could eat and treat the seizure without fasting. So, I think that they were allowed a maximum of 10 to 15 grams of carbohydrate, and they were allowed 0.4 or 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or per kilo. I can’t remember exactly what the number was, but it was a minimal amount of protein and the rest was just fat.

So, that’s a little bit of the history behind it. And then it kind of got silent for a while, until the Atkins diet started picking up again, maybe 70s-80s, and then really more popular in the 90s. Then in the 90s, there was Charlie Abrahams. I think that’s his name. Charlie Abrahams was a young boy, a two-year-old.

Shawn:       Right. The Charlie Foundation. That’s cool.

Tim:            Yeah, the Charlie Foundation. So, Charlie Abrahams had epilepsy that couldn’t be treated with drugs. His parents found out about the keto diet, and within a week his seizures were gone. So they became advocates of the keto diet, as a result, and that’s where you said that you can find out more on the Charlie Foundation website.

Shawn:       Yeah, it’s a great site.

Tim:            What people may be more familiar with is a movie that came out. Charlie’s dad was the Producer, I believe, of a movie called Do No Harm, with Meryl Streep. And that was kind of loosely based on Charlie and his family’s history with the keto diet and the medical community, to some extent too. Anyway, that’s a little bit of the history.

Shawn:       Another interesting fact on that is what’s really crazy, is he went on the keto diet, but later on he got off the keto diet and never had a seizure again.

Tim:            Oh wow!

Shawn:       So it’s not necessarily just therapeutic. In that case it was curative, which is really interesting. Like maybe it hit some kind of reset button. I think a lot of this stuff, if you trace how well the ketogenic diet works for all these disease states, a lot of these disease states people say it correlates to things like glycation, which is damage to the cells from sugar, like too high a sugar. But there’s also inflammation. But usually glycation precedes inflammation, and inflammation certainly correlated to a lot of chronic diseases, but that’s correlation.

If you go back to the reason, I really think the data is showing that it’s mitochondrial dysfunction—this gets a little crazy, but I’ll talk to it in a second—and insufficient cellular energy. It’s an acronym called ICd basically, if you look at Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and these kinds of things, there’s dysfunction going on. And the mitochondria, if you remember, the powerhouse of the cell, and it produces ATP. So that’s producing energy, and if there’s issues with glucose producing energy, creating ATP, then maybe you can use ketones as an alternate source to create energy for fuel. And that’s why in these numerous conditions that we’re seeing really therapeutic benefit from, like I said, with Parkinson’s, with cancer, with Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s.

You can look up Mary Newport’s, Dr. Mary Newport’s story with her husband who had Stage 4 Alzheimer’s, and she was able to move him back to Stage 1. She started with coconut oil, then she got into MCTs, and then she got into ketone esters and salts, I believe. Just trying all these different things that essentially elevate ketones, and she had him on a ketogenic diet as well. He was more lucid, more cognizant for several years. He eventually did die. It’s not necessarily a cure, but it’s certainly therapeutic, and he had a much better quality of life.

And with Type 1 diabetes, actually it’s very similar the way they used to treat that before, as best they could. Before insulin was synthesized or before they had pig insulin, porcine insulin, what they would do is they basically ate very little. They were fasting most of the time. Of course they got very thin and not necessarily very healthy. But they would try and give them a very low carbohydrate diet. And that wasn’t the solution, it wasn’t the best solution. They certainly don’t have the quality of life that a Type 1 diabetic would have now, but it’s very similar to what you were talking about with epilepsy.

So it’s very interesting to look at this diet. It’s not just a diet like weight loss. There’s a lot going on here. I guess my point is one, it’s bigger than weight loss. We have all these disease states that it’s being researched in. Some are very conclusive, like epilepsy. Some are new in the research, like cancer.

But also, there’s a bigger picture here with the cellular energy, in that we are meant to use multiple sources of fuel. That has kind of gone away with the Western diet, the modern Western diet, where we have processed carbohydrate all day long, every day. We’re surrounded by it, we can get sodas, we can get candy, we can get bread, and bla-bla-bla-bla-bla-bla-bla all day long. This isn’t very indicative of like what would be at paleo primal evolved whatever diet, ancient diet that we were probably meant to have. So it’s interesting to look at it. Take a step back and it’s more than just a diet. It’s really looking at our genetic makeup and what we’re evolved for, and I guess that’s my point. It’s just bigger than weight loss. There’s a lot to talk about with this.

Tim:            Agreed. Just to kind of talk about that for a second, I think that we as a community—I’m talking about nutritionists or sports nutritionists as a community—we’ve gotten away from saying, “This X is the best diet. Everyone should eat this way,” to “everything works.”

Shawn:       You just need a balance. [laughs]

Tim:            Yeah, to extremes. And that makes sense. Everything can work, I guess, when you talk about weight loss. But to your point, we’re talking about more than weight loss. When we opened the show, we talk about being a trusted resource for fitness, nutrition, health and human optimization, and our body has the capacity to do these things and that’s what you’re talking about. Maybe this is an optimal way, or at least some of the time, is an optimal way to eat. So I really appreciate that insight and I hope that people can grasp ahold of that.

Now, we’ve talked about ketones, we’ve talked about ketosis, we mentioned the name ketogenic diet, but maybe let’s take a step back and just remind people why it’s called the ketogenic diet, or just kind of explore that, specifically.

Shawn:       Yeah, there’s three ketones. There’s one that’s called “Beta-hydroxybutyrate,” which is also known as “BHB,” the acronym. You can actually get supplements now that are BHB salts or BHB esters. It’s a very new area of supplementation. There needs to be a lot more research there. There’s another one called “acetoacetate” that gets abbreviated as a “AcAc.” Then there’s “acetone,” which is that fruity smelling smell that you get your breath or urine that people have talked about, like “Oh, you’re deep in ketosis and you get that smell.” It’s not necessarily a bad smell, but sometimes people can smell it.

But yes, so there’s ways to measure ketones by using blood, urine, or breath. They have these breath meters that are very similar to what you would use for blood alcohol content, that measures acetone in your breath. And then there’s blood BHB, like any decent glucometer that you would measure blood glucose with, like a diabetic would typically do. You can buy strips—they’re not cheap—at a good price they’re about $2 apiece for the BHB strips, and you can test your blood. That’s really the most accurate way to test, period. These other ones are a little one-off and there’s some things that can cause them to maybe not be as accurate, but it’s obviously a lot cheaper to do the urine or the breath. And then you’ve probably seen or most people have seen the urine strips. That’s very common to use those. Most people that we’re doing Atkins, like you said, in the 90s had those strips. They’re pretty good at the beginning, but I feel like as you get more keto-adapted, I think it’s less accurate, and that’s where I would probably put more reliance on blood BHB.

So, ketogenic means that your genesis, you are creating; keto means ketones, so you’re creating these ketones, basically, from metabolizing fat. So you’re using these ketones as fuel. Do you want to say anything more on that?

Tim:            Yeah, because I think that’s going to be really important for people who aren’t familiar with the ketogenic diet. Just going back to all that to kind of tie it together, under normal circumstances, especially like you talked about with processed carbs all day long, our bodies are essentially carb burners. And under those circumstances, our brain relies on glucose for fuel. So, pretty much everyone, all day long, is burning a lot of carbs. Because the fat itself can’t cross the blood-brain barrier, you’re not necessarily burning fat. That’s why people say, “You need carbs,” because your nervous system can only use glucose.

Shawn:       But you can make carbs.

Tim:            Right. And so, you can get into a fasted state—and this is goes back to that history that we talked about—your body doesn’t have carbs to burn, so it has to come up with this “alternative fuel” or the “dual fuel” that you talked about. So eventually, even though the carbs are gone, the body can’t make carbs, can’t break down, and there’s no glycogen left, your body starts to make an alternative fuel from fat that can cross the blood-brain barrier so that you can survive. And that alternative fuel is ketones. So that’s kind of why they call it the ketogenic-producing diet or the ketogenic diet.

But not only the brain can use ketones, but your heart, your muscles, and all the cells. Your body basically can use these ketones. So those ketones are the ones that you had mentioned, and so that was kind of one thing that I wanted to basically remind people is why is it important to measure ketones? Well, for a number of reasons, but one, it’s a signal that your body has shifted from being a carb-burner or more of a carb-burner. Under normal eating circumstances you’re typically burning a mixture of fuels—carbs and fats—but when you go from normal to ketogenic diet, you’re basically a predominant carb-burner to a fat burning machine, essentially, because you don’t have carbs to burn. And so there’s that.

And then, I guess, just because we talked about measuring ketones, I think it’s important to maybe have a small discussion on the difference between nutritional ketosis and ketoacidosis, because I hear sometimes people like, “Oh, you don’t want to have ketones too high because it’s a bad thing,” and while that is true, does the average person who is healthy have any risk of really getting into ketoacidosis, a dangerous level, just by eating a ketogenic diet?

Shawn:       Say that again?

Tim:            Well, to me, there’s a difference between nutritional ketosis and diabetic ketoacidosis.

Shawn:       Got it. So, that’s a great point and this comes up a lot, especially with dieticians and doctors that are in a clinical realm. They’re so used to seeing, “Oh my gosh, ketones!” Like that means that you’re very sick if they see ketones, and they don’t understand the difference between nutritional ketosis and diabetic ketoacidosis. The diabetic ketoacidosis will only happen—there’s literally been not one documented case that there could be an exception—it’ll only happen when there’s no insulin. So this has to be a Type 1 diabetic, and yes, you can get into diabetic ketoacidosis, potentially.

But I will still say this, that even Type 1 diabetics, that don’t make insulin—and of course they can take insulin like Humalog and whatnot—they do better on the ketogenic diet because they have less hypo and hyper glycemic episodes. And they have more controlled blood glucose levels as a result of being on the diet. But they certainly need to track ketones and be aware of it. But for everyone else that does make insulin, it cannot happen.

So, there’s blood BHB, like we talked about, 0.5 millimoles, I don’t know will need probably not too much unless someone does track it with a glucometer. That means that you’re just getting into nutritional ketosis. And you can get up to like 5, 6, 7 maybe, if you’re doing fasting along with the nutritional ketosis and working out maybe. But then, this diabetic ketoacidosis is many-fold above that. It’s like more like 20, 25, 30, 35 like up there. So it’s not even comparable.

And I will say, that for the people that are on a keto diet—thinking of the blood levels has made me think of this—that that don’t do fasting, they’re kind of doing themselves a disservice because you’re really close to getting into this incredible realm of cognitive clarity that people get when they do long fasts. But if you’re already a ketogenic dieter, you can just do intermittent fasting, which is let’s say 16 hours without eating and 8 hours eating, or another one is 20 hours not eating and 4 hours eating, a day. And you try and get in all your calories for the day in that 8-hour or 4-hour window. But what’s amazing is during that that fasting, along with the ketogenic diet, you have this incredible cognitive clarity that happens like maybe above 3 millimoles BHB, let’s say.

So, if you’re always just “kind of” in ketosis and you’re eating a lot of sugar alcohols and fibers, and like all this stuff, and you’re always saying like, “Well, I’m in because of net carbs,” and all these calculations and you’re kind of like doing all this stuff, and maybe you’re grazing all day long and you’re eating a lot of protein and some of the things like we talked about, you’re probably still seeing benefit from being low-carb and not eating candy, not drinking soda, not eating all these processed carbohydrates. But you’re probably not getting to that point of like the “wow” that some people say like, “Oh my gosh, I feel so much energy. I feel like so much cognitive clarity,” and all this stuff that it really only happens like when you are pretty dialed into your diet and your fasting. But it’s definitely worth it. So if you’ve never experienced that, but you’ve done “keto” or low-carb, then that’s why. I would throw that out there.

Tim:            Yeah, that’s a great point, Shawn. And it kind of leads into benefits of the keto diet. We talked about the therapeutic benefits already, and we can elaborate on those things. I’m not real sure if most of our audience think that’s something that we want to speak to more. But we talked about epilepsy, obviously, being kind of a foundational therapy, that all that the neurocognitive benefits.

Shawn:       Neurodegenerative diseases.

Tim:            Neurodegeneratives, exactly. So you talked about Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and then Type 2 diabetes. I mean, if you have a problem processing carbohydrates, it kind of makes sense to remove them.

Shawn:       And yet, [laughs] that isn’t the traditional advice in thecal realm right now.

Tim:            But Antonio Paoli, who has written several papers on the keto diet, there is one that that’s been a great resource for me. It’s called Beyond Weight Loss, and it talks about some of the advances that have been seen. It really elaborates on the glycemic control benefits of the keto diet. So it’s markedly effective at improving glycemic control, lowering insulin levels, and just having substantial benefit. There’s heart health benefits that we can get into a bit more, as well.

But some of the subjective things that you talked about, I think are really important to point out too. I was talking to Dr. Matt Roberson, recently, who you coached on the keto diet, and he dropped 40 pounds in a fairly short period of time, in my opinion. From September to March, lost that 40 pounds, and he’s kept that off for the last 5 months just by sticking with his diet. I kind of asked him, subjectively, what did he notice, and he described it as “feeling more energy,” like you talked about, and more clarity. But he said “clean,” and I thought that was a really cool word to use because he not only talked about his body feeling cleaner because of the weight loss, but lacking that brain fog that probably subsisted over time.

Shawn:       And that’s cool because he’s literally my medical doctor, and he was very open to learning about this stuff and applying it to his life. Yeah, it’s made a huge difference in his life. And I think when we talk about energy and brain cognitive clarity or whatever, I think you have the energy from having your brain function better. But I think you’re also getting energy from losing weight.

Tim:            Yeah.

Shawn:       Some of these people, like you said, are losing considerable amounts of weight. I have like the studies that are in your article. It was in the Journal of Endocrine for two months. Two months in, the ketogenic dieter had lost 30 pounds in the study, and the standard low calorie dieters lost 10.5 pounds. That’s crazy different; two months, 30 versus 10. Then at 12 months, 88% of the ketogenic dieters lost 10% of their initial starting weight, and that was three times the weight loss of the low calorie group. Then there was another one from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is a really respected journal. Four weeks, so like a month or not even, 14 pounds on the ketogenic group. And that was 46% better than those on moderate carbohydrate.

And the average studies showed 2 to 3 times the weight loss over heart healthy or low fat diets. I think really, at this point, the only ones holding on to that questionable direction is the American Heart Association. It seems like the tide has been turning in most of the other medical bodies, if you will, like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and it’s been slowly changing that we’re getting away from this idea of low‑fat diets that really are not heart healthy for so many reasons. So finally, that that tide is starting to turn.

But you talked about some of the benefits, I think this, when you look at like higher fat diets, they are heart healthy. That’s why the Mediterranean diet, in particular, is one of the ones that comes up, or Syndrome X diet. There’s a lot of different names for it. But basically it’s lower carb and more lower glycemic complex carbohydrate, obviously less starches and sugars, and more whole food. It’s more of the monounsaturated fats and saturated fats. Saturated fat is not unhealthy, like butter, like coconut oil and some of those things, but that’s a whole other discussion.

But you look at these diets and it’s not a fear of fat, certainly. And those are the ones that are most heart-healthy. Those are the ones that maintain the healthiest weight. Those are the ones that are anti-aging, where you can look at these sirtuin genes. You can look at the telomere length and all that cool stuff, and levels of inflammation and glycation, like I was talking about before.

Probably the two best determinants of your aging that you can do with quick blood tests are hemoglobin A1c and CRP c-reactive protein or peptide. So that’s really a measure of your blood glucose, kind of in the longer term with hemoglobin A1c, and then a measure of your systemic inflammation with CRP. And if you look at blood sugar and inflammation, I can tell you basically your chance of getting any of the chronic diseases, your chance of living a long and healthy life, and how you feel right now.

It’s pretty crazy. Like it can all come down to pretty much two blood labs, and for $100 I can tell you how you’re doing. And yet—this is a complete aside—no doctors are using them, and it’s really sad. It’s super sad. Anyway, that’s a whole other discussion, so maybe in a future podcast we’ll talk.

Tim:            Yeah, definitely.

Shawn:   Stay tuned for Part 2 of the keto diet, where we get into not only the science that we’ve covered already, but we’re going to get into the tips that you need to really be successful at it. How you apply it to your daily life, where people make mistakes. This is where we’re going to dive in so you can really apply this, and hopefully the keto diet can help you or at least you can help a friend that’s doing it. Thanks. Stay tuned.

Part 2

Shawn:       And we are back for Part 2 of the keto diet, digging in, giving you all the information that you ever wanted to know, and probably much more than you needed to know. But we want to empower you, we want to give you the truth, and I think there’s a lot of misinformation and myths out there. So, are you guys ready?

Tim:            Let’s bust ’em.

Shawn:       Do you have any other thoughts on maybe some benefits or how it works?

Tim:            Yeah, I think that’s a good topic to get into because you cited some really important studies on the weight loss side of things, so maybe let’s talk a little bit about the weight loss side of it. And I think that healthy aging or anti-aging is one I want to come back to as well. But the weight loss side of things, just studies show that it’s markedly effective. Now, there’s some recent research that’s saying it’s not better than other diets, and Kevin Hall has done some research, and I really respect and appreciate all that he’s done because it really gives some very critical insight into how things are working. But I think we have to remember that some of those studies are conducted in metabolic wards and we live in a free-living society, so we have to take that into consideration.

And this ties into how the keto diet works because from a weight-loss standpoint, it seems to have an extremely beneficial effect on satiety. So, your feelings of fullness, so you’re not as hungry. I mean, think about when you diet to lose weight, one of the biggest obstacles is just being hungry. And if you’re hungry, I mean these are metabolic adaptations to dieting, and one of them is to get hungrier. This hormone “ghrelin” goes up, this hormone “leptin” drops down; leptin being a “satiety hormone” and ghrelin being a “hunger hormone,” and that’s just a physiological response for survival.

Then on top of that, tasty food tastes even greater when you’re in that position. So it’s really all these things. Your body is making adaptations to match calorie intake with calorie expenditure. But with ketogenic diet, what we see is that ketones themselves may have satiety properties, but stimulate anti-hunger. So stimulating the production or release of these anti-hunger satiety hormones, CCK…

Shawn:       Neuropeptide Y.

Tim:            Exactly. GLP, GIP1, and also kind of down‑regulating ghrelin production. So, that is probably one of the major reasons why we see weight loss, such effective weight loss with a ketogenic diet. I think Dr. Volek has done some research talking about maybe a metabolic advantage with a ketogenic diet. Dr. Kevin Hall’s research kind of disputes that or maybe downplays it a little bit. Be that as it may, the research shows that it’s effective and Dr. Paoli kind of seems to come back to the satiety thing. But you’re basically burning a lot of fat, and if you’re eating less, then you’re going to be losing fat.

Shawn:       One of the biggest advantages that I see from it is that we’ve talked about this level of addiction to food. If you’ve seen documentaries like Fed Up, and things like, that you’ll see that—Fat Head is another documentary that’s really good—that we are addicted to processed foods, and they’re made to make us addicted. There’s something called the “Bliss Point” that these food scientists, these food engineers have worked around, making you addicted to food. That whole “You can’t eat just one” thing. It’s real. If you think about that potato chip, there’s a level of sweetness, saltiness, oiliness, and crunch to it. Why do we like bacon? Why do we like these certain foods that are just like so amazing and addictive? At least bacon is ketogenic.

But there’s a reason that all these foods, these fried foods in particular, that have the dough or the batter, and whatever that’s fried, it has this level of oiliness and crispness. And then we add salty and sweet and it’s so amazing to us, and it’s literally the Bliss Point. There’s like dopamine and serotonin and these things that are released and it’s drug-like. And this is how people get addicted to overeating. No, it isn’t 100% your fault. Hey, just stop eating.

The great thing about a keto diet is it’s going to make you back off the sugar, back off the starches, back off these processed carbohydrate foods that fill the center of every grocery store in bags and boxes, and you’re going to get more into whole food. And you’re going to break yourself of that addiction. It’s a powerful one. They showed in the—I think it was rat or mice—but that it was more addictive than cocaine, sugar. And I think sugar’s in like 70% of our food supply. So it’s everywhere. What is it? How much do we eat a year as Americans? Isn’t it like 67 pounds or something like that.

Tim:            I think it’s more than that. I was going to say like 250 pounds.

Shawn:       Maybe. It’s crazy.

Tim:            It’s an enormous amount.

Shawn:       It’s probably another person’s worth of weight, in sugar. Which is just absurd, like it’s a crazy thing. And I can tell you, I don’t know what people were eating whatever hundreds of thousands of years ago, but I know here’s the thing, like I know 100 or 200 years ago what my great-great-grandfather was eating and it wasn’t a ton of sugar. This processed bleached sugar that’s whatever now like omnipresent in our food supply. It wasn’t artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, GMOs, antibiotics, rBGH, and whatever all these things. They were just eating more whole food.

And I think that’s why I really like this idea of the keto diet merging with intermittent fasting, which I think is very common, like you said, even like biblically it was mentioned. I’m sure if you look at a lot of ancient texts of many different religions and many cultures, you’d see fasting as being something that was very common to reach a better, more enlightened state. We’re calling it cognitive clarity. I mean, you look at the Bible, it’s associated with fasting. They do that too ready themselves for sacrifice, essentially, and to get into a higher state of consciousness and all those kinds of things.

You see that in Buddhism and other religions too. So, this is something we’re meant for. And then, again, like ketogenic dieting, it’s eating whole food. I’m not saying you have to be a ketogenic dieter year-round, but it’s certainly something to think about like as getting into ketosis is a normal thing. Why are we never in ketosis now? That’s the question I’m asking.

And then, like I said, I like this whole paleo/intermittent fasting/keto thing because that’s what I’m seeing as healthy. I eat keto most of the time, and I go into cyclical and targeted, which we can talk about; and then I like to eat the whole food, healthy food. Which to me, healthy food doesn’t mean low fat. Healthy food means food-food-food. Just eat food. Not engineered food with Bliss Points and high margins and water injected in and antibiotics, and whatever. No, just eat food. It’s that simple. You won’t be as addicted, you won’t be overwhelmed by this intense need. I mean, if I put raw nuts in front of you versus ones that have oil and salt and maybe even like some kind of like maltodextrin and like honey salted peanuts or whatever, you won’t stop eating. I guarantee. If you put them side-by-side, you’ll eat a small handful of the one nuts, and then you’ll eat the whole tub of the others.

Tim:            Exactly.

Shawn:       It’s an addiction and it’s that Bliss Point that I’m talking about. So once you get away from all that stuff and you are eating however you want to call it, just more whole food. There’s the new diet Whole 30. You can call a paleo, primal, ancient, or Whole 30, or whatever, obviously eating more whole food is the healthier way to go. That old thing about eating and shopping around like the outside of the grocery store and keeping away from the middle aisles. And then, just not being afraid to do a fast, not being afraid to tap into ketogenic dieting and use your fat for fuel. I think it’s just healthy to have what they call “metabolic flexibility.”

Tim:            Love it.

Shawn:       And that means that you can use those dual fuels, that you’re well-adapted to both. And the longer you do a ketogenic diet, the more adapted you become, and you become very efficient to get in ketosis. You’ll get in much faster, you don’t have this “keto brain fog” or “keto flu” or some things that some people might experience; especially that aren’t very knowledgeable of how to do it. So that metabolic flexibility is really cool.

Tim:            Yeah, that’s awesome, Shawn. Great shares there. I love how you talked about how empowering it can be when you’re doing it. You talked about eliminating those processed foods and I think another topic for a future conversation is the Bliss Point and things like that, because another example that came to mind for me was peanut butter. And that a different level compared to just eating a handful of nuts, because it typically does have that combination of added sugar, salt, and even some added oils, or it has the natural oils expressed.

But the empowering aspect of it, to me, really stood out because we come from a coaching standpoint, so many people really have what I like to call a “poor relationship with food,” where it’s either used it as a coping mechanism. I think Bill Phillips was the one who said that exercise is the most underutilized form of treatment for depression, and food is the most abused. Something along those lines. But the fasting, to me, is another layer of that empowerment because you start to realize that you do have a way when you practice it.

Shawn:       You gain control of your life.

Tim:            You gain control of your life. And I think “practice” is the right word when we’re talking about fasting or diet, the way of eating. Because it is just like our craft, we’re constantly practicing it and learning how to gain control of our lives. Fasting, to me, has been especially enlightening in that standpoint because there’s many social situations that that I don’t have any difficulty not eating, because I feel I have control over that. Not to say that you shouldn’t eat in social situations, but just based on what I’m personally working on at that point in time or practicing, it’s not an issue. But many coaching clients that I work with don’t know how to navigate themselves in those environments. So the empowerment was something that I thought you mentioned that was that was really important.

One thing that you did mention was the “keto flu.” So I think it may be a good segue into talking about some common things that may be problems or issues that people experience with the ketogenic diet, and maybe even how we overcome those obstacles.

Shawn:       Yeah, so a few of them would be—and this is only typical, I think, of people that are very new to the diet, that aren’t “keto-adapted,” and maybe don’t know how to properly get themselves into ketosis. There is the keto flu, which some people say they experience mild flu-like symptoms. And I would say this is a very small percentage, like maybe less than 5%, maybe even less than that, would experience “mild flu-like,” where they just feel achy and sick. I honestly think a lot of that has to do with maybe how high a carb‑eater that person is and maybe how addicted they are. Because if you think about coming off of any drug that you’re addicted to, it probably feels like a mild flu. There’s some other reasons, potentially, but I think that’s actually something that’s fairly relevant to mention.

Some people get brain fog, and I would say that is possibly because they’re not getting into is ketosis deep enough, fast enough. So if they add fasting, if they add high-intensity interval training or a high level of exercise which depletes glycogen, you’ll get in faster. If they up their fat and lower their carbs and lower their protein, maybe the protein is too high, they can get in faster. I would avoid the whole net carb thing, where you’re subtracting out fiber and sugar alcohols and all these things, because there’s a lot of unique sugar alcohols, there’s a lot of unique fibers that may or may not act like other fibers or other sugar alcohols. It’s getting very complex, again, in a world of food science and food engineering. It’s not as simple as just subtraction and net carbs.

So if you’re trying to get into ketosis, I would put all that aside. That’s something that you can experiment with down the road as you’re “in ketosis,” and you’ve adapted for a month, two months, three months. Like maybe then you can start experimenting with different foods, maybe you can use a glucometer and look at your ketones and track it more scientifically. But that’s another thing.

Some people get cramps, like muscular cramps, I would say that is related to not hydrating enough because you can lose some fluid with glycogen depletion follows water. So you can flush yourself of a decent amount of water in the first few days in ketosis, so you may get cramps. So things like hydrating very well and adding back in electrolytes, especially I’ve seen magnesium is something that you want to keep. I would say it’s just for anyone in the world on any diet, to take a magnesium supplement, but especially if you’re doing keto, I would recommend taking magnesium every day, for as long as you live your life. It’s incredible how much magnesium is involved in. And you’ll feel better on it, you’ll have more strength on it, you’ll have better heart health on it. Magnesium is phenomenal, if you look into it. So that’s what I’d recommend.

And then if you’re not losing weight and you’re on the ketogenic diet, I would go back to the net carbs thing. Maybe you’re doing some things, you’re eating those Bliss Point foods that are somewhat ketogenic, but they have a lot of sweetness to them, saltiness to them, and you’re overeating. You’re still addicted, but you found alternate foods to be addicted to, then I would say in that case, back off anything, like artificial sweeteners even that are non-caloric that you think are low no carb, I would back off those. I would go with whole food, and then do the ketogenic diet with whole food and no net carb calculations. And I think you’ll find success with all that stuff.

I know some women can have a little bit harder time. Sometimes there’s hormonal fluctuations, and this is because you’re eating a very high fat diet. It’ll affect cholesterol, which is another discussion, but let’s just say the ketogenic diet is heart healthy. That’s pretty simple to say. But cholesterol is essentially the progenitor hormone to all these steroid hormones, meaning testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and all these things. So what can happen when you’re eating a higher fat diet, especially if you’ve been eating a very low fat diet, is you’ll have some hormonal fluctuations. But I found that even with women that are experiencing this, and of course because women have lower levels of these hormones I think they’re more sensitive to fluctuations in them, that over 2-3 weeks’ time of being on the diet, they settle in and it normalizes. I would say just ride it out. Know that you’ll settle.

Those hormonal fluctuations can cause abnormal menses and things like that. So, I have talked to many women that that’s happened to. But again, within a month or whatever, they settle in and that kind of concern goes away. The great thing is you’ll be healthier, I think you have less risk of some of these diseases.

Quickly to talk about cancer. One of the ways that the ketogenic diet may help with cancer is that there’s this metabolic model that healthy cells can use—like we were talking about, “dual fuel,” like the ketones or the glucose—but cancer cells can only use glucose, which is really interesting. It’s like the Otto Warburg theory and Dr. Seyfried. Thomas Seyfried’s done a lot of work here. Dom D’Agostino has done a lot of work here. And basically, when you starve the body of glucose, then the cancer cells cannot replicate as well. And I’ve seen this.

I had a patient that had glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer. She was taken off everything. Nothing was effective, and she was given six weeks to live. I put her on the ketogenic diet and some supplemental ketones and MCTS, as well as some other supplements and she had 80 to 90% shrinkage of that tumor in her brain in that six weeks. It’s now been six months and she’s still alive.

Tim:            Wow.

Shawn:       I can’t say that this is typical. I can’t say that I’m offering anything more, like I can solve the world’s problems. I’m just saying it worked for this one person. There is some science behind it. I would recommend that people do some digging and speak to their physician about the diet, if there is a cancer diagnosis of a friend or someone in your family, or you yourself. I would at least look into the diet. I certainly wouldn’t just let it go and say, “My doctor said that’s not interesting. I don’t trust that diet.” I would talk to a few doctors and at least look into it.

But one other thing I wanted to get into that I mentioned before is the cyclical and targeted keto diet. I actually do both. So, the cyclical means that you cycle on and off the keto diet. Now, it’s really difficult to say how much, how often, how many days, what’s optimal? I do know that Dr. Wilson, in Tampa, did a study where they had dieters do the standard of basically the weekdays in “ketosis,” a ketogenic diet, and the weekend eating whatever high carb stuff. What they found is that basically it took until Thursday to get into true nutritional ketosis, so it’s not really that effective to do.

Now, if you’re highly keto adapted, like you’ve been doing ketogenic dieting for years—now they did keto adapt in for two weeks, which is good. But that’s different than maybe if it’s been six months. And then how active are you? Exercise is another question Glycogen depletion, like we talked about. So there’s a lot of factors there, but I myself like to stay metabolically flexible, so I do like one or two meals a week. So I think that’s fine. As long as you’re not going crazy.

Because keto has decreased my appetite, even when I have carbs and I have my “cheat meals,” I don’t go crazy. I always kind of dream like I’m going to go crazy and then when I sit down and eat I’m like, “Nah, I’m kinda full.” It’s kind of cool. That’s what’s great about the diet. Like I never just go hog wild anymore. My appetite is much lower. And of course, intermittent fasting added to the mix helps with that.

So the targeted keto diet, that is using carbs strategically, because I don’t know if you caught this through the whole discussion, but here’s the bomb that carbs are not essential. They’re not essential. There’s no recommended carb amounts by any nutritional or medical body because you do not need them. Yes, like we said, like your brain needs some glucose, but you can make it. Carbs are not essential.

Tim:            Whereas you need fat, you need protein.

Shawn:       Right, and vitamins and minerals. Exactly. So that’s an interesting thing. But the targeted is using it around the workout. I play competitive sand volleyball. Sometimes I play 8-9 hours in a row, in the heat. And I will use it strategically. I’ll have simple sugar that I am going to use for fuel. In this case, I wouldn’t want a complex carbohydrate. I don’t want fat and protein in the mix. I just want to use it and go through it, and then by the time I’m done working out, be back in ketosis.

So maybe the first two hours of my eight hours, I’ll have some simple sugar. This is a chance where I can have like this fun things that you think I’m missing out on, like the candy or soda or Gatorade, or whatever, and I can have it then and I perform very well. I feel like that “sugar rush,” I liken it to like when you’re a kid and you had sugar. You had candy, soda, whatever, and you like run around like, “Who gave that kid sugar?” Remember that? Do you guys listening to remember that, because now when you have carbs, when you have pasta or you have candy or whatever, and you feel tired, the difference between those two things is really that level of glucose intolerance.

Tim:            Exactly.

Shawn:       You’re on your way to metabolic syndrome Type 2 diabetes. And it’s really going to happen to everyone. If you start getting more sedentary as you age and you keep eating these foods and you keep overeating, it’s very likely that at some point you’ll fall into this metabolic syndrome path. So that’s what I would say, that if you’re one of those people that feels tired from carbs, you are going to benefit tremendously from getting on a very low carbohydrate diet, that’s high in fat, like a ketogenic diet, because that’s where you’ll see this energy boom. What’s cool is I see that incredible amount of energy when I do, on occasion, have the sugar now, because I’m so much more insulin sensitive. So that’s really cool. I kind of feel like the kid again, so to speak, in that way.

Tim:            Yeah. It’s awesome that you mentioned that because it reminds me of some research done out in Stanford by Christopher Gardner and his team. They did what was called “The A to Z Diet Study,” and basically looked at low fat to low carb and everything in‑between. And on average, they found that from a weight loss standpoint, things were pretty equivalent. But what they noticed when they went back and reanalyzed the data, is they were like curious why some people did really well. Some people ended up doing really well on one type of diet and some people did really poorly, and vice-versa on other diets.

So when they went back and they looked at the low-carb diet, for instance, they noticed that people that had the poor glycemic control, the lower carb tolerance, the poor insulin sensitivity, did substantially better on the low carb diets. So I would completely agree that it is a very viable and excellent option for that population that would also stand to notice the most substantial health benefits, because like you’re talking about, that poor glycemic control usually goes hand-in-hand with being on your way to a bad health situation overall, and typically aligns with being overweight. So, from that standpoint, I think you’re right on point there.

We’ve covered a ton here. There’s a ton here and we really haven’t even talked about what a day on the ketogenic diet looks like.

Shawn:       That’s what I was going to try and wrap up with. Yeah, that’s a great point.

Tim:            Let’s wrap up then, Shawn, and kind of walk us through a typical day for a ketogenic dieter, without fasting maybe. And then tie in fasting, if you see a place for it.

Shawn:       Yeah, so I normally skip breakfast because that’s the easiest time. Because you’ve fasted for the whole number of hours that you’ve been asleep—let’s say 6 to 8 hours—and then if you skip breakfast then you can kind of keep rolling. But if I am going to have breakfast, I love just eggs and bacon. I mean, it’s a classic, so I have eggs and bacon. I add butter to it. Another thing you can do is you could make an omelet. Use heavy cream or butter if you’re making the omelet. I use heavy cream. If I’m having eggs sunny-side up, I add butter to them. So it’s very easy and it’s really tasty. Great sources of fat on this diet: coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, mayo. I try and skip the canola-based mayo.

Tim:            Maybe like avocado oil base mix.

Shawn:       Exactly. Yeah, nuts and seeds, especially macadamias, walnuts, and these new pili nuts.

Tim:            We have already mentioned that before.

Shawn:       The pili nuts and macadamias are about 90% fats, so they’re really great.

Tim:            How do you spell pili?

Shawn:       P-I-L-I.

Tim:            Okay.

Shawn:       So butter, ghee, heavy cream, sour cream, full fat cheese, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese. Make sure to not have regular yogurts that have all that sugar and canned fruit and whatever all that stuff in it. Like I said, eggs, bacon, cold water fatty fish, sardines are really good. That is a very high fat, decent amount of protein, and very low carb.

Tim:            Sorry to interrupt, Shawn. You mentioned Dr. Dom. I’ve heard him mentioned before that his breakfast is often a can of sardines; especially when he’s traveling, because it’s a very easy food to travel with.

Shawn:       Yeah, the little tins that you roll back. Exactly. He’s a huge fan of those, so those are excellent. Beef, poultry, coffee. Actually one of the things I get when I’m traveling, I’ll get like a sugar-free syrup at Starbucks, heavy cream decaf coffee. I don’t do any caffeine. I know maybe the sucralose in the syrup isn’t the best thing, but on occasion, to have this, it feels like a really good dessert and it’s super filling, and that will be my meal for like five or six bucks. I’ll get like the venti one or something and it’s like 500 calories, maybe, but like that will literally keep me going for 8+ hours. And that’s super easy to do. There’s a Starbucks everywhere on the planet. So that’s an easy one on the go, that you don’t have to cook, that isn’t any complexity. And another thing I’d say like the nuts and seeds are super quick. People ask what the quick foods are. You could precook bacon, you can have nuts and seeds, you can have vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, maybe asparagus—basically the non-sweet veggies. Things like tomatoes and carrots have a decent amount of sugar in them. Maybe some of the bell peppers, you might want to avoid for the most part. But having these things, it’s very easy for the most part. Avocado, adding some olive oil to it. That takes two seconds.

So a lot of these really aren’t that hard to do. And I would say that like for my meals, that’s what I do, as the guy sometimes. Like when I’m traveling, like you said, I can do these things. But at home, I’ll do some meals like it could be salmon with some cream‑based sauce or something. A great one is actually pesto. Pesto is delicious.

Tim:            It’s awesome. It’s kind of on the border of the Bliss Point. [laughs]

Shawn:       Yeah. I know, but it’s a super high fat, extremely low carb, actually pretty low protein. So it’s very keto and that’s delicious, and putting butter on anything is delicious. And you can have things like mayo or like the creamy dressings, but make sure to get the creamy ones that don’t have any sugar added. Those are heavy cream-based or sour cream‑based, and like a ranch dressing. You can dip your vegetables in ranch, you can put ranch on your whatever, like your beef, poultry, fish, or whatever.

A lot of times I’ll do these hamburger salads, where you ditch the bun and usually you get a side with your hamburger, or something, and say I want a salad. Give me some ranch dressing, no croutons. And then you put your hamburger or cheeseburger on your salad, you throw some ranch dressing on it, and it’s super keto and it’s delicious, and it’s easy. It’s not very expensive. So, those are some things that I recommend.

Tim:            Yeah, that’s awesome, Shawn. Two things that came to mind as you were rattling those things off: one we’ve talked about before, you’ve been keto for 20 years on and off, and it’s much easier for you to be on now than it used to be, when it was a little bit more obscure. And just like paleo, there’s so many people that are keto now that all you have to do is Google Search “keto recipes,” and there’s a ton of stuff. Or you just, in your case, marry a wonderful chef who can make all these keto recipes. That obstacle of having very limited options is no longer an issue, really. You have pretty much any normal food that you could think of, you can keto-fy.

Shawn:       Yeah.

Tim:            Because of its popularity, restaurants are catering to it more and more. And then I just wanted to speak about Dr. Roberson, and he, as you can imagine, he is very busy. His breakfast that he said he looked forward to every single day was a chocolate peanut butter BioTrust Low Carb Protein Shake which is hands-down my favorite. But he would just mix in some MCT oil. And he said that for him, lunch was often an obstacle because drug reps brought in food and usually it’s like pasta dishes, sandwiches, things like that, so he would make do when he could, but a lot of times he would just go to a local fast food joint and get the double bacon cheeseburger with no bun and I don’t salad-fy it.

Shawn:       keto-fy it.

Tim:            keto-fy it.

Shawn:       Yeah, I do that same shake. I’ll mix in some of the things that I was talking about. I do the one scoop of the BioTrust Low Carb, heavy cream, a little bit of that, some MCT oil, and then even some macadamia or walnuts, and blend it up. It’s delicious. Chia seeds sometimes, and it’s extremely filling. It tastes amazing, so definitely, BioTrust Low Carb is really good for that.

And I will definitely say that IC-5 is incredible on the ketogenic diet, which BioTrust makes as well, for insulin sensitivity, or if I want to have a little bit of carbs in my meal. You’re eating out at someone’s house and they have some things that you’ve got to try, the IC‑5 is so helpful for that incredible supplement.

Tim:            Moral of the story, don’t fear the fat. But we’re also not saying that this is the one and only…

Shawn:       The one true diet.

Tim:            …. the be-all and end-all, but definitely encouraging experimentation and questions. Shawn, you dropped a ton of knowledge, man. That was awesome.

Shawn:       Well, thank you.

Part 3

Shawn:   All right, welcome back to BioTrust Radio.

Tim:            We’re going to kind of do a keto diet Q&A and see where that leads us.

Shawn:       Sounds good, Tim. Yeah, I think now more than ever there’s more information on keto, but there’s also more bad information on keto, so we might want to try and clarify. And we’ve found that keto is a very popular subject on the podcast. And like you said, in the VIP Facebook, with the transformation challenge, but it’s everywhere and anywhere.

I called GoDaddy to nail down a site the other day and I ended up talking to the guy and he’s like, “Oh-oh! I’m getting into keto. Like, tell me some stuff,” and I was talking to the GoDaddy rep about keto. [laughs] So, it comes up constantly. So, what do you have to throw at me here?

Tim:            Well, let’s start with maybe something that’s a little bit more on the simple side. One of the most common questions or concerns that we get is that people have a hard time hitting their macros, especially when it comes to fat, because a lot of people they’re coming from a lower fat type of approach. And when I say low fat, low fat’s defined by 30% or less of calories. So it’s not necessarily super-low. But going from 30% to 70-80% calories, it’s a ginormous jump for a lot of people.

Shawn:       Yeah.

Tim:            You know, if I’m having difficulties meeting my fat macros, do you have suggestions or maybe you can peel that question apart however you see fit, but that’s one that comes up, people just having a hard time getting enough fat.

Shawn:       Yeah, I see that a lot, and usually when I talk to someone and they have brain fog and they’re having issues, keto flu and all this stuff, nine times out of ten it’s because their fat isn’t high enough. And they’re eating clean, which means they’ve always deemed as low fat, and now over the past 10-15 years, low carb. So they’re eating low fat, low carb, which leaves protein. Which proteins are obviously a great nutrient and we talk about it all the time, and its importance. I’m definitely for getting enough protein, quality protein. Especially in our realm of sports nutrition it’s very talked about.

But the problem is when your fat is low, your carbs are low, and your protein is high, that protein is getting converted over to glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis—some people abbreviate it GMG. But that can leave you with the “hangry” state. I know I used to do something very similar. I used to do low carb but super high protein, and I was also doing the six small meals a day, and all the stuff that I was told to do. I felt like I was always ravenously hungry. And just small fluctuations can result in that hypoglycemic feeling, that low blood sugar feeling.

Low blood sugar, I don’t think people understand. Like I used to work clinically, and we’d have people that have a 300, that were actually experiencing hypoglycemia. Why? Because their baseline was 500. In this case you would want to give them orange juice or glucagon or something like that to bring them back up.

Tim:            Yeah.

Shawn:       And that seems counterintuitive. If someone like a nurse checks and he’s a 300, you know, we should give him insulin, but that would actually potentially put them into a coma.

Tim:            Right.

Shawn:       So, you have to understand that it’s not the absolute number, per se. It’s about that threshold. And if you’re tightly held with your blood glucose, let’s say you only range from 70 to 90 because you’re always just eating protein and you don’t have the carbohydrate type fluctuations, then even like a dip of 10 points can feel like a dip of 50 points, like when you’re eating a lot of carbs. So this is where it’s different and people think like why am I feeling like crazy low blood sugar if I’m so well maintained.

Tim:            Right.

Shawn:       So that’s what I’ve found. They need to add the fat in. So that comes in and you’ll read all these recipes about fat bombs. And it’s super easy to take something like coconut oil, some cocoa, some stevia, throw it in the freezer and you’ve got a fat bomb. Certainly you’re not shying away from cooking with oils, butters, and things like that. You can use heavy cream in your coffee. That’s a fat bomb. I don’t do caffeine, but I’ll still do the fat bomb when I’m on the road. You go to Starbucks, you get a venti, a large drink, and add heavy cream to it and you’ve got a fat bomb. It’s just pure fat. So, it is a bit of a mind shift to accept that high fat is okay.

You also have to understand that this is as a percent of calories that you’re having 70%. It’s not percentage of grams or mass of the fat protein and carbs. Because fat is 9 calories per gram and protein and carbs are 4 calories per gram. So it’s a little more than twice as calorically dense when you eat fat. So that’s something to keep in mind that fat itself provides a higher amount of calorie.

Tim:            Right. Exactly.

Shawn:       And that’s the reason why, evolutionarily, fat is a good storage mechanism for energy. Now we’re in a surplus of food and we have too much body fat and that’s not the best thing, but it makes sense to have fat in terms of survival. And if you see people that do like long hikes or, you know, rowing trips or whatever, they actually bulk up for those reasons, so that they can store energy. Just like a grizzly bear does or whatever. So, hopefully that answers that.

Tim:            Yeah, no, that’s super helpful. And I think kind of coming back to a few things that you mentioned there, maybe you don’t always have to count everything, but maybe if you’re just getting started on keto diet, then you have an idea of where you want to be in terms of calories, carbs, proteins, and fats. And these targets can vary from person to person, based on activity level and things like that. But carbs usually set somewhere between like 20 and 30 grams, protein could vary between maybe 20% to even 30%, maybe 25% percent. Which may work out to 0.50 to 0.75 grams per pound, and then the rest of calories coming from fat.

But like you were saying, divide that number by 9 to figure out how many grams of fat you’re having. Make sure you’re eating whole foods that contain fats. Things like eggs, fatty fish, nuts, seeds. Make sure those are a bulk of your food intake, but then adding coconut oil, which you mentioned, olive oil, and things like. You can even add these things to your protein shakes, if you’re having any of those.

But since you did mention coconut oil, I think that brings up another great question that we often get, “Is coconut oil the same things MCT oil? What’s the difference between those two? Should I be using those?” But let’s just maybe focus in on one part of that question. Is coconut oil the same thing as MCT oil?

Shawn:       No, it’s not. You have some other fatty acids in it.

Tim:            Let me interrupt you for just a second, Shawn. For people that have heard of MCT oil, let’s just say what does MCT stand?

Shawn:       Medium chain triglyceride or they also get called medium chain fatty acids. And those are unique because how they get metabolized. They can be used directly for energy and they actually raise your endogenous, in the body, levels of ketones; whereas most of the fatty acids don’t have that effect.

So what we’ve found is that it’s not only just the medium chain, but even the short chain fatty acids also do this. One of the short chain fatty acids, butyrate, you hear about a lot because that’s important for gut health. And if you know ketones, one of the key ketones is beta hydroxybutyrate, which means it’s butyrate-based. And you can find that short chain fatty acid in heavy cream and butter and some of those sources.

But going back to the medium chain, they do convert pretty well to ketones, so that’s why people on this diet like them. Coconut oil has some other compounds in it. There’s fatty acids in it, like lauric acid, that have benefit, certainly. I love cooking with coconut oil. And if you like the taste of coconut oil, it’s good. I’d include both in my ketogenic diet.

But MCTs are about three times more effective at raising ketones than coconut oil is. And then one specific MCT is three times better than MCTs. I if you get caprylic acid, which is C8. So you’ll see some of these oils, they’ll be called like a keto MCT or C8 oil or something like that. That’s going to be about 9 or 10 times more potent at raising ketones than coconut oil would be. So, that’s kind of the progression. I would say, coconut oil, MCTs are three times better than that, 9 or 10 times better than coconut oil and three times better than MCTs, are C8 or caprylic acid oil.

And MCTs and C8 are pretty tasteless. If you get an extra virgin coconut oil, it will have that unique coconut flavor, taste, smell. You can get a fractionated coconut oil that doesn’t have that smell or taste, if that’s an issue for you. Sometimes it’s an issue for people. And it has a good smoke point. It’s a saturated fat. It’s coconut oil, so it’s great to cook with. I love to use it for those reasons.

Tim:            Yeah, that’s an awesome summary, Shawn. So my kind of takeaway is that medium chain triglycerides, basically medium refers to the length of the fat, and there’s specifically referring to the number of carbons that are in that fat.

Shawn:       Right, exactly.

Tim:            And so you have C8 and C10, which means 8 carbons and 10 carbons. Caprylic and capric acid. There’s also C6, which is less prevalent hexanoic acid, I think is what it’s called?

Shawn:       Yeah.

Tim:            So, you have C8 and C10, really the most prominent MCTs, which from a food standpoint are most prevalent in coconut oil, right? Like coconut oil is the most dense food source of these MCTs. It’s found also in things like palm oil and butter, and heavy cream to some extent, too, just in a lower amount. And I think—I may be incorrect about this, but I think coconut oil is only about 20-30% MCT.

Shawn:       Uh-hm.

Tim:            And the rest is that lauric acid, which like you talked about, has antimicrobial benefits. So, the reason that MCTs get all this popularity, like you were saying, is because they are one of the few foods essentially that are ketogenic. That the body actually converts directly to ketones, so they’re very attractive.

And research on these MCTs shows an appetite suppressing effect, which probably relates back to the ketogenesis. And then there may be some metabolism-boosting effects. So, there’s some cool research behind the MCTs, which has led some people to translate those benefits to coconut oil. However, from what I’ve seen, they were talking about like somewhere in the range of like 20 grams of MCTs to have that type of effect. And like I said, coconut oil, a tablespoon of coconut oil, and they only have like 4-5 grams. So, be careful not to confuse the two, but they each may have their own benefits, if I’m kind of summarizing correctly.

Shawn:       That’s perfect, Tim. Perfect summarization, yeah.

Tim:            So, another question that comes up really often is, speaking of ketosis and levels of ketones on the keto diet, would you say there’s an optimal level of blood ketones.

Shawn:       Yeah. So, you look at millimoles of BHB. And you can do this with a glucometer. They’re expensive to get the blood levels. There is a new monitor called Keto‑Mojo that has the strips at about a dollar. Which is a breakthrough because up until this guy really who’s trying to solve metabolic disease, and he’s really just generous with his efforts in this area. He’s not really trying to cash in on any way. Because normally these strips cost like 8 bucks.

Tim:            Wow.

Shawn:       And that’s very cost-prohibitive. Whenever you want to take your blood BHB, your blood ketones, to spend $8 per use. So, people have been stuck using other methods that are less accurate, like looking at acetone in the breath or the urinary strips, which aren’t very accurate. There’s some correlation, but there’s some issues with those. The best case scenario is blood BHB.

So, nutritional ketosis starts at 0.5 of blood BHB. Millimoles is the measurement. And probably up to about 7 or 8 is like a range of what you could be in, maybe in combination with fasting. And I think most people experience what they’d call the magic of ketosis: this brain clarity, lower appetite, this surge of energy. Especially if you have some pre-diabetes or glucose intolerance, you’re going to feel this ten times more than anyone else. You’re going to be like, “Whoa, where’s all this energy coming from?”

Tim:            Yeah.

Shawn:       And I would say that comes at, you know, maybe a 2-4 or 5 range. You can actually get too high, like maybe in that 6 or 7 range, where you start kind of declining in energy again. So there is kind of a magic area, I think, that you’ll feel.

The issue is most people that are on the ketogenic diet are eating often, they’re eating treats, they’re snacking keto snacks, they’re doing net carb things, and they’re never getting to that magic spot. You know, some people are saying they don’t feel this thing that other people are talking about.

I would say, initially, you should get rid of the idea of net carbs. We can talk about what that is in a minute.

Tim:            Okay.

Shawn:       You should just do 20 grams of carbs, period, and get adapted. Once you’re adapted, you can start playing around with net carbs, especially if you’re getting data and seeing how it affects your body. There’s some of these things that we call net carbs affect different people differently.

Tim:            Yeah.

Shawn:       Sugar alcohols and short chain fibers, especially can be unique in how they get metabolized person-to-person. So, that’s what I would do. I would look at net carbs—drop that—and I would do fasting. And certainly add in fasting if you want to get into that deeper state of ketosis. It can be miraculous if you do that fast.

Tim:            Awesome. So when you’re talking about the fasting, you mean maybe like a time‑restricted feeding, where you’re limiting your feeding window.

Shawn:       Yeah, exactly. The popular ones are 16 and 8, 20 and 4, or every other day.

Tim:            Okay.

Shawn:       Every other day might be hard for some people, initially.

Tim:            Sure.

Shawn:       It’s the same thing. You know, get adapted. I would start at the 16 and 8, where it’s 16 hours not eating, 8 hours eating. It’s not too hard when you take your time sleeping as 8 hours and then just to add another 8 hours on to either end of that. And then, you know, you can work from there.

It becomes easier over time. After about your third or fourth day of fasting, I’ve found that that’s where it stops being difficult. And then you start feeling like “Ah, this is actually pretty easy.” And then when you combine that with that feeling of cognitive clarity, you’ll start chasing that.

Tim:            Yeah, exactly. And I think that has a lot of power, the fasting does, for a lot of reasons. Combined with the nutritional ketosis, which may have an appetite suppressing effect in and of itself is because I think it really helps consider am I really hungry or am I just going to be eating out of habit? So, I think there’s an awareness component.

I love the guidelines to say hey, you know, 16 and 8, 4 and 20, but if someone’s used to having a 12-hour feeding window, maybe they just turn it back like 2 hours. Maybe it’s 10 and 14, and then they graduate into 8. There’s not necessarily magic to it, but like you’re saying, collect some data, right?

Shawn:       Right.

Tim:            That’s where the blood testing may come in handy. I think, you know, we talked about this before, but your friend Luis Villasenor talks about not necessarily chasing ketones. That’s not the objective, right? What you’re chasing is this mental clarity, this energy, weight loss, and things like.

Shawn:       That a great point.

Tim:            I love how you framed it. You’re just trying to find data to associate to the outcome that you desire. Do you have kind of a rule of thumb for how often people should be testing or is this a tool to use early on?

Shawn:       Yeah, exactly. Early on it’s very important for you to start associating, okay, I feel this way with this number. But yes, you’re right. Over time, you’re just looking at more of the subjective measures, like how do I feel, how much energy do I have, how hungry am I. But exactly.

It’s just like with blood glucose, blood sugar. As you become more insulin-sensitive, your blood glucose isn’t going to be rising as much, and so we’re not chasing a high glucose level for energy. It’s the same with ketones. As you become more ketone sensitive, you up‑regulate these things called MCT transporters. You have mitochondrial biogenesis, and all these kinds of things going on, which just means creating more mitochondria. That you’re making adaptations and your ketones don’t have to get as high to experience ketogenic nutritional ketosis or this magic feeling of cognition that’s clear and reduced appetite, and all those kinds of things. You actually start achieving that at lower levels.

Tim:            Right.

Shawn:       So, yes, like to his point about chasing that number, you don’t want to overly chase that number. It helps early on and it’s good to check in every now and then, but you don’t want to do that.

Tim:            Yes.

Shawn:       There is a new number that’s coming out that Jeff Volek, who’s a great researcher talks about, and it’s a ratio of blood glucose and a ratio of ketones, so blood ketones. The thing I like about that is most likely as you’re making adaptations into ketosis, you’re also improving your insulin sensitivity and probably lowering your blood glucose. So now this ratio might, overall, stay fairly accurate to reflect what state you’re in.

Tim:            Yeah. That’s awesome. I like it. So basically what you’re saying is there’s probably an inverse relationship between blood glucose and blood ketone levels. And if you’re a data geek, like you and I are, then it may be cool to collect both of those, and that may be more telling.

You’re also saying that we can be more efficient at using ketones over time, and so what we may have used to need a level 4 to get to this certain level because we didn’t use them as much. They’re in-sync, so to speak. But now we dispose of them or use them more readily now, so we might experience the same thing at a level 2.

Shawn:       Exactly.

Tim:            Awesome. So we talked about ketone levels, fat, and you touched on net carb. So let’s move into net carbs because this is an area that you’ve talked about before, that I think is powerful because we’re seeing all these keto treats and things like that and all different ingredients that are classified as net carbs.

So, just as a brief background, keto is very low carbohydrate, typically somewhere between 20 and 30 grams. And what we see is that some people say just 20-30 grams carbs, period, including fiber and all that kind of stuff, and some people say 20 or 30 grams of net carbs, which could be a higher total carbohydrate amount because net carbs is essentially the amount of total carbohydrate minus carbohydrates that don’t impact blood glucose levels, or supposedly don’t impact blood glucose levels. And the best examples of those would be fiber. So if you looked at a nutrition label and it said 8 grams of total carb, 4 grams of fiber, it would have 4 grams of net carbs.

So, let’s talk a little bit about net carbs. You already mentioned that getting started on a keto diet, it’s best to count total carbohydrate. But why don’t you weigh in a little bit on your thoughts on net carbs.

Yeah, so net carbs, it really started with Dr. Atkins, and he really created a lot of energy around the ketogenic movement. The ketogenic diet is really a modified Atkins, but Atkins is close, and maybe it’s most like the initiation phase of Atkins, which is going to be similar to what I’m going to talk about. It’s very strict at the beginning and then you get a little bit more leeway as you go on.

Atkins was popular in the 70s and the 90s, and now it’s just straight keto. The difference is Atkins could have been higher protein, potentially, where we have that gluconeogenesis that we were talking about, and then, again, this net carbs thing.

So, net carbs, you subtract out sugar alcohols and fiber. The problem is there is obviously individual differences. But sugar alcohols are different, one to another, as well. You know, their glycemic index is different. And with fibers, there’s different fibers. Some of these short chain fibers, like IMO (isomaltooligosaccharide). People may have seen those in bars and things like that. Those are up to 70% sugar, but they’re called fibers. So, you know, this can create an issue.

I’d be careful with this whole idea of net carbs, especially now with these engineered foods that you have these engineered fibers, and you have these engineered sugar alcohols, and those are causing unique fluctuations in blood sugar. The other thing that’s going to be impactful here is how much of it are you having, the amount of fat in your meal that’s going to change. All that stuff changes the glycemic impact of all that.

I always recommend only doing the straight amount of carbs at the beginning. Like you said, the 20 to 30 grams, somewhere in there. I find that men who have more lean body mass have more ability to have a higher threshold of carbohydrate. So, this is where women might get frustrated

Tim:            Sure.

Shawn:       And say, “I can only do 20 grams or else I get kicked out.”

Tim:            Yeah.

Shawn:       I’ve known like some big bodybuilders that can do 100-120 grams and still be in.

Tim:            Wow!

Shawn:       So that’s an interesting one that I’ve just found over times is that lean body mass kind of dictates your threshold for carbs.

Tim:            That’s cool.

Shawn:       Yeah. So that might be like just, you know, if we’re going to get geeky like the GLUT4 translocation, like pulling glucose into the cell faster because they have more lean body mass, the muscle. I don’t know. I haven’t seen a definitive answer for it, but it’s definitely a phenomenon that I’ve noticed.

Tim:            Well, certainly one thing with keto becoming so popular is that we are seeing so much more research into it. And so maybe that’s something that we can look into, moving forward, because that individualize approach can be super helpful. We have a better idea—we still don’t know for sure—but we have a better idea that protein intake should be body weight-related as opposed to just being 50 grams per day or whatever.

Shawn:       Right.

Tim:            Now we know that we’re getting closer to that, so maybe there is a carb intake based on lean body mass. That would be pretty cool to see.

Shawn:       That would be cool.

Tim:            So maybe we can figure that out. Maybe we’ll have to experiment with that a little bit, too. So, that’s super helpful on net carbs. And since we’re talking about carbs, leads me into my last question that comes up really often. People basically asked can I have a cheat day, or here’s one way that it’s been asked of me, “If I have a cheat day and eat too many carbs in one day, does it ruin all the time and effort I’ve put into getting into ketosis or being keto?” So, is the cheat day going to ruin it? Can I have some carbs here and there?

Shawn:       Yeah, you’ve got to live your life. If you’re just looking at it as a diet so that you can do some crash thing over 12 weeks, you’re going to just drop some weight and it’s not a lifestyle, then maybe don’t have your “cheat day,” but I wouldn’t recommend that. I would recommend that keto is your lifestyle.

Tim:            Yeah.

Shawn:       A lot of people say keto is too difficult to maintain as the lifestyle. I want some carbs here and there. Well then, plan your carbs and have your carbs and enjoy it. And that’s not an issue to have your carbs here and there.

I do CKD and TKD. And so that’s Cyclical Ketogenic Dieting and Targeted Ketogenic Dieting. What he’s talking about, with the planned cheat day, which we’ve talked about not even liking the term “cheat” maybe.

Tim:            Right.

Shawn:       Because it’s planned and it’s okay. It’s not cheating. It’s not a bad thing. You know, carbs are a tool. They’re not necessary, but they’re tool. So I look at it as something I enjoy. I plan it out and I have one meal a week or, you know, I might have a whole day every two weeks where I just have whatever carbs stuff I want. They could be pop-tarts and pizza, and whatever. It’s okay. If that’s what you’re craving and you feel like you need that occasionally, then plan it.

Tim:            Yeah. Plan it.

Shawn:       And it’s okay. Plan it. For the targeted part, like I play sand volleyball in the heat in Dallas and I can play anywhere from like 3 to 8 hours in a day, straight. So it’s a lot of effort and I like being ketogenically adapted, being able to use my ketones, but also adding in simple carbs.

Basically, on these targeted days or moments, I use very simple sugar. It’s not just the things that I feel like I’m missing out on. Like I literally just use Gatorade or candy or something like that that’s mostly sugar, very low protein, very low fat because I’m just using it for fuel. And I might do that over the course of the first, let’s say if I am playing 8 hours, I might do that over the first 2, 3, or 4 hours. I’ve found—and this could be because I’m ketogenically adapted and I’m doing something that’s dynamic—but I’m already back in ketosis that evening.

Tim:            Wow.

Shawn:       Because I’m just giving myself simple sugar, I’m burning through it and using it.

Tim:            Using it. Yeah.

Shawn:       So, that’s unique. You know, you can have carbs and you can be ketogenic. It’s not the end of the world. You just plan it. You use them strategically.

Tim:            Yeah.

Shawn:       And that’s what I look at carbs as a strategic tool to use. One, because I enjoy them, so that’s strategic for me mentally because I don’t want to deprive myself forever. Two, they can give me energy. So, that’s the way I look at it. I think it’s a healthy way for me to maintain this for life.

Tim:            Yeah.

Shawn:       And that’s what I’ve done. I’ve done this for 20 years now, so it’s maintainable. I would say early on, it’s best to not do cyclical or targeted ketogenic dieting.

Tim:            Okay.

Shawn:       It would be great if the first 90 days you could make these adaptations. They’ve shown adaptations over two weeks, but I think 90 days is best to regulate these transporters I was talking about, have mitochondrial biogenesis, get used to the feeling of what keto is, and then at 90 days start employing a cyclical or targeted or both.

Tim:            Okay.

Shawn:       You have more tolerance to carbohydrate, again, the leaner you are and the more muscle mass you have. So that’s something to think about too is that if you’re going to use both CKD and TKD, you know, that again I would wait until you’re further into your goals, if you have a lot to lose.

Tim:            Yeah. And more active, along those lines too, for sure.

Shawn:       Yeah, exactly.

Tim:            Awesome. And I like the idea of committing to it for 90 days and allow yourself to adapt, because like you’re talking about—we’ve mentioned this term before, metabolic flexibility. You’re so flexible, metabolically, that you can burn through those carbs and flip right back over to ketosis within hours; whereas, for someone else that might take a little bit longer. And along those lines, if someone does incorporate that cheat day or have some carbs, it’s not the end of the world, like we’ve talked about. It’s normal.

But, are there some strategies to kind of help accelerate getting back into ketosis after a cheat day or something like that? You mentioned fasting can help, right? Intermittent fasting can be a useful tool. Maybe the next day you just prolong how long you do it, or maybe it’s a full fast day.

Shawn:       I use IC-5. [laughs] That’s a big one for me. The berberine in IC-5 is unbelievable at how quickly it puts me back in ketosis. It is amazing. It’s crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s very powerful. Also using some MCTs at that point could be strategic, as well, in a way that yes it’s exogenous in the sense that you’re supplementing with it, but what happens is you’re at least acutely up-regulating these MCT transporters and you’re making some changes in your body, some adaptations that you’re forcing with these MCTs. That can be helpful.

So I’d recommend, like you said, fasting. That definitely helps. Switching from this high sugar thing that you’re doing to a high fat thing, and potentially like that first meal just being more like a fat bomb.

Tim:            Just low carbs.

Shawn:       Low carbs and maybe even low protein.

Tim:            Okay.

Shawn:       And just doing a fat bomb. Then maybe using MCTs. Also, you can help glycogen deplete with some high-intensity interval training exercise. You know, the higher intensity it is, the quicker you’ll deplete glycogen and get back to ketosis. So those are some strategies I would use.

Tim:            That’s awesome. There was one more thing that we had talked about before, that just remember, it’s best to plan it. Seems like it’s best to plan it because these planned diet breaks, so to speak, can actually increase compliance.

Shawn:       Yeah.

Tim:            But if it’s unplanned, just remember, we’re not perfect. This happens with all of us and you still are pretty awesome at life, even if you fall off the wagon, because we all do. We all have hiccups and make mistakes. So, just remember, you don’t have to be perfect. It’s part of the day.

Shawn:       Right. And you know, evolutionarily, if we were just eating meat and we were a carnivore through the winter or whatever, there’s a good chance that here and there we’d have some carbs.

Tim:            Yeah.

Shawn:       And, you know, it’s okay. If this is big picture and this is about your life, then it’s okay to be out of ketosis here and there. [laughs] It’s not a big deal. If you’re trying to maximize your fat loss as quick as possible, it makes a difference. But if you’re on it for the next 50 years, it doesn’t make a difference.

Tim:            It’s a drop of the ocean.

Shawn:       It’s a drop in the ocean. So don’t beat yourself up about it. I mean, it’s completely realistic to live in this world and enjoy some of the foods of this world. But I think fasting and ketogenic dieting does help you take the power back. It helps you beat back some of these bliss point foods that we’ve talked about.

Tim:            Yes.

Shawn:       Some of these high sugar foods that just can be addictive and overwhelming. So just giving yourself the power to be in a unique space with, “I eat very uniquely. I can’t have that,” and then also saying, “I’m fasting. I don’t need that.”

Tim:            Right.

Shawn:       These are very empowering things, psychologically. I know it’s helped me a lot. You know, you go to a restaurant when you’re keto, you’re like, can I have my coffee with heavy cream, can I have butter with that. You start making requests and then you also push away the chips or the bread at the table. Over time, that becomes very empowering, that you’re okay to make decisions. The other people at the table may be eating one way, but you’re okay saying, “I’m not going to eat like everyone else.” And that’s hard at first.

Tim:            Yes.

Shawn:       But it gets easier over time. And I feel like that’s one of the joys of this diet is taking the power back, being unique, and getting all the benefits of ketogenic dieting that we talked about, physiologically. But mentally, I think there’s benefits too.

Tim:            Transcends, definitely.

Shawn:       Yeah.

Tim:            That level of blood ketones, for sure. Like you said, there’s definitely an element of control and empowerment there. And then empowering others to do the same, to make choices.

Shawn:       It’s true.

Tim:            That’s awesome, Shawn. A great way to wrap things up.

Shawn:       Yeah, absolutely. I enjoyed it. So, another plug to our VIP Facebook group, which many are doing ketogenic dieting. You just look up VIP BioTrust on Facebook. And then we also have the blog on Biotrust.com, and then BioTrust Radio at BioTrust Radio.com, of course. Look us up on BioTrust Radio.com. There’s all the transcripts, but we’re also on iTunes and Stitcher, and all those places that you like to subscribe. You can automatically download our podcasts to your phone and automatically get alerts to when a new episode comes up. So we encourage you to do that. We’d love if you give us a great review because those help us too.

Tim:           Absolutely.

Shawn:       And we’ve really enjoyed doing this podcast for you guys.

Tim:            Awesome, guys. Thanks for joining us.

Shawn:       Yeah, thanks guys.

 

 

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