Sunday, September 28, 2014
The ketogenic diet experiment
Last weekend, I found myself in the middle of a long trail run, completely engaged by a conversation about a crazy diet. This method of food consumption teaches the human body to rely on fats instead of carbohydrates for energy. This high fat, low carbohydrate diet has been used since the 1920's in the treatment of pediatric epilepsy, and is now utilized by endurance athletes all over the country. The experienced runner I was dialoging with had successfully transitioned to the ketogenic diet 2 years ago, and was now able to run ultra marathons on water alone. He was also the lightest he's ever been, and also the fastest. Thinking that I would also like to be faster and lighter, and that I have a lot of stored energy waiting to be released, I dove head first into researching this diet. I found some excellent research based books that opened my eyes to the world of functional ketosis and how this diet could help me reach my long distance goals. I also found a number of wonderful websites and blogs that give advice and recipes to ensure success: nutritionequation.org, eatingacademy.com, and the American 100 mile record holder's blog: zachbitterrunning.blogspot.com. Notably missing from my inquires were female athletes who had transitioned to this diet. Being 100% fascinated with this concept, and completely over my addiction to carbs, I've decided to jump in feet first, and document it for all to see (or reference). It is recommended that for the first 2 - 3 weeks, the athlete stay around 30 grams of carbs a day, and have 70% of calories come from fats. This will inevitably mean a bonk or two, and most likely mean a foggy head. I will be testing my pee with ketone detecting urine strips to find out when I hit ketosis, and to ensure that I stay that way. Once I've hit ketosis, I can adjust my carbs to a more comfortable level -- with some endurance athletes eating up to 100 grams/day, or 'bulking' a couple days a week. Today is my first day. I ran a 10 mile trail race (12 total) and ate 137 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbs, and 95 grams of protein. This is either going to be the best thing ever, or turn me into a piggy.