I’ve come to a startling revelation in my post-ketogenic life.
I went keto for 30 days and found positives and negatives to the adjustment in diet. I ended my month long experiment by saying that I believe that carbs serve a valuable purpose in a healthy and balanced diet – and I still very much believe this. However, after coming out of keto over a weekend, I have been able to identify the detrimental effects of sugar.
In my month long keto quest I avoided sugar by default. Foods approved for the keto diet are low in carbs, or have no carbs at all, so naturally sugar is eradicated from your diet since sugar = carbs. This is a good explanation for the “keto flu” that most people feel when they start their first few days of keto – it’s not so much a flu as it is a detox from sugar.
Sugar is in a great deal of things and not just those foods that satisfy your sweet tooth, but in dressings and sauces, and even added to meat product. Frankly, sugar is everywhere and where you find sugar (with the exception of naturally occurring fruit) you find processed food.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
In the 3 or 4 days of post keto, I have felt awful. As soon as I reintroduced sugar into my diet I became bloated, constipated (more so than on keto), and sluggish. While I complained that being on keto left me unmotivated to workout at the gym, reintroducing these sugary carbs also left me feeling uninspired as well.
Both of these items can be attributed to an adjustment period, right? As with all things your body needs time to process what you’re doing and become efficient at whatever it is you’re asking of it. However, over time my energy levels on the ketogenic diet began to grow again, and while I can thank carbohydrates for a boost of energy that allows me to lift weights, it is also short lived and fleeting. The sugar carbs only last long enough for me to power through a good lifting session and then the crash and burn is inevitable.
Who am I? What am I saying? Am I a keto convert, like for real?
No. Not really. I think keto serves a purpose for some individuals, and can actually be easily maintained by some who prefer that lifestyle and those food sources. But, I still firmly believe in wholesome carbohydrates for a weight lifting routine and for life in general. However, what keto really taught me was that it’s important to continue to avoid sugar when and where I can.
During this experiment, my son, who is 7 years old and suffers from ADHD, has converted into a low sugar diet and thanks to that dietary change, he has been free of taking a class A medication for his diagnosis. He calls it ‘keto’ but he is actually just low sugar and still takes in wholesome carbs.
So, what’s the plan going forward? Well, back to life, I guess. The ketogenic design is a fun thing to experiment with. You get the feeling that you’re cheating by eating these high fat foods that society has long encouraged you to avoid, and you lose weight while you do it. However, it does restrict an entire macronutrient so I still have concerns about it’s longevity in people (like me) who are prone to cravings and binge eating when they feel deprived.
I really enjoyed the keto lifestyle and i enjoyed getting rid of sugar. I felt much better for it. So going forward I will be going back to my IIFYM style and focusing on eating naturally sourced carbs (veggies, fruits & oats!), and still keeping sugar out of my diet… mostly.