I have recently performed a biohacking experiment on myself where I ate high in fat and very low in carbohydrates between December 2017 and May 2018. I wanted to see for myself what ketogenic diet can do for my health. Now the results are in, and I can’t wait to share them with you. After 5 + months of “Keto,” I have never been healthier!
When transitioning from a standard diet, or even a healthy diet, to a high-fat diet like Ketogenic eating, many people worry about the health of their heart. We have been told that eating high in fat will pose a risk to your heart health; fat tends to stick to the inner walls of the arteries and causes a narrowing and stress on the heart. Eating low fat has even been endorsed by many health organizations as the best diet option for reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Doctors measure heart health risks through a series of tests called biometric markers. Common biometric markers that are tested include cholesterol, blood pressure, and Body Mass Index (height and weight ratio). Due to the possible risks to heart health, I felt that it was very important to test my own biometric markers after being in Keto for a few months. I wanted to make sure my health was in top shape. As a part of the experiment, I compared my keto test results with my last documented test results from 2015 when I was not in ketosis.
Let’s take a look at the experiment to see the differences:
What was happening in my life around test 4/20/2015
During this time I was helping my mom through terrible and aggressive stage 3 cancer recovery. We were eating no added or processed sugars, no dairy, no gluten, and mostly vegetarian. My diet consisted of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein shakes (isogenic and Vega one sport) and soy-based meat-free products, with an occasional seafood meal.We were very careful to purchase only organic fruits and vegetables and were routinely juicing green juices. I was trying to cut down on caffeine intake and was also training for a 10K and jogging about 2-3 x a week for 30-40 minutes. I was receiving an injectable supplementation of B-12. My mental health was stabilizing, but with the help of medication. At this time I was taking 10 mg of Celexa every day along with .5 mg of Xanax, and 100 mgs of Seroquil. I was also on the birth control Nuvaring. I consumed about 1-2 alcoholic drinks a week and perceived my stress to be high.
What was happening in my lifearound test 5/2/2018
During this time I was focused on high-fat nutrition, eating animal products and high-fat dairy with every meal. I adhered to a ketogenic diet with 5% or less of my total intake comprised of carbs between December 2017 and March 2017. During April 2017 I stuck to ketogenic eating five days a week with two days of carb cycling that included slow carbs like fruits, starchy vegetables and occasionally a piece of sourdough bread. My diet consisted of bacon and avocado every day with bulletproof coffee for breakfast, low-carb green leafy vegetables and animal protein with fats for lunch and dinner. Very infrequently (approximately four times in April) did I partake in processed foods with added sugar (like a doughnut or a cupcake). For exercise, I participated in a home practice of yoga with an occasional yoga class, totaling around 75 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise a week. I consumed about 4-5 alcoholic drinks a week and perceived my stress to be high. At this time I have been off birth control, Celexa, and Xanax for over a year. I am still taking Seroquel, but at a lower dose of 50mgs.
Primary variables of change between these two tests:
There are two significant differences that I see between the two tests; one is fewer pharmaceutical medications and the other drastically higher fat intake (including animal fats and saturated fats) during the time leading up to the second test.
I have to admit; after eating a high-fat diet for the last few months I was bracing myself for slightly bad news, or neutral news at best. I was worried that I would get a call from my primary care doctor recommending a statin drug or a diet change.After all, I had been eating sausage and bacon roughly every day for the last five months. Sure, I am feeling great, down 11 pounds and performing better, but am I sacrificing my heart health?
To my surprise and extreme joy, that was not the case. My blood lipid panel improved in some areas and in some pretty drastic ways! My total cholesterol reduced from a borderline 196 to a healthy 179! My bad fats drastically dropped as well; Non-HDL decreased 13 points, and LDL lowered 20 points. There was an increase in triglycerides, but even with the rise, the number stayed in normal range. HDLs were relatively unchanged, but fasting HbA1C, the measure for diabetes, improved by .5%. The other cool thing to look at is how my most recent test shows trace amount of ketones in the urine, proving that I am still in ketosis, or keto-adapted. This is really exciting scientific significance. It is only one person’s blood test results, but this is still excellent biohacking proof that eating high fat, around 70 percent of the total daily intake, consisting of full-fat dairy and saturated animal fats, does not increase your risk of heart attack. I will say that consuming processed hydrogenated and chemically altered oils are bad for your heart and will increase your risk of disease, so it is important to stay away from processed foods.
If you had concerns before, I hope this helps put to rest those notions that saturated fats are “bad” fats. Being in a state of ketosis actually improves your health by decreasing the amount of damage and inflammation in your system caused by sugars. Sugars actually cause arterial damage and oxidative stress, making little dents in the lining of the artery where fat will stick and cause narrowing.While in ketosis, you will use the free-floating fat as fuel, pulling it out of the bloodstream and into your cells. Bottom line is that excess sugars and carbohydrates do way more damage to the body than fat ever could. I recommend that you do your own biohacking experiment with a pre and post blood test and consult a doctor if you need to because everyone is a little bit different,then come back and share your results with us, we would love to see them!If you are not familiar with ketogenic foods and you would like to know more about how it can help you with health and weight control, book a free coaching consultation with me today, and I will walk you through it!.
Find out more about these related topics on the blog:
- How to read and understand blood test results for cholesterol and blood sugar
- Why you should get an annual physical and what to expect
- How much should I eat? Understanding body composition, calorie needs, and macronutrients