Can binging on carbs while on a keto diet kill you? Maybe?

So this Sunday finds me exploring the rabbit hole that is anti-keto blogs, videos, subreddits, and science papers. Why? I don’t know. I am just a dumb keto dieter and I really doubt that something like *science* will convince me to try something else. For me though, I find this tidbit a motivator as I’ve been in ketosis for nearly a month and the holidays are coming.

So anyway, reading one comment, the poster said that sudden introduction of carbs on a low carb, high fat diet can cause heart damage.

Had to look that one up.

The paper has the catchy name: Short-Term Low-Carbohydrate High-Fat Diet in Healthy Young Males Renders the Endothelium Susceptible to Hyperglycemia-Induced Damage, An Exploratory Analysis

From the abstract:

Postprandial hyperglycemia has been linked to elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. Endothelial dysfunction and/or damage may be one of the mechanisms through which this occurs. In this exploratory study, we determined whether acute glucose ingestion would increase markers of endothelial damage/activation and impair endothelial function before and after a short-term low-carbohydrate high-fat diet (HFD) designed to induce relative glucose intolerance.

then some blah blah blah – and then the conclusion.

One week of low-carbohydrate high-fat feeding that leads to a relative impairment in glucose homeostasis in healthy young adults may predispose the endothelium to hyperglycemia-induced damage.

So it seems these nice folks are saying that your body kinda forgets how to regulate glucose once you are off them for a week and one high carb spluurge can make you blood sugar zoom, whereas if you were a sensible person and ate carbs like normal people do your body wouldn’t allow the blood sugar to go that high – and that blood sugar spike because of that stupid keto diet could cause heart damage.

Want an excuse not to go off your diet for those relatives who tell you that you MUST have a piece of grandma’s pie?

Tell them it might give you heart damage. Bet that’ll stop them in their tracks.

Also – a good reminder when you feel like cheating.

Keto is like the famous song lyric from ‘Hotel California’: You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.

What brings you here?

Welcome weary web traveler! If you didn’t subscribe to my posts some time ago and still haven’t opted out, I don’t know how you found this place.

Like Menudo, Route 66, CB Radio, floppy disks, dittos, webrings, website guest books, avocado green appliances, Dippity Do, hula hoops, Carrot Top, chrome bumpers on cars, and 8-track tapes, ‘blogs’ are a part of the past.

And yet you have bypassed all the obstacles and landed here. I’m sorry to say there will be little reward beyond maybe few gems hidden within mostly mediocre-to-awful contents with plenty of link rot scattered within.

So why am I here? I would say I’m a drinker with a writing problem but I don’t drink anymore. So now I’m just an old fuck who likes stringing words together, hiding in plain sight, writing whatever my fingers type, for reasons that aren’t clear. I don’t care if anyone reads this stuff and oftimes I’m glad you don’t – some of the things feel very personal and I don’t know why I post my thoughts for strangers to see. I’m not making money, I’m not trying to be an ‘influencer’. I don’t have some larger plan to launch an ambitious website on the topic of low carb/keto. It’s been done over and over already by people far more devoted than I, with quality standards and good content. I would have figured you’d have gone to any one of them before coming here.

I do tend to focus my posts on dieting and low carb / keto diets. I haven’t had the greatest results in the past 10 years since my appendix came out. I gained 70 pounds in about 9 months after that and my stupid doctor’s explanation was ‘lack of exercise’. He was one of those people who had to have an answer for everything, even if wrong. Hey doc – I didn’t exercise *before* the surgery. At least my new doc will shrug and say ‘I dunno’, which is the best answer I’ve gotten so far and I can respect that answer.

I used to really be interested in the science but not so much anymore. Nutrition science is so hard to do right, and so many people have an emotional (and possibly financial) interest in certain nutrition ‘facts’ being true, that the cherry-picking in the field of nutrition is beyond belief.

And people argue so much! The topic of what a ‘right diet’ is has been a blood sport for way longer than US politics.

And what to you call a low carb / keto dieter that can’t seem to actually lose weight on the low carb / keto diet?

The most charitable label I’ve come up with for myself is: ‘Stunt Dieter’.

I get some motivation and I try stuff. I write about it. I give up. And then, since I have nothing to write on the topic – I don’t write here. I journal a lot and keep most of my thoughts there – it’s only the diet-related stuff that gets posted, though sometimes the line blurs.

Months or years pass until I come up with another angle and give the ‘ole diet another try. Then I write here again.

If / when my current attempt crashes and burns then I won’t write anything until I try yet again or I exit this mortal coil.

And then this blog will just disappear the first time my credit card is rejected. It will be gone like much of the old internet already has – and that’s OK.

So – no obligation – but if you have stumbled over this fossil and you feel like it, leave a comment as to just what wrong turn you took on the Internet Superhighway to end up on this dead-end dirt road with a junkyard dog barking in the distance amid boarded up buildings, and a car on blocks on the front lawn of the abandoned house with a hole in the roof. This place across the street from the house still has a neon ‘Open’ sign flickering in the dirty window and while the front door is open there’s little activity going on. Yet you still came in.

What’s your story, stranger?

I lost 10lbs. on keto in a rather weird way

So back on November 28 I was 291.1. Today I am 281.7. So 10 lbs lost. So what are some of the things – to sum up pages and pages of word-vomit in my personal journal – that I did?

I tried eating nothing but bacon. This did not work, but trying to do so reset my way of thinking about going on a diet. On day 2 of nothing but bacon, I needed something else. I reached for celery we had and – hey – I enjoyed it. If Bacon made me enjoy celery more then maybe it can get me to enjoy other veggies more. That mindset led to me eating a lot of vegetables. 

I began reducing my ‘flavor palette’. This isn’t a new idea to me, nor is it a new idea at all – I remember watching a documentary where a miserable test subject was kept in a chamber – probably to measure temperature and gases to try and learn about metabolism – and this person could eat all they wanted – except all they could eat looked like baby food that was sucked through a clear plastic tube in the wall. The voice-over said they lost weight. I’ll bet! Trying to eat just bacon wasn’t cutting it for me but I thought: what if instead of one flavor I give myself 5? 10? I didn’t know what the magic number was but I started to explore this. 

I don’t eat until noon. I am attempting an 18:6 intermittent fast routine and I guess you can say I’m close. It does vary and is sometimes more a 16:8 but trying too hard is a good way to fuck up a diet. Trying to be perfect has screwed me up more times than I can count 

I began eating veggies. The first thing I added was celery, chia seed pudding, and cucumbers. I also added ground beef and slathered it in sugar free ketchup. The chia seeds were loaded with MiO and man, my pleasure neurons lit up from that sweetness! I also had some cheese and mayo, and sausage with mustard, and Atkins Shakes.

I narrowed my flavor palette more. By December 4th I had:

  • Stopped getting takeout
  • Stopped eating bread or any grains
  • Stopped eating sugar
  • Started tracking my food
  • Got into ketosis

But then I got the crazy notion of narrowing my flavor palette even more. So I gave up artificial sweeteners, and cheese, and mayo and tried sticking to the following foods:

BaconButterPorkEggsGround BeefBacon Grease
Olive oilHearts of PalmChia seedsSeasoningsMushroomsCucumber
CeleryGreen beansZucchiniMustardNutritional YeastChicken thighs
Cooked broccoliCooked cauliflowerTomato paste (small amounts)Brazil nuts (selenium supplement)Lettuce / mixed greensLemon juice

Nearly a week later, I did pretty good. This really did mess with my head however. Hunger became a very different creature. I didn’t deviate much from this list and the only items not on the list that I had were a dozen cherry tomatoes, 1/2 dozen raspberries, and maybe 10 blueberries. I also use apple cider vinegar (ACV). I purposely tried to avoid foods that lit up my pleasure centers in the brain effortlessly – like MiO. That sweet hit like heroin. And it struck me that most people lived in an environment where that kind of pleasure hit a dozen times a day. I was going for zero hits like that. Two things happened: I began getting these dopamine hits from the mustard and lemon juice. And plain chia seed pudding, which I found gross on my first serving, improved on my second serving. Still not an orgy of flavor, mind you, but it was ok.

Tracking helps. I use Cronometer and with a combination of weighing, eyeballing (so I don’t weigh everything all the time), and a reduced set of foods, This way tracking doesn’t drive me up the wall. But is it accurate? Seems accurate enough.

It seems getting the right amount of calories is important. There have been days where I ate less than my targets – and other days more, but I stuck to the script. It seems that getting adequate calories is important. Even if it was healthy I can’t starve myself thin. It’s a matter of the right food choices, more or less around the proper number of calories and macros, and it seems I’ve found a working combination.   

I feel weird. My ketones have been as high as 2.5, and removing cheese, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and bread – and replacing them with green veggies – must be having a profound impact on my body chemistry. Keto by itself changes the fuel your brain runs on, and without carb reserves, most of your body had to change over to this different fuel source. But then I take it an extra step and remove all sorts of interactions that dairy, even small amounts of grains, and both real and artificial sugars have in this walking chemistry experiment that is me. The bacteria in my gut has no choice but to change. Some thrive, some die off, some minorities take a larger role – and all of this impacts your brain in ways we don’t really understand because the gut is in constant communication with the brain through the vagus nerve. Of course I feel weird – how could I not?

I write a lot. And this is a summary and might feel incomplete. Sorry ‘bout that. 

So what’s next? I’m thinking of continuing this reduced flavor palette experiment. I’ve had no broccoli or cauliflower so I’m thinking I’ll pick that up – and maybe some other vegetables. I have plenty of bacon and will continue (I’ve perfected the laziest technique for perfect bacon and will share eventually). I’ll also take a hard look for something new. I did have seasoned roast beef from Trader Joe’s – perhaps I’ll pick more up. Maybe some ham? I might want to reduce or eliminate the lemon juice and mustard. They both give a little hedonistic hit to foods and I am trying to lessen those. Lemon juice is also bad for your tooth enamel. 

So you might be a little confused about my eliminating flavors from my diet. It’s worked well for me in that I’ve lost 10 lbs – but why so extreme? 

Because I’m not doing it just because I’m trying to lose weight – I’m also doing it so I can learn a new programming language. 

More confused? The explanation is a different post for another day. There is a LOT not mentioned in this update that will need to wait for another post (if I get around to it). 

So TL;DR: I lost 10 lbs so far and am going to try to stay the course for the upcoming week.

Chicken thighs baked in bacon fat

Just a reminder that the original purpose of this blog when I started it in 2007 was to collect my personal recipes so that I could refer to it at work to get meal ideas for that evening. I’m not recommending this to anyone and apologies if this feels like a waste of your inbox space. It is part of a much larger and wacky experiment I am trying that I *won’t* go into at present but will eventually. Maybe.

So I’ve been cooking bacon for almost 2 weeks now and I keep pouring off the fat and putting it in a jar to do I dunno with. I was baconed out today, however, and did have like 8 chicken thighs that needed to be cooked lest they become a biohazard. They weren’t old by any means but I wanted to make sure they got used during their useful lifespan without playing some game of chicken (pardon the pun) with the expiry date.

So caveman brain here looked at the chicken, then the bacon fat still in the pan on the stove from the bacon I cooked the day before, and got an idea so lacking in effort I should get some sort of prize. So…

  • 8 chicken thighs with skin and bone in
  • 1 pan of bacon grease with all the drippings and crumbly bits from the previous day

I set the oven for 350 and plopped the thighs into the grease-filled pan. Then shoved it in the oven without even preheating because I don’t care. I set a timer for 20 minutes then came back, took the pan out of the oven and turned the thighs over. Crumbly bits had stuck to the bottom, which did not seem a bad thing. Put it back in the oven and it got another 20 minutes. I tested the temp and in some places it was 190 degrees F so it was certainly cooked. Then I had the bright idea to turn them upright again and try to crispy up the top part. I set the oven to broil and the time for 10 minutes.

It got to 5 minutes when the fire alarm went off and I put on the exhaust fan as the alarm screamed ‘Fire! Fire! and the dog barked. Note to self: in the future, turn on the vent fan and broil for 5 minutes.

They came out looking like this:

They came out juicy and had some crunchy parts on the skin, the crumbly bits from the bacon added a nice flavor, as did the bacon fat, and the grease contained enough salt that adding additional salt was unnecessary.

The kid texted she was hungry and I told her about these. She seemed excited. When she came home she didn’t go near them. Didn’t tell me why, just ate leftover pasta.

Would I make it again? Yeah. Except for the fire alarm part it was a pretty darn easy recipe to make. I did have to pour off some of the bacon grease/chicken juice when I turned it over because it was too high for the shallow pan.

But is it keto? Trick question. Of course. The is zero carbs – I had three today and my ketones are at 2.1 mmol/L right now and I had the last one an hour ago.

EOM

Quick update for anyone that cares (Bacon is mentioned)

First: not dead yet. I *do* have a cardiologist that sees this fat old fuck walk into his office and he is *sure* there has to be something wrong with my ticker. I had bloodwork not too long ago which – except for my cholesterol being out of whack from my crappy eating at the time, everything was normal. Not having any alcohol for the 2 months prior to the bloodwork seemed to correct the wonky liver enzymes from the last bloodwork so it seems my liver is happy about my decision to quit drinking.

I’m ok with it too. It was just a way of passing time that I tended to be over enthusiastic for.

I’m guessing if the liver enzymes fixed themselves my liver is not too far gone – I guess. I’ve read that ALD (Alcoholic Liver Disease) can have a pretty quick onset. From the first time you go to the doc for the symptoms you’re having, you could have a month to live.

And now past 90 days I still feel gradual improvements. I don’t act nor feel as old as I did – even eating junk – when drinking.

So anywho, as I’ve entered my 7th decade and turned 60, this is when you’re well past warranty and parts start to wear out – especially if you didn’t maintain the vehicle like you were supposed to. So when my doc gave me an EKG he found a ‘Right Branch Bundle Block’ and that’s why I’m seeing the cardiologist.

I looked up the RBBB and it said it’s harmless sometimes. The LEFT Branch Bundle Block is the really worrysome one and I ain’t got that. So my cardiologist – a nice guy who go from room to room with his laptop balanced on one arm why he rolls his mouse around on his belly – wanted to give me a nuclear stress test. I didn’t know much about them, shrugged and said sure, then went home to read up on it. Apparently the radiation is about the same as getting 400 chest x-rays.

I gave that a big ol’ nope. I also had an echocardiogram and it was normal. I also had a stress test which showed the RBBB, naturally, but the heart doc wanted that nuclear stress test I gave the hard nope to. He countered with a ‘Stress Echo’: first, a relaxing echocardiogram – imagine a sonogram of a baby that’s growing in your chest as you’ve probably seen a sonogram. Then they make you do a stress test with, for me, is not pretty. Then they rush you back to the echocardiogram room and check out your stressed heart.

I was supposed to have that next week but I’m stalling – I canceled. I’ll get it, though. Just too many doc visits on top of one another.

This past week after Thanksgiving I just sorta decided to go on a hardcore keto diet because it’s all I know, really – I can’t be more honest. They have been failing me for the past decade since I had my appendix out, but this time I’m not attempting to drink at the same time. That makes it easier.

I’m really lazy and late Sunday I found the first keto calculator I could find, got my macros, and then – just for the fun of it – looked up bacon. I remembered ‘Dan the Bacon Man’ who ate bacon for 30-days straight and lost weight.

I looked up bacon and the nutrition profile almost matched my macros perfectly.

So I ran to the store and bought 6 packages of bacon – you have to eat 2 pounds (or what left after cooking) of bacon to get near the correct calories. I figured I’d do this until I gave meal planning more thought.

So the week has been somewhat chaotic. First off, I couldn’t eat just bacon for more than ONE day and I found myself eating some celery. So I figured I can riff on the bacon by adding low carb above ground veggies. This sorta worked, While I had bacon every day, I have some leftover cheese, some hot dogs, and some other old keto faves – but that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I wanted to try to eat a very minimal diet of bacon, other meats, and veggies – and that’s it. I was also trying an 18:6 fast which worked sometimes.

So some days my calories were over, sometimes under, and I lost an unimpressive 5 lbs. during a chaotic week of winging it.

In the meantime I accomplished 3 goals I was too distracted to notice until now:

  • I had no takeout for a week – that’s big for me
  • I had no grains for a week – another biggie
  • I had no sugar – not a sugar fiend but I do like sweets on occasion
  • I got into ketosis and got up to 1.5 mmol/ml or whatever the measurement is

Ok – that 4 – I’m not going back and changing it.

So you know I spend Sundays working on my goals for the next week – right? Last week it was to get into a keto diet and eating less. Well, I did one, sometimes did the other, and did the 4 bullets above without thinking. The most interesting observation was the monotony of bacon made me crave green healthy things. I had no cravings for bread or takeout. That’s usually the first roadblock. Something abut the bacon, maybe.

But it made me think that if I was able to quit bread and takeout so easily, maybe I can do the same for MiO and dairy this coming week. I was lactose intolerant as a baby and maybe milk still causes issues I don’t know about because it doesn’t give me the trots?

And sucrolose – the ingredient in MiO that makes it sweet – seems to have a reputation for mucking up your gut biome.

So I had neither today.

I only had a spring mix salad with about 4oz. of cooked bacon, olive oil, apple cider vinegar (ACV), and nutritional yeast that you can shake on stuff like canned parm cheese leftover from a very brief fling with a no cheese attempt from a while ago.

I’ve been up since 5am, had only that salad, am under 1,000 calories, and now it’s nearly 7pm and I’m not hungry.

I enjoyed the salad, by the way.

I have typed this without editing as it’s been a long day, I’ve been pretty productive and busy, and it’s just a blog post…

I wonder what the coming week will be like. I am leaving out some other details just because I’m tired of typing and tired in general.

Signing off.