|I've been on a "diet" for the past few months. I say "diet" because most diets include cutting calories, which mine didn't. It was basically some version of the ketogenic diet, which consisted of replacing almost all carbohydrates with fat and protein. As with any diet, it took a little getting used to. And it was sometimes inconvenient. But it didn't take long to figure out what I could eat:
The goal was to reduce carbohydrate intake as much as possible, so some things on the above list were avoided (cashews are relatively high in carbs, as are carrots and a few other vegetables). But essentially my food choices were fairly simple and fairly good. Bacon and eggs in the morning. Heavy cream in my coffee instead of milk. Cheese and nuts throughout the day. Meat and vegetables for lunch and dinner. Not too complicated, and not too extreme.
- Nuts and seeds
I think it's important to understand why a person would want to change their diet. Usually it's about losing weight. Other times, it's about changing blood chemistry (cholesterol, triglycerides, sugar, etc.). I started my diet for a few reasons:
Overall, the results have been mediocre and hard to quantify. I lost 8 lbs right away, but that's because I had been eating crap. Really any change in diet would've resulted in a loss of weight. I might've gained some muscle, but it's hard to say one way or the other. I feel like I look more muscular, but I'm biased. Plus I changed some of the exercises I was doing, so that could be it. I haven't gotten my blood tested, so I can't comment on that.
- It's "the right human diet". This is certainly debatable. But that whole paleo idea sounds reasonable to me: Humans used to be hunters and gatherers; maybe our current diet should reflect that.
- I wanted to see if I could do it. I dabbled with the South Beach Diet a few years ago, but it felt like I was substituting a lot of fake foods for real foods. Fake sugar, fake snacks, etc. Keto is real food, which doesn't automatically make it good, but it helps.
- Muscle growth; fat loss. The science behind ketosis sounds good, so if I could get my body to burn fat, that would be cool. And since I do some weight training, it would be nice if the added protein helped my frail body build muscle.
- Blood chemistry. This was at the bottom of the list for a reason. I've already determined dieting doesn't lower my cholesterol, not to mention the fact that I started a new cholesterol medication on the same day I started this diet. But hey, if it helped, all the better.
As far as other effects, there weren't many. I didn't feel like I had any more or less energy, though it was interesting to learn that my body doesn't require carbs to do physical activity. I didn't sleep any better or worse. My skin and hair didn't become smooth and luscious (also I'm mostly bald). One major side effect was my apparent inability to absorb water. I was constantly drinking water, and it instantly went through me. I started taking electrolyte pills and they seem to have helped.
One additional thing to note is that eating copious quantities of bacon, cheese, and stuff like that doesn't feel healthy. Maybe that's a psychological thing caused by the debate about good fats and bad fats. It certainly tastes good, but it feels like it might catch up with you in the future. #health