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Friday, 3 January 2020

Trying out a 'ketogenic' meal plan

Having decided I should boost my protein intake a bit (from around 100 g/day to about 175 g/day) to retain maximum lean mass (muscle) while continuing to loose weight, I thought I may as well switch to a proper 'ketogenic' diet for a while (this generally means consuming less than 50g of carbohydrates per day for at least 2-4 days so that your metabolism switches from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat stores). After 2-7 days on a 'low carb' diet the 'ketone' levels should be detectable in urine, blood and breath (from the negligible ketone levels that are normal when you are consuming a diet that includes lots of sugar/carbs).

My version (based on the available low carb foods that I like) of a 'keto' diet plan that I'll be trying out from today is:

Breakfast: 2 eggs (poaches) + 80g of smoked ham

Lunch: 15g processed cheese triangle + 125g tin of smoked salmon slices

Dinner: 200g fillet steak + 200g chicken breast (grilled) + 100g of broccoli and 100 g of cauliflower

Dessert: A plate of diet aeroplane jelly (one sachet in 400 mL, aka 4 'serves').

Adding up the nutritional composition of these items gives a daily total of around:

1,187 kcals
9.9 g carbs (3.7% of total cals)
36.6 g fat (30.8% of total cals)
175.1 g protein (65.5% of total cals)

[I also drink a couple of 2L bottles of diet coke each day, which is low cals/carbs. (Not a great habit, but I've been doing it since uni, so I doubt I'll switch to drinking water now...)]

I'll stick with this for at least a week and see how I feel. The caloric content should mean that I loose around 0.7-1.5 kg/week, depending on how much exercise I do.

This meal plan seems pretty good for achieving a steady rate of weight loss while retaining muscle mass (via weight training three times a week, walking, doing 5BX and swimming some laps). Unfortunately it only provides 10 g/day of dietary fibre, so I might need to also add in a tin of green beans (which are low carb/cals) which would almost double my daily fibre intake. BTW this meal plan seems especially low-carb, as it only provides 10g of carbs/day, which is well below the 50 g/day limit for a 'keto' diet.

Today is "Day 0" for this new meal plan, so I'll monitor my 'ketone' and glucose levels each morning using the keto diastix I bought a few days ago (about $7.50 for a box of 50 test strips). I did a test yesterday morning (while on my normal diet regime) and, as expected, there were negligible (0) levels of glucose and ketones present in my urine, I'll do test this every morning for the next week, and I *should* observe a rise in ketone levels after 2-4 days that will indicate that I've entered 'ketosis'.

As the test strips aren't particularly sensitive (the colour chart only indicates levels of 0, 5, 15, 40, 80 and 160 mg/dl, which corresponds to 0, 0.9, 2.6, 6.9 etc millimolar ketone values. As readings of 1.5-3.0 millimolar are generally considered 'optimal' for a ketogenic diet, only the first two colour graduations are in the 'ideal' range.

Instead of test strips, one can check ketone levels in breath or blood. I don't fancy taking a blood drop sample every time I want to check on my ketone levels, and the normal 'ketone' breath testing units are around $90. However, I've seen some articles suggesting that cheap breathalyzer units that are normally used to check for alcohol in the breath also respond to acetone (ketone), so I bought a cheap ($14) breathalyzer unit from banggood. If it has a chip sensor (rather than the more expensive fuel sensor used in police breathalyzers, than doesn't respond to acetone) it should provide a reading for ketone levels. Once it arrives I'll compare the test strip readings to the breathalyzer readings and see how they compare.

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