I became curious about it after a family member told me he lost a lot of weight with the diet, and after I listened to Nina Teicholz’ appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast. I wasn’t looking to lose weight, but rather was intrigued and open to a little self-experimentation.
Over the course of a few weeks, I ramped down my carbs by cutting back on deserts, bread, etc. Then, I went full keto for two weeks, adding fat to my diet and almost totally eliminating carbs. After that, I reintroduced some carbs back to my diet, but sparingly.
Here’s what I found:
- I lost fat very rapidly.
Just a week or two into keto, I lost enough fat that I had to order new belts. I had not previously been "fat" by any standard. But I lost fat I didn’t know I had.
2. I stopped experiencing cravings.
While eating low-carb, I stopped experiencing cravings for food. I would eventually start to get hungry if a long time went between meals, but in a way that did not make me feel unhappy or desperate.
3. I could go without food no problem.
I could, and did, easily go days at a time without eating while eating LCHF. Before, I would struggle to get through a day at work without packing myself a snack like a protein bar for the afternoon. But while on LCHF, I could power through a whole day and not even really think about food. The only exception was if I worked out — in that case, I would get hungry enough to need food.
4. I stopped thinking about food.
Food stopped being a preoccupation. I enjoyed the meals that I had, but I didn’t think about food unnecessarily. The thought of breaking from work, for instance, to find a snack never really crossed my mind.
5. I felt less brain fog
I rarely, if ever, felt brain fog or torpidity while on the LCHF diet, a welcome change.
6. It didn’t make me weaker.
I maintained my regular lifting routine while on the diet and didn’t notice any drop-off in progress.
7. It is sustainable.
I only quit LCHF, months after I started it, by making a conscious decision to feed myself more carbs. I wasn’t having any trouble maintaining it.
I found that the diet, when combined with a moderate amount of exercise at least, could include enough carbs to live a normal lifestyle and still get the benefits of the LCHF diet enumerated above. For instance, moderate sides of grains with dinner, bread, and occasional desserts all work within the diet/lifestyle. Some things are always off-limits, such as soda, but you will never miss them.
The most difficult part of maintaining the lifestyle is the logistics. High-carb, high-sugar foods are just much more accessible. But the fact that you don’t need any snacks makes it much easier to cope.
There is absolutely no need to eat weird foods, count calories, or follow strict guidelines, as I’m seeing some people do to follow misguided keto advice. Just load up on meat, eggs, cheese, vegetables, etc. — eat all you want, that’s the entire point of the diet.
Some social events become tricky if you’re trying to avoid carbs, but even that is manageable. As for drinking, in my case, I love drinking whisky and was happy to give up beer in favor of more bourbon, Irish whiskey, etc.
8. It makes you realize you are addicted to sugar and carbs.
Having been re-sensitized, I now am shocked at the sweetness of some foods and drinks. I’ll never drink soda again -- it just tastes way too sweet, unpleasantly sweet and harshly acidic.
I’m also now aware of how often people interrupt themselves and break their concentration to seek out processed foods and sweets, often while visibly struggling with their own self-control and feeling miserable. I hadn't previously noticed. I used to be the same way -- I used to be unable to concentrate on what was in front of me because I was wondering whether it would make me feel better to walk down the hall and grab a twix or whatever. Those kinds of temptations simply didn’t cross my mind when I was eating low-fact, high-carb.