I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. Friend Jay Dinitto shared some of his keto/IF success in this post. I want to give another side of the keto story, the one you don’t often hear because most people doing keto are True Believers. Knowing Jay, I doubt he has any kind of religious fervor for his diet; he’s long been interested in exercise and dieting for health, and his regimen seems to work for him. Therefore, he keeps it up.
And you know what? I see a lot of enthusiasm from men. The keto diet lowers their body fat, helps them increase muscle mass by percentage, and consequently will raise their testosterone levels. That’s a feel-good combo for men.
Because keto really does effectively work for weightloss, womenwill sing its song, too. If you are overweight and inactive, losing weight and becoming active will make you feel heady. It doesn’t matter what diet you’re doing. You will feel better, at least temporarily.
Keto never made me feel good. Ever. But I also didn’t have any weight to lose. Keto was a desperation measure to address my two main lifelong health issues: bad digestion and insomnia. I’ve done similar diets in the past: the SCD and paleo, for example. They definitely help with poor digestion. But they do not help with poor sleep. Keto, on the other hand, has been used medically for sleep problems. It works for the same reason it helps epileptics: ketones can reduce brain inflammation.
I tried to do keto perfectly. I tried to follow the macros and consume a monkey tonne of vegetables (as per Dr. Berg’s advice). I tested my ketone levels daily and introduced intermittent fasting. This was the result: brain fog, low energy, wrecked digestion, and female hormones thrown into chaos. Also, no help with insomnia.
Nobody wants to hear the sordid details. I will spare you. My guess is it dropped my body fat too low for female hormone production (I was already at 18% fat due to being somewhat athletic), and then gave me a bout of pancreatitis on top of it all. All I’m hoping for now is to regain ground and heal from the damage.
Keto isn’t your typical fad diet; I’ll grant you that. It has its medical purposes, but it isn’t going to be appropriate for all people, and it might never be appropriate for some women. I knew that going into it. My desperation for sleep, however, was so great that I was willing to risk my long-term health in order to have it. If it had helped in that area, it might have been worth it.
Just as an afterthought, I will add that there are a lot of people moving toward carnivore as a diet choice when keto fails them. I’m not prepared to do that, and not simply because Jordan Peterson makes it sound nutty. As far as mono-diets go, it’s probably the only workable one because meat contains all nutrients, even if the C levels are very low. Maybe the 19th C potato diet would almost meet humanity’s nutritional needs too….but, no. I’ll go with my old standard meat with potato diet for now and hope for the best.