Updated: Mar 17
The internet is chock full of information about low-carb and ketonic diets. Nowadays even more so about keto adaptation. I have been keto-adapted for more than two years now and I wanted to post some of my experience in a short and simple format, I call 5 benefits of keto-adaptation
1. I don't have to eat 3 meals a day. I actually don't have to eat any meals a day! Since my body is running off my fat stores, if I miss a meal, either because I'm too busy to eat, or just not hungry, that's not a problem as I don't get hungry anymore. My blood sugar is stable as a rock, as ketones keep my blood sugar at normal levels all day long whether I eat or not! I will write about this later, but where did the 3 meals a day come from? Who thought this one up? I'll post some about this over time.
2. I CAN eat carbs! I remember in the beginning when I was trying to get into ketosis, a small amount of simple carbohydrate would kick me out of ketosis and it might take me a week to get back into ketosis. Now, I can have complex carbs, simple carbs, lots of carbs and my body never gets out of ketosis. I know that one of the complaints of the low carb/ketonic diet is the carb craving. But now I can literally have my cake and eat it too. So there is light at the end of that low carb tunnel. Aim for keto-adaptation so you can eat carbs and not lose ketosis.
3. My performance as an athlete is not compromised as it was when I first stated keto. It used to be that I had to eat some carbs prior to the race and risk coming out of ketosis. Now I can have those carbs and still stay in keto. This was a huge issue when I first started my ketogenic diet. And of course I heard all the reports that high performance athletes can't perform well because carbohydrates can generate more energy than ketones, use less oxygen to metabolism, etc. Well, I won the World Championships while in keto, so I guess that's not all quite true. My energy levels are not compromised and my speed was not affected nor was my recovery. Ketosis works for a bicycle racer, but keto-adaptation is better.
4. I never get hungry on long bike rides like I used to. I remember going on long 80 to 100 mile rides up the coast from San Francisco. At the end of a ride, I was hungry and as I rode the final miles through Sausalito, I passed many restaurants and I distinctly remember craving pasta, pizza, steaks, Italian food and every other possible food since I smelled all this delicious food from the restaurants along Sausalito Ave! When I got home I was literally starving. Now I carry no food or snacks in my rear pockets and only water in my water bottle. When I finish a long ride, I don't feel bonked, my energy is good and ironically, I feel FULL, like I just ate a 5 course meal. When I check my blood ketones, I'm around 1.7. When I left my ketones were near zero, but during the ride, my ketones kicked in an supplied all the energy I needed for a long ride.
5. My weight is a stable as a rock down to the tenth of a pound! Before keto, my weight used to fluctuate 5-9 pounds throughout the day! I'd get dehydrated, replenish, eat food and my weight was all over the place. Since I started keto, my racing weight dropped from 163 to 158.2. I added the decimal place because that was the number I would see on my scale every morning. 158.2! Something I noticed was if I didn't eat when I felt hunger, that number would drop slightly. When I ate when I wasn't hungry, that number would creep up a bit. And when I ate carbs, it would fluctuate like it used to before keto. So now I use my feelings of hunger to tell me when I should need to eat. This keeps my weight very stable.
So there you have it, 5 benefits of keto-adaption. While these are similar to the regular keto benefits, its #2 (I can eat carbs) that is the big difference. However I have learned that when I eat more carbs, my hunger returns in a more "dramatic" fashion and my digestion is compromised. So whereas carbs used to be a major part of my diet, now they are just something I might choose to sample from time to time.