I’ve tried it all. More fat. Less fat. Tons of protein, moderate protein, ONLY protein… Some of these strategies work for breaking a plateau, and some don’t. When it comes down to what has actually started the scale moving for me, there’s a bottomline: I’ve reduced my fat intake. It seems like simple math, but when you have bloggers and “bro-science” coming at you from all angles and all you want is to see a lower number on the scale, you will try it all.
Basically, when I stall, I cut out industrialized red meat and dairy. This is a natural reduction in fat. Because guess what? I have plenty of extra “on the land”… let’s use that up!
I’ve heard everything from “you need to eat 150 grams of fat a day to prime your body for understanding that it’s using fat for fuel” – when in reality, I’ve been doing this a while and I’m in ketosis (blood measured) everyday, so clearly, my body knows what fuel to burn. So, eating fat bombs, keto fudge, and the plethora of “low carb” and “keto” processed products out there now (yes, keto is mainstream, ya’ll!) is mostly counterproductive.
Marty Kendall writes this:
What should your blood sugars and ketone levels be in ketosis?
The ketogenic diet is still evolving and fertile area of research. Even Keto Clarity co-author Eric Westman admitted recently that there is still a lack of clarity around what your ketone levels should be.
The classic chart from the ‘optimal ketone zone’ from Volek and Phinney’s Art and Science of Low Carb Living which is typically referred to as the ultimate guide to optimal ketone values, has a problem: is that it is difficult for most people to achieve “optimal ketone levels” (i.e. 1.5 to 3.0mmol/L) without fasting for a number of days or making a special effort to eat a lot of additional dietary fat (which may be counterproductive if you’re trying to lose weight).
Recently, I had the privilege of having Steve Phinney. I quizzed Steve about the background to this optimal ketosis chart. He said it was based on the blood ketone levels of participants in two studies:
One was with cyclists who had adapted to ketosis over a period of six weeks and another ketogenic weight loss study.
In both cases these ‘optimal ketone levels’ (i.e. between 1.5 to 3.0mmol/L) were observed in people who had recently transitioned into a state of nutritional ketosis.
Since the publication of this chart in the Art and Science books, Phinney has noted that well trained athletes who are long term fat adapted (e.g. the athletes in the FASTER study) actually show lower levels of ketones than might be expected. Over time, many people, particularly metabolically healthy athletes, move beyond the ‘keto adaption’ phase and are able to utilise fat as fuel even more efficiently and their ketone levels reduce further.
If you really want to fit into those smaller jeans, you still need to eat at a deficit so that you actually use your own fat reserves – hear that? you don’t need to eat “more fat” when you are stalling. You need to review macros and make sure you are in an energy deficit.