Over the past few years, I’ve followed a very low-carb ketogenic diet. But a couple of months ago I decided to increase my carb intake.
Some of the factors that influenced my decision were:
- My sleep quality was declining.
- My thyroid and testosterone levels were declining.
- I was suffering from electrolyte imbalances.
- I had frequent urination.
I noticed these issues a year ago but I chose to ignore them because I was convinced that keto for life was the right dietary approach.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these issues were my body’s way of telling me that something was off. So I started investigating and experimenting, ultimately coming to the conclusion that it’s unnecessary — and in my case, even counterproductive — to stay in ketosis for long periods of time.
I also realized that my metabolic flexibility (the ability to switch back and forth between glucose and ketones as a source of fuel) doesn’t degrade just because I consume more carbs. More importantly, consuming carbs doesn’t impact my metabolic health.
When I realized all that, I “significantly” (see below for what I mean by that) ramped up my carbohydrate intake and immediately noticed all of my issues subsiding. I’m sleeping better and longer, I urinate less frequently, I don’t have to supplement with electrolytes all the time and my hormone levels have normalized.
In addition, I’ve packed on some serious muscle tissue, and my strength has exploded over the past few weeks — as you might have seen if you follow me on Instagram and watched clips of my recent lifts and bike rides.
That said, I don’t recommend ditching low-carb eating in favor of getting most of your calories from carbohydrates.
To put things into perspective, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45% to 65% of your total daily calories.
I consume about 3,000 calories a day. So, according to those guidelines, I should consume between 335 and 448 grams of carbs per day. That’s nuts! And frankly, I don’t even know how I could do that without eating a bunch of highly-processed junk food.
When I say that I eat more carbs, I’m talking about total consumption of 70 to 150 grams per day. That’s still considered “low-carb,” but it’s obviously much more than what a ketogenic diet allows.
It took me a few days to figure out what carbs work best for me, as well as the best time to consume them. Certain carbs (such as plantain chips) make me feel bloated and lead to the classic carb crash. So you have to listen to your body to figure out what works best for you.
I prefer eating carbs after a meal consisting of protein and fat. For example, I might break my fast after an intense workout with four egg yolks, bacon, avocado and a beef patty, and then have a banana and a spoon of honey afterwards.
Should You Eat More Carbs?
Now, at this point you might be asking whether you should be eating more carbs too. And unfortunately, the answer is “it depends.”
If you’re metabolically healthy, as indicated by the following characteristics…
- Low body fat (<15%)
- Low triglycerides (<100) and high HDL (>40)
- Low fasting insulin (<3)
- Low A1c (<5.7)
- Low CRP (<1.0)
…then staying on a ketogenic diet is likely unnecessary and probably counter-productive.
However, if you’re not metabolically healthy or have been diagnosed with a chronic disease, such as obesity or type-2 diabetes, I highly recommend an animal-based, ketogenic diet to fix those issues. That’s because overloading your body with carbohydrates that it can’t properly metabolize will likely worsen those issues.
Check out my ultimate guide on the ketogenic paleo diet for more information on how to get started.
In other words, consider the ketogenic diet (and even a carnivore diet) a reset diet to help you get back to your baseline. Once you’re there, feel free to reintroduce carbohydrates from animal-based sources (e.g., raw honey) and the least toxic plants (such as seasonal fruits).
To learn more about what plants I make a regular part of my diet, check out my plants vs. meat article.
And in addition to focusing on the proper macronutrient intake, don’t forget about micronutrients (i.e., vitamins and minerals).
The best way to fulfill your body’s daily requirement is through organ meats. But if fresh organ meat isn’t in the cards for you, check out my desiccated beef liver supplements that contain over 25 of the most bioavailable vitamins and minerals.
You can use code MK10 to get 10% off your first purchase.
That’s it for today! As always, thanks for your support, stay healthy, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns!
I’m a healthy living and technology enthusiast.
On this blog, I share in-depth product reviews, actionable information and solutions to complex problems in plain and easy-to-understand language.