Diet Variation

This blog post is an accompaniment to the book Master Weight Loss for more details click here.

If you have been following the book you understand now what keto-adaption is (your body has adjusted to burning fat primarily as its fuel source).

Once you are keto-adapted you may find yourself being able to go longer periods without feeling hungry and maintain pretty consistent energy levels.

When you get to this stage and are managing your weight loss/maintenance well you could try adding in some dietary variation into your schedule. If you are totally stuck on a weight loss plateau this could also help.

What I mean by dietary variation is to add in some different foods, namely the ones you have been missing, carbohydrates. The caveat to this is choose good quality carbohydrates, we’ll get more into that later. Yes, this will mean you’ll be out of ketosis for a small period of time.

Some of the potential benefits to dietary variation is:
• To help prevent you from becoming bored
• Allow you more flexibility in your diet
• To give you more scope on social occasions
• It may be more natural for your body to be out of ketosis for periods of time
• Refuelling your muscles stores

The idea is to create metabolic flexibility to be able to weave in and out of a fat burning state. However, this may not work perfectly for everyone (more on that below).

If you think about it, our ancestors had variation to their diets, it would have changed from season to season. They didn’t have a corner shop or 24 hr supermarket. This would have meant times of famine (no food) where they would have been in ketosis to survive. And also times where there would have been plenty. Like after a good kill when meat was abundant.

Our ancestors would also have had periods of eating more carbohydrates (such as berries and potatoes), as well as times of consuming much fewer carbohydrates. This is unlike today when everything is available all year round. Sure, we don’t know exactly what your ancestors ate but we do know this, they did not eat pizzas, chips, biscuits, fast food and donuts.

Perhaps we can develop some of this metabolic flexibility in ourselves. By simulating periods of not eating (fasting) with periods of eating more food and increasing quality carbohydrates on some days.
The type of carbohydrates I’m referring too would be one portion (80g) of either berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries), sweet potatoes, plantain, lentils and pulses per meal.

If you are wondering how this would work, let me give you an example:

Meal Time Monday  Tuesday Wednesday  Thursday  Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast Fast Keto Fast Fast Fast Carb Fast
Lunch Keto Keto Keto Keto Keto Carb Keto
Dinner Keto Keto Keto Fast Keto Carb Keto

The table above is an example of creating some dietary variation throughout a week. This may help you to also get past a weight loss plateau.

Monday would start with a regular intermittent fast of around 16-18 hrs before having your first meal. Tuesday could consist of 3 smaller ketogenic meals. On Thursday a 24hr fast begins after lunch and ends on Friday at lunch time. Saturday is the day where wholefood carbs can be added.

For example, if you wanted Saturday to be your flexible day with carbohydrates keep to 2-4 portions (80g a portion size) over that day. Eat the carbohydrates with protein and a source of fat.

Alternatively, if you lift weights you may just want to have a source of carbohydrates with your next meal and then go back to your regular ketogenic diet.

This may be something that works for you or not. As with many things in life you’ll have to try it and see for yourself.