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Can I hack my ketogenic diet to use bodyfat for energy if I don't get enough fat in my diet?

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Updated about 17 hours ago
Created April 02, 2014 at 11:07 PM

I am a 20 year old 6'1" male, and I recently gained ~30lb of fat as a side effect from an unsuccessful trial of medication for my hormone issues. I'm now at about 200lb, and my healthy bodyweight was always around 170-180lb. I'm currently maintaining my bodyweight on a 2000kcal/day VLC ketogenic diet, with a macro ratio of 68% Fat/30% Protein/2% Carbohydrates. I'm following a ketogenic diet because it's the only thing that helps my fatigue and hypoglycemia that was caused by hormonal issues and other recent medical problems. Also, I'm currently treating SIBO, and it's easier to eat a GAPS/low-FODMAP diet when I'm in ketosis. I want to lose the fat and get down to my previous BF% in as short a period of time as possible, so I can then maintain my bodyweight without needing a caloric deficit and causing stress to my body.

I want to minimize muscle loss, which will require me to eat higher amounts of protein since I have a fairly large amount of muscle mass to maintain. I currently eat 150g/day of protein to maintain a ketogenic macronutrient ratio, but I should probably increase this to at least 200g while I'm in a large caloric deficit. I want to decrease my calorie consumption as much as possible and lose weight at a faster rate than would normally be recommended, because it's important to minimize the amount of time that I spend in a hypocaloric diet due to its stressful effects. Thus, I will need to eat a much lower amount of fat. However, I want to remain in as deep a state of ketosis as possible for the neurological benefits.

If I temporarily eat a higher amount of protein while eating a lower amount of fat from MCT's, will I produce adequate ketones from the bodyfat that I'm burning in a large caloric deficit?

For example, let's say that I decrease my daily calorie intake to 1400kcal. 800kcal of this is from the 200g of protein, so that leaves 600kcal for fat, which would come from 6T (84g) MCT oil to maximize ketone production. Of course, I'll also make sure to get all essential nutrients and electrolytes. Once I get back to a normal BF%, I'll revert back to a normal ketogenic diet at maintenance calories with less protein and more dietary fat.

Since I'll be at a ~600-1000kcal energy deficit, is it possible that I'll metabolize enough bodyfat into ketones to stay in deep ketosis and maintain decent energy and neurological function? Is there any other way that I might achieve this goal? I've considered a PSMF like in Lyle McDonald's Rapid Fat Loss Handbook, but I'm already dealing with neurological and metabolic damage, so I think it's probably a bad idea to eliminate dietary fat altogether.

I'm open to all thoughts and ideas. Thanks for your help.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9
245 · April 03, 2014 at 1:02 AM

I don't think anyone without their own laboratory does.

Best way to figure it out would probably be just to experiment.

E0eabc01d0470153d2c4d10921580c77
0 · April 03, 2014 at 12:32 AM

That's pretty much what I'm asking, except I'll still be consuming some MCT oil to increase ketone production.

I agree that it's probably possible at some level, but there must be some point at which I can't burn fat at a fast enough rate to maintain ketone production and energy levels. Ideally, I would eat the minimum amount of fat to make up for the difference between ketone requirements for energy and the ketones that are generated from burning bodyfat.

However, I don't know how to calculate the optimal macronutrient intake for this equilibrium

E0eabc01d0470153d2c4d10921580c77
0 · April 02, 2014 at 11:30 PM

Sorry, I probably didn't word the question very well.

I don't mean that I want to hack my body to burn bodyfat over consumed fat; I'm asking if I can use the ketones from my bodyfat for energy when I'm in a caloric deficit and not getting enough dietary fat. Or, will the high protein/fat ratio of in my diet kick me out of ketosis even though I'm in a large caloric deficit?

I agree that ketogenic diets aren't ideal for weight loss and metabolic rate, but I'm also using it for its neurological benefits and because I'm on a GAPS/low-FODMAP diet.

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2 Answers

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9
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245 · April 03, 2014 at 12:09 AM

So your asking if the ketones from your body will be able to sustain your neurological benefits while you're losing weight in the absence of significant dietary fat?

(Just to clarify for others, I can't answer this)

If I had to guess I would imagine so...as the body probably evolved to be ketotic specifically so it could be in ketosis while you're in a caloric deficit.

edit: Damn default reply box has gotten the best of me again. :(

E0eabc01d0470153d2c4d10921580c77
0 · April 03, 2014 at 12:32 AM

That's pretty much what I'm asking, except I'll still be consuming some MCT oil to increase ketone production.

I agree that it's probably possible at some level, but there must be some point at which I can't burn fat at a fast enough rate to maintain ketone production and energy levels. Ideally, I would eat the minimum amount of fat to make up for the difference between ketone requirements for energy and the ketones that are generated from burning bodyfat.

However, I don't know how to calculate the optimal macronutrient intake for this equilibrium

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9
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245 · April 02, 2014 at 11:11 PM

Not 100% sure what you're asking but..

No you can't hack your body to burn bodyfat over consumed fat. (It's the opposite..that's just how it works)

A possibly noteworthy point is that while ketogenic diets do maintain muscle mass well they are not ideal for weight loss, assuming weight loss is your primary goal perhaps you should look up ideal macro ratios for that.

E0eabc01d0470153d2c4d10921580c77
0 · April 02, 2014 at 11:30 PM

Sorry, I probably didn't word the question very well.

I don't mean that I want to hack my body to burn bodyfat over consumed fat; I'm asking if I can use the ketones from my bodyfat for energy when I'm in a caloric deficit and not getting enough dietary fat. Or, will the high protein/fat ratio of in my diet kick me out of ketosis even though I'm in a large caloric deficit?

I agree that ketogenic diets aren't ideal for weight loss and metabolic rate, but I'm also using it for its neurological benefits and because I'm on a GAPS/low-FODMAP diet.

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