I always thought it was the protein that made you fart a lot.
Turns out, it isn’t.
It’s the carbohydrates (carbs).
Damn you delicious carbs.
A while ago I decided to see what it would be like to fart a lot less.
That, and see if I could eat all the avocado in the world.
Keto, a low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.
Rich in proteins and fats, the keto diet includes plenty of meats, eggs, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables.
If we broke down the macronutrients (macros) for the keto diet it would look roughly like this; 5 percent carbs, 20 percent protein and 75 percent fat.
Opinions vary on the percentage of carbs to anywhere between 5 to 10 percent but for the sake of my experiment, I decided to aim for 5 percent.
For my diet of 3,071 kcal, that translates to;
- Carbohydrates (total, not net): 37 g/day
- Protein: Up to 150 g/day
- Fat: all of the fat! But actually 262 g/day
A healthy diet and lifestyle of eating should really be everything in moderation. Some of this, some of that, not too much of this and all the vegetables you can eat.
Eat real food. Mostly plants.
But enough of that, let’s see what else I learned as the original two-week experiment turned into a four-week experiment.
A day in the Keto life
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
A few years ago I never use to eat breakfast, often getting up so close to when I had to leave for work that I didn’t have time for breakfast.
But that was the old, dumb Carlos. The new, dumb Carlos gets up at 5 am and fasts for a few hours (~12 h) before having a breakfast at 8 am.
And for 90 percent of those breakfasts, I had greek yogurt with blueberries and raspberries.
Day 1, I feel great, this is fantastic!
It’s hardly a surprise that I feel, “fantastic,” when my breakfast includes a shit-tonne of carbs.
We’re going to have to step this up a notch.
Naughty nut snack
Many people asked me, “Can you eat [insert their favorite food here]?”
To which I often replied, “No, probably not,” without even listening because more often than not the question involved bread in some form or another.
The truth, of course, is more nuanced than that because as it turns out, even people on the keto diet like to argue about what is and what isn’t keto.
Take cashew nuts for instance.
Cashews have a higher net carbohydrate count than many other nuts so depending on your total carb aim, they might have too many to fit into your daily meal plan.
If you want to see something hilarious, toss a few cashew nuts between keto-people and shout, “This is keto, ISN’T IT?”
I ate a healthy handful of nuts; cashews, brazils, walnuts and hazelnuts most days and worried more about my daily macros instead of counting whether cashews where too much or not.
Day 4, Why do my cigarettes taste like absolute arse now? Is it to balance out the fact that my arse smells less due to the decreased farting?
Leafy and lackluster lunch
“Lunch is the most important meal of the day,” said no one ever.
And lucky me, because if anyone ever saw what I did to the concept of lunch, they would think I hated food and everything it stands for.
For what it’s worth, I’m a little bit sorry.
My lunch, for more days than I care to admit, consisted of tuna, scrambled eggs, avocado and a bag of salad.
It doesn’t look very appetising, does it?
It’s actually not too bad.
But if that isn’t keto I don’t know what is.
Day 5, I haven’t pooped yet. I wonder if it has to do with the eight eggs I’ve eaten so far today?
Day 6, no, we’re fine. I just had a poo. It was dark green. Like birdshit.
For those four weeks, I quickly become known as weird-salad-guy in the office, as I poured a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkled some salt into one of those ready-cut salad bags and proceeded to eat the whole bag along with my boring tuna/egg/avocado mix.
Not another nut snack
What’s this? Oh yes, another afternoon nut snack. Add 396 kcal with 5% carbs, 11% protein and 84% fat.
Deliciously dense dinner
Whilst some dinners consisted of sirloin steaks and more salad with feta cheese, other dinners saw the introduction of a dish so delicious that I even made it voluntarily after I had completed the keto experiment.
Just kidding, once I was finished with the experiment I’ve never made it again.
Meet the spectacular—not quite a real pizza—Fat head pizza.
With a base made from ground almonds and melted mozzarella most online sources claim that one or two slices will fill you up.
“Challenge accepted,” I think as I gorge down on four of the six available slices.
Take that you stupid moderation.
It was delicious.
Day 9, I can’t believe how much time I’m saving now that I’m not pooping seven times a day. Which reminds me, is seven times a day normal? I should probably have that looked at.
And that’s a day, by 9 to 10 pm I’m usually in bed and asleep, ready to get up at 5 am again the next morning.
That’s pretty much what my average macros looked like, 2,870 kcal in total with 8% carbs, 25% protein and 67% fat.
Which translates to;
- Carbohydrates (total, not net): 61 g/day
- Protein: 177 g/day
- Fat: 218 g/day
Not quite what I aimed for, but sort-of meeting the guidelines for a ketogenic diet.
The guidelines are inconsistent but seem suggest no more than 50 g/day of carbs.
Is this like [insert another diet here]?
Kärt barn har många namn (A loved child has many names), as the Swedish saying goes.
The Keto diet, share many similarities with other low-carb diets, such as Paleo, Banting and Atkins with the notable difference being that the Keto diet is probably the strictest of all of them.
But the short answer is, “Yes, yes, they’re pretty much the same.”
It’s basically the difference between pronouncing it, “potato,” or, “potato,” as far as I can tell.
Except, during a ketogenic diet, you can’t even look at a potato out of fear of its delicious starchy goodness somehow latching itself unto your carb-deprived body.
To Keto or not to Keto?
At this point, I imagine you’re either thinking, “This sounds great,” or, “This sounds fucking awful, why do you keep doing these things to yourself?”
Or maybe you’re thinking, “Sounds alright, but I could never give up carbs.”
Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.
As the BBC documentary “The Truth about… carbs” shows, people love carbs.
As a nation, we love eating carbs, and they are right at the heart of our diet. The problem is that with 63 percent of UK adults now considered overweight or obese, many experts think that we are eating far too many wrong sorts of carbohydrate. The Truth about… carbs, BBC
See, everyone loves carbs.
But by the sounds of it, carbs don’t love anyone.
For me, reducing the number of carbs I ate made me fart a lot less, and feel a lot better.
Better than I had imagined I would.
Unlike other diets, ketosis is a measurable metabolic state, something I wish I had thought about before starting this experiment—because nothing says devotion to science like ordering a blood testing kit on Amazon.
If I do it again, I’ll be sure to order a blood testing kit first.
Because, let’s face it, I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing this one again.