Running on fat without sugar

The Sugar Drop protocol – a layman’s method of maintaining blood sugar without carbohydrates during long runs

May 2019: I’ll soon be adapting this method following further revelations, to become a personal protocol to naturally raise ketones and normalise blood sugar prior to long exercises to prevent hypoglycaemia (“hitting the wall”, or “bonking”) for as long as possible whilst consuming absolute minimal carbohydrates.

See also A marathon – just add sugar

Having met my target weight on a ketogenic diet back in 2016, and having discovered many health benefits of this lifestyle I had no desire to go back to my old ways. However, I continued to lose (too much) weight. After some research I discovered the solution was to start working out (particularly resistance / weight training). Having been sedentary for most of my life I found this quite daunting. But in 2017 I discovered that my new diet provided me with more energy than I had felt in decades. I started weight training which stabilised my weight, and later with my excess energy I started treadmill running. In September 2017 I headed to the gym before breakfast and randomly ran 21k over 2:12, stopping not because I could not continue but because I had to get to work. It was then I discovered the nature of “fat-adapted” energy delivery. Since then I have been studying, testing and experimenting to work out the optimal method to keep myself running – without carbs or sugar.

Conventional thinking (based on research going back to the 1970s) suggests that loading up on carbs before an endurance event, then “topping up” during and afterwards is a requirement. My feeling now is that this is a requirement – if your metabolism is “configured” to use dietary glucose [from carbohydrates] as a primary source. However, if you remove carbs for long enough, the body generates its own glucose “on demand” along with ketones, which are predominantly used to fuel the brain. This isn’t a new concept and numerous athletes, body builders have proven this. One of my favourite and most inspiring stories is that of Meredith Loring and Sami Inkinen who rowed 24 hours a day for 45 days over 2,765 miles on a 70% fat diet with less than 10% carbohydrates: Fat chance row

There is no end of further examples online. However, I cannot fool myself into believing I am a top athlete, at forty years old I have only just started exercising. So, the question is:

How far can I go with this?

Continue reading “Running on fat without sugar”

Everything I ate in 2017

The spreadsheet below details everything I ate in 2017 (yes really).  It was a very arduous process, especially given this diet doesn’t include a lot of things out of packets – meaning every new recipe had to be weighed and analysed at ingredient level.  I used MyFitnessPal.  Sometimes things had to be reasonably estimated, sometimes I had to make reasonable data substitutions where no data was available, so this is a rough guide.  All this could have ended in divorce, had my wife not the patience of a saint.

Some interesting takeaways (ha – takeaway) were that I consumed approximately:

  • 831 creamed coffees
  • 257 cups of tea (nearly all with full fat milk)
  • 255 Eggsnogs – a weird breakfast drink I blended myself, recipe coming soon
  • 114 low carb buns (homemade)
  • 160 rashers of bacon
  • 30 kg of butter
  • 120 eggs (probably a lot more in other recipes)
  • 12 kg of cheese
  • 179 lattes – mostly full fat milk
  • Quite a lot of dark chocolate (>90% cocoa) and too many peanuts
Very dark chocolate 90-100% cocoa
Amazing how formerly bitter became the new sweet on a low carb diet

In addition I consumed a lot of great homemade meals too so whilst these numbers are interesting they do not reflect my diet as a whole.  My diet has also changed a fair bit since 2017.

In all I consumed approximately 16 kg of carbohydrates, 46 kg of protein and 75 kg of fat.  That’s 12%, 34% and 54% respectively.  This is a more protein than is generally recommended for an LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diet.  This works OK for me generally, but when I am aiming for performance I target a more ketogenic 10% / 20% / 70% or even 5% / 15% / 80%.

After all that fat all year – how much weight did I put on??
Continue reading “Everything I ate in 2017”