Intro to CSK (Common Sense Keto)

If you are like me you spent years trying every different diet on the planet only to lose some weight and gain it back. The promise of easy sustainable weight loss was so alluring but it never worked for me. So what is wrong with me that all of these people can do it but I can’t? Why are all the people on the commercials doing it but I just fail? Well the secret is that they are either just actors or they are in the honeymoon phase and have not been to the point that you have. They too will likely gain the weight back as well. Everyone can lose weight on nearly any diet. The hard part is keeping it off. There is nothing wrong with you just as I found there is nothing wrong with me. You just have been fooled for so long that you now think that you are the problem. You aren’t. You’ve been deceived and I am going to tell you all the secrets. There is a clear reason that Weight Watchers has less than 2% success rate and even Bariatric surgery has less than a 5% success rate. Right now you are going to learn the secret. Are you ready?

First lets talk about me and what makes me qualified to tell you this secret. I was diagnosed at the age of 5 with ADHD. This was in 1983 so it wasn’t like today where every kid that acts out in school was diagnosed. I was not even in school. I was completely unable to stay still at any point in the day. I was completely untamable. After I was diagnosed my mother was offered various medications but rather than giving them to my very ingenuitive mother decided she was going to treat me naturally. She had me on a strict diet that contained no sugar, artificial colors or preservatives and when I would get out of control she would sit me down with a cup of black coffee. How she figured this out without google I will never understand but she did and I find it amazing to this day.

My parents have been separated since I was 4. I lived with my mom all of my life until I was in the 5th grade when I thought I would give living with my father a chance. Until this point I had been on a strict diet to control my ADHD. When I moved with my father all that changed. We ate poorly and more often then not we ate out at the local truck stop. Even at home it was junk food most of the time. Chips and cookies were always available. Until this point I was always of normal weight and very active. Within 9 months I had gained a huge amount of weight. I had no idea how much until I moved back with my mother and went back to my old school. My friends didn’t even recognize me at first. It was a very difficult time for me. I went from being a pretty popular and happy kid to being constantly teased and tortured by my old friends. I was one of the few fat kids in school at that time.

Over the years my mother tried to get the weight off me but it never worked. I never lost weight. I was always hungry and when she wasn’t around I would just eat anything I could find. We didn’t have junk in the house so I would often eat things like bread with butter and sugar. Anything to make my hunger go away. Probably more than making my hunger go away I was trying to make my feelings go away. I stayed overweight throughout school and into my 20s. I tried going to the gym but never really tried any “diet” really. The gym didn’t do much for me. I met my wife and life went on. I went to school and started working and all seemed well. We decided we wanted to get some family pictures done. When we got them back I was stunned. The person in the photo was a stranger with the biggest head I had ever seen. I could not for the life of me understand how this happened. I went and bought a scale and was devastated by the number. 298 pounds.

I made an appointment and went to see my doctor. I needed help. I asked her what I could do to get this weight off and she ordered some blood tests. I left that day hoping something the tests showed would give me an answer. When the tests came back it showed that I was pre-daibetic. This was heart breaking but at the same time I totally expected it. My father has been diabetic since I was in the 7th grade. My grandmother died of diabetic complications and my brother is also diabetic now. I asked what I could do. I was told to exercise daily and follow the Canadian food guide. I found everything I could regarding the guide and followed it. It didn’t help. I didn’t gain any more weight but I lost nothing. My follow-up tests also showed that my numbers had not improved. I asked her to refer me to a bariatric surgeon and she did.

A few days before my consult something amazing happened. I saw a documentary on TV about the Atkins Diet. It sounded amazing. I can eat all the bacon and lose weight? I’m in. I went out and bought the book and read it cover to cover. I started out with the induction phase which is under 20g of carbs. I cooked all kinds of super fatty meals and ate a breakfast of omelette and bacon and steak every single day. I always ate 3 meals and even snacked on meats and cheese between meals. I never once even looked at calories but I was always eating at least 3 large meals. The first week I jumped on the scale and I was down 14lbs. I was hooked. I kept doing the same thing and week after week the weight kept coming off. Before I knew it, 8 months had passed and I was down 125lbs. This was 2005. Now with Atkins the idea is to do the induction phase for sometime then start adding carbs. I saw no reason to ever do this as it was working so well. If carbs were the problem why would I add them back in? I just stayed at 20g or less for the whole time. It worked.

Never during this 8 months did I set foot in the gym. I didn’t even walk. This was the first time I had ever tried a “diet”. This is part of what made me successful. I didn’t count calories and I didn’t starve. I just ate 3 meals a day until I was stuffed and kept carbs low. Once I had gotten to 175lbs I felt the need to start working out. People were constantly saying I looked too skinny. I have to say though, I was the lightest I had been since middle school but I still had a belly and huge love handles. I was still wearing a size 36 pants. I started going to the gym daily and running daily. I wasn’t losing anymore though. I started running as much as 3 hours a day on a treadmill I bought. Still not losing any more weight. I decided it was time to try something new. I started reading running magazines and fitness magazines and then I found p90x. I started doing that and started following their meal plan. I did see I was starting to put on some muscle which was nice but I was also starting to put on weight. After 90 days I was up from 175lbs to 185lbs. I could see muscles in my arms but my belly and love handles where still there. I decided to try Jenny Craig with one of my coworkers. We ordered all teh food and got started. I was so happy that I could eat these great cookies and pre packaged meals. I didn’t have to cook. It was all awesome. After 1 week I had lost nothing and was starving all the time. I quit. I went back to Atkins. At this point though I figured I had to cut calories to make it work this time so I ate smaller meals. I left the table hungry. I still didn’t lose any more weight. I doubled down and joined crossfit.

I went to crossfit 6 days a week. Loved it. They were big on paleo so I bought all the grassfed beef and sweet potato and made all the amazing paleo deserts with the agave syrup and other great paleo ingredients. We had a challenge at the gym for paleo so I joined and got my body composition tested. I also started running again. I decided I was going to do a marathon and started running huge miles along with crossfit and paleo. After 3 months of paleo and running I went back to get my bodyfat tested. I was happy to see I had lost the 10lbs I had gained over the last 6 months but very unhappy to see that 4 of those 10lbs was muscle. That is not what I wanted to see. I decided I better increase my protein intake. Other than that I kept on. One day I was out for a 30k run and it was harder than normal. I pushed thought though. No pain no gain as they say. I got to 29 of 32 KM we were running and just could not take another stride. I went into a coffee shop to use the washroom and when I urinated it was brown. I called my wife and had her take me to the hospital. I had Rhabdomyolysis. This is when the muscles break down and release toxins into the blood and it poisons the kidneys. I stopped training for the full marathon and decided to do the half instead. Great idea.

I figured this had to be something to do with the diet so I went back to Atkins again. I was fully into counting calories at this point though. I was now watching my calories and my carbs. Still below 20g a day but I was trimming calories as well. I had gotten down to 1500 calories a day and was still not losing any weight. I was supremely frustrated. I saw another program online and they seemed to be aimed at crossfitters. I thought great that is for me. It was not low carb all the time but advised loading with carbs around the workouts. I bought their materials and read it all. It was not specific on how many carbs to eat around workouts and exactly when to eat them but just that you needed to test and see what worked for you. I tested and played and toyed but it just didn’t work. I got no leaner and my performance was not getting much better either. Back to Atkins. I stayed with atkins and my weight stayed about the same. I was pretty lazy with it and didn’t really track but still made a conscience effort to keep calories in check by eating smaller meals. I did seem to drop a bit of weight but nothing significant. I decided that it just wasn’t worth all the hassle and gave it all up and ate what I wanted and drank when I wanted. Before long I was up to 225lbs. My performance was not better.

This is when I found out about keto. I knew the term ketosis from Atkins. They spoke about entering ketosis when you limit yourself to 20g of carbs but not much deeper than that. I started reading everything I could. I realized that this was essentially what I had been doing for years but a bit more refined with keeping protein moderate and fats high. I could do this. What do I have to lose. I decided and January 1st of 2016 I jumped right into it. I ate 80% fat, 15% protein and 5% carbs and ate 3 meals a day. I ate until full at every meal. Within 30 days the change was amazing.

I jumped even further down the rabbit hole. I started reading every article and book I could get my hands on. I experimented with every strategy. I spent almost a year testing various fasting techniques. We will get to my many experiments later. As of now, I am at my lowest weight I have been in years. I achieved this without fasting. Without skipping meals. It even had something involved that was not keto at all and something that people will say cannot be done. All this you will learn about in time. Through this journey I have learned many things. I have learned that my own bias has to be kept in check and that there is more to health than weight loss.

In the past 2 years I have been reading every study and every book about nutrition that I can get my hands on. I have also completed 2 different certifications in sports nutrition, I have completed my Crossfit level 1 trainer certificate and hopefully by the time this reaches you I will have completed my 2 year course to become a Registered Holistic Nutritional Practitioner. For years I have been using my experience to help others in my community as well as on the various forums and facebook groups I have been part of. In June of 2017 I started my own nutritional counceling business. Since then I have continued to learn more and test the boundaries of nutrition and in the process have helped thousands of people break through weight loss plateaus and learn that losing weight and being healthy does not have to mean starvation. In September of 2017 I launched my own Facebook group called Common Sense Keto. Within 10 months it has reached 126,000 members and continues to grow at a pretty astounding rate. I use this platform to help many more thousands of people through my constant research and experimentation.

I hope that gives you some insight into who I am and why I feel I am qualified in providing you with all of this valuable information. In the rest of this document you will learn various ways to lose weight but more importantly how to gain your health and maybe even to think outside the box and take something out of every groups strategies. Every different group wether it is vegans or ketonians have many ideas that are rooted in truth but they all seem to be missing something. I think that something is Common Sense.

What is keto? Since there are complete books dedicated to this question, I won’t spend long on it but I want to give you the basis of it and introduce you to my definition of it.

Keto, or the Ketogenic Diet, is a diet that actually replicates a fasted state. This is something that I have found through research that many in the ketogenic space have not yet connected the dots on yet. The idea is that you keep carbs low enough, fat high enough and protein just at the adequate level. This will mimic the body using mostly fat as fuel and to the body this means that there is no food coming in and that means starvation. The reason why it thinks this is because in evolutionary history when we would go days without experiencing a state of high insulin (from eating high protein or high carbohydrate foods) this would mean that food was unattainable. This triggers several responses. The first response is to ramp up production of ketones. Ketones are compounds created to replace glucose as the primary fuel source for the body. There are certain parts of us that are happy to use fat as fuel but other parts like the brain and red blood cells need some glucose. The brain likes glucose but is actually very content to use these ketone bodies as an alternate fuel source. There is some debate on wether the brain can use only ketones and even how much, if any, glucose it still needs. Ketone bodies are created by fat oxidation. I won’t get into the process of this as it is complex and requires at least a basic understanding of chemistry and human physiology. Just know that when we are running on fat one of the byproducts are ketones and the body can use these as an alternative fuel in the absence of excessive glucose.

Preventing water retention and Edema: The ADH connection

I have been forever dealing with people that have problems with edema or just general fluid retention. I have known it has something to do with blood sodium concentration but not the exact mechanism behind it. Here I aim to explain it better and provide a better understanding of why it happens and a possible solution.

ADH (Anti-Diuretic Hormone) is a hormone released in from the pituitary gland that regulates the kidneys reabsorption of water in relation to plasma osmolarity. Plasma osmolarity is the concentration of electrolytes (potassium and sodium primarily) in the blood. We have osmoreceptors that keep very tight measure of this and when the plasma osmolarity increases (too much electrolytes) we release ADH to prevent the kidneys from excreting more water so the concentration decreases to maintain homeostasis. The opposite is true. When plasma osmolarity decreases, ADH should reduce to allow the kidneys to release water. This is how the body keeps control of electrolyte balance.

For some reason, people with edema seem to have a malfunction in the regulation of ADH. They likely have a low concentration of electrolytes, either from not taking enough sodium and potassium or drinking too much fluids, which should have them in a state of low ADH so kidneys can let the fluid out and correct the balance but for some reason they have higher ADH and it is causing the kidneys to reabsorb the fluid keeping the concentration high. The next thing that happens when you can’t correct through urination is the large intestine will stop pulling water out of the stool which could result in diarrhea. I doubt this is happening in people with edema though as they swell and I do believe that ADH would downregulate this action as well. The next thing that happens is the part that causes the edema. Water always wants to flow to a place of higher electrolyte concentration. The blood is can be changed easily but one place that cannot is the intracellular space. This level is maintained pretty constant. So if fluid wants to flow into the cells to get to the higher concentration that means you get all of your cells filling with fluid that cannot escape. That is the definition of fluid retention. The question remains, what can we do about it? I hope to get there by the end of this article.

Something else that causes release of ADH is drop in blood pressure. This explains somewhat why women experience bloating during menstruation. Loss of blood would lower blood pressure and release ADH which would reduce the excretion of water and make you hang onto water. Another thing that causes a release of ADH is nausea and vomiting. If you are feeling nauseated the body shunts out ADH to tell the body that it is about to lose alot of fluid through vomiting so make sure to hang onto any fluid we can so not as to let electrolytes go out of whack.

There is a test you can take with your Doctor to determine the ADH levels. Conveniently enough it is called an ADH test. Another way you can determine if this is an issue is to essentially dry fast for a day to see if your edema goes away and you lose weight. Keep sodium levels as close to normal as you can and restrict fluid as low as possible but to a max of 17oz total. If the edema goes away and you drop a bit of weight it means you may have excess ADH.

Fiber – if there was a prize for most poops then fiber would be beneficial

We have been told forever that fiber is going to prevent cancer and keep our colon healthy. Unfortunately the evidence for this is only bias, fairytales and poor quality correlational epidemiology.

The only studies that show fiber is of any benefit are studies using food questionnaires. These questionnaires ask people what they had to eat over the last year or many years. How reliable is this data to begin with? Can you remember how many cups of broccoli you ate in the last year? I can’t remember what I ate last week let alone specific amounts over a year of a specific food. Also people lie. They want people to think they eat better than they do.

So these studies take all this data and they break the people up

Why do ketones drop when you eat carbs

Why do ketones drop so fast when you eat carbs?

This is something most people wonder but I’ve never seen an answer. I now know. 

I was under the assumption, as most people are, that insulin clears ketones somehow and the use of them stops but that is not the case I guess. 

Insulin merely inhibits ketogenesis, the creation of new ketones, but it actually increases Ketolysis, the metabolism of ketone bodies, in non-hepatic tissue. 

So insulin does stop you from making new ketones but it increases the use of them by tissue like muscle that use them well. Because the supply stops but the demand increases they clear very quickly. 

This is why athletes are seeing performance increases from exogenous ketones. 

They can’t use fat as efficiently when consuming glucose for sport so they are relying mostly on glucose which of course has limited availability. When ketones are introduced they can be quickly used in muscle during periods of aerobic activity and glucose can be spared for anaerobic activity. 

Very interesting.