• Julie Allesch, IHP

Why I Am No Longer Keto

During the one year that I ate ketogenic, I loved being free from the cravings for sugar, and enjoyed the mental clarity that using ketones as energy provided. My only exercise during that time had been long, calm walks, and I could easily walk even while fasted if I wanted to. But I wanted to increase my strength & fitness, so I joined a gym and started incorporating resistance training and some high-intensity intervals. But while ketones were great for long, aerobic walks, they did not serve me well when I transitioned to the higher-intensity activities which were anaerobic, needing a quicker form of energy better supplied by glucose.

Kettle-bells, battle ropes, sprints, and weight training are all anaerobic activities.

At the same time, I was deep into my studies of the Sympathetic Nervous System, and learning that Stress is more than a word to casually throw around when we are having a bad day. Our brain perceives stress and initiates a cascade of events that release the stress hormones norepinephrine and cortisol into our bloodstream. These stress hormones begin our “fight or flight” response which increases our breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar.

The body makes glucose no matter what, when our Sympathetic Nervous System is activated for “fight or flight,” because it is a quicker energy source than making ketones. Where does the glucose come from? First from the glucose in our blood which is supplied from eating carbohydrates, next converted from the glycogen stored in our liver and muscles, and lastly the body can ultimately use muscle if it needs to, entering a more catabolic state.

Both forms of energy have their purpose. It is a better goal to rebalance our body so that it can switch between ketones and glucose as the body demands, rather than try to run completely on just one fuel source. Because life just happens! And some activities in life are more stressful than others. I am grateful that I learned that eating low-carb for a little while is a great tool to be used for the short-term, and it will help us lose weight and transform our body. But long-term, and especially once our bodies are rebalanced, carbohydrates are beneficial too.

I enjoy eating the rainbow of abundant vegetables and some fruit, supplying my body with good nutrition, anti-oxidants and yes even beneficial carbohydrates. I also enjoy high-quality protein and healthy fat. Let’s work on giving our body what it needs, so that we can have abundant energy and vitality, allowing us to serve those we love.

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