Darren Mothersele

Software Developer

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Hacker's Diet

May 8, 2013


The ketogenic diet. If you look around you’ll find loads of info about it used to treat epilepsy in children. That was until they discovered the drugs. Drugs are easier to administer than a diet so they switched to using them, despite the fact that the diet is probably more effective and safer!

Ketogenic diet involves putting your body into ketosis. You get energy from ketones instead of glucose. If you’re producing ketones then your body is using fat for energy, instead of using sugar (glucose) and storing the fat instead.

In the book Fat Chance, by a leading endocrinologist, it is argued that hormones play a vital role in all this. It covers the effects of insulin, leptin, and to some extent cortisol. You could say Fat Chance is an update of Pure White and Deadly.

Fat Chance was reviewed by The Lancet medical journal, who said:

"I fear that the serious messages and issues raised by this book are in danger of being dismissed by the way the message is delivered."

So ignoring the americanised, self-helpy, writing style, that book basically explains the whole process of how insulin/leptin works in the body and how sugar fucks everything up.

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do about It by Gary Taubes is another good book on the subject.

I started putting MCT (medium chain triacylglycerols) oil in my coffee. There’s quite a bit of research (and here) about them, but basically I think replacing some of your fat intake with MCT oil shifts the balance of fat in your diet away from LCT to MCT which helps break down fat in your body. I’m not sure exactly how MCT oil works, but I did find that it makes you feel fuller for longer so you actually don’t want to eat as much.

Giving up carbs is hard, and I got headaches for a couple of weeks, but I felt much better and less lethargic while I was doing it. Just thinking about this again is making me want to get back into it… the only downside is it’s hard.

Who would have thought eating pork scratchings could ever get boring?!?

But it did work. I lost 2 stone in under 2 months, and I kept the weight off after I started re-introducing carbs back into my diet.

So, in terms of macro-nutrients, I switched towards Protein and Fat, reducing carbohydrate intake. I used the values in this guide to try and work out how much I should be getting. But, in real life I just tried to eat less than 20g of carb per day. I found the balance between protein and fat by experimenting. I started eating too much protein and not enough fat. That gave me headaches so I had to increate the amount of fat in my diet. Once I got the balance between fat and protein right the headaches went away.

With your macro-nutrient intake sorted then theoretically you should get the micro-nutrients you need too. But, because of modern farming methods, transportation, and loads of other factors, we don’t get all the micro-nutrients we need from our food. So, you need to supplement. For example, almost everyone in the western world has a vitamin D deficiency. I took quite a high dosage of extra vitamin D, about 5000 IU/day.

Final tip, do anything you can to increase your levels of glutathione. This one is hard because your digestive system destroys it so it’s hard to just take it as a supplement. This lypo-spheric suppliment was the only version I found that worked for me but I had to stop taking it because it’s so expensive. I now take NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), which is a precursor to glutathione. I.e. your body uses NAC in the synthesis of glutathione, so if there’s more of that in your body, it’s easier to make more glutathione.

P.s. Drink loads of water.