On Being a Lab Rat: Fat Doesn’t Necessarily Make You Fat

"Remember, it's the journey not the destination."

YOU GUYS. I have just completed a 9-week stint as a research subject in a research project being conducted by The University of Cincinnati, on the topic of Early Intervention in Cognitive Aging. The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether changes in diet may improve memory ability. I qualified because I am between the ages of 50 and 65, I had a BMI of at least 30, and I was aware of a mild decline in memory ability. These things were confirmed through an initial phone screening.


The long and the short of it is that a ketogenic diet, at least for this research subject, *did* have a positive impact on my memory ability (based on pre- and post-test scores). As a bonus, my scores on the depression inventory improved quite a bit. And as a bonus to the bonus, I lost 21 pounds of unwanted body weight. And the best bonus of all is that I am eating in a way that is healthy for me, with tasty and nutritious food. Oops. One more bonus. I am burning fat for energy now rather than carbohydrates.

Throughout the holiday season, I had a few temptations, especially my own pumpkin cake roll on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I missed having my annual Esther Price candy for Christmas this year. But those losses or deprivations are momentary compared to the energy I have all day long, the positive outlook that has replaced the Downward Dog of Depression, and the excitement of finding and creating new recipes that keep me on track.

Truth is, it’s hard for me to trust myself when I feel good. Feeling crappy is a much more familiar feeling, and much less risky. Nowhere to go but up when I’m down, so there’s always something better out there. When I feel good, I wonder if it’s all going to come crashing down while I’m caught unawares. The journey of this eating decision may require some adjustments along the way. I would never (haha) say that I’ll never eat another donut or lime chip, but I’m very content right now eating my high fat, adequate protein, extra low carb (<20/day) diet and as the number of days I’ve been doing this grows, I gain more confidence and enjoyment of the process.

Research subjects are still being recruited. Even if you don’t qualify, ketogenic eating is available to everyone. What seems to be the biggest stumbling block for people is the transition time between being a carb-burner and becoming a fat-burner. I felt pretty tired and didn’t have much energy until the switch happened. But if you can persevere through those days, the other side is pretty rosy.

Having grown up in the time of “low-fat” everything and being told over and over again how bad saturated fat is for us, sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself that those dietary recommendations came with some strings and haven’t actually produced the results they were supposed to produce.

I feel gratitude for the many organic and grass-fed options that are available these days both in the stores and online. It’s been two months. How long will I do this? What challenges and opportunities will arise as I continue? What might I be able to do in terms of sharing my knowledge, experience, and yummy food with others, either as gifts or as some sort of business? I don’t know the answers, but I’m very willing to live with the questions.

Does a ketogenic diet appeal to you? Do you have hesitations or reservations about it? What questions do you have? While I wait for your answer, I’m going to go make myself some Simple Truth Uncured Hardwood Thick-Slice Smoked Bacon and a couple of Grass-Fed-Hen Eggs. Yum!

2 thoughts on “On Being a Lab Rat: Fat Doesn’t Necessarily Make You Fat

  1. Oh wow! That is exciting news! I’ve eaten Paleo or semi-Paleo for years now…and I realize fat does not make you fat or ill, but sugar sure can! I’ve been watching the Ketogenic diet rise in popularity. Am tempted to try it myself and try once again to tame down my (once again big and bad) carb monster.

    Liked by 1 person

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