Keto Diet as A Productivity Super Hack
Keto Diet As A Productivity Super Hack — 10 Game-Changing Benefits
At first, keto is hard. Then, you will love it.
From micro-dosing chemical compounds to establishing solid rituals, I’ve tried a plethora of weird hacks to enhance my productivity and cognitive performance.
7 month ago, along this journey of optimization, I stumbled on a book titled: Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar — Your Brain’s Silent Killers.
The promise of this book was just captivating: No more mental fog, increased energy, laser focus, better sleep, you name it. Basically whatever you need in your toolbox for massive productivity.
Fast-forward to 7 months later, the keto diet ranks as my top productivity hack and keto is now a part of my identity.
Having the productivity lenses on, here are 9 marvelous benefits of the keto diet you can count on.
First, a brief look at the ketogenic diet
What is the ketogenic diet
No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office. — George Bernard Shaw
We live in a carbohydrate-loving society. When you eat carbs, your body converts them into glucose (read Sugar). Then your pancreas secretes insulin which drives the glucose into your cells for energy consumption. The same insulin, converts, and stores the unburnt glucose into fat.
This story utterly changes in the keto diet.
In keto, you significantly limit your carbohydrate consumption to constitute merely 5% of your daily calorie intake.
The majority of your daily calorie (75%) comes from healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, butter, animal fat, etc.) and the remaining 20% will come from protein.
After several days — when your body consumes the last remnants of glycogens (carbohydrates stores) — your liver starts breaking down fats into ketones to provide fuel for your cells. This process is called ketosis.
When in ketosis, instead of glucose, your body uses the ketones as its energy source.
And here’s what I love about it.
The fuel that these ketones provide is like the rocket fuel and it brings you a whole different experience. Now let’s look at some of the benefits of this rocket fuel and the keto diet.
8 Game-Changing Benefits of the Keto Diet
Keto diet is like the holy grail of health. It is used to reverse type II diabetes, fight cancer, etc. And more recently, the keto diet is considered as a powerful option in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and even autism.
Fortunately, I just had to use the keto diet for productivity purposes. And here are the benefits.
1. Far, Far more Energy
This one excites me the most. When I am not in keto, I have to take a couple of naps during the day to stay sharp. Having lunch is like having sleeping pills and at the end of the day, I often feel lethargic (I have 12+ hours workdays).
When in keto, however, I feel like my body is running on nuclear power. I no longer require naps during the day, lunch doesn’t function as a sleeping pill, and when I arrive home, I can still continue working.
2. Laser Focus and Mental Clarity
The mental clarity that I experience feels like observing the world through a full HD screen. The effect of the keto diet on mental performance is so prominent that even navy SEALS are using it to be even more effective.
There are two reasons that the keto diet shine when it comes to focus and energy.
The first reason is that in keto you remove a myriad of toxins that you may have in an ordinary diet. For instance, many grains (like wheat) contain gluten which has significant amounts of glutamate. Glutamate is an excitotoxin. Namely, it overexcites and kills or damages brain cells the results of which include brain fog.
The second reason involves the production of ketone bodies. When in ketosis, the liver produces beta-hydroxybutyrate (beta-HBA), which in the words of Dr. Perlmutter “is the most important fat for brain energy utilization.” (this is the rocket fuel I mentioned earlier.)
3. No More Ups and Downs
The problem with regular diets is the ebb and flow of your energy level. You drink a sip of coke and your blood gets filled with glucose and your energy touches the roof; and then, of course, it crashes down and you crave more sweets.
I used to experience these annoying ups and downs every day. I would realize my lack of energy through two signs: either I would crave food, or more prominently, I would mentally be bored.
When your body runs on ketones, however, you will enjoy a steady flow of energy throughout the day.
The reason is that in keto when your body runs out of the fuel (e.g. the fat you provided by having breakfast) it will tap into your stores of body fat and converts them into keto. This is unlike the regular diet where you have to provide your body with food to help it restore your energy.
4. Rapid Weight Loss
Even though it was not among my goals at all, I lost 15 kilos (33lbs) in the first four months.
I must note that part of the initial rapid weight loss is due to losing body water. And second, I do regular intermittent fasting in keto which helps you boost your way into ketosis and burn fat on a rapid rate (more on this later.)
It is perfectly fine to do keto just to lose weight — as many people do — the efficacy of keto in weight loss is just fascinating.
5. No More Cravings
Eating carbohydrates makes you hungry. If you don’t eat carbohydrates, there is no hunger.” ― Jimmy Moore
Before keto, craving for lunch used to be a huge buzz killer for me. Hunger and craving for food would emit noise on my focus. Even though I enjoyed the lunch, it would eat away almost 2 hours during which I could be productive.
So, every day, I would torment myself for losing productivity either due to not having lunch or due to having lunch. Not to mention the lethargy that would hit me after the eating (often happens when you have a carbs-heavy meal which I had.)
But when in keto, and your body is fat-adapted, you will barely feel hunger or cravings.
Even if I choose to have lunch, a keto meal just provide me with more energy and focus. I would not trade the lightness that comes after a keto meal with a burger with extra cheese.
6. Better Sleep — Much Better Sleep
I’ve tried many weird techniques — from polyphasic sleep to Dr.Seth Robert’s elephant tranquilizer cocktail — to reduce my body’s need for sleep. So far, the most stable result I’ve had, without feeling suicidal after a while, has been with the keto diet.
I used to take 8–8:30 hours of sleep each night with a couple of naps during the day. (Too much, I know. It agonized me for a long time). But now, I’m up and running after 7 hours of sleep.
Better yet, I no longer need naps during the day.
7. Keto is A Willpower Game-changer
Willpower and discipline have been another obsession of mine. I’ve written many articles on it capturing my experiences. I’ve got to admit, when I read about the keto diet and its effect on metabolism, it put everything I knew about willpower under a huge question mark.
Perhaps you’ve heard that willpower is like a muscle that is worn out when you use it. It’s true. For the willpower to work, studies suggest, you need brain fuel which is primarily glucose.
And what is so mind-boggling?
In keto, your brain fuel does not come from glucose any longer!
Your brain uses ketones which I said earlier are like rocket fuel.
One way I profoundly feel this increased willpower is through monitoring my working hours. In a normal diet, around 5–6 PM I used to lose the mood for working. When I lose the mood, I know my willpower is depleted.
When on keto, however, I easily work past 9:00 PM without feeling any resistance or boredom.
I know, sounds too good to be true, but fortunately, it is.
8. Keto Effects Cascades Throughout Your Life
In one of the chapters of his classic book Power of Habits, Charles Duhigg talks about keystone habits:
Keystone habits are “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.” — Charles Duhigg
Embarking on keto was pushing the first domino to a better life for me. I rebooted my meditation habit, and after a couple of months, I started doing daily workouts.
So, keto can be the first step of massive changes in your lifestyle.
Keto is not a diet. I believe it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle that optimizes your health, focus, and energy.
Whether you aspire to trim your body, reverse diabetes, or boost your productivity and cognition, keto could work for you. You just have to give it a try (at least two months.)
If you make it to the end of the second month, I believe you won’t go back to your previous eating habits. The benefits are just too enormous to ignore.
And to make it to the end of the second month, you must have a strong why. Keto went sharply against all my eating habits. But, my passion for productivity paved the way.