Ketogenic Diet Benefits For Weight Loss, Fighting Disease & More
Unlike many fad diets that come and go with very limited rates of long-term success, the ketogenic diet (or keto diet) has been practiced for more than nine decades (since the 1920s) and is based upon a solid understanding of physiology and nutrition science. Rather than relying on counting calories, limiting portion sizes, resorting to extreme exercise or requiring lots of willpower (even in the face of drastically low energy levels), the ketogenic diet takes an entirely different approach to weight loss and health improvement. It works because it changes the very “fuel source” that the body uses to stay energized — namely, from burning glucose (or sugar) for energy to dietary fat and, critically, your own body fat after the stage of “ketosis” is reached. Meanwhile, beyond its outstanding potential to help people lose weight and burn off fat stores, research shows that the ketogenic diet helps to fight serious diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s. Table of Contents 1. What Is the Keto Diet? What Is Ketosis? How to Get Into Ketosis What Are the Stages of Ketosis? Does the Keto Diet Work for Women? 2. Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet 3. What Is the Ketogenic Diet Plan? 5. Keto Side Effects and the Keto Flu What Is the Keto Diet? The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet plan that was originally designed in the 1920s for patients with epilepsy by researchers working at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. (1) Researchers found that fasting — avoiding consumption of all foods for a brief period of time, including those that provide carbohydrates — helped reduce the amount of seizures patients suffered, in addition to having other positive effects on body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol and hunger levels. (4) Unfortunately, long-term fasting is not a feasible op Continue reading >>
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Ketogenic Diet: Is The Ultimate Low-carb Diet Good For You?
Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is it safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss. What is a ketogenic diet? In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis). Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones. Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. Carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of the typical American diet. One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Shows Promising Results For All Dementia Stages
Studies show a ketogenic diet can slow and even reverse symptoms of memory loss and cognitive impairment throughout all the dementia stages. You might be asking, “What is a ketogenic diet?” A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet that produces ketones—compounds the body can use to produce energy. Ketones have been shown in studies to be neuroprotective, meaning they “defend” your brain from degenerating. In short, a ketogenic diet is a great way to reverse dementia naturally. Dementia Prevention with a Ketogenic Diet Why does a ketogenic diet show promise? Research clearly establishes a strong link between blood sugar disorders and the various dementia stages, including memory loss, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and Alzheimer’s. The most predominate blood sugar disorders are insulin resistance and diabetes. In fact, the link is so obvious some researchers have labeled Alzheimer’s disease as “type 3 diabetes.” For the majority of Americans, the blood sugar handling system functions poorly thanks to diets heavy on breads, pastas, pastries, cereals, grains, potatoes, sweet coffee drinks, sodas and energy drinks, and desserts of all kinds. The human body simply wasn’t designed to eat sweets and starchy foods in the quantities most people consume today, and the consequences are obvious in the form of overweight and obesity. However, underlying the accumulation of excess body fat is something far more insidious: the swift degeneration and abnormal function of the brain, which leads to the dementia stages of memory loss, MCI, and Alzheimer’s disease. Because glucose and insulin mechanisms in the brain are so impaired by the time one enters into the dementia stages, a ketogenic diet may be a great natural cure for Alz Continue reading >>
Keto Diet Mastery: Your Comprehensive Guide To The Ketogenic Diet
What if you could train your body to burn fat more efficiently and speed up your metabolism without restricting calories? If you’re struggling to lose those last 5 pounds or wondering why the muffin top just won’t budge (despite eating clean and exercising), you may find the answers you’re looking for in this keto diet master guide. What Is the Keto Diet? The ketogenic (aka: “keto”) diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that puts your body in a natural fat-burning metabolic state called ketosis (1). This is done by heavily restricting carbs and focusing on high fat, moderate protein meals (in some cases protein may be also be heavily restricted). According to PubMed, the classical ketogenic diet contains a 4:1 ratio of fat to proteins and carbs. In other words, the principle of the keto diet is to “eat fat to burn fat”. Now, the keto diet is often grouped with other high-fat, low-carb diets such as the Paleo or Atkins diets. But the reason these diets boast fat burning benefits in the first place is because they promote ketosis. Therefore, the ketogenic diet isn’t so much a “diet”, but more so the basis of these diets, and the biochemical reaction that occurs when you train your body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs. While the ketogenic diet has become popular for weight loss, studies have also shown numerous other health benefits of following a keto diet. For example, studies have shown it may help reverse type 2 diabetes and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and autism (2)(3). In fact, the keto diet was first used in the 1920s not as a weight loss diet, but a natural treatment to prevent seizures in epilepsy patients (4). With that said, let’s look closer at how the ketogenic diet can work for dramatic weight loss, and other Continue reading >>
Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe For People With Diabetes?
Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe for People with Diabetes? If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, chances are you’re looking for simple yet effective ways to control your blood sugar. And, if at all possible, without the use of daily shots or medications. As I’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts, exercise is one of the best natural ways to manage blood glucose. But perhaps the most obvious way to keep blood sugar at a safe and consistent level without insulin is to pay special attention to what you eat. And, in the case of diabetes, limiting your carbohydrate intake may be the key. What Is the Keto Diet? At first glance the ketogenic (keto) diet may seem like a crazy idea for type 2 diabetics. After all, many patients are put on diets to help them lose weight. The keto diet is high in fat, but it is very low in carbs, and this combination can help change the way your body stores and uses energy. With this diet your body converts fat instead of sugar into energy, which can improve blood glucose levels while reducing the need for insulin. Ketosis VS Ketoacidosis Ketosis and ketoacidosis are two very different things, which are often confused. But it’s very important you understand the difference. What is ketoacidosis? Ketoacidosis (KA) is a life-threatening condition in which your body doesn’t make enough insulin. This causes you to have dangerously high levels of ketones (substances occurring when the body uses fat stores for energy) and blood sugar. The combination of both makes your blood incredibly acidic, and this can, in turn, change the normal functioning of your internal organs such as your liver and kidneys. Patients suffering from ketoacidosis must get treatment immediately or they could slip into a coma and even die. Ketoacidosis can develop in less than 24 Continue reading >>
Reversing Type 2 Diabetes With Nutritional Ketosis
Virta is a science-based online specialty medical clinic using continuous remote monitoring and intensive coaching to help our patients reverse type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. A unique contributor to our success in this is harnessing and sustaining the metabolic benefits of nutritional ketosis. Admittedly, reversing diabetes is a rather bold goal. By way of contrast, the American Diabetes Association defines type 2 diabetes as a progressive disease whose course at best can be slowed by lifestyle change and medication. Based upon solid science—some old and some new—we beg to differ. Perhaps it’s time for a paradigm change. There are few times in the lives of medical scientists where we have the opportunity to change the course of a major medical disease; and even fewer cases where we actually succeed in doing so. In 1920, Banting’s discovery that injected insulin could control type 1 diabetes (T1D) was such an event. As a result, over the last century, millions of people with T1D have achieved long and productive lives; whereas before 1920 most of them would have succumbed to this insulin-deficiency disease within less than a year. Type 2 diabetes (T2D), on the other hand, is a very different disease that affects hundreds of millions of people. It responds very poorly to injected insulin. Whereas T1D patients cannot make insulin, people with T2D typically make lots of insulin but are resistant to insulin’s effects across a variety of cellular functions. Despite these facts having been known for 5 decades, we are taught that the core components of T2D management are to force the body to make even more insulin or to inject more insulin to overcome the insulin resistance that characterizes this disease. But in study after study, intensive management of type 2 dia Continue reading >>
Extremely Low-carb “ketogenic Diet” Leads To Dramatic Reductions In Type 2 Bg Levels, Medications
Two diets – one severely restricting carbohydrate intake but with no limit on calories, and the other emphasizing low-glycemic carbohydrates and low calories – allowed high percentages of obese type 2 patients in a university study to reduce or even eliminate their diabetes medications (95.2 percent of the patients on the extreme low-carb diet and 62.1 percent of the patients on the low-glycemic diet). Researchers at Duke University Medical Center assigned 84 patients to one of two diets over a 24-week period. The first, called a “ketogenic diet,” restricted carbohydrate intake to 20 or fewer grams per day, a radical amount compared to the ADA’s recommended daily minimum of 130 grams and even to low-carb advocate Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s 30-grams-per-day recommendation. In a ketogenic diet, the body is forced to use fat to provide energy, a process that produces a metabolic product called ketones. The other diet stressed the consumption of low-glycemic foods, which are absorbed slowly by the body and do not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. The diet also severely restricted daily caloric intake to 500 calories. That drastically low number came about because the study was designed to test intense approaches to treating obese people with diabetes whose previous forms of diet and management had not worked. Although both diets produced substantial improvements in patients, the ketogenic diet was clearly more effective. While Duke researchers did not always spell out the actual measurements produced by each diet, they said that the ketogenic group enjoyed lowered A1cs, greater weight loss, and a larger increase in “good” cholesterol compared to the low-glycemic group. The medical center quoted Dr. Eric C. Westman, who led the study, as saying, “It’s s Continue reading >>
How To Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
Do you have type 2 diabetes, or are you at risk for diabetes? Do you worry about your blood sugar? Then you’ve come to the right place. The disease diabetes (any type) means that you have too much sugar in your blood. This page will show you how to best check this. You can normalize your blood sugar naturally as needed – without pills, calorie counting or hunger. Many people have already done so. As a bonus, a normalized blood sugar usually makes you healthier and leaner. Table of contents: A disastrous epidemic Two types of diabetes Normalize your blood sugar Become your own evidence A disastrous epidemic What’s wrong? Why do more and more people become diabetic? In the past, before our modern Western diet, diabetes was extremely rare. The disease is now becoming more and more common. Around the world, more and more people are becoming diabetic: The number of people with diabetes is increasing incredibly rapidly and is heading towards 500 million. This is a world epidemic. Will someone in your family be affected next? Your mother, father, cousin, your child? Or you? Is perhaps your blood already too sweet? Those affected by the most common form of diabetes (type 2) normally never regain their health. Instead, we take for granted that they’ll become a little sicker for every year that goes by. With time they need more and more drugs. Yet, sooner or later complications emerge. Blindness. Dialysis due to faulty kidneys. Dementia. Amputations. Death. Diabetes epidemic causes inconceivable suffering. Fortunately, there’s something that can be done. We just need to see through the mistake that has led to the explosion of disease – and correct it. This can normalize your blood sugar. Many have already succeeded in doing this. If you already know that you are diabe Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet – Diabetes Cure?
[HD: This is the second part of my duo about Diabetes and the Ketogenic Diet. In Part 1, Why This Endocrinologist Hates Diabetes, I discuss…uh…why I hate diabetes. You don’t have to read Part 1 to appreciate Part 2, but I recommend it just for context.] The available strategies for weight management in type 2 diabetics don’t work very well. It’s not that the advice to eat less and move more is bad, but people just aren’t very good at following it in a way that is sustainable, producing lasting results. On top of that, I give them diabetes medications (e.g. insulin) that may impede their progress. So, I ask: what can we do to control blood sugar and reduce weight, which will ultimately lead to better long-term control of glucose levels by reducing insulin resistance? Enter the Ketogenic Diet! Those of you who are familiar with not only my writing style, but also what gets my quack-o-meter dialed up to 11, are probably thinking, “Ooh…I can’t wait to see HD rip KD a new one. Let’s get it on!” As much as I enjoy debunking extreme diets based on lousy/no science (hcg diet, anyone?), I also enjoy presenting ideas that are extreme, but also may have merit. This is one of those times. So what is a ketogenic diet (KD)? There are plenty of sites where you can dig into the details, so I’ll present just a quick overview. In general, it’s a very low-carbohydrate diet that tends to be high in fat. There are various iterations, but a common macronutrient percentage-of-daily-calories breakdown would be 70/20/10 fat/protein/carb. 70% fat?! That sounds revolting! I’m clicking back over to my Twitter feed now. See ya! Listen, I’m with you. I don’t have any desire to eat ketogenically. I trim every last bit of fat off my steak before a bite enters my mouth. Continue reading >>
The Ketogenic Diet And My Type 2 Diabetes
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in October 2008. This morning and yesterday morning my fasting blood sugar was 86. That is a non-diabetic fasting blood sugar. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, the likely answer to curing/controlling it is a high fat, low carb, ketogenic diet and lifestyle. I consider myself cured, but I know there are people out there who don’t like me saying that. To them I say, “Too bad.” My doctor told me that in my current state there is no way, no how that I would be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, so therefore I consider that cured. I began this way of life on March 3, 2014 and by early May 2014 I was off the diabetes medication I was taking, which was 1000 mg of Metformin per day. Initially, upon going off the meds, my blood sugars went up a little for about a week, but then gradually came back down when my body realized it could do the job it needed to do. I have been off the meds for 13 months. I do not poison my body or feed that disease with the food I eat. I eat real food. I eat food that has ingredients I can pronounce. I don’t eat processed food (the packaged high carb sugar laden “food”). I don’t eat artificial sweeteners anymore (although there may be an exception from time to time in a low carb baked good). I don’t eat Atkins bars/Quest bars or shakes anymore. I stick with eggs, bacon, meat, veggies, cheese (I have cut back on that too), nuts and berries very sparingly. I put butter and good oils on my food. I use salt. Let’s take a look at what the ADA says I should eat: Whole grain breads, such as whole wheat or rye whole grain Cereal Oatmeal Grits, hominy or cream of wheat Rice Pasta Tortillas Cooked beans and peas Potatoes Corn Sweet potatoes Winter squash Low-fat crackers Low-fat snack chips Low-fat pretzels Light Continue reading >>
A Low-carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet To Treat Type 2 Diabetes
Go to: Abstract The low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LCKD) may be effective for improving glycemia and reducing medications in patients with type 2 diabetes. From an outpatient clinic, we recruited 28 overweight participants with type 2 diabetes for a 16-week single-arm pilot diet intervention trial. We provided LCKD counseling, with an initial goal of <20 g carbohydrate/day, while reducing diabetes medication dosages at diet initiation. Participants returned every other week for measurements, counseling, and further medication adjustment. The primary outcome was hemoglobin A1c. Results Twenty-one of the 28 participants who were enrolled completed the study. Twenty participants were men; 13 were White, 8 were African-American. The mean [± SD] age was 56.0 ± 7.9 years and BMI was 42.2 ± 5.8 kg/m2. Hemoglobin A1c decreased by 16% from 7.5 ± 1.4% to 6.3 ± 1.0% (p < 0.001) from baseline to week 16. Diabetes medications were discontinued in 7 participants, reduced in 10 participants, and unchanged in 4 participants. The mean body weight decreased by 6.6% from 131.4 ± 18.3 kg to 122.7 ± 18.9 kg (p < 0.001). In linear regression analyses, weight change at 16 weeks did not predict change in hemoglobin A1c. Fasting serum triglyceride decreased 42% from 2.69 ± 2.87 mmol/L to 1.57 ± 1.38 mmol/L (p = 0.001) while other serum lipid measurements did not change significantly. Conclusion The LCKD improved glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes such that diabetes medications were discontinued or reduced in most participants. Because the LCKD can be very effective at lowering blood glucose, patients on diabetes medication who use this diet should be under close medical supervision or capable of adjusting their medication. Go to: Background Prior to the advent of exog Continue reading >>
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The Ketogenic Diet And Diabetes
The ketogenic diet was originally developed almost 100 years ago to treat epilepsy. Nowadays, it is used as a nutrition plan by health-conscious men and women to optimize body composition and athletic performance. Recent research suggests that high fat, very-low carb diets have another benefit: They may help control glucose, triglycerides, insulin, and body weight in people with diabetes. The research below shows the ketogenic diet may be an effective tool you can use to manage symptoms of Diabetes, alongside exercise and medication. Cutting through the Fat: What is Diabetes? Before we get to research, we need to review some basic medical terminology. Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which the body has elevated blood levels its main energy source: a sugar called glucose. There are two reasons why this occurs. In some people, there is insufficient production of a chemical called insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that lower levels of glucose in the blood. People who suffer from low insulin levels have type I diabetes and they comprise approximately 5 to 10% of all diabetics.  Type I diabetes is usually inherited and type I diabetics usually have to inject insulin to maintain proper levels of blood glucose. The other 90% to 95% of people with diabetes are type II diabetics.  In this version, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin for proper function or cells in the body do not react to insulin and take in sugar from the blood. Type 2 diabetes is not inherited. However, lifestyle factors such as high body weight, poor exercise and eating habits all increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  It can be managed by improving dietary and lifestyle habits and also using proper medication.  Diabetes results in a higher concentration of s Continue reading >>
How Atkins Can Stop Or Reverse Diabetes
Numerous studies in a variety of settings show dramatic improvements in blood glucose control and blood lipids in type 2 diabetics consuming a low-carb diet.(1–5). When these studies included a low-fat, high-carb comparison group, the low-carb diet consistently showed superior effects on blood glucose control, medication reduction, blood lipids and weight loss. Weight loss is particularly important because treatment goals for patients with type 2 diabetes always emphasize weight loss if the individual is overweight, yet the drugs used to treat diabetics can increase the risk of weight gain. Unlike medications, a low-carb dietary approach to type 2 diabetes can deliver improved blood sugar control and weight loss. Weight Gain as a Side Effect On its surface, the management of type 2 diabetes seems pretty easy: just get your blood glucose back down into the normal range. But insulin resistance characterizes type 2 diabetes; put simply, the glucose level “doesn’t want” to go down. This means that the body is less responsive to the most powerful drug used to treat it: insulin. So the dose of insulin that most type 2 diabetics are prescribed is sometimes very high. Moreover, because insulin not only drives glucose into muscle cells but also accelerates fat synthesis and storage, weight gain is usually one side effect of aggressive insulin therapy.(6) Other pills and injected medications have been developed to reduce this effect, but on average, the harder one tries to control blood glucose, the greater the tendency to weight gain.(7) Hypoglycemia as a Side Effect The other major side effect of attempting to gain tight control of blood sugar with medication is driving it too low, resulting in hypoglycemia, which causes weakness, shakiness and confusion. If these sympt Continue reading >>
Ketosis… The Cure For Diabetes?
A reduced insulin load diet will lead to normalised blood sugars and improved insulin sensitivity. A reduced insulin load diet can be achieved by reducing carbohydrates, moderating protein and choosing higher fibre foods. Intermittent fasting also reduces insulin load. Measuring your blood sugars is a simple and cost effective way to check that your metabolic health is on track. A diet of nutrient dense, high fibre, high fat foods is the best way to optimise nutrition and minimise the risks associated with diabetes. how to become diabetic… In the “good old days” there were periods of feast and famine. Food was typically eaten with the fibrous packing that it came with. In today’s modern food environment we are encouraged by the food industry (and those sponsored by it) to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, pre-workout meals, post workout stacks, sports gels during exercise, and maybe some Gatorade to speed recovery. Today’s food is plentiful, typically highly processed and low in fibre. Carbohydrate and sugar based foods have a long shelf life, can be transported long distances and therefore cheap. Win, win? Maybe not. As we keep loading our bodies with simple sugars and carbohydrates our pancreas has to work overtime to produce insulin to shuttle excess sugar from the blood to your fat stores. Over time we become insulin resistant and the pancreas can’t keep up. Once your blood sugars get high enough you will be diagnosed with “type 2 diabetes” and put on medication to improve your insulin sensitivity, for a time. If nothing changes in your food intake your insulin sensitivity will continue to deteriorate until you reach a point when you’ll need to inject insulin to keep your blood sugars down. Injecting excessive amounts of insulin will cause you Continue reading >>
Study Shows Ketogenic Diet May Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
If you’ve ever read about health on the internet, you’ve probably seen stories and ads claiming to reverse diabetes. Maybe you saw the article about juicing bitter gourds, or the one that suggests boiling cinnamon powder in water. And isn’t there one out there that suggests rubbing your pancreas with aloe vera twice a day? Maybe you’ve tried one of the above, but hopefully every time you’ve seen the words reverse diabetes, you quickly closed your browser’s tab. However, while there is definitely no way to reverse type 1 diabetes yet, a new study suggests type 2 diabetes really can be reversed (but not by pancreatic massage). Recently, a trial conducted by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek, of The Art and Science of Low Carb, showed the positive effects of a low-carbohydrate diet. Phinney and Volek have been low-carb advocates for some time, and you can see their other research here. This particular trial provides evidence that a low-carb diet can improve blood sugar levels and facilitate weight loss in adults with type 2 diabetes. In almost 60% of participants, medication was decreased or stopped altogether. The study, conducted in Indiana in partnership with Indiana University Health, and published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research publications, looked at 262 people with type 2 diabetes who were also overweight. Each participant restricted their carbohydrate intake to 30 grams or less per day, and they increased fat and protein intake. This practice induces what is known as “nutritional ketosis” and is considered a ketogenic diet, forcing the body to burn fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. According to Diabetes.co.uk, “Previous studies have shown that such ketogenic diets can improve insulin sensitivity and bring many other benefits. How Continue reading >>