Is A Low-carb, High-fat Diet Best For You?
About halfway through the training cycle for one of my clients’ first marathon attempts, I got an email with one simple question: “Is it helpful to eat fewer carbs and more fats for energy on my long runs?” This was a few years ago, and I had not heard much about distance runners following a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet. This is sometimes referred to as the ketogenic diet (although the two may be different). Given this runner’s training progress at that point, I didn’t want to switch it up. Given the limited data on the benefits of a LCHF or ketogenic diet for runners, I didn’t see any reason to recommend either one. But we can burn fat for fuel, right? Yes. Long-distance runners—training for half, full or ultra-marathons—are much more likely than their sprinting counterparts to use fat for fuel while running. Training for endurance often means that many training runs are “easy,” or “long and slow,” with relatively low intensity. Some refer to this as the “fat-burning zone” for cardio exercise, or an aerobic workout—low-intensity exercise, during which the body is able to take the time to burn fat for fuel. Conversely, in an anaerobic state–i.e. high-intensity exercise, like sprinting—the body naturally turns to carbohydrates for fuel, because it can quickly and efficiently do so to provide bursts of energy that both the brain and muscles need to continue pushing hard. Does science support a LCHF or ketogenic diet for runners? Research has yet to show that a LCHF or ketogenic diet is beneficial to sport performance or health (for the average adult) in the long term. That said, a recent study through Ohio State University did demonstrate that endurance athletes who followed a “low-carb” diet (for an average time of 20 months) “bu Continue reading >>
The Ketogenic Diet Vs The Atkins Diet: Is Ketosis Better Than Atkins?
It’s not uncommon for the ketogenic diet and the famous Atkin’s Diet of the 1990’s to get lumped into the same conversation as one and the same. But are they actually different, and is one healthier than the other? Which is more impactful over the long term? There are definitely differences between the two diets, and the real comparison might surprise you! But first, let’s step back and look at them individually. The Ketogenic Diet The ketogenic diet was founded all the way back in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the famous Mayo Clinic. The diet was initially used because it was discovered to be highly effective in treating epilepsy. The principles of the ketogenic diet are based on eating a specific percentage of macronutrients: high fats (60%), adequate protein (35%), and low carbohydrates (5%), to force the body to use what are called “ketone bodies” for energy. In the absence of carbohydrates for an extended period of time, our liver converts fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies, also just simply called “ketones.” Ketones can then be processed into ATP, which is the energy currency of the cells. Now, an elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood leads to a state known as nutritional ketosis. Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet There are several ways the ketogenic diet can help the health and lifestyles of those who follow it. Here are some of the biggest advantages: Blood Sugar Stabilization The ketogenic diet actively helps to lower glucose levels and improve insulin resistance. Without having frequent carbohydrate intake, blood sugar levels can stabilize more rapidly. Trigger Fat Burning Ketogenic diets can also be very effective for fat loss because they ultimately reset your body’s “enzymatic machinery” to burn fat as its primary fuel source Continue reading >>
Not to be confused with slow carb diet. This article is about low carbohydrate diets as a lifestyle choice or for weight loss. For low-carbohydrate dietary therapy for epilepsy, see Ketogenic diet. Low-carbohydrate diets or low-carb diets are dietary programs that restrict carbohydrate consumption. Foods high in easily digestible carbohydrates (e.g., sugar, bread, pasta) are limited or replaced with foods containing a higher percentage of fats and moderate protein (e.g., meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds) and other foods low in carbohydrates (e.g., most salad vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard and collards), although other vegetables and fruits (especially berries) are often allowed. The amount of carbohydrate allowed varies with different low-carbohydrate diets. Such diets are sometimes 'ketogenic' (i.e., they restrict carbohydrate intake sufficiently to cause ketosis). The induction phase of the Atkins diet is ketogenic. The term "low-carbohydrate diet" is generally applied to diets that restrict carbohydrates to less than 20% of caloric intake, but can also refer to diets that simply restrict or limit carbohydrates to less than recommended proportions (generally less than 45% of total energy coming from carbohydrates). Definition and classification Low-carbohydrate diets are not well-defined. The American Academy of Family Physicians defines low-carbohydrate diets as diets that restrict carbohydrate intake to 20 to 60 grams per day, typically less than 20% of caloric intake. A 2016 review of low-carbohydrate diets classified diets with 50g of carbohydrate per day (less than 10% of total calories) as "very low" and diets with 40% of calories from carbohydrates as "mild" low-carbohydrate diets. Used for Continue reading >>
Is A Calorie Deficit Necessary?
This is a summary/extract from The Ketogenic Diet by Lyle McDonald. A popular belief states that fat can be lost on a ketogenic diet without the creation of a caloric deficit. This implies that there is an inherent ‘calorie deficit’, or some sort of metabolic enhancement from the state of ketosis that causes fat to be lost without restriction of calories. There are several mechanisms that might create such an inherent caloric deficit. The loss of ketones in the urine and breath represents one mechanism by which calories are wasted. However, even maximal excretion of ketones only amounts to 100 calories per day. This would amount to slightly less than one pound of extra fat lost per month. Additionally since ketones have fewer calories per gram (4.5 cal/gram) compared to free fatty acids (9 cal/gram), it has been suggested that more fat is used to provide the same energy to the body. To provide 45 calories to the body would require 10 grams of ketones, requiring the breakdown of 10 grams of free fatty acids in the liver, versus only 5 grams of free fatty acids if they are used directly. Therefore an additional 5 grams of FFA would be ‘wasted’ to generate ketones. However, this wastage would only occur during the first few weeks of a ketogenic diet when tissues other than the brain are deriving a large portion of their energy from ketones. After this point, the only tissue which derives a significant amount of energy from ketones is the brain. Since ketones at 4.5 calories/gram are replacing glucose at 4 calories/gram, it is hard to see how this would result in a substantially greater fat loss. Anecdotally, many individuals do report that the greatest fat loss on a ketogenic diet occurs during the first few weeks of the diet, but this pattern is not found in resea Continue reading >>
Why You’re Not In Ketosis
As the COO of Diet Doctor and low-carb enthusiast for years, you would have thought I’d nailed ketosis years ago. I haven’t, and here’s why. Am I still in ketosis? To get into ketosis, the most important thing is to eat maximum 20 grams of digestible carbs per day. When I went low carb in 2012, I followed that advice to the letter – replacing all high-carb foods like potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, legumes, fruit, juice, soda, and candy, with eggs, dairy, meat, vegetables, fats and berries – counting every carb I consumed. I felt great – effortless weight loss, no stomach issues, tons of energy and inspiration. But over time, something changed – I no longer felt as great as I used to. Until recently, I had no idea why. The journey to find out started with a simple question: Am I still in ketosis? The moment of truth At a Diet Doctor dinner a while ago, our CTO, Johan, gently challenged me. “Bjarte, you’re eating quite a lot of protein. Have you measured your ketones lately?”. “No”, I said, feeling slightly defensive, “I’ve never measured my ketones. Should I?”. It was wake-up time. Johan and I grabbed two blood-ketone meters from a dusty drawer, pricked a finger each, and touched the ketone strips. His results came out first – 3.0 mmol/L – optimal ketosis. He looked happy. It was my turn. The ketone meter made a weird beeping sound and the screen started blinking – 0.0 mmol/L – no ketosis whatsoever. What?! I’d been eating strict low carb for years, how could I not be in ketosis? I felt slightly embarrassed, but mainly relieved. Was this the reason I no longer felt great? Experiment 1: Eating less than 60 grams of protein a day Several of my colleagues agreed with Johan – I was eating too much protein. To test that hypothesis, I s Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diets And Migraines: What You Need To Know
The links between diet and migraine are well established. Most migraineurs recognize certain foods that either trigger an attack or make an episode worse. Avoiding personal food triggers soon becomes a lifestyle choice that’s vital in managing the condition. Research into diet and the ways in which what we eat affects our bodies is constantly evolving, with new or alternative ideas appearing all the time. The ketogenic diet, while not new, has been found to have a beneficial effect for some migraine patients, and research into how this diet works provides interesting links to migraine causes that may encourage sufferers to experiment. How Does a Keto Diet Work for Migraines? At its most basic level, a ketogenic diet is one that stimulates the liver to produce ketones. But what does that mean? Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates (glucose). A ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates, and has several alternative names including the low-carb diet or a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet. DOWNLOAD OUR FREE MIGRAINE DIARY TODAY! » In a normal regular diet, one that contains a high amount of carbohydrate, the body uses glucose as the main form of energy. Being the easiest molecule to convert into energy, the body chooses glucose over other energy sources, producing insulin to process the glucose and carry it around the body. When glucose is used as the main energy source, other fats are not needed so the body stores them. The most common reason for adopting a ketogenic diet is to lose weight, since when we drastically lower our carbohydrate intake we put the body into a state of ketosis. This is a natural physical defense to protect against starvation when food intake is very low. Deliberately introducing this particular metabolic s Continue reading >>
Ketosis And Lchf- Must You Be In Ketosis On The Low Carb Diet?
Ketosis and LCHF- Must you be in ketosis on the low carb diet? Today on the Ask Prof Noakes Podcast we discuss ketosis and the role it plays on the LCHF diet. Is it vital to be in a state of ketosis in order to get the full benefits of the Low Carb High Fat/Banting diet? The simple answer is no you do not. To be in complete ketosis is hard to achieve, and you also don’t need to be in this state to benefit from the LCHF diet. Ketosis is a metabolic state where most of the body’s energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood. This is in contrast to a state of glycolysis where blood glucose provides most of the energy. What is Ketosis and what role does it play During the usual overnight fast the body’s metabolism naturally switches into ketosis, and will switch back to glycolysis after a carbohydrate-rich meal. Part of the benefit of Low Carb High Fat diets is that you reduce the amount of carbohydrate from your system, thus forcing the body to use fat and not glucose for energy. For this reason ketosis is sometimes referred to as the body’s “fat burning” mode. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. It is very extreme, even by the LCHF diets standards. Ketosis is not required For this reason, unless you are looking to use it to treat epilepsy, it really isn’t required and shouldn’t be a diet you should look at. You don’t need to be in a permanent state of ketosis. Continue reading >>
Is Low Carb Bad For Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is becoming increasingly more common in Western countries. One of the main symptoms of this hormone disorder is a slower metabolism and gradual weight gain. Low carb and ketogenic diets have emerged as popular approaches to weight loss, at least in otherwise healthy individuals. But there is some controversy over the safety of these eating patterns for hypothyroidism. This article reviews the scientific evidence available. What is a Low Carbohydrate Diet and Ketogenic Diet? A low carbohydrate (low carb) diet is any eating pattern that limits carbohydrate consumption. The standard Western diet is about 50-60% energy carbs, or roughly 300 grams per day. Low-carb diets are typically 30% energy or lower, although there is no set criteria. However, there is a clear distinction between a low carb diet and a ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet (keto diet) is a very-low carb diet that restricts carbs to less than 20-50 grams per day, or less than 10% of total energy intake. This makes the body switch to ketones for energy – produced from fats – rather than glucose from carbs. Hence the name ketogenic diet. Summary: Low carb diets restrict carbohydrates to less than 30% of total energy intake, while ketogenic diets restrict to less than 10%. A ketogenic diet causes the body to shift to using ketones as energy, rather than glucose. Carbohydrates and Thyroid Health Thyroid hormones are essential to maintain and regulate carbohydrate/energy metabolism (1). Conversely, the energy (glucose) we get from carbs is required to fuel the production of thyroid hormones. This is because the parts of the brain ultimately responsible for thyroid hormone regulation – the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland – require glucose to function. In fact, the main regulation hormone, Continue reading >>
Is Ketosis Necessary On A Low-carb Diet? Let’s Ask The Experts!
One of the most asked about aspects of livin’ la vida low-carb has got to the issue of ketosis. There is so much misinformation about there about this very natural state that the body goes through when you are on a low-carb diet (primarily confusing it with a serious condition that diabetics must be careful of called ketoacidosis–NOT the same as ketosis). As such, there may be confusion that lingers out there among my readers who are just learning about this way of eating. In this recent blog post where I provided some “quickie one-liner” responses to some e-mails, I made the following statement: Being in ketosis is like being pregnant–you either are or you’re not; regardless of what the Ketosticks show you, if you are eating less than 30g carbohydrates a day, then you ARE in ketosis.? One of my readers named Charles Fred decided to respond to my statement which he disagreed with and it gets to the very heart of this issue about ketosis. Here’s what he wrote: Your statement reflects today?’s informed opinion, but my article in work, ?Unified Physiology of the Metabolic Syndrome,? has given me an unusual perspective which for the sake of brevity I?’ll state dogmatically. Ketosis need not and should not be part of low-carb eating. Low-carb diets should never be labeled as ?ketogenic? diets. Ketosis appears to be an ?Induction? phase of low-carb eating, but in fact it is a last ditch response to inadequate glucose. As such it is either temporary or avoidable. Low-carb eating is the evolution-derived diet of humans (unlike other primates). Humans are carnivores, hunters, because human evolution happened pre-fire and pre-agriculture when very few carbs were edible. For carnivores, gluconeogenesis in the liver supplies all necessary glucose. But if someone a Continue reading >>
Following A Ketogenic Diet Without A Gallbladder
Since the 1920s, ketogenic diets have been used as a therapeutic method to treat obesity, epilepsy, diabetes, neurological disorders, cancer and many other pathological diseases (1). This very low carbohydrate diet that combines moderate protein consumption with high amounts of quality fats puts the body into a state of fat or ketone adaptation. Following a ketogenic diet without a gallbladder can pose complications because of the body’s inability to adequately secrete bile to break down fatty meals. Fortunately, these 7 strategies will answer your concerns for maintaining ketosis without a gallbladder. What Is Ketosis? When net carbohydrate consumption remains less than 50 g/day (in some cases under 30g/day), insulin concentration reduces and the body begins using stored fat for energy via lipogenesis (1). Following 3 to 4 days of this dietary carbohydrate restriction, the central nervous system (CNS) has an inadequate supply of glucose and must seek other fuel. The alternate energy source the CNS seeks along with tissues and organs is ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are produced at high concentrations in the liver during the metabolic state of ketogenesis which is also attainable during periods of prolonged fasting. The 3 major ketone bodies include acetate, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Ketosis results in numerous health promoting benefits including: (1) Decreased fatty acid production Increased metabolism of fats and lipids Higher metabolic rate to use ketone bodies Improved mitochondrial function Modified satiety hormones including ghrelin and leptin Regulates blood lipid levels including triglycerides and cholesterol Reduced insulin signaling Improved glycemic control Reduced whole body inflammatory levels Is a Ketogenic Diet Right for You? When nutr Continue reading >>
The Truth Behind The World's Most Cutting-edge, Fat-burning Performance Meal Plan: The Keto Diet
Timothy Noakes, M.D., is an emeritus professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town. While his name may not ring a bell here in the U.S., he’s a full-blown celebrity in his native South Africa and one of the most accomplished exercise physiologists on the planet. You can’t walk by a restaurant in Cape Town that doesn’t offer a “Noakes option”—say, an avocado stuffed with breakfast sausage and eggs, or a double cheeseburger with lettuce sans bun—and evidence of his teachings seems to be everywhere, mostly in the form of the nation’s best-known athletes, including ageless golfing legend Gary Player and eight-time Ironman World Champion Paula Newby-Fraser. In fact, Noakes’ celebrity these days is such that he’s even been pulled into South African presidential politics: To echo the country’s papers of record, “Is President Jacob Zuma’s and his wife’s dramatic weight loss a result of the Noakes Diet?” No one is sure about the president, but his wife, definitely: She’s lost 66 pounds following the Noakes plan. To high-performing athletes, Noakes preaches that the bedrock tenet of endurance athletic nutrition—that winning performance is best fueled by eating lots of carbohydrates—is simply wrong. Instead, he believes athletes can alter their bodies so that their metabolism burns fat as a primary fuel source, a physiological process known as ketosis, either from stored body fat or from the foods they eat every day. For non-athletes and anyone trying to lose weight or keep it off, Noakes’ advice is that eating a high-fat diet, with few if any refined carbs and as little sugar as possible, will switch on the same fat-burning system and keep your body lean and your weight stable without making Continue reading >>
The Low-carb, High-fat Diet That's Sweeping The Nation
It took a while, but by now most of us know that fat is not the enemy, that there are certain kinds of fat that can actually help your heart, and that it need not be obliterated from your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. In fact, for some people, fat is actually the superhero of their diet—and chowing down on olive oil, butter, and heavy cream is the key to watching the scale dive lower and lower, without feeling hungry or deprived. But can a diet heavy on the heavy cream turn out to be not unsafe—and maybe even good for you? We consulted top-shelf, unbiased sources that specialize in diet and nutrition, and were surprised to find that the answer is a resounding yes. First, the basics about the diet. It’s called a ketogenic diet, one that’s heavy on fat, moderate in protein, and extremely light in carbohydrates (typically less than 50g a day). The way it works involves a neat little trick of your body’s own biology, says Charles Passler, a nutritionist in New York City, who works with many of the top models you see sashaying down the runways at fashion week. (Bella Hadid is among his clients, as are many of the Victoria’s Secret models, including Adriana Lima.) The body typically burns carbohydrates—aka glucose—for fuel. But if you give your body little to no carbohydrates, it will go into ketosis. This is a state in which fat stores in the body are broken down into ketones, which then fuel the muscles and brain. If that sounds a bit odd, it’s not, says Passler. “The human body is designed to be able to handle times of food scarcity,” says Passler. “The trouble is, we currently have access to food 24/7, but our physiology hasn’t caught up with that yet. Say you have breakfast at 8 a.m., and then it's 1 p.m. and you think you're starving, Continue reading >>
High Fat, Low Carb Ketogenic Diets Work, But You’ll Have To Be Disciplined
Source:Supplied Used clinically for many years, specifically in the area of epilepsy where it is used to help reduce seizures, ketogenic diets are also known for their relatively quick weight loss outcomes. Not a new area of nutrition but one that has become increasingly popular in recent years, the question is, ‘is a ketogenic diet the right diet for you?’ Ketogenic diets refer to diets that are particularly low in carbohydrates (ranging from 5-20%, or 20-50g of total carbohydrates and high in fats (up to 75% in total fat). This is as opposed to standard ‘diets’ which contain 30-50% carbohydrates and just 30% fat or less. Diets that are much lower in carbohydrate than the muscles and the brain typically need to function shift the body into a state known as ‘ketosis’ in which fat stores in the body are broken down into ketones which fuel the muscles and the brain in place of the carbohydrates when they are in limited supply. The result is enhanced fat burning and relatively quick weight loss as compared to a traditional dietary approaches. There is no evidence to show that keto diets are damaging to the body. In fact, with their superior weight loss and associated reductions in inflammation in the body, there are a number of benefits, particularly for individuals with high blood glucose levels, fatty liver and significant amounts of weight to lose. The primary issue with keto diets is that the total amount of carbohydrate consumed needs to be kept very low, or the body will quickly come out of ketosis. For example, a low carb diet for most of the day followed by an extra snack of chocolate or piece of banana bread will quickly negate any of the potential benefits of ketosis as the total amount of carbohydrate rises above the upper limits of 50g or so for the Continue reading >>
Lchf & Ketosis
This post is also available in: Danish WHAT IS KETOSIS? Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses fat as primary fuel. Since the brain cannot use fat in its original form as fuel, the fat is converted into ketone bodies. This happens in the liver. The brain as well as all other cells in the body functions very well on ketone bodies instead of glucose. However, the brain still needs 20 g of glucose every day. Since we still eat carbohydrates on LCHF/keto, this is no problem. Should we chose to eat NO CARBS whatsoever, the body will provide these 20 g of glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. Ketosis is also a metabolic state that naturally decreases your appetite and makes weight loss almost effortless. But being in ketosis is no guarantee for weight loss and you can also lose weight without being in ketosis. Confused? Intrigued? Let’s take a closer look! HOW TO GET IN TO KETOSIS? The way to get your body to go into ketosis is by eating very few carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and lots of fat. Ketosis occurs when insulin levels are low which is why carbs but also protein must be limited. Remember that protein can also spike insulin! My personal experience is that I need to keep my diet pretty strict for a couple of days or maybe a week to get into ketosis. Once in ketosis, I don’t need to watch my diet as closely and that allows for more carbs. I’ve been eating a low carb diet for many years so maybe my body is just very well adapted but I have eaten up to 100 g of carbs (even from dates and rice) and stayed in optimal ketosis (see below). I can also drink a glass of wine or two. But this is my experience, you need to find the way your body responds. Most people will need to lower their carb intake to 20-30 g to get into deep ketosi Continue reading >>
Bulletproof Vs. Paleo Vs. Low-carb And Ketogenic Diets: What’s The Difference?
I was in my 20s when I started suffering from severe fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. I was 300 pounds, sick constantly, and almost had to drop out of grad school because I couldn’t concentrate. Back then, I thought my inability to think clearly and perform at high levels was some sort of moral failing. I would beat myself up. I would work harder and stay up later, trying to catch up with my peers. I tried every diet imaginable, including raw vegan and years of falling off the low-fat bandwagon. I hit the treadmill for hours every day. Nothing worked. So I took matters into my own hands. The Bulletproof Diet was born after a decade of working with some of the world’s top health and nutrition researchers. Over a span of about 15 years, I devoured thousands of research papers and books on human nutrition. I used my body as a testing ground to determine what worked best for my biology. The result is a diet that has helped thousands of people lose fat and gain the energy and clarity they thought they’d lost forever. So, what differentiates the Bulletproof Diet from other low-carb diets? Read on to find out. For an in-depth plan on how to boost energy and increase brain function in just two weeks, get your copy of Head Strong. Bulletproof vs. Paleo: The Big Picture If you were to map out the most popular diets, you’d see a vast spectrum of practices and plans ranging from low-fat vegan to high-fat, low-carb (HFLC). This deliciously fatty end of the spectrum is where the Bulletproof Diet and the Primal, Paleo, and Atkins diets would lie. The Paleo diet eliminates processed foods and focuses on what our paleolithic ancestors ate – mostly meat, plants, nuts, and seeds. The Bulletproof Diet is similar but designed to maximize your willpower by reducing cravings and m Continue reading >>