Ketogenic Diet: 25 Proven Benefits And How To Know If It’s Right For You
The ketogenic diet has been touted for its many health benefits such as weight loss, cognitive function, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. In this post, we cover: Different ways to get into ketosis Physiology and pathways that are changed when you are in ketosis, which explains how the ketogenic diet derives its benefits Genetic factors that may affect the safety and effectiveness of ketosis 17 Health conditions that may be helped by the ketogenic diet Negative effects of ketosis and how to mitigate them Ketogenic Diets Improve Cognitive Function and Brain Health Ketogenic Diet as a Cancer Treatment Ketogenic diets are defined by a low carbohydrate (typically under 50 grams/day) and high fat intake, leading to an elevation of free fatty acids and ketone bodies in the blood (R). The first ketogenic diets in the medical literature are noted in publications in the 1920s, although wider popularity and increased research was not seen in medical literature until the 1960s (R). Variations of the diets have remained popular for the past 20-30 years, with proponents claiming that the diets boost weight loss and energy while offering protection from certain metabolic diseases (R). A ketogenic diet and fasting affect the body similarly. Both deplete the body’s glucose reserves, so the body starts turning fatty acids into ketones (R). When the body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates from food, it burns fat by producing ketones or ketone bodies (R, R). In non-diabetics, ketosis can be achieved in 3 ways, i.e. Fasting or severe caloric restriction (R) Prolonged physical exercise in fasted state, depending on intensity and duration (R, R2) Nutritional ketosis, i.e. by consuming a very low carbohydrate diet Supplementation, such as by supplementing with medium chain triglyceri Continue reading >>
Permanent Metabolic Damage – Q&a
Question: Lately I’ve seen a lot of hype regarding metabolic damage that can occur when dieting to very low body fat levels, where individuals permanently “damage” their metabolisms to the point where they are getting fat on 800-900 calories a day. It’s said to occur when losing weight too fast or trying to do too much cardio on top of a very low caloric intake. This sounds like bro-hype but I’m wondering: Is there any truth to this phenomenon? Answer: This seemed a good followup Q&A after last Friday’s Lean Body Mass Maintenance and Metabolic Rate Slowdown – Q&A since it’s semi-related and I seem to have total writer’s block regarding anything approximating a feature article right now. There are several issues at stake here and I’m going to address them in reverse order. Certainly I have seen some weirdness occur (and there is at least one study to support this) where excessive cardio in the face of a large caloric deficit can cause problems, not the least of which is stalled fat/weight loss. In that study, the combination of a very large deficit plus about 6 hours of cardio seemed to decrease metabolic rate more than the diet alone. This is something I intend to cover in more detail at a later date. This, along with personal observations, was what led me to strongly suggest against doing a lot of cardio on The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook program; in fact I’d say that a majority of failures on that program can be tracked to people trying to do too much cardio and it doing more harm than good. Invariably, the folks who minimize activity (beyond the basic weight workouts) and let the deficit of the diet do the work do better in terms of fat loss. So certainly there is an element of truth to that. However, we need to look at magnitudes here and do a bit Continue reading >>
Metabolic Effects Of The Very-low-carbohydrate Diets: Misunderstood "villains" Of Human Metabolism
Go to: The Ketone Bodies are an Important Fuel The hormonal changes associated with a low carbohydrate diet include a reduction in the circulating levels of insulin along with increased levels of glucagon. This activates phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, fructose 1,6-biphosphatase, and glucose 6-phosphatase and also inhibits pyruvate kinase, 6-phosphofructo-1-kinase, and glucokinase. These changes indeed favor gluconeogenesis. However, the body limits glucose utilization to reduce the need for gluconeogenesis. In the liver in the well-fed state, acetyl CoA formed during the β-oxidation of fatty acids is oxidized to CO2 and H2O in the citric acid cycle. However, when the rate of mobilization of fatty acids from adipose tissue is accelerated, as, for example, during very low carbohydrate intake, the liver converts acetyl CoA into ketone bodies: Acetoacetate and 3-hydroxybutyrate. The liver cannot utilize ketone bodies because it lacks the mitochondrial enzyme succinyl CoA:3-ketoacid CoA transferase required for activation of acetoacetate to acetoacetyl CoA . Therefore, ketone bodies flow from the liver to extra-hepatic tissues (e.g., brain) for use as a fuel; this spares glucose metabolism via a mechanism similar to the sparing of glucose by oxidation of fatty acids as an alternative fuel. Indeed, the use of ketone bodies replaces most of the glucose required by the brain. Not all amino acid carbon will yield glucose; on average, 1.6 g of amino acids is required to synthesize 1 g of glucose . Thus, to keep the brain supplied with glucose at rate of 110 to 120 g/day, the breakdown of 160 to 200 g of protein (close to 1 kg of muscle tissue) would be required. This is clearly undesirable, and the body limits glucose utilization to reduce the need for gluconeogenesis Continue reading >>
The Fat-fueled Brain: Unnatural Or Advantageous?
Disclaimer: First things first. Please note that I am in no way endorsing nutritional ketosis as a supplement to, or a replacement for medication. As you’ll see below, data exploring the potential neuroprotective effects of ketosis are still scarce, and we don’t yet know the side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. This post talks about the SCIENCE behind ketosis, and is not meant in any way as medical advice. The ketogenic diet is a nutritionist’s nightmare. High in saturated fat and VERY low in carbohydrates, “keto” is adopted by a growing population to paradoxically promote weight loss and mental well-being. Drinking coffee with butter? Eating a block of cream cheese? Little to no fruit? To the uninitiated, keto defies all common sense, inviting skeptics to wave it off as an unnatural “bacon-and-steak” fad diet. Yet versions of the ketogenic diet have been used to successfully treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children since the 1920s – potentially even back in the biblical ages. Emerging evidence from animal models and clinical trials suggest keto may be therapeutically used in many other neurological disorders, including head ache, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, autism and brain cancer. With no apparent side effects. Sound too good to be true? I feel ya! Where are these neuroprotective effects coming from? What’s going on in the brain on a ketogenic diet? Ketosis in a nutshell In essence, a ketogenic diet mimics starvation, allowing the body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis (key-tow-sis). Normally, human bodies are sugar-driven machines: ingested carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is mainly transported and used as energy or stored as glycogen in liver and muscle tissue. When deprived of d Continue reading >>
Can You Really Fix Your Metabolism With The Keto Diet?
The new best-selling book “The Keto Reset Diet” says it can fix a sluggish metabolism and train your body to be a fat-burning machine. Experts are skeptical. It isn’t just you. Dieting is an endless pursuit for many Americans. Around 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. And the weight eventually comes back for 33 to 66 percent of people who’ve dieted. In the New York Times best-seller “The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever,” author and keto diet enthusiast Mark Sisson writes that “yo-yo dieting is severely destructive to your metabolism.” He claims that following a low-carb, high-fat diet will help “turn you into a ‘fat-burning beast’ and stay this way for the rest of your life.” The book explains that the three-week keto reset diet does this by reprograming your genes into a state of “metabolic efficiency” — which he considers burning fat, rather than being “dependent upon regular high-carbohydrate meals to sustain your energy, mood, or cognitive focus.” Critics say the science doesn’t support these claims. Does yo-yo dieting really affect your metabolism? A person’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) is largely based on their weight, but factors like age and genetics also play a role. When someone significantly restricts calories to lose weight, their body can also enter starvation mode. Their metabolism slows down considerably to conserve energy. Extremely low-calorie diets make it easier to regain weight after a diet is over. If someone with a slowed metabolism hits their target weight and celebrates by eating the same amount of daily calories a person with a typical RMR and of their same weight and age would eat, they could gain weight rapidly. Case in point: contestants from the TV show Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Low-carbohydrate Diets Have No Metabolic Advantage Over Nonketogenic Low-carbohydrate Diets1,2,3
Abstract Background:Low-carbohydrate diets may promote greater weight loss than does the conventional low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. Objective:We compared weight loss and biomarker change in adults adhering to a ketogenic low-carbohydrate (KLC) diet or a nonketogenic low-carbohydrate (NLC) diet. Design:Twenty adults [body mass index (in kg/m2): 34.4 ± 1.0] were randomly assigned to the KLC (60% of energy as fat, beginning with ≈5% of energy as carbohydrate) or NLC (30% of energy as fat; ≈40% of energy as carbohydrate) diet. During the 6-wk trial, participants were sedentary, and 24-h intakes were strictly controlled. Results:Mean (±SE) weight losses (6.3 ± 0.6 and 7.2 ± 0.8 kg in KLC and NLC dieters, respectively; P = 0.324) and fat losses (3.4 and 5.5 kg in KLC and NLC dieters, respectively; P = 0.111) did not differ significantly by group after 6 wk. Blood β-hydroxybutyrate in the KLC dieters was 3.6 times that in the NLC dieters at week 2 (P = 0.018), and LDL cholesterol was directly correlated with blood β-hydroxybutyrate (r = 0.297, P = 0.025). Overall, insulin sensitivity and resting energy expenditure increased and serum γ-glutamyltransferase concentrations decreased in both diet groups during the 6-wk trial (P < 0.05). However, inflammatory risk (arachidonic acid:eicosapentaenoic acid ratios in plasma phospholipids) and perceptions of vigor were more adversely affected by the KLC than by the NLC diet. Conclusions:KLC and NLC diets were equally effective in reducing body weight and insulin resistance, but the KLC diet was associated with several adverse metabolic and emotional effects. The use of ketogenic diets for weight loss is not warranted. Continue reading >>
Is It Possible To "screw Up" Your Metabolism?
Our brains, in relation to weight, are responding, adapting and planning "machines." Just for a single example, the brain of an anorexic has learned that it is STARVING - that food is very, very, very scarce and that it needs to absolutely maximize any "energy" (food) that it gets. Given that our brains/bodies are not separate, and "metabolism" is a whole-body process/event, this has profound implications.Just because in time the body/brain begins to be fed does not mean that it will just "snap to" and interpret this as the new "normal." It has learned, sometimes over many years that food is extremely scarce and when the next food/energy is coming is unpredictable and can take a loooooong, looooong time from last ingestion and even then will be in a scarcity amount. Thus, it responds accordingly. Even yo-yo dieting brings about huge changes. And that makes sense as well. Our brain is our "regulator." It learns with yo-yoing another version of the above. Who knows when the next time of scarcity with come... The implications are very real for those who have been substantially overweight, eating disordered, have a history of yo-yoing 10 lbs up and down, sometimes many, many times in their lives. One of my favorite pieces on this is Ned Koch's blog piece on compensatory adaptation...which doesn't just apply to eating...but to all behaviors and delves into the less than conscious mechanisms that are at work in response to even subtle signals in this adaptation process. What it boils down to for me, in "person-speak" is that we are constantly signaling and communicating with our bodies/brains and our bodies/brains in turn are continuously responding and adapting...for better or worse. We may not think or know we are "communicating," but we are. For me, Dr. Sharma is high, hig Continue reading >>
Do You Really Have A Damaged Metabolism?
The subject I am most frequently emailed about is metabolic damage, as I have written several posts on the topic (which you can find here). More and more people are starting to realise that the “magical” plan of 1200 calories a day combined with hours of cardio is damaging their bodies and metabolism. While this is positive in that it’s building awareness about the proper (i.e. healthy) way to exercise and eat, it is also causing many people who are in fact quite healthy to start convincing themselves that they too have metabolic damage. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should not compare yourself to anyone. Sure, some of the points I will discuss below are not normal by any means, but on the other side of the coin you shouldn’t necessarily feel that you should be able to eat a huge amount of food every day just because I (or others) do. Every single factor in our lives – our genetic make-up, upbringing, activity levels throughout life, diet history and hormonal levels, just to name a few – has an impact on our metabolism. Even though I went through a prolonged period (5-6 years) of restrictive eating, I think the fact that I’ve always been a very active person helped in my favour when returning to full health. Even though I wasn’t eating much, my body learnt to survive on small amounts of food. When I finally started eating “normally”, it took my body about a year to work out what was happening. Some people won’t be so lucky. From what I’ve seen, the people who struggle to repair their metabolisms the most are those that come from largely sedentary backgrounds who suddenly thrust themselves into restrictive diet and exercise practices for prolonged periods of time. Their bodies enter a stage of complete shock, as they are not Continue reading >>
Will A Low-carb Diet Ruin Your Metabolism?
There is a lot of confusion within the low-carb community about metabolism. Carbs seem to be a scapegoat that people like to blame when weight loss doesn’t happen fast and easy. If you are following a low carb diet and struggling to succeed, you might believe that all the years you spent eating carbohydrates to your heart's content must have destroyed your metabolism and made you fat. Otherwise, you'd be able to eat like normal folks. Maybe, you are questioning the validity of low-carb diets. You live on the other side of the argument and think that carbohydrate restriction will permanently alter your metabolism, thereby making it impossible to ever return to a well-balanced diet. But what’s the truth? Will eating too many carbohydrates, or eating too few, ruin your metabolism – or not? What is Metabolism? Does hearing about the energy equation make you feel nervous or irritable? Many low-carb dieters feel that way. They don't like hearing about calories or thermodynamics and are quick to jump up and defend the low-carb way of life. Regardless of the truth, most people following a low-carb lifestyle would rather believe in low-carb magic. Afterall, Dr. Atkins told you that you no longer need to worry about calories. You don't have to be afraid of fat. You can eat until you are satisfied. So most people believe that the laws of thermodynamics do not apply to low-carb diets. "Calories don’t matter," they often say. Dr. Eades has tried to set the record straight. But, far too many people still do not want to go outside and drag the energy equation back in from the trash and take a closer look. They’d rather leave it out of sight, pretend it doesn’t exist, and let the myths about starvation mode and damaged metabolisms reign in their lives instead. However, we a Continue reading >>
The Ketogenic Diet's Effect On Cortisol Metabolism
(Related post: Red Light, Green Light: responses to cortisol levels in keto vs. longevity research) One of the myths surrounding ketogenic diets comes from misunderstanding the role of cortisol — the "stress hormone". In a previous post, we addressed one of the arguments behind this myth: the idea that to activate gluconeogenesis (to make glucose out of protein), extra cortisol must be recruited. That is just factually incorrect, as we showed in the post. The other argument, which we address here, is more complex. Like the previous cortisol myth, it involves a faulty chain of reasoning. Here are the steps: Ketogenic diets may raise certain measures of cortisol. Chronically elevated cortisol is correlated with metabolic sydrome, and therefore higher cortisol measures may indicate the onset of metabolic syndrome. Therefore, ketogenic diets could cause metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a terrible and prevalent problem today. It is that cluster of symptoms most strongly identified with diabetes — excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar, and a particular cholesterol profile — but also correlated with other life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and cancer. In this post, we're going to explain some of the specifics of cortisol metabolism. We'll show how this argument is vague, and how clarifying it leads to the opposite conclusion. The confusion may all stem from misunderstanding one important fact: different measures of cortisol are not equivalent. First, though, there is an important reason why the argument doesn't make sense. We already know that a ketogenic diet effectively treats metabolic syndrome. As we will describe below, it turns out that certain cortisol patterns are strongly linked to metabolic syndrome, and might even be a cause of metabol Continue reading >>
- Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets for Dogs with Diabetes
- Effect of Probiotics on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis of 12 Randomized Controlled Trials
- The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus
What Is Ketosis?
"Ketosis" is a word you'll probably see when you're looking for information on diabetes or weight loss. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? That depends. Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones. If you're healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don't normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. It can also happen after exercising for a long time and during pregnancy. For people with uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a sign of not using enough insulin. Ketosis can become dangerous when ketones build up. High levels lead to dehydration and change the chemical balance of your blood. Ketosis is a popular weight loss strategy. Low-carb eating plans include the first part of the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet, which stress proteins for fueling your body. In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry. It also helps you maintain muscle. For healthy people who don't have diabetes and aren't pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That's about 3 slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can start ketosis by fasting, too. Doctors may put children who have epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, very low-carb and protein plan, because it might help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat modified Atkins diets. Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show sp Continue reading >>
Do Ketogenic Diets Have A “metabolic Advantage”?
Previous studies show that eating more protein can help people lose weight. Not only does protein increase the amount of calories burned, it also seems to reduce calorie intake by suppressing appetite. The ketogenic diet is usually much higher in protein than the normal Western diet. As a result, it may help people lose weight. However, it is unclear if the weight-loss benefits of the ketogenic diet are merely due to increased protein intake, or if it improves body composition and calorie expenditure irrespective of its protein content. For this reason, a recent study examined the changes in calorie expenditure and weight loss when switching from a high-carb diet to a low-carb, high-fat (ketogenic) diet, while keeping protein intake constant. Below is a detailed summary of its findings as well as some background information. Background The rates of obesity have been rising in the past decades. Multiple aspects of the modern lifestyle contribute to obesity. For example, physical activity has decreased and the consumption of sugar and processed junk food has been on the rise. Eating excessive amounts of sugar is linked with an increased risk of obesity. However, since sugar contains no more calories than protein or complex carbs, gram for gram, it is still not entirely clear how it promotes weight gain. One popular idea is that sugar is addictive for some people, increasing cravings and calorie intake. Although the hypothesis is not yet fully proved, it is supported by several lines of evidence. Another idea is the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis of obesity. It posits that obesity is mainly caused by elevated insulin levels. According to this hypothesis, elevated insulin levels suppress the use of fat for fuel, promoting its storage in fat tissue. Additionally, scientists Continue reading >>
Ketosis: The Fastest Way To Lose Weight If You Weigh 200 Pounds Or More
You’ve probably tried to lose weight many times with little to no success. Maybe you lost some weight, but it either always came back or your program wasn’t sustainable, so you quit. If you’re looking for a way to lose weight if you weigh 200 lbs or more, you’ve come to the right place. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my 11 years working with thousands of clients, it’s that there is A LOT of emotional and mental pain associated with weight gain, especially when you’re weight has gotten this bad. It might even make you angry or sad thinking about it now, but I want to assure you of one thing before I get into the process: You can either let your past decisions define and/or confine you, or you can choose to move on. Yes, your past decisions (or lack of action) have affected, maybe negatively, maybe REALLY negatively, your current situation. However, your past can’t be undone, BUT your past results (where you are now) CAN (where you want to be). You can choose to move on, leave it behind you and start focusing on your present! It’s going to take time, but it’s far from impossible. In fact, I know you can do it. As with pretty much every thing that’s worth it, the transformation won’t happen overnight. It may take a year or more to lose the weight. The good news? If you follow this article, you’ll lose weight fast and if you stay consistent, you’ll keep losing weight, and then a year will come and go and you would have lost a significant amount of weight. And you’ll keep it off! Diabesity Is America’s #1 Killer: Why We NEED The Ketogenic Diet In Our Lives Obesity and metabolic diseases, like diabetes have become the world’s biggest health problems. In fact, at least 2.8 million adults die from obesity-related causes each year. Met Continue reading >>
What's Up With The High-fat Diet Trend—and Does It Work?
If you're looking for the trendiest diet since Paleo, this might be it—only with more fat, way less protein, and virtually zero carbs. The ketogenic diet, which has reportedly been used by celebs like Kim Kardashian and NBA player Lebron James, is a high-fat, low-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that was originally developed to treat epilepsy in children (experts can't say for sure why it reduces the frequency of seizures, but it does seem to work). The whole diet is based on a process called ketosis, which is when your body is so depleted of carbs that your liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies, which can be used as energy, says Tracy A. Siegfried, M.D., medical director at The N.E.W. Program, a bariatric and metabolic weight-loss center in California. The ketones replace carbohydrates as your body’s main energy source, meaning you are running on (and burning) fat. To tell if your body is in a state of ketosis, you can measure your blood or urine for elevated levels of ketones (Ketostix, used to test keto-dieters ketone levels, are available at many pharmacies). If this sounds familiar, it's probably because ketosis is also the goal of the first stage of the Atkins diet. But unlike the keto diet, the Atkins diet aims to get you into a mild state of ketosis and allows for more carbohydrates. In other words, keto is more hardcore. So What the Heck Do You Eat? To get your body to reach ketosis, 80 to 90 percent of the calories you consume should come from fat, and the rest should come from a combo of protein and carbs, says Siegfried. Plus, your carb intake is limited to 10 to 35 grams per day. That's roughly the amount in a single apple, glass of milk, or piece of bread. In fact, it's pretty much impossible to eat fruit or milk-based products without su Continue reading >>
Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet. The aim of the diet is to try and burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is also commonly observed in patients with diabetes, as the process can occur if the body does not have enough insulin or is not using insulin correctly. Problems associated with extreme levels of ketosis are more likely to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes patients. Ketosis occurs when the body does not have sufficient access to its primary fuel source, glucose. Ketosis describes a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid. As ketone levels rise, the acidity of the blood also increases, leading to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can prove fatal. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ketoacidosis, for which emergency medical treatment is required to avoid or treat diabetic coma. Some people follow a ketogenic (low-carb) diet to try to lose weight by forcing the body to burn fat stores. What is ketosis? In normal circumstances, the body's cells use glucose as their primary form of energy. Glucose is typically derived from dietary carbohydrates, including: sugar - such as fruits and milk or yogurt starchy foods - such as bread and pasta The body breaks these down into simple sugars. Glucose can either be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If there is not enough glucose available to meet energy demands, th Continue reading >>