The Ketogenic Diet: Does It Live Up To The Hype? The Pros, The Cons, And The Facts About This Not-so-new Diet Craze.
If you believe the buzz, ketosis — whether via the almost-zero-carb ketogenic diet or via ketone supplements— can curb appetite, enhance performance, and cure nearly any health problem that ails you. Sound too good to be true? It probably is. Want to listen instead of read? Download the audio recording here… ++++ Wouldn’t it be awesome if butter and bacon were “health foods”? Maybe with a side of guacamole and some shredded cheese on top? “I’m doing this for my health,” you could purr virtuously, as you topped your delectably marbled, medium-rare steak with a fried egg. Well, many advocates of the ketogenic diet argue exactly that: By eating a lot of fat and close to zero carbohydrates you too can enjoy enhanced health, quality of life, performance, brain function, and abs you can grate that cheese on. So, in this article, we’ll explore: What are ketones, and what is ketosis? What, exactly, is a ketogenic diet? What evidence and scientific research supports the ketogenic diet? Do ketone supplements work? Is the ketogenic diet or ketone supplementation right for me? How to read this article If you’re just curious about ketogenic diets: Feel free to skim and learn whatever you like. If you want to change your body and/or health: You don’t need to know every detail. Just get the general idea. Check out our advice at the end. If you’re an athlete interested in performance: Pay special attention to the section on athletic performance. Check out our advice for athletes at the end. If you’re a fitness pro, or interested in geeking out with nutritional science: We’ve given you some “extra credit” material in sidebars throughout. Check out our advice for fitness pros at the end. It all started with the brain. If you’ve called Client Care at Pr Continue reading >>
How Ketosis Works For Losing Weight
When you implement a keto menu plan, your body starts turning fats into ketones. These molecules can supply energy to your body as well as your brain. One way a keto or low-carb, high-fat diet promotes weight loss is by helping you to feel full. This is due to positive changes in the production of the hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin. In addition, a keto menu plan can increase the fat burning process when you're at rest, completing daily activities and exercising. When compared to other weight-loss plans, a ketogenic diet may help you burn fat, reduce calorie intake and increase feelings of fullness. Benefits of Inducing Ketosis To achieve ketosis, you need to increase your intake of fats while reducing your carbohydrate intake to almost nothing. Listed below are popular health benefits: Elimination of Sugary or Starchy Carbohydrates Gluconeogensis (Converts Fat and Protein) Appetite Suppressant for Reduced Hunger Stable Blood Sugar and Less Insulin Sensitivity Increased Fat Burning to Decrease Fat Stores Stablizes Healthy Fat and Protein Intakes There are nine essential amino acids found in meat sources of protein that the body cannot biosynthesize. A low-carb high-fat diet can benefit weight loss by increasing protein intake, which boosts metabolism and reduces appetite. Don't Fear Eating Healthy Fats To follow a ketogenic menu plan, it is important to understand that consuming fat is not the boogeyman when comes to packing on the pounds. If you consume the right amounts of healthy fats and proteins, it makes losing weight a lot easier. One of the problems with traditional calorie counting is that you are not taking into account the macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins) you are consuming. In contrast to many other diets, a ketogenic menu plan eliminates most so Continue reading >>
The Beginners Guide To Ketosis: Investigating Low-carb, High-fat Eating
The only hard and fast rule of health is that health is personal and what works well for one person may not work for someone else. Aside from that rule, there are “frameworks” that seem to benefit large groups of people. One more level down from that are alternative strategies that benefit smaller groups. Ketosis is likely one of those alternative strategies that works well for certain, smaller groups of people. So, right off the bat I want you to understand that Ketosis might not be for everyone. I’m going to lay out the case for potential benefits of Ketosis. If it sounds interesting and beneficial to you, then consider trying it. (see our free cheat sheet to help you). What is Ketosis Ketosis occurs when liver glycogen gets depleted and the body burns fatty acids for fuel. The primary driver of this state is a very low carbohydrate intake. Often, it also requires a low protein, higher fat intake. You can also achieve a state of ketosis by not eating altogether. The creation of ketones is a byproduct of this metabolic state. Ketones are a source of fuel, just as glucose is a source of fuel. Ketones tend to have some added benefits, though. What role does Ketosis play in human health? Ketosis allows our bodies to function in the absence of carbohydrates, both physically and mentally. Instead of burning carbohydrates, or converting protein to glucose, the body burns ketones. This is pretty much a survival mechanism. It allows your body to function in a state of caloric deprivation. This is why ketosis often gets bad press (as it’s linked to “starvation”). Being a survival mechanism doesn’t make it invalid as a strategy, though. There can still be potential benefits to be had. Let’s cover a few of them… Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Loss Being in ketosis Continue reading >>
Ketosis, Ketones, And How It All Works
Ketosis is a process that the body does on an everyday basis, regardless of the number of carbs you eat. Your body adapts to what is put in it, processing different types of nutrients into the fuels that it needs. Proteins, fats, and carbs can all be processed for use. Eating a low carb, high fat diet just ramps up this process, which is a normal and safe chemical reaction. When you eat carbohydrate based foods or excess amounts of protein, your body will break this down into sugar – known as glucose. Why? Glucose is needed in the creation of ATP (an energy molecule), which is a fuel that is needed for the daily activities and maintenance inside our bodies. If you’ve ever used our keto calculator to determine your caloric needs, you will see that your body uses up quite a lot of calories. It’s true, our bodies use up much of the nutrients we intake just to maintain itself on a daily basis. If you eat enough food, there will likely be an excess of glucose that your body doesn’t need. There are two main things that happen to excess glucose if your body doesn’t need it: Glycogenesis. Excess glucose will be converted to glycogen and stored in your liver and muscles. Estimates show that only about half of your daily energy can be stored as glycogen. Lipogenesis. If there’s already enough glycogen in your muscles and liver, any extra glucose will be converted into fats and stored. So, what happens to you once your body has no more glucose or glycogen? Ketosis happens. When your body has no access to food, like when you are sleeping or when you are on a ketogenic diet, the body will burn fat and create molecules called ketones. We can thank our body’s ability to switch metabolic pathways for that. These ketones are created when the body breaks down fats, creating 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 >>
Everything You Need To Know About How Ketosis Works
Ketosis has made its way into the mainstream as a weight loss tool. Before we understand the diet, we need to learn about what ketosis is, how it works, and how it alters the metabolism. Ketosis is a metabolic process that occurs when the body is in a state of low carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, the body’s preferred source of fuel, down during digestion. When glucose is not provided through food for a period of time (like during a time of fasting), the body has a backup mechanism in place to avoid starvation and malnutrition: ketosis. Without carbohydrates as a source of fuel, the body’s metabolism changes and enters into ketosis, where stored fat is used for energy. The molecules providing energy are ketone bodies (mostly acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate) instead of glucose. Most of the body’s cells (including the brain, which is the most important) can use ketone bodies as fuel if there is no glucose. The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, and moderate protein diet. By not providing much glucose (by not eating a lot of carbohydrates), this essentially mimics a state of starvation, forcing the body into ketosis. But by eating high fat and moderate protein at the same time, it prevents malnutrition associated with starvation. By following the diet, you can provide your body with enough calories to survive, but without glucose so that the body produces ketone bodies, and enters into a state of ketosis. In this state, your body breaks down fat stores for energy, which can facilitate weight loss. The dietary breakdown is typically about 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein and only 5 percent carbohydrate. It can also be calculated as a ratio of fat to carbohydrates plus protein. The classic KD can be as high as 4:1. Th Continue reading >>
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 >>
Ketosis – Advantaged Or Misunderstood State? (part I)
As The Eating Academy approaches its first birthday in about a month, I figured it was as good a time as any to put together some thoughts on a subject I get asked about with great frequency. (For those wondering when I’ll get to Part X of The Straight Dope on Cholesterol, the answer is, “hopefully before the end of the year.”) A few months ago I was planning a post along the lines of “the 10 things you need to know about ketosis,” but I’m now thinking that might be putting the proverbial cart before the horse. So, let’s start with a more fundamental set of questions. In part I of this post I will see to it (assuming you read it) that you’ll know more about ketosis than just about anyone, including your doctor or the majority of “experts” out there writing about this topic. Before we begin, a disclaimer in order: If you want to actually understand this topic, you must invest the time and mental energy to do so. You really have to get into the details. Obviously, I love the details and probably read 5 or 6 scientific papers every week on this topic (and others). I don’t expect the casual reader to want to do this, and I view it as my role to synthesize this information and present it to you. But this is not a bumper-sticker issue. I know it’s trendy to make blanket statements – ketosis is “unnatural,” for example, or ketosis is “superior” – but such statements mean nothing if you don’t understand the biochemistry and evolution of our species. So, let’s agree to let the unsubstantiated statements and bumper stickers reside in the world of political debates and opinion-based discussions. For this reason, I’ve deliberately broken this post down and only included this content (i.e., background) for Part I. What is ketosis? Ketosis is Continue reading >>
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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Metabolic Pathways: How The Body Uses Energy
Metabolic pathways in the body determine how we utilize the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) we eat, and ultimately what happens to the fuels that come from each macronutrient. It all depends on when the last meal was finished. If the body is in a "fasting or starvation" mode, energy pathways will behave differently than when food is available. Food is available! The macronutrients (carbohydrate, fats and protein) on your plate are broken down in separate metabolic pathways: Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose by various enzymes. Some are burned for immediate energy, but overall the level of glucose in the blood stream rises, which triggers an insulin release by the pancreas. The insulin acts to push glucose into the cells to be made into ATP, stored as glycogen or when in excess amounts, stored as fat droplets called triglycerides in the fat cells (adipose tissue). Fats are digested in the small intestine, and then packaged into lipoproteins for various functions (ever heard of LDL and HDL? ) Excess fat calories often end up as fat droplets in fat cells. When fats are used as an energy source, they are broken down in cellular mitochondria through a process called beta-oxidation. Proteins are broken down into individual amino acids and used in body cells to form new proteins or to join the amino acid pool, a sort of "cache" for these molecules. Amino acids that are in excess of the body's needs are converted by liver enzymes into keto acids and urea. Keto acids may be used as sources of energy, converted into glucose, or stored as fat. Urea is excreted from everyone’s body in sweat and urine. Body is "Fasting" Carbohydrate, fats and protein are metabolized in separate processes into a common product called acetyl-CoA. Acetyl-CoA is a major meta Continue reading >>
Lose Weight By Achieving Optimal Ketosis
Do you want to lose weight? Here’s number 16 of my 18 best tips. All of the published tips can be found on the How to Lose Weight page. Before we get started, here’s a short recap of the tips so far: The first and most crucial piece of advice was to choose a low-carb diet. The next were eating when hungry, eating real food, eating only when hungry, measuring progress wisely, being persistent, avoiding fruit, beer and artificial sweeteners, review your medications, stressing less and sleeping more, eating less dairy and nut products, stocking up on vitamins and minerals, using intermittent fasting and finally, exercising smart. This is number sixteen: 16. Get into optimal ketosis Warning: Not recommended for type 1 diabetics, see below. We’ve now arrived at tip number 16. If you’re still having trouble losing weight, despite following the 15 pieces of advice listed above, it might be a good idea to bring out the heavy artillery: optimal ketosis. Many people stalling at weight plateaus while on a low carb diet have found optimal ketosis helpful. It’s what can melt the fat off once again. So how does this work? A quick run-through: The first tip was to eat low carb. This is because a low-carb diet lowers your levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, allowing your fat deposits to shrink and release their stored energy. This tends to cause you to want to consume less calories than you expend – without hunger – and lose weight. Several of the tips mentioned above are about fine-tuning your diet to better this effect. Video course Do you know exactly how to eat a low-carb and high fat diet (LCHF)? This is required for ketosis. If not the easiest way is watching this high quality 11-minute video course on how to eat LCHF, and the most important things to think a Continue reading >>
How The Ketogenic Diet Weakens Cancer Cells
Chronic disease continues to ravage our world today despite tremendous advances in health care. Therapeutic approaches to treating this wide-range suffering cannot be met by technological growth in pharmacology, genetic therapy, or surgery. It should be obvious that the real solution for treating cancer and disease is not found in a man-made pill but rather is found in regulating the metabolic functions within our bodies. Western cultures today enjoy a diet rich in the delicacies that our ancestors did not consume on a regular basis such as grain, sugar, and starch. Research continues to show that sugar is the main source of fuel which feeds cancer and contributes to an inflammatory environment. Sugar essentially increases the risk for cancer and disease. How the Ketogenic Diet Works What is the Ketogenic Diet? The Eskimos and Maasai group are cultures we often look at to learn how their scant consumption of carbohydrates sustained their bodies through harsh weather conditions. It turns out that their low carb diet switched their metabolism to burn fat instead of sugar or glucose. This created a metabolic state known as ketosis, a process in which the body burns ketones to make energy, instead of relying on sugar or carbohydrate. Ketones are metabolized by fatty acids in the liver for energy. (This source of fuel is capable of crossing the blood brain barrier and is an excellent form of energy for neurons.) When the body lacks glucose, which is its first source of fuel, ketones are created in its absence. Ketosis was a beneficial process the human body developed as an adaptation to times when food was unavailable (such as for these hunter-gatherers). However, you can effectively produce ketones too by limiting the carbohydrates in your diet to less than 80 grams daily a Continue reading >>
I Went On The Silicon Valley Diet Craze That Encourages Butter And Bacon For 2 Months — And It Vastly Improved My Life
Bacon became my new best friend on the ketogenic diet.Business Insider A diet that goes against conventional wisdom on healthy eating is gaining momentum among Silicon Valley tech workers. And it involves eating a lot of fat. The ketogenic, or "keto," diet — which first became popular in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy and diabetes — limits carbohydrates to no more than 50 grams a day, which is the rough equivalent of a plain bagel or a cup of white rice. By comparison, dietary guidelines laid out by the US Department of Agriculture recommend consuming between 225 and 325 grams of carbs a day. On the keto diet, the body goes into starvation mode and taps its fat stores for fuel. Studies suggest the low-carb, high-fat diet may promote weight loss, dull hunger, and stave off age-related diseases. More research is needed on its long-term effects, especially in healthy people. An increasing number of health nuts — from the internet entrepreneur Kevin Rose to the podcaster Tim Ferriss — swear by the keto diet. I spent the past two months eating bacon, butter, and avocados to see why the keto movement is so popular. I am no stranger to diets. I've cut sugar, counted points on Weight Watchers, and swapped solid food for Soylent, a venture-capital-backed meal-replacement shake. Here's me eating a doughnut.Melia Robinson/Business Insider I gave up breakfast for a week and drank this caffeinated meal-replacement shake instead » But those usually don't last long. I love food. I'm a chronic snacker. Melia Robinson/Business Insider When I first learned about the keto diet, it caught my interest because dieters could eat seemingly unlimited amounts of healthy fats, like cheese, nuts, avocado, eggs, butter — foods that have high "point values" on Weight Watchers and a Continue reading >>
This article is about a dietary therapy for epilepsy. For information on ketogenic diets as a lifestyle choice or for weight loss, see Low-carbohydrate diet and No-carbohydrate diet. 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. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain-function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Almost half of children, and young people, with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet. There is some evidence that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective. The most common adverse effect is constipation, affecting about 30% of patients—this was due to fluid restriction, which was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of kidney stones, and is no longer considered beneficial. The original therapeutic diet for paediatric epilepsy provides just enough protein for body growth and repair, and sufficient calories[Note 1] to maintain the correct weight for age and height. The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was develope Continue reading >>
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The concept of ketogenic dieting is not new – it has existed in many forms and in many variations. It has many similarities to the Atkin’s Diet, and is cousins with other popular diets like South Beach and Paleo. Below, we’ve outlined exactly what the ketogenic diet is, how and why it works, and how you can get started with a ketogenic diet today. Before we dive in, however, it is important to understand that there are three types of ketogenic diets: the Standard Ketogenic Diet, the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet, and the Targeted Ketogenic Diet. All are very closely related but differ in regards to limits and timing of carbohydrate consumption. For all intents and purposes, when we refer to ketogenic diets on TheKetogenicDiet.org, we are typically referring to the Standard Ketogenic diet unless otherwise noted. Most information here is relevant regardless of what type of ketogenic diet you are practicing, however. Okay…so what is the ketogenic diet? A ketogenic diet is quite simply any diet that forces the body into a process called ketosis, whereby fats are burned instead of carbohydrates for use as energy. A proper ketogenic diet calls for the dieter to consume high amounts of fat, adequate amounts of protein, and very low amounts of carbohydrates. Our bodies are used to turning carbohydrates into glucose to send all over the body as energy. When we enter ketosis by sufficiently limiting our carbohydrate intake, our livers start breaking down fat cells into fatty acids and ketones, to be used as energy. Why does the ketogenic diet work? The ketogenic diet works much like any other diet: by limiting the amount of calories you consume, thereby creating a caloric deficit where the body burns more energy than it takes in. That is the fundamental science of weight loss, Continue reading >>