The Ketosis Promise Land
(Week 7-11) How the search for additional marginal gains led me to the path of tenuous benefits and brought me (almost) nothing but misery. While studying various aspects of LC way of living, It wasn’t difficult to stumble upon the term “keto-adaptation” or ketosis, that seemed to pop up very frequently, especially with relation in endurance training. This keto adaptation approach entails severely limiting your carbohydrate intake, usually to less than 50g per day, in order to teach your body metabolism to burn and use exclusively fat for fuel, i.e. to use ketone bodies instead of glucose. The body’s reliance on fat as a primary fuel in endurance exercise is the “holy grail” in sports nutrition, as even the leanest of athletes have enough body fat stores for a couple or Ironman races. The theory behind this approach was obtained from excellent book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance from Phinney and Volek and various internet sources, most notably from Peter Attia’s eatingacademy.com. The theory behind keto-adaptation seemed plausible and very compelling, therefore decision was unambiguous: bring on even more fat! I got myself a blood ketone body measuring device (Precision Xtra NFR Blood Glucose Monitoring System ), and after some additional tinkering with my nutrition, I managed to get myself into “keto-adapted” state. For me to achieve this, I needed to cut my carbs to less than 50g per day and limiting protein intake to fewer than 140 g (less than 2g per kg of body weight). Time wise it took me 7 weeks from starting LC to get to keto-adapted state. The results were most dramatically seen in my body composition. I leaned out even more reaching a body weight of 67 kg, lowest in 5 years. But most striking difference from a couple of w Continue reading >>
Ketosis: Friend Or Foe?
Ketogenic diets are getting a lot of attention these days and along with that attention comes a great amount of debate as to whether or not this metabolic state is ideal for individuals to purposely put themselves in. The information available is constantly growing and can be extremely confusing to a newcomer. The good thing about disagreement is that it is one of the best ways to fuel growth and progress. While there are some remarkable things people are doing to improve their health through ketogenic diets, there is still a lot we have to learn about it and the common misunderstanding of this metabolic state is what I intend to address in this post. For the sake of keeping this blog post short and sweet, keep in mind that this is a topic I will continue to build on. Ketosis, and all the dynamics associated with it, are so complex that it would be impossible to write about it all in one post. So where I post links to other, more thoroughly written articles, make sure to take action and read through them to better understand this subject. What does it mean to be in ketosis? The body can run on either glucose or fat (ketones) for fuel. Because the standard American has been told to fear fat and encouraged to consume a diet of at least 65% carbohydrates, it's safe to assume that a majority of the population are using glucose (aka sugar) for fuel. However, there is an alternative to this. It's called being in a state of ketosis which is when the body burns ketones (a byproduct of fat metabolism) to fuel the body. The most important thing to remember is that both are completely normal and mankind has been using both forms of fuel since the beginning of time to get us to where we are today. Without the ability to store fat on our bodies, and later tap into those fat stores d Continue reading >>
4 Things Your Body Temperature Can Tell You About Your Health
Body temperature is easy to measure and it can tell you a surprising amount about your health. It does take some patience – sometimes a week or two of measuring regularly before you get any data you can use – but it takes 30 seconds and it’s free, so take a look at 4 ways you can use it to learn about your health. Your temperature can tell you… 1. How Fast Your Metabolism is Running This is the one most people know: body temperature is a decently reliable guide to metabolic rate. When people lose weight, their body temperature drops as their metabolism slows down. This is why some people feel cold all the time when they’re dieting, especially if they’re doing something extreme. For example, take the Biosphere 2 study. In this study, 8 healthy adults spent 2 years sealed off from the outside world. They had to eat a low-calorie diet that caused 18% weight loss in men and 10% weight loss in women. And these people weren’t overweight to begin with. As the researchers running the study reported, subjects going in had an average body temperature around 98.6. But by the time they got out, their body temperatures had dropped to 96-97 F, sometimes lower. When they started eating again and regained weight, their body temperature went back up to normal. This mirrored their thyroid function – lower body temperatures corresponded to lower thyroid hormone levels. Basically, their body temperature dropped as their metabolic rate dropped, and then rebounded when their metabolism rebounded. The same thing happened in the famous Minnesota Starvation Experiment, otherwise known as a really fantastic argument for how calorie restriction makes people crazy. Intriguingly enough, there might actually be an upside to this whole process. Yes, it stinks that metabolic rate inevi Continue reading >>
Does A Ketogenic Diet Affect Women’s Hormones?
Does a ketogenic diet affect women’s hormones? Yes—you can count on your nutrition to affect your hormones. Does it ruin or destroy your hormones? No. The unfortunate part is that if women rely on hearsay and don’t source better information about ketosis and their hormones, they lose out on the benefits of ketosis, especially those who suffer from PCOS, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Women with these conditions can benefit significantly from the ketogenic diet.  In this post we’ll discuss the ketogenic diet’s impact on your thyroid and the HPA axis, then look at ways to evaluate your hormones, how you feel, and what adjustments to make. The Ketogenic Diet and Your Thyroid Is ketosis bad for your thyroid? No. Let’s break it down: It’s true that low-carb diets (like the ketogenic diet) and calorie restriction lowers T3, the thyroid marker hormone.   T3 make your cells use more energy. Because of its function, scientists have hypothesized that “a reduction in T3 hormone may increase lifespan by conserving energy and reducing free-radical production.”  Together with T4, these hormones regulate your metabolism, heart rate and body temperature. Most of T3 binds to protein and some free T3 circulates in your blood. But a lowered T3 doesn’t mean you get thyroid dysfunction or hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is often a case of high levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and low levels of free T4. The pituitary gland tries to get your thyroid gland to produce T4: high levels of TSH. But the thyroid isn’t responding: low levels of T4. When T3 is reduced, the thyroid is called “euthyroid.” A normal thyroid. For a more in-depth look at what a low-carb diet does to T3, T4 and TSH levels, read Dr. Anthony’s article on ketosis and women Continue reading >>
Is A Low-carb Diet Ruining Your Health?
I am adding some research gathered from other posts on this site regarding Candida, as I suspect it will help people whose Candida infections are getting worse, or are not improving, while on a low carb diet. As Jeff Leach has pointed out, when people switch to very low carb diets their fermentation drops considerably — which means that there is less acid being produced as Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). Candida is a dimorphic fungus, which means that it can be either benign or pathogenic (extending hyphae). Candida is only hyphal when it gut pH is extremely acidic (somewhat rare, but can happen with gut diseases like ulcerative colitis) or too alkaline (which happens from not eating enough resistant starches and fibers). If you read through the half dozen studies in that link, you’ll see that Candida has a number of growth genes that are sensitive to pH. These hyphal growth genes switch on when gut pH is too high or too low. In other words, Candida is benign when gut pH is normal. It’s the SCFAs from our fiber and RS fermentation that keep our guts slightly acidic. And it’s no coincidence that acids like acetate or caprylic acid are well known to inactivate candida. Virtually any acid would inactivate candida and it’s the SCFAs from our own gut bugs that do a particularly good job. So, people on very low carb diets have guts that aren’t fermenting and are therefore too alkaline, which as we can see from above promotes candida overgrowth. For these people, increasing their safe starch consumption and taking RS will increase SCFA (acid) production, which helps normalize gut pH and switch off the candida growth genes — returning candida to its benign and harmless state. Simultaneously, RS and fibers tends to bloom good bacteria (which also contributes to in Continue reading >>
Why I Ditched Low Carb
Of course I won’t throw my potato at you, Sweet Pea, because I plan on eating it!! With LOTS of butter! Ann Marie, I just love you because, with your suggestions, I have made my biggest strides in recovery. But returning to carbs has been an absolute blessing from above! I have struggled with my temps for years. At one point I was put on Cytomel to bring them back up. Which it did, but as soon any situation made me falter, my doctor upped my dose to bring them back up. I ended up being hyperthryoid, so he took me off cold turkey. I later found out that stopping thyroid meds that way can be deadly. Which didn’t surprise me because at that time I felt like I was dying. Needless to say my temps absolutely plummeted. In retrospect, I have suffered with adrenal issues for most of my life, but that situation started a complete down-fall that I am still trying to recover from today. When I burned out to the point of total bedrest, my new doctor took me off everything. He told me to limit my carbs because it would be too energizing to my adrenals. No sugar, no fruit, no caffeine, no alcohol and especially, no wheat. He said it clogged the thyroid. I felt like it would have been easier to graze on the grass in my backyard. But I listened to what he said and was pretty much living a paleo lifestyle, although I didn’t know it then. While I finally got off of bedrest, I am still house-bound three years later. I was so frustrated! I felt schlumpy, fat and like a potato. I couldn’t understand if I was eating so well, why wasn’t I getting better during those three years? Well, Ann Marie to the rescue!! When I read about upping my carbs to bring up my temps and feel better overall, it made total sense to me. I had no fear in giving it a whirl because I’ve got nothing to los Continue reading >>
Going Low-carb Too Fast May Trigger Thyroid Troubles And Hormone Imbalance
If you’ve been turned on to the low-carb Paleo diet craze, you may have noticed increased energy, better digestion and happier mood, and a shrinking waist line. Good for you. But some folks who’ve taken the Primal leap—particularly those who were previously on a high-carb diet—have been faced with unexpected side effects waving them back to the world of bread, sugary fruits and sweet potato casserole. Interestingly, these side effects include a wide range of symptoms that are nearly identical to symptoms of severe thyroid hormone deficiency. More interestingly, lab tests often show normal or near normal thyroid function. More interesting still is that these symptoms seem to only be relieved by adding back carbs into the diet, sometimes upward of 300 grams—a level I consider to be very likely to harm. Why is this happening? Is it that low-carb simply doesn’t work for everyone, or is something else going on? In an effort to get to the bottom of this, low-carb blogger Jimmy Moore is asking his cadre of low-carb literate practitioners to weigh in on the issue with our opinions. This so happens to be an issue I’ve been pondering since reading about the controversy over safe starches, and a couple pieces of the puzzle recently fell into place that I think I add up to at least one explanation for the debilitating symptoms some people develop on going low-carb, and offer a method for anyone going low-carb to do so without problems. Here’s what I discovered about those with thyroid problems. Abrupt Change May Be too Much For the Thyroid People who run into trouble going low-carb seem to follow a pattern. They follow any number of diets from SAD to vegan before making a relatively abrupt switch to a low carb (often less than 50 gm) diet. At first they lose weight Continue reading >>
8 Ways To Blast Through Low-carb Flu And Dive Into Ketosis
Have you just started a low-carb diet? Do you find yourself feeling exhausted and overcome by tiredness? Perhaps you are thinking that going low-carb wasn’t a good idea after all… You might already know that these symptoms are not uncommon, especially if you are doing low-carb for the first time. Also known as “low carb flu” or “Atkins flu”, this phase is completely normal – although by no means pleasant. This condition occurs when you cut your carb intake sharply, to about 20-30g a day, in order to induce ketosis. What is low-carb flu? Your body is used to running on carbs. It’s been operating this way for decades. Cutting carbs in favour of fat is a huge change for your metabolism. Your body needs some time to adjust to this change. This period of adjustment can sometimes cause flu-like symptoms. Fatigue is the most common one, but you could also get muscle cramps, headaches, dizziness and mental fog. Some of these symptoms are markers of sugar withdrawal. Sugar addiction is real and common, so trying to break away can be difficult. Low-carb flu is not actual flu Please note that “low carb flu” does not include fever or respiratory cold-like symptoms such as coughing or sneezing. If you are experiencing any of these, it means that you might have actually caught an infection! So it would be a good idea to postpone starting your diet until you are all clear. How can you fight tiredness and other symptoms of low-carb flu? First of all, remember that it won’t last forever. Low-carb flu usually lasts around 3-5 days (although could be 1-2 weeks for some unlucky people with high metabolic resistance). Here are some simple tips on making this transition easier. 1) Eat more fat Fat is the key to this whole issue. You must eat lots of it – a lot more th Continue reading >>
What Are The Benefits Of Eating A Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. When you understand the role of fat in a healthy metabolism, you can understand why the Ketogenic diet offers so many benefits when it’s done right. Fats are used in everything, and I mean every single metabolic process. Every cell in your body is a little bubble of fat – phospholipid membrane. Even the muscle cells, the blood cells, the bone cells, but especially skin cells and nerve cells. Every single cell! So with that said, let’s have a little rundown of the top ten benefits of the Ketogenic diet: Higher Energy Levels – from Dawn Til’ Dusk Most people notice an increase in their energy levels after about 1 week of eating keto. Sometimes it can take a little longer and other times it only takes a days or two. But believe me, when it happens, it’s very noticeable. No more the sugar highs and slumping lows of the afternoon. You can expect a steady stream of energy all throughout the day. On top of this you can expect greater concentration levels, less brain fog (even if you didn’t know you had it), deeper and more satisfying sleep and waking up feeling refreshed and raring to go. Hugely Improved Sleep Quality I mentioned this briefly in the last point because these two are related, and here’s why. The ketogenic diet helps to regulate your hormones. Did I mention that some of the most hormones are manufactured from fats? Yes, that’s right. They’re called Eicosanoids, and you can see from their Wiki entry that they are involved in just about everything. It was from studying them that we found out about Essential Fatty Acids – they’re essential because you need them to make Eicosanoids! Because these local hormones affect the creation of other hormones they help to regulate everyth Continue reading >>
The Side Effects Of A Low Carb Diet
Who should go on a low-carb diet? Low-carbohydrate diets — like the ketogenic diet — are effective for weight loss and improving health. They are also especially helpful for anyone who: Is overweight or obese Is sedentary Has epilepsy Has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids or endometriosis Is diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes Has a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Has certain forms of cancer Has cardiovascular disease A typical low-carb diet limits the daily intake of carbohydrates to between 60 and 130 grams, while a ketogenic diet tends to stay below 30 grams of carbohydrates. This is done by excluding or limiting most grains, legumes, fruits, bread, sweets, pasta and starchy vegetables from the diet and replacing them with added fats, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. When we eat in this way, our bodies begin to change dramatically — especially for those who habitually eat plenty of carbohydrates with each meal. Not all of these changes, however, are going to be positive. When carbohydrates are restricted, it is stressful for the body because it must find another way to fuel itself. This can cause side effects, like nausea and headaches, that is commonly called the “keto flu”. The lack of carbohydrates will also lead to fluid and mineral loss and hormonal changes that can cause health issues if not addressed. The Most Common Side Effects The most common side effects that are experienced when restricting carbohydrates are: Headache Bad breath Weakness Fatigue Constipation or diarrhea It is important, however, to consider how common these symptoms actually are. In studies that put obese patients on a ketogenic diet for 6 months or longer (up to two years), no side effects or co Continue reading >>
Can A Low-carb, No-sugar Diet Cause Night Sweats & Sleepiness?
Reducing your carbohydrates allows you to enter the dietary state of ketosis, where you primarily burn fat for energy instead of sugar. This requires you to severely limit your carbohydrate intake and avoid all sugars. Diets of this sort present certain difficulties, including a lack of energy if you typically run on a high-carbohydrate diet. Consult a health care professional before beginning any diet or exercise program. Video of the Day Low-carbohydrate dieting limits your body's ability to use glycogen for energy. The more you restrict your carbohydrates, and the more you are physically active, the quicker you will experience a loss of energy. Over time, your body becomes more accustomed to running primarily on ketones, free-floating fatty acids, instead of sugar, but it takes a while to adapt to this. If you are following the Atkins diet or a similar variation, this is usually dealt with during a two-week period known as the induction phase. Sleepiness can be the direct result of a lack of energy. Even though you are dieting, if you cut your calories too far, you may be suffering from a lack of total energy to work with. Regardless of the type of diet, excessive caloric restriction can result in both sleeplessness and sleepiness. Until you become accustomed to running on ketones, you may experience sleepiness or euphoria, a dazed feeling, as your body becomes accustomed to having less sugar and more fat to run on. You may sweat more on a low-carbohydrate diet for more than one reason. As your glycogen, or sugar levels deplete, you lose your ability to store water. Each gram of stored glycogen retains 4 g of water. As you must consume as much or more water while dieting than you did before you started your diet, you are going to expel water quickly, and some of this Continue reading >>
Recovery From A Low-carb Diet
As with many aspects of life, extremes can be a challenge. Balance of nutrients is an important key for vibrant health. There is no question that those who have grown up on a diet high in refined carbohydrates experience tremendous benefits from eliminating them and adopting a diet high in animal fat and moderate amounts of protein, with a wide variety of vegetables and some fruits. At the other extreme is a diet very low in carbohydrates, often promoted for weight loss and immune disorders. However, problems result for many when complex carbohydrates are avoided long term. The result is often seen in conditions related to low thyroid and adrenal function. Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? • Are your hands and feet typically cold? • Is excess weight creeping up on you? • Has your average body temperature dropped? • Is your ability to handle stressful situations not what it used to be? • Do you have symptoms of osteoarthritis? • Are you experiencing hearing loss? • Appearance of xanthomas (lipid deposits under the skin)? • Eyelids dropping? • Sluggish reflexes? • Acne? • Low libido? • Challenged by infertility? A SHIFT IN METABOLISM The best explanation for the appearance of these symptoms is that as we age—we begin aging around age twenty-one—we shift from being fast oxidizers to slow oxidizers. In a nutshell this means that our ability to burn fuel slows down a bit and requires a little prodding. The result is a shift toward hypothyroidism, although often it is only sub-clinical, meaning thyroid hormone levels appear to be “normal.” Nonetheless, the symptoms are ever present. The body’s metabolism is like a fireplace fueled by three critical components: fat, protein and carbohydrates. Fat, which provides longer burning, sustaini Continue reading >>
4 Month Update On My Ketogenic Diet
My next 90 Day Keto Challenge starts soon. Would you like to join me? It includes weekly webinars, meal plans and shopping list, a workbook, and private online support group. For more info, click here. Did you notice that I took off the word “experiment” in the title? I’ve decided this is no longer an experiment, meaning something that is temporary and only done for a trial period. After the life altering health improvements I’ve experienced, I’ve decided that this is my new way of life. Who would ever want to go back to feeling miserable all day and night? This month, along with my normal report of health improvements and challenges, I’ve included some Frequently Asked Questions that I have been getting recently. In some ways, month four was quite different from months one through three. The biggest difference was that my weight loss slowed considerably. I also started to exercise a lot more, incorporating weight lifting and lots more walking. In most other ways, month four was business as usual for my keto life: I continued to experience health benefits and improvements, plus I’ve noticed even more. The slowed weight loss did begin to play mind games with me, since my weight loss up to this point had been relatively effortless. I had times where I questioned if I was doing something wrong, if I might be sliding back into old habits and underestimating portions, if this wasn’t working any more, if I’d ever be able to lose any more weight, etc. A friend pointed out that I was addicted to big scale losses! And she was right. What I had to realize was that since I added three times per week weight training, plus I was walking a couple of miles per day (my car broke down and I had to walk everywhere), the slowed weight loss was likely due to body composit Continue reading >>
[thermogenesis From The Breakdown Of A Ketogenic Diet In An Experimental Model Using Swine].
Abstract A respiration calorimetry experiment with 10 matures sows was conducted to study the effect of a ketogenic diet on heat production and energy utilization. The ketogenic diet contained no carbohydrates and 85% of its energy as fat. The control diet was a mixed diet with most of its energy as carbohydrates. Both diets provided the same daily protein intake, which was slightly below the calculated protein requirement. The level of energy intake was adjusted to a moderate positive energy balance. Both diets were allocated to the same animal for three weeks each according to a crossover design. Seven-day collection periods and 48-hours measurements of the gaseous exchange (carbon-nitrogen balance method) were conducted on individual sows per diet. The ketogenic diet substantially increased the energy losses in faeces, which resulted in a energy digestibility of 75% compared to 93% with the mixed diet. The methane production was also significantly depressed. In contrast, the urine energy excretion was not influenced by the extremely high fat diet. The nitrogen balance showed lower faecal nitrogen losses and a higher urine nitrogen excretion in the animals with the high fat diet. Because of this compensative response no difference in nitrogen retention was observed between the two dietary treatments. The ketogenic diet caused no detrimental effects on thermogenesis or energy utilization. The results of both criteria could be fully explained by the well accepted ideas of the efficiency of utilization of the energy from fat under balanced nutrition conditions. Overall the results demonstrate that a high fat diet has no regulatory effect on the usually diet-induced thermogenesis. Continue reading >>
Does Ketosis (from A Fat-rich Diet) Affect Body Temperature?
One finds a minor increase in metabolism early in ketosis, especially so when consuming MCTs. MCTs are converted into ketone bodies in their first pass through the liver. Humans do not store those well and metabolize them fairly quickly. Something similar happens with consumed ethanol. Ask yourself why metabolism decreases after dieting. How does the hypothalamus detect food shortage? It can’t do so from circulating ketone bodies or free fatty acids. Those are maintained from fat stores even when one is starving. It does that through glucose and insulin levels. On a strict ketogenic diet, I was found to have both low TSH and low T4. Normally, if T4 is low, TSH is raised to restore the required metabolism. Low T4 results in decreased basal metabolism. My condition was called central hypothyroidism and commonly seen only in patients who have suffered major disease or trauma. It reversed on restoration of a more normal diet. A true ketogenic diet is rather extreme in that it requires restriction of protein as well as carbs. Roughly half of ingested protein becomes glucose on its first pass through the liver. Continue reading >>