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Ketosis Evolution

The Ketogenic Diet. Is It Paleo?

The Ketogenic Diet. Is It Paleo?

Part One in Our Ketogenic Diet Series. The Paleo and ketogenic diets are not the same, but does that mean there isn’t a place for the ketogenic diet within the Paleo template? They do have considerable overlap. Additionally, there is strong evidence that ketogenic diets are highly beneficial for a wide range of chronic health conditions. During the past decade, low-carb diets, such as the Paleo diet, have become increasingly popular, while a cloud of suspicion has formed over government-advocated, low-fat, grain-centric diets. The reasons for this are simple. Reducing carb intake promotes both improved blood glucose levels and reduced circulating insulin. It also improves metabolic syndrome markers, like obesity, which increase one’s risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.1 The nutritional perspective on dietary fat has also changed. Dr. Cordain, Dr. Atkins, and other nutrition pioneers have helped bring two very important nutrition science concepts to the mainstream: 1) fat is an important energy source, and 2) fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. While most people are aware that fat as well as carbs are the body’s primary energy sources, researchers and advocates of ketogenic diets have been calling attention to an important third fuel source (albeit a source derived from fat.) This “third fuel” is something called ketones, or ketone bodies (KBs). This third fuel is the basis of the ketogenic diet (as the name implies.) To understand KBs, we need to recap some biochemistry basics – specifically, the basics regarding a molecule called ATP. What is ATP? In 1929, a German chemist named Karl Lohmann discovered adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that became known as “the molecular unit of currency.”2 ATP is to biochemistry what gold is to t Continue reading >>

Is There An Evolutionary Medicine Explanation For Why Ketosis Is Therapeutic For So Many Conditions?

Is There An Evolutionary Medicine Explanation For Why Ketosis Is Therapeutic For So Many Conditions?

I think one of the big reasons why we are such great survivors is that we can adapt. We made several adaptations from carb eaters to hunters (and ice age survivors) along the way, but still retained the ability to switch to carbs as needed. It's not complete as red blood cells, and very long nerve cells require carbs as they lack mitochondria. But as long as we have enough animal foods (or the required protein stores in muscles), we can make enough glucose. The remaining cells can burn either glucose, triglycerides, or ketones as fuel. However, when we make ATP via burning carbs instead of beta oxidation (fat burning), the result is lots of ROS, for which we need some antioxidants. We have an awesome one built it: glutathione. But it does get depleted after a while. The rest of the issue is that glucose levels have to be very carefully maintained since high blood glucose is very damaging to eyes, nerves, and kidneys (since they're a backup plan to dump glucose out of the body.) The fact that we have this mechanism really does point us to the fact that high carb intake is a very bad idea long term. Both Drs Jaminet, and Mark Sisson arrived at the conclusion that about 150g/600kcals of glucose is a good amount and too much over that has negative effects. Humans, like most well adapted critters not only adapt over long periods of time via evolutionary pressures in response to environment, but we also adapt individually as can be seen by folks who, after decades of high carb consumption have trouble going back to burning fats and ketones. Just as muscles without the hormetic stimulation of exercise, atrophy, so it seems also does our mitochondria, and so do our cells become more insulin resistant. Just because we can burn carbs, or for that matter protein, doesn't mean that Continue reading >>

Ketosis – Key To Human Babies’ Big Brains?

Ketosis – Key To Human Babies’ Big Brains?

Prof Noakes is on trial for ‘advising’ a mom to wean her baby onto low carb, high fat foods. Could babies’ innate ketosis – a state more often associated with low-carb, high-fat diets – be an arrow in Prof Noakes’ defence’s quiver? By Tamzyn Murphy Campbell BSc, BSc Med(Hons) Human Nutrition and Dietetics, RD Did you know that human newborns and exclusively breastfed babies are in ketosis? 1 I am a dietitian, with two years of intensive postgraduate training in nutrition, and I didn’t realise this until just over a month ago. The fact that human babies are naturally in ketosis is an inconvenient truth because it implies that ketosis (which also occurs when fasting or eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet) is not only a natural metabolic state for human infants, but that it’s probably beneficial too. Nature seldom does something without a reason, so it’s likely that ketosis may confer some kind of evolutionary advantage to human infants. Research suggests that it may be one of the main factors behind the development of the large human brain. 2 “Nature seldom does something without a reason, so it’s likely that ketosis may confer some kind of evolutionary advantage to human infants. Research suggests that it may be one of the main factors behind the development of the large human brain. ” A word on ketones and ketosis Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body uses fat as fuel in preference to carbohydrates – as occurs when fasting or eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. The body makes ketones from fat, when dietary glucose (from carbohydrates and sugar) is low. Ketones can be used as fuel to produce the energy your body and brain needs to function. The human brain only has two options for fuel: glucose or ketones. The other body orga Continue reading >>

Your Brain On Ketones

Your Brain On Ketones

Ketogenic diets have been prescribed for seizures for a long time. The actual research diets used in the past were pretty dismal and seemed to involve drinking a lot of cream and eating a lot of mayonnaise. At Johns Hopkins, pediatric patients were admitted to the hospital for a 48 hour fast and then given eggnog (minus the rum and sugar, I'm guessing) until ketosis was achieved (usually took about 4 days). In addition, ketogenic diets were calorie restricted to just 75-90% of what would be considered a child's usual calorie intake, and often they were fluid-restricted too (1)! If we're talking soybean oil mayonnaise, you could see how someone could get into trouble with mineral deficiencies and liver problems pretty quickly. To understand "dismal," some of the latest research showed that a "modified Atkins protocol" was just as good as the classic ketogenic diet, and so much more liberating, as the patients were allowed up to 10 grams of carbohydrates daily, and they didn't begin with the fast, and they weren't calorie restricted (2)(3). While the classic ketogenic diet was 4:1:1 fat to carbs to protein. If you use MCT oil for 50% of your calories (have to add it in slowly though to prevent vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping!), you could increase the carbohydrates and proteins to a 1.2:1:1 fat:carb:protein and still get the same numbers of magical ketones circulating. And while "MCT oil" sounds nice and yummy when it is gorgeous coconut milk, this MCT Oil 100% Pure 32 fl.oz doesn't look quite as appetizing, especially when that is going the be half of what you eat for the foreseeable future (4). You can see why researchers consider ketogenic diets (especially the original versions) to be extremely difficult and unappetizing (they were), whereas seasoned low-carbers (who Continue reading >>

Guest Post: The Evolution Of The Ketogenic Diet

Guest Post: The Evolution Of The Ketogenic Diet

If you’ve heard the buzzwords “keto,” “ketones” or “ketosis,” you may already be familiar with the Ketogenic diet. While it is more popular than ever today for those interested in losing weight and feeling satisfied, the diet was initially developed in response to epilepsy patients struggling to be free of ongoing and debilitating seizures. Doctors and researchers discovered the power of fasting to reduce seizures long ago. Hippocrates, the legendary Greek physician who lived around 460 to 370 BC, was one of the first to report that fasting could ease epileptic seizures. Other doctors across the globe observed that it required two to three days of fasting to stop seizures, determining that a change in the body’s fuel triggered the shift. As more studies helped show that a specific diet – the ketogenic diet – could create the same effects without the challenge of fasting, a movement was formed. In the 1920s, a Mayo Clinic physician standardized the Ketogenic diet as follows: 1 gram of protein per kilogram of weight 10 to 15 grams of carbohydrates Remaining calories from fat sources Researchers have discovered that the diet can reduce seizures by more than 50 percent in about half all patients while reducing them by more than 90 percent in another one-third of patients, according to the Journal of Child Neurology. In 1994, Charlie Abrahams, the son of a Hollywood producer named Jim Abrahams who suffered uncontrollable epileptic attacks, put the Ketogenic diet on the map for good, thanks to global exposure through an interview on “Dateline.” The family was interviewed about the various interventions they had tried as well as the progress the boy made through the diet. They were so heartened by the boy’s response that they created the Charlie Found Continue reading >>

The Fat-fueled Brain: Unnatural Or Advantageous?

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 >>

Are There Different Types Of Ketosis?

Are There Different Types Of Ketosis?

Before reading this, if you haven’t already, I suggest reading What is a Ketogenic Diet and Understanding Ketosis so you will have a stronger understanding of what it means to be in a state of ketosis. The next step necessary in comprehending the ketogenic diet is learning the different types of ketosis that can occur. For this article, we will refer to three different forms of ketosis: fasting ketosis, nutritional ketosis, and pathological ketosis. The different types of ketosis vary in their degree of ketone production as well as their method of induction. Fasting Ketosis The idea of fasting has been around for hundreds of years and played a major part in the origins of the ketogenic diet. In fact, many great philosophers, such as Hippocrates, Socrates, and Aristotle, all praised the many benefits of fasting. Paracelsus, physician and father of toxicology, was quoted saying, “Fasting is the greatest remedy—the physician within.” While these early scientists and philosophers were definitely ahead of the game in recognizing the potential of fasting, the mechanisms were still yet to be understood. Ketosis tends to occur when insulin and blood glucose levels decrease to an extent that allows for increased fat oxidation, which is ultimately followed by greater ketone production. A minor state of ketosis can occur following periods of complete food restriction, such as an overnight fast. This may produce ketone levels around 0.1 mmol/L to 0.03 mmol/L. Shorter duration fasts typically will not raise ketone levels above these levels because the rate of ketone metabolism matches ketone synthesis. As the fast continues, the rate of ketone production exceeds ketone clearance, resulting in an increase in blood ketone levels (1). While a minor state of ketosis can occur du Continue reading >>

How To Kickstart Ketosis, Have More Energy, And Win

How To Kickstart Ketosis, Have More Energy, And Win

How many times do you wake up wishing you felt worse? That’s a dumb question; of course no one wishes that. On the flip side, how often do you wake up wishing you felt better? Had more energy, didn’t feel quite as sluggish? There are a myriad of possibilities as to why you might wake up feeling like you never quite got to sleep the night before. It doesn’t matter if it’s stress induced or a poor bedtime routine the fact of the matter is you’re up, feeling like crap, and need to get ready for work. Mornings like this suck. It’s as if the day is over before it’s begun. Which is why you should care to learn a bit about ketosis, how you can kickstart the process, and win not only your day back, but a cascade of health benefits that follow. Fat Is Your Friend… And food you should eat! I do feel strongly that we’re getting past the idea that fat is no longer “unhealthy” for us. If this is news to you then I hope this post alone makes your day 10x brighter. Fat used to be considered: Evil Avoid it at all costs Think “Fat-Free” It’ll give you cancer It’ll give you high cholesterol – which really doesn’t mean much of anything anyway And most of all, it’ll make you FAT The media did a great job at spreading this message, so people avoided it like the plague. Fast forward to 2016 and you’ll find a plethora of articles, studies, and books that not only disagree with the old claims, but actually go on to argue numerous benefits that come with eating a diet high in fat. One buzzword that gets attached with diets high in fat is Ketosis. Without getting too jargon-y let’s have a quick science lesson. Macronutrients are the base of our nutrition intake. They include 3 types: Protein Carbohydrates And Fat Each macronutrient contains a specific numb Continue reading >>

The Neuropharmacology Of The Ketogenic Diet

The Neuropharmacology Of The Ketogenic Diet

Go to: Introduction Since the early 1920s, the ketogenic diet has been used successfully to treat patients with intractable epilepsy. The diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrate and protein, providing sufficient protein for growth but insufficient amounts of carbohydrates for all the metabolic needs of the body [1]. Energy is derived largely from fatty acid oxidation in mitochondria. During high rates of fatty acid oxidation, large amounts of acetyl-CoA are generated, leading to the synthesis, primarily in the liver, of the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone (Fig. 1). The metabolic efficiency of the Krebs cycle is reduced, and excess acetyl-CoA is shunted to the production of ketone bodies. Ketone bodies spill into the circulation, causing serum levels to rise severalfold, and then are utilized as an energy source in extrahepatic tissues, including the brain. Glucose is ordinarily the sole fuel for the human brain; fatty acids cannot be used because they do not cross the blood-brain barrier. Ketone bodies do enter the brain, in proportion to the degree of ketosis. Ordinarily, utilization of ketones by the brain is minimal. During the ketogenic diet, however, ketone bodies partly replace glucose as fuel for the brain. The ketone bodies are converted to acetyl-CoA by D-β-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase, acetoacetate-succinyl-CoA transferase, and acetoacetyl-CoA-thiolase and then enter the Krebs cycle within brain mitochondria, leading to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (Fig. 2). It has been known since the time of Hippocrates that fasting is an effective treatment for seizures, and the ketogenic diet was designed to mimic the fasting state [2]. However, despite intensive research in recent years, the mechanism by which the Continue reading >>

Study Shows What A Ketogenic Diet Did To Mice With Systemic Metastatic Cancer

Study Shows What A Ketogenic Diet Did To Mice With Systemic Metastatic Cancer

You may be wondering, what is a ketogenic diet? It’s a diet that promotes several different health benefits for the human body, benefits that arise when we put ourselves in “starvation mode.” And it makes sense; thousands of years ago, humans didn’t have access to food every single day. We often went many days without a “kill,” and many wild animals do the same today. We are biologically built to go long periods of time without food, and when we do so, we turn on genes and activate aspects of our biology that improve our health in a multitude of ways. Yet we’re constantly eating, and as a result, our bodies are always burning sugar for fuel instead of fat. The human body only has two fuel sources, fat and glycogen (sugar). When we have a lot of sugar stored in the body (from consuming carbohydrates, for example, which turn into sugar), our body uses that sugar to feed our brain and other organs, providing the energy they need to function. When the body runs out of glucose, it switches energy sources, from glycogen to fat. This can only happen when the body is depleted of its glycogen reserves. It is in this mode that ketone bodies are produced, molecules created by the liver from fatty acids during periods of starvation, fasting, low food intake, carbohydrate restrictive/high fat diets, and long, intense exercise. Today, a ketogenic diet is used to treat cancer, seizure disorders like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and more. It’s slowly gaining popularity, but still relatively obscure in mainstream medicine and pharmacology (probably because you can’t profit from people fasting). That being said, it’s well known, as mentioned in this podcast with Joe Rogan and Dr. Dom D’Agostino, that the pharmaceutical industry is very int Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diet Plan

Ketogenic Diet Plan

A ketogenic diet plan improves your health through a metabolic switch in the primary cellular fuel source to which your body and brain are adapted. When your metabolism switches from relying on carbohydrate-based fuels (glucose from starch and sugar) to fat-based fuels and fat metabolism products called ketones, positive changes in the health of your cells occur, and this translates into better overall health. A metabolic process called ketogenesis and a body state called ketosis are responsible. Ketosis is simply a normal metabolic pathway in which body and brain cells utilize ketones to make energy, instead of relying on only sugar (i.e., carbohydrate). In fact, humans developed an evolutionary ability to burn ketones as an adaptation to periods of time when food was unavailable, and being in nutritional ketosis is a beneficial body state. A great deal of research is being done on ketosis as it relates to disease. Ketone bodies have some very beneficial effects on the human body, and elevating one's blood levels of ketone bodies is an effective treatment for many disease conditions because it improves the function of cellular energy pathways and mitochondrial health. Ketogenic diets are now being used to treat medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, autism, Alzheimer's, cancer and others and much of the success of these treatments is rooted in these cellular effects. This page will answer some questions you may have about a ketogenic diet plan including: Who should NOT follow a ketogenic diet: list of medical contraindications. How do I start a ketogenic diet plan? Do I need to worry about the "dangers of low carb diets"? What are the side effects of a ketogenic diet? What are the benefits of a ketogenic diet? But first a little legal and medical coverage: Alth Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diet: How To Do It The Right Way!

Ketogenic Diet: How To Do It The Right Way!

It breaks my heart to hear the stories of patients who’ve been around the block two or three times with diets that don’t work. So, I really do wish I could stop you from spinning your wheels and feeling like you’re going to end up without support, without answers, and without success. Frankly, it doesn’t have to be this way. And, that’s why I’m here now. Watch this video on the topic: Or keep reading… I’m here to share as much knowledge and advice as I can with you and steer you away from diets and plans that just don’t work. Now, I’ve been asked quite a bit lately about a pretty popular diet – the ketogenic diet. And you know, the ketogenic diet has been around for quite some time. It gained a lot of notoriety when Dr. Atkins introduced it in the early seventies. And, Atkins revealed quite a bit of truth. But, there was one issue with his plan. Atkins just didn’t know that… Most people CAN’T actually get into ketosis. You see, there’s a wrong and right way to do it. Atkins didn’t really get it right. And the Paleo diets don’t actually get it right either. Why? A Paleo diet ISN’T ketogenic. Paleo diets rely heavily on animal proteins, but those proteins are converted into sugar through gluconeogenesis. It’s just not protein you should be relying on… Instead, you have to eat FAT. That’s right, f-a-t fat. That doesn’t mean “fattening” foods like grains and sugars. I’m talking about HEALTHY fats. Here’s what the breakdown should look like. 80% of your daily calories should be fats like avocado, avocado oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, red palm oil, or extra virgin olive oil Only 10% of your daily calories should be protein-based. That’s about 20 grams of protein a day – way less than the average american eats. The last 10% Continue reading >>

Your Brain On Ketones

Your Brain On Ketones

The modern prescription of high carbohydrate, low fat diets and eating snacks between meals has coincided with an increase in obesity, diabetes, and and increase in the incidence of many mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. In addition, many of these disorders are striking the population at younger ages. While most people would agree that diet has a lot to do with the development of obesity and diabetes, many would disagree that what we eat has much to do with our mental health and outlook. I believe that what we eat has a lot to do with the health of our brains, though of course mental illness (like physical illness) has multifactorial causes, and by no means should we diminish the importance of addressing all the causes in each individual. But let's examine the opposite of the modern high carbohydrate, low fat, constant snacking lifestyle and how that might affect the brain. The opposite of a low fat, snacking lifestyle would be the lifestyle our ancestors lived for tens of thousands of generations, the lifestyle for which our brains are primarily evolved. It seems reasonable that we would have had extended periods without food, either because there was none available, or we were busy doing something else. Then we would follow that period with a filling meal of gathered plant and animal products, preferentially selecting the fat. During the day we might have eaten a piece of fruit, or greens, or a grub we dug up, but anything filling or high in calories (such as a starchy tuber) would have to be killed, butchered, and/or carefully prepared before eating. Fortunately, we have a terrific system of fuel for periods of fasting or low carbohydrate eating, our body (and brain) can readily shift from burning glucose to burning what ar Continue reading >>

Ketosis In An Evolutionary Context

Ketosis In An Evolutionary Context

Humans are unique in their remarkable ability to enter ketosis. They’re also situated near the top of the food chain. Coincidence? During starvation, humans rapidly enter ketosis; they do this better than king penguins, and bears don’t do it at all. Starvation ketosis Humans maintain a high level of functionality during starvation. We can still hunt & plan; some would even argue it’s a more finely tuned state, cognitively. And that’s important, because if we became progressively weaker and slower, chances of acquiring food would rapidly decline. Perhaps this is why fasting bears just sleep most of the time: no ketones = no bueno..? Animals with a low brain/carcass weight ratio (ie, small brain) don’t need it. Babies and children have a higher brain/carcass weight ratio, so they develop ketosis more rapidly than adults. Is this a harmful process? No, more likely an evolutionary adaptation which supports the brain. The brain of newborn babies consumes a huge amount of total daily energy, and nearly half comes from ketones. A week or so later, even after the carbohydrate content of breast milk increases, they still don’t get “kicked out of ketosis” (Bourneres et al., 1986). If this were a harmful state, why would Nature have done this? …and all those anecdotes, like babies learn at incredibly rapid rates… coincidence? Maybe they’re myths. Maybe not. Ketosis in the animal kingdom Imagine a hibernating bear: huge adipose tissue but small brain fuel requirement relative to body size and total energy expenditure. No ketosis, because brain accounts for less than 5% of total metabolism. In adult humans, this is around 19-23%, and babies are much higher (eg, Cahill and Veech, 2003 & Hayes et al., 2012). For the rest of this article and more, head over to Pat Continue reading >>

Intermittent Fasting And Ketosis – Different Perspectives

Intermittent Fasting And Ketosis – Different Perspectives

My belief is that we are not meant to eat 3 times a day, which is the general R(x) in most countries. People eat much more than that, as you see the ones near you always having something to put in their mouths, always craving for something. It’s extremely easy to get food these days, with basically 0 effort. I do not want to be a critic but look at the Chawners for example, the fattest British family. They are not employed and they live off the government receiving approximately $20,000. Again, the purpose is not to criticize but to point out how easy it is to receive food. I don’t wanna say that their morbidly obese status has something to do with the amount of food they eat, but in some part, it has. Currently and as far as I know, there are more obese people than starving people in the world. Not wanting to derive away from the subject, let me give you some examples why I think it’s no good for us to eat at least 3 times a day and to eat every day. Let’s start with some history. Early Ancestors Enter the Australopiths (a.k.a. Australopithecus). They have been a hominid species living mostly in Africa between 4.2 to 1.5 million years ago. First of all, their upper body size is much more developed (larger) compared to the lower body size. These images (even though they may not 100% reflect the reality of the past) show that their hands were bigger than their feet. You cannot see in these images, but the Australopiths had flat feet, making them less adapted to moving faster and over larger distances. You may have heard of Lucy, the recently discovered fossil. She was an Australopith female living in Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago. They’ve evolved from earlier primates and they could spend time both in trees and on the ground, constantly reaching for food (henc Continue reading >>

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