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Ketosis Evolution

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 >>

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 >>

Ketone Bodies: The Dietary Evolution To Superman

Ketone Bodies: The Dietary Evolution To Superman

Our Biochemical Destiny Is Determined By Nutrition It’s because of ketone bodies that I say “no, thank you,” to the stewardess who offers me chicken pasta, red wine, and chocolate cake during the ninth hour of a transatlantic flight. I’m starving, but it’s a firm “no.” I’ll explain what my logic is. Two million years ago, I was a hominid monkey known as Homo habilis, aka Handy Man, living in Lake Turkana, in northern Kenya. I wasn’t just any simian; I was the top ape in the Savannah, in fact the smartest creature since the birth of single-celled life. For the next two million years my descendants would outsmart every other species on the planet. What made me special? For one, I wasn’t surrounded by geniuses. Monkeys had already been around for 50 million years, during which they failed to crack open so much as a nut. Handy Man’s great forefathers, the Australopithecus, finally learned to run on two legs, but for another two million years kept running after deer that were five times faster than him. Australopithecus may have begun the marathon tradition, but from a nutritional standpoint, it was a zero-sum game. Aside from the rare and occasional leftovers from hyenas, their daily catch consisted mostly of tubers, lizards, vegetables, and fruit. Along came our kind, the first standup apes with tools. We figured out a simple thing called the rock. Split it, and you can carve out stuff with the sharp end. Attach it to a stick, and you get a spear. Throw the spear at a saber-toothed cat, and you get meat, bone marrow, and saturated fats. Grunt. From this point onward, we tripled our brain size from a monkey-like 400ml to a human-like 1,200ml in record time. What was the real cause of this unprecedented evolutionary jump? Vegetarians may guess it’s no Continue reading >>

Doctor Explains What Happens To The Human Body When It Goes Into Ketosis (ketogenic Diet)

Doctor Explains What Happens To The Human Body When It Goes Into Ketosis (ketogenic Diet)

From a young age we’re taught that eating three meals a day, plus snacks, is healthy and necessary for the human body to function normally, and this rhetoric still dominates North American food guides today. Mark Mattson, the Current Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging, once asked: Why is it that the normal diet is three meals a day plus snacks? . . . There are a lot of pressures to have that eating pattern, there’s a lot of money involved. The food industry – are they going to make money from skipping breakfast like I did today? No, they’re going to lose money. If people fast, the food industry loses money. What about the pharmaceutical industries? What if people do some intermittent fasting, exercise periodically and are very healthy? Is the pharmaceutical industry going to make any money on healthy people? The quote above comes from a TED talk Mattson gave on the benefits of fasting, a practice which forces the body to switch its fuel source from glucose to ketones. Scientists are observing a wide variety of health benefits from this transition, from starving cancer to improving cognition, and a ketosis diet is now being implemented for people with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and more. It has tremendous benefits for the brain, as explained by Mattson in his talk, but also for the body. What Is Ketosis? 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 de 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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Why You Can All Stop Saying Meat Eating Fueled Evolution Of Larger Brains Right Now

Why You Can All Stop Saying Meat Eating Fueled Evolution Of Larger Brains Right Now

In William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night, Sir Andrew, who was worried that a joke may have been made at his expense, reasons out loud that maybe his diet had something to do with his lack of intelligence, saying, "But I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit" (Act I, Scene III). Dialogue like that was how Shakespeare famously poked fun at what he considered "foolery" in his time; it was a common belief of the Elizabethan Age that eating too much meat made you a meat-head. Now, it appears the tables have turned. Vegetarians are getting a taste of similar medicine from comedians of our time. On November 15th's episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert interviewed one of the world's foremost paleoanthropologists, Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum, about his newly published book. During their conversation, Stringer sums up nicely why meat eating may have been the primary force that drove evolution of a brain-gut tradeoff, where a shrinking gut allowed for more energy input into the brain. Here is Stringer's explanation at about minute 18:30 in the episode: Chris Stringer: "There's a thing called 'expensive tissue hypothesis'. And this says we evolved our large brains by changing our diets. Our ancestors had great big guts because they were vegetarian. They never had enough spare energy because their guts were using 20 percent of their energy; they never had enough spare energy to evolve a large brain. When we started eating meat, a much more concentrated sort of food, it freed up energy and we could start to run a bigger brain." Stephen Colbert: "That's why vegetarianism seems so stupid to me." There's little use challenging the evidence that meat, whether eaten raw or cooked, was "brain food" for our ancestors. The fossil reco 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 >>

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 >>

Inuit Genetics Show Us Why Evolution Does Not Want Us In Constant Ketosis | Mwm 2.37

Inuit Genetics Show Us Why Evolution Does Not Want Us In Constant Ketosis | Mwm 2.37

Why were the Inuit never in ketosis, despite their traditional high-fat diet? That question is answered in this lesson. The answer provides a stunning example of human evolution and makes it clear that evolution does not “want” us in a constant state of ketosis. CPT-1a deficiency is a genetic disorder in the ability to make ketones and to derive energy from fatty acids needed to make glucose during fasting. In its severe form, it is extremely rare, dangerous, and fatal if not treated with frequent feeding and often a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. A much more mild form of CPT-1a deficiency known as “the Arctic variant” is only found in the Arctic and it is nearly universal in the Arctic. It causes a serious impairment in the ability to make ketones, dramatically raises the risk of developing hypoglycemia while fasting, and causes a three-fold increase in infant mortality. Yet virtually everyone native to the Arctic has it and it is usually asymptomatic. What is utterly stunning about this is that this variant took hold of the Arctic in one of the strongest selective sweeps ever documented in humans. This means that evolution judged this variant as better suited to the Arctic environment than almost any human gene has ever been suited to any environment. How on earth can an impairment in fat metabolism be well suited to an environment that forces a high-fat diet on its inhabitants? Watch the full video to find out. Here’s how to watch it: Watch it on YouTube. Watch it on Facebook. Sign up for MWM Pro for early access to content, enhanced keyword searching, self-pacing tools, downloadable audio and transcripts, a rich array of hyperlinked further reading suggestions, and a community with a forum for each lesson. Here’s how to share it and show it love: Retwe 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 >>

Ketosis 101 - An Evidenced Based Review

Ketosis 101 - An Evidenced Based Review

Ketosis has been portrayed as taboo by many health professionals and declared an unhealthy and even toxic metabolic state. In fact, you may have even heard from your doctor or health advisor that ketosis is a life-threatening condition. However, a great part of this misconception may be due to the fact that many often confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis. First, to clear up some of this confusion, ketoacidosis is a severely dangerous metabolic condition commonly experienced by uncontrolled type I diabetes. In ketoacidosis, the bloodstream is flooded with extremely high levels of glucose (blood sugar) and ketones. In this state, the blood becomes very acidic, which is seriously harmful and can turn fatal if left untreated. Our Evolutionary Advantage Ketosis, on the other hand, is a vital process passed on to us through evolution. You see, our brain can only function with glucose and ketones. However, since we can't store more than about 24 hours' worth of glucose, we would all literally die of hypoglycemia if ever forced to fast for more than a day. Fortunately, our liver can take fatty acids and select amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and turn them into ketones, primarily to feed our brains. Hence, our body's ability to produce ketones is required for our basic survival. Therefore, ketosis is a completely natural, healthy, metabolic state. It involves the body producing ketone bodies out of fat, and using it for energy in times when the body's stored glycogen level (sugar) is low. In addition to this highly misunderstood metabolic state's ability to produce fast, healthy weight loss by forcing the body to burn body fat more efficiently; ketosis is now being looked at for several major health benefits, including its ability to reduce symptoms of Metabolic syndr Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diet Myths & Misconceptions

Ketogenic Diet Myths & Misconceptions

A subject that seems to be really popular these days in the media and a common area of interest for many people looking to improve their health, and lose some body fat is the ketogenic diet. Just like any diet out there a lot of times myths and misconceptions are what people hear most frequently, and end up believing. In this blog series I’m going to cover the top myths and mistakes people make on a ketogenic diet that hurt their results, and how to set up a ketogenic diet properly. No Diet Is Magic The reality is that every diet works based on the principle of energy balance. To lose fat on a diet you have to expend more calories than you consume on a daily basis. No matter the diet you choose to eat they all have effective ways of helping you to eat fewer calories. Paleo eliminates processed foods, veganism prohibits animal products, and ketogenic diets eliminate any source of denser carbs. While the ketogenic diet can be a very effective approach for certain people it’s just like every other diet in that to lose body fat on a ketogenic diet you have to be in calorie deficit. Something interesting about ketogenic diets is that when someone does enter nutritional ketosis it can have appetite suppressing effect due to the ketones that the body is using. However let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves and take a closer look at what a ketogenic diet actually is. What Is A Ketogenic Diet Really ? There’s a lot of misconceptions about what a ketogenic diet is, and many people assume it’s low carb and high protein, but this isn’t quite right. While a ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates, it’s not supposed to be a high protein diet, it’s a high fat diet. Generally on a ketogenic diet 70-75% of your calories should coming from fats, 10-20% from protein 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 >>

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