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Ketosis Evolution

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 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 >>

Tpns 58-61: Ketosis Is Natural. Natural Is Good.

Tpns 58-61: Ketosis Is Natural. Natural Is Good.

Primitive Nutrition 58: Ketosis Is Natural. Natural Is Good. Part I So far in my examination of low-carb diets I've shown you that they are nutritionally deficient, metabolically damaging, and unlikely to produce weight loss, if only because fats are so calorically dense. For the low-carbers, the solution to this last problem is ketosis. For them, this special metabolic state is the ultimate goal of their diets. They imagine it will effortlessly melt away all the fat they've accumulated from their prior unhealthy eating behavior. Low carbers' zeal for ketosis has lead some to make a questionable claim which I'd like to ponder in this section. Michael Eades presents it here in his blog explaining ketosis. Of course, like many other primitive fad diet promoters, he wants you to start from the assumption that the activity pictured to the left somehow represents man's true nature and the way he has historically obtained food. I don't see any women in that photo, which should give you a clue that this isn't the whole story. According to The Economist, among the hunter gatherers who provide the Paleo model, "men usually bring fewer calories than women, and have a tiresome tendency to prefer catching big and infrequent prey so they can show off." Eades is tapping into the same old macho vanity that has worked so well in marketing Paleo. If you'd like to see what a group spear hunt really looks like in live action, watch this video. Somehow the artist who created Dr Eades picture forgot to include all the blood. Having read a bit about how intelligent and social elephants are, I find this unappealing to say the least. If you watch it, see if you can imagine Michael Eades participating in such a hunt. But back to ketosis, despite his acknowledgement that ketogenic diets create a Continue reading >>

Best Books On Ketosis

Best Books On Ketosis

Need some more knowledge in your brain to back up your ketogenic diet? Or perhaps you need something to give skeptical friends and family members so they’ll better understand what you’re doing. Either way, these resources on ketosis are great for learning more about the benefits of eating keto and low-carb. We’ve compiled a list of the best books on ketosis and a few documentary films, too. While not all of these are keto diet-specific, they all make a case for the benefits of low-carb eating for health and longevity. Either way, you’ll learn a lot! Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Eric C. Westman, M.D. If you’re into health blogs at all, you’ve likely heard of Jimmy Moore and his Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb website (and podcast) where he talks about his dramatic weight loss and how he turned his health around on a ketogenic diet. In Keto Clarity, Moore and researcher/internist Dr. Eric C. Westman combine their knowledge to talk about the benefits of a ketogenic diet that include — but also go far beyond — weight loss, including the improvement of many common health conditions in our world like Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Guide for the Dieter and Practitioner by Lyle McDonald As suggested in the title, this book is great for health professionals and laypeople alike. It discusses all aspects of the physiology behind low-carb diets, including modified ketogenic diets for exercise and potential negative aspects of eating keto. Everything is discussed in easy-to-understand language while also providing a wealth of knowledge on the subject. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney 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 >>

8 Reasons The Ketogenic Diet Is The Ultimate Productivity Diet

8 Reasons The Ketogenic Diet Is The Ultimate Productivity Diet

If you’re ambitious and want to do big things with your life there is no better diet than a well-formulated ketogenic diet. Here are 8 reasons why a ketogenic diet is the ultimate diet for productivity. 1. Consistent Energy Inconsistent energy levels were a major reason I first started looking for a better diet. Trying to create consistently is difficult enough without swinging between being distracted by hunger and feeling tired and unmotivated after eating. The good news is evolution solved this problem for humans a long time ago by making fat our primary fuel source, we’ve just forgotten over the last 10,000 years or so[1] (a drop in a pool of evolution). There are many reasons why evolution has shaped us into fat-burning machines but here are two major reasons being ketogenic provides consistent physical and mental energy: a. Giving you quick access to your body’s massive fuel suit (body fat): When you’re in nutritional ketosis your body has quick access to the abundant energy stored in your body fat. A 180lb person with 16% bodyfat has over 100,000 calories of energy attached to their body.[2] What this does is fill in energy gaps between meals allowing you to work in a sweet spot of high energy for hours at a time without being distracted by hunger or bogged down by digestion, it is the perfect state to create. b. Your brain now runs primarily on ketones instead of glucose: This is huge because not only does your brain do better on ketones,[3][4] but ketones are primarily a product of your liver as it burns fat.[5] So what this means is that when you’re ketogenic you have a practically endless supply of energy from fat that your liver then converts into energy on-demand for your brain! 2. Mental Clarity, Acuity, and Focus People are beginning to take not 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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 Ketogenic Diet As The Default Human Diet: An Energy Perspective

The Ketogenic Diet As The Default Human Diet: An Energy Perspective

The conditions under which the liver delivers optimal fuel on demand may be the conditions under which it evolved. When you are on a ketogenic diet, the mitochondria in your cells — the parts of the cells that produce energy — actually switch from primarily using sugar for fuel to primarily using fat for fuel. They use fat mostly in a form called ketone bodies (or, commonly, ketones), thus a ketogenic diet. (See Keto-adaptation: what it is and how to adjust for more on this process of switching fuels.) Sugar-based living (from a diet with more than about 5% calories from carbohydrate) When you are using the sugar-based system, all of the cells in your body constantly take sugar out of your bloodstream. It's hard for your body to keep up, and you need to frequently refuel by eating carbohydrate-containing food. Getting sugar out of the carbohydrates that you eat is a blunt tool. Unless you eat in a trickling stream, you will consume more sugar than is safe to hold in the bloodstream at once. That sugar has to be quickly removed, because high blood sugar damages your cells. So a flood of insulin comes in to initiate the process of sugar removal. There is some limited storage space in the liver, but when that is full, the rest basically gets stored as fat. Soon however, the job is done. Your blood sugar is back in a safe range. Your body cells are still demanding sugar, though, and your blood sugar starts to drop too low. Your liver can release some sugar back into the bloodstream, but not fast enough to keep up with demand, so you get tired and hungry, and the process starts all over. People on carbohydrate-based diets typically have to "snack" every couple of hours. Endurance athletes have to stop and eat sugar just to get through their events. On a sugar-based metab Continue reading >>

Ketosis – Advantaged Or Misunderstood State? (part I)

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 >>

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