Keto 101: The Science Behind Ketogenic Diet
Ketogenic diet or keto diet is a nutrition management system characterized by a high-fat, adequate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet. The primary goal of this diet is to induce ketosis or a metabolic state in which the body burns fat rather than carbohydrates for energy. Understanding the science behind keto diet requires understanding the fact that carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are three primary macronutrients. By definition, macronutrients are energy-providing chemical substances that are essential in day-to-day functions of humans and other animals. The underlying principle behind keto diet is managing behaviors related to macronutrient consumption and the way the body use a particular macronutrient as a source of energy. Mechanisms of ketogenic diet The abundance of carbohydrates across different food groups means that they are readily consumed in regular and unmediated diet patterns. When consumed, the body converts the carbohydrates into glucose and insulin. Glucose is the easiest molecule the body can use as energy. This is the reason why carb-rich diet is very common. On the other hand, insulin is a hormone used for promoting the absorption of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells. A regular medium to high-carb diet compels the body to depend on carbohydrates as the primary source of energy. Excess calories from carbohydrates and dietary fat are stored as adipose or fat tissue for use as an emergency source of energy. Fat storage is a fail-safe mechanism the body employs in case of low-food intake. Central to the ketogenic diet is the use of fat as the primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates. Through the regular consumption of food or meals that are high in fat with moderate amounts of protein but very low in carbohydrates, ketogenic diet mimi Continue reading >>
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 >>
Can A Ketogenic Diet Help Fight Cancer?
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States (1). Researchers estimate that 595,690 Americans will die from cancer in 2016. That means about 1,600 deaths per day, on average (1). Cancer is most commonly treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Many different diet strategies have been studied, but none have been particularly effective. Interestingly, there is some early research suggesting that a very low-carb ketogenic diet may help (2, 3, 4). Important note: You should never, ever delay or avoid conventional medical treatment of cancer in favor of an alternative treatment like the ketogenic diet. You should discuss all treatment options with your doctor. The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with Atkins and other low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing your intake of carbs and replacing them with fat. This change leads to the metabolic state called ketosis. After several days, fat becomes your body's primary energy source. This causes a significant increase in the levels of compounds called ketones in your blood (5). In general, a ketogenic diet used for weight loss is about 60-75% of calories as fat, with 15-30% of calories from protein and 5-10% of calories from carbs. However, when a ketogenic diet is being used therapeutically to treat cancer, the fat content may be significantly higher (up to 90% of calories) and the protein content lower (6). The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. For cancer treatment, fat intake may be as high as 90% of total calorie intake. Many cancer therapies are designed to target the biological differences between cancer cells and normal cells. Nearly all cancer cells share one common trait: they feed off carbs or blood sugar Continue reading >>
The Best Animal Fats And Plant Fats To Eat
I like to make sure I am eating a combination of both animal fats and plant based fats during the day so that I am getting a wide variety of nutrients and fatty profiles into my diet. There are both similarities and differences between animal fats and plant fats, and there are also some types of fats that I won’t touch with a barge pole if I can help it! ‘Fat’ is a generic term used for any kind of lipid, which in an ester between fatty acids and glycerol. Both plant fats and animal fats are triglycerides, which means they are molecules that are composed of one glycerol and 3 fatty acid chains. The primary difference between plant fats and animal fats are their ratios of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acid chains. Animal fat has been vilified in the past (and still somewhat nowadays), due to the higher saturated fat content found in it. For the last 50 years or so, people thought that saturated fat was the cause of heart disease, obesity, and other diseases. But more and more people are starting to wake up to the fact that saturated fat is actually incredibly good for you and it is, in fact, sugar that is the primary cause of these things. In truth, for pretty much the entire of human history, up until the latter half of the 20th century, fatty meats and organs from animals were prized as the most nutritious and delicious part of the animal. Great Plant Fats Coconut Oil Coconut Oil is a wonderful fat that I pretty much use every day. Both for cooking, infatty teas/coffees and on my skin! It is full of medium chain fatty acids – caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid. These are unlike the long chain fatty acids found in other plant-based fats because they are immediately processed by the liver (and therefore not stored as fat), anti-mic Continue reading >>
Ketosis Also known as: Acetonemia, Fat Cow Syndrome, Hypoglycemia and Pregnancy Toxemia. Primary ketosis, or acetonemia, is a metabolic disorder and is largely a disease that is influenced by management of dairy cows in early lactation. Ketosis is an important clinical and subclinical disease, as there are several metabolic disorders and diseases that commonly occur in the calving and the early lactation period that are linked to ketosis (including milk fever, retained foetal membranes and displaced abomasum). Hypoglycemia is the major factor involved in the onset and development of clinical ketosis. There is a gradual loss of body condition over several days or even weeks. There is also a moderate to marked decline in milk yield (up to 5 liters per day) over five to six days before the onset of obvious clinical signs (Edwards and Tozer, 2004). This can persist for up to two weeks after diagnosis (Rajala-Schultz et al., 1999). The disease is most commonly seen in high-yielding dairy cows in early lactation. Secondary ketosis due to lack of appetite as a result of another disease can be seen at any stage of lactation. Beef cows may also suffer from ketosis during pregnancy, although this is less commonly recognized. Primary ketosis in dairy cows To satisfy the requirements of milk production, the cow can draw on two sources of nutrients – feed intake and body reserves. During early lactation, the energy intake is insufficient to meet the energy output in milk and the animal is in a negative energy balance. In conventional farming, this is considered to be a normal metabolic situation in high-yielding dairy cows. Cows in early lactation are, therefore, in a vulnerable situation, and any stress that causes a reduction in feed intake may lead to the onset of clinical keto Continue reading >>
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 >>
Ketosis, metabolic disorder marked by high levels of ketones in the tissues and body fluids, including blood and urine. With starvation or fasting, there is less sugar than normal in the blood and less glycogen (the storage form of sugar) in the cells of the body, especially the liver cells; fat accumulates in the liver, as do amino acids, from which the liver can produce more glycogen. Ketosis may be present in diabetes mellitus. In diabetic ketoacidosis, characterized by excessive levels of ketones in the blood that lead to a decrease in blood pH, very high blood sugar and severe intravascular and cellular dehydration create a life-threatening disorder that requires immediate treatment. When cattle are affected by ketosis, they lose weight and produce less milk; dietary adjustment to meet the special requirements of individual cattle helps avoid the condition. Continue reading >>
Any Other Animals In A State Of Ketosis
It's a good question - I think that we decided, from the little information available, that carnivorous cats have an upregulated gluconeogenesis pathway that would possibly meet their glucose needs without ketosis. I quite like Paul Jaminet's analysis (in his Perfect Health Diet Book) in which he shows that, at the intestine wall, all mammals digest very similar macro ratios (independent of what they actually put in their mouths): "It turns out that what differs among the animals is the composition of the digestive tract. Animals have evolved digestive tracts and livers to transform diverse food inputs into the uniform set of nutrients that all need. Herbivores have foregut organs such as rumens or hindgut chambers for fermenting carbohydrates, turning them into fats and volatile acids that can be used to manufacture fats. Carnivores have livers capable of turning protein into glucose and fat." "When we look past the digestive tract at what nutrients are actually delivered to the body, all mammals obtain a remarkably similar set of nutrients. By calories, mammalian diets are always composed of a majority, typically 50-75%, of saturated and monounsaturated fats (including the short-chain fatty acids produced by fermentation of fiber); a mix of carbohydrates and protein, usually totaling around 25-40%; and a modest amount of polyunsaturated fat, typically less than 10%. " Continue reading >>
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 >>
Hunters Of Wild Game Can’t Remain In Ketosis
Below, I have another Duck Dodgers post for you, derived from a comment on a previous post. But first, you’ll recall a recent post; wherein, I made mention of Part 1 of a Catalyst episode on the gut microbiome: Australian Catalyst: Gut Reaction; It Signals The End of VLC and Ketogenic Diets For Everyone. Part 2 is now up and running. See what happens to the athlete’s insulin response after just a month on a high fiber diet. In other news, Tom Naughton, who has always been the kind of guy who can change his mind (evident even in how his views changed during his making of Fat Head), has now solidly come over to the The Dark Side. See: Reactions To Arguments About Ketosis. Alright, here’s Duck. ~~~ More nails in the coffin for those who think that it’s possible to stay ketogenic while consuming wild game. From: ￼Energy Source, Protein Metabolism, and Hunter-Gatherer Subsistence Strategies Our concern is with periods of high lean meat (i.e., high protein) consumption, when carbohydrates and animal fat would have been scarce or unavailable to hunters and gatherers as sources of calories… …It should be pointed out, however, that the few minimum values that do exist for wild ungulate meat may nevertheless tend to underestimate somewhat the actual amount of fat available to hunter-gatherers in a carcass, because the values do not include subcutaneous and visceral fat deposits, fat in the bone marrow, and so forth. On the other hand, as will be discussed more fully below, many of these fat reserves may become largely or totally depleted during the winter and spring, bringing the available fat levels more in line with the values for meat alone… ……Second, hunter-gatherers may augment their supplies of storable fat through labor-intensive activities such as rend Continue reading >>
Metabolism And Ketosis
Dr. Eades, If the body tends to resort to gluconeogenesis for glucose during a short-term carbohydrate deficit, are those who inconsistently reduce carb intake only messing things up by not effecting full blown ketosis? If the body will still prefer glucose as main energy source unless forced otherwise for at least a few days, is it absolutely necessary to completely transform metabolism for minimal muscle loss? Also, if alcohol is broken down into ketones and acetaldehyde, technically couldn’t you continue to drink during your diet or would the resulting gluconeogenesis inhibition from alcohol lead to blood glucose problems on top of the ketotic metabolism? Would your liver ever just be overwhelmed by all that action? I’m still in high school so hypothetical, of course haha… Sorry, lots of questions but I’m always so curious. Thank you so much for taking the time to inform the public. You’re my hero! P.S. Random question…what’s the difference between beta and gamma hydroxybutyric acids? It’s crazy how simple orientation can be the difference between a ketone and date rape drug…biochem is so cool! P.P.S. You should definitely post the details of that inner mitochondrial membrane transport. I’m curious how much energy expenditure we’re talkin there.. Keep doin your thing! Your Fan, Trey No, I don’t think people are messing up if they don’t get into full-blown ketosis. For short term low-carb dieting, the body turns to glycogen. Gluconeogenesis kicks in fairly quickly, though, and uses dietary protein – assuming there is plenty – before turning to muscle tissue for glucose substrate. And you have the Cori cycle kicking in and all sorts of things to spare muscle, so I wouldn’t worry about it. And you can continue to drink while low-carbing. Continue reading >>
How To Be In Ketosis?
Be a new-born baby reared on breast-milk  Use up your glycogen by exercising  Eat a high-fat diet , low in carbs with moderate protein Take exogenous ketones  (aka ketones in a pill) Ketosis is a metabolic state. It is normal for humans to be in and out of ketosis. Once your body starts relying on lots of fat for energy you get into ketosis. So why isn’t it called fatosis? Because when your body burns lots of fat it also turns some of that fat into ketones which then go on to be used for energy too. Is ketosis good for human body? During human evolution, we were probably in and out of ketosis. For instance, seasonal variation for our ancestors often meant little to no sugary and starchy foods which pushed us towards a higher-fat diet. Fatty nutrient dense foods like offal (the weird animal bits such as liver, tongue etc.) were seen as delicacies  and thus in high demand. The further North a population lived, the less vegetation was available which meant humans relied more on hunting large animals and gathering small ones (like eggs or insects! ). All of the essential micro and macronutrients for humans are found in animals, not plants, which directs human food gathering efforts towards animals (whose meat is low in carbs). Although the argument for ketosis isn’t as simple as “we did it back then so it’s good for us now”, the story of human evolution supports it being a normal metabolic state. In other words, it passes the first evolutionary filter (see more: Do ketogenic diets have a place in human evolution?) Ketogenesis as medicine There are many reasons to be in ketosis given to us by modern science. Lowering insulin resistance  (especially for the obese and diabetics) Increased fat oxidation capacity …and many others. Sounds goo Continue reading >>
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 >>
Not to be confused with Ketoacidosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which some of the body's energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis in which blood glucose provides energy. Ketosis is a result of metabolizing fat to provide energy. Ketosis is a nutritional process characterised by serum concentrations of ketone bodies over 0.5 mM, with low and stable levels of insulin and blood glucose. It is almost always generalized with hyperketonemia, that is, an elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood throughout the body. Ketone bodies are formed by ketogenesis when liver glycogen stores are depleted (or from metabolising medium-chain triglycerides). The main ketone bodies used for energy are acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate, and the levels of ketone bodies are regulated mainly by insulin and glucagon. Most cells in the body can use both glucose and ketone bodies for fuel, and during ketosis, free fatty acids and glucose synthesis (gluconeogenesis) fuel the remainder. Longer-term ketosis may result from fasting or staying on a low-carbohydrate diet (ketogenic diet), and deliberately induced ketosis serves as a medical intervention for various conditions, such as intractable epilepsy, and the various types of diabetes. In glycolysis, higher levels of insulin promote storage of body fat and block release of fat from adipose tissues, while in ketosis, fat reserves are readily released and consumed. For this reason, ketosis is sometimes referred to as the body's "fat burning" mode. Ketosis and ketoacidosis are similar, but ketoacidosis is an acute life-threatening state requiring prompt medical intervention while ketosis can be physiological. However, there are situations (such as treatment-resistant Continue reading >>
Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet. The aim of the diet is to try and burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is also commonly observed in patients with diabetes, as the process can occur if the body does not have enough insulin or is not using insulin correctly. Problems associated with extreme levels of ketosis are more likely to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes patients. Ketosis occurs when the body does not have sufficient access to its primary fuel source, glucose. Ketosis describes a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid. As ketone levels rise, the acidity of the blood also increases, leading to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can prove fatal. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ketoacidosis, for which emergency medical treatment is required to avoid or treat diabetic coma. Some people follow a ketogenic (low-carb) diet to try to lose weight by forcing the body to burn fat stores. What is ketosis? In normal circumstances, the body's cells use glucose as their primary form of energy. Glucose is typically derived from dietary carbohydrates, including: sugar - such as fruits and milk or yogurt starchy foods - such as bread and pasta The body breaks these down into simple sugars. Glucose can either be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If there is not enough glucose available to meet energy demands, th Continue reading >>