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What Are The Dangers Of Ketosis

Adverse Reactions To Ketogenic Diets: Caution Advised

Adverse Reactions To Ketogenic Diets: Caution Advised

As the ketogenic diet gains popularity, it’s important to have a balanced discussion regarding the merits of this diet. Let me emphasize right out of the gate that this is not a diet without merits (excuse the double negative); in fact, it has significant therapeutic potential for some clinical pathologies. However, it is also a diet with inherent risk, as evidenced by the extensive list of adverse reactions reported in the scientific literature—and this has not yet been a thorough enough part of the public discussion on ketogenic diets. The AIP Lecture Series is a 6-week video-based, self-directed online course that will teach you the scientific foundation for the diet and lifestyle tenets of the Autoimmune Protocol. This is the first of a series of articles discussing various facets of a ketogenic diet with an inclination toward balancing the discussion of the pros and cons of this high-fat, low-carb, low/moderate-protein diet. My interest in this topic stems from concerns I have over its general applicability and safety, simultaneous with its growing popularity. I feel a moral and social obligation to share what I understand of these diets, from my perspective as a medical researcher. The dangers of a ketogenic diet was, in fact, the topic of my keynote presentation at Paleo F(x) this year (links to video will be provided once available). This series of articles will share the extensive research that I did in preparation for this presentation, including all of the topics covered during my talk as well as several topics that I didn’t have time to discuss (also see the free PDF Literature Review at the bottom of this post). For every anecdotal story of someone who has regained their health with a ketogenic diet, there’s a counterpoint story of someone who derai Continue reading >>

What Effect Does A Ketogenic Diet Have On Stress Hormone Levels And Cognitive Abilities?

What Effect Does A Ketogenic Diet Have On Stress Hormone Levels And Cognitive Abilities?

Stress hormone levels: It seems to lower them -- at least cortisol ("cortisone") -- as I mentioned in my answer on the dangers of ketosis: Alan Lewis' answer to What are the dangers of the ketosis diet? I say "seems to" since there is no study I can point to, no medline abstract I can link to, which says so... and yet there does seem to be a body of experience *suggesting* that it is so. The physician mentioned in the above linked answer -- Wolfgang Lutz -- spoke of the low-carb diet (if I recall correctly) as a great "executive's diet", or diet for men under a lot of stress, because it was so good at reducing stress hormones. Also as mentioned in that answer: it sometimes was so "good" at reducing stress hormones that autoimmune reactions supervened, and the stress hormones had to be supplemented in small amounts! ("Stress hormones" like cortisol are not all bad. They have essential functions, one of which is to keep the immune system in check.) Whether or not this would be necessary would depend on the adrenal reserves of the individual in question. I wish there were more solid science behind all of this, but there isn't. ' As for cognitive abilities: that's a big subject. I don't know if anyone has looked at the acute effect of ketogenic dieting on cognitive abilities. You could jump onto medline/pubmed and find out: Home - PubMed - NCBI There's a ton of literature coming out, however, on the potential utility of ketones or ketosis as a way of stabilizing brain energy metabolism and overcoming the "type 3 diabetes" (brain cellular energy problem) that is thought by some to underlie dementias like Alzheimer's. I discuss this issue briefly here, fyi: Alan Lewis' answer to How much better is MCT oil than coconut oil? When you say "cognitive abilities" I assume you mean Continue reading >>

What Are The Dangers Of Placing The Body On Constant Ketosis?

What Are The Dangers Of Placing The Body On Constant Ketosis?

As you might know, ketosis is the process of breaking down stored fat for energy when glucose and glycogen are too low. This is a good weight loss process when done occasionally but too much of something is never good. The biochemistry behind it: During ketosis, fatty acid chains are broken down in the liver in to ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are carried through the blood stream in order to reach surrounding tissues in need of energy. Once they reach a cell, they’re converted in to acetyl CoA so that they can go through the citric acid cycle to produce energy in the mitochondria. The problem with too much of it: When someone’s body is under constant ketosis, the concentration of ketone bodies in their blood stream becomes too high. Ketone bodies like acetoacetic acid and R-beta-hydroxybutyric acid are acidic. High concentrations of those in your bloodstream will make your blood acidic, which leads to acidosis. This can lead to a number of symptoms which I invite you to look up, none of them are good and it should be treated as soon as possible. One of those symptoms is a characteristic fruity acetone breath. Constant ketosis happens to people with untreated type 1 diabetes. In their case, it can lead to death if left untreated. Continue reading >>

The Hidden Dangers Of A Low Carbohydrate Diet

The Hidden Dangers Of A Low Carbohydrate Diet

If you’re a frequent visitor to this website, or listener to the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast, you’ve probably gotten the idea that I’m a pretty big fan of limiting your carbohydrate intake. And you’d be right. To understand why low carbohydrate eating can bestow some significant health and performance advantages, check out my Perfect Health Diet interview with Paul Jaminet, or listen to the perils of constantly elevated blood sugar levels in this episode with Nancy Appleton: Which Foods Contain Hidden Sugar That You Didn’t Even Know About. Or go read about how physically active individuals may be able to actually benefit from strategic low carbohydrate intake in my article 4 Reasons To Think Twice About Eating Carbohydrates Before A Workout or (if you’re a Rock Star Triathlete Academy member) you can read 5 Ways to Get A Big Carbohydrate Restricting Performance Advantage. In a nutshell, pun intended, as you begin to increase carbohydrate consumption above the levels that you need for survival or periods of intense physical activity, you lose your ability to rely on fat burning mechanisms, and you experience the damaging effects of chronically elevated blood sugars, including neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), retinnopathy (eye damage), increased cardiovascular disease risk, potential for cancer progression (tumor cells feed on sugar) and bacterial or fungal infection. Unfortunately, whether due to a misinterpretation of what low carbohydrate dieting actually is or an “all-or-nothing” approach to restricting carbohydrates or perhaps the influence of low-carbohydrate-done-wrong diets like Atkins, many people (and especially athletes) try or attempt to try a low carbohydrate diet and end up messing the whole thing up, experiencing the Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diet: Is The Ultimate Low-carb Diet Good For You?

Ketogenic Diet: Is The Ultimate Low-carb Diet Good For You?

Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is it safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss. What is a ketogenic diet? In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis). Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones. Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. Carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of the typical American diet. One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and Continue reading >>

I'm 68 And Workout, But I Can't Get Rid Of Saggy Skin. What Can I Do, If Anything...

I'm 68 And Workout, But I Can't Get Rid Of Saggy Skin. What Can I Do, If Anything...

The Big Three Pillars of Good Health Are: Exercise, Sleep, & Food These are the healthiest way back to good health if you have become over weight or out of shape. You don't give us many clues as to why you have sagging skin. If you have experienced major weight loss, such as by bariatric surgery, you may need to have cosmetic surgery to deal with surplus skin. Otherwise, if you just have old age skin, like I had a couple of years ago, try the following. My skin, which was thin, looked old, tore easily, and healed slowly improved dramatically on the Wheat Belly diet/lifestyle. 1. Exercise - Isn't it incredible that in a world where scientific disagreement is the norm, virtually everyone is in agreement that exercise is extremely vital and healthy? So much so some organizations are now recommending dropping the cautionary phrase of 'see your doctor before starting an exercise program' because deterring some people from starting immediately does more harm than good. 2. Sleep & Rest - Everything (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, etc.) about the human body thrives and builds resilience with stress and rest, stress and rest. Doing the same workout, exercise, game, or job all the time is less effective, because your body gets accustom to it and isn't stressed. Cross training and doing different things with different stresses is better. Meeting and interacting with new people instead of hanging out with the same few friends. Find lots of ways to MOVE out of your Comfort Zone very often and then rest well. 3. Real Food - Many Western countries have lots of very sick and obese people because they eat too much cheap government subsidized, artificial, fake food. (Examples: highly processed GMO grains & sugars, artificial sweeteners, HFCS). These untested fake f Continue reading >>

The Keto Diet Is Gaining Popularity, But Is It Safe?

The Keto Diet Is Gaining Popularity, But Is It Safe?

A new twist on extreme weight loss is catching on in some parts of the United States. It’s called the "keto diet." People promoting the diet say it uses the body’s own fat burning system to help people lose significant weight in as little as 10 days. It has also been known to help moderate the symptoms of children with epilepsy, although experts are not quite sure why it works. Proponents say the diet can produce quick weight loss and provide a person with more energy. However, critics say the diet is an unhealthy way to lose weight and in some instances it can be downright dangerous. Read More: What is the “Caveman Diet?” » What Is Ketosis? The “keto” diet is any extremely low- or no-carbohydrate diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis occurs when people eat a low- or no-carb diet and molecules called ketones build up in their bloodstream. Low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar levels to drop and the body begins breaking down fat to use as energy. Ketosis is actually a mild form of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis mostly affects people with type 1 diabetes. In fact, it is the leading cause of death of people with diabetes who are under 24 years of age. However, many experts say ketosis itself is not necessarily harmful. Some studies, in fact, suggest that a ketogenic diet is safe for significantly overweight or obese people. However, other clinical reviews point out that patients on low-carbohydrate diets regain some of their lost weight within a year. Where It’s Helpful The keto diet was created by Dr. Gianfranco Cappello, an associate professor of surgery at the Sapienza University in Rome, Italy. He claims great success among thousands of users. In his study, more than 19,000 dieters experienced significant, rapid weight loss, few side Continue reading >>

Long-term Effects Of A Ketogenic Diet In Obese Patients

Long-term Effects Of A Ketogenic Diet In Obese Patients

Go to: Abstract Although various studies have examined the short-term effects of a ketogenic diet in reducing weight in obese patients, its long-term effects on various physical and biochemical parameters are not known. To determine the effects of a 24-week ketogenic diet (consisting of 30 g carbohydrate, 1 g/kg body weight protein, 20% saturated fat, and 80% polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat) in obese patients. In the present study, 83 obese patients (39 men and 44 women) with a body mass index greater than 35 kg/m2, and high glucose and cholesterol levels were selected. The body weight, body mass index, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, urea and creatinine levels were determined before and after the administration of the ketogenic diet. Changes in these parameters were monitored after eight, 16 and 24 weeks of treatment. The weight and body mass index of the patients decreased significantly (P<0.0001). The level of total cholesterol decreased from week 1 to week 24. HDL cholesterol levels significantly increased, whereas LDL cholesterol levels significantly decreased after treatment. The level of triglycerides decreased significantly following 24 weeks of treatment. The level of blood glucose significantly decreased. The changes in the level of urea and creatinine were not statistically significant. The present study shows the beneficial effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. It significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of the patients. Furthermore, it decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increased the level of HDL cholesterol. Administering a ketogenic diet for a relatively longer period of time did Continue reading >>

Ketosis

Ketosis

Tweet Ketosis is a state the body may find itself in either as a result of raised blood glucose levels or as a part of low carb dieting. Low levels of ketosis is perfectly normal. However, high levels of ketosis in the short term can be serious and the long term effects of regular moderate ketosis are only partially known at the moment. What is ketosis? Ketosis is a state the body goes into if it needs to break down body fat for energy. The state is marked by raised levels of ketones in the blood which can be used by the body as fuel. Ketones which are not used for fuel are excreted out of the body via the kidneys and the urine. Is ketosis the same as ketoacidosis? There is often confusion as to the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Ketosis is the state whereby the body is producing ketones. In ketosis, the level of ketones in the blood can be anything between normal to very high. Diabetic ketoacidosis, also known as DKA, only describes the state in which the level of ketones is either high or very high. In ketoacidosis, the amount of ketones in the blood is sufficient to turn the blood acidic, which is a dangerous medical state. When does ketosis occur? Ketosis will take place when the body needs energy and there is not sufficient glucose available for the body. This can typically happen when the body is lacking insulin and blood glucose levels become high. Other causes can be the result of being on a low carb diet. A low level of carbohydrate will lead to low levels of insulin, and therefore the body will produce ketones which do not rely on insulin to get into and fuel the body’s cells. A further cause of ketosis, less relevant to people with diabetes, is a result of excessive alcohol consumption. Is ketosis dangerous? The NHS describes ketosis as a pote Continue reading >>

Is The Ketogenic Diet Right For You? Nutritionists Weigh In

Is The Ketogenic Diet Right For You? Nutritionists Weigh In

You may be hearing a lot about the ketogenic diet as a way to slim down while noshing on butter and heavy cream. This way of eating is suddenly hot among venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, who believe it will help them live longer and healthier, CNBC reports. Some praise the high-fat/ultra low-carb plan for helping them to lose weight and have energy all day long. Other advocates say it finally helped them to get control of their body. How does it work and could it help you? We asked Bonnie Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of “Read It Before You Eat It”; and Keri Glassman, nutritionist, registered dietitian and TODAY Tastemaker. To start with, both said they would never advise the ketogenic diet for weight loss. “Cutting out carbs is usually an invitation to overeat them at another point,” Taub-Dix said. “For a diet where you’re looking to lose weight, look good and feel good… I would not recommend a diet like this.” “For safe and effective weight loss, the carb reduction is too extreme,” Glassman added. RELATED: Read inspiring stories of ordinary people slimming down in TODAY's My Weight-Loss Journey Here’s what you need to know: What is the ketogenic diet? It’s a diet fine-tuned in the 1920s to help treat epilepsy. It does help to control seizures in some children, but it’s not recommended for adults “mostly because the restricted food choices make it hard to follow,” the Epilepsy Foundation says. The diet has just recently begun to be touted as a weight loss plan, Glassman noted. She described it as eating “mostly fat with a teeny bit of protein and carbs.” How does it work? Your body normally relies on carbohydrates for energy. It breaks them down into glucose, which is your main source of fuel. If that Continue reading >>

How Common Is It For Those On Keto Diets To Go Into Hypoglycemic Ketosis?

How Common Is It For Those On Keto Diets To Go Into Hypoglycemic Ketosis?

As long as you do not have type 1 diabetes, and you are not on hypoglycemic medications, then it is exceedingly rare to have clinically important hypoglycemia. What is interesting is that your blood sugar can and likely will decrease when you are in ketosis. But your body will not react the same way as when you are not in ketosis. The difference, of course, is the presence of ketones in your body. The danger of hypoglycemia is that your body lacks sufficient immediate energy to fuel your brain and your vital organ functions, But when you have adequate level of ketones in your body, those functions are taken care of. Therefore, it matters much less that your glucose levels are lower. In fact, that is part of the benefit of ketosis- lower insulin levels and lower glucose levels. Continue reading >>

What Do Nutritionists Think Of The Ketogenic Diet?

What Do Nutritionists Think Of The Ketogenic Diet?

Nutritionists are still largely taught that a “balanced” diet, which, for anybody who doesn’t engage in daily strenuous activity, is objectively carbohydrate-excessive. My guess is that most nutritionists would opine (incorrectly, and from place of ignorance) that ketogenic diets are dangerous. They’re not. Ketogenic diets are used with great success to treat epilepsy and there is a growing body of research suggesting that ketogenic diets may help treat/prevent/reverse degenerative brain disorders, i.e., alzheimers. There are good and bad ketogenic diets, with the good/bad label generally owed to the type of fats that make up the 70–80% of your daily calories you need to maintain ketosis, and what your vegetable intake looks like. There are a lot of books out there about ketogenic diet mistakes, and at least one is worth reading if you’re interested in doing ketosis properly. Also, be wary of anything/anyone discussing a “high protein” ketogenic diet, because there is no such thing. Excessive protein prevents ketosis because of gluconeogensis (the process by which your body converts protein to carbs). If you are ketogenic, then you’re not eating excessive amounts of protein, unless your daily caloric load is so high that you’re gaining body fat (i.e., if your body composition maintenance calorie load is 2k per day, and you’re consuming 3k calories per day, while staying in ketosis, you may be eating too much protein). Ketogenic diets are wonderful for regulating appetite, so if you’re eating the right foods for ketosis, and you’re in ketosis, you’re very, very unlikely to over-consume calories. Ben Greenfield, Peter Attia, Chris Kresser, and Mark Sisson (google ‘em) are all useful resources on this issue. Personally, I don’t much care abo Continue reading >>

Is The Keto Diet Safe? 10 Myth-busting Arguments For The Safety Of Ketosis

Is The Keto Diet Safe? 10 Myth-busting Arguments For The Safety Of Ketosis

Is ketosis safe? The truth is that we can’t say for certain that it is 100% safe. Humans don’t understand everything under the branch of nutritional science and probably won’t for a very long time. As an individual, the only thing you can do is take a look at the research yourself and form your own conclusion. Personally, through the reading I’ve done and the experience I’ve had with the Keto diet, I’ve formed my own conclusion that ketosis is safe. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. But I could also be right. I’m willing to take that risk in order to follow a diet which could maximize longevity, well being and function. My personal conclusion shouldn’t matter to you though. You need to do your own research and come to your own conclusion. I’ve put together this post to organize all of the issues surrounding the safety of ketosis so that you can make your own decision. In trying to prove something to be safe there are two ways to go about it. Disprove the claims of danger Show evidence which may be correlated with safety This article will dispel the top 10 claims people make in an argument to label ketosis as dangerous. Like I said, the science on ketosis is still quite immature. The following data is not meant to 100% prove or disprove the safety of ketosis. It’s merely the information we have available today which can help us form a nutritional strategy we feel is best for ourselves. I’m not a doctor or a researcher. The following information is material I’ve collected in my attempt to feel confident following a Keto diet indefinitely. Most of it is sourced from doctors or authors although I have also included anecdotal accounts from experiences posted on message boards and Reddit. I know, much of the information here isn’t sourced directly from s Continue reading >>

What Are The Dangers Of Ketosis Diets?

What Are The Dangers Of Ketosis Diets?

Ketosis diets, which are low-carbohydrate diets that cause your body to rely on fat for fuel, may be used to help treat epilepsy and could have the potential to reduce the symptoms of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, according to an article published in "Pediatrics" in March 2007. As with other low-carbohydrate diets, they can also result in weight loss. These diets, more often called ketogenic diets, may also have some risks. Video of the Day Children placed on ketogenic diets to help control their epilepsy sometimes experience side effects, such as lethargy, acidosis, dehydration, gastrointestinal distress and low blood sugar, when they first start these diets, according to the 2007 "Pediatrics" article. These symptoms are often only temporary. Following these diets for a longer time, however, may sometimes lead to kidney stones, high cholesterol, low bone density and slower growth. A 2003 article published in the "Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition" notes that low-carbohydrate diets may increase your risk for kidney damage, osteoporosis, abnormal heartbeat, lipid abnormalities and even sudden death. If your ketogenic diet is high in protein, it could also increase your risk for diabetes, cancer and overall premature mortality if you're middle-aged, but not if you're over 65, according to a March 2014 study published in "Cell Metabolism." Continue reading >>

Why Is Ketosis Dangerous For Diabetics?

Why Is Ketosis Dangerous For Diabetics?

Ketosis is merely the process of converting fat into energy by the breaking down of ketoacids. People on weight reducing diets tend to have small amounts of ketones released as the body requires more energy than is consumed as food and turns to stored fat (and other body tissues) to convert to glucose. However, Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a very serious metabolic disorder that can cause death. Insulin usually allows cells to take in energy (glucose) from blood and the cells "consume" it. When there is no insulin or not enough insulin there is a build up of glucose in the blood. However, the cells are unable to use it without insulin to unlock the cell. As the cells aren't being supplied with energy the body goes to fat stores to break up ketoacids to release energy. This glucose goes into the blood which is already full of glucose that can't be used. The ketones released in high numbers cause the blood to change it's PH to more acid and this is very dangerous. In addition the cycle of putting more and more sugar in the blood thickens it making it more difficult to move it through small blood vessels. It can be difficult to treat and always requires hospital admission. This is usually an issue for Type 1 diabetics but a similar disorder can also affect type 2's as well. The ketones are acidic. Because so many ketones are required to replace the neutral and unusable (in ketotic diabetics) glucose molecules, the body pH shifts dangerously, causing many systems to malfunction. pH is used by the body to regulate the flow of dissolved ions, and when it goes wonky, muscles and nerves misfire. The other problem with ketosis is the unused glucose. Without insulin, the glucose in the bloodstream can't be absorbed into tissues and used, so it hangs around and builds to very high leve Continue reading >>

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