Is The Full Ketogenic Diet Bulletproof?
The word is getting out about ketogenic diets. Eating keto – getting about 75% of calories from fat, 20% from protein, and <5% from carbs – is a powerful way to shed body fat and sharpen your brain. Without access to glucose from carbs, your body turns to fat as its main fuel source. You begin to break fat down into ketones, little molecules that fuel your brain and curb hunger, and keep you lean while they do it. There’s been a lot of research on keto in the last few years. The science is starting to reveal just how powerful ketosis can be: It’s anti-inflammatory. Burning fat for fuel creates far less inflammation than burning sugar does , and ketones themselves turn off inflammatory pathways . It builds a stronger, denser brain. Ketosis causes your brain to create more mitochondria, the powerhouses of your cells . You can literally generate more energy when you strengthen your mitochondria, leaving you with excess willpower and a sharper mental state (shameless plug: for a full guide to building stronger mitochondria, check out Head Strong). It burns body fat. Ketones influence ghrelin and cholecystokinin (CCK), the hormones that control your hunger [4,5,6]. Hunger feels different when you’re in full ketosis – it fades from a pressing need to a background thought. In full keto it’s very easy to fast, and during that fast, your body is burning up your fat stores for energy. You can eat like a king (or queen). Bacon, grass-fed steak and butter, pastured eggs, olive oil, raw dairy (if you tolerate it and in moderation)…you can eat real, satisfying food on a ketogenic diet. Sounds pretty good, but don’t cut out all your carbs just yet. There are a couple possible downsides to keto, too. You may do better with a variation of keto, depending on yo Continue reading >>
Is The Ketosis Diet The Most Powerful Aid For Depression?
The western world is in the grip of a terrible malaise. Depression has been earmarked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the fastest growing health problem right now and expects it to be that way for many years to come. But why? What gives? Do they know something we don’t? Or is it, in fact, that people just don’t really understand Depression and are blithely wandering into its clutches because they just can’t see it coming? Well, I obviously don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned over the years with my research into food and health matters. The first piece of information worth considering is the old quote “You are what you eat”. Or the version attributed to the “Father” of Western medicine “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”. Now, I remember my A-Level chemistry, and I was pretty good at it, and I remember that the bottom line is that you can’t make certain compounds if the ingredients for those compounds are not present in the reaction vessel. Your body is the reaction vessel in this instance, and therefore it stands to reason that if you don’t get enough, say, Iron in your diet, you will find your body exhibiting symptoms which are caused by a lack of Iron. Pretty simple stuff, right? Right. Except that during the whole time that Depression has been becoming the world’s number one disease, the ‘official line’ on dietary recommendations has stressed the importance of not eating too much fat. Low-fat carbs have been the order of the day, and we have probably all seen one version or another of that Special K woman on our screens literally thousands of times. She seems to be doing alright on it… what’s the problem? Well, my money is on the fats. It takes a bit of hea Continue reading >>
Are There Different Types Of Ketosis?
Before reading this, if you haven’t already, I suggest reading What is a Ketogenic Diet and Understanding Ketosis so you will have a stronger understanding of what it means to be in a state of ketosis. The next step necessary in comprehending the ketogenic diet is learning the different types of ketosis that can occur. For this article, we will refer to three different forms of ketosis: fasting ketosis, nutritional ketosis, and pathological ketosis. The different types of ketosis vary in their degree of ketone production as well as their method of induction. Fasting Ketosis The idea of fasting has been around for hundreds of years and played a major part in the origins of the ketogenic diet. In fact, many great philosophers, such as Hippocrates, Socrates, and Aristotle, all praised the many benefits of fasting. Paracelsus, physician and father of toxicology, was quoted saying, “Fasting is the greatest remedy—the physician within.” While these early scientists and philosophers were definitely ahead of the game in recognizing the potential of fasting, the mechanisms were still yet to be understood. Ketosis tends to occur when insulin and blood glucose levels decrease to an extent that allows for increased fat oxidation, which is ultimately followed by greater ketone production. A minor state of ketosis can occur following periods of complete food restriction, such as an overnight fast. This may produce ketone levels around 0.1 mmol/L to 0.03 mmol/L. Shorter duration fasts typically will not raise ketone levels above these levels because the rate of ketone metabolism matches ketone synthesis. As the fast continues, the rate of ketone production exceeds ketone clearance, resulting in an increase in blood ketone levels (1). While a minor state of ketosis can occur du Continue reading >>
Exogenous Ketones: To Ketone Or Not To Ketone
My thoughts on Exogenous Ketones After being contacted (following the Youtube Q&A) by several folks – both members of Ketogains and Internet strangers, I felt compelled to write as fair and even-handed a write-up on exogenous ketone supplementation as I feel can be mustered. I condition my response by saying this – I want to deal only in evidence and hypotheses grounded in biochemistry. I admit up front that this will probably become something of a treatise on what constitutes a well-formulated ketogenic diet. I don’t have the time (or the energy) to put together a document that covers all facets of the use of exogenous ketones in sufficient depth, so what I want to do is to address the folks that I see asking me about them most often – those who have excess body fat, and are looking to lose weight. They have been told about the potential benefits to fat loss via exogenous ketones, and they want to know if the hype is real. Those of you who know me (or read my previous post here) know that I like to respond with “it depends.” So…when the question is raised, “Should I supplement with exogenous ketones?” what do you think my answer will be? Probably not! (HA, I tricked you!)…but let’s explore why. As I’m sure this is going to be hotly debated enough (as the topic is raging in numerous ketogenic groups) there isn’t any value in dealing with speculation that doesn’t have a basis in science, nor in anecdotes. The challenge in dealing with exogenous ketone supplementation is two-fold: One side of the debate has a product to sell. Anytime someone’s livelihood is tied to your purchase of their product, bias and subjective interpretation of the evidence should be considered. The evidence (either for or against) their supplemental use by average schl Continue reading >>
Classic Keto And Modified Ketogenic Diets
Frequently asked questions about the Classic and Modified Ketogenic Diets 1. What is the ketogenic diet? The ketogenic diet is a special high-fat diet that is used for difficult to treat seizures. Heavy cream, butter, plus, nut and seed oils, provide the necessary fat. The diet also completely eliminates sweets such as candy, cookies, and desserts. Other carbohydrate rich foods such as bread, potatoes, rice, cereals, and pasta are not allowed on the strictest form of the diet, but are allowed on more liberal forms of the diet. All foods must be carefully prepared and weighed on a gram scale. Each meal must be eaten in its entirety for the diet to be most effective. The Classic diet consists of a ratio in grams of fat to non-fat (protein and carbohydrates) of 4:1 and 3:1. The modified ketogenic diet consists of ratios of 2:1 and 1:1. 2. Who can be helped by the diet? People with seiures from infancy through the adult years may be helped by the diet. There is no way to predict beforehand whether it will be successful. Traditionally the diet has been used for children with myoclonic, atonic and tonic-clonic seizures. In every decade since the 1920’s, studies consistently show that 50-75% of infants through adults with difficult to control seizures of all types are helped by the diet. Creative recipes have helped to make the diet more palatable in the past few years. 3. How effective is the diet at controlling or eliminating seizures? Four major meta-analyses (reviews of many studies) have been published in the past 10 years and have determined that the ketogenic diet is effective in reducing seizure frequency in children with difficult-to-control epilepsy. A randomized, controlled study published in 2008 revealed that seizure frequency after 4 months was significantly lo Continue reading >>
Building Muscle On Keto: Can You Build Muscle On A Ketogenic Diet?
He wasn’t overweight, but wanted to lose some fat and gain some muscle while he was at it. And, after reading a bunch of articles, he was convinced that a ketogenic diet was the best way to go about it. Google around for information on ketogenic diets and muscle growth, and you’ll come across the many great and wonderful things that happen when you cut carbs from your diet. Fat will be lost. Muscle will be gained. You’ll recover more quickly, feel less sore, and get stronger faster. Critics of the diet say the exact opposite. Ketogenic diets limit your ability to train hard. Trying to build muscle without carbs is like Batman patrolling the streets of Gotham without his utility belt. There’s absolutely no way, they say, to add muscle while you’re in ketosis. As it turns out, both sides can bring data to the table to support their point of view. SIDE NOTE: If you want a basic overview of the ketogenic diet, as well as more information about the pros and cons, Jeff Cavaliere explains more in the video below. The Ketogenic Diet and Muscle Growth Fans of keto dieting point to research showing that low levels of muscle glycogen don’t have an adverse effect on your performance in the gym . That lifting weights with low levels of muscle glycogen doesn’t impair the anabolic response to resistance exercise . And that the consumption of carbohydrate has no effect on muscle protein synthesis above and beyond the consumption of protein alone . On the other hand, keto critics claim that low carb diets limit your ability to train hard . That lifting weights with low levels of muscle glycogen dampens the post-training anabolic response [5, 6]. And that carbs are anti-catabolic, playing a key role in preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue . Who’s right Continue reading >>
Exogenous Ketones For Fat Burn
OVERVIEW Exogenous ketones are the newest scientific breakthrough in the world of health and wellness, making the job of achieving ketosis, the state in which the body is burning fat/ketones as fuel rather than glucose, much easier. They come in powder form and are ingested exogenously (a fancy word for outside the body). Exogenous ketones are comprised of beta-hydroxybutyrate salts, which flood your bloodstream with ketones and put the body in ketosis within 30-60 minutes. This means that you can reap all the amazing health benefits of being in ketosis in a simple and effective way (just mix the exogenous ketones with water & drink!). Research is now linking exogenous ketones to a multitude of benefits, including more efficient weight loss, athletic performance enhancement, cancer prevention, cognitive improvement, neuroprotection and anti-inflammatory properties. (See research links below.) In addition, exogenous ketones are an extremely useful tool to easily transition to the ketogenic diet. When taken daily, they can reduce carb/sugar cravings, turn on your fat burners, give you more energy, and keep "low-carb flu" at bay. So bottom line, exogenous ketones are perfect for anyone looking to improve their health and wellbeing. WHY USE THEM Reason #1 - Fat Burning Exogenous ketones for fat burn. Taking exogenous ketones will get you into ketosis quickly. Once your body is done using the exogenous ketones you ingested as fuel, then it will start looking for other places to get ketones from. And lucky for you, ketones are made from the fat stored in your body! So as your body produces more of these ketones as fuel, you end up burning fat. Reason #2 - Energy Our bodies use ketones via our mitochondria to generate energy. They are an alternative fuel source to glucose and Continue reading >>
The ketogenic diet is a special high-fat, adequate protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is primarily used in medicine to treat difficult-to-control, or refractory, epilepsy in children. Heavy cream, butter and vegetable oils provide the necessary fat and the diet eliminates sweets such as candies and cookies. Other foods rich in carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, rice, cereals and pasta are not allowed on the strictest form of the diet, but are allowed in small amounts on more liberal forms of the diet. All foods must be carefully prepared and weighed on a precise food scale and each meal must be eaten in its entirety for the diet to be most effective. No one is certain how the diet works, but some children do become seizure-free when put on the diet. However, the diet does not work for everyone and there is no way to predict whether it will be successful. In every decade since the 1920s, studies consistently show that 50 to 75 percent of children with difficult to control seizures of all types are helped by the diet. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates for energy. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported throughout the body and is particularly important in providing energy for brain function. However, if there is very little carbohydrates in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as the energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Starting the ketogenic diet If your child's doctor determines your child is a good candidate for the diet, it is started under close medical supervision. Blood te Continue reading >>
Experiment: Optimal Ketosis For Weight Loss And Improved Performance
Can measuring ketones help you lose weight and improve performance? Let’s try to find out. Today my ketone experiment reached goal #1: achieving stable optimal ketosis*. After getting my blood ketone meter I’ve eaten a stricter LCHF diet than I usually do. More fat, less carbs. No bread, no potatoes, pasta, rice or fruit. Instead I’ve eaten meat, fish, vegetables, egg and extra large amounts of high-fat sauces and butter. In the mornings coffee with plenty of butter/coconut fat in it. I’ve occasionally cheated with some nuts, root vegetables, berries, cream and a little wine. After just a few days I entered light nutritional ketosis (over 0.5 mmol/L on the meter). But it took a full three weeks to achieve stable optimal ketosis (1.5 – 3 mmol/L) in the mornings. It was also interesting that it was much quicker to get high ketone readings during daytime and in the evenings (data not shown in the chart above). I’ve also tested keto sticks for measuring urine ketones (cheaper and simpler). In my case the results so far track the blood ketones reasonably well, even if urine ketones is a more inexact and unreliable test. So what do you think I’ve noticed? Does it feel different? What do you think happened to my weight & waist measurement (I started at a normal satisfactory weight) and training/mental performance? Answers are coming up, but feel free to guess in the comments! Ketosis */ Ketosis is a natural state where the body is almost only burning fat.The secret of ketosis is to eat very low amounts of carbs and only moderate amounts of protein. Then add fat to satiety. Some less informed people still confuse natural ketosis with the pathological state ketoacidosis. The latter has completely different causes, usually extreme insulin deficiency in type 1 diabet Continue reading >>
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The Definitive Guide To The Ketogenic Diet
If you want to lose weight or build muscle faster and think the ketogenic diet might help, you want to read this article. How did a diet meant for treating epileptic seizures turn into a popular weight loss fad? That’s the story of the ketogenic diet, which was introduced in 1921 by an endocrinologist named Dr. Henry Geyelin. Geyelin, presenting at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, explained that the ancient Greeks had discovered that fasting was an effective method of managing epileptic seizures. Hippocrates wrote about it and, like Geyelin, found that the seizures would return once eating resumed. Why? What was it about fasting that suppressed the seizures? Well, epileptic seizures are triggered by electrical abnormalities in the brain. The causes can vary, from genetics to brain injury, but more common is chronic inflammation throughout the body. Geyelin found that when people fast, two major changes occur in the blood: glucose levels fall and ketone levels rise. You’ve probably heard of glucose, also known as blood sugar, but not ketones, which are carbon-oxygen molecules produced by the liver that cells can use for energy instead of glucose. This finding fascinated Geyelin and he set out to determine if similar effects could be achieved without starvation. A decade of work proved they could, and the “ketogenic diet,” as it would be later called, was born. The purpose of the ketogenic diet is to maintain a state of ketosis, wherein the body’s primary energy source is ketones, not glucose. Early studies showed it was an extremely effective treatment for seizures, but in 1938, it was eclipsed by the anticonvulsant drug phenytoin. This medication became the standard treatment for epilepsy, effectively retiring the ketogenic diet from cli Continue reading >>
The Ketogenic Diet Offers New Approach To Fat And Protein
Photo from Flickr Creative Commons. Every year, one of the top resolutions is to lose weight or get in shape. However, there is so much information out there, and a lot of it is wrong or conflicting information. If you pay attention to diet trends, one of the most searched “diets” last year was the Ketogenic diet, a low-carb, high-fat nutrition plan. Even though the word “diet” is in the title of it, it isn’t a diet. Nutrition should be a lifestyle plan, a system of eating that works for you. You never go off of it, but you can make modifications as your goals change from weight and fat loss to more energy, better performance, or healthy aging. Keto is a lifestyle nutrition system. It is not a calorie counting plan. Keto is very individualized. All the macronutrients will vary person to person depending on where you are starting and your history with nutrition and health. With that said there are some general guidelines: Total carbohydrates (CHO) will be fewer than 50 grams. Some people, like hard-charging athletes, can get up to 100 or more and still be in nutritional ketosis. Some people might need to be as low as under 10 grams. This is not a high protein diet. I would say my average on Keto is around 70 to 80 grams. Again, this will be dependent on each person. I said “No way can I keep my muscle and strength eating that low protein.” Well, I’m the strongest pound for pound I’ve ever been since starting in July 2014. This is a high fat diet, but don’t worry — fat doesn’t make you fat. It will vary person to person. However, it should be a minimum of 150 grams. I typically shoot for 250 to 300 grams at a body weight of around 175 to 182 pounds. Fat calories are at least 70 percent of your total and can sometimes reach as high as 90 percent. I Continue reading >>
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5 Supplements For Ketogenic Dieters
When you make the decision to embrace ketogenic dieting—or "go keto"—you need fat and plenty of it. After all, all those calories that you used to get from carbs have to come from somewhere, right? And as Dr. Jacob Wilson pointed out in his "Ketogenic FAQ" article, eating excessive protein (at or above .67-.81 grams per pounds of body weight) can actually produce enough glucose to kick you out of the desired state of ketosis. Where the fat comes from, well, that's up to you. For many people, bacon, avocado, and heavy cream can found on the menu eaten at almost any meal, and never do you need to think twice about choosing egg yolks again. But even with the mouth-watering menu, the adaptation period to a ketogenic diet can be challenging. Many have felt compelled to quit before actually entering ketosis—which is when the pure fat-burning and benefits begin! These three supplement staples can help you make it through the dreaded "induction flu" that many experience during the early days of ketogenic diet, and help you and come out stronger and leaner on the other side! 1. Electrolytes Transitioning your body's preferred fuel sources from carbohydrates to fat can be tough. Not only does it take time to do so, but along the way, you're likely to have a few headaches, perhaps some nausea, and for some, day-long fatigue. This is the so-called "induction flu." As carbs get kicked to the curb, so do key electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. To prevent headaches and fatigue, consider an electrolyte supplement. If you're dehydrated or low on electrolytes, all of these symptoms are going to be worse. Compounding the quandary is that many people end up cutting out electrolytes such as sodium and potassium as their carb consumption goes down. Particularly if you're trainin Continue reading >>
Ketosis For Psychosis
What happened when two adults with severe mood and psychotic symptoms for years embarked on a ketogenic diet for weight loss? Yes, they lost weight, but what ELSE happened? Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Chris Palmer shared the inspiring stories of two people in his practice who experienced long overdue relief that even the strongest antipsychotic and mood stabilizing medications could not provide. Read the remarkable results in my newest post on Psychology Today. Continue reading >>
I Just Started Ketogenic Diet. I'm Losing Weight, But Once I Reach Target Weight, Is There A Way I Can Go Back Into A More Normal Diet That's Not Super High Carb Of Course, But Perhaps A Bowl Of Rice A Day Without Gaining The Weight Back?
Sure. Paoli et al. did just that in a research study back in 2013. He had participants do 20 days of ketogenic dieting and then transitioned them to a low carb, high protein diet, and then finally had them on a Mediterranean diet – a moderate intake of fats, carbs, and protein for six months. They repeated this process. They found that during the bouts of keto, the participants lost body fat and maintained that loss throughout the transition to the Mediterranean diet. The key to transitioning successfully without gaining body fat – depending on how long you were in ketosis, insulin resistance can be a problem – is to take the transition slow. Meaning, don’t go from ~12 g carbs straight to 200g. Here’s what I’d recommend: One way to do this is is to slowly add 20-30 grams of carbs per week while holding your fat and protein intake where they are, until you’re out of a deficit and back to maintenance. As an example. Let’s assume you end the diet at 1700 calories. And you want to start bringing your calorie intake back up to your new maintenance of 2300 calories. This is how I would do it. If you’re end of diet macros were: 150g protein / 50g carbs/110g fat. Week 1: +20 grams carbs/ keep fats as they are / protein stays the same – 150g protein / 70g carbs / 110g fats (1870 calories) Week 2: +30 grams carbs/keep fats as they are/ protein stays the same – 150g protein / 100g carbs / 110g fats (1990 calories) Week 3: +30 grams carbs/ fat remains the same / protein stays the same – 150g protein / 130g carbs / 110g fats (2110 calories) Week 4: +30 grams carbs/ fat remains the same / protein stays the same – 150g protein / 160g carbs / 110g fats (2230 calories) At this point you can either keep things as they are, or start reducing fat intak Continue reading >>
The Ugly Truth About Ketogenic Diets
Here's what you need to know... Ketosis occurs when carbs are in such low quantities that your body relies almost exclusively on fatty acid oxidation and ketone metabolism. Ketogenic diets have about 70-75% of your daily caloric intake coming from fat and about 5% from carbohydrates. Ingesting protein above approximately .8 grams per pound is enough to kick you out of ketosis. Ketogenic diets improve body comp, but so does any diet that reduces calories from any source. There is no literature to support that a ketogenic diet is beneficial for promoting increases in muscle mass. Ketogenic diets affect performance negatively. Questions About Ketosis While the ketogenic diet has been used widely and rather effectively in some cases, there's still a lot of confusion about it. What exactly is a ketogenic diet? How does it differ from low carb dieting? Most importantly, at least for the T Nation demographic, is the question of whether ketogenic diets allow you to put on, or at least keep, muscle. Ketosis: What is it? Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when dietary carbohydrates are in such low quantities that your body must rely almost exclusively on fatty acid oxidation and ketone metabolism. That sounds simple on the surface, but let's unpack that explanation a bit. To function, your body requires a substantial amount of energy in the form of ATP. So, let's just assume that the average person uses about 1,800 calories per day to create enough ATP to keep him alive (not including any physical activity). Now this is where it gets interesting. You have this thing in your skull called a brain. It uses about 400 or so calories per day and runs almost exclusively on glucose. (There's some evidence it can use small amounts of fat and lactate, but in the big picture it's not Continue reading >>