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 >>
Is Nutritional Ketosis Bad For A 16 Year Old?
I love what nutritional ketosis does for me, but I would not recommend my 16 year old self to undertake it. There are a few reasons. The biggest one is that at that age, I really didn't understand my body well at all. I had little awareness of hunger vs thirst, good pain vs bad pain from working out, and determining what my personal physical and mental limits were. Please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying "you're a silly teenager who knows nothing". Not at all! However, it is really important to be aware of yourself when undertaking any dramatic eating regimen, and having the benefit of living with yourself and making decisions for yourself for 20+ years vs 6+ years makes a huge difference in your success. It's easy to fall into bad habits on ketosis, like relying too heavily on dairy to get your fat macros (I'll just add more butter) instead of eating a balanced diet with adequate nutrients for your growing body. Will power, do you have it? Most teenagers are eating and enjoying all kinds of foods that simply aren't permissible on ketosis. Chips, pop, pizza, burritos, pasta, ice cream, and even some "healthy" snacks like carrot sticks, Gatorade, and watermelon are no-nos. You might develop an (eating) disorder because these are formative years and what you put in your mouth impacts your body and mind. It's easy to think of ketosis as a quick fix with minimal effort, and far better to develop a healthy relationship with food AND exercise to achieve your body goals. Continue reading >>
Does Ketosis Cause Kidney Damage?
The ‘Lean for Life’ program is mildly ketotic, and only for a brief portion of the program. It has not been associated with kidney damage or disease in individuals who have normally functioning kidneys. Concerns regarding undue stress on the kidneys are often aimed at very low carbohydrate, very high protein ketogenic diets. Few studies have shown any actual damage, however. (Note: Although the Weight Loss portion of the ‘Lean for Life’ program is mildly ketogenic, it is not considered to be exceptionally “high protein” for most individuals.) Dietary ketosis is among the most maligned and misunderstood concepts in nutrition medicine. Particularly among researchers who don’t actually treat patients, ketosis (the presence of ketone bodies in the urine) is often confused with ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening build-up of ketone bodies due to muscle wasting and dehydration as in states of shock or uncontrolled Type 1 diabetes. In the Type 1 diabetic, the absence of insulin leads to a toxic build-up of blood glucose and an extreme break-down of fat and muscle tissue. This condition doesn’t occur in individuals who have even a small amount of insulin, whether from natural production or artificially administered. Whereas patients in ketoacidosis are closely monitored in Intensive Care Units, individuals in ketosis are amongst the healthy, active population. Dietary ketosis is a natural adjustment to the body’s reduced intake of carbohydrates as the body shifts its primary source of energy from carbohydrates to stored fat. The presence of insulin keeps ketone production in check so that a mild, beneficial ketosis is achieved. Blood glucose levels are stabilized within a normal range and there is no break-down of healthy muscle tissue. It would be diffi Continue reading >>
Is It Bad For The Body To Jump Between Ketosis And Glucose?
I would not use that particular cycle, but think it would be hard to make a scientific argument that the occasional indulgence is “bad” - at least after the initial adaptation period. I’d do 4 weeks on, then maybe a meal/day or two off. That’s what we initially committed to. However, we wound up not wanting to do that indulgence we had scheduled for a few months. Then when we did, felt pretty terrible. We often will “relax” the diet when we travel, but it’s not really great-feeling. It gets a lot easier to transition back and forth as you get some practice at it, and some would say that doing it cyclically (seasonally) is more similar to what would have happened in primitive man (carbs were only available to most cultures for part of the year). But YMMV. Continue reading >>
Clearing Up Kidney Confusion: Part Deux
It’s funny how our mental state really affects how we write and what we are interested in. When I wrote the introduction to this piece I was just getting settled into our new place in Santa Fe, NM and was looking at over a month at home to work and write. Then a number of wacky events happened and I’ve been home about 7 days out of the last month and I’ve only made it about 70 pages into Kon-Tiki. Ouch. Now I’m home for 8 days and will then be gone for a project that will take me completely off the grid for nearly 3 weeks. No phone, email…nada. When I sat down to do this kidney piece it was with a mindset that I had a ton of time and could really sink my teeth into it. Now I’m time crunched and anxious that I will get it done at all! Up front here I’d like to thank Mat “The Kraken” Lalonde with his help on some literature for this piece. Any inaccuracies however are my own tomfoolery. If I wanted to cut to the chase I could boil this whole thing down to the following: 1-Dietary protein DOES NOT CAUSE KIDNEY DAMAGE. 2-Chronically elevated BLOOD GLUCOSE levels DO cause kidney damage. 3-Dietary fructose REALLY causes kidney damage. 4-Many kidney issues have either a hyperinsulinemic characteristic, an autoimmune characteristic, and or a combination of autoimmunity or hyperinsulinism. A standard, low-ish carb paleo diet can fix most of these issues. 5-For serious kidney damage a low-protein, ketogenic diet can be remarkably therapeutic. 6-If you get kidney stones that are from oxalates, reduce your green veggie intake (spinach for example) and have other types of veggies. 7-If you get kidney stones that are from urate salts, you are likely NOT following a low-ish carb paleo diet, you likely have insulin resistance and your liver is not processing uric acid Continue reading >>
Is Going In And Out Of Ketosis Bad For Cholesterol Levels Or Organs?
I would be a bit cautious about “going in and out” - not because it’s bad or because it’s hard to do. Rather, because if you go “in and out continuously” - I’m hoping that you say that as supported by actual measurements and not just the mere fact that you don’t eat carbs for a day and then binge the next day - and then the cycle repeats. Although your body utilizes ketones on a continuous basis, the onset of “ketosis” per se, requires some adaptation period and a relatively substantial depletion of glycogen. You need to allow some time for this to happen - if you change your eating pattern too quickly (and if you didn’t specifically do anything to deplete your glycogen reserves, such as heavy-weight exercise, etc.) - you might not even get into ketosis before, allegedly, getting out of it. Of course, those could be just my assumptions - but, generally, I would say you have to follow ketogenic diet for at least 2–3 days to actually slip into ketosis, while you may only need a couple of hours to get out of it, if you overindulge in carbs. Other than the frequency of those changes - getting in and out by itself is not an issue and, actually, may be preferred (unless you have specific medical conditions that require you to be in ketosis for a long time). Now, to address cholesterol - cholesterol is generally not an issue by itself (read: Dietary Cholesterol Redeemed). It’s only in combination with other pro-inflammatory compounds and other detrimental effects of an unhealthy lifestyle that it may become an issue and contribute to heart disease. In reality, cholesterol is an “indicator” of a problem, not the cause for it. Conversely, none of your cells would be able to function properly - but that’s a topic of a different discussion. Your org Continue reading >>
Ketosis & Kidney Failure
Ketosis happens when your body resorts to fat for energy after your stored carbohydrates have been burned out. It often occurs when people fast and exercise. But most commonly, ketosis occurs in people who eat low-carb, high-protein diets, which are also called ketogenic diets. There’s some evidence that ketosis can tax your kidneys, leading to kidney stones and low blood pressure. In diabetics, a variant of ketosis can be fatal. However, a small but growing group of health professionals say ketosis is not the poison you’ve been lead to think it was, and it may be better for you than high-carbohydrate eating. Your specific dietary habits are best advised by your healthcare provider or nutritionist. Video of the Day Ketosis happens when you get a buildup of a substance known as ketones, or ketone bodies in your blood. They are released when your body’s carbohydrate stores run out and you have to break down fat stores for energy. Dieters tend to deliberately cause ketosis because it makes you feel less hungry. However, ketosis also makes you feel tired and sluggish, because as "Medical News Today" reports, ketones aren’t the most efficient source of energy, especially for your brain. Ketosis can also harm your kidneys. Annually, more than 100,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure in the United States, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, or NIDDK. The condition is marked by the inability of your kidneys to do their job of eliminating wastes. One treatment for kidney failure is dialysis, a draining and lengthy artificial blood cleansing process. Another option is a kidney transplant. The NIDDK states that the cost of care for patients with kidney failure reached close to $32 billion in 2005. The federal government sub Continue reading >>
High-protein, Low-carb Diets Explained
High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, like The Atkins Diet, have been widely promoted as effective weight loss plans. These programs generally recommend that dieters get 30% to 50% of their total calories from protein. By comparison, the American Heart Association, the National Cholesterol Education Program, and the American Cancer Society all recommend a diet in which a smaller percentage of calories come from protein. Normally your body burns carbohydrates for fuel. When you drastically cut carbs, the body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis, and it begins to burn its own fat for fuel. When your fat stores become a primary energy source, you may lose weight. Some experts have raised concern about high-protein, low-carb diets. High cholesterol.Some protein sources -- like fatty cuts of meat, whole dairy products, and other high-fat foods -- can raise cholesterol, increasing your chance of heart disease. However, studies showed that people on the Atkins diet for up to 2 years actually had decreased “bad” cholesterol levels. Kidney problems. If you have any kidney problems, eating too much protein puts added strain on your kidneys. This could worsen kidney function. Osteoporosis and kidney stones. When you're on a high-protein diet, you may urinate more calcium than normal. There are conflicting reports, but some experts think this could make osteoporosis and kidney stones more likely. If you're considering a high-protein diet, check with your doctor or a nutritionist to see if it's OK for you. They can help you come up with a plan that will make sure you're getting enough fruits and vegetables, and that you're getting lean protein foods. Remember, weight loss that lasts is usually based on changes you can live with for a long time, not a temporary diet. Continue reading >>