Low Carb Dieting Myths
The myths about low carb dieting and specifically ketogenic diets abound in the American collective consciousness. These are just a few of the most pervasive myths I've encountered, with explanations as to why they are incorrect and simply don't make sense, scientifically: Myth 1: Carbs are an essential nutrient for good health. Some nutrition professionals still believe that carbohydrates are necessary to provide glucose to fuel the brain and avoid hypoglycemia. It's an old way of thinking, and it's just not true scientifically. Essential nutrients are nutrients which your body cannot make, so they have to be obtained on a daily basis from your food sources. There are essential proteins, and essential fatty acids, but there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. When the body is in ketosis, it has a “glucose sparing” effect. First, the skeletal muscles burn fatty acids preferentially which spares glucose for the brain to use. Second, once a person is keto-adapted, the brain switches to using ketone bodies for over half of the fuel it needs, and less glucose is needed since ketone bodies are being used as an alternative fuel. This small amount of carbohydrate (glucose or blood sugar) needed to fuel the brain during keto adaptation can be generated internally. Your liver can make all the glucose needed for brain function from glycogen stored in the liver. And if need be, the body can also make glucose from the protein in your food. Hence, carbohydrates are NOT essential nutrients, and many people, such as the Inuit of Alaska and the Masai of Africa live without them for long periods of time without any effect on health and well-being. The “brain needs carbs” idea is only true if you consistently eat a high carb diet (as most registered dietitians will tel 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 >>
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 >>
Low Carbohydrate High Fat Ketogenic Diet May Reverse Kidney Failure In People With Diabetes
Share Share Share Health Impact News Editor Comments: Here we have yet another study showing the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet, which is a very strict diet that eliminates almost all carbohydrates and consumes very large amounts of fat, especially saturated fat. This diet has baffled those in the medical community for years, because of their presupposition that saturated fat is bad and leads to cardiovascular disease, and should be avoided in our diet. The ketogenic diet has been effective in preventing seizures in children with epilepsy, often when all other drugs fail. The medical community, while admitting that the diet works, usually state that they don’t know why it works. They are often blinded by their own bias and presuppositions that believe a high saturated fat diet is detrimental to one’s health. So I was surprised when I learned that the ketogenic diet was studied in relation to kidney failure among those with diabetes, and that the funding came from traditional allopathic sources. It suggests that kidney failure due to diabetes has become a serious concern, and that current medical practices and drugs are not all that effective. Unfortunately, as studies like this continue to support the data and research that our bodies need saturated fat, and other studies showing our need for cholesterol, the prevailing belief against the benefits of saturated fat apparently still hold fast. Note the quote by the head of the research team, Dr. Charles Mobbs, at the end of this press release: “Knowing how the ketogenic diet reverses nephropathy will help us identify a drug target and subsequent pharmacological interventions that mimic the effect of the diet,” said Dr. Mobbs. So the motivation in funding such as study was not to change dietary beliefs and pra Continue reading >>
Is The Current Rise In Kidney Disease Due To Our Over-consumption Of Animal Source Foods?
I periodically get asked about concerns regarding the growing rates of kidney disease and concerns about kidney health in general in relation to a diet based in animal source foods. The worry is that consuming animal protein might somehow put a strain on kidneys and even lead to kidney damage over time. Here are the facts: In the United States, approximately one in three adults aged 65 years and older currently has chronic kidney disease. Certain mainstream sources are determined to find every which way to blame and further vilify animal source foods in this equation (and innumerable others), while extolling the supposed virtues of a plant-based diet. This is a pervasive misinformation trend, and one that I take on in my newest book, Primal Fat Burner. For starters, I don’t see the rise in kidney disease as necessarily being unrelated to the rise in metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the result of insulin resistance (which, in turn, is overwhelmingly the result of excess carbohydrate consumption—not fat or protein consumption). As my friend, Ron Rosedale, MD has aptly pointed out (and I’m paraphrasing somewhat), the development of obesity, in some respects, is technically the price your body pays to try and keep you from becoming diabetic. Excess sugars continually get stored through the efforts of insulin in your fat cells until the day your fat cells are no longer able to respond to insulin and there’s no place else for the sugar to go. Among the tissues unfortunate enough to lack the capacity for insulin resistance include your nerve cells and brain tissue, which may become chronically bombarded with excess tissue-damaging insulin and glucose and undergo degenerative changes. Nerve cells are readily damaged by glycation and through this process eventua Continue reading >>
How Low-carb Diets May Be Causing More Kidney Stones
Like many busy people, David Crossley often used to find himself so wrapped up in his working day that he would go without lunch, and often barely stopped for a cup of tea. In fact, David, 63, a musculoskeletal therapist from Birmingham, admits: 'I would often be so busy at the clinic that I'd forget to drink any liquid at all, other than the odd cup of tea or coffee. It had been the same way for years - although I would drink more water at weekends.' Last year, this habit caught up with him. He noticed a vague ache in his abdomen, stretching around to his back. 'It wasn't agonising but it just didn't feel quite right, so I went to the GP,' he says. 'As I had some bloating, he sent me for an ultrasound.' This revealed two large stones in his right kidney - a direct result, his doctors believe, of his low fluid intake. A CT scan showed that the stones were so large (6 mm across) they could not be passed naturally, and he needed surgery. One in ten of us will develop a kidney stone, and the numbers are rising dramatically. They are the result of waste products in the blood forming crystals inside the kidneys, which eventually build up into a solid lump. They can be excruciatingly painful - on a level, say experts, with childbirth. The stones often remain symptomless while they're in the kidney. They start causing pain - known as renal colic - once they travel down the ureter, the narrow tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. 'Renal colic is caused by the stone suddenly blocking the ureter,' says Mr Leye Ajayi, consultant urological surgeon at the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth, London. The pain often comes on suddenly and can cause the patient to 'writhe around in agony', he adds. The pain can be intense enough to cause nausea and vomiting. Once on th Continue reading >>
Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe For Everyone?
Is a ketogenic diet safe for you? Is a ketogenic diet safe? Before you try this at home… First and foremost, if you pick up a copy of Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman’s excellent new book, Keto Clarity (which I highly recommend–see my review here) and feel (understandably) inspired to immediately embark on a ketogenic diet, I would caution anyone with a serious chronic health problem, especially anyone who is taking prescription medications, not to attempt a ketogenic diet on his/her own without medical supervision. Medications and Early Ketosis Even though I personally believe in the power of ketogenic diets to improve and even reverse many chronic illnesses, from diabetes to chronic fatigue to mood disorders, the diet does this by causing very real shifts in body chemistry that can have a major impact on medication dosages and side effects, especially during the first few weeks. Examples of problematic situations include sudden drops in blood pressure for those on blood pressure medications (such as Lasix, Lisinopril, and Atenolol), and sudden drops in blood sugar for those on diabetes medications (especially insulin). These changes in blood pressure and blood sugar are very positive and healthy, but the presence of medications can artificially intensify these effects and cause extreme and sometimes dangerous reactions unless your dosage is carefully monitored by you and your clinician in the first month or so. Another important example of a medicine that would require careful monitoring is Lithium, an antidepressant and mood stabilizing medicine. The ketogenic diet causes the body to let go of excess water during the first few days, which can cause Lithium to become more concentrated in the blood, potentially rising to uncomfortable or even toxic levels. These Continue reading >>
Bring In The Research Supporting The Blood Sugars You Want To Achieve Will Work.
One of the worst things high blood sugars do to your body is that they slowly destroy your kidneys. Unfortunately, as is the case with so many "diabetic" complications, this organ destruction also appears to begin long before many people are given a diabetes diagnosis. The landmark UKPDS study found that one out of eight people diagnosed with diabetes already were leaking small amounts of protein into their urine. This symptom, called "microalbuminuria." is an early sign that kidneys have been damaged. Though there is no total agreement as to why this occurs, some factors that promote kidney damage are: 1. High blood pressure. When blood pressure is high, large protein molecules, including those that are glycosylated (covered with sticky excess sugar molecules) are pushed through the pores of the kidney's filtration units, damaging them. 2. High blood sugar. When normal glucose regulation fails, the kidneys must remove excess glucose from the blood, leading to high concentrations of glucose in the kidneys. These glucose molecules clog up tiny capillaries in the kidneys as they do those elsewhere in the body. Eventually this clogging destroys the glomeruli, the filtration units of the kidney. An eleven year study of over 1800 people with diabetes found a straight line relationship between the risk of developing chronic kidney disease and the A1c. The risk began to increase significantly when the A1c rose over 6.0%. Poor Glycemic Control in Diabetes and the Risk of Incident Chronic Kidney Disease Even in the Absence of Albuminuria and Retinopathy: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Lori D. Bash et al. Arch Intern Med. Vol. 168 No. 22, Dec 8/22, 2008 Another study, that followed people with Type 1 diabetes for more than a decade found that those who had achi Continue reading >>
Does A Ketogenic Diet Cause Kidney Stones?
I remember the first time I learned about the connection between a diet high in sugar and gout, kidney stones and heart disease. I was reading a book (I don’t remember which one) that was laying out the evidence that showed a clear link between sugar consumption and those diseases and it immediately peaked my interest because I didn’t know that gout was still a thing. I had only heard of old French monarchs having it and honestly didn’t know it was still around until just a few weeks before reading that book. Just a few weeks prior to reading that, I learned that my son’s Father in Law had gout and occasional kidney stones and as I read that passage in the book, I thought about calling him and telling him what I read. I decided against it and figured I would bring it up the next time I saw him at church. Unfortunately, before I ever got a chance to say anything to him, he had a heart attack. He’s fine now but I have always felt bad I didn’t immediately make a call. I realize it wouldn’t have done much given how quickly it all happened but still, I should have said something. Since then, probably the most common question I get about the ketogenic diet is whether or not it will cause kidney stones and there is definitely a connection but possibly not how you think. First let’s go over how kidney stones are formed. How Kidney Stones are Formed At one point in time it was thought that uric acid was produced solely from the breakdown of purines found in foods like liver, pork, mushrooms, anchovies, mackerel and dried beans which is why most patients that were susceptible to kidney stones or gout were put on a low purine diet. Unfortunately those diets didn’t work too well and almost always had to be supplemented with additional medications that controlled t Continue reading >>
Do High-protein Diets Cause Kidney Disease And Cancer?
It seems like every other week there is a media uproar about the dangers of any number of foods. Lately, the target has been meat – specifically high-protein diets – and its supposed connection to a range of chronic diseases and early death. I’ve discussed high-protein diets a couple times on my podcast (here and here), but with the recent press surrounding a new study on high-protein diets and cancer risk, there’s been yet another upsurge in concern over their safety. In this article, we’ll take a look at the research behind three of the most common concerns about high-protein diets: kidney health, cancer, and longevity. By the end of this article, you’ll know what the real danger underlying high meat consumption may be, and how you can easily avoid it by eating a Paleo diet. Will a high protein diet give you kidney disease and cancer? Find out here! #Paleo #mythbusting High-protein diets don’t cause kidney disease in healthy people Before getting into this, I want to make something clear. Research does show that high-protein diets can be harmful for people who already have chronic kidney disease, and low-to-moderate protein diets are generally advisable for these patients. However, just because a low-protein diet can be therapeutic for those with kidney disease, doesn’t mean a high-protein diet causes kidney disease in the first place. (This is the same distinction I made when critiquing Dr. Perlmutter’s broad recommendation for a low-carb diet to prevent neurological disorders.) What I’m addressing here is the notion that high-protein diets cause kidney disease in healthy people—which is not, as you’ll find out, supported by research. Since one of the main biological roles of the kidney is to metabolize and excrete nitrogen byproducts from pro Continue reading >>
Are Ketogenic Diets Bad For People With Kidney And Liver Issues?
There is an international organization of doctors and other professionals who have clinical experience with ketogenic diets. It's called the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group. They publish guidelines for safe use of ketogenic diets. The guidelines include a list of medical conditions (contraindications) which would make a ketogenic diet unsafe. At least one of the conditions on the list (carnitine deficiency) can cause liver dysfunction. You don't say exactly what sort of liver problem you have in mind. If you personally have a disease that affects the liver, maybe you should look at the list of contraindications carefully. Another condition on the list, beta-oxidation defects, can cause the liver to lack the ability to oxidize fatty acids. Regarding this condition the guidelines say, "An inborn metabolic error at any point along this pathway can lead to a devastating catabolic crisis (i.e., coma, death) in a patient fasted or placed on a [ketogenic diet]." Ketogenic diets increase the risk of kidney stones. Doctors often prescribe potassium citrate to people on medical ketogenic diets as a prophylactic measure against kidney stones. Here is a link to the full text of the guidelines. Contradindications are in Table 2. The title says "children" because virtually all clinical experience with ketogenic diets has been with kids. If you want to read more about the risks of ketogenic diets, click here to see a bibliography on my website (with many links to full text) of articles about risks and prevention. Some people seem to believe that ketogenic diets are harmless, risk-free, totally wonderful things. This isn't true. Ketogenic diets are like medications. They bring benefits but they also bring risks and harmful side effects. They involve tradeoffs. I'm not against Continue reading >>
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 >>
How Does Keto//os Affect Kidneys And Liver And The Role In Metabolizing Ketones?
As with all medium chain triglycerides, the MCT powder portion of the product will largely be converted to ketones by the liver within a few short hours of consumption. MCT create a readily supply of Ketone production for the liver to use for ketones. The BHB-salt portion should simply be absorbed into the blood as ketones. The BHB supplies another source, which doesn’t require the liver to produce ketones. There is no reason that the ketones produced by the product will affect the kidneys or liver any differently than ketones produced from exogenous fats (such as when eating a ketogenic diet) or ketones produced from stored fats (such as when calorie restricting or losing weight). Exogenous ketone scientific literature does not suggest that either kidney or liver function is negatively affected by ketosis. The major role of the kidneys when it comes to ketones is to excrete excess ketones in the urine. This excretion will likely be highest during the first few days of keto-adaptation (either in eating the keto diet or consuming KETO//OS), but the body will retain more and the tissues will begin to preferentially burn the ketones as consumption continues. The liver is the major site of endogenous ketone production, so taking exogenous ketones with KETO//OS would provide another source besides the liver to make ketones. Remember, KETO//OS and exogenous ketones are a source of calories; so be sure to consider it in your daily goals. KETO//OS and exogenous ketone supplementation is not hard on the liver. Continue reading >>
Reversal Of Diabetic Nephropathy By A Ketogenic Diet
Go to: Introduction While intensive insulin therapy and other interventions slow the development of diabetic complications , there is far less evidence that these interventions reverse diabetic complications. For example, tight glucose control prevented the development of nephropathy (as indicated by proteinuria) in a rat model of Type 1 diabetes, but did not reverse nephropathy once proteinuria had developed . Thus there is a general consensus that diabetes is associated with progressive and cumulative processes that are much more amenable to retardation than to reversal. Nevertheless, from a clinical perspective, reversing pathologies associated with diabetes would be far more valuable than simply delaying their onset. We have proposed that both diabetic complications and age-related pathologies develop due to a progressive and cumulative effect of glucose metabolism that produces a bistable hysteretic effect on gene expression . In addition to glycolytic enzymes that would be expected to produce oxidative stress , glucose metabolism also induces a variety of molecular responses such as thioredoxin-interaction protein  and p65  that could plausibly contribute to nephropathy. Indeed, the latter induction is persistent, even after normalization of glucose, thus exemplifying glucose-induced hysteresis and its clinical correlate, metabolic memory, including in nephropathy . Furthermore, based particularly on detailed analysis of the hysteretic behavior of the lac operon , , we have hypothesized that sufficiently prolonged and robust reduction in glucose metabolism or molecular responses to glucose metabolism may reverse this bistable molecular state, leading to reversal of pathology . While examining basic mechanisms mediating molecular respo Continue reading >>
Top 14 Low-carb & Keto Fears (and Whether You Should Be Worried)
It is not at all uncommon that people are skeptical of a low-carb diet in the beginning, especially since we’ve been flooded with bad high-carb, low-fat advice for decades. Of course, we don’t want any unsubstantiated fears of the past get in the way of people reaping the benefits of a low-carb diet. So here’s a short Q&A explaining why most of these fears are nothing to worry about. We also want to make low carb simple, and this includes being very upfront and honest about potential problems and how to handle them. Some problems actually can occur on low carb, and it can be very helpful to know what they are and what can be done about them. Here are the most common fears about low carb, and whether they are true or false. Does a low-carb diet cause high cholesterol? Low-carb diets tend to improve the cholesterol profile by increasing levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol, and decreasing levels of harmful triglycerides. These are both good changes, associated with improved health. Regarding the “bad” LDL cholesterol, most people experience no significant changes on low carb. However, some people can lower or (more often) increase LDL levels somewhat. Note that studies show that at least people over 60 years of age tend to live longer with higher LDL levels. Taken together, studies show that low-carb diets generally improve risk factors for disease, including cholesterol. For a small minority of people however, cholesterol may go up abnormally high on an LCHF diet. In those situations it could be worth adapting the diet to normalize the cholesterol levels. The bottom line: Low-carb and high-fat diets on average improve the cholesterol profile and reduce most risk factors for disease. The effect of this has been demonstrated in a 2010 study that showed a redu Continue reading >>