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Why Ketosis Is Bad

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 >>

Dr. Tamsin Lewis: Dangers Of Ketogenic And Low-carb Diets, And Why Females Are Higher Risk

Dr. Tamsin Lewis: Dangers Of Ketogenic And Low-carb Diets, And Why Females Are Higher Risk

We are joined by Dr. Tamsin Lewis, who’s become a new mom since her last appearance on EP! Read Tamsin’s pregnancy blog, mentioned on the show. You can hire Tamsin for a health consultation at Curoseven.com. This episode investigates the risks and dangers of going to low carb, and advises athletes to assess their health via blood tests, consulting with professionals, etc, before taking on any extreme diets. 1. What are the risks of going too low carb or keto; problems you can create with these diets? 2. Who should avoid extreme low carb and ketosis (<50g/day)? 3. Take home: Finding health, finding balance Defining ketosis – similar to starvation mode – use mainly fat and protein for energy – eating <50 g CHO/day – exogenous forms of ketones What are the potential risks of going too low carb or keto; problems you can create with these diets? Gastrointestinal issues – constipation, diarrhea, pain, bloating, etc – disrupting the microbiota, epigenetics, and is keto the preferred diet for you? Female specific issues – problematic for supporting a healthy female hormone environment (disruption; depletion) – high cortisol & the pregnenalone steal – signal that body is in high stress state – can create thyroid problems – TSH increase; T3, T4 decrease – cortisol up, progesterone down; menstrual irregularities – potential loss of cycle or irregular period with too low carb – importance of diet during the luteal phase – psychological issues; anxiety and depression – caloric restriction/low-calorie mistakes – infertility and pregnancy complications – anecdotal evidence of: low-carb great at first, weight loss, etc, then you crash and hormones go crazy, get depleted, etc – Can males suffer from similar hormonal and health issues as females? Continue reading >>

Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe For People With Diabetes?

Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe For People With Diabetes?

Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe for People with Diabetes? If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, chances are you’re looking for simple yet effective ways to control your blood sugar. And, if at all possible, without the use of daily shots or medications. As I’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts, exercise is one of the best natural ways to manage blood glucose. But perhaps the most obvious way to keep blood sugar at a safe and consistent level without insulin is to pay special attention to what you eat. And, in the case of diabetes, limiting your carbohydrate intake may be the key. What Is the Keto Diet? At first glance the ketogenic (keto) diet may seem like a crazy idea for type 2 diabetics. After all, many patients are put on diets to help them lose weight. The keto diet is high in fat, but it is very low in carbs, and this combination can help change the way your body stores and uses energy. With this diet your body converts fat instead of sugar into energy, which can improve blood glucose levels while reducing the need for insulin. Ketosis VS Ketoacidosis Ketosis and ketoacidosis are two very different things, which are often confused. But it’s very important you understand the difference. What is ketoacidosis? Ketoacidosis (KA) is a life-threatening condition in which your body doesn’t make enough insulin. This causes you to have dangerously high levels of ketones (substances occurring when the body uses fat stores for energy) and blood sugar. The combination of both makes your blood incredibly acidic, and this can, in turn, change the normal functioning of your internal organs such as your liver and kidneys. Patients suffering from ketoacidosis must get treatment immediately or they could slip into a coma and even die. Ketoacidosis can develop in less than 24 Continue reading >>

Diets Decoded: The Ketogenic Diet

Diets Decoded: The Ketogenic Diet

Is the ketogenic diet healthy? We’re going to let you in on a little secret. Most popular healthy diets that are touted for weight loss—from Paleo to Mediterranean and vegetarian—share many of the same basic principles. All involve eating whole foods (as opposed to packaged and processed) and filling your plate with quality sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich vegetables. (Again, we’re talking about the ones that fall somewhere on the healthy spectrum, not unhealthy fad diets like, ahem, the Grapefruit Diet.) However, each proposes a slightly different path that leads to fulfilling those principles. In this column, we’ll be breaking them down for you one by one so you can figure out which (if any!) is right for you. We’ll quickly explain the facts and then provide quick, actionable tips on how to follow the diet as part of a Nutritious Life. The Ketogenic Diet: What It Is The ketogenic diet is like Atkins amplified. Instead of just low-carb, it’s “almost no carb” and lots of fat. It’s been around for a long time but has recently gotten a lot of attention. Originally developed to treat children with epilepsy, the ketogenic diet restricts carb intake to as low as two to four percent of calories, with a 4:1 ratio of fat to carbs and protein combined. (For comparison, standard diets contain about 45 to 65 percent of calories from carbs; we generally recommend sticking to the lower end of that spectrum and avoiding refined carbs.) The goal of eating this way is to move the body into a state called ketosis. During ketosis, instead of breaking down carbs (there are none!) into glucose for fuel, the liver converts fat into ketone bodies, which become the body’s primary source of energy. Advocates s Continue reading >>

Does The Ketogenic Diet Work For Type 2 Diabetes?

Does The Ketogenic Diet Work For Type 2 Diabetes?

You’ve probably seen dozens of headlines about the ketogenic diet by now, which has made its way into popular culture largely by celebrities and supermodels giving the long-standing fad diet a repeated stamp of approval. Is this the diet to follow if you have diabetes? Studies suggest the answer isn’t so simple. Some science shows its meal plan may be helpful, while other research, like one study published in September 2016 in Nutrients, highlights the importance of whole grains in the diets of people with diabetes — a restricted food category in the ketogenic diet. While the keto diet can offer many potential benefits for diabetes management, following it requires pretty serious commitment. So take a beat before you take the plunge — and consider these questions that can help you and your medical team determine if it’s right for you: How Does the Ketogenic Diet Work Exactly? There’s a good reason the ketogenic diet is also referred to as a low-carb, high-fat diet. Indeed, following the ketogenic diet means reducing carbohydrate intake to typically less than 50 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day, while increasing fat and protein intake, according to a review published in August 2013 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. To put that into perspective, an individual on an average, non-restricted diet can easily eat more carbohydrates than that in one typical meal — for instance, a turkey, cheese, and veggie sandwich on whole-grain bread with a small, 1 ounce (oz) bag of classic potato chips would come in at around 51 g of carbs. These dietary changes drive down insulin levels, eventually leading your body into a state of ketosis, during which it is burning fat rather than carbohydrates. What Are Some of the Potential Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet for Continue reading >>

Is Ketosis Dangerous?

Is Ketosis Dangerous?

It really is a sad fact that some experts add more to the confusion surrounding health and nutrition then they do to clear things up. One such area is that of ketosis vs ketoacidosis. While you may be unfamiliar with these terms, you will most certainly know about low carb and very low carb diets, and it is likely you’ve heard health professionals warning against the dangerous side-efffects of low-carbing. Well, ketosis and ketoacidosis are often quoted as two of those dangerous side-effects. This advice, however, is partly misinformed, partly overcautious. I read about Jimmy’s (Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb) experience recently when he went to give blood. He struck up a conversation with the type 2 diabetic nurse, and talk turned to eating a low carb diet. Her immediate response was that ketosis is a dangerous condition to be avoided. This is a pretty common opinion echoed by many health professionals. Here is what WebMD say on the subject of ketosis; Unhealthy metabolic state (ketosis). Low-carb diets can cause your body to go into a dangerous metabolic state called ketosis since your body burns fat instead of glucose for energy. During ketosis, the body forms substances known as ketones, which can cause organs to fail and result in gout, kidney stones, or kidney failure. Ketones can also dull a person’s appetite, cause nausea and bad breath. Ketosis can be prevented by eating at least 100 grams of carbohydrates a day. It is hardly surprising that the general public are confused, when health professionals and mainstream websites like WebMD make statements like this. And that’s only two examples. If this is all starting to sound a bit worrying, let me clarify things for you by firstly defining the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis Continue reading >>

Are Ketones Dangerous?

Are Ketones Dangerous?

Are ketones dangerous? The answer to that question is it depends. I think it’s important to note that ketones still may pose a risk for those of us on a ketogenic diet, pursuing nutritional ketosis. I have blogged a lot over the years about the benefits of a ketogenic (low carb, high fat) diet for type 1 diabetes. I even wrote an eBook about it. I began my dietary experimentation after 15 years of living with diabetes so my discussion of this topic often assumes that readers are also aware of their own limits and responsibility to establish their limits before inviting complex experimentation. As exciting as the results of a ketogenic diet are, risks must be understood in order to proceed safely. Ketones can indicate diabetic keto-acidosis or DKA, which is life-threatening insulin deficiency, for someone with type 1 diabetes. Sadly, far too many people with type 1 diabetes die from DKA every year. Although the risk is pretty low on an annual basis, there are large numbers of people who actually die from DKA. So, you can easily see why the medical system believes that ketones (or the condition it is associated with) can absolutely can be dangerous.We all enter into experimentation with ketosis having had the “ketones are dangerous” doctrine drilled into our heads from the time of diagnosis. When you have type 1 diabetes, assuming a standard carbohydrate driven diet, the appearance of ketones in any concentration suggests DKA (diabetic keto acidosis) which is life threatening! DKA occurs as a result of insulin deficiency and correlates with elevated blood glucose. In response, usually over a period of hours, the liver dumps ketones which accumulate in the bloodstream at levels approaching 20 mmol/l . At this level of concentration the blood acidifies and the symptom Continue reading >>

The Causes And Solutions For Bad Breath (ketosis Breath)

The Causes And Solutions For Bad Breath (ketosis Breath)

If you’re on a low-carb diet, not all the outcomes are good. One of the side effects you could notice is bad breath. It’s commonly nicknamed ketosis breath, whether it happens when following the ketosis diet, but it can happen with all low carb/high protein diets. In fact, bad breath is becoming an epidemic. This is because so many people now are following these low carb diets. So, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, scientists say that 40% of people on these types of diets report bad breath as one of the worst side effects. I’ve been in your position before with my low carb diets. Your best friend likely has, too. We just get so embarrassed about our bad breath that we tend not to mention it. We just hope that we can mask it with some breath mints. But what is the real cause of bad breath on the ketosis diet? Just why do low carb diets make us stink? And is there anything that we can do to stop the problem? I can share some very positive news. You can stop ketosis breath becoming an issue. You don’t need to become part of the growing epidemic. I’m going to share everything that you can do to stop ketosis breath becoming a problem. So, Why Do We Get Bad Breath? Let’s start with how low carb diets work. When we stop feeding ourselves as many carbs, our bodies have to get the energy in other ways. They do this through the burning of fat, which means the release of ketones in the body. It’s a chemical process since the body can’t create the carbohydrates that it would need to help It’s this process that is causing the bad breath. The great news is that you’re sticking to your diet and you will see a smaller waistline. It will be successful, and you will be able to lose weight. Of course, the downside is that you have to deal with the breath. The mos 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 >>

The Paleo Guide To Ketosis

The Paleo Guide To Ketosis

Ketosis is a word that gets tossed around a lot within the Paleo community – to some, it’s a magical weight-loss formula, to others, it’s a way of life, and to others it’s just asking for adrenal fatigue. But understanding what ketosis really is (not just what it does), and the physical causes and consequences of a fat-fueled metabolism can help you make an informed decision about the best diet for your particular lifestyle, ketogenic or not. Ketosis is essentially a metabolic state in which the body primarily relies on fat for energy. Biologically, the human body is a very adaptable machine that can run on a variety of different fuels, but on a carb-heavy Western diet, the primary source of energy is glucose. If glucose is available, the body will use it first, since it’s the quickest to metabolize. So on the standard American diet, your metabolism will be primarily geared towards burning carbohydrates (glucose) for fuel. In ketosis, it’s just the opposite: the body primarily relies on ketones, rather than glucose. To understand how this works, it’s important to understand that some organs in the body (especially the brain) require a base amount of glucose to keep functioning. If your brain doesn’t get any glucose, you’ll die. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need glucose in the diet – your body is perfectly capable of meeting its glucose needs during an extended fast, a period of famine, or a long stretch of very minimal carbohydrate intake. There are two different ways to make this happen. First, you could break down the protein in your muscles and use that as fuel for your brain and liver. This isn’t ideal from an evolutionary standpoint though – when you’re experiencing a period of food shortage, you need to be strong and fast, Continue reading >>

The Ketogenic Diet And Type 1 Diabetes

The Ketogenic Diet And Type 1 Diabetes

What is type 1 diabetes? How is it different than type 2? Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body becomes resistant to insulin, forcing the pancreas to produce ever more insulin, and leading to a downward spiral of metabolic illness. It’s also called “Adult Onset Diabetes”, because the vast majority of people who develop it do so in adulthood, after years of eating a high-carb diet. Type 1 diabetes, also known as “Juvenile Diabetes”, is a disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. Only the pancreas can produce insulin, and insulin is the hormone primarily responsible for shuttling molecules out of the blood and into cells for energy or storage. That means, if the pancreas isn’t producing insulin, a person will starve to death from the inside. Their cells, literally, cannot get any food. They can eat and eat and eat, but there’s no mechanism to transport that food energy into the cells. That’s why they need regular insulin shots. On a regular-carb diet, those insulin shots might be several times per day. On a high-carb diet, those shots will be even more frequent. Type 1 diabetics must keep injecting themselves with insulin in order to deal with all the glucose in their blood stream. They have to keep insulin levels high, if they eat high carbs, because they have a high level of glucose to deal with. Being ketogenic means insulin levels don’t have to be high, because there isn’t a high level of glucose that needs to be shuttled around. And, because there isn’t a big requirement for insulin, the type 1 diabetic can reduce the amount of insulin needed on a daily basis (many reduce this requirement by 80%). The important thing to remember is that someone suffering from type 1 dia Continue reading >>

The Truth About Ketosis & Low-carb Diets, Backed By Science

The Truth About Ketosis & Low-carb Diets, Backed By Science

A lot of people are confused by the term “ketosis.” You may read that it is a “dangerous state” for the body, and it does sound abnormal to be “in ketosis.” But ketosis merely means that our bodies are using fat for energy. Ketones (also called ketone bodies) are molecules generated during fat metabolism, whether from the fat in the almonds you just ate or fat you were carrying around your middle. When our bodies are breaking down fat for energy, most of it gets converted to energy, but ketones are also produced as part of the process. When people eat less carbohydrates, their bodies turn to fat for energy, so it makes sense that more ketones are generated. Some of those ketones (acetoacetate and ß-hydroxybutyrate) are used for energy; the heart muscle and kidneys, for example, prefer ketones to glucose. Most cells, including the brain cells, are able to use ketones for at least part of their energy. Is ketosis a bad thing? There is an assumption that if a body is burning a lot of fat for energy, it must not be getting “enough” glucose. However, there is no indication, from studying people on reduced carbohydrate diets, that this is the case (though there is usually a short period of adjustment, less than a week, in most cases). It takes about 72 hours to burn up all of the reserve glycogen (sugar loads). Although it’s true that our bodies can’t break fat down directly into glucose (though, interestingly, they easily use glucose to make fat), our bodies can convert some of the protein we eat into glucose. Indeed, this works well for people who don’t tolerate a lot of sugar, because this conversion happens slowly so it doesn’t spike blood glucose. What is the danger of ketosis? It is important that if you are following a ketogenic nutritional pro 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 >>

Is Keto Bad For The Thyroid?

Is Keto Bad For The Thyroid?

, everyone says. It’s a great way to lose weight, improve cognition, and stave off degenerative disease. It may help your performance in the gym and on the track. It could even give Grandpa some respite from Alzheimer’s. But it’s hell on your thyroid. Right? Keto detractors and proponents alike often warn that remaining in ketosis will tank your thyroid. The thyroid’s an important gland, exerting major influence over essential systems like fertility, energy, metabolism, body temperature regulation, blood lipids, and general wellness. It controls the metabolic rate of every organ in the body. We want it working well, so this is a major blow to keto—if the criticism holds true. Fortunately, there’s much more to this story. The Problem with Keto—Thyroid Research Up till now, the vast majority of studies on the effects of low-carb, high-fat diets on thyroid health have used high-PUFA high-fat diets. Could this confound the results? Yes. It turns out that linoleic acid suppresses thyroid signaling. See the impact for yourself…. Rats on a corn oil diet convert less T4 to active T3 than rats on a lard diet. Rats on a safflower oil diet have a more greatly reduced metabolic response to T3 than rats on a beef fat diet. Rats on a high-PUFA diet have brown fat that’s less responsive to thyroid hormone. Remember, brown fat is the type that generates heat to keep us warm. Rats on a long-term diet high in soybean oil have terrible body temperature regulation, which thyroid function in large part controls. The more rapeseed meal (from which PUFA-rich canola oil is derived) you feed turkeys, the worse their thyroid signaling gets and the less meat/eggs they produce. Heck, back in the 70s, researchers proposed using vegetable oil as a treatment for hyperthyroidism. Thi Continue reading >>

The Beginners Guide To Ketosis: Investigating Low-carb, High-fat Eating

The Beginners Guide To Ketosis: Investigating Low-carb, High-fat Eating

The only hard and fast rule of health is that health is personal and what works well for one person may not work for someone else. Aside from that rule, there are “frameworks” that seem to benefit large groups of people. One more level down from that are alternative strategies that benefit smaller groups. Ketosis is likely one of those alternative strategies that works well for certain, smaller groups of people. So, right off the bat I want you to understand that Ketosis might not be for everyone. I’m going to lay out the case for potential benefits of Ketosis. If it sounds interesting and beneficial to you, then consider trying it. (see our free cheat sheet to help you). What is Ketosis Ketosis occurs when liver glycogen gets depleted and the body burns fatty acids for fuel. The primary driver of this state is a very low carbohydrate intake. Often, it also requires a low protein, higher fat intake. You can also achieve a state of ketosis by not eating altogether. The creation of ketones is a byproduct of this metabolic state. Ketones are a source of fuel, just as glucose is a source of fuel. Ketones tend to have some added benefits, though. What role does Ketosis play in human health? Ketosis allows our bodies to function in the absence of carbohydrates, both physically and mentally. Instead of burning carbohydrates, or converting protein to glucose, the body burns ketones. This is pretty much a survival mechanism. It allows your body to function in a state of caloric deprivation. This is why ketosis often gets bad press (as it’s linked to “starvation”). Being a survival mechanism doesn’t make it invalid as a strategy, though. There can still be potential benefits to be had. Let’s cover a few of them… Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Loss Being in ketosis Continue reading >>

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