Not because you think you know everything without questioning, But rather because you question everything you think you know
As if this game of nutritional ping pong wasn’t already enough to make your head spin, each major shift in dietary advice has spawned several conflicting programs and protocols. From Atkins and Paleo to “high-carb, low-fat” and 80/10/10, it seems as though everyone is claiming to hold the key to weight loss, longevity and freedom from every imaginable disease.
Our urge to talk about this topic stems from concerns we have over its general applicability and safety, simultaneous with its growing popularity. We feel a moral and social obligation to share what we understand of these diets, from our perspective as we have tried it and lost health rapidly.
"The Keto diet is just not sustainable over the long term.”
When you read reports expounding on the benefits of a ketogenic diet, purporting that there is no risk involved or at least no risk for most of us, the origin of this dogma is either a selective reading of the science or a bias-motivated dismissal of any scientific studies to the contrary of this narrative.
For example, you can read about adverse reactions described as “minor” and “transient” or attributable in some way to “people doing keto wrong”, statements that are not actually substantiated by the scientific literature.
That doesn’t mean it’s not smart to cut back on „bad“ carbs -But don't go crazy
For every anecdotal story of someone who has regained their health with a ketogenic diet, there’s a counterpoint story of someone who derailed their health with an identical diet.
You should never undertake an extreme fad diet just to see if it works without knowing how it could affect your body and why. Since the ketogenic diet was originally designed to treat severe epilepsy in children under medical supervision and has only recently entered mainstream culture as a method for weight loss, it bears considering whether maintaining ketosis in the long term is safe for the average person.
The latest of these fads piggybacks on the removal of the “bad guy” label from dietary fat and takes the idea of low-carb diets to an extreme level. Known as the ketogenic, or “keto,” diet, it’s a dietary pattern based on nearly eliminating carbohydrates and increasing dietary fat to put the body in a state known as ketosis.
This means that your carbohydrate levels drop drastically below the guidelines while on this plan.
Let us emphasize right out of the gate that this is not a diet without merits; in fact, it has significant therapeutic potential for some clinical pathologies. However, it is also a diet with inherent risk, as evidenced by the extensive list of adverse reactions reported in the scientific literature—and this has not yet been a thorough enough part of the public discussion on ketogenic diets.
"The true ketogenic diet is very controlled and limited.“
Large bodies of scientific evidence coupled with decades of observations and anecdotal evidence suggest balanced diets including a range of whole foods may be the best choice when it comes to lifelong health.
Ketones are by-products of fat metabolism.
By depriving your body of carbs and limiting protein, you force your liver to start breaking down fat (either from fat stores or the butter you just drank) into three kinds of ketones. Some of these ketone bodies are consumed for energy. The acetone, one of three ketone bodies, actually leaves the body via the lungs, which gives dieters a nail polish remover scent known as “keto breath.“
Dieters embarking on these plans typically experience fatigue and lightheadedness as their bodies adjust to the deficiency of carbohydrates know as the „keto flu“.
The human body is a glucose driven machine which intake carbohydrates and converts to glucose. Energy is yielded from the glucose and glucose is stored as glycogen.
When carbohydrate consumption falls below 100 grams, the body usually responds by burning muscle tissue for the glycogen (stored glucose) it contains. When those glycogen stores start to run out, the body resorts to burning body fat.
But that’s a very inefficient, complicated way to produce blood sugar. The body tries to do it only when it absolutely has to (such as when it’s starving)—and for good reason. Turning fat into blood sugar comes at a price in the form of the by-products ketones. They can make you tired, lightheaded, headachy, and nauseated. Feeling lousy is certainly one way to dampen the appetite, but not one that most people would choose.
Keto supporters talk about that this is the reason your fat intake has to be at least 70% of your diet, so the body will not start to break down muscle mass. But who can really say how much fat it needs to prevent it. Everyone is different.
They also say it might be preventive for cancer but that’s a pretty standard claim in the hyperbolic world of nutritional biohacking.
Once your body enters ketosis, you will begin to lose muscle, become extremely fatigued, and eventually enter starvation mode.
Many keto lovers say they have experienced increased energy, better memory, and dramatic weight loss.
This is true, but not a good outcome.
If we stay in Ketosis for too long the body’s acidity increases, which can lead to low blood phosphate levels, decreased brain function, and increased risk for osteoporosis and kidney stones. People on ketogenic diets report higher rates of headaches, bad breath, constipation, diarrhea, general weakness, rash, insomnia, and back pain.
The ability to produce ketones has allowed humans to withstand prolonged periods of starvation
Fasting has one very important barrier to rampant clinical use: it’s not sustainable. You can’t starve for the rest of your life and expect it to last very long.
And let´s be honest, losing weight isn’t the same thing as gaining health. Cutting carbs from your diet means cutting out (or drastically cutting back on) proven health-promoting foods, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and all of their vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Ketones are meant to be an emergency back-up system for your body, not a long-term energy source.
Grocery stores and abundance of food had not been around for a long time. In the old days people had to face periods of low food intake.
Nature has provided us with this perfect system to generate energy from a backup source.
If we wouldn’t had this ability we didn’t had strength for the next hunt and the clarity and focus in our brain to hunt the next animal or find eatable plants.
A perfect short term survival mechanism.
You should question whether eliminating whole food groups can ever truly be the healthy choice.
The ketogenic diet was designed to emulate starvation, taking advantage of the biochemical benefits of starvation for certain body systems (mainly neurological) while tolerating the detriments to other body systems (such as endocrine and immune systems).
Glucose is the major fuel for the brain in humans on a balanced diet.
It’s proven that the brain, an organ devoted to using glucose, can switch to use ketone bodies during prolonged starvation (2–3 days), thus sparing glucose for other tissues (i.e. red blood cells must use glucose as a fuel; without mitochondria, they have no choice!).
What happens, when your blood runs out of Ketones?
What happens when your blood runs out of glucose?
You are dead!
During times of starvation (and low insulin levels), the brain has the capacity to adapt to the use of ketones as its major energy source
In longstanding starvation, ketones can provide 60 to 70% of the energy needs of the brain.
Although glucose is the main metabolic substrate for neurons, ketones are capable of fulfilling the energy requirements of the brain.
But be aware, however, that ketones are incapable of maintaining or restoring normal cerebral function in the complete absence of glucose.
Protein catabolism can supply somewhere between 17 and 32 g glucose per day, that is well below the minimum daily cerebral glucose requirements.
Moreover, in subjects undergoing total starvation for 30 days, the decrease in hunger coincides with the elevation of blood ketones.
That´s why you stop feeling hungry after a while.
Carbs are the best way to fuel your body—but choose the right ones
Many of the weight-loss advantages of low-carb diets may have nothing at all to do with restricting carbohydrates. The main benefit may be due to the extra protein—and you can add protein to your diet even if you don’t drastically cut carbs. Protein-rich foods can really help with weight control. One reason may be that protein stimulates the body to burn slightly more calories than carbohydrates or fats do.