Most of you have probably never heard of a ketogenic diet, why would you? It is most known for being highly affective in cases of hard to treat Epilepsy. The ketogenic diet was introduced by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo clinic in the 1920’s. It fell out of favor in the 1940’s due to the introduction o
f anti-seizure medications. A
e all know, mainstream medicine has become a pharmaceutical driven industry that has no interest in a natural approach. After all, where’s the money in a natural approach. It’s time to take our health & nutrition into our own hands instead of relying on mainstream medicine to do it for us.
Now I’m no expert on this, I’m only speaking from experience. So instead of giving you a bunch of background on ketogenic diets, I’m going to focus on the most intriguing aspects of this strategy. For me, this has been a integral part of my success.
A ketogenic diet, simply put, is a high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet. In order for this to work we are talking 60% to 70% of calories coming from high quality healthy fats & less than 50 grams of carbs daily.
What is ketosis anyway? Ketosis is what it is called when the body switches over from burning glucose (the kind of sugar our body uses as fuel) to burning an alternate fuel source called ketones, which are made from the breakdown of fatty acids in the liver when glycogen (how the body stores glucose) levels are depleted.
You might be asking yourself, “what does this have to do with health & wellness?” Well I’ll tell you, but first ask yourself a few simple questions…
Do you find yourself having to eat every couple of hours? Do you deal with constant mood swings & varying levels of energy? If you are eating the standard american diet then most likely you are suffering from the symptoms above as well as some form of depression, anxiety, irritability & potentially many other ailments that you may or may not be aware of yet.
Well friends if any of this sounds like you then a ketogenic diet could be the tool for you. As with everything on this blog, I encourage you, be an experiment of one. Try it out, wether it’s the paleo/primal or a ketogenic diet, if you can commit yourself to this I guarantee you will see exactly what I’m talking about. The transformation you will undergo is undeniable & what you stand to gain in terms of how you look, feel & perform is priceless.
Probably one of the coolest aspects of this diet is how excess fat just melts away once you become fat adapted. Once glycogen stores are depleted in the liver our bodies flip the switch on our metabolic machinery to mobilize fat stores for energy. So when we exercise you can tap into & mobilize your fat reserves as a fuel source more efficiently & thereby preserving glycogen stores. The ultimate determining factor in how long you can go is the preservation of glycogen stores. Not only is this great for weight loss but energy levels are high & consistent.
Ketones, contrary to popular belief are a much needed and essential healing energy source in our cells that come from the normal metabolism of fat. Ketones are the ideal fuel for our bodies, unlike glucose which is damaging, less stable, more excitatory and in fact shortens your life span. Ketones are non-glycating, which is to say, they don’t have a caramelizing, aging effect on your body.
You see our body organs and tissues work much better when they use ketones as a source of fuel, including the brain, heart and the core of our kidneys. Just to reiderate, a ketone is the type of fat you can burn in your mitochondria to make energy. Mitochondria are our power plants in our cells. You can either burn glucose or ketones. Studies have shown that in the presence of both, our brains prefer ketones as a fuel source while sparing glucose. So what we have is a alternate fuel that can enhance metabolic efficiency & ATP production while sparing glucose. ATP is the high-energy molecule that stores the energy we need to do just about everything we do.
Ketosis is an often misunderstood subject so before I go any further it’s important to address why ketogenic diets have gotten a bad rap over the years. Anytime I talk with people about this lifestyle & how it differs from others, immediately it’s compared to things like “Atkins”. The criticism of these low carb diets comes from the fact that they are based on 20 grams of carbs or less a day. While I believe we are not meant to be fueled primarily by carbohydrates, 20 grams a day is not even enough to incorporate low carb vegetables & low glycemic fruits. The general rule of thumb is to not exceed 50 grams of carbs a day to achieve ketosis but with the inclusion of MCT oil we can increase ketone production & actually boost our metabolic rate. Using MCT in your Bulletproof Coffee increases the speed at which you go into ketosis, so it fuels your brain, and it helps you stay in ketosis even in the presence of some carbs in your diet.
There are a lot of studies & experiments going on currently with ketogenic diets. Like I said earlier I’m no expert but the results of such experiments are pretty amazing & most definitely worth a look. It is not only used as a healthy lifestyle, it is also used for conditions such as infantile spasms, epilepsy, autism, brain tumors, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, depression, stroke, head trauma, Parkinson’s disease, migraine, sleep disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety, ADHD, irritability, polycystic ovarian disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux, obesity, cardiovascular disease, acne, type 2 diabetes, tremors, respiratory failure and virtually every neurological problem but also cancer, and conditions where tissues need to recover after a loss of oxygen. Many of us in the health & wellness community use ketogenic diets along with intermittent fasting to take advantage of things like chaperone-mediated autophagy. CMA is a cellular process that allows cells to remove proteins, organelles, and foreign bodies from the cytosol (the watery interior of the cell) and deliver them to the lysosomes for degradation. In other words, ketosis cleans our cells from proteins that act like “debris” which contribute to aging by disrupting the proper functioning of the cell. This prevents degenerative diseases, aging, cancer, and protects you against microbial infections. A ketogenic diet not only rejuvenates you, it also makes a person much less susceptible to viruses and bacterial infections.
The benefits of a ketogenic diet can be seen as fast as one week, developing gradually over a period of 3 weeks. There are several changes in gene expression involving metabolism, growth, development, and homeostasis among others.
Sounds pretty good huh? These days I’m all about finding tools to help optimize health, longevity & anti-aging.
There are so many intriguing aspects of this diet, the potential it has to help so many people could be game changing. Unfortunately what we are up against is pretty powerful. There is so much money involved in pharmaceuticals that for a natural approach like this to take hold is going to be very challenging. The good news is all you have to do is give it a try. There aren’t any prescriptions or referrals required, just some good resources to act as a guideline to follow. These days our access to information is endless, a simple Google search will provide more then enough information to get anyone started.
Another area of confusion is the difference between ketosis & ketoacidosis. In layman’s English, ketoacidosis is the potentially life-threatening situation that occurs when diabetics (usually type 1) cannot metabolize the sugars in their bloodstream because their pancreas isn’t producing insulin. This might typically happen when the person is unaware that they are diabetic, or when they don’t properly control their insulin for one reason or another. Too many ketones are not a good thing, but you can mitigate and monitor that on a healthy ketogenic diet.