P.S. I have personal experience with this. It works great for me (even though I’ve never had weight problems).
Jeff Volek - The Many Facets of Keto-Adaptation: Health, Performance, and Beyond (55 mins)
“The most efficient approach to accelerate the body’s ability to access and burn body fat is to restrict dietary carbohydrate while increasing fat intake for a period of several weeks.” “Fatty acids and ketones then become the primary fuel at rest and during submaximal exercise.” “This keto-adaptation metabolic state has recently been shown to have widespread and profound therapeutic and performance-enhancing effects ranging from reversing type 2 diabetes to shrinking tumors to allowing ultra-endurance runners to set course records.”
- has studied very low carbohydrate diets for 15 years
- ketones are misunderstood by health professionals and physicians
- oct 2013 - sweden becomes the first western nation to reject low-fat diet in favour of low-carb, high-fat diet
- last 40 years of dietary recommendations is epic failure because one size fits all approach fits only a minority of the population
- last 40 years - our consumption of protein and fat has stayed the same but carbs has increased to 60g/day
- exercise is NOT a very potent weight-loss tool
- carbs are more than just fuel - they’re a potent regulator of metabolism - they control how your body burns fat
- carbs inhibit access to fat
- for the majority of human history, we evolved when carbs were limited
- low-carb keto-adaptation has a low variance response in high variance population
- how much total sugar do u have in bloodstream? about 2 teaspoons (4 grams each totalling 8 grams)
- a bagel and a low-fat latte from a coffeeshop is about 75 grams of carbs (10 times the amount of sugar in your blood)
- we can’t store carbs
- when you overconsume carbs relative to your carb tolerance, saturated fat goes up (made by your liver)
- people vary widely in their ability to process carbohydrates
- switch from carb-based metabolism to fat-based metabolism (amount of carbohydrate in your diet by far the biggest determinant)
- when shift to fat-based metabolism, what happens?
- small reductions in insulin translate to huge changes in fat breakdown
- eating carbs locks you into a glucose-dependent metabolism - you get the sugar spike then the sugar crash. the sugar spike also spikes insulin and insulin BLOCKS fat breakdown
- ketones are incredibly important from an evolutionary perspective - providing fuel source for the brain in times of prolonged starvation - allowed us to develop big brains
- ketones are produced in the liver when carbs are limited
- this metabolic system is silenced since advent of agricultural carbs
- ketones provide a fuel source for the brain
- keto-adaptation takes a few weeks or a few months
- ketones protect against low blood sugar
- ketones are clean burning fuel
- ketones suppress oxidative stress
- for a range of problems, low-carb diets are at least as (if not more) effective as low-fat diets
- saturated fat levels go DOWN in the body
- dietary saturated fat (the amount of fat you EAT) is NOT correlated to heart disease because the real issue is how much sat fat u have in your body, and dietary sat fat has little correlation with blood plasma levels of sat fat
- if you replace diet sat fat with carbs, you INCREASE coronary risk
- eating MORE fat will LOWER sat fat in your blood plasma!
- diet sat fat is not harmful if you’re BURNING it immediately
- the effects of the saturated fat you EAT is highly dependent on what CARBS you eat
- athletes: peak fat burning during exercise is 1 gram per minute
- 3 low carb athletes have 1.5, 1.8 (80% higher than assumed maximum)
- how low do u have to go? (to get to nutrional ketosis) it varies, it’s PERSONAL.
- might need to go to 50 grams/day or 30 grams/day carbs or you could do 70 grams/day
- u can eat lots of nice fatty foods!
- ketogenic adaptation REDUCES appetite - no inclination to snack, don’t wake up hungry
- have to get comfortable with fat
- avoid grains, porridge, potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, noodles, sweets, chocolate and most fruit
- eat fat
Dr. Mercola and Dr. D’Agostino on Ketogenic Diet (1.75 hours)
Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets
A Paoli, A Rubini, J S Volek and K A Grimaldi
Advance online publication 26 June 2013
Very-low-carbohydrate diets or ketogenic diets have been in use since the 1920s as a therapy for epilepsy and can, in some cases, completely remove the need for medication. From the 1960s onwards they have become widely known as one of the most common methods for obesity treatment. Recent work over the last decade or so has provided evidence of the therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets in many pathological conditions, such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, neurological diseases, cancer and the amelioration of respiratory and cardiovascular disease risk factors. The possibility that modifying food intake can be useful for reducing or eliminating pharmaceutical methods of treatment, which are often lifelong with significant side effects, calls for serious investigation. This review revisits the meaning of physiological ketosis in the light of this evidence and considers possible mechanisms for the therapeutic actions of the ketogenic diet on different diseases. The present review also questions whether there are still some preconceived ideas about ketogenic diets, which may be presenting unnecessary barriers to their use as therapeutic tools in the physician’s hand.
Back in 1929, the Arctic explorer and ethnologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson and one of his cohorts named Anderson spent a year under medical observation at Bellevue Hospital while eating nothing but meat for an entire year. (They were also allowed coffee.)
When Stefansson returned from his Arctic travels, doctors would note that it was impossible for the Inuit to live as they did- eating nothing but animal products (including fish, seal, whale, caribou, and so forth). It was generally thought that a varied diet was a requirement, and without vegetable matter, one would die of scurvy- acute vitamin C deficiency- probably in a matter of days. (When Stefansson and Anderson started their experiment, they were given three weeks at the outside.)
On a daily basis, Stefansson and Anderson were offered plates of meat- they preferred raw- and their dietary intake was carefully determined by subtracting what they had eaten from what was supplied. Interestingly, both individuals ended up at almost precisely 80% of calories from fat; given the minor quantities of carbohydrates from glycogen, that means they were getting a little under 20% of calories from protein.
On this diet, they did exceedingly well. Of course, they also consumed liver, which provided them with the vitamin C they required; still, there is some small amount of vitamin C in muscle meat. Cooking destroys much of the vitamin C, so the consumption of raw meat by indigenous peoples is key. Even cooked, many game meats have small amounts of vitamin C.
Stefansson and Anderson were studied very carefully during this time period- it’s not an experiment that could be readily repeated- and Stefansson wrote extensively of it in his book Fat of the Land. (Warning: .pdf) He and Anderson report that they gained muscle mass, lost body fat (both had become flabby after their return from the Arctic), and- interestingly- their tolerance to New York City summer heat was improved.
That indigenous peoples have survived- and thrived- on such a diet is well-documented, and hardly restricted to Arctic populations. Indeed, in Africa, the Maasai traditionally lived on their cattle- primarily their blood and milk, but also occasionally slaughtering them for their flesh. (Living off their blood is fascinating- even the youngest Maasai can dart and bleed a cow for its blood.) Unfortunately, as a culture, the traditionally nomadic Maasai are being destroyed- geopolitical boundaries being imposed upon nomads is frequently devastating, and they are slowly being reduced to agrarians.
Also worthy of mention: Dr. Weston Price (then head of the research branch of the American Dental Association) studied dental health around the world, including many populations that consumed a “traditional” diet that did not include many of the carbohydrate-rich foodstuffs that are so popular these days. His book is available on the web for free.
Several of these populations- including the Inuit, the Inupiat, the Maasai, the Samburu, Australian Aborigines, the traditional Great Plains Indians- probably got 50-80% of their calories from fat.
While less is known about precisely how much of their diet came from fat, a number of peoples have traditionally functioned on a diet that is high in animal matter, including the Buryats of Siberia; the coastal Chukchi, Siberian genetic counterparts of the American Inuit, and the inland Chukchi that consume primarily caribou; the Evenks of Northern Asia; South American Gauchos; local populations of the African Hadza; the nomadic Himba of Africa; the Inupiat and the Yupik (which, collectively with the Inuit, are often referred to as American Eskimos, although the term Eskimo is often considered to have a disparaging connotation, particularly outside the United States); the Ket people and Khanty people of Siberia; the Lakota Indians and ‘Namgis of North America; the Mansi and Nganasan peoples of Siberia; the Nenets of Russia; and the Nordic Sami (previously known as Laplanders, a term that is now considered pejorative). Historical populations that were primarily dependent upon animal products include the Faroese (residents of the Faroe Islands, many of whom have adopted Western diets), residents of Tierra del Fuego known as Fuegians that are no longer extant, the Huns and the Tartars, both of which were absorbed into other peoples, and the Mongols, many of whom have adopted more modern diets. There were also a number of predominantly carnivorous tribes such as the Ache, the Copper Eskimo, the Comanche, the Manus… and others that escape me just right now.
Honestly, there is not much in the medical text books about ketosis, since most of it is geared towards ketoacidosis (in diabetics). The biochemistry is similar, but ketoacidosis is a medical concern. My knowledge really comes from jargon-rich biochemistry textbooks.
I’m not an expert because I’m not a dietician or physician, but I do know how the diet works.
Crash course - Our bodies are likely used to a low-carb diet (think cavemen - agriculture is a recent invention in terms of evolutionary time scales)
Let’s think of a typical, 21st century diet. Some fat, some protein, but A LOT of carbs. Breads. Sweets. Sugar. Corn Syrup. None of these things are natural; they’re all man made products. Bacon is natural. Beef, Poultry, Eggs, Vegetables are natural. Fruits? Fruits are cons made by crafty plants - they trick us into eating them.
So you just ate a pie. What happens? Your body senses a rise in blood sugar, meaning you just ate. As a response, your body produces insulin. Insulin let’s glucose into your body’s cells. Insulin, however, is a hormone. It also suppresses your appetite, and enhances “satiation” and inhibits “hunger” enzymes (read: Ghrelin, Leptin, etc). Satiation is that feeling you get after you ate a pie.
But then what? Your glucose levels drop because your cells are using them. Or, maybe insulin isn’t as effective as it used to be, because we eat a lot of pies (insulin resistance). So you might not even be satisfied after that pie, OR, your blood sugar is back down to normal, and you’re hungry again. So, what do you do? Eat more. And because you just “spiked” your blood sugar with a pie, your insulin spiked too, and now it spiked DOWN to “clean up” (sort of like a rebound). This makes you even more hungry.
Now, let’s say you give up the carbs. Your body senses the low blood sugar, and you get hungry. You muscle through it (keto flu). You eat bacon, veggies, and other keto friendly foods instead. Your blood sugar is getting lower. If it gets too low, you’re going to go into a coma and eventually die.
BUT WAIT! You don’t die. Living is generally your body’s number one concern, so it can cope with this low blood sugar. First, it uses glycogen, which is stored in your body (mostly liver). Glycogen is pretty much stored-sugar. This refills your blood sugar to a low, but “normal” level. You’re still hungry, but you’re alive (still keto flu. You SHOULD eat during this, just keto friendly foods. As much as you want. Seriously. Eat a pound of bacon.)
But “glycogen” isn’t unlimited. You run out after 1-3 days. But now what? If your blood sugar goes down, you’ll get tired, sick, etc. But this is when the beauty of Ketosis kicks in. Your body is starting to run out of glycogen, and realizes it. But it has all of this extra fat still. And you know what? That fat can be used for energy too.
Ketosis turns your fat into ketones, which can be used for fuel for almost your whole body. This is euphoric (so keep reading). Your body starts burning fat. Plus, that dietary fat you’ve eaten, helps you burn fat. Your blood sugar goes back up (from ketosis). And let’s face it, you have a few pounds of fat to burn, months, or maybe years worth.
But the thermodynamic LAW says you need to burn more energy than you take in. So this is the euphoric part of the diet. Despite being allowed to eat any keto-friendly food, and as much as you want, you’ll find that you don’t want to. That insulin hormone stabilized - it’s not being “jolted” by all that sugar anymore. Those of us who can not control their hunger are suddenly no longer hungry. I just went 16 hours without eating, and I had to force myself to eat. You also have a lot more energy because of the fat you’re burning. When you’re sleeping, you’re burning fat. When you’re EATING, you’re burning fat. You’re always burning fat.
Your body uses substances like this: Carbs »»»»» Fats >< Protein (the >< is there because it depends)
So what does this feel like on a human scale? Day 1 - stop eating 300-500g carbs/day Day 2 - Keto flu (supposedly drinking soup broth works) A lot of people don’t really notice it. You’re burning glycogen at this point) Day 3 - Scale should drop significantly; loss of water weight (you used up all of your glycogen, which holds a lot of water Day 4 - Ketosis kicks in, keto flu lessens or stops. Day 5 - Feeling good, starting to lose appetite Day 14 - Top of the world, maybe lost as much as 15 pounds, and you’re completely satiated
Everyone experiences it differently. I don’t get a keto flu, and I can get into ketosis in a single day.
As I said, the downside of keto is that YOU CAN NOT CHEAT. You can not reward yourself with carbs for not eating carbs. If you make it to Day 5 and eat a doughnut, you can throw yourself out of ketosis. Reward yourself with bacon, or nuts, or something keto-friendly, or don’t reward yourself with food period. You’re not a dog.
Let me know if you have any questions.
I had gone as high as 355 lbs. It is uncanny the way that sneaks up on you. You struggle with bouts of depression, with failure, with loss and somewhere along the way you just stop caring. It becomes easier to fall into routine than it does to work and strive and change. I honestly don’t know what rock bottom was for me. I see that a lot around here, people seeing their weight on the scale, getting rejected by someone, it is their trigger, and they know it intimately. I don’t have one of those visceral memories. I didn’t get on the scale until after I’d started keto and gotten back into a serious workout regiment. I have a friend who is active on this sub-reddit, and I’d seen his results. His positivity really encouraged me, and the results came fast for me. I’ve always been a good cook, and this opened a lot of new options for me to explore new recipes and new ways of preparing food. So much of it seemed counter-intuitive at first, which I found incredibly intriguing, and learning the science behind why the results are happening was almost as much fun as the actual results themselves.
If I can give you any advice, fellow ketoers, it’s this: Don’t wait for rock bottom, don’t wait for a sign, just do it. Start right now. Middle of the day. Just change your life. Taking the risk is an amazing thing to do, and it can be incredibly rewarding. Right now, I’m broken and defeated, but I won’t be forever. Massive, sweeping lifestyle changes are far more easy than we trick ourselves into believing. Like the man says in the song: “When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.”