A ketone body (KB) is a byproduct formed during the conversion of fatty acids to fuel. Some fatty acids are oxidized by the liver for energy production. Others can be partially oxidized to form the substrate acetoacetate, which is then converted to beta-hydroxybutyric acid; collectively, these are termed ketone bodies. Ketones can be used by all tissue containing mitochondria, which includes muscle and the brain.
The downsides: While the research is exciting, there's very little evidence to show that this type of eating is effective — or safe — over the long term for anything other than epilepsy. Plus, very low carbohydrate diets tend to have higher rates of side effects, including constipation, headaches, bad breath and more. Also, meeting the diet's requirements means cutting out many healthy foods, making it difficult to meet your micronutrient needs.
As long as insulin is present, fatty acids are stored away, preferentially in adipose tissues. Insulin also suppresses lipolysis, the release of free fatty acids from stored fat. Insulin resistance is the opposite of insulin sensitivity; insulin-sensitive means that cells respond well to a little insulin and insulin resistant means that they need more insulin to respond appropriately.
The research on how diet affects PCOS is minimal, but there is one compelling study on the ketogenic diet and women with PCOS. In this study, five overweight women ate a ketogenic diet (20 grams of carbohydrates or less per day) for 24 weeks. The results were astounding — average weight loss was 12%, free testosterone decreased by 22%, and fasting insulin levels dropped by 54%. What’s even more impressive is that two of the women became pregnant despite previous infertility problems.
The truth is, I could have drank all the water in the world, and it wouldn’t have solved the problem, because the diet kept me from holding it. I was on the diet approximately six months when it started happening, with warning signs, in retrospect, a month before. When I wrote my story on a blog, I was contacted by a law firm who wanted to investigate my story, because they had a few other clients with similar experiences. I declined their services.
In Europe and in North America the impact of mental illness on the individual and society is enormous. Each year, one in five people will be impacted by a mental health condition and over the course of a lifetime, almost one in three (29%). Since 2005 the rate of depression alone has increased 18%, now impacting 322 million people globally and the number one cause of disability in the world.
While these findings are preliminary, in one study of mice, the keto diet helped reduce anxiety. The research suggests this could be due to the protective brain benefits of intake of healthy fats and low levels of sugar. A follow-up study found that mice exposed to a ketogenic diet while in utero showed less susceptibility to anxiety and depression than mice born to mothers who were not on the keto diet. Here’s what it’s really like to follow the keto diet.
Obviously, if you could keep the weight off, it may help in preventing diabetes. There are many risk factors for diabetes, but the Diabetes Prevention Program in 2002 followed 1,079 people with prediabetes. This groundbreaking study showed that 58% were able to prevent the progression of developing diabetes through diet and exercise. Want to know what the great news is? They didn’t have to eat 20 carbohydrates per day to achieve this!
The keto diet restricts carbs so much that anyone who is on blood sugar lower medication or who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes must consult his or her doctor before making such a severe dietary change. As the body adapts to low-carb dieting, medication dosages and treatment plans will have to be revised, and blood sugar levels must be carefully monitored.
I can’t tell you how often through the years I have been asked the question, “If I lose 20 pounds, will I no longer have diabetes?” Let me answer this very clearly, there is currently no cure for diabetes. Once you have been diagnosed, you have it for life. Every day, our most brilliant researchers are busy searching for a cure though. There is good news however; you can manage your diabetes, get it under control, prevent all the complications of diabetes and live a normal, healthy life.
"Your brain runs on glucose (a simple form of carbohydrates)," notes Adrien Paczosa, R.D., L.D., a registered dietitian and eating disorder specialist. "When you cut out carbs, your body has to 'make' carbs from breaking down other parts of the body. This results in what I like to call a hungry brain. You experience slower cognition, memory loss, headaches, and confusion." That doesn't sound so great, right? "Also, those who suffer from depression and anxiety may have higher levels of those periods when not eating carbs on a regular basis." Because of this, keto might not be the best choice for those with mental health issues.
Then in 1994, Dateline ran a story about Charlie Abrahams, a toddler with severe epilepsy whose parents turned to the ketogenic diet in desperation. It worked so well that Charlie was reportedly seizure-free (and drug-free) within a month. In 1997, Charlie’s father, Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams, adapted their story into the TV movie ...First Do No Harm, starring Meryl Streep. The saga of the Abrahams reignited interest in a ketogenic diet as a possible treatment for everything from migraines and sleep disorders to autism and Alzheimer's disease. In more recent years, with growing interest in the similar Atkins diet, keto started being touted as a weight-loss strategy, too.
Sleep enough – for most people at least seven hours per night on average – and keep stress under control. Sleep deprivation and stress hormones raise blood sugar levels, slowing ketosis and weight loss a bit. Plus they might make it harder to stick to a keto diet, and resist temptations. So while handling sleep and stress will not get you into ketosis on it’s own, it’s still worth thinking about.
It is important to point out however, that type 2 diabetes also improves during any form of caloric restriction and it is likely that a keto diet is not unique in that aspect, rather it is causing a caloric deficit by severely restricting carbohydrate intake. We have helped numerous clients lose fat while on a moderate carb intake in a caloric deficit.