This was a great read. I aim to restrict carbs always because I believe most are why the American population is obese. I would very much like to hear more about carb restriction excluding the discussion on processed meats and processed high salt content foods because I consume neither. I also don’t consume dairy or eggs. So can you provide some substance.
Here’s another controversial yet promising area of study: Research suggests that when patients with diabetes take on a low-carb diet (like keto), they experience improvements in insulin sensitivity by up to 75 percent, as well as a reduction in blood sugar control medications. What we aren’t sure of, however, is whether these improvements are due specifically to the effects of ketosis or to weight loss in general, so similar results could theoretically be found with any successful diet.
In addition, as the Harvard School of Public Health points out, “Carbohydrate metabolism plays a huge role in the development of type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body can’t make enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it makes.” When a food containing carbohydrates is eaten, the digestive system has to process these carbs and turns them into sugar which then goes into the bloodstream. The ketogenic diet majorly minimizes carbohydrate intake so prediabetics, as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetics, aren’t challenging their bodies with carbohydrate breakdown that can raise blood sugar levels and create problematic insulin demands for the body.
Once the medical community acknowledged the keto diet’s effectiveness in reducing seizure episodes, they decided to look further and study its impact on neurological diseases in general. Neurological diseases share a common problem – a deficiency in energy production. Ketones provide that energy for normal brain cell metabolism, and may even be a more efficient when the body is in starvation mode. When patients were put on the keto diet, the number of mitochondria (energy powerhouse) in brain cells increased. Ketones may also act as an antioxidant by inhibiting the formation of reactive oxidant species, which is why they may have promising effects in the treatment of certain cancers in conjunction with chemotherapy.
“Keto is not a great long-term diet, as it is not a balanced diet,” says Nancy Rahnama, MD, MS, an internal medicine and bariatric specialist in Los Angeles. “A diet that is devoid of fruit and vegetables will result in long-term micronutrient deficiencies that can have other consequences. The keto diet can be used for short-term fat loss, as long as it is under medical supervision.”
It builds mitochondria. Mitochondria are the power plants of our cells, transforming incoming nutrients into ATP. The more mitochondria we have, the more energy we can utilize and extract from the food we eat—and the more performance we can wring out of our bodies. Ketosis places new demands on our mitochondria, who adapt to the new energy environment by increasing in number.
An even bigger concern from my POV: Dietary supplements aren’t overseen by the FDA, meaning they’re not evaluated for safety and efficacy in the same way that food and medications are — so you may not be getting exactly what you pay for. And if you are? Well, consuming certain nutrients in supplement form versus food form can induce oxidative stress rather than treating it — and cause more harm than good to your organs.
Also, as I believe is mentioned, this diet has been around for along time and was the only way to treat diabetes. And some people did die. However, people still end up dead from t2d even after all the diet advice from educators and with all that pharmacy has to offer. An industry which gains nothing if people just choose to eat less. But has lots to gain if we just keep taking the tablets.
Registered dietitian Julie Stefanski is based in York and has specialized in the ketogenic diet for more than a decade. She also advocates for anyone starting keto, especially individuals who have not seen a doctor in more than a year, to first see a physician and/or registered dietitian to have their lab work checked and monitored. She also notes there are certain medications that cannot be used while on a ketogenic diet.
I take thyroxine 150mgs for my underactive thyroid issue. My dose does need to be adjusted regularly. I have gradually put weight on despite eating healthily & generally avoiding fats, because of a raised Cholesterol level. I can’t take Statins either because it causes muscle problem! All in all I am at a loss. I really want to lose my excess weight (28pounds). I have started the keto diet now & it’s a way of eating totally alien to me! I’m eating foods I never eat! I’m only a week in & am having dizzy episodes but am taking the steps to stop these but now I have read that having thyroid issues I should not pursue it. I’m really devastated. Can I get around this?
Low carb, high fat diets have been used for centuries by doctors when working with obese patients. William Banting published the widely popular booklet titled ‘Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the Public’ in 1863. In this booklet he explained how he had slimmed down by eating a diet high in fat void of carbs. The Banting diet was used for decades by individuals looking to lose weight.
As both study groups acknowledge, additional research is needed to tease out any and all of the factors that may be producing the weight loss and decrease in HbA1c, says Dr. Gonzalez-Campoy, for example there may be other mechanisms of action that are helping these individuals to achieve weight loss, including changes in the gut microbiome, increased insulin sensitivity, enhanced leptin response, and decreased ghrelin levels, each of which contribute to weight loss.
Although we love them to death, our Mom’s typically have zero authority on the subject. When Mom heard you were going on a ketosis diet the first thing she did was head to google hell bent on finding any information about the dangers of the diet. Sure enough, 10 pages into google she found what she was looking for… Never mind the first 9 pages filled with information about the safety and merits of the diet.
Of the many benefits of a keto diet, weight loss is often considered No. 1., as it can often be substantial and happen quickly (especially for those who start out very overweight or obese). The 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those following a keto diet “achieved better long-term body weight and cardiovascular risk factor management when compared with individuals assigned to a conventional low-fat diet (i.e. a restricted-energy diet with less than 30 percent of energy from fat).” (2)
In the study, the researchers fed mice a ketogenic diet for several days and expected to find a favorable outcome — perhaps weight loss or another indication of improved health. Instead, they found that the liver began resisting insulin almost immediately and the mice were unable to regulate their blood sugar levels after only three days on the diet. (Insulin resistance, meaning that cells in the body don't respond to insulin, is a key characteristic of type 2 diabetes.)
To avoid the overload of stress, I find my relief by being the person at the origin of my son’s quality of life. I am not a doctor, a pharmacist, or a research person. I am just Max’s mother. For almost 15 years I have been using food to treat the adverse side effects of his syndrome. Angelman Syndrome (AS) is one of many neurological disorders that can be treated with therapeutic diets.
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
Although this may repel people away, it also provides you with a clear sign that you are on your way to reaping all the benefits of keto and ketosis. As your body continues to produce ketones, it will become more efficient at creating and using the energy-shuttling ketone bodies, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate, which will help reduce acetone levels and normalize your breath. In the meantime, while your body is adapting to ketosis, make sure you have breath-freshening gum or spray that you can use throughout the day to cover up keto breath (if you have it).
Many people and even some doctors confuse nutritional ketosis with (diabetic) ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs in uncontrolled diabetes when the pancreas cannot secrete enough insulin to exert its action in cells, so blood glucose levels and blood ketones both skyrocket to dangerously high levels. Ketoacidosis has nothing to do with nutritional ketosis which is when ketones are produced from all the dietary fat you’re relying on and can thus keep your blood sugar levels under control at low and stable levels.
Ketosis is different, because, when in the state of ketosis, the brain will prefer ketones over glucose. For the dieter this is good! The body will not have to break down protein for energy. In turn the body will be forced to use its fat reserves, a.k.a. your love handles, for its energy. This is why a low-carb diet is such a good method of dieting.
It’s a fairly common scene for new keto dieters. Aubrey Marcus recently referenced a highly-disturbing stat that 25% of physicians still equate consuming dietary cholesterol with increased blood cholesterol, an association that has been unequivocally refuted by recent science. But before you accept AHA-sanctioned diet advice, determine if there’s actually a problem.
“Rapid, significant weight loss is a common side effect of the keto diet because of the water losses that occur as carbohydrate stores are depleted,” says Clark. In a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese men following a modified version of the ketogenic diet, with high protein and low carbs, lost about 14 pounds in one month, compared with the control group, which lost about 10 pounds on a high-protein, medium-carb diet.
There are several medical studies — such as two conducted by the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center for the University of Iowa, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, for example — that show the ketogenic diet is an effective treatment for cancer and other serious health problems. (12)
Keto breath, on the other hand, is less of a side-effect and more of a harmless inconvenience (your breath literally smells like nail polish remover). Basically, when your body breaks down all that extra fat on the keto diet, it produces ketones—one of which is the chemical acetone, Keatley previously told WomensHealthMag.com. (Yes, the same stuff that's in nail polish remover.)
One way to find out if the keto diet is not be ideal for your cardiovascular health is by checking if your total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio is above 4 and/or your LDL-P remains high or increases after starting the keto diet. If this is the case for you, then you may fare better with a low to moderate fat diet with plenty of whole foods, fiber, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats (especially omega 3s), and limited saturated fats.
Produced by the liver, cholesterol is also derived from our diet. People often assume eating foods rich in cholesterol will raise cholesterol levels and increase the likelihood of a heart attack. But it’s more complicated than that. Cholesterol-rich foods feature heavily in the keto diet (butter, eggs, red meat); but there are two types of cholesterol. “Bad” LDL cholesterol (think L = lethal) is linked to clogging of the arteries. “Good” HDL cholesterol (think H = healthy) clears cholesterol from the blood.
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In order for this process of fat breakdown to ‘work’, the protein content must be kept low enough to prevent gluconeogenesis. So, just because you are eating a low carbohydrate diet, does not mean you are in ketosis. It is important to note here, that this nutritional ketosis is different from ketoacidosis, which is the setting of low blood pH level that occurs in people with diabetes and can be very dangerous.
Technically speaking, you're in ketosis when your blood ketones are higher than 0.5 mmol/L, but the optimal level for fat-burning purposes is 1.5 to 3 mmol/L. Nisevich Bede says that seasoned keto dieters report that they can actually feel a difference in this state, citing that they're less hungry and experience mental clarity once they reach ketosis.
The keto diet — eat all the fat you want, minus the carbs — seems like a miracle diet for those who are looking to lose weight fast while still enjoying their favorite foods. For obese individuals, it may be the golden ticket. Repeated studies have shown that following a keto diet can significantly reduce body weight, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
Weight loss isn't the only benefit of this way of eating. Here is a piece from my friend Sybille Bellamy. We each have a child with Angelman Syndrome, which can lead to seizures. Our children not only have a better life on Ketogenic foods, but their brain function has also improved. Studies show similar benefits for people with epilepsy. Ketogenic diets may also help children on the autism spectrum.
This is a helpful article. But there are some inaccurate things too. I have type two diabetes and use a keto genie diet to lose weight (45# so far). I was able to get my cholesterol down, Triggs down, and my A1C to 6! I went off and followed a Mediterranean diet for a year. I gained back 15# and my diabetes got worse. So I am back on keto. I am using a closer to Mediterranean keto both then and now.
Losing essential micronutrients is another concern raised by keto diet skeptics. People say eating a diet based on fat and protein from animal sources means losing those micronutrients found in higher-carb grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Some also claim low-carb diets contain too little fiber, and thus may cause long-term constipation. That’s inaccurate.
Hi Eric, nice to see you. Some do well on whey instead of protein powders. They do have carbs so be careful. I have learned every little change helps and no beating up allowed. Every improvement helps. It takes 2 weeks to get sugars out of the body. Then cravings will be gone. Good foods also lessen the craving. Apples are great, lol. Good health to you.
Additionally, you may find it difficult to eat adequate calories on a daily basis because fat is so filling. Some people even opt to fast for several hours each day. While this may help with weight loss, your body needs those calories for proper maintenance. Without them, it may turn to burning muscle for energy, and that can accelerate muscle loss.