Is the High-Fat, Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet Right for You?

In recent years, as measured by Google trends, interest in an unusual style of eating is called the ketogenic diet it has tripled, and you probably have a friend or coworker who has tested. Early adopters are usually people who run or walk a lot and want a meal plan that not only fill their tanks, but also increases performance. Followers scarf eggs, cheese and olive oil in amounts of hunger that kills, giving back almost all carbohydrates than vegetables. No use half and half in your coffee-cream using milk. Still, it is likely to look a little thinner, as the ketogenic diet becomes 24/7 fat burners. (Even while surfing the sofa.) And do not be surprised if indicated he feels better and stronger than ever.

Outside of the special aptitude

Ketones are a type of organic substance including ketone bodies, a collective name for the three molecules that are naturally produced by the liver when fat is broken down for energy, a process that ketogenic diets jump-starts. Under normal circumstances-that is, if you’re eating a standard, balanced diet, the body gets most of its energy by turning carbohydrates into glucose, which then become energy cells. If significantly reduces the intake of carbohydrates (usually less than 50 grams per day), your body undergoes a fundamental change: it begins to depend on ketone bodies generated in fat as primary energy source. The brain, heart and muscles all ketone bodies can burn efficiently if you have been eating this way for a month or so. This metabolic state called ketosis.

One day in foods in the diet of ketone

as an endurance athlete Patrick Sweeney repudiates about 3,000 calories a day diet ketone.

used historically as a driver for weight loss, carbohydrate restriction has recently won the favor of ultra-strength and special forces military circles. The idea is to radically turn burning fat, so that athletes and soldiers are in ketosis during stressful situations, similar survival. The biochemistry of how performance Ketones aid is complicated, but the processes and benefits are summarized well for the laity by Dr. Ken Ford, a ketone expert who heads the Florida-based Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC ), a research nonprofit team is funded by organizations such as DARPA, the National Science Foundation and the Army, Navy and Air Force.

“During ketosis, the liver produces ketone bodies that turn into substances that feed the cellular energy production,” Ford says. “So basically, an athlete in ketosis can access additional fuel. Although there is no scientific reason to believe that a ketogenic diet increase anaerobic power and muscular strength, there is no reason to believe that aerobic capacity and muscular endurance could improved when ketone bodies are present enough to complement glucose. “the result is that less -Intensity, longer-term effort, ketone bodies provide the physiological equivalent of solar energy.

There’s more. Ketones apparently specific genes responsible for a series of molecular improvements, improved health and a longer life light. Scientists are now investigating its use to treat everything from traumatic brain injury with cancer.

This interest broadband is new. The diet itself is not. Ketosis has a foothold in medicine in the 1920s, when it was used successfully to treat children with epilepsy who do not respond to drugs. Labeled the hyperketogenic diet, the regime gave patients 90 percent of their daily calories from fat to help prevent seizures. “Nobody knew how it worked,” says biophysicist Nobel Prize winner Rod MacKinnon. “They just knew it worked.”

More recently, there has been a keto buzz among endurance athletes. It began in 2012 when Dr. Timothy Olson, a broker who follows a diet ketosis children, broke the record in the Western States 100, the rugged, revered annual race trail in the Sierra Nevada. Last year, Zach, another runner adapted Bitter ketones, set the American record of 100 miles on a track 11 hours 40 minutes 55 seconds. Data from a study by Ohio State-science professor Jeff Volek human showed that during tours of Bitter, as much as 98 percent of their energy can come from fat and only 2 percent from carbohydrates. Your body can store up to about 2,500 calories from carbohydrates. But if you’re carrying around, say, 25 pounds of stored fat, which is the equivalent of about 100,000 calories possible. So a runner adapted fat can, in theory, chug along indefinitely.

ultrarunner (and consuming high fat content), Timothy Olson.

In May, I visited Ford on the campus of IHMC in Pensacola. The most important laboratory, he said, is “the extent and mobilization” of human capacities and resilience. Recently presented in Scientific American to program a semi-autonomous robot that can cross the rubble of a simulated nuclear disaster, IHMC is also studying the ketogenic diet. Leaders in the field of ketosis-like Volek and the University of South Florida associate professor Dom D’Agostino-are linked to the inner circle of IHMC.

Ford is the center of the current ketones conversation. A great thinker baritone-voiced with experience in computer science, artificial intelligence, and biochemistry, has held management positions at NASA and the National Science spam-closeup-meat_h which advises the president and Congress on science and engineering . When Ford is not traveling, a typical day is to swallow shots of espresso ( “the elixir of mind” as he calls it) while whizzing around the IHMC campus, registration with scientists, as frolic in their laboratories .

“would not be here as a species without ketones,” Ford said. He said we have known since 1965 that the brain, most energy hungry organ of the body, is voracious for them. A study this year by Harvard Medical School researcher George Cahill sunk what was then the conventional wisdom that the brain can only burn glucose. “In fact, the brain will preferentially metabolize ketones,” Ford said.

Cahill conducted a series of studies of hunger with theology students follow the fasts lasting up to 40 days. The protocols would not pass the ethical standards of today. Students do not eat: consumption was reduced by increased water with electrolytes and vitamins. “If Cahill tried to make those studies now, would be thrown into prison,” Ford said half jokingly.

Cahill measures the blood glucose students as well as the presence of two ketone bodies, betahydroxybuterate and acetoacetate. “Betahydroxybuterate” he wrote, “it is not only fuel, but a SuperFuel.” His studies helped illuminate the mechanism that allows humans to survive long periods without food. As shown, when the supply of glucose is exhausted, the droplets of insulin, which changes in ketone production.

But ketosis is more than a backup generator, Ford said. Going back to our cave man days, signs of ketosis in the body and brain, as in: “Hey, no food!” – They need to improve the strength and efficiency in cells and neurons


Ford, now 61, has practiced a ketogenic diet itself since 2006 and says he has strongly experienced improved cognition. Body fat is less than 10 percent. He prefers not leave ketosis, but sometimes it does. “Once when I was in Italy, I ate an average pasta dish after a workout,” he said. “I felt like a zombie.”

These days, D’Agostino and others are investigating new medical applications of ketone bodies. Epilepsy as a starting point, its neuroprotective functions have inspired a completely new field.

For six years, D’Agostino has studied why Ketones are anticonvulsant, flowing data in models of metabolic therapy expected to be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and disease Parkinson. With the money from the Office of Naval Research Laboratory D’Agostino also it is approaching a solution for navy seals diving using respirators to remove the telltale bubbles during missions. The devices can lead to oxygen toxicity can cause seizures. D’Agostino’s team has produced encouraging results in the test ketone ester, an exogenous way you can drink or eat to boost ketone bodies, with or without a ketogenic diet.

Another area of ​​research is the treatment of traumatic brain injury. According to the Department of Defense, TBI has been a serious problem for some 340,000 US troops. In May, I sat with a former Special Forces doctor (who requested anonymity) who served several combat tours. He said that at the elite levels of the US armed forces, people are not waiting for the investigation to confirm the benefits of a keto diet. “I would say more than a third of the kids are doing, for resistance and for cognition,” he said. As research by D’Agostino and others indicates, the anti-inflammatory benefits of ketone bodies in the brain can add a measure of protection against injury. In fact, the doctor told me that he used the keto diet to supplement their own treatment of TBI at Walter Reed hospital.

“Ketosis appears to be beneficial in a surprisingly wide range of seemingly unrelated diseases,” Ford said. “At first glance, nutritional ketosis may sound like snake-oil is good for whatever ails you.” What happens is that there is some truth in this generalization. “Ketosis represents a deep and fundamental change in metabolism,” he said, “that has broad epigenetic effects and energy effects.”


These effects are having an impact in the world of ultra-endurance. In 2012 the Western States 100, Volek brought a team of graduate students to study runners. He took the correct year: Timothy Olson, making only his second start in the race, became the first person to cover the course of which epic involves 18,090 feet of ascent and descent of 22,970 feet-in less than 15 hours. Volek subsequent studies, carried out in runners and triathletes who had been fat adapting for six months or more, recorded rates of fat burning near Bitter Zach 1.7 grams per minute.

Not everyone buys in, of course. A detractor of the same lowpass carbohydrate protocols high-fat for athletes is Louise Burke, head of sports nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport. Burke published a review in 2006 Journal of Applied Physiology called “Fat Adaptation” for athletic performance 😕 The nail in the coffin “(She softened his stance in 2015 to” examine high fat diets again for athletic performance: Did We call it the “nail in the coffin” too early “) Burke argues that a low-carbohydrate, drains energy diet high in fat, interfering with the production of an enzyme called pyruvate dehydrogenase, or PDH ?. the gene for PDH were discontinued, according to Burke, and study subjects quickly run out of gas. But even say these Volek studies are deficient, in part because the subjects went through fat phases of adaptation of only five days. “nothing good happens in five days,” Ford said. in endurance athletes who have spent months in ketosis, samples skeletal muscle did not show any decrease in PDH.

Burke theory that the high power output is affected by a ketogenic diet, is not uncommon. Biochemist Robb Wolf, author of the bestselling book The Paleo Solution told me that although he likes the way you think and feel when in ketosis, struggling with power outages in your favorite sport the jujitsu. He goes best on the mat when working yams and cashews in your diet.

the statement of

Ford is that although there is no reason to believe that ketosis anaerobic power or increase muscle strength, time formulated diet as well to take hold-shouldn’t decrease power or strength and improve aerobic capacity and muscular endurance. Ford, an amateur endurance training high intensity, it is believed that the generation of ketones through diet may be a partial answer to the problem of power loss. “I like to go in my sessions hard intervals with high levels of ketones, at least two millimoles per liter of blood. Otherwise get smoked,” Ford said.

The conclusion of talks with Ford, Volek, and D’Agostino is that the ketogenic diet is not about making the Olympics. As Volek told me: “My real interest is in how diet can help solve obesity and other health problems However, bias against anything low-carb makes it difficult to get funding..”


Volek reminded me of my first introduction to the subject. My wife’s aunt Martha, her husband, Ray, and their adult children struggled for years with severe obesity. In less than three months in a keto diet they lost an average of 35 pounds each. I was surprised when I saw them at a family gathering, not recognize at first. I heard about your weight loss plan that did not include exercise, without counting calories, and a lot of bacon.

sounds great. But the reward is worth the price of lifestyle?

Even if it is the right way to go, a diet low in carbohydrates in a world of high carbohydrate is editor tricky.Outside line, Scott Rosenfield-a mountain long distance biker tried-diet earlier this year relying on canned sardines and remain less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. He liked the result. “One day I made a solo trip of 100 miles on my bike fat tire” he said. “I felt like Superman.”

Sustained power was one thing; maintaining diet was another. “It became monotonous,” Rosenfield said. Another problem was asking “weird” food in restaurants and having to explain the diet for service personnel bewildered and friends. As expected, sardines eating became a chore. He fell.

Rosenfield told me Ford’s advice: if you stick with the ketogenic diet for six months or so, you can stay in ketosis to 100 grams per day. He brightened. “That seems more feasible,” he said. “There could be an omelet with eggs.” The basic parameters of the diet are simple. Restrict your daily carbohydrate intake to 50 grams or less. (A Starbucks blueberry muffin contains 53 grams.) Do not overdo it with meat, either too will raise insulin levels and start of ketosis. Diets low in carbohydrates increase dehydration and electrolyte loss cause; Volek says that drinking lots of water and increase your intake of salt. When it comes to fat, without feeling the oil, butter and chicken skin olive fear they are all fine. Make fatty fish a staple. Eat some vegetables, but take it easy on the fruit. Get a book Keto kitchen to avoid monotony. Buying a blood tester ketone in a pharmacy or Amazon, and check their levels regularly. A measurement of more than 0.5 millimoles of ketones means has crossed a state of ketosis.

When you’re in ketosis, Ford explained, see real benefits. Falling out of it and it does not. In short: stay in it as best you can. Consistency, Ford and other advocates insist, a new metabolism win.

asked Ford about the potential dangers of eating a diet that requires a lot of fat. He responded by sending me an independent massive overhaul of the subject, launched by the Credit Suisse Research, which analyzed more than 400 studies on fat consumption in the human diet. “This comes to the inescapable conclusion that fat is not the enemy,” Ford said.

Talking to D’Agostino took me to Pat Sweeney, a millionaire technology using the ketogenic diet for health and performance. A former Olympic rower now in his forties, Sweeney gravitated to ketosis after being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2004.

“I’m sure it was because he had been working 75 hours a week, drink at night and get up early because I felt guilty about drinking,” he said. When he was informed by a doctor that consumption of one grapefruit may reduce the effects of chemotherapy, he began to read, which led him to information about a diet low in carbohydrates. For Sweeney, the main draw of this route is that most cancer cells metabolize glucose only. No ketones.

If an average diet, Sweeney may have drawn the same. To prepare for long mountain bike rides, going strictly with keto. “I’ll hammer I three months before a race or an adventure like Kilimanjaro to ensure that my ketone levels are high, above a millimoles per liter,” he said. “In the midst of adventures, I will be less stringent.”

He is also not afraid to let their guard down occasionally, like during the holidays. On such occasions, he said, “I fell in love again with Pale Ale, French wine and Irish whiskey.”

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