Restore Your Health with a Ketogenic Diet
Ketogenic diets emphasize natural fats and protein (meat, fish, poultry) and restrict foods high in carbohydrate (sugars and starches). The standard American diet (SAD) contains 45-65% of calories from carbohydrate, while keto diets restrict carbohydrate intake to a very small amount, about 2-4% of calories. In short, keto diets are high fat, very low carb diets and this different way of eating is not only deliciously satisfying, but has some powerful and beneficial metabolic effects on the human body. On this website, you’ll find information on how these diets work, the right way to “do” the diet, and details on how you can increase your energy and improve your health simply by changing the way you eat.
How Do Ketogenic Diets Work?Ketogenic diets are not high protein diets, as the majority of calories come from natural fats. Protein intake is moderate and only small amounts of carbohydrates are allowed. Because fat is so dense in calories, this just means adding a moderate amount of extra butter, olive oil or other natural fat to fresh, whole food meals.
The restriction of carbohydrate is the key health factor in this diet. When carbohydrate foods (sugar and starch) are digested, they are broken down into blood sugar (glucose) in the body. The more carbs we eat, the more glucose is created. If we reduce carb intake and instead eat more fat and protein, it causes our internal metabolic pathwaysto switch from burning sugar to burning fat.
This switch produces ketone bodies while at the same time reducing blood sugar and insulin levels. As blood glucose and insulin levels drop and ketone body levels rise, the heart, muscle and brain reduce glucose usage and instead rely on fats and ketones to fuel themselves. This state of “nutritional ketosis“ is beneficial, and in fact, ketone producing diets are much more powerful than most people realize. There is strong research evidence that low carb, high fat diets are effective for the following medical conditions: Cancer, Diabetes, Weight loss and Alzheimer’s Disease
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In addition, there is also research showing the following conditions can be reversed or greatly improved on a keto diet:
- Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome and Pre Diabetes: these conditions are directly related to the effects of chronically high blood sugar and insulin resulting in insulin resistance (IR). In addition, related conditions such as Fatty liver disease and PCOS are also caused by IR. Low carb, high fat diets have been used in studies to treat and reverse all of these IR conditions.
- Heart disease: Cardiac risk factors improve when blood sugar and insulin levels are lowered via dietary changes. HDL cholesterol goes up on a low carb, high fat diet and triglycerides fall dramatically. I also discuss what causes heart disease, and it isn’t cholesterol or saturated fat consumption.
- Autism: New research is showing that keto diets are helpful in the treatment of autism.
- Neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons Disease and ALS: research is showing that ketone bodies exert a protective affect on the nervous system and slow the progression of nerve related diseases.
- Mitochondrial support: Keto diets provide mitochondrial support and have been used to treat metabolic energy disorders such as glucose transporter type 1 (GLUT1) deficiency, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex deficiency (PDHC), McArdle disease, and mitochondrial myopathies.
- Aging is slowed: The ketogenic diet reduces inflammation, the main cause of the signs of the aging process.
- Acid Reflux/GERD (heartburn): people who suffer from acid reflux or chronic heartburn will find great relief after adopting a keto diet, especially if all grain and fermentable carb sources (FODMAPS) are eliminated from the diet.
The ketogenic diet is not a “fad diet.” It is a potent regulator of metabolic derangement, and when formulated and implemented correctly, it can be extremely effective for improving metabolic health. (References here andhere).
Diet Plans, Benefits and More InformationA typical ketogenic meal includes a 3-5 ounces of protein, usually cooked in natural fats (for example, butter, beef tallow, lard, duck fat, cream, olive oil, or coconut oil) with the addition of green leafy or non starchy vegetables such as salad greens, spinach, summer squash, or kale.
If you are ready to get started, check out the keto diet plan page, or the low carb food list. You can read about thebenefits of the diet, or see some recipes and meal plans. Or just peruse the navigation bar on the left and click on what interests you.
THIS INFORMATION WAS TAKEN FROM http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/
Ketosis is NOT KetoacidosisThe difference between the two conditions is a matter of volume and flow rate*:
- Benign dietary ketosis is a controlled, insulin regulated process which results in a mild release of fatty acids and ketone body production in response to low carbohydrate intake, and higher fat consumption.
- Ketoacidosis is a condition in which abnormal quantities of ketones are produced in an unregulated biochemical situation. In order to reach a state of ketoacidosis, the body has to be in a state of not producing enough insulin to regulate the flow of fatty acids and the creation of ketone bodies.
Fact 1: Every human body maintains the blood and cellular fluids within a very narrow range between being too acidic (low pH) and too basic (high pH). If the blood pH gets out of the normal range, either too low or too high, big problems happen.
Fact 2: The human pancreas is an organ which secretes insulin, a hormone that helps the body manage blood sugar and fat storage. Without insulin, the body cannot utilize glucose for fuel in the cells, AND cannot store fat in the fat cells.
This is why one of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes is unexplained weight loss. Type 1 diabetics have pancreatic damage which results in a complete lack of insulin production, and as a consequence, their fat cells have no insulin message telling them to “hold on to those fatty acids”.
Without that message from insulin, large quantities of fatty acids flow out of the fat cells and are broken down in the liver into a ketone body called acetoacetic acid which is then converted to two other circulation ketone bodies, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone.
This is ketosis, but an unrestrained, abnormally excessive ketosis.
The danger is in the amount of ketone bodies being released. Because ketone bodies are slightly acidic in nature, and so many are released at once in a uncontrolled event, they build up in the bloodstream.
The sheer volume quickly overwhelms the delicate acid-base buffering system of the blood, and the blood pH becomes more acidic than normal.
It is this low pH, acidic condition known as acidosis which is dangerous, not the ketones themselves.
Acidosis symptoms include fruity breath (from the acetone), nausea, hyperventilation, (deep, rapid breathing) dehydration and low blood pressure, as the body tries to rid itself of the abnormal amounts of ketones through the lungs and urine.
If left untreated, acidosis can result in a coma and death. Treatment includes the administration of insulin to slow the ketosis and fluid replacement.
Type 1 diabetics can develop diabetic ketoacidosis if they don’t inject enough insulin, and this usually occurs during a period of illness or injury, or may be the precipitating condition which results in the diagnosis of their disease.
Ketogenic acidosis can also happen during:
- extended periods of starvation (over months)
- prolonged severe exercise
- alcoholic binges (this condition is called alcoholic ketoacidosis)
- This paper published in Diabetic Medicine discusses several cases in which the drug Ecstasy combined with the excessive movements of rave dancing caused acidosis.
Benign Dietary Ketosis is ControlledNutrional ketosis associated with a properly formulated ketogenic diet is not dangerous because it is regulated by insulin within the body.
It’s simply the metabolic process of burning your own body fat for fuel, and unless you are diabetic and lacking insulin, or you are a raging alcoholic, it is perfectly safe. Levels for adults with a working pancreas and insulin production rarely get above 8-10 mmol/L.
More scientific answer from Wikipedia 😀
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain-function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures.
The original therapeutic diet for paediatric epilepsy provides just enough protein for body growth and repair, and sufficient calories[Note 1] to maintain the correct weight for age and height. This classic ketogenic diet contains a 4:1 ratio by weight of fat to combined protein and carbohydrate. This is achieved by excluding high-carbohydrate foods such as starchy fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta, grains and sugar, while increasing the consumption of foods high in fat such as nuts, cream and butter.
Most dietary fat is made of molecules called long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). However, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)—made from fatty acids with shorter carbon chains than LCTs—are more ketogenic. A variant of the classic diet known as the MCT ketogenic diet uses a form of coconut oil, which is rich in MCTs, to provide around half the calories. As less overall fat is needed in this variant of the diet, a greater proportion of carbohydrate and protein can be consumed, allowing a greater variety of food choices.
The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was developed for treatment of paediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and was widely used into the next decade, but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant drugs. In the mid-1990s, Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams, whose son’s severe epilepsy was effectively controlled by the diet, created the Charlie Foundation to promote it. Publicity included an appearance on NBC’s Dateline programme and …First Do No Harm (1997), a made-for-television film starring Meryl Streep. The foundation sponsored a multicentre research study, the results of which—announced in 1996—marked the beginning of renewed scientific interest in the diet.
Almost half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet. The most common adverse effect is constipation, affecting about 30% of patients—this was due to fluid restriction, which was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of kidney stones, and is no longer considered beneficial. There is some evidence that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective. Clinical trials and studies in animal models (including C. elegans) suggest that ketogenic diets provide neuroprotective and disease-modifying benefits for a number of adult neurodegenerative disorders. As of 2012, there is limited clinical trial data in these areas, and, outside of paediatric epilepsy, use of the ketogenic diet remains at the research stage.