If you’re not yet aware, the ketogenic diet has been making some big waves in the health community. Not only are people rapidly losing weight and getting great results through their own self experiments, there are a wide range of therapeutic benefits being discovered through new scientific studies as well.
Some reported benefits include:
- Rapid weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Improved Diabetes symptoms
- Reduced inflammation
- Better memory
- Increased overall brain function
- Cancer treatments
- Reduced symptoms of Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s diseases
- Seizure management for Epileptic patients
- Reversing Multiple Sclerosis symptoms like Terry Wahl’s did
- And a surprisingly large list of other benefits…
So What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet is a diet where FAT is used at the primary source of fuel by the body instead of glucose AKA sugar.
This process is called Nutritional Ketosis, pronounced KEY-TOE-SIS.
When you feed your body more fat than sugar/carbohydrate, ketones are produced by the liver. These ketones are used by your brain, muscles, and other cells of your body for fuel.
The body still uses a small amount of glucose (sugar/carbohydrate) for certain metabolic processes, but ketones are prioritized as the main fuel source when the majority of your calories come from fat.
In order to get into ketosis, you need to eat 50 grams or less of carbohydrate per day, a moderate amount of protein, and as much fat as you require to feel satiated.
Generally, 70-80% of your calories will come from fat, 15-20% will come from protein and 5%-10% will come from carbohydrate, though this could be a little different if you are a very active athlete.
Triathlete, Ben Greenfield, says that he can eat up to 175g of carbohydrate and still remain in Ketosis. When he begins eating too little carbs, his hormones start to go out of whack. Peter Attia has noticed similar results in his own self-experimentation.
Foods on the Ketogenic Diet
A typical ketogenic meal plan includes the following foods.
Organic products are recommended where possible, but if you can’t afford them, non-organic is fine too.
- Grassfed Beef
- Pasture Raised Pork
- Pasture Raised Chicken
- Bison, Venison, Buffalo, and other game.
- Raw Cream
- Coconut Oil
- Red Palm Oil
- Olive Oil
- MCT Oil
Vegetables & Mushrooms
- Eat a wide variety of local vegetables while they are in season on a daily basis
- Macadamia Nuts
- Brazil Nuts
- Some people will not be able to handle fruit at all
- All grains
- All legumes
- Tubers, some people may be able to tolerate small amounts of sweet potato
- Processed foods
But Isn’t Eating Fat Going to Kill Me?
That theory, called the Lipid Hypothesis was originally proposed by Ancel Keys in the 1940s and has been proven to be incorrect.
Keys believed that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat increased a bad cholesterol called LDL cholesterol, and that by lowering blood cholesterol you could improve your risk of heart disease.
Thanks to new technologies and more rigorous scientific studies, we know that dietary cholesterol not only does not cause problems when eaten in appropriate quantities, but that is is NECESSARY for optimal health.
In fact, eating a ketogenic diet with appropriate amounts of healthy fats can actually improve people’s cholesterol values on their labs. It certainly helped me own cholesterol numbers.
Since debunking the Lipid Hypothesis is too big of a topic to get into in the context of this blog post. Check out Gary Taubes book Good Calories Bad Calories, for a detailed analysis of the Lipid Hypothesis.
The Healing Power of the Ketogenic Diet
Let’s face it, we live in a world where a lot of people are suffering from all types of diseases…Obesity, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes, Depression, the list almost never stops.
Often these diseases are treated with pharmaceutical drugs, leading to a huge list of side effects, causing people to suffer way more than they need to. Luckily, through the ketogenic diet, and other dietary strategies, we now have a therapeutic intervention without all the side effects, and it’s much cheaper.
For example, many people are suffering from Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes, Hypoglycemia, and other blood sugar regulation disorders. These people don’t have the ability to process glucose (sugar) the same way a healthy individual would, so what normally could be used as fuel, actually causes harm to their body.
The ketogenic diet is a great intervention for these types of problems because the body can use ketones as the main fuel source INSTEAD of exclusively using glucose (sugar), leading to a reduction, and sometimes complete reversal of symptoms, allowing people to GET THEIR LIVES BACK.
All from eating a different way….NOW THAT IS POWERFUL.
Is the Ketogenic Diet Right For Me?
You can likely see by now that the Ketogenic diet goes well beyond weight loss alone, serving as a powerful therapeutic intervention that can help millions, potentially billions, across the globe, however it’s important to note that the ketogenic diet may not work for everyone.
Some people may experience negative reactions to eating a ketogenic diet, so it’s important to make sure you work with a doctor who understands your particular problem(s) and whether or not a ketogenic diet could help fix it.
Have you tried the Ketogenic diet? If so, how did it work for you?
Leave your comments and questions below!
Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets
Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients
Arguments In Favor Of Ketogenic Diets
Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base