You will think that with all of this information we would see ketogenic diets recommended right and left by our health care providers, but alas, that is not the case. Mainstream nutritionists recommend carbohydrates AKA sugar as the main staple of our diets. The problem with this (and there are several of them) is that in the presence of a high carb diet we are unable to produce ketones from the metabolism of fats, thus, depriving ours bodies from much healing ketone production. The fact that we live in a world which uses glucose as a primary fuel means that we eat a very non healing food in more ways than one.
I have been doing the low carb diet for about a week and a half now and I must say, I am really starting to feel amazing!!! The first few days my head hurt, I felt lethargic, and my legs felt so heavy. But after I got past that, I have so much energy. I don’t get tired anymore around 3pm. The best part is, I am not constantly thinking and obsessing about food. I feel a real sense of inner calm. My skin looks better, my hair looks better too. I have been having bacon and eggs for breakfast, a pork chop or other piece of meat for lunch, and usually some pork and sometimes some green beans for dinner. I have also lost some weight! Woo hoo!!! -Angela, United States. .
We have been on a ketogenic diet for nearly three million years and it has made us human. It was the lifestyle in which our brains got nurtured and evolved. But not anymore, unless we all make an effort to reclaim this lost wisdom. Nowadays the human brain is not only shrinking, but brain atrophy is the norm as we age and get plagued with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, senile dementia and so forth.
In the mean time new research is starting to elucidate the key role of our mitochondria in the regulation of the cell cycle – the vital process by which a single celled fertilized egg develops into a mature organism, as well as the process by which hair, skin, blood cells, and some internal organs are renewed. In the complicated and highly choreographed events surrounding cell-cycle progression, mitochondria are not simple bystanders merely producing energy but instead are full-fledged participants. Given the significant amount of energy needed to make all the nutrients required for cell division, it makes sense that some coordination existed. This long ignored and overlooked connection between the mitochondria and the cell cycle is something that is worthy of considerable more attention as we understand the role of diet in our bodies. We’ll have to take a closer look to this subject of ketosis, as it really holds the key to unlock our transformational pathways that will lead us to an outstanding healthy living.
Mitochondria are best known as the powerhouses of our cells since they produce the cell’s energy. But they also lead the genetic orchestra which regulates how every cell ages, divides, and dies. They help dictate which genes are switched on or off in every single cell of our organism. They also provide the fuel needed to make new brain connections, repair and regenerate our bodies.
Whether we are housewives, sportsmen or labor people, energy is a topic that concerns us all, every day and in every way. Our well being, behavior and ability to perform the tasks in front of us to do is our individual measure of energy. But how we derive energy from the foods that we eat?
How do I do a Keto Diet?
Successful keto dieting is all about properly balancing your macronutrient ratios. It is generally recommended that ketogenic dieters should consume about 60% of their macronutrients from fat, 35% from protein, and 5% from carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate intake should generally be limited to less than 50 grams per day. When starting out, it is generally recommended that you limit your carbohydrates to 20 grams per day, as being strict initially will make sure you enter ketosis, and help you learn the ins and outs of successful low carbohydrate dieting. In your first few weeks, it is helpful to obsessively and accurately track every morsel of food or liquid that enters your body. (Many of us that do keto use our smartphones to keep track of our food consumption – MyFitnessPal and LoseIt! are both very popular apps.) After a while, you start to develop an understanding of how many grams of carbohydrates are in different kinds of food, and you quickly learn how to adjust your dietary habits to a low carb lifestyle.
Ketosis – closer look
The presence of ketones in the blood and urine, a condition known as ketosis, has always been regarded as a negative situation, related to starvation. While it is true that ketones are produced during fasting, ketones are also produced in times of plenty, but not plenty of carbohydrates since a carb metabolism suppresses ketosis. In the absence of most carbs in the diet, ketones will form from fat to supply for energy. This is true even if lots of fats and enough protein are eaten, something that is hardly a starvation condition.
As we already saw, a ketogenic diet has been proved useful in a number of diseases, especially neurological ones. Strictly speaking, a ketogenic diet is a high fat diet in which carbohydrates are either completely eliminated or nearly eliminated so that the body has the very bare minimum sources of glucose. That makes fats (fatty acids) a mandatory energetic fuel source for both the brain and other organs and tissues. If you are carb intake is high, you’ll end up storing both the fat and the carbs in your fat tissue thanks to the hormone insulin. A ketogenic diet is not a high protein diet, which as it happens, can also stimulate insulin. It is basically a diet where you rely primarily on animal foods and especially their fats.
I recently had my annual blood work done (cholesterol, etc.) During the review, my doctor said that everything looked great! He then encouraged me to continue on my great ‘low fat, high fruit and veggie diet’ that I must be following! I just smiled. Next visit I’m going to tell him about my real ‘diet’. Lol -1984, United States.
Among the by-products of fat burning metabolism are the so called ketone bodies – acetoacetate, β-hydroxybutyrate and acetone – which are produced for the most part by the liver. When our bodies are running primarily on fats, large amounts of acetyl-CoA are produced which exceed the capacity of the Krebs cycle, leading to the making of these three ketone bodies within liver mitochondria. Our levels of ketone bodies in our blood go up and the brain readily uses them for energetic purposes. Ketone bodies cross the blood brain barrier very readily. Their solubility also makes them easily transportable by the blood to other organs and tissues. When ketone bodies are used as energy, they release acetyl-CoA which then goes to the Krebs cycle again to produce energy.
In children who were treated with the ketogenic diet to treat their epilepsy, it was seen that they become seizure-free even long after the diet ended, meaning that not only did the diet proved to be protective, but also it modified the activity of the disease , something that no drug has been able to do. In Alzheimer’s disease, as levels of ketone bodies rise, memory improves. People’s starved brains finally receive the much needed fats they need! In fact, every single neurological disease is improved on the ketogenic diet.
The benefits of a ketogenic diet can be seen as fast as one week, developing gradually over a period of 3 weeks. There are several changes in gene expression involving metabolism, growth, development, and homeostasis among others.
The hippocampus is a region in your brain that is very vulnerable to stress which makes it lose its brain cells. The hippocampus has to do with memory, learning, and emotion. As it happens, a ketogenic diet promotes the codification of genes which creates mitochondria in the hippocampus, making more energy available. A larger mitochondrial load and more energy means more reserve to withstand much more stress.