Negative Press

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There’s been a slew of negative press in the last few months calling fad diets out for being negative among other things. The other issue I have is lumping the Keto lifestyle in with other diets without doing the proper due diligence.

I was sent an article recently that quoted a prominent American cardiologist as saying that the Keto lifestyle can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality. (For reference)

I generally steer clear of these types of articles because the people like this specific cardiologist who ran the American College of Cardiology will generally adhere to the standard american diet view and find a way to down something that is low carb.

He mentions the Lancet study completed and published in Aug 2018. Here’s a rebuttal arguing that the science is flawed: http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2018/08/low-moderate-or-high-carbohydrate. Zoe Harcombe is an incredible resource and she dissects the science of studies like this with such finesse. I truly admire her dedication. Back to the flaws; One of the reasons that Zoe Harcombe states is the reliance on people reporting their own food intake and not being strictly Keto which is 70%+ of fat. There is strong science that says that 30-60% fat is not good for you which is why being Keto is defined as staying above 70%. You do not enter a state of nutritional ketosis below 60% fat and therefore do not reap the benefits of such a state.

The other study he mentions is actually just a review study of 17 others. Most of the data they’re analyzing is referring to Low Carb and High Protein diets. The accepted percentage to deem something as “high” is above 33% of the caloric intake coming from a specific macronutrient. That would mean these people are eating at least 33% of their calories in the form of protein which is not suggested on Keto either. It should be around 20-25% when Keto which is considered a moderate protein intake.

Basically, Keto ends up getting lumped into anything that is “low carb” where low carb essentially can mean anything that is less than 50% of calories from carbs. This is the danger when reading anything that refers to a scientific study measuring results including a low carbohydrate diet. It is very important to review their methods and data. The conclusions of the study and the interpretation of a writer summarizing the study may not always jive.

I would encourage everyone to take some time to read up on the topic and definitely question articles that come out until you’ve taken the time to really look at the studies they are referencing.

Helpful Information

Rule #1 – Forget everything you know about nutrition!
Rule #2 – Keto is a lifestyle and not a diet!

I’m really excited that you asked for more information on the Ketogenic Lifestyle! It might seem like a daunting task to sift through all of the research right now but just know that it’s much easier than it seems. My biggest piece of advice is going to be to listen to your body! If you’re hungry, then eat. If you’re not hungry, then don’t eat! Just make sure you’re sticking to some pretty basic rules.

But first, what is Keto? 

Basically, you want to keep your Macro Nutrient intake as follows:
– Fat: 70%+
– Protein: 20%
– Net Carbs: 5% – This is carbs minus fiber
– 0 Sugar – This is KEY!

Your body will enter a type of starvation mode called Ketosis where you switch from using Glucose for fuel and your body will start converting fat to ketone bodies or Ketones. The ketones will then be used as fuel for your brain and cells. It appears as though ketones may be a more efficient fuel for the body. Do not fret though, your liver is storing 24 hours worth of glucose as glycogen and will dip into this reserve as needed. Proteins you’re ingesting will also be converted to glucose to replenish your glycogen stores meaning your body will not be attacking your muscles for fuel. If you have weight to spare, then you’ll lose weight as a byproduct of this lifestyle. The main benefit you’ll experience is mental alertness and clarity, lots of energy, and you will no longer experience that fog and fatigue you face every afternoon.

You may experience what is called a Keto Flu in the beginning which is like a hangover. Your body is just transitioning. Essentially, your body is lacking key electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, and potassium) that it might not be getting from your new lifestyle. You’ll want to make sure to add salt to your food and supplement magnesium and potassium. Avocados are high in potassium and you can use epsom salt baths for magnesium. Once you’re in a state of Ketosis, which can be measured through a blood test like diabetics do (above 0.5 mmol of Ketones in your blood), then your body starts burning all fat for fuel. This is called becoming fat adapted. If you’re not consuming enough fat for your body, which is normal, then your body will start burning the excess fat reserves that you have stored. The key here is to not consume sugar or carbs as it will invoke an insulin response from your pancreas and your liver will then trigger a fat storage response for your body. Stick to green leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, etc.

After some time of sticking to a high fat lifestyle, you should start noticing that you’ll be less and less hungry compared to a higher carbohydrate lifestyle you’re used to following. THIS IS NORMAL! Like I said, just remember to eat when you’re hungry. The practice of grazing or eating 6-10 meals per day is wrong. Along with making sure you’re eating healthy fats like butter, heavy whipping cream, animal fat, etc, you’ll want to make sure that you stick to foods that are low on the glycemic index. This means they are not causing an insulin response. Lower the amount of insulin in your body will encourage your body to stay in a state of ketosis and continue burning fat for fuel rather than storing it.

I think that’s enough to get you started! Here are a few resources that I’ve used to get to where I’m at today. If you have any other questions, then please just let me know!

https://celticketo.blog/ – My blog
– https://www.myfitnesspal.com/ – Tracking food and macros
– https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto#food
– http://tim.blog/2016/07/06/dom-dagostino-part-2/
– http://2ketodudes.com/ – Podcast
– https://www.ketoconnect.net/

Oh, here’s a progress picture that keeps me going: