The Ketogenic diet is based on the idea that you shouldn’t be spiking insulin all the time when you eat, so it focuses on foods that are low on the glycemic index. This gets your body into “ketosis”, a state where your energy is derived from breaking down fat and protein into “ketones” instead of glucose. In humans, the ratio of the 3 food groups is: 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrate.Â The forth food group, alcohol, doesn’t knock you out of ketosis but should be avoided because it “ties up” the liver whilst it is being processed.
Eating 75% fat sounds wrong, but a) it really isn’t, and b) that’s only to get you into ketosis initially, at which point you can relax these figures slightly but still maintain ketosis. Fat is extremely healthy for you, especially Omega-3, but for the last 70 years it has been demonised as the culprit for many chronic diseases. In fact, sugar is far more unhealthy and it is looking more and more likely that sugar is driving heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, diabetes and obesity. Like the tabacco industry on the dangers of smoking, it is taking a very long time for the food industry and government to get the word out that sugar is killing us all slowly, but little by little there is a gathering realisation that we have been misinformed.Â
The ketogenic diet works by mimicing the summer/winter food availability that our northern and southern ancestors would have experienced, e.g. in summer we ate lots of carbs and in winter we ate more fish and meat i.e. fat. Fish, like salmon and trout, contains lots of fat, so does meat and our ancestors would never have thrown away the skin or fat after killing an animal. During the winter we tended to live off our bodily fat stores, and in the summer put the fat back on as your liver converts excess sugar into fat. Humans are incredibly adept at storing excess sugar as fat, but unfortunately, with a supermarket on every corner, we simply store fat all year round without ever getting the chance to burn it off.
There are some really interesting studies going on right now, but generally we are finding that
- calorie reduction DOESN’T lead to weight loss, your body just slows down metabolism when subjected to calorie restriction!
- insulin reduction DOES lead to weight loss, without metabolism slow-down
- keto + intermittent fasting is the best driver of weight loss and health outcomes
- hormones (like insulin) play a much greater role than was thought
- interestingly, weight gain during puberty is also driven by hormones, not calories
- cholestorol level is not a good marker for heart disease, stroke
- GGT, Ferretin, CAC (calcium) tests are much better predictors of heart disease, stroke
- cholesterol, trigylceride levels, atherosclerosis go down with healthy foods, less sugar
- gut microbiome improves with more fibre and less sugar
- Type 2 diabetes can be reversed EVERY SINGLE TIME with keto
- metformin users (for diabetes: removes glucose from blood) have lower cancer rates
- keto diets lower brain inflammation
- statins do nothing for primary prevention of heart attacks