WHAT ARE KETONES?
When you eat the standard American diet, your body burns glucose from carbohydrates for fuel. When the diet is low in carbohydrates, such as when fasting or during prolonged exercise, the body must burn fat for fuel. Fats release ketones or ketone bodies. They are water-soluble molecules made by mitochondria in the liver from dietary or stored fats and used as an alternative fuel to glucose. Because they are water soluble, they don’t need carrier proteins to travel into the bloodstream and pass easily through cell membranes.
OUR BODIES WANT TO BURN FAT
Ketosis is a fat burning state. We can train our bodies for fat burning. Whenever the supply of carbohydrates is low, the body is able to convert fat to ketones. Our bodies were designed to run on fats, as our brain is 60% fat, not sugar, but due to food additives, the low fat trend, and the food pyramid, we are used to eating a high carbohydrate diet. This leads to overconsumption of sugar and non-fiber carbs, which creates not only stored fat in our bodies, but also more free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals lead to tissue, protein, cell membrane and genetic damage — all which cause inflammation and disease. Eating a diet high in carbohydrates also increases insulin resistance, insulin levels in the blood, and inflammation.
THE FOOD PYRAMID brings money to food industries
Why are people confused? Our medical professionals tell us to eat a low-fat, high carb diet. Take a look at the food pyramid – we are recommended to eat mostly grains and milk and vegetables oils are pictured as well. There is no scientific evidence to support what the food pyramid is suggesting that people eat, rather disease numbers and obesity are on the rise to disprove it. For example, vegetable oils, which became big in the 1900s and pushed through the 1950s as a healthier fat are inflammatory and create free radicals. The food pyramid needs an update based on science.
Instead of focusing on this skewed pyramid, the ketogenic diet forces our bodies to use ketones for energy which creates significantly less free radicals, less oxidative damage, and keeps blood glucose levels low. Less oxidative damage means healthier mitochondria. In cancer, mitochondrial damage occurs first, thus by removing processed foods, sugars, grains and high net carb foods from the diet, cancer cells are deprived of their preferred fuel (glucose). Thus, a fat burning diet is greatly helpful for cancer patients. Additionally, the ketogenic diet has been adopted in the medical community as a treatment for epilepsy – a bright example of food as medicine!
WHAT DO PEOPLE EAT ON A KETOGENIC DIET?
On a ketogenic diet, net carbs are limited, that is, total carbs minus fiber. Non starchy vegetables are highlighted, and minimal fruit (which is converted to glucose) is consumed. Good fats such as coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, and avocados are consumed, as well as high fat protein, raw and high fat dairy, organic grass fed eggs, nuts and seeds. Net carb consumed is only 4-10% of daily calories – typically less than 50g daily. 70-85% of calories are made up of healthy fats. These fats keep you full as well! What is missing entirely is any type of sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup and even dates, which contain too many carbohydrates that will convert to glucose. The ketogenic diet can be described as a high-quality fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet.
For vegans, this would look like 75% plant-based fats and 25% plant-based proteins. If you are a seasoned vegetarian or vegan, you know where to get your protein from already, but if you are new to this type of diet, you will have to do some planning! Check out the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Those on a ketogenic diet typically check ketone levels early on and again to follow up, as well as glucose levels to be sure they’ve switched to a fat-burning state. Check out this blood testing ketone strips test kit.
Have you tried a ketogenic diet? The ketogenic diet is said to be beneficial for everyone, but especially for cancer patients and those who are aging to promote and retain brain health.
1. Mercola, Dr Joseph. Fat for Fuel
2 Stephen C. Cunnane, Alexandre Courchesne-Loyer, Camille Vandenberghe, Valérie St-Pierre, Mélanie Fortier, Marie Hennebelle, Etienne Croteau, Christian Bocti, Tamas Fulop, and Christian-Alexandre Castellano. Can Ketones Help Rescue Brain Fuel Supply in Later Life? Implications for Cognitive Health during Aging and the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.