The ketogenic diet aims to put the body in a state of ketosis, where the main source of energy comes from ketone bodies. The three biological relevant ketone bodies are acetone, acetoacetic acid, and beta-hydroxybutyrate.
Once the primary source of energy, glucose, is used up, the body starts to produce ketone bodies as an alternative energy source. There are two ways to induce ketosis;
1. a high-fat and very low-carb diet (<50g/d)
2. fasting for until the glycogen storage is used up (depending on diet and exercise level).
These days many different kinds of diets are promoted but the scientific base behind it is mostly porous at the best. Fortunately, there are many studies out there looking into the effects of ketosis and in this chapter, we will dissect the facts and see whether it might benefit us to bring our bodies into this ancient starvation mode.
Burn Fat with Fat
For the last decades, there was a big campaign against fat, claiming that fats (especially saturated fats) are the cause of all modern diseases, including the obesity epidemic. This led to a rise in low-fat products which were stuffed with refined sugar... with an acceleration in obesity rates.
Research from the last decades shows us that there is no connection between high-fat consumption and overweight. Indeed, studies show us that a low-carb, high-fat diet can actually increase body fat loss.
Is cholesterol bad?
On 23 September 1955, US President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. Just one day later his physician gave a press conference and announced that Americans should stop smoking and cut down on saturated fats, especially cholesterol. That was the kicking stone for the low-fat campaign.
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The Science behind Ketosis
What do ketone bodies do in our bodies? How can the body handle a high-fat diet? Is fat directly stored as fat?
Understanding the biochemistry behind how our bodies metabolize different components in food is important as it helps us to make smart decisions regarding our health.
Ketogenic Diet as a Brain Boost!
Our brains are well capable to utilize ketone bodies as energy. In fact, ketone bodies have been shown act neuroprotective and improve cognitive functions. While the ketogenic diet is established as a treatment for epilepsy, newest research shows promising results regarding the ketogenic diet as a treatment for Alzheimer's and Parkinson Disease.
Curing Diabetes with Fat
Insulin resistance is induced by constantly high insulin and blood sugar levels. As the ketogenic diet restricts the consumption of carbs to < 50 g/day, it was shown to be extremely effective in improving insulin sensitivity and controlling blood sugar levels.
Is a high fat diet good for your heart?