Suppversity has a great article here combining two studies that show that the ketogenic diet does not interfere with muscle synthesis as some have claimed and that it is much more difficult to put on fat on a ketogenic diet.
As for the long standing myth that the ketogenic diet impairs long-term muscle growth—Ketochix know from experience the opposite is true. Insofar as the standard Western diet encourages age-related catabolism and the ketogenic diet reverses that–even in the absence of exercise classic keto dieters can experience lean mass gains.
Neurotherapeutic benefits are not news to fans of the ketogenic diet but this article is a useful reference.
An interesting footnote to this review is that the neuroprotective effects last for a time after the diet has been stopped. So if you were to quit the diet it would take a long time to undo the neuroprotective effects.
Many are critical of true ketogenic dieters as being too dogmatic or extreme or mock those who “chase numbers” on their ketone meters. They claim that should be reserved for those with epilepsy or cancer. It is “too extreme” for the “healthy person.”
It may not be a choice that many find easy but what this logic elides is that what is therapeutic is also preventative. The goal is to eat in a way that nourishes and protects the brain and its neural system instead of gradually wearing it down.
We talk here about changing your thoughts and how this diet affects the brain through adequate fatty acid consumption–but how we use our time and how we relax can have as much to do with myelin as how much fatty acid we consume.
Prayer, meditation, and relaxation are essential to our overall health and well-being. In the study cited below mindfulness, relaxation, and meditation-like practices increase white matter. Not only that, it increases it in areas that control emotion regulation, cravings, attention, impulse control, addiction, and dementia.
They also found improvement in the immune system. (Please see an earlier post here on how I believe obesity is a disease of the immune system.)
Essential to your success is a mindful practice of meditation or prayer and learning to relax the mind and body.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a complex of insulin resistance and high testosterone in women. You can call it a Paul Revere syndrome for diabetes.
Although we don’t have independent verification that these women actually achieved ketosis (a ketogenic diet is NOT just eating low carb) a low starch low dairy diet improved insulin sensitivity, waist circumference, and lowered testosterone in just 8 weeks. The great news? The subjects ate ad libitum, which means there was no calorie counting and no macro counting. They just ate to satisfaction.
This is one of the most fascinating studies to cross my desk in a longtime.
These experiments show that elevations in insulin produce increased hunger, heightened perceived pleasantness of sweet taste, and increased food intake. Finally, a study is described that considers how different insulin levels, produced by the type of food ingested, may affect subsequent food intake. Together, these studies show that “overeating” is caused by a complex feedback system of environmental, behavioral, and biological factors.
Not only does it demonstrate that hyperinsulinemia causes a cycle of overeating difficult to break, a section of the study demonstrates that simply seeing or thinking about food will raise insulin.
You read that right. In our abundant food environment and over saturated marketing landscape just being exposed to images of food, food descriptions on the radio, and “foodie” talk can raise your insulin.
This is why you have to conquer higher order cognitive issues to have the biggest chance at success. You can punish yourself with controlling food intake but you have to change your mindset. FOOD TV and women’s magazines, websites posting pictures of “keto friendly” or “low carb” faux-desserts.
There is a connection between depression high cortisol and impaired insulin sensitivity. In other being depressed at the chemical level means you have higher blood glucose.
There is also a connection between depression and stress. Many of us look at our eating and our body and try to control the food because we believe our eating has become unmanageable.
Many times it is our life that has become unmanageable. We learn the princies of ketogenic nutrition in order to change the way we eat. But it means nothing if we don’t change the way we live and the way we think.
I’ve noted in myself how my BG can soar even when I am eating the same things every day.
These findings also indicate that estrogen plays a critical role in sustaining brain bioenergetic capacity through preservation of glucose metabolism.
Many women ask I am eating all the right foods and exercising WHY am I still getting high blood glucose readings?
Often the answer is BECAUSE you are chick. It doesn’t mean you can’t adapt to ketones. It means it is more challenging.
Estrogen acts as a protective mechanism for glucose metabolism in the brain–it isn’t just for the woman’s benefit in case of famine. If you look at it from an evolutionary biology perspective it is because at any minute you may be called upon to grow one or more tiny new brains!
This is awesome. Embrace it. Reducing stress and assuring the body is getting fuel is essential because the fertile female body will rebel against deprivation and create the opposite effect.
We are also designed to produce ketone during pregnancy and nursing for the same reason. Our neuro-bioenergetic system is a two fuel system and the body wants to make both. (We know that technically BHB isn’t technically a ketone–but it’s a blog. Permit broad strokes.)
Many of us have higher estrogen than we need: the fat layer produces estrogen and stores it from estrogen in the environment. We get estrogens from plastics and from our drinking water. Most processed foods are in containers that add estrogen. Some plant foods we eat are estrogenic.
It ain’t all about the right food and the right macros. Getting our sex hormones in balance is also key to adaptation and if you are what doctors unkindly call the three Fs—fat, fertile, and forty—you are in the most difficult period for adapting. Be patient.
Ketones enter the mitochondrial as an alternate substrate to glucose.
Ketosis (fat burning) is currently considered a back up system to glycolysis (sugar burning) but I believe that it is meant to be the primary substrate or at least that we should be going back and forth between the two fairly equally. The problem is the post-industrial revolution diet and the historically unique abundance and variety of food in our diet has made us primarily glycolytic metabolizers.
Eating ketogenically returns the body to the natural state.