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.