Ketosis Gave Goku The Heart Virus: The Ketogenic Diet Explained (2018)
If I told you that there was a diet where you could eat bacon, eggs, and other high fat foods every single day, for every single meal, and not only was it considered a health food but it led to better physical and mental performance along with a reduction in cancer rates and all cause mortality along with being leaner and burning more fat, would it sound too good to be true?
You can probably take a guess
If you’d rather watch than read:
Firstly, lets explain what a ketogenic diet is. A ketogenic diet is a diet that causes the body to undergo ketosis for prolonged periods of time, this state is entered by long periods of fasting such as 72 hours of starvation, or avoiding dietary carbohydrate whilst keeping a low protein intake. Ketosis, not to be confused with Ketoacidosis, is a process where the body converts our body fat into ketones to use as a fuel source rather than rely on glucose, which is our bodies primary fuel source by default. This process occurs when our blood ketones are higher than normal either through supplementation or dietary intervention.
Some people like to say that ketones are the bodies fourth energy source after carbs, fats, and proteins. Though that is true, alcohol can also be used as an energy source by the body. So obviously, just because we can use something as a fuel source doesn’t mean that we should. As alluded to earlier the ketogenic diet is a diet that’s incredibly low in carbs, high in fats, and relatively low in protein. This makes it one of the most restrictive diets in the world and far from the diet ‘hack’ it’s praised to be. Being limited to a small amount of protein and carbs without a real cap on dietary fat excludes you from almost all foods including most dairy, fruits, grains, beans, starchy vegetables, and most processed foods.
So what about weight loss, mental and physical performance, cancer rates and all the other benefits that Keto advocates swear by? For weight loss, there’s no substantial evidence that there is a benefit to ketosis over a standard calorie restricted diet when all calories are equal, in fact there may even be some detriment. Dietary fat is incredibly easy to store as body fat, about 20% easier than carbohydrates, and excessive dietary fat actually slows down fat loss progress due of this mechanism. Ketones do help suppress appetite which could result in one eating less but then again, a high protein diet also reduces appetite and is not as easily converted to body fat as dietary fats are (which is a huge understatement, 25% of protein calories are burned off through thermogenesis. Close to 0% of fat calories are burned off during processing.).
A lot of ketone advocates claim that raised insulin is responsible for fat loss, since insulin is an anabolic hormone that shuttles nutrients into cells. The hypothesis being less insulin equals less fat. However, insulin is only one factor in weight management with the most important being energy balance. If you take in less energy than you expend, you will not store excess body fat as you cannot create energy from nothing.
Speaking of insulin, there is no advantage in gaining lean mass with a Ketogenic diet. Insulin is also an anabolic hormone. Since less carbohydrates mean less insulin, this means that there’s less anabolism going on, which means less muscle building. Also, as protein needs to be capped to remain in ketosis as excess can be converted into glucose, this means that an individual may not be getting adequate protein intake for muscle building. This means as far as the current scientific literature goes, the ketogenic diet may be the only diet scientifically proven to be inferior for building muscle.
As for cancer rates, there’s a myth that tumors can only feed off of glucose. The truth is they can feed off of any fuel source. There’s some research that ketone supplementation extended survival in mice with metastatic cancer, but this has not been replicated in human clinical trials. There are also no substantial studies showing a negative health benefit or increased cancer rates associated with sugar consumption when calories are controlled within a healthy active population.
In regards to athletic performance, Ketosis allows you to avoid glycogen depletion which is a fancy way of saying you avoid needing to fuel up on sugar during activity. Instead we use our fat and ketone bodies which in theory mitigates the need for things like sports drinks or energy goo. And although this might be true, stored glycogen provides instant fuel because it’s already inside the muscle whereas ketones need to be broken down, making it an inferior fuel source despite its storage well. There is at least one study showing that ketone supplementation combined with carbohydrate supplementation in a sports drink led to cyclists biking 2 percent father over a 30 minute period compared to a group who only supplemented with Carbohydrate, so this could be something worth considering for endurance athletes.
One group that may especially benefit from Ketosis are those with epilepsy. Rats exposed to certain ketone esters saw decreased seizures which is obviously worth trying if you suffer from seizures on any consistent basis. The presence of ketones also seems to improve outcomes from traumatic brain injury, however right now most of these studies have been done on rats. In regards to the slightly sensationalist intro, without making it even further restrictive the ketogenic diet tends to be very high in saturated fat, the evidence on saturated fat in regards to health is mixed, but it’s best to air on the side of caution in my opinion. In regards to ketosis itself, our body is normally quite good at self-regulating our ketones likely making it a safe diet, some exceptions being those with diabetes and alcoholics who’s bodily machinery may not be built to process ketones efficiently.
Conclusion: I do not recommend ketosis for the vast majority of people. Ketosis is really well studied because it’s easy to study, the protocol is to starve people, feed them a high fat diet, then wait and report. The body of evidence is there and if it really was a miracle cure for all of our bodily woes we would know by now that it was true, when in fact, the evidence is showing the opposite.
And no, it is not a grand conspiracy from the big sugar companies.
The reason Ketosis isn’t a miracle cure is because:
-It’s only applicability is for particular personality types or people with specific health conditions
-It’s an incredibly hard diet to follow
-It’s an inefficient fuel source for athletic endeavours compared to glucose
-It blunts the muscle building process
-Saturated fat may have negative health outcomes in high enough quantities (such as a calorie surplus) or in the obese/those susceptible to heart problems
In short; real Saiyans eat carbs, or fats, or whichever diet matches their personal preference. They also deadlift really heavy.
Be More Shonen