Thursday, April 18, 2019

Keto Myths

You’re doing the keto diet?  You know it’s not good for you, right?  You know that your body needs carbs to function, right?   You know that it is dangerous, don’t you (while handing their child a Happy Meal)?   You’ll never be able to run after your kids and keep up if you don’t eat some carbs!   If you are doing a keto diet, or “healthy keto diet” as many of us call it, I’m sure you have had those statements made to you. 

A Healthy keto diet is very different from a standard “healthy” diet.  It goes against many of the things taught to us over the years about eating.  This isn’t your Dad’s Atkins Diet from the 80s, but it is high in fat and low in carbs.  I’m going to talk about a few of the myths going around about this way of eating.

Many people mistake being in a state of ketosis with being in a state of ketoacidosis.  Ketoacidosis occurs in Type 1 Diabetics when they get dangerously high levels of ketones and blood sugar, who can’t produce any insulin.  It has NOTHING to do with a ketogenic diet, but rather is a result of impaired insulin function.  I used to be under this same assumption.  Nutritional ketosis is an entirely different state.  You do have ketones in your blood, but it is in a normal range.  It is impossible for a nondiabetic person to be in a state of ketoacidosis.

Contrary to popular belief, your body CAN live with few carbs.  As a matter of fact, it can THRIVE without them!   Our bodies are very good at using fats and proteins for energy, if you eat few carbs.  It will break down proteins to make glucose and it will break down fats to make ketones.   Studies are now proving that ketones are the preferred energy source over glucose. The heart and brain both run 25% more efficiently when your body is using primarily ketones for energy

Fatty liver disease is a condition in which the liver becomes clogged with excess fat due to elevated triglyceride levels within the body. The condition is linked to insulin resistance and prediabetes.   With a fatty liver, the liver becomes compromised and it can't metabolize insulin and regulate blood sugar levels properly.  One of the first lines of treatment for this condition is to start a ketogenic diet.  Studies from Duke University and US National Library of Medicine show that reducing carbohydrate consumption and increasing saturated fat intake helps the liver shed excess fat in as little as three days!    

Many people think that a keto diet can lead to kidney problems and kidney stones.  This just isn’t so.   Many people think keto is high protein (like Atkins Diet was), but that isn’t the case.  It is moderate protein.   Refined carbs can also contribute to kidney stones and they are pretty much eliminated in a keto diet, whereas high insulin can be very damaging to the kidney.  A healthy keto diet incorporates many vegetables that are high in potassium, which are actually good for your kidney function.

At the end of the day, you need to figure out an eating plan that works for you and you can live with.  I am very happy that I have incorporated a healthy keto diet into my life.  Do I strictly follow it?  No.   Do I follow it most of the time?  Yes, I do.   I would guess that I eat approx. 90% of my meals ketogenic.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  If I don’t have the answers, I can get you hooked up with someone who can answer them

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