While it may be new to you, the keto diet has actually been around since the 1920’s, when the Mayo Clinic reported its effectiveness for helping epilepsy (that is still the case). Since then, there’s strong evidence that the keto diet helps with weight loss as well as type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome, says Jeff Volek, Ph.D., RD, professor in the department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and co-author of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.
When dietary CHO is of sufficient quantity the body has the ability to store small amounts for later use. Stored CHO is referred to as glycogen. Body reserves of glycogen, however, are limited, with relatively small amounts stored in the liver and skeletal muscle. As CHO is the “go to” energy source for the CNS, as well as an important energy source for other tissues, the body must maintain a stable supply of circulating blood glucose. While this is a complex process, the liver is primarily responsible for either breaking down stored glycogen or manufacturing small amounts of glucose in a process known as gluconeogenesis. In this manner the liver is able to maintain circulating blood glucose levels under most conditions. If the liver is unable to supply a sufficient amount of glucose, blood sugar levels will fall and result in hypoglycemia, a condition characterized by hunger, fatigue, headache, nausea and impairments in cognitive ability. In sporting terms hypoglycemia is referred to as “bonking” or “hitting the wall” and significantly affects athletic performance. Therefore, it is easy to understand the perceived need for dietary CHO; in the absence of sufficient blood glucose, physiological function is rapidly compromised.
I used an online keto calculator to set a goal for calories, carbs and fat. I mostly followed the suggestions, with the exception of fat. The calculator suggested over 200 grams of fat each day. That's tough to hit without loading ghee into my coffee or swigging some coconut oil before lunch. Can it be done? Absolutely. I just couldn't get there. For me, the focus was on reducing carbs. I let the other pieces just fall into place.
Drink lots of water. This is especially crucial on a low carb or keto diet. Why? When you eat carbohydrates, your body stores the extra as glycogen in the liver, where they are bound to water molecules. Eating low carb depletes this glycogen, which allows you to burn fat – but it also means you are storing less water, making it easier to get dehydrated. Instead of the traditional recommendation of 8 cups of water per day, aim for 16 cups when following a low carb lifestyle.
Health Impact News has published many articles about the low-carb high-fat ketogenic diet, and its favorable influences on several diseases or dysfunctional health conditions. The ketogenic diet was originally developed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1920s to stop seizures in children with epilepsy, when pharmaceutical drugs did not work. More recently, the ketogenic diet has been used successfully for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Recently, there have been efforts by some researchers and medical practitioners to explore the potential of ameliorating schizophrenia, a major brain disorder that affects one out of a hundred, with the aid of the ketogenic diet.
“I am a medical practitioner who has type 1 diabetes. Since adopting a very low-carb lifestyle I have found that day-to-day diabetes management has become so much easier with the added bonus of normal HbA1c. As a result of smaller insulin doses, I am not tied down to strict meal times and can eat when I choose. Similarly, glucose control with exercise is far more predictable. Very low carb for me gives as near to a ‘normal’ life as someone with diabetes can get.”
In 1972, Robert Atkins published Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, which advocated the low-carbohydrate diet he had successfully used in treating patients in the 1960s (having developed the diet from a 1963 article published in JAMA). The book met with some success, but, was widely criticized by the mainstream medical community as being dangerous and misleading, thereby limiting its appeal at the time.
The average daily goal for keto is 20 grams of net carbs. Net carbs are the total carbs in a given serving of food, minus the carbohydrates that are supplied by fiber. You’ll find carb grams quickly add up, even when you’re choosing the best low-carb foods, like spinach and avocado. Keeping your body in a quasi-keto state can be hard on you, warns Santo: “This will leave you feeling sluggish, foggy, and discouraged,” he says. “It will most likely cause a weight plateau, and maybe even weight gain.” Here’s what it’s really like to be on a keto diet.