Recent metabolic research has brought to light a powerful, health-transforming natural process developed out of 2 million years of human evolution. So far, few people have heard about it. Before the agricultural revolution, we humans had been exposed only to minute levels of carbohydrates. Today, we eat masses of them. As a consequence, more than a third of us are obese, and suffer from widespread degenerative conditions, from cancer and heart disease to Type II diabetes and Alzheimer's. What if we knew how to reactivate an innate process within the body that brings energy to our cells, organs and metabolic pathways, while helping to protect us from the devastating destruction to human health taking place throughout the world? Take a breath. This is not only possible. It is slowly beginning to happen.
TWO PATHS FOR ENERGY
There are two fundamental processes by which your body creates energy for life. It can draw fuel from glucose when we eat carbs and sugar. Or, it can draw fuel from our relying on fat. More about this in a few moments.
For generations, the powers-that-be have been pointing us down the glucose path. We’ve been told to eat bread and pasta, potatoes and sugar. We’ve been urged to get a minimum of 130 grams of carb foods a day. (Actually, most people eat two or three times that amount of carbs every day.) We’ve also been told that glucose is brain fuel which we need lots of for it to function well.
Up-to-date top quality research studies carried out in the past 10 years show quite clearly that such advice is wrong. Our following it has resulted in a worldwide pandemic of degenerative conditions. It’s not easy to admit that the nutritional advice they have been handing out to us for more than fifty years has been wrong. As a result, vital truths about human health continue to be treated as though they were fringe concepts.
The truth is, people vary widely in their ability to handle carbs without succumbing to obesity, food cravings and degenerative diseases. We all know about gluten intolerance. We deal with it by staying away from gluten. Then there’s lactose intolerance, which we handle by limiting dairy products. But, in truth, the greatest problem most of us face right now is carbohydrate intolerance. What should we be doing about this? Simple. Cut way back on the carbs we eat. When necessary, eliminate them. The degree of carbohydrate intolerance we suffer from depends fundamentally on how insulin resistant our body is.
I’ve witnessed this first-hand during the last five years working closely with thousands of people on Cura Romana. After completing the rapid weight loss— Essential Spray + Food Plan—part of the program, a small number of people discover as they enter Consolidation that they can metabolize carbohydrates reasonably well provided they don’t eat them too often. A second group—the majority—discover they have to carry out careful testing to identify those carbs which their body can manage in small quantities as well as those which need to be eliminated from their life permanently. Finally, there are people with a high level of carbohydrate intolerance who discover that they need to cut out carbs and sugar from their diet altogether to support the lean and healthy experience which they discovered while on Cura.
It’s time to meet the second metabolic process for energy production: Keto-adaptation. This is the remarkable process that the body goes through when only exposed to limited carbohydrate foods. Keto-adaptation is characterized by the body switching over to use fat as fuel for energy. It’s a process that can take several weeks as the shift from glucose to fat burning happens.
What are ketones? They are natural by-products of the breakdown of free fatty acids in the liver. Small energy-containing substances derived from fatty acids, they are able to provide fuel for all our tissues, including the brain. When these ketones are produced at high rates, they accumulate in the bloodstream. This results in the state known as ketosis—a metabolic state characterized by an increase in ketone production usually marked by blood levels greater than 0.5mmol/L.
Becoming keto-adapted requires that you restrict your intake of carbohydrate foods—including sugar, of course—below a certain level, so your cells and mitochondria can change over from using glucose to using fat as fuel. The level of carbohydrate restriction at which a person’s body is able to enter into a ketotic state varies tremendously. Some people only need to restrict their carbs to 50 or 100 grams a day to spur this metabolic transformation. Others must restrict carb intake to as little as 20 grams to spur the process. The reason that keto-adaptation takes time—usually two to six weeks—to establish as the body’s new metabolic process is that metabolic change must take place at every level.
NEW FANGLED—NO WAY
Far from some weird 21st century invention, a keto-adaptation is an ancient practice for which the human body has already been metabolically programmed. We had just forgotten how to access it. Recent studies into ultra low-carb keto-adaptation show that this process has profound implications for high-level wellbeing. Here are a few of the benefits that can take place when a body switches out of a carb/sugar metabolism into a ketone/fatty acid one:
- While cancer cells tend to proliferate on a sugar-based metabolism, when switched over to fatty acids and ketones, tumor growth often regresses.
- The switch is being associated with life extension and may even slow the aging process.
- It quells free radical damage.
- It enhances athletic performance. Keto-adapted long distances runners don’t experience “hitting the wall”—the brains fuel crisis that has non keto-adapted athletes reaching for glucose based drinks and gels just to keep going.
- It brings about regressions in Type II Diabetes.
- It heightens gene expression.
- It increases mental clarity.
- It fosters emotional balance.
- It increases work output.
- It increases a body’s antioxidant defenses.
Most of the mainstream medical community remains ignorant about the profound benefits of keto-adaptation. They confuse this kind of nutritional ketosis with ketoacidosis—a dangerous side effect of Type I Diabetes, during which ketone production reaches levels above 10 mmo/L. Nutritional keto-adaptation is completely different and perfectly safe.
An ingrained characteristic of human metabolism, ketones—which consist of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BOHB) and acetoacetate (AcAc) —are as old as humanity itself. They are naturally produced by the liver whenever the intake of carbohydrate foods becomes limited. Then they are released into the blood. This natural metabolic program has been silenced since the time of the agricultural revolution, when carbohydrate foods began to be available. So important are these archaic ketone molecules that they provide the human brain with a superior fuel source to support its functions. Some researchers believe that keto-adaptation is likely to have been at least in part responsible for homo sapiens developing the big brain which distinguishes us from our animal friends.
Every one of us, regardless of age, has the capability of producing ketones. But unless we are following a low-carbohydrate way of living, this remarkable ketogenic program continues to be suppressed. So long as we continue to eat a lot of carbohydrate foods, the body doesn’t have an opportunity to boot up and run its keto-adaptation process. The long term assertion that only glucose can fuel the brain adequately is completely untrue. Thanks to beta-hydroxybutyrate (BOHB), up to 3/4 of the energy the brain needs can come from ketones. In fact, they are by far the most stable and sustainable fuel source available for the brain.
CRACKING THE CODE
As far back as the Middle Ages and even earlier, a ketogenic diet has been used to treat illnesses, including childhood epilepsy. The natural treatment came out of the discovery that a complete fast can help prevent epileptic seizures in children. But since there was no way of sustaining a fast indefinitely, most especially in growing kids, a ketogenic diet became a viable alternative.
It still is. In the 1920s researchers, discovered that when they fed children on a diet low in carbohydrates, high in fat and gave them just enough protein for growth, the children were able to maintain ketosis for long periods of time. By doing so, pediatric epilepsy came under control while drugs and other treatments failed. Then in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, new drug treatments were developed for epilepsy and the use of the ketogenic diet dwindled for a time.
In the United States, it was “rediscovered”, thanks to a two year old named Charlie who suffered from uncontrollable epileptic seizures which no drug treatments—not even brain surgery—had been able to control. In a desperate search to help his son, Charlie’s father discovered the references to a ketogenic diet used for epilepsy back in the 1920s by an American doctor named R.M. Wilder. Armed with this information, he sought help for his son. So successful was the ketogenic diet in clearing Charlie’s seizures that it spurred Charlie’s father to set up the Charlie Foundation which now trains doctors and dietitians from all over the world on how to use the diet, and produces videos as well as a book, The Epilepsy Diet Treatment: An Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet, to help people learn how to use it. In recent years, a very large project in treating childhood epilepsy has been carried out at Stanford University in California. Other medical uses of the ketogenic diet in the past and present include the treatment of childhood trauma, respiratory failure, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson’s Disease, autism, migraine, depression and wound healing.
THE KETO-ADAPTIVE PROCESS
Is keto-adaptation for you? Not unless you are serious about changing your health and your life permanently. The keto-adaptation process takes time. It means making major changes in how you eat and live. This can be challenging, despite a recent proliferation of diet books which would have us believe the keto-adaptation process is “a piece of cake.” Full of poorly gathered information, but lots of pretty photos of low-carb sweets and treats, the current spate of Keto diet books—primarily targeted towards weight loss—are pretty useless. Too often they’ve been written by people who have not done their homework. There is one exception, however: It’s the work of a brilliant and passionate young woman from Czech Republic called Martina Šlajerová. She has created an app for iPads
as well as a short ebook called The KetoDiet which is first rate. If you want to know about using keto-adaptation for weight loss, I recommend that you look at her materials. They are not only accurate. Thanks to Martina’s fascination with truth-seeking and her commitment to living her own life at a high level of wellbeing, they are even inspiring.
EAT ONLY THE BEST
As with any other way of eating for health and protection from rapid aging and degenerative conditions, for ketogenic diet to be healthy, it must be well constituted. It needs to provide not only optimal quantities of vitamins and minerals, but also top quality, organic, low-carb green vegetables. It needs to be rich in the phytonutrients. It needs to provide only the very best fatty acids—organic coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and butter from cows, preferably fed on pastured land. A sound keto-adapted way of living must make use of the finest natural foods on the planet—foods as close as possible to those our ancient ancestors thrived on. Your goal should be the transformation of your body and your life to a higher level of energy, good looks and well-being permanently.
Of course, it’s important if you suffer from a liver or kidney complaint, or some other metabolic abnormality, that you get your doctor’s permission to make changes. It is unwise for anyone to undertake dietary change without the guidance of a physician or health practitioner knowledgeable about functional medicine and metabolic nutrition.
Take a look at this excellent video about keto-adaptation with Jeff Volek
. You’ll find it by clicking here
. It will give you a real feel for what fat adapted living is like.
Carbohydrate restricted diets are commonly practiced but seldom taught. As a result, doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, and nurses may have strong opinions about low carbohydrate dieting, but in many if not most cases, these views are not grounded in science.
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The ketogenic diet is high in fat, adequate in protein and low in carbohydrates. Most people follow the diet in order to lose weight. However, weight loss is just one of the many benefits that include improved cholesterol levels, lowering risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes, treating of cancer, epilepsy and more.
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