Please see Dr Maroon’s most recent video interview on the benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
More on Understanding the Ketogenic Diet
Of all diets available, the “keto” diet is becoming one of the most popular today. For years we were told that a high carb, low fat diet was optimal. With the subsequent epidemic of obesity and diabetes, we now know this recommendation was based on flawed data. Instead, just the opposite is suggested—a high (good) fat and low carbohydrate with variable amounts of protein diet has many advantages.
The ketogenic diet in simplest terms, is a diet that due to fasting or carb restriction, leads to the production of ketones from the breakdown of our fat storage. Ketones are also a much more efficient energy source than sugar or glucose. To understand the benefits of ketones in humans we must realize that our ancestors would typically alternate between feast or famine. Without a secure food source, like we have today, eating daily or even weekly was not a guarantee. Ketones generated from fat store during our last feast were then used during times of
famine enabled us to survive.
Health Benefits of the Keto Diet
There are numerous health benefits associated with a keto diet due to the production of ketones from our fat stores, but the extreme reduction of carbs or intermittent fasting required to do this would not be healthy for diabetics. The keto diet has been used medically since the 1920’s as a medical treatment for certain types of childhood epilepsy, and is still used today for some patients. One of the greatest benefits of the keto diet is that it suppresses appetite. This may seem unusual, but it is actually carbs and the amount and changes of glucose in our blood that controls appetite. The obvious advantage, therefore, of the keto diet is for weight loss. In fact, the popular Atkin’s diet is based on these similar mechanisms – to release ketones and thus reduce body fat.
Improved Brain Health and Ketones
Several decades ago the term “type 3 diabetes”, was used to describe the cellular energy deficit found in brain cells of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers used this term recognizing that insulin resistance, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were commonly linked conditions. The fact is brain function decline with aging may be related to blood glucose not being absorbed normally by our brain cells. Since ketones don’t require insulin and can be used directly as an energy source for brain cells, they are being studied as a method to improve brain function in dementia and diseases like Alzheimer’s.