What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet is a medical treatment that shifts the body’s primary metabolism to a fat based energy source instead of a carbohydrate or glucose energy source.
This therapeutic diet involves eating high amounts of healthy fats,
low to moderate amounts of high quality protein and
the elimination of all sugars & carbohydrates, other than non-starchy vegetable carbohydrates.
How Does the Ketogenic Diet work?
The body obtains energy from three major food sources:
An average North American diet is comprised of roughly 50% to 60% carbohydrate, 20% to 30% fat and 20% to 30% protein.
Carbohydrates such as breads, cereal grains, fruits, starches, sugars & vegetables are converted to glucose in the body. Glucose is then burned as fuel by the body for energy.
When the supply of glucose is limited, for example during a fast, the body burns its fat for energy. During periods of starvation, if there is an insufficient supply of fat, then muscle is burned.
As the Ketogenic diet shifts the body’s metabolism away from using glucose as energy to using fat as energy it causes ketone bodies to be produced by the liver. The lack of carbohydrate (glucose) being consumed mimics the condition of the “starvation state.” The “starvation” metabolic pathway is thus used by the body and the liver ketone bodies are consumed for fuel as less glucose is available.
During the Ketogenic Diet, since protein intake stays within a normal range, even thought the body is in a fasting state, muscle loss is minimal and a lean body mass stays within healthy ranges.
When is the Ketogenic Diet prescribed?
The Ketogenic diet may be used therapeutically in cases of:
Cardiovascular Disease including hyperlipidemia
Neurological Diseases like Epilepsy & Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Insulin resistance & Metabolic Syndrome/Syndrome X
The premise is that cancer is a metabolic disease and that cancer cells require large quantities of glucose to survive because of Warburg’s observation that cancer cells use glucose fermentation as an inefficient energy production method due to mitochondrial damage.
Cancer cells cannot use ketones for their metabolism and this is the key to using the ketogenic diet.
Since carbohydrates and even proteins turn into glucose in the body, lowering the glucose level in the blood by restricting carbohydrates, protein & total calories literally starves the cancer cells (of all glucose) and allows for healthy mitochondria cells and the rest of the body to thrive (on ketones).
With specialized supplementation the damaged mitochondria can repair themselves, be regenerated or may activate the apoptosis switch leading to cancer cell suicide. (see Seyfried http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2845135/ )
In Cardiovascular disease, the Ketogenic diet improves blood lipids. As carbohydrates are eliminated from the diet, triglyceride levels in the blood drop significantly. HDL (the “good” cholesterol) also goes up when more saturated fat, such as coconut oil is consumed and carbohydrates are cut out. Through the adoption of the Ketogenic diet, the ratio of triglycerides to HDL – which is the most important marker for heart disease – is improved.
Metabolic Disease & Insulin Resistance
This type of diet helps to optimize weight and has benefits for all chronic degenerative diseases.
John Hopkins University has an ongoing
for uncontrollable by drug epileptic seizures using the ketogenic diet.
Beginning the Ketogenic Diet
Please book an appointment to have a qualified practitioner guide you through the ketogenic diet.