Ketogenic diet: not just for weight loss!

Ketosis is a physical state where your body is burning fat to use as energy. Fat is not our bodies’ preferred fuel; glucose (a type of sugar) holds this title. In our typical American diet we are able to keep our glucose-burning, intracellular machinery stocked so our bodies may not be used to burning our fat stores. Following a ketogenic diet induces this state of ketosis so that your body takes the energy it needs from your fat stores.

To maintain a state of ketosis, you should eat a diet with adequate protein and a smaller ratio of carbohydrates. Fats should be high quality for example from sources such as raw nuts, avocado and extra virgin olive oil.

If you are skeptical, consider this study done by researchers at Duke University in 2009 (1). Investigators set out to find a diet that reduced signs of aging. What they discovered is a ketogenic diet improves blood-levels of certain compounds associated that naturally occur with aging. Besides body weight, serum leptin, triglycerides and thyroid hormone all decreased while on the diet. Additionally, fasting glucose levels decreased, as did insulin levels. As aging occurs, levels of glucose, insulin, and triglycerides can increase. Abundant levels of these molecules have been associated with many chronic diseases, including diabetes.

Additionally, consider the personal experiment done by Dr. Peter Attia who specializes in metabolic science. He describes himself as someone who is very active and eats well but for whatever reason his genes are programmed to keep the weight on. He struggled for years until beginning a ketogenic diet. Dr. Attia shared his results after following the diet for 10 years. Not only did his body fat percent decrease from 25% to 15%, but he lost visceral fat (around organs) besides subcutaneous fat (under skin). This is important because high levels of visceral fat are an independent risk factor for chronic disease. Furthermore, Dr. Attia’s fasting blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides and ratio of “bad” to “good” cholesterol all went down. Perhaps most intriguing is that the doctor’s insulin sensitivity increased by 400%! Insulin insensitivity is the reason many people develop Type II Diabetes. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Attia’s experience, you can watch a lecture he gave here.

We believe the ketogenic diet may be a good option for you if you are looking to lose weight. Research has also shown that the diet may be beneficial for decreasing markers of aging and increasing insulin sensitivity. If you are interested in giving this diet a try, we would be happy to provide you with the resources and support you need to reach your health goals. Give us a call today!

  1. Rosedale R, Westman EC, Konhilas JP. Clinical Experience of a Diet Designed to Reduce Aging. J Appl Res. 2009;9(4):159-165.

Can be accessed here.

– Metabolic Reset and Weight Loss Intern Cassie Christopher

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