The ketogenic diet has been creating quite the buzz in pop culture recently. It seems to be the next biggest bio-hacking fad diet that promises everything from weight loss to mental clarity to self actualization. Bodybuilders seem to love the diet because they can eat all the bacon, steak, and ground beef they wish. Or can they? Are all ways of doing the ketogenic diet healthy, or are some ways better than others? For the sake of clarity, I’m going to cover what a ketone is, the health benefits shown in the scientific literature, common pitfalls when following the common ketogenic diet, and supplementation to maximize results.
- What is a ketone?
- Increase expression of genes that curtail oxidative stress
- Inhibit the sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight)
- Improve vasodilation
- Protective of our nervous system
- Decrease atherosclerosis
- Significantly decrease insulin and leptin resistance and HbA1c number by over 25% in just 6 months (2).
- Improve athletic performance
- Common Pitfalls
The body only switches over to ketone metabolism when the macronutrients in the diet are properly balanced. A ketogenic diet consists of 65-80% fat, about 20% protein and less than 10% carbs. Remember, not all fats are created equal. Fats from wild caught fish are healthy, anti-inflammatory, and mainly polyunsaturated. Fats from four legged animals are higher in saturated fats and don’t exert the same anti-inflammatory effects of fish, but tend to be healthy when grass-fed and consumed in moderation. Plant-based fats, however, are the healthiest of all and should make up the majority of fat intake during a ketogenic diet.
The biggest pitfall I’ve seen is the reliance on animal fats, resulting in the consumption of vast quantities of inflammatory molecules liberated from the animal fats, as well as nitrites and sulfites from processing procedures. The foundation of any healthy diet is characterized by the consumption of a variety of fresh, whole foods. We, at DBC, are creating a healthy, phytonutrient-dense, ketogenic diet plan, geared for maximizing health benefits and results.
MCT Oil: Metagenics MCT oil is an ultra-pure derivative of coconut oil. It’s standardized to contain only Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are metabolically unique, as they can be burned almost instantly for energy and ketone production. Studies have shown that MCT oil can lower many inflammatory cytokines, improve gut immunity, and reduce alcohol-induced liver toxicity (3).
Exogenous Ketone Salts: Ketones in powdered form for instant utilization upon GI absorption. The ketone present in the supplement is betahydroxybutyrate, which has been proven to be responsible for almost all the profound health benefits associated with ketosis. This product is best used during the transition into ketosis, to boost athletic performance, or to maintain ketosis when circumstance causes a temporary deviation from the ketogenic diet (1).
- Puchalska, Patrycja, and Peter Crawford. "Multi-dimensional Roles of Ketone Bodies in Fuel Metabolism, Signaling, and Therapeutics." Cell Metabolism, vol. 25, 7 Feb. 2017, pp. 262-84.
- Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base." Nutrition, 2015, pp. 1-13.
- Berit, Marten. "Medium-chain triglycerides." International Dairy Journal, 15 June 2006, doi:10.1016/j.idairyj.2006.06.015. Accessed 12 May 2018.