What’s a KETO DIET?

This is the new rage among millenials. It is a diet during which people consume very few, or ideally, no carbohydrates, (aka., “carbs”), lots of fat, and some protein.

The theory is to achieve a “state of ketosis” one must avoid all carbs. A keto diet, being low on carbs attempts to put people into a state of ketosis.

A State of Ketosis:

In the absence of consuming carbs, the body will deplete its energy which is stored in the liver in the form of glucose. Once the body runs out of glucose, the brain commands the body to draw on fat from everywhere in the body. That fat gets converted into “Ketone Bodies” and the body’s energy-burning furnace begins using ketone bodies as its fuel, in the absence of glucose. The body is happy to burn either one.

When burning and running on ketone bodies, the body is considered to be in a “state of ketosis”. In a state of ketosis you will highly likely get skinnier because your fat cells are being turned back into fuel for the body.

Getting skinnier does not mean you are getting healthier if you get skinny the wrong way. It’s the arteries that are much more important than how you look when standing in front of a mirror.

Is It Really a Smart Idea to Consume Lots of Fat?

Granted, it’s the FAT, especially cooked/burned fat that makes animal protein taste wonderful. On the keto-diet one tries to eliminate almost all carbs by chowing down on lots of fat and some protein while shunning carbohydrates as much as possible. This is supposed to put people into a state of Ketosis, something that water-only fasting, or no-carb-liquid-only fasting does.

There are so many anecdotal reports of people losing weight, that one almost has to assume that this FAD is a great thing for people.  It isn’t.

Yes, if you are obese you will lose body fat on a keto-diet. But can you stick to it? Probably not. But, assume you are one of the very rare people who can stick to the keto-diet and avoid yo-yo dieting common to almost every other diet? What then?  Check your arteries.

How does one eat a lot of fat?  Isn’t fat a part of animal proteins?  Yes, fat is a large part of animal protein, even the leanest cut of meats, fish, or poultry is chock full of fat. But a good keto-diet practitioner will one-up that.

On a keto-diet, one does not just pick animal protein. One selects the fattest cuts of animal proteins. One also chooses lots of butter, cream, cheeses, oils, (all oils are simply liquid fats), whatever is stuffed with fats. And wherever possible, one cooks with plenty of oil, butter,  and spreads oil, butter, and other fats on everything as much as the imagination will allow.

I asked myself where the real science was.  Not just how wonderful this or that controlled study was when it came to knocking weight off fat people. I’ve learned long ago that optimal health is about how well blood circulates to carry nutrition to all parts of the body all organs. I can find no long term studies saying the Keto-Diet concept rocks, artery-wise. There is no proof it helps the arteries. But, yikes!  Get this: there is an emerging body of EVIDENCE that keto-foods DAMAGE ARTERIES. You may TEMPORARILY look slimmer, but your arteries suck!  Not a good long-term trade off.

At this point I want to be clear. FASTING to achieve ketosis, for qualified persons and under a doctor’s supervision, may be healthy. Even some heart doctors recommend short bouts of fasting to help one achieve target weight ranges, but that recommendation by those health doctors is intended to accompany a vegan, no-oils, no-nuts, no-seeds, diet complemented by regular exercise. A Keto-Diet is not the same as fasting to achieve a state of ketosis.

There is an enormous amount of evidence, peer reviewed, and a growing number of practitioners, attesting to the fact that eating animal proteins, (all animal proteins are high in fat, even the leanest), and fatty foods,  like cheese and butter, damage the arteries and cause a large number of chronic diseases.

But, let’s pick on olive oil, a popular among bread dippers and keto-proponents.

It was the Lyon Heart Study which incorporated olive oil that showed improved blood statistics in year 1 of the study. The media went into a frenzy. It became a free ticket to dip bread into, cook with, and smother everything with olive oil. And people did just that. Remember, any oil is merely a liquid fat. But the media fell silent after the results were tallied by end of year 4.

By the end of the study in year 4, a horrible number of people, 25% of the people, had significant CARDIOVASCULAR events, including death by strokes and heart attacks. Yet, people never heard media undoing their damage. Today, the keto-diet promotes using olive oil as if it is a get-out-of-jail free card.  [Shake your head!]

DAMAGE TO ARTERIES!!

In one study, For a period of 6 months young children experiencing seizures were treated by administering and adhering to high-fat ketogenic diet.  Bad cholesterol went up substantially, triglycerides went up substantially,  “good” HDL-cholesterol dropped. See Note 1 Below  But here’s the real important item:  later, 12 and 24 months AFTER treatment from the high-fat ketogenic diet, those kids continued with bad changes that increased risks for strokes and heart disease. 

It’s your cardiovascular system, not your pant or dress size, that keeps you healthy for a longer lifetime. Screw up your cardiovascular system and you increase the chances of contracting many diseases, sooner, as you age.

Want more evidence? It’s almost literally in our faces.

Look to the typical American diet which, admittedly is a close proxy to the keto diet. The heavy emphasis on proteins and cheese and dairy products, all very heavy in FATS, and very low in carbohydrates,  remains good for the food business but questionable for one’s health. Each year more than 800,000 Americans DIE of cardiovascular diseases. The Keto-Diet merely pushes more fat extremism within an already very dangerous fat-oriented diet.

Speaking about health factors of the Keto-Diet, Marcelo Campos, MD, wrote, “We do not know much about its long-term effects, probably because it’s so hard to stick with that people can’t eat this way for a long time.” See Note 2 Below 

But evidence is growing of CARDIOVASCULAR DAMAGE FROM KETO-DIETING.

Dr. Michael Gregor, MD., cites a few recent studies. See Note 3 Below 

Per Dr. Gregor, “…low-carb diets impair arterial function… effectively stiffen people’s arteries…a new study found the same thing: A dietary pattern characterized by high protein and fat, but low carbohydrate was associated with poorer peripheral small artery function, measuring blood flow into people’s limbs.” See Note 3 Below 

Dr. Gregor also mentioned another study in which nuclear imaging allowing direct visualisation of blood flow to the heart, was performed on the hearts of 26 volunteers committed to the low-carb diet. After switching diets to a HEALTHY VEGETARIAN DIET, one year later, scans showed REVERSAL of cardiovascular disease. Their partially clogged arteries from the keto-diet were cleared out. However, a number of participants refused to give up all that delicious, tasty fat food and when they were imaged, at the end of that second year, they suffered 50% worsening arteries. See Note 3 Below 

You may think Ket0-Diets are pretty nifty because it provides a delicious way to lose weight, but it just might kill you earlier!

FASTING rocks; regular KETO dieting doesn’t.

NOTE: you might also want to know how the food industry is manipulating us to try to get us addicted to certain foods. You may also want to know:

FAT, salt and sugar are addictive.


END NOTE

  1. “Effect of a high-fat ketogenic diet on plasma levels of lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins in children.” ByY Kwiterovich.  JAMA. 2003 Aug 20;290(7):912-20.
  2. “Ketogenic diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you?”, By Marcelo Campos, MD. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. July 27, 2017
  3. “Low Carb Diets Found to Feed Heart Disease”, By Michael Greger M.D.Nutrition Facts,org May 19th, 2015