The information here is not meant to replace medical care or advice. Please consult your doctor before making dietary changes.
Keto (Ketogenic Diet), the latest rage in fix-all diets, right? Wrong! There is no ONE right way for everyone as we discussed on the Food As Medicine Page. However, keto can be a powerful healing and weight loss tool. But it’s definitely not for everyone, so if you have tried it and did not feel right. Don’t despair.
Keto is like a big overcorrection for the overconsumption of refined carbs and sugars in our society.
Decades of consuming 100-200lbs of sugar, per person, per year, led us to be a vastly diabetic or pre-diabetic society. This is why keto is working for so many people, because yes, SO MANY PEOPLE have blood sugar regulation issues.
How does keto relate to ancestral health?
Our ancestors, whether they adhered to a low carb, high protein, or vastly plant-based diet all had the metabolic ability to use fat as fuel. Living in a time where food sources were not readily available, eating only what they needed to survive, primal humans often fasted, whether intentional or not. They would thrive on the resources available to them and overconsumption was not a problem they had. They also didn’t suffer from chronic illness or obesity.
Metabolic flexibility seems to be the goal.
Or at least it should be. To train your body to use fat as fuel. No small feat in an era where we have been stuffed with grain and refined sugars our entire lives. ALL processed foods contain some form of sugar. Post the agricultural revolution our diets became primarily grain-based and all of a sudden very low in protein, fat, and nutrients.
So keto looks to correct this. Used in clinics, by doctors for over 50 years. There are powerful medical benefits of ketosis to treat diabetes and neurological disorders. I believe that a whole foods approach to keto is not only safe but very nutrient dense!
A keto diet starves the body of glucose, omitting the grains and sugar it has been addicted and dependant on for quick, cheap, abundant energy your entire life and trains your body to use fat as fuel.
When the body no longer has stored glycogen to use it will metabolize fat in the liver to create ketones. Ketones are like slow burning fuel. Think of sugar as kindling and fat at logs. When your body can burn fat for fuel it doesn’t need food every 2-3 hours, you don’t get sugar high and sugar lows. You have mental clarity and sweet cravings all but disappear.
Metabolic flexibility is when you can use fat for fuel, and your body prefers it (fat adapted) but when glucose is present (from whole food sources like tubers or fruit) your body will use it up quickly and then go back to burning fat without skipping a beat (think high-intensity workouts). This is the sweet spot!
However, many people need to adhere to a rather strict low carb keto approach before getting there. After all, you can’t repair a damaged system overnight. Again, I stress that Dr. Price’s rules still apply. Fats, primarily from animals, properly prepared. Whole foods. Non-negotiable.
Popular keto sites and recipes boast loads of processed dairy, sugar-free soda, and non-caloric sweeteners. While I think that some of these sweeteners (the food-based ones) have their (very moderate) place in a keto diet, especially during the time of transition. Becoming addicted to a sugar replacement instead of real sugar isn’t any better.
A standard ketogenic diet consists of your calories coming mainly from fat 60-70% (which is much like our ancestors), 5-10% from carbs (whole food/ vegetable sources), and the rest from protein, about 20-25%! I’m not militant about it, and I think people can become fat adapted within a wide range of ketogenic macronutrients because we are all so different.
Is Keto right for you? Ask yourself these questions:
- I get very tired after meals
- I need to nap around 3 or 4 pm daily
- I have read Wired to Eat and did the 7-day carb test and I am insulin resistant
- I am a diagnosed type two diabetic or diagnosed with insulin resistance
- I store a lot of body fat in my midsection and it won’t budge!
- I don’t react well to starches and sugar, even natural sugars like honey
- I suffer from severe brain fog and can’t focus
- I have suffered from a head injury, neurological disorders or have a predisposition to Alzheimer’s
- I don’t run marathons or do any high intensity or endurance sports, but I like to stay active
- I have tried paleo and other whole food approaches to healing and weight loss and have not seen the results I’m looking for.
If you said yes to any of these, you might want to consider a ketogenic approach to paleo/ whole food living!
- Dairy Free Keto
- Keto vs Paleo
- The Keto Diet Book
- Made Whole
- Wired To Eat by Robb Wolf
- Keto Reset Diet, Mark Sisson
- Mark’s Daily Apple
- The Diet Doctor