*this is a work in progress and citations are needed for some of the references*
“The Keto diet mimics the typical homo-sapien winter diet which we would have eaten since we left the trees 3 million years ago, foods that were high in fat and protein with very little carbohydrate. Unfortunately, we now have a supermarket on every street corner feeding us Summer foods all year long.”
What is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet is where you eat mostly fat so excess fat gets converted into “ketones” which your body can use as fuel instead of glucose. Once this effect happens your body will start to burn it’s own stored fat for energy.
Why would someone do it?
- To lose weight (ketones reduce appetite)
- To reduce insulin (diabetics)
- To reduce inflammation
- To reduce tiredness
- To avoid Alzheimer’s
- To avoid Heart Disease
- To reverse Type 2 diabetes
- To reverse obesity
- To reverse atherosclerosis
- To lower blood pressure
- To suppress epilepsy
- To increase longevity
- To keep you looking young
- To boost energy levels (especially for sport)
Why do we want to reduce insulin?
Insulin is the fat storage and blood-sugar level control hormone, without it you wouldn’t be able store fat for the winter or stop sugar from permanently damaging your arteries. Diabetics (Type I and II) sometimes go blind and need amputations of limbs because sugar blocks and corrodes the very tiny capillaries that exist in the eye and at the fingertips. Insulin generally helps to combat the effects of a sugar-rich diet, but insulin-resistance can occur over time, leading to weight-gain, diabetes, inflammation, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Why does the Keto diet work?
It works because:-
- the diet Keeps your insulin response ridiculously low, which results in burning off your own fat stores
- Ketones also reduce appetite so you naturally eat less
It emulates what would have happened every year in the past (before supermarkets) during winter time when carbohydrates such as fruit, veg and berries were scarce and animal fats and proteins were more readily available. In modern times, insulin is ever more present in our veins and arteries and increasing due to the food industry’s emphasis on sugar and carbs as the main food source, and this is leading to terrible epidemics of diabetes and obesity. It is estimated that 415 million people are living with diabetes in the world, which is estimated to be 1 in 11 of the world’s adult population. 46% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. The figure is expected to rise to 642 million people living with diabetes worldwide by 2040. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-prevalence.html
What can I eat on the Keto?
You compose your meals based on the keto food pyramid, the base of the pyramid contains the most eaten foods, the top for the least eaten:
You compose your meals of:
- 75% fat
- 20% protein
- 5% carbs
The high fat content triggers ketosis (fat burning) after 2 or 3 days. It’s a normal state of being for humans when carbohydrates are not available. The fat provides energy and keeps insulin low, the protein for building tissue, the carbs for various other nutrients. 75% fat sounds like a lot but don’t forget fat is twice as dense as protein so actually it’s less in terms of weight.
- steak, pork, bacon, sausages, chicken (with skin)
- eggs, butter, cream, cheese
- salmon, trout
- avocados, olives
- walnuts, almonds
- olive oil, lard, dripping, coconut oil
- spinach, kale, lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, celery, asparagus, tomatoes
- garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper
- tea & coffee (no milk)
- 90% cocoa chocolate
For how long do I eat like this?
It’s not really a diet, it’s a way of eating. You can be on the keto for a few weeks, for several months, for several times a year or for the rest of your life. Epileptics stick to the low carb/keto for their whole lives because it reduces their symptoms. It may take up to 6 months to get fully fat adapted.
What does Fat Adapted mean?
It’s where you can draw upon your fats for energy. The initial phase can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks of carb addiction withdrawal, then a second phase of about 6-8 weeks of hormonal up-regulation. It’s different for everyone which is what makes the keto so damn interesting! https://medium.com/swlh/i-tried-keto-for-a-month-and-heres-what-happened-707ca174213a
How will I know if I’m fat-adapted?
- You will not be constantly hungry (if you’re still hungry you’re doing it wrong!)
- You will be thinking clearly
- You will be peeing a lot, initially
- Your blood pressure will be at normal levels
- Your energy levels will be up
Is it dangerous?
No, It’s completely natural and was experienced every year by our ancestors who lived in the northern or southern hemispheres, less so for equatorial humans.
I thought fat was bad for your heart?
So did the rest of the world but it turns out it’s not. See Ancel Keys and the great saturated fat myth that’s pushed up obesity and diabetes to epidemic proportions over the past 70 years since his fraudulent 7 Countries Study, where he cherry-picked data to support an incorrect hypothesis. Sugar and carbs have been added to the standard western diet in huge proportions since the incorrect fat theory was developed.
What are statins for?
Do not take statins, do not overly concern yourself with cholesterol. Unfortunately, statins were foisted upon the world when 3 things happened; 1) Ancel Keys declared that saturated fat was bad, 2) they discovered that there was a weak relationship between cholesterol and heart disease, and 3) someone invented a drug made from fungus to lower cholesterol. It turns out that statins lower LDL cholesterol which was not implicated in the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease. Also, all the advice about statins is carefully couched in terms of relative risk, for example the “RRR in stroke is 48% for high-risk diabetic patients over 4 years” simply means the risk of suffering a first-time stroke is reduced from 28 to 15 per 1000 over 4 years, or 1.3%, for diabetics. In other words, you would need to treat 77 patients to prevent just 1 stroke! Of course they calculate the risks from statins not in relative risk but absolute risk so it appears small.
What about total cholesterol?
You are likely to live longer with high levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, regardless of how high your LDL (bad) cholesterol is. So it’s actually the ratio between the two which is important, therefore total cholesterol could be higher if you have high HDL as well as high LDL. And that’s just fine.
And my Triglycerides?
This is a good measure of how much fat is circulating in your blood and too much could indicate a bad diet of carbs and fat. Remember, carbs and fat is a combination found most often in processed and junk food.
Is there a calorie limitation?
Men are supposed to eat around 2200 calories per day, women 1900, but on the keto you won’t really need to track your calories because…..you won’t be hungry AND your body’s own fat storage makes up the deficit anyway. You’ll probably find it very difficult to stuff yourself stupid like you do on carbs and sugars, which is just one of the reasons the keto works. Food manufacturers know that humans can’t resist sweet flavoured things especially when combined with fat (think ice-cream, doughnuts, milkshakes – they are exactly 50% fat and 50% sugar, a combination NOT found anywhere in nature). They have teams of food-testers who are constantly looking for the “bliss” point to keep you eating more.
What is the LCHF diet?
The Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet – is basically the same as the Ketogenic diet, along with the Banting diet and the Noakes diet, and is similar to the Atkins diet. They might have slightly varying degrees of carbs/fat/protein but the physiological and metabolic results are the same, insulin stays low so that fat storage doesn’t happen. Within the Keto diet regime carb intake can vary – initially we try to keep carbs to below 20 grams per day, making up the deficit in fat, keeping protein roughly the same, but at other times we might want to keep carbs to below 7 grams, and at other times people feel more comfortable with carbs at 40 grams per day on the LCHF. The important point is that there are NO essential carbs for human health, only essential fats and proteins. Your liver will make glucose if necessary, from proteins.
Can you do Keto as a vegetarian/vegan?
You can but you have to try to keep your carbs down to 5% of your food intake, that’s pretty difficult as a vegetarian and even more difficult for a vegan.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is where you don’t eat breakfast (so 16 – 18 hours of fasting from previous night’s meal) which combines naturally with the keto diet because keto dieters are simply not hungry, unlike glucose burners. If you eat lots of carbs (glucose-based meals) and sugars then the insulin spike will crash a few hours later making your hungry again. This is a natural response that helps you pile on the weight ready for the coming winter, but these days we never plunge into a cold, food scarce winter like in ancient times.
What are the benefits of IF?
IF allows the body to experience a period of not eating, without any drawbacks or hunger, which in turn lowers inflammation, boosts the immune system and promotes autophagy.
What is Autophagy?
Autophagy is where your body hoovers up bits of old proteins and amino acids for re-use to build new proteins. It only occurs when there is a lack of proteins entering the body via your meals. It may take 72 hours of fasting for autophagy to begin in certain people.
Can I do a longer fast?
Many cultures around the world have known about the benefits of fasting and many religions incorporate it into their teachings. The longest fast ever recorded was 382 days by a Scottish man who was morbidly obese. He slimmed down from 32 stone to 12 stone in weight, drinking only water and some vitamins/nutrients.
Why does eating Keto keep you young?
As you get older, you naturally stop creating some hormones in the quantities you enjoyed in youth. One such hormone is IGF1 which has the effect of keeping your body’s own proteins safe from being used as energy. When IGF1 production decreases and if you reduce your food intake, as many older people do, then don’t be alarmed to see bingo-wings, turkey-neck and a puckered top lip occurring. That’s because these areas are full of collagen which the body favours for it’s protein raids. The keto boosts your IGF1 production to protect your protein stores.
Is there an easy way to get into Ketosis?
Yes, 2 or 3 day fast and some exercise will put you into ketosis very easily, or simply cutting out as much carbohydrate as possible over 2 or 3 days. Before doing a fast it is highly recommended to eat meat and fat for a few days as this will suppress any hunger pangs. It’s very cruel to make a glucose-burner do a fast. Also, eating butter and MCT oil in a “Bulletproof” coffee will help to switch you into ketosis.
What is Bulletproof Coffee?
Bulletproof coffee is fresh coffee with butter and coconut oil (or MCT oil) and it exists for 2 reasons; it helps to get your fats up to expedite ketosis, and it staves off hunger until well after lunch if you are doing IF or OMAD.
What is OMAD?
One Meal A Day is another approach to health and weight loss that combines naturally with Keto. For 23.5 hours of the day you don’t eat anything, except water and perhaps the occasional black/bulletproof coffee. Of course, you won’t get “ill or tired because you are not eating” because you are in fact eating….your own body fat.
What is this “Keto Flu” I’ve heard about?
If you’ve never switched from glucose to fat burning before, then you might experience a day or two of feeling rough whilst your body adjusts. This is normal because you are unplugging from the Kellogs/KrispyKreme/Coca-Cola merry-go-round for the first time and you need to synthesise a bunch of new enzymes.
Are there any side effects?
You will need to drink more water and eat more salt (e.g. Malvern sea salt or Himalayan) to make sure you are getting the right balance of electrolytes and to prevent mild constipation because cutting out carbs will mean lowering your salt and water intake significantly.
Who is Dr. Richard Atkins?
Dr. Atkins ran a clinic for obese people where he introduced them to a diet of high fat/low carb and they saw their weight reduce dramatically. He didn’t understand why it worked but he new that it did and he successfully treated around 64,000 patients. The Atkins diet is kind of similar to the Keto but at the time the diet book came out in the 90s people were too afraid of saturated fat. Ironically, in the year after the Atkins Diet was released, Gary Taubes discovered the research Ancel Keys buried (The Minnesota Study) regarding saturated fat and heart disease. He buried the research, performed upon 8000 people in mental institutions in the Minnesota area over 6 years because the “results were disappointing” – meaning even Ancel Keys couldn’t find any evidence that eating saturated fat caused heart disease, and it was his fucking idea!
Didn’t Dr. Atkins die of a heart attack?
He died of complications after slipping on the snow and banging his head. He was in a coma for several weeks and probably suffered a heart attack.
What if I am not losing weight on Keto?
Some people might find they cannot lose weight as rapidly as others on the Keto, and this is usually because they have been “Serial dieters” in the past. They have struggled with weight and have tried lots of calorie restriction diets so that now their metabolism has slowed down. It’s very sad and it’s a well known effect for people on shows like America’s Biggest Loser where they eventually put all the weight back on again, and more, even though they are eating less than ever.
Why don’t calorie restriction diets work?
Calories restriction diets simply do not work because when you restrict calories your body seems to go into a “famine” mode where it tries to conserve resources, and when you eventually start eating normally again your body works extra hard to keep hold of the calories as fat. In fact, it’s worse than that, the more calories restriction diets you’ve done, the more difficult it can be to lose weight, even on the keto.
But I’ve heard you lose weight by counting calories
The old “Calories In, Calories Out” paradigm simply doesn’t work, your body is not as simplistic as it seems. Hormones play the most important role if you are trying to lose weight, and a good example to see how this happens is to think about how girls and boys put on weight during puberty. At around the age of 13 teenagers tend to grow quickly, adding fat and muscle in certain areas, growing taller and broadening out. This doesn’t happen as a result of more food or less exercise etc as is often thought, it occurs through a process driven by hormones. These hormones are called testosterone and estrogen and are incredibly powerful, just like weight gain is directly linked with the powerful, fat-storage hormone insulin in adults.
How do you actually lose weight on the Keto diet?
For anyone who has tried a traditional calorie restriction diet it seems “the less I eat, the more weight I lose” or “eat less, move more” ideas do not work and that’s because weight control is hormone based. Instead you have to eat foods that keep the fat storage hormone (insulin) low, so that the body can tap into it’s own fat reserves. And remember, even an average person has 63 meals on their body already, stored as fat!
But where exactly does the weight go?
Ah, you’ve made it to the sciencey bit. Fat is stored in fat cells (adipose tissue) in the form of a triglyceride, chemical formula C55 H108 O6 (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen). Your body sheds weight by expelling the Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen……………….via your breath. Yes, every ounce of weight you shed is actually expelled via your lungs in the form of CO2 and H2O. It leaves by attaching to Oxygen molecules whilst you breathe, so breathing more will expel more, which is why exercise can help you lose weight marginally quicker than sitting. That’s not to say you need to exercise – paraplegics are still able to shed weight by simply regulating their diets even though they cannot exercise. In fact, exercise can often be the undoing of many traditional diets because it makes people hungry. If however you go Keto, your hunger will be suppressed.
Who’s on the Keto diet?
- Pat Cash (tennis player)
- LeBron James (NBA player)
- Venessa Hudgens
- Halle Berry
- Gweneth Paltrow
- The Kardashians
- Megan Fox
- Mick Jagger
- Matthew McConaughey
- Jennifer Lopez
- Robin Wright
- Jessica Biel
- Jennifer Aniston
- Kobe Bryant (NBA)
- Elle MacPherson
- Cindy Crawford
- Courtney Cox
- Catherine Zeta Jones
- Ben Affleck
- Gerry Halliwell
- Joe Rogan (Blogger)
- Shane Watson (Australian Cricketer)
And the Scientists?
- Prof. Tim Noakes
- Prof. Stephen Phinney
- Peter Attia MD
- Dr Eric Berg
- Ivor Cummins BE(Chem), CEng
- Dr Jason Fung
- Dr Eric Westman
- Dr Richard David Feinman
- Dr Joseph Kraft
- Dr Zoe Harcombe
- Dr Robert Lustig
- Dr Aseem Malhotra
- Dr Jeffry Gerber MD
- Dr Joseph Mercola
- Dr Malcolm Kendrick
- Dr Ken D Berry MD
Are there people who don’t think Keto is great?
- Jillian Michaels (America’s Biggest Loser)
- David L Katz
- John McDougall
- James Cameron
- …and many others
These are mostly people who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, e.g. they don’t want you to know HOW to lose weight (Michaels) or they are heavily invested in pea protein operations (Cameron), or they may receive funding from the sugar/food industry (Katz, McDougall). To be fair, these are people who believe that the whole planet should eat a plant-based diet with fewer saturated fats and they point to “Blue Zones” as evidence of this, but the fact is there is not a single civilization on Earth that eats an exclusive plant diet. For most of Human history we have subsisted on a variety of plant and meat items (although probably more “seasonally” than in current times).
What are Blue Zones?
Blue Zones are areas of the planet where it’s citizens live the longest. They are often used to promote a vegan or vegetarian diet, but in reality they are always shown to include some meat and fish which the vegans invariably play down or hide. I personally have nothing against vegans or vegetarians, I was a vegetarian for 3 years, but the vegans of today subsisting on the processed “beyond meat”, industrial seed oils and monocrop agriculture are a far cry from what the long-lived citizens in Blue Zones are eating. Blue Zones almost always enjoy more sunshine as well.
Why is sunshine important?
Natural sunlight brings UVB (ultraviolet B) rays to the skin which synthesises 25HydroxyD from cholesterol, which in turn helps the liver create vitamin D3. Vitamin D is a wonder drug that boosts the immune system and is important for many hundreds of natural processes in the body. It’s so vital humans literally change skin colour as they inhabit areas of the planet with different sunshine indexes.
What’s Glycemic Index?
GI is a theory that particular foods are handled differently by our digestive system. Foods that are high on the GI scale such as sugar and bread cause a large and instant spikes in insulin, whereas low scoring foods like green banans and porridge produce a much lower spike, handled over a longer period. Some foods, such as fats, have a GI of zero, meaning that they don’t produce an insulin response at all.
Which is best, high or low GI?
Low, most probably. Both types of food require that insulin processes them fully, so insulin will be in your bloodstream and fat storage will be happening in both cases. However, the low GI food will be digested further down the digestive tract, leading to more stable blood sugar levels.
For less than 100 years we’ve been encouraged to eat industrial, highly processed, chemically treated seed oils, known affectionately by Dow, Kraft, Unilever and Nestle as vegetable oils. It’s up to you if you believe they are heart-healthy! That also goes for Flora and Benecol.
What does a typical day of eating look like?
9am Coffee with double cream (or bulletproof coffee for newbies) 2pm Bacon, scrambled eggs, avocado (lots of butter) 6pm Steak, broccoli, fried egg
The next day?
9am Coffee with double cream 2pm Feta cheese salad, olives 6pm Salmon, asparagus
And the next?
9am Coffee with double cream 2pm Sausage, sauerkraut, courgette 6pm Lamb chops, cabbage
9am Coffee with double cream 2pm Hard boiled eggs, bacon 6pm Pork chops, spinach
You can always snack on nuts and cheese IF you need to, especially before you are in ketosis.
Can I get more information?
- Robert Lustig – Sugar: The Bitter Truth
- Ancel Keys – Father of the Low-Fat Diet
- Zoe Harcombe – The Obesity Epidemic
- Peter Attia – What if we’re wrong about diabetes?
- Ivor Cummins – The Widowmaker – it could save your life!
- Dr. Gary Fettke – Is Fruit Good or Bad For You?
- Dr. Jason Fung – Therapeutic Fasting – Solving the Two-Compartment Problem
- Tim Noakes – Low-Carbohydrate Diet vs Patrick Holford Low Gl Diet
- Aseem Malhotra – Stents & Statins – Do they work? A top cardiologist’s view