Q. As a family we are a bit on the “heavy side”. Our doctor has suggested I investigate ketosis. We understand the weight loss benefits of ketosis but also love sweet things (ice cream, cake , chocolate biscuits). Our diet is based on bread, rice, pasta and potato. Can we get into ketosis and lose weight with our current diet?
Unfortunately, No. You are on a high carbohydrate diet. This results in the release of insulin, which is a hormone that turns on fat deposition and turns off fat burning. Changing to a low carb diet (eg. above the ground vegetables) with lots of high healthy fats (eg. extra virgin olive oil, butter, cream, cheese, coconut oil) will decrease your insulin production and for most people will result in weight loss.
Q. I have heard eating lots of animal and coconut fat causes heart disease and stroke?
Back in the 1970s American Dr Ancel Keys produced very poor quality research that has set us back 40 years. Dr Ancel Keys produced a study showing that the countries where saturated fat intake was the highest had the highest rates of heart disease. He left out the information from another 7 countries because “it did not fit with his hypothesis”! Disgraceful! This is criminal behaviour for a scientist! His research was funded by the sugar industry. We now know sugar is the real devil, not fat. No wonder the public are skeptical when they read about “what a scientific study has found”.
Numerous good scientific studies have now shown that providing your sugar and starch (The bad carbs) are low, eating saturated fats and oils does not increase your risk of heart disease.
Because older doctors, dietitians and nutritional therapists have trained during the years that this bad advice was considered correct, some of them are not up to date.
Q. Are there any bad fats and oils?
Yes, all trans fats are bad (like in pastries, pies, donuts). Most oils coming from seeds (canola, sunflower, soya bean etc) should be avoided. These poly unsaturated oils result in high levels of free radicals which damage our cells. Extra virgin Olive oil is good. In Australia, Cobram estate extra virgin olive oil has won the top olive oil award from Choice, an independent magazine that compares products. Our supermarkets a couple of times a year run a special where Cobram estate extra virgin olive oil is half price. A good time to bulk buy!
Q. Should I measure my ketones?
Yes. This is the only way of definitely telling that your are getting the health benefits of ketosis. Blood ketone levels are more accurate than measuring urine or breath ketones. You should aim for values between 1.0 and 3.0
Q. Are carbs addictive and am I going to experience withdrawal signs?
Yes. The first 2 weeks you are likely to experience cravings for sugar and very sweet fruit when you go low carb. Have a supply of macadamia nuts or almonds with you so you can eat when you feel a craving coming on
Q. Can the brain use ketones?
The human brain can function effectively on both glucose and ketones. This is an evolutionary adaptation. There was not always enough food (carbs) so humans that could do well burning their own body fat and producing ketones were given a survival advantage. In fact ketones maybe a better fuel than glucose for the brain. This is why the majority of people report clarity of thought on a Ketogenic diet.
Q. Does the body need carbs the way it must have fats and proteins?
No carbs are not essential. Glucose is required for our red blood cells, but we can actually produce glucose from protein through a process called “gluconeogenesis”.
Q. What are the best quality protein sources?
Meat, fish, shellfish and organ meat (liver, kidney etc.) are excellent sources of essential amino acids that the body will get through diet.
Q. I don't eat meat or fish or eggs?
Still possible for you to meet your essential amino acid requirements but you will need help.
Q. I am a Type 2 diabetic, can you help me?
Yes. Google Virta Health Study before we talk.
Q. Should I experiment with fasting?
Yes. Most people find stretching out the time between the last meal of one day and the first meal of the next day is the easiest way to start burning fat and producing ketones. Try week 1 – 12 hrs, week 2 – 13 hrs, week 3 – 14 hrs, week 4 & 5 – 15 hrs and week 6 – 16 hrs.