Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thoughts on "Is the High-Fat, Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet Right for You?"

Interesting article, and a decent overview of the topic:

"In May, I sat down with a former Special Forces medic (who asked not to be named) who served multiple combat tours. He said that at the most elite levels of the U.S. military, people aren’t waiting for research to confirm the benefits of a keto diet. “I’d say more than a third of the guys are doing it, for the endurance and also for the cognition,” he said. As research by D’Agostino and others indicates, the anti-­inflammatory benefits of ketone bodies on the brain may add a measure of injury protection. In fact, the medic told me that he used the keto diet to supplement his own TBI treatment at Walter Reed hospital."

However, it does contain the usual journalistic silliness:

"Even if it’s the right path to follow, low-carb eating in a high-carb world is tricky. Outside Online’s editor, Scott Rosenfield—a long-distance mountain biker—tried the diet earlier this year, leaning heavily on canned sardines and staying under 50 grams of carbs per day. He liked the results. “One day I did a 100-mile solo ride on my fat-tire bike,” he said. “I felt like Superman.” 
"The sustained power was one thing; sustaining the diet was another. “It got monotonous,” Rosenfield said. Another problem was ordering “weird” food at restaurants and having to explain the diet to bewildered friends and service staff. Predictably, eating sardines became a chore. He fell off."

I'm a big fan of sardines, but I surely don't eat them every day.  The missing part of this article is the dangers of too much polyunsaturated fats, either omega-3, like in sardines, or omega-6, like in seed oils.

My mainstay while travelling is a cheeseburger and bacon with no bun or fries.  Generally restaurants are happy to offer extra pickles or a side salad in exchange.  Just skip the salad dressing, which is usually high in omega-6 fats.  There's not much of a trick to it.

I also question the "too much protein is bad" commentary.  We're uniquely adapted to both ketosis (we have higher body fat than any other primate) and a high-protein diet. So I doubt that they're in conflict.  A significant component of protein is leucine, a branched-chain amino acid, which is metabolized to ketones, not glucose.  So it's possible that the reduction in serum ketone levels after protein consumption is due to leucine metabolism, which takes place inside the cells, and is not visible via serum tests.

But overall an interesting article, especially to those not overly-familiar with the topic.

Via Mark's Daily Apple.

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