Why Low-Carb Diets May Be Ideal for You – Part Two

Low-carb moderate protein diets can help you shed body fat, improve metabolism, boost energy levels, promote longevity, protect brain function, boost mental clarity, improve physical stamina and endurance, and more. – Dr. Jeff Volek

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Jeff Volek, Ph.D., and registered dietitian and professor in the Human Science Department at Ohio State University, has done enormous work in the field of high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets, investigating how it affects human health and athletic performance. Volek has published many scientific articles as well as several books, including “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living,” and “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.”

Part One of this Post covered the following:

  • Low-Carb Diets Can Benefit Athletes and Non-Athletes Alike
  • Is Your Diet Driving Your Metabolism in the Right Direction?
  • Healthy Fat Is a ‘Cleaner’ Burning Fuel
  • And More.

Finding Your Ideal Carb Level

A level of non-fiber carbs that allows you to enter into nutritional ketosis (a metabolic state associated with an increased production of ketones in your liver; it’s the biological reflection of being able to burn fat) is on average about 50 grams per day or less of digestible carbohydrates. However, we all vary how we respond to the same food, so this is not an exact recommendation.

Some people can be in a full fat-burning state with full ketosis at a level of non-fiber carbs that’s higher than 50 grams; maybe 70 or 80 grams. Others, especially if you’re insulin resistant or have type 2 diabetes, may require less than 40 grams or even 30 grams per day.

To find your personal carb limit, it’s important to actually measure your ketones, which can be done either through urine, breath, or blood. This will tell if you’re truly in ketosis, rather than just counting the grams of carbohydrates you consume.

Research has shown that ketosis is a very safe and a therapeutic metabolic state to be in, especially if you’re diabetic or suffering from carb intolerance.

Ketogenic Diet Can Benefit Many Chronic Health Problems

Beyond insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, there are a number of applications for a well-formulated ketogenic diet, including epileptic seizures, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and cancer.

“There are multiple reasons why many cancers would benefit from a ketogenic diet, not just the decreased glucose availability influx (which many tumors depend on) but also the lower insulin response and less inflammation, as many tumors thrive in a pro-inflammatory environment.

The principal ketone body, beta hydroxybutyrate, is more than just an alternative fuel for the brain.  It acts like a potent signaling molecule that affects gene expression, including upregulating genes that are protective against oxidative stress and enhance the antioxidant status.”

Other benefits include the resistance to sugar and other food cravings, as you’re never that hungry once you’ve made the shift.

How Ketogenic Diet May Promote Longevity and Increased Muscle Mass

More recent research supports being an efficient fat burner may also predispose you to a longer life. The more fat you burn, the slower you’re going to age.

Ketones spare branched-chain amino acids, leaving higher levels of them around, which promotes longevity and increased muscle mass.

The Importance of Eating Moderate Protein

There’s a common misconception that low non-fiber carb diets are high-protein diets. In reality, a ketogenic diet must actually be moderate in protein. Don’t eat more protein than your body actually needs.

On the other hand, if you consume too little protein that may push your body into a wasting state. As a general rule, eat one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass per day, which for most sedentary folks is 40 to 70 grams, but this may be higher for athletes and larger individuals. Here is a link to a Post on how much protein you need https://2healthyhabits.wordpress.com/2018/11/09/how-much-protein-do-you-need-in-nutritional-ketosis/

Volek says. “I am a general proponent of high-quality protein sources. Most animal sources of protein maintain essential amino acids.

Low-Carb Benefits for Athletes

We were taught that in order to perform at a higher level and recover adequately, athletes need to consume high amounts of (non-vegetable) carbs before, during, and after exercise. However, the understanding of how low-carb diets can increase performance is starting to catch on.

You can only store about 2,000 kilocalories of carbs in your body as glycogen.  You will burn through a majority of it if you’re exercising for more than a couple of hours.

That’s when you hit the wall of diminished performance. To avoid that train your body to more burn fat.

Athletes who adopt this strategy can become exceptionally good at burning fat. Even if they’re not eating calories during exercise, lean athletes have at least 20,000 to 30,000 kilocalories on their body in the form of adipose (fat) tissue that they can access during exercise. Other benefits are: speedier recovery rates, improved metabolic health, and a leaner body composition.

Jeff Volek, Ph.D., and registered dietitian and professor in the Human Science Department at Ohio State University, has done enormous work in the field of high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets, investigating how it affects human health and athletic performance. Volek has published many scientific articles as well as several books, including “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living,” and “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.”

Both of these books were co-authored with Dr. Stephen Phinney, a physician who has studied low-carb diets even longer than Volek.

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Yours truly,

Lydia Polstra

Email: lpolstra@sympatico.ca

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Author: 2healthyhabits

My goal in life is to experience the exuberance of true good health by returning my body to the healthy state it was meant to have.