There’s an answer to the current terrible health trends of skyrocketing obesity, diabetes and chronic disease rates.
It all starts with the nutritional composition of your diet. Most people simply eat far too many processed foods, grains and sugars, (particularly fructose), net carbs and too few healthy fats, and too many unhealthy fats, which results in gaining and retaining extra body fat and becoming increasingly insulin resistant.
Most also eat too much protein for optimal health and, while exercise cannot compensate for the damage done by a high-carb, low-fat diet, most do not get enough physical movement either. These factors set in motion metabolic and biological cascades that deteriorate your health.
The Root Cause of Most Degenerative Conditions
A foundational cause of most degenerative diseases is the fact that your mitochondria, the little powerhouses located in most of your body’s cells, are not receiving sufficient amounts of proper fuel. As a result, your mitochondria start to deteriorate and malfunction. This dysfunction lays the groundwork for subsequent breakdowns of various bodily systems.
Your mitochondria generate the vast majority of the energy (adenosine triphosphate or ATP) in your body. Were all mitochondria to fail, you’d be dead in seconds.
In addition to generating the energy currency of your body, ATP, your mitochondria are also responsible for apoptosis (programmed cell death), and serve as important signaling molecules that help regulate the expression of your genes. This is a function that even most doctors are unaware of.
Your mitochondria are nourished by certain nutrients and harmed by others. So, a healthy diet is a diet that supports mitochondrial function and prevents dysfunction, and having the metabolic flexibility to burn fat is the key.
People who eat a primarily processed food diet are burning carbohydrates as their primary fuel, which has the devastating effect of shutting down your body’s ability to burn fat. This is why obesity is so prevalent, and why so many find it nearly impossible to lose weight and keep it off.
Fats Versus Carbs
Ideally you will have the metabolic flexibility to burn either carbs or fats for fuel. Saturated fats have been wrongly demonized as being harmful, and when food manufacturers started removing the fats from their processed foods, they added sugar instead. We now know healthy dietary fats support good health.
When your body burns primarily carbs for fuel, excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals are created, which damage cellular mitochondrial membranes and DNA, leading to the degenerative diseases that are so prevalent today. Healthy dietary fats, which are a cleaner-burning fuel, create far fewer ROS and free radicals. Fats are also critical for the health of cellular membranes and many other biological functions.
Metabolic Mitochondrial Therapy – Fat and Carb Basics
Dr. Mercola developed the metabolic mitochondrial therapy (MMT). The initial phase of the MMT program – which ends once your body is able to effectively burn fat for fuel – can take anywhere from weeks to months or longer, depending on how metabolically damaged you are.
The initial strategy of this program is the restriction of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) to 20 to 50 grams per day, but only until you start burning fat for fuel. To replace the lost carbs, you increase healthy fats, so that you’re getting anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of your daily calories from fat.
Examples of high-quality healthy fats include:
- Coconuts and coconut oil (excellent for cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures without oxidizing)
- Animal-based omega-3 fat from fatty fish low in mercury like wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies and/or krill oil
- Butter made from raw grass fed organic milk
- Raw nuts (macadamia and pecans are ideal as they’re high in healthy fat while being low in protein)
- Seeds like black sesame, cumin, pumpkin and hemp seeds
- Olives and olive oil (make sure it’s third party certified, as 80 percent of olive oils are adulterated with vegetable oils)
- Grass fed (pastured) preferably organic and humanely raised meats. Avoid CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) animal products
- MCT oil
- Ghee (clarified butter), lard and tallow (excellent for cooking)
- Raw cacao butter
- Organic, pastured egg yolks
Fats to avoid include trans fats and highly refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Both damage the mitochondria.
Raising the amount of fat and decreasing net carbs is what pushes your body into burning fat for fuel. Eating high amounts of both fat and net carbs will NOT allow your body to make this shift, as your body will use whatever sugar is available first.
Metabolic Mitochondrial Therapy — Protein Basics
A general recommendation is to limit your protein to one-half gram of protein per pound (1 gram per kilo) of lean body mass. To determine your lean body mass, subtract your body fat percentage from 100.
For example, if you have 30 percent body fat, then you have 70 percent lean body mass. Then multiply that percentage (in this case, 0.7) by your current weight to get your lean body mass in pounds or kilos. As an example, if you weigh 170 pounds, 0.7 multiplied by 170 equals 119 pounds of lean body mass. Using the “half-gram of protein” rule, you daily protein requirement would be 59.5 or just under 60 grams.
Certain individuals and life circumstances do raise your protein requirements. This includes seniors, pregnant women and those who are aggressively exercising (or competing). As a general rule, these individuals need about 25 percent more protein.
Why Limit Protein?
The reason for limiting protein is because excessive protein has a stimulating effect on a very important biochemical signaling pathway called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), which has significant, adverse metabolic consequences. Importantly, this pathway plays a significant role in many cancers. It’s also a significant regulator of the aging process. When you reduce protein to just what your body needs, mTOR remains inhibited, which helps minimize your chances of cancer growth.
Excessive protein can also be converted into body fat and, through some pathways, sugar. So, net carb restriction normalizes the insulin pathway while protein restriction normalizes the mTOR pathway, both of which are important for optimal health. It’s well worth noting that cancer is just one expression of the same metabolic problem found in most other degenerative diseases. The same pathways are involved in most if not all of them.
Feast-Famine Cycling Basics:
A crucial difference between MMT and most other ketogenic diets is something called feast-famine cycling. Continuously remaining in nutritional ketosis can actually cause counterproductive side effects, and is likely not optimally healthy in the long term. The ketogenic cycling is implemented once you’re out of the initial stage and your body has regained the ability to burn fat. At that point, you begin cycling in and out of nutritional ketosis by upping your carb and protein intake once or twice a week.
After a day or two of “feasting,” you then cycle back into nutritional ketosis (the “fasting” stage) for the remainder of the week. By periodically pulsing higher carb intakes, consuming, say, 100 or 150 grams of carbs opposed to 20 to 50 grams per day, your ketone levels will dramatically increase and your blood sugar will drop.
Why is this pulsing so important? It goes back to the workings of insulin. The primary function of insulin is not merely to drive sugar into the cell but rather to suppress the production of glucose by your liver (hepatic gluconeogenesis). When you suppress insulin for too long, however, your liver starts making more glucose to make up for the deficit.
The result? Your blood sugar starts rising even if you’re not eating any sugar at all. In this situation, eating a high-carb meal will actually LOWER your blood sugar (because you activated insulin, which then suppresses glucose production in your liver). In the long term, this is not a healthy metabolic state, and cycling in and out of nutritional ketosis will prevent this from occurring.
It is simply wrong to try and calculate composition of your meals, or calculate when you should eat and how much. These things need to be done instinctively, from the signals your body’s biology gives you, as your body has infinitely more wisdom about what it needs, than our mind and intelligence will ever calculate.
To be successful on this program, precision is important. You cannot guess when it comes to the amount of fat, net carbs and protein you eat. In the beginning, you have to measure and track them. To do this you need:
- A kitchen scale to weigh food items
- Measuring cups to measure food amounts
- A nutrient tracker such as www.cronometer.com/mercola
Based on the personal base parameters you enter, such as height, weight, body fat percentage and waist circumference, it will automatically calculate the ideal ratios of net carbs, protein and healthy fats (including your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio) to put you into nutritional ketosis.
An alternative free nutrient tracker is Carb Manager. To learn more please visit this Post https://2healthyhabits.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/carb-manager-is-the-most-comprehensive-and-easiest-to-use-net-and-total-carb-counter-2/
From a metabolic perspective, once you become an efficient fat burner, one of the most astonishing things that happens is that your food cravings disappear. No longer will sugar rule your world. It’s incredibly freeing for most people. Your energy level and mental clarity will also dramatically increase.
Source: Basic Introduction to Metabolic Mitochondrial Therapy https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/05/21/metabolic-mitochondrial-therapy-introduction.aspx
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