Why We Don’t Need Carbohydrates

Myth 1:  The human brain burns 600 kcal per day glucose to meet its energy needs.

Myth 2:  No one can follow a ketogenic diet long term.

Blog - Apr. 5 delete-1.png

The need for dietary carbohydrates is often a topic of misunderstanding and misinformation. Although some specific tissues in the body do have certain glucose requirements, these requirements are easily met by gluconeogenic sources within the body without the need for dietary carbohydrate intake. The fatigue, stress, impaired cognition and reduced performance that are often used to argue for the need for carbohydrate are more aptly attributable to improper implementation of a well-formulated ketogenic diet (WFKD), inadequate electrolyte replacement, and/or insufficient time for keto-adaptation. When used correctly, a ketogenic diet can be a safe and sustainable therapeutic tool as well as a means to help promote wellness and performance.

The specific topic that we want to address here is how both the brain and body can function as well – or even better – on a diet with little or no dietary carbohydrate compared to the typically promoted low fat, high carbohydrate ‘healthy diet.’

Published science has shown that ketones that are produced from either dietary fats or triglycerides stored in our adipose (fat) tissue reserves are an excellent fuel for the brain. Further, we now know that these ketones produced by the liver also have multiple beneficial effects on the heart, kidneys, and other organs that appear to translate into improved longevity.

Additionally, new research has highlighted that skeletal muscles, even those of competitive athletes, are not solely dependent on high dietary carbohydrate intake for glycogen replenishment and performance.

Ketones are a cleaner-burning fuel (i.e., producing fewer free-radicals) than glucose when used by the brain and other organs. The primary ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate (BOHB) can also function as a signal to activate genes that regulate our defenses against oxidative stress and inflammation.

The shifting they body’s energy source from carbohydrates to fats, which we have named ‘keto-adaptation,’ starts within days but takes a considerable period of time to fully develop. The result is maintenance of normal blood glucose and muscle glycogen levels that can be sustained without the need for dietary carbohydrate intake.

Physiologic Role of Carbohydrates

The presumed requirement for glucose by the brain is a conditional need that is based on the fuel sources dictated by one’s choice of diet. A ketone-suppressing diet (i.e., any diet supplying >30% of energy from the combined intakes of carbohydrate and protein) essentially forces the brain to rely on glucose for fuel.

It is true that some cells within the body do require glucose. But in all of these cases where glucose is broken down to lactate, the body can recycle that lactate back to glucose.

Evidence That the Brain Can Function on Ketones

The simplest experiment that demonstrates the brain’s ability to function on ketones is the observation that humans can tolerate total fasting with normal mental function for durations of 30-60 days. Elegantly done studies that measured glucose and ketone levels in arterial blood going into the brain compared to these fuels in the jugular vein coming out of the brain, indicated that ketones are in fact able to supply the great majority of the brain’s energy.

See the original Virta post for the studies.

What these studies demonstrated is clear evidence of normal brain function in the virtual absence of glucose when sufficient ketones are available. This offers us the unique perspective that when consuming a carbohydrate-rich diet the predominate source of fuel for the brain is glucose; not because it is needed but because the other natural and highly effective brain energy source has been shut off.Butunder conditions of consistent nutritional ketosis, the brain adapts to the presence of ketones by enhancing their uptake and oxidation, thus protecting cognitive and CNS (central nervous system) function.

Essentials of Keto-Adaptation – Glucose Conservation and Salvage

Just because one doesn’t consume dietary carbohydrate does not mean the body is completely lacking in glucose. Whether fasting or on a meat-and-fat-only ketogenic diet, blood glucose values remain in the normal range both at rest and during exercise. This occurs because the body is quite capable of synthesizing all of the glucose it needs from various gluconeogenic precursors, while at the same time strictly limiting its rate of carbohydrate oxidation.

There are at least five sources of these glucose precursors:

  1. breakdown of muscle to supply amino acids for gluconeogenesis;
  2. breakdown of dietary protein to supply amino acids for gluconeogenesis,
  3. glycerol released from the hydrolysis of adipose tissue triglyceride or dietary triglyceride;
  4. recycling lactate and pyruvate from glycolysis; and
  5. acetone produced by the spontaneous breakdown of acetoacetate to acetone that can be used for gluconeogenesis.

The conditions for and the amounts provided by these various sources of gluconeogenesis are shown in the following table.

BLOG - APR. 5  - TABLE – SOURCES OF GLUCOSE.png

What this table clearly demonstrates is that whether during a total fast or a ketogenic diet without carbohydrate containing foods, new or recycled gluconeogenic substrates provide for the generation of anywhere from 100-200 g/d of glucose. Add to this up to 50 g/d of dietary carbohydrate as part of a WFKD, and it becomes clear why nutritional ketosis is well tolerated under a variety of challenging conditions.

Lessons from Low Carbohydrate Athletes

Dr. Volek’s group recruited 20 competitive ultra-runners, 10 of whom followed a traditional high carbohydrate diet and the other 10 had been following a ketogenic diet for at least 6 months.

After baseline testing, these runners were asked to do a 3-hour run at race-pace on a treadmill. Surprisingly, both groups had similar muscle glycogen levels before the run, and they also both mobilized similar amounts (about 80%) of their glycogen during 3 hours on the treadmill.

But almost 90% of ketogenic runner’s net energy use was from fat. This is an astonishing example of being able to maintain normal muscle glycogen while consuming very little carbohydrate.

Please refer to the original Virta post for 2 more in depth studies.

Why Some Experts Still Claim that We Need Dietary Carbohydrates

There are some other arguments used to support the idea that we need to consume carbohydrates above levels that facilitate nutritional ketosis.

Thyroid dysfunction:The blood level of the active thyroid hormone T3 typically falls by 30-40% in the first few weeks of a WFKD, but this is not accompanied by any signs or symptoms of clinical hypothyroidism. This change is due to a marked reduction in thyroid hormone resistance during nutritional ketosis, which can be eased with adequate electrolytes intake. Therefore, this is a healthy response and not a sign of endocrine dysfunction.

Sleep patterns are disturbed by a ketogenic diet. In our study we found that global sleep quality, sleep disturbances, and daytime dysfunction parameters all were significantly improved. In addition, the proportion of patients reporting poor sleep was significantly reduced after 1 year.

We need more dietary fiber than is possible on a ketogenic diet.What we point out in our blog post on fiber is that the production of BOHB can provide many-fold more SCFAs to the brain than a very high fiber diet combined with an optimized microbiome. Thus, the moderate level of fiber that one can achieve with a real-food WFKD should be more than adequate to maintain health.

To learn more, please see my Blog Post, Fiber and Colon Health On A Well-Formulated Ketogenic Diet https://2healthyhabits.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/fiber-and-colon-health-on-a-well-formulated-ketogenic-diet-new-insights-question-its-role-as-an-unconditional-requirement/

This Post has been condensed from the original Virta Post: Why Humans Don’t Need Dietary Carbohydrates to Thrive By Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD, Brooke Bailey, Ph.D Jeff Volek, PhD, RD https://blog.virtahealth.com/why-dont-need-dietary-carbohydrates/?fbclid=IwAR0gDnfRCWEimOQgsK8sCEY7-Rh5R6E5TyyISAOd3VbSj71OsKOEekmTTO0

I invite you to Follow my Blog, Facebook or be added to my email distribution list. My focus is to maximize my physical performance and mental clarity, body composition, and most importantly overall health with a wholesome diet and exercise.

I will bring you compelling articles on Ketogenic and GAPS diets, the Super Slow High-Intensity Exercise Program and supplements.

To follow my Blog, please click the Follow button to receive an email when the next posting is available. Hint: You may have to click the Accept and Close button before follow is available.

I thrive on feedback. Please let me know you are interested in the content by clicking Like, Commenting or sending me a message or email about the Post.

If you wish to contact me by Email, please email lpolstra@bell.net using this form.

May you Live Long Healthy.

Yours truly,

Lydia Polstra

416-428-5285

Email: lpolstra@bell.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2healthyhabits/

Blog: https://2healthyhabits.wordpress.com

Disclaimer: The content of this email or Post is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.

Fiber and Colon Health On A Well-Formulated Ketogenic Diet: New Insights Question Its Role As An Unconditional Requirement

I have wondered about the role of fiber. I found it hard to get enough in my diet. As I have learned from this article, as long as I am in nutritional ketosis I should not worry.

There are a few dietary recommendations that have been so ingrained in our minds that we accept them without question. The need for dietary fiber and the proposed benefits of a high fiber diet seem to be two of these.

Adults are generally encouraged to consume at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day. A well-formulated ketogenic diet (WFKD), while necessarily restricted in its carbohydrate content, can include several classes of foods that provide fiber (e.g., vegetables, seeds, nuts), but on average may only provide about half this amount.

However, the nutritional ketosis resulting from a WFKD causes the liver to produce beta-hydroxybutyrate (BOHB), and BOHB has the potential to replace some of the functions of dietary fiber. Many of the benefits of fiber are attributable to its fermentation by bacteria, which produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the colon, especially one called butyrate. SCFA has metabolic properties that are very similar to those of BOHB. Therefore, a well-formulated ketogenic diet may provide many of the benefits of fiber, without a high carbohydrate intake.

Snapshot: Two Pathways to Colonic Fuel and Health

Health - Fiber and Colon Health - Blog picture.png

Followers of a Western Diet depend upon fiber to produce butyrate. Butyrate is a preferred fuel to nourish the cells lining the large intestine (colon).

We now know that a ketogenic diet can induce the liver to produce anywhere between 75 to 150 grams of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BOHB) every day. Both butyrate and BOHB can be used by mitochondria as an efficient fuel, and both have anti-inflammatory and epigenetic effects.However, in this inflammation-modulating role, BOHB is more potent.

So, here’s our (Drs. Phinney and Volek) hypothesis: while high dietary fiber plus an optimum microbiome is critical to one’s health when eating a Western diet, this less important for the ketogenic diet.  This is because adequate dietary carbohydrate restriction can induce the liver to produce many-fold more grams of BOHB than one could produce as butyrate via colonic fermentation. Thus, the keto-adapted individual might still be able to function without the need for as much fiber.

Strong biochemical evidence indicates that many of the benefits of fiber fermentation in the colon can be replaced by the normal physiological production of BOHB by the liver during a well-formulated ketogenic diet.

What is Fiber?    Fiber is composed of various components of plants such as vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and fruits that are neither digested nor absorbed in the small intestine but are fermented by bacteria in the colon.

Fiber is often further separated into two categories:

Soluble (absorbs water, increases stool bulk, prone to fermentation)

Insoluble (promotes motility, less prone to fermentation)

Soluble fiber plays a supporting role in colon health, but only if one has an optimized microbiome that produces butyrate. Fiber primarily facilitates the production of SCFAs like butyrate, they are the real stars of the show.

Short-Chain Fatty Acids:       Three SCFAs – acetate, propionate and butyrate – are produced in the intestinal lumen by bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber. Butyrate provides many of the health-promoting effects associated with colonic fermentation of fiber.

Butyrate acts as a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. HDACs are enzymes that regulate specific genes and can help reduce unwanted cell growth and oxidative stress. BOHB is also an HDAC inhibitor. Both butyrate and BOHB bind to the same cell surface receptor in the colon, which means they can have similar tumor suppressing effects upon binding. This is likely one of the underlying mechanisms by which fiber intake is understood to contribute to a reduction in the incidence of colon cancer.

The Influence of Fiber on Components of Health:   Some of the benefits that have been attributed to fiber including: improved gut health and motility, reduced risk of Cardiovascular disease (CVD), improved glycemia and insulin sensitivity, as well as help with weight control. Fiber contributes to these aspects through the action of butyrate.

While fiber is thought to increase gut motility and ease of bowel movements, (butyrate regulates fluid and mineral balance) the effect of minerals like magnesium and sodium, as well as hydration status, cannot be overstated. Stool water content significantly effects motility. This is especially true for those on a WFKD. Careful attention to magnesium, sodium and fluid intakes can improve constipation.

Cardiovascular Health.    When we look more closely at the effect of fiber on coronary heart disease (CHD), we need to consider factors such as increased SCFA production and decreased caloric intake, as well as increased antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These factors are known to influence inflammation, which is increasingly acknowledged to be a driver in the development of CHD. In fact, a sustainable diet that reduces inflammation may prove to be more beneficial for cardiovascular health than fiber.

Type 2 Diabetes and Weight Control.   Most well-designed studies have not shown significant, sustained weight reduction that is attributable to fiber in individuals consuming high fiber real-foods.

Interestingly, individuals with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) have fewer butyrate-producing bacteria in their gut, suggesting a potential protective role of butyrate in this disease. Based on current evidence, it is difficult to attribute a significant impact in improving T2D to fiber alone.

Gut Microbiome.  It has been shown that diet can dramatically alter the content of the gut microbiota and the microbiome can affect your health in general.

The gut microbiota is also a potential factor in obesity and T2D as well as auto-immune diseases and other conditions. Therefore, as we continue to learn more about the role the microbiome plays in the modulation of health and disease, we will learn how the composition of the diet can influence these outcomes.

Dietary Fiber in the Context of a Ketogenic Diet.    As we look at the proposed benefits of fiber, we can see that for those individuals who are on a WFKD, many of these positive effects are also achieved. We want to emphasize that butyrate appears to be the powerful actor behind fiber. Thus, in the context of a WFKD, the internal production of BOHB by the liver can reduce or eliminate the need for butyrate to achieve the desired health outcomes.

As a result, the need for a high dietary fiber intake may in fact be conditional and based upon the overall and consistent composition of the diet. If an individual is in nutritional ketosis, it may not be necessary to consume a high fiber diet (>25g per day) to achieve the health effects attributed to fiber.

Source:  Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD Brooke Bailey, Ph.D Jeff Volek, PhD, RD on March 4, 2019

https://blog.virtahealth.com/fiber-colon-health-ketogenic-diet/?fbclid=IwAR3nlSJDbnDJr2Aj47DyNzmVYNwoocy49xoYvElXHP8r8cigs2u65z6m0u8

I invite you to Follow my Blog, Facebook or be added to my email distribution list. My focus is to maximize my physical performance and mental clarity, body composition, and most importantly overall health with a wholesome diet and exercise.

I will bring you compelling articles on Ketogenic and GAPS diets, the Super Slow High-Intensity Exercise Program and supplements.

To follow my Blog, please click the Follow button to receive an email when the next posting is available. Hint: You may have to click the Accept and Close button before follow is available.

I thrive on feedback. Please let me know you are interested in the content by clicking Like, Commenting or sending me a message or email about the Post.

If you wish to contact me by Email, please email lpolstra@bell.net using this form.

May you Live Long Healthy.

Yours truly,

Lydia Polstra

416-428-5285

Email: lpolstra@bell.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2healthyhabits/

Blog: https://2healthyhabits.wordpress.com

Disclaimer: The content of this email or Post is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.

Did you know that fiber cannot be digested by the gut without beneficial bacteria?

FB picture - gut

Fibercannot be digested by the gut without the help of beneficial bacteria.Beneficial bacteria feed on fiber producing a whole host of good nutrition for the gut wall and the whole body. When the good bacteria are damaged and are not able to “work” the fiber, dietary fiber itself can become dangerous for the digestive system, providing a good habitat for the bad pathogenic bacteria and aggravating inflammation in the gut wall.

Latose(milk sugar) is another substance which most of us would not be able to digest without are good bacteria in gut. If we are not meant to digest lactose, then, why do some people seem to manage it perfectly well?

The answer is that these people have the right bacteria in their gut. One of the major lactose-ingesting bacteria in the human gut is a physiological strains of E. coli. They exist in large numbers throughout life, providing they do not get destroyed by antibiotics and other environmental influences. Apart from digesting lactose, these E. coli produce vitamin K2, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, produce antibiotic like substances and control other members of their own family, which can cause disease. In fact having your gut populated by the physiological strains of E. coli is the best way to protect yourself from pathogenic species of E. coli.

Vitamins and amino acids deficiencies: In the process of evolution Nature made sure that when the food supply is sparse, we humans don’t die from vitamins and amino acids deficiencies.

Nature provided us with our own factory that provides a constant stream these substances – our healthy gut flora.  And when this gut flora is damaged, despite adequate nutrition, we develop vitamin deficiencies. Why? Because many vitamins and other active substances have a fairly short life in the body. So, unless one is taking these vitamins every hour (providing that they can get absorbed at all without healthy gut flora), there will be periods during the day when the body would be deficient of these vitamins. That is what happens to people with damaged gut flora. Restoring the beneficial bacteria in the gut is the best way to deal with these deficiencies.

This Post was a continuation of the last two posts:

  1. Our gut holds the roots of our health, with sick roots we will not to thrive.

In that Post we learned about the 3 types of Micro-flora in our gut:

  • Essential or beneficial (friendly) flora.
  • Opportunistic flora.
  • Transitional flora.

Here is the link to the Post: Our gut holds the roots of our health, with sick roots we will not to thrive.https://2healthyhabits.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/our-gut-holds-the-roots-of-our-health-with-sick-roots-we-will-not-to-thrive/

  1. The second Post helped us to understand how this situation could get worse.

In that Post we learned the situation is made worse because without well functioning gut flora we will have nutritional deficiencies and food in tolerances. We learned about our inability to digest milk and wheat.

Here is the link to the Post: How Did I Get Gut Issues? https://2healthyhabits.wordpress.com/2018/08/31/how-did-i-get-gut-issues/

SOURCE: Gut and Psychology Syndrome https://www.amazon.ca/Psychology-Syndrome-D-D-D-H-D-Schizophrenia/dp/0954852028

Disclaimer: The content of this email is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.

Please consider visiting Lydia’s Blog https://2healthyhabits.wordpress.com

You can search the Blog using key words. In the Blog I discuss the Ketogenic and GAPS (for gut health) diets, supplements and Super-slow High Resistance Training.

If you are interested in following my postings, please click the Follow button to receive an email when the next posting is available. Hint: You may have to click the Accept and Close button before follow is available.

If you wish to comment or contact me please use this form using my email address, lpolstra@bell.net

As always, I am interested in your thoughts on these topics. Is there any topic that I can research for you? Please let me know. Thank you.

May you Live Long Healthy.

Yours truly,

Lydia Polstra

lpolstra@bell.net