Today's post is by David Carmichael, a writer, researcher, biohacker, truth advocate, and ketogenic-nutritionist from Sydney:
While wannabe celebrities scrap it out in the mainstream media, desperate to cash in as the King or Queen of Australian Paleo, there is a way of eating that is rapidly gaining momentum in the fitness community:
It’s called the Ketogenic Diet (also known as Keto, LCHF/low carb high fat, or the Banting Diet) and it’s knocking Paleo out of the ballpark in terms of benefits to human health, disease prevention, longevity, cognitive function and high-performance living.
I first stumbled across the concept of the Ketogenic diet while I was researching Paleo/primal eating in 2013, and in the two years since I've logged a substantial amount of reading time on the subject. But my research into Keto was just the first part of my journey. The second and the most important step was putting all I had learned into personal practice. Six months into my Keto experience it has become obvious to me that it really should be bigger than Paleo! In this blog post I’ll tell you why.
I'm a Nutritionist and Ketogenic advocate, and my partner and I eat Keto six days per week but allow ourselves a carb day every weekend. We practice intermittent fasting and we weight train three to five times per week. We have both been in nutritional ketosis for six months now and it has supercharged our lives!
I've personally experienced a great improvement in body composition with a drop in body fat from 22% to 12%. Keto has given me increased mental clarity and focus, and it has brought with it a real sense of systemic calm. My blood sugar remains stable all day long and I no longer crave carbohydrates.
My everyday energy levels now seem boundless, and my stamina and endurance in the gym has gone through the roof. I can work out with more intensity and for longer, since my body now runs on ketones and has access to a vastly greater energy supply in the form of my own body fat. Another benefit of eating Keto is that I've reduced my food intake to just two meals a day. When you eat high fat, your body stays satiated for longer periods of time, which is really handy when you've got a busy schedule. You don't have to stop what you're doing to go hunt for carbs to prop up your blood sugar.
The 101 of the Ketogenic Diet
65% of calories from fat, 30% from protein, 5% from carbs.
If the Ketogenic diet had a food pyramid, it would look something like this. Source: www.leafie.com
The Keto Diet Leaves Paleo in the Dust
The most important and beneficial difference between Keto and Paleo is that Keto allows your body to enter into nutritional ketosis. Paleo does not. Why is this important? Well, when you are in ketosis, your body doesn’t rely on a constant input of carbs for fuel. Instead, you become a fat-burning machine, using ketones (produced in the liver by metabolizing fat) for fuel.
Why Do You Want To Be In Nutritional Ketosis?
Enhanced mental clarity and cognitive function, heightened focus and sharpened memory, increased energy and endurance, blood sugar regulation, reduced gastrointestinal issues, a reduction in systemic inflammation, correction of bowel function, improved mood, increased feelings of wellbeing, lack of food cravings, blunted appetite, elevated satiety, weight loss, and deeper and more restful sleep.
Why wouldn’t you want to be in nutritional Ketosis is a better question!
The Ketogenic Diet Fuelling Elite Athletes
There is now a growing body of professional athletes performing mind-blowing feats, winning medals and smashing race records, and they are doing it on fat, not carbohydrates.
For world-class triathlete Sami Lukinen, becoming fat adapted allowed him to push his 'hitting the wall' moment (or 'bonking' as it's known in the endurance world) from 5.6 hrs to 90hrs. That means, as a fat burner, he can now go sixteen times further before needing to refuel than he used to be able to as a carbohydrate burner. For an endurance athlete, the importance of this statistic cannot be overstated.
Triathlete Sami Inkinen gets some quantitative data on his level of fat adaptation. Source: www.fatchancerow.org
Sami and his partner Meredith Loring also defied the critics by rowing over 2400 miles from San Francisco to Hawaii, smashing the standing record, and they did it (you guessed it!) on a LCHF ketogenic diet. They each rowed for fourteen hours a day and their energy expenditure was the equivalent of them each running two marathons per day.
Ketogenic superhumans Meredith Long and Sami Inkinen. Halfway to Hawaii at record-breaking speed and not a processed carb in sight. Source: www.fatchancerow.org
Back on Australian soil, the Ketogenic diet has been embraced by Dr. Peter Brukner, Sports Physician and Australian Cricket Team Doctor. Dr. Brukner has prescribed the Keto diet for Shane Watson and David Warner who have controlled and improved their body composition, appetite, blood sugar, and the quality and speed of their recovery after training and game day. Not to mention they've supercharged their on-field performances.
Australian cricketer Shane Watson, in best shape of his life thanks to the Ketogenic diet. Source: www.cricketcountry.com
The AFL have also jumped on board the Keto bandwagon, with the Melbourne Demons team being the most high profile proponents of the diet. Stories like these are surely just the tip of the iceberg. Fast forward five years and the Keto diet in sport will likely be old news, because everyone will be doing it.
The Melbourne Demons - Firing on fat. Source: www.demonwiki.org
The Ketogenic Diet may well be taking a backseat to Paleo right now, but only because Paleo is a smaller, more manageable baby step for those still buying into the government Food Pyramid scheme. For most people, the Ketogenic diet is hard to wrap their heads around – it’s a huge leap into the abyss from the safety of their cornflakes, white bread and pasta. Not to mention it flies in the face of deeply held beliefs and societal indoctrination that has been drummed into us that “fat is a killer”. But the good news is that thanks in a large part to our ability to access information online, the narrative on appropriate human nutrition is slowly being wrested from the clutches of government and big business.
The Ketogenic diet has been proven to not only optimise performance in elite athletes but it has a myriad of dietetic applications for you and I.
Keto is not a “one size fits all” approach to eating, and only the individual can decide if it's right for them, but I can speak from personal experience that eating Keto is initially a bigger challenge than eating Paleo because there are some major enzymatic changes that need to take place before your body is ready to run on ketones, but I can assure you, the health benefits of embracing nutritional ketosis are well-worth the effort.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Ketogenic diet, here are some great resources:
Dr. Steve Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek www.artandscienceoflowcarb.com
Dr. Dominic P. D'Agostino www.ketonutrition.org
Professor Tim Noakes www.realmealrevolution.com