❖ Mark Hurley >> Anti-Stress ❖
The Keto Diet has recently gained our attention due to the promising benefits of fat-loss. The logic behind ketosis is that our eating habits diverge from that of our ancestors; a diet rich in animal protein, berries, nuts, seeds, and minimal grains. We have steadily transitioned from an unprocessed diet to a diet over-saturated with articial ingredients and sugar. The quick accessibility to processed food is convenient in a fast-paced society. Food preparation time must decrease to meet a high population demand.
The recent technological boom has forced us to adapt at a faster rate. This creates a perfect environment for stress to build up, but also creates the need for faster food preparation. The obesity epidemic soon followed this abrupt transition period. As we gained further awareness, new solutions such as the keto diet were sought after. There is no doubt that the keto diet is very beneficial to the body under certain circumstances. The question to consider is whether the keto diet can potentiate the risk of insulin resistance. The following sections outline reasons why insulin resistance could follow the keto diet. It all depends on how well the body transitions to a new state - one that relies on protein and fat to function.
There are many causes of diabetes. Carbohydrates have been a central focus in terms of finding a root cause for this current epidemic. We will never truly reach an absolute understanding of diabetes as a whole; however, we can consider other possibilities. We may deamanize carbohydrates because it plays a role in the development of diabetes. The problem is that we have created these chain of events. We have genetically modified many carbohydrate sources at a rate faster than our body can adjust. It is no wonder why many food intolerances exist today. Certainly, food intolerances have always existed. We have accelerated the process via mass production.
Wheat is one of the many crops to fall down the path leading to mass production. Our body continually adapts to our eating habits. If we were to eat the same food every day, it becomes progressively easier to process unless a food intolerance arises. Food intolerances stem from the following reasons: stress, excessive calories, inflammation, etc. Excess seems to be the common denominator here. Wheat and other grains are very beneficial to feed the masses. When the body is craving for food, it readily processes it efficiently. Instead of blaming wheat for many of our problems today, we should consider gluttony as a trigger.
It seems counterintuitive to consider carbohydrates as a measure to stabilize glucose. Excess or very frequent consumption of carbohydrates leads to insulin resistance. Zeroing our carb intake could also trigger insulin resistance because the need for insulin production halts to a stop. In other words, there is no need to expend energy reserves to maintain sensitivity. You could think of it as a hybernation of insulin receptors. What this entails is that blood glucose could rise to new heights once carbs enter the diet. To prevent this, introducing carbs back into the diet slowly and gradually is ideal. This allows the insulin receptors to regain life.
The transition into a keto diet is oftentimes immediate. By eliminating carbohydrates, the ratios of protein and fats within the diet must increase to maintain energy balance. Since excess carbohydrates push the gycogen reserves beyond its storage capabilities (fat storage mode), the reverse reaction initiates. Fatty acids begin to release into the bloodstream as excess glycogen - in the form of adipose fat - melts away. The liver then utilizes these fatty acids to produce ketones as an alternative source of fuel. Eliminating the need for carbohydrates potentially creates a new problem; a stressful liver.
Ammonia, a toxic gas, is a byproduct of protein metabolism. During a keto diet, the calories obtained from protein and fat generally increase. Otherwise, the body transitions into self preservation mode by lowering the metabolic rate. Bombarding the liver with too much protein strains the liver in a similar manner as alcohol. This causes blood glucose levels to increase because the liver plays a pivotol role in glucose metabolism.
Packing on extra muscle mass is one method for offseting the extra ammonia build-up. Exercising helps eliminate any excess protein that converts into ammonia. Moreover, decreasing the ratio of fat to lean muscle mass improves the metabolic rate. This means that the liver and kidneys can filter ammonia more efficiently.
Generally, a healthy liver tolerates the consumption of extra protein with ease. Drinking plenty of water decreases the concentration of ammonia, allowing faster processing. Everyone has a different demand for protein consumption based on body composition, metabolic rate, hydration levels, hormones, etc. Listening to the body prevents an uneccesary strain on the organ system due to toxicity.
Always ensure that muscles stay well-rested because zero carb intake strains the liver. Carbohydrates provide a quick source of energy for the muscles to heal. Adding a higher internal demand on the body means the risk for overtraining is higher. For this reason, carbohydrates are essential for muscle building. Solely relying on protein means that the body can degrade muscle tissue to create glucose as a means to combat inflammation. Introducing too much protein into the equation only escalates the issue.
When transitioning into a keto diet, the body must now adapt to a sudden change in fat intake. Any rapid change in diet initially throws the body out of balance. If fat-intake stays constant or decreases, then protein intake must proportionately increase to meet the caloric demand. This scenario; however, causes an immense strain on the liver. Balancing the ratio of protein and fats eases the processing capability of the body.
Fat yields about 9 calories per gram; Protein and carbs supply 4 calories per gram. This means that fats are more difficult to process relative to protein and carbs. Insulin resistance stems from defective insulin receptors. Consider what happens when a car's engine pushes to the limit. The wear and tear of overheating reduces the overall lifespan of an engine. The same concept applies to insulin receptors. If insulin receptors continually detect excess glucose, their function slowly decays due to over-stimulation.
There exists a threshold that defines the limit for overstimulation This threshold heavily depends on the efficiency of the body. An efficient body has a higher threshold or limit. Anything in excess lowers the efficiency of the body, which in turn contributes to the onset of diabetes. Since fat takes a lot of energy to digest, a higher fat intake could easily degrade glucose metabolism via the liver. This leads to overstimulation of insulin receptors because the bodies processing speed slows down.
The onset of diabetes is not a question of excess glucose consumption, but rather toxicity levels. Inflammation, stress, and gluttony are primary triggers for the increasing incidence of diabetes. Toxicity is a central consequence of these factors. Are you consuming too much sugar,fat, or protein for the liver to process? Fructose, ammonia, and excess fat burden the liver in a similar manner as alcohol. As metabolic rate slows down due to toxicity, the treshold for overstimulation decreases. To reverse this negative feedback loop, listen to the body and adjust each micronitrient ratio accordingly.
Ever wonder how athletes can perform at such a high level for years? Michael Phelps consistently loaded up on carbohydrates prior to swimming sessions to provide energy and mitigate stress. Replenishing glycogen reserves is critical for the recovery process because it provides the entire organ system with fuel to heal muscle tissue. Running or swimming for extensive periods greatly burns through the bodies energy reserves. It must then resort to cortisol for glucose creation if the bodily demand is high. Rigorous exercise necessitates a high demand for energy to combat muscle inflammation. Consuming copious amounts of calories from carbohydrates spares cortisol from acting as a catabolic agent.
Stress is another word for chaos. There are so many contributors to stress. The keto diet is one such contributor under the right circumstances. Since internal stress is proportional to energy demand, less energy reserves create a perfect storm for stress to build-up. Stress inevitably closes in at a faster rate as the body slowly depletes itself of glycogen. Although consuming more protein aids recovery, it is only part of the whole recovery process. The entire body works in sync to promote growth and development.
If excess glucose or caloric intake led to the onset of the illness, then revsering the process requires restriction. Diabetics can still tolerate some carbohydrates, especially sources with a lower glycemic load. Healing the organ system and combating inflammation is key to recovering from the illness. Fish, olive oil, and quinoa are easy on the digestive organs, and exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. Mangosteen and cinnamon are known to increase insulin sensitviity, which lowers blood sugar in the long run. Adding cinnamon to coffee is a great addition for a morning surge of energy. Caffeine does increase blood glucose slightly because it stimulates the adrenal glands. Be aware of how caffeine affects the body to dictate whether or not to introduce it.
To sum it up, a state of ketosis could potentiate insulin resistance if it creates internal stress. The transition into ketosis should occur gradually so the body can adjust to the changes. Increasing protein and fat intake drastically causes a rapid shift in energy, which escalates internal stress. Listening to the body and being aware of its needs is essential to reap the benefits of a dietary change. Carbohydrates help spare cortisol from the job of creating extra glucose to meet the energy demands of the body. This prevents a catabolic reaction, which helps preserve hormonal levels. Diabetics should always keep carbohydrates restricted, and aim to remove inflammation to set off the healing process.