Health Impact News
A recently concluded German study, published November 11, 2017 in the journal Clinical Nutrition shows no long-term negative effects for those following a high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic dieting has been used successfully to reverse Alzheimer’s and reduce epileptic seizures in children. Some have even used extreme ketogenic dieting for inducing remission from their cancers.
The ketogenic diet was developed in the 1920s at Johns Hopkins hospital to stop seizures in children who did not respond to anti-seizure drugs. The diet fell out of favor in recent years due to the negative press on saturated fats, and fears over the long-term consequences of eating large amounts of saturated fats.
Ketogenic diets focus on high amounts of fat in the diet, including saturated fats, along with very restricted amounts of carbohydrates, in order to create ketones that bypass insulin resistance in brain cells and energize their metabolic functions in lieu of glucose. This has proven efficacious for other central nervous systems problems in addition to Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.
The past doubts regarding the effects of using a ketogenic diet long term as one’s main diet were centered on the “official” advice to avoid saturated fats because they supposedly raised cholesterol levels, which they claim increases the risk of cardiovascular heart disease.
This current study proves that such fears are unfounded, and that a high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein diet can safely be followed as a lifestyle choice, and not simply as a short-term therapeutic diet.
Highlighting the German Study That Proves Ketogenic Dieting is Healthy
The title of the study is “10 patients, 10 years – Long term follow-up of cardiovascular risk factors in Glut1 deficiency treated with ketogenic diet therapies: A prospective, multicenter case series.”
GLUT1 deficiency is the technical term for what some medical practitioners are now calling diabetes 3. It’s the brain cell’s insulin resistance or a deficiency of glucose transport to brain cells. It impairs cellular metabolism in the brain, and is considered a source of Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, and epileptic seizures, among others.
The ketogenic diet therapy (KDT) has been used for decades in Germany and some other nations to produce ketones as an alternative source of brain cell energy fuel, originally to treat epileptic children. It has evolved for treating other symptoms of GLUT1 deficiency.
It was commonly used in the USA during the 1920s through the 1940s, before the pharmaceutical industry completely took over mainstream medicine.
In order to refute (the researchers carefully used the word “clarify,” not refute) a recent report of increased cardiovascular harm from ketogenic dieting among epileptic children within a two year period, the researchers of this study had several hospitals from which to choose and follow up with testing for a 10 year period or more.
The German researchers enrolled 10 patients undergoing KDT in two different hospitals, which offered complete medical testing records of the 10 patients from before they began ketogenic dieting (baseline measurements) under medical supervision to at least 10 years.
During a 10 year period, the 10 GLUT1 patients were tested at intervals from baseline to 6 months, 2.5 years, then at the end of that 10 year period. They tested for BMI (body mass index) variations, used to measure conditions ranging from anorexia to obesity.
More importantly they measured markers of heart disease risk, including cholesterol ratios and triglycerides, blood pressure, carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT). The carotid arteries are the ones that run on both sides of the neck, where some feel to check for a pulse and determine if someone is dead. The inner walls of that artery are measured by ultrasound.
The research concluded:
“In contrast to previous short-term reports on adverse effects of KDT [ketogenic dietary therapy], 10-year follow-up did not identify cardiovascular risks of dietary treatment for Glut1D.”
The researchers added an interesting note about one of the test subjects:
“Prior to KDT one child had dyslipidemia, but no child after 10 years on KDT.”
Dyslipidemia is a combination of high triglycerides, high LDL (the “bad” cholesterol lipoproteins) and low HDL (the “good” cholesterol lipoproteins). (Source)
In other words, not only did the child benefit from ketogenic dieting for GLUT1 or brain metabolic impairment safely, his initially extreme cardiac disease risks were eliminated.
That does indeed “clarify” reporting claiming that a ketogenic diet is dangerous, a claim that is among official attempts at discrediting healthy fat diets and attacking coconut oil. (Study abstract)
Coconut oil has been denounced “officially” by the American Heart Association and others who parrot “authoritative” nutritional advice condemning saturated fats despite the overwhelming independent science that prove they’re wrong about fats. (See: Coconut Oil is Beneficial for Your Heart: Shining the Truth on Mainstream Media’s Negative Attacks Against Coconut Oil.)
Fatty Foods Involved with a Ketogenic Diet – Picking the Best Ones and Avoiding the Worst
A ketogenic diet is comprised of high fat, low carbohydrate, and moderate protein consumption. Modern day versions of the diet are the Atkins diet, and Paleo diet.
Vegetarians who don’t eat meat can still keep their carbs low and fats high, but total vegans will have a much more difficult time following the diet.
Vegans refuse all animal products. But lacto vegetarians can include high amounts of dairy products and lacto-ovo vegetarians can include eggs with their dairy consumption. Some who swear off meats do eat some seafood.
Meat eaters should make every effort to avoid meat from factory farm livestock or CAFOs (confined animal feed operations) which are fed GMO soy and corn mush and injected with growth hormones and antibiotics. (Source)
Instead, choose grass fed livestock free from antibiotic and hormone injections, from a reputable source.
This holds true for dairy products as well.
Use as many raw milk dairy products that may be accessible in your area from reputable farmers.
Avoid farmed fish and shrimp (wild is best). Cold water salmon, seafood from Northern seas, and shrimp from South American coastal waters are less polluted with mercury and dioxides.
There are plant based healthy oils that have been in the food chain for thousands of years, including high-fat foods such as all nuts and seeds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, sesame seed oil, black cumin seed oil (popular in the Middle East), palm oil sourced from sustainable producers, and the healthiest plant based fat of them all, coconut oil.
Coconut oil contains MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) which are easy for the liver to rapidly convert into energy as ketones, the reason for ketogenic dieting. Longer chain fatty acids are more prone to be stored as fat as their conversion to ketones for energy is not as rapid. (Source)
So regardless of your overall diet, consuming two to four tablespoons of coconut oil daily may produce sufficient ketones equivalent to a higher fat diet.
Several testimonies are available from people with early to late stage dementia who have found their dementia symptoms reduced, even with Alzheimer’s disease. The same is true for some who have alleviated their MS symptoms and other neurological issues as well.
Here is just one dramatic testimony:
The Fats to Avoid
The fats that should be shunned are the heat processed fats intended to replace naturally sourced whole saturated fats. (Low-fat mania was created by the bogus lipid theory of heart disease initiated by Ancel Keys circa 1960. See: Ancel Keys Was Wrong about Heart Disease and Cholesterol.)
Apparently Keys has back-peddled a bit on his initial lipid theory. Here’s a quote from a NY Times reporter’s telephone interview with Keys in 1987, around the same time statin drugs were introduced:
“I’ve come to think that cholesterol is not as important as we used to think it was. Let’s reduce cholesterol by reasonable means, but let’s not get too excited about it.” (Source)
Margarine and common processed poly-unsaturated vegetable oils for cooking or salads are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated and are high in trans-fatty acids, which have been associated with many of our modern culture’s chronic metabolic disorders.
These toxic trans fat processed fats or oils are ubiquitously present in processed foods, fast food restaurants, and more upscale restaurants also. Most pastries and off the shelf breads also contain these toxic fat substitutions along with their usually refined carbs.
Although individual specific dietary needs and desires vary, choosing more healthy fats, especially virgin coconut oil, can surprisingly produce more health benefits, including weight loss, than avoiding healthy saturated fats and eating refined carbohydrates.