The ketogenic diet or the keto diet in English, goes completely against our eating habits. And yet, as several studies show (see below), its effectiveness seems to be on all fronts: health, well-being, weight loss and physical performance . Let’s see together how ketogenic diet is a Weapon Against Chronic Fatigue.
The diet takes its name from ketone bodies, which then become the main source of energy for the body.
- The principle of the ketogenic diet
- Fight ideas
- Regulation of blood glucose and insulin levels
- Weight loss
- Helps fight cancer
- Other interests
- The first days
- The two first weeks
- Sodium and potassium
- Physical exercise
- You have to see carbohydrates as an obstacle
- A carbohydrate apart: the fibers
- Coconut oil
- Is it for everyone?
- Ask your doctor for advice
The principle of the ketogenic diet
The idea is simple. Our diet is mainly based on carbohydrates. Here, we completely forget carbohydrates and we replace them with lipids. No more sugar, no fast, no slow, no. Protein intake must remain low. This last point is fundamental. Weapon Against Chronic Fatigue
- Carbohydrates 5-10%
- 70-80% fat
- 15-20% protein
Specifically, we arrive at a value of 20 carbs per day , which is really very little. You can only go up to 50 if you are a very big sportsman. To show you the difficulty of the task:
- 1 Banana = 23g of carbohydrates
- Apple = 1 orange = 13g of carbohydrates
- 1 Croissant = 22g of carbohydrates
- 1 Slice of bread = 46g of carbohydrates
So, should you choose between a banana or a croissant? Not at all: you have no right to one or the other. In fact, the foods you choose are high in fat and low in carbohydrates. And even when choosing foods with very little carbohydrate, you quickly reach your quota of 20 grams.
We will therefore privilege:
Good fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter
Cheese: Lipids and proteins, but with moderation because contains lactose, which is a carbohydrate (no milk because it contains too much)
Eggs: Half fat, half protein
Seeds and nuts: Lipids with some protein in moderation because some carbohydrates (especially not cereals). If you are not vegetarian, in small quantities: meat (organic if possible), fish and seafood
Green vegetables: Beyond filling the stomach, they provide very few calories but a lot of nutrients (potassium) and are essential. That’s it, everything else, you forget.
Note: If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can reduce the ratio of protein to fat. The body knows how to cope (and you probably already know). Well, hoping you did not run off, I’ll try to convince you that this is not pure madness!
We have been conditioned all our lives by messages from the agri-food industry that makes us believe that sugar is an indispensable source of energy for the body and the brain. Strangely, the number of diseases has increased (sedentary lifestyle and many other factors have their place). So as not to destroy this beautiful business, we were quick to accuse lipids.
It is difficult today to reverse this model. On the one hand because it is deeply inked in our brains, and on the other because the sugar is everywhere and it is very difficult to deprive it. Fortunately, we now know (if we want to hear it) that sugar is the big culprit, and we must give back the fat they deserve.
Do not worry: Contrary to popular belief, we know today that saturated fatty acids do not clog the arteries1. Well, I will not lose myself more in this controversy, let’s go back to the ketogenic diet!
Regulation of blood glucose and insulin levels
Insulin resistance is the phenomenon that precedes type 2 diabetes . This disruption comes from excess carbohydrate intake, over a long period. It seems logical enough that, conversely, a carbohydrate deprivation regulates this mechanism2 . From this point of view, the benefits of a ketogenic diet are similar to those of a low carbohydrate diet .
However, the effects are even more effective because the protein intake is low. Indeed, a high protein intake triggers the secretion of insulin, which minimizes its regulation and prevents switching to an effective ketogenic mode of operation (which burns fat). This is partly why it is essential to keep a low protein intake .
That’s what made this diet famous. Despite all the fat that can be swallowed, the absence of sugar tilts the body fat burner mode. It seems crazy to eat lipids to lose, but it is extremely effective. If you do not want to lose weight, you can force your hand on the amounts of oil to provide enough calories. However, this increase must be progressive because your body is not yet able to handle large volumes of lipids and you may over-request your gallbladder. Weapon Against Chronic Fatigue
Helps fight cancer
One of the energy sources of cancer cells is glucose (there are others). The transition from glucose to ketone bodies as the main source of energy is an adaptation to the lack of food that has been preserved from our evolution. This allows the survival of healthy cells during extreme changes in the nutritional environment. In addition, the ketone bodies have an inhibitory effect on the growth of cancer cells.
- Brain cancer
- Lung cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease (this disease is particularly related to insulin resistance)
- Parkinson disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Limits neuronal dysfunction due to shocks and brain damage
- Cardiovascular accidents (in the long run)
- Improve cholesterol levels
- Improve concentration
- Increases physical endurance
- Normalizes blood pressure
- Reduces heartburn
- Reduces migraine & headaches
The diversity of studies and the benefits they demonstrate are quite impressive! So even when you do not know what you’re suffering from, you think it’s worth trying..
If your habits are the antithesis of the ketonic diet, do not go headlong . Before you start, it is best to adopt a healthy diet for at least one to two weeks. By that I mean a diet containing a lot of vegetables and low in carbohydrates . This will allow you a smoother transition.
The first days
Just like fasting, the first days are difficult. The brain has less glucose than usual and this can greatly affect your mood. It is normally after 4 to 5 days that the hardest is over and you start to feel good. Courage!
The two first weeks
Among the main tips, it is often recommended to do the first 2 weeks without interruptions . This allows you to switch to a “keto-adapted” state where the body metabolizes fats optimally. So choose your starting time to make sure you will not have an interruption. After these two weeks, if you need to make small deviations, the switch to ketone mode should be faster (but not instantaneous either).
Sodium and Potassium
During the first two days, the body will empty its glycogen stores. These are stored via water molecules. The use without renewal of all your glycogen can make you lose up to 2 liters of water. The first two pounds you lose will be just water. Neither muscles nor fat, we do not get carried away.
The management of body fluids takes place thanks to the sodium and potassium mineral salts.
Eliminating 2 liters of water will also make you lose a lot of sodium. So do not hesitate on salt during the first days. You can even often feel that desire for salt.Another reason is that there is also a link between insulin and sodium retention. The ketone diet lowers insulin levels and eliminates sodium.
Since sodium and potassium work together (for fluid regulation, or other mechanisms such as nerve impulse generation), you must maintain a certain level of potassium . It is found mainly in green leafy vegetables (spinach), but also in avocado or even lemon. Cocoa also contains but beware of sugar in chocolate! I eat 100% cocoa beans and chocolate, but many do not like it. Almonds, nuts, mushrooms, meat and fish also contain them. In short, if you keep a varied diet rich in vegetables, it should not be a problem. Weapon Against Chronic Fatigue
As with all diets, physical exercise stimulates metabolism. So do not hesitate to move, or even just walk. Do not overdo yourself too much during the transition phase because your body is not ready to deliver large amounts of energy.
After a few days (or weeks, depending on your metabolism), you will feel full of energy. It is very likely that your physical performance is better than before. You can go full, without moderation.
You have to see carbohydrates as an obstacle
Your body is constantly working with carbohydrates. It takes time for him to re-learn the survival mechanism that is the ketonic diet. Whenever you consume too much carbohydrate, you send the body the message that the carbohydrate shortage is over and you are back to zero . That’s why the rigor of the first two weeks is so important.
Once your body has appropriated the mechanism, you can make a discrepancy, but know that it may take several days to return to a fully effective ketogenic mode. Weapon Against Chronic Fatigue
A carbohydrate apart: The fibers
Fibers are part of the carbohydrate family. Yet our digestive system is not able to use this source of energy. They cross the small intestine without being digested. So, fiber does not affect blood glucose and insulin levels at all .
In fact, very few of us are able to make that distinction when they look at the amount of carbohydrate in a food. Yet it is fundamental. Take the example of a half lawyer, about 100 grams:
- Carbohydrates: 8.6 g (34%)
- Of which fiber: 6.7 g (26%)
- Lipids: 14.7 g (58%)
- Protein: 2.0 g (8%)
8 grams of glucose, for a ketogenic diet, it would be a little too much. But if we understand what we eat, then we know that we can subtract the fibers: 8.6 – 6.7 = 1.9 grams of “effective” carbohydrates (do not look, I just invented this name).
- Effective carbohydrates: 1.9 g (10%)
- Lipids: 14.7 g (79%)
- Protein: 2.0 g (11%)
After correction, the ratio is perfect! Be careful to watch: some include fiber in carbohydrates, others separate them!
For the curious, the fibers are used by the colon. The latter uses the fermentation process to turn them into nutrients that can be absorbed. So do not conclude that they are useless, fibrent play an important role in our diet – ketonic diet or not.
Lipid digestion requires the intervention of bile (secreted by the gallbladder) and the pancreatic lipase enzyme (secreted by the pancreas). Coconut oil is an exception. It is partly composed of TCM (medium chain triglyceride). The peculiarity of these is that they do not require bile or pancreatic lipase to be absorbed and used. They are so very effective.
These TCMs can therefore be converted into a ketone body more easily and quickly than other lipids. So you can use coconut oil to ease the transition to ketogenic mode.
Is it for everyone?
This diet can represent a certain aggression for the body. If you have bad organs or other problem, I can only advise you to consult your doctor before you start. It is not recommended for pregnant women , because it signals to the body a shortage of food, which means that the moment is not propitious to give birth.
Similarly, it is not recommended for children and adolescents who need energy to develop. However, the number of diabetic children is increasing day by day and sugar is a real poison for them …
Ask your doctor for advice
For my part, I asked his doctor. As a reminder, my doctor is my father. He told me that it was really dangerous and that I should not do it (I do not invent anything!). I was so eager to try!
In fact, traditional doctors have little or no interest in diet (perhaps because they are over-solicited by the labs who tout the merits of their new miracle pills). As a doctor must know everything, they advise against what they do not know, so as not to take risks (which I respect perfectly). This reflection is only binding on me, and I think I’m getting lost …
The effects of the ketogenic diet over the very long term are not really known. It is not impossible that it can cause deficiencies. Notably, this diet can seem extreme (it signals the body that there is a shortage of food), so be careful if you want to adopt it over a period of more than several months.
The ketogenic diet is not to be taken lightly It must be well prepared and well documented before starting. It is probably the mode of eating that comes closest to fasting, and that is probably why we can make so many benefits. It’s hard to keep because it goes against our beliefs, and carbs are everywhere. In return, the benefits can be immense.