Ketogenic diets have been all the rage recently, so you probably know about them if you keep up with food news. The high-fat, low-carb diet has taken the world by storm, and more people than ever are curious as to whether or not it actually improves health. In a series of articles over the next four weeks, we’ll break down the science behind the ketogenic diet’s claims and help you decide if this eating plan is right for you.
This first essay will trace the origins of the ketogenic diet and analyze its meteoric ascent to fame. If you’ve never heard of it before, the concept of deliberately entering ketosis is actually rather old, and it has its origins in seminal epileptic research carried out nearly a century ago. Read this article to find out more information about the keto diet and how it can help you.
The Basics of Ketosis
The primary tenet of the ketogenic diet is that a reduction in carbohydrate consumption in favor of an increase in fat intake will cause the body to enter a “fasted state,” in which ketones, rather than glucose, are burned for energy. Ketosis is a metabolic condition achieved by adhering to a diet consisting primarily of fat (60–75%), protein (15–30%), and carbohydrates (5–10%).
Carbohydrate restriction makes your body believe it is starving, prompting it to create a supplementary energy source from fat so that glucose can still be transported to the brain. Low-carb diets cause the body to produce ketones from fat as an alternative fuel source, which has been praised for its positive effects on health and weight loss.
The Origin Story of the Ketogenic Diet
The year 1921 was marked by two major events:
- First, according to endocrinology expert Rollin Woodyatt, a similar chemical milieu is created by both fasting and a diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Ketones, rather than glucose, became the predominant energy source in both cases.
- Secondly, Dr. Russell Wilder pondered whether or not one may acquire the health benefits of fasting without, you guessed it, fasting.
Wilder coined the term “ketogenic diet” to describe the dietary approach he and his fellow doctors at the Mayo Clinic tried out in the 1920s. Children with epilepsy showed not just general improvement but also improvements in cognition and behavior after adopting this diet.
By 1940, a ketogenic diet as a treatment for childhood epilepsy had made its way into medical textbooks, where it remained for the rest of the 20th century.
There are now new groups of people whose brains could benefit from a ketogenic diet because of aging, modern warfare, or contact sports as follows:
- Those afflicted with neurodegenerative diseases (such as ALS, PD, and AD)
- Victims of violent acts like bomb blasts or car accidents who have suffered traumatic brain injuries
Bodybuilders Discover the Ketogenic Diet
In the 1980s and 1990s, another demographic started investigating ketogenic diets: bodybuilders and physique athletes. These people cared less about maintaining cognitive function and living a long life. They desired a chiseled physique. The ketogenic diet was touted as a quick fix, promising results despite the use of high-fat foods like butter, cream, and bacon.
Today, the Ketogenic Diet Is New Again Bodybuilders, athletes, and those who simply want to live longer and better lives have recently rediscovered this ancient nutritional paradigm, and they have some questions:
- Is it possible that a ketogenic diet might enhance my performance?
- Is it possible that a ketogenic diet could extend my life?
- If I followed a ketogenic diet, would I be beach-ready? To Understand Why, Let’s Dig a Little Deeper.
What Is Ketosis?
Knowledge of ketosis is essential for comprehending the ketogenic diet. The metabolic state of ketosis is one in which fats, rather than carbohydrates, are being used for energy. So, what are ketones then? Ketones are a class of chemicals with a unique chemical structure that can be synthesized by the human body via an intricate metabolic route.
The ketones acetoacetate and D—hydroxybutyrate can be used for energy production. The German chemist Leopold Gmelin is credited with first using the term “ketone” in the year 1850. The pathway to ketosis Specifically, under some conditions (such as when we are starving, fasting, or consuming an extremely low amount of carbohydrates),
- Acetyl-CoA chains are formed when fatty acids are joined with coenzyme A.
- These strands are transported to the mitochondria, the “power plants” of our cells.
- By use of a series of processes known as -oxidation, the chains are cleaved into individual acetyl-CoA units.
- The chemical reaction performs a miracle.
- Acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone are all formed from acetyl-CoA.
- Ketones enter the bloodstream after being released by the liver.
- These circulating ketones can be used by just about any cell for energy.
The human brain will be the most voracious consumer of these delicious substances. Aside from dietary adjustments, exogenous ketone supplementation is another way to kickstart ketosis, but we won’t be discussing that here. Ketones (also known as ketone bodies) are sometimes considered by some to be the fourth energy source for humans, alongside carbs, fats, and proteins. True, but the ethanol in alcohol may be converted into fuel as well.
We shouldn’t automatically metabolize everything simply because we can.
The Ketogenic Diet: Ketosis Without Fasting
A ketogenic diet is a brilliant way to avoid the social stigma associated with starving children who have epilepsy. Ketosis is a metabolic state achieved by depriving the body of carbohydrates (also known as glucose) while supplying energy and nutrients in the form of fat and some protein, producing the same consequences as complete starvation. It takes time to enter ketosis when we stop eating carbs and ketogenesis begins, much like it does during starvation.