The body can use 3 different forms of fuel (macronutrients): protein, carbohydrate or fat. Any one of these macronutrient fuels will make a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is essential for the body’s muscle fibrils to contract, without it your muscles, including your heart and the diaphragm that moves your lungs, won’t move. A lack of ATP leads quickly to a state called rigor mortis, which can really slow you down socially, so we want to avoid that!
A diet high in carbohydrates has been shown to drive weight gain and many diseases such as, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, NAFLD, thyroiditis, neurodegenerative diseases and many more. This is caused by the presence of, and in most cases, the overproduction of insulin in response to carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are simple sugars, starches and cellulose (fibre); some examples of carbs are glucose, sucrose, fructose and lactose.
When the body is not using glucose as a fuel source (from dietary carbs or from excess protein), then your body is left with fat as a fuel source. In order for your body to use fat as its primary fuel source, it has to have much lower glucose in the bloodstream. This allows your liver to convert fat into ketone bodies in order to make those fancy ATP molecules we just spoke about in the beginning. Ketones don’t require insulin to form ATP and energy.
This is super important, so hang onto this statement:
“Ketones don’t require insulin to create energy”.
Insulin is often referred to as ‘the master hormone’, one of it’s jobs is to open the cells so that they can receive glucose when it’s present in the bloodstream. Glucose is spiked mostly from eating carbs and also protein. The overproduction of and high insulin levels, drives weight gain and all the dietary diseases of civilisation I mentioned above.
You may have heard some people say, “you have to have carbohydrates, or you’ll die”… That is a very misinformed statement.
Of the 3 macronutrients, carbohydrate, protein and fat. Two are essential to live; protein and fat. Eating carbohydrate is not essential… and here’s why;
Glycogen is a form of glucose that any part of the body can use and a small area of your brain is dependant on it but it only needs 100g per day. Your liver makes about 200 to 280 grams of glycogen from processing fat alone, which is twice the amount you require!
It’s important to note that deficiencies in protein or fat cause disease in humans and other mammals, but there are no diseases that result from carbohydrate deficiency. You can live your whole life and not eat a single carbohydrate and there is no disease that will arise. Yay!
The world is not flat, and you won’t die if you don’t eat carbohydrates.
So, it’s kind of interesting when you see that protein and fat tend to come together in the same package, e.g. steak, pork, bacon, sausages, fish, eggs, I could go on.
The first step in addressing many diseases is to get insulin back to its baseline and this is done most effectively by restricting dietary carbohydrate intake. The goal is to reduce carbohydrate intake to less than 20g per day. When this is done correctly, blood sugar drops into the normal range (60 to 100 mg/dl) and fasting insulin returns to less than 5 mU/mL.
7 Benefits Of A Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet…
Based on decades of research, low-carb diets have been linked to benefits including:
1. Speedy Weight Loss
- Lose weight healthily without counting calories, feeling hungry or battling with severe cravings.
- The “hunger hormone” ghrelin is turned off.
- Glycogen stores are kept very low if not pretty much empty and body begins to use fat stores for energy.
- Carbs spike insulin, this leads to food cravings. The reduction in carbs reduces insulin spikes which also then stops storing fat.
- Fats and protein switch on satiety hormones which allow you to go longer between meals.
2. Better Digestion
- Removing carbs and grains reduce common irritant properties within the digestive system.
- Leafy low carb vegetables with high fiber, healthy fats and quality proteins are fab fat-burning foods and nourish the digestive tract.
- Bacterial overgrowth and IBS symptoms improve due to reduction in sugar.
3. Hormones Are Regulated
- Has been shown to balance neurotransmitter function.
- Helps to improve serotonin levels and therefore mood.
- Balances the thyroid, adrenals and cholesterol levels naturally.
4. Improved Cognitive Function
- When glycogen stores are depleted the liver produces ketone bodies into the blood which are used by our brain cells and muscle cells.
- Healthy fats are essential for regulating our hormones and mood and for brain function.
- A diet restricting carbohydrates promotes the eating more healthy fats.
5. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
- Current studies and many doctor/patient examples show that a low-carb diet is more effective and sustainable than a low-fat diet in reducing the risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
6. The Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes Decreases
- Low-carb diets are comparable, if not better, than low-fat/high-carb diets for weight reduction, improvement in the dyslipidemia of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Reducing carb intake and increasing healthy fat intake helps to control blood sugar, insulin secretion and postprandial glycemia.
7. Helps Fight Against Cancer
- Grains and processed food is removed for the diet.
- Sugar is dramatically reduced if not completely eliminated from the diet.
- This causes oxidative stress in the body to go down which improves immunity.