took offense to several of my statements in a recent column on
ketogenic diets. Here are some excerpts, as space allows,
followed by my responses:
Barbara, You write: ‘Very low carbohydrate "ketogenic"
diets severely limit the intake of sugars and starches (carbs)
which are mostly found in plant-based foods such as fruit,
vegetables, legumes (beans) and grains.’ You conveniently
omitted the more nefarious dietary culprits of highly
processed and manufactured food, HFCS, sugar, among
definition, carbohydrates are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen
molecules that form sugars and starches when plants are
exposed to energy from the sun. (Cows that eat plants can
produce another carbohydrate containing food, milk.)
Carbohydrates are also the only source of dietary fiber in our
anyone would argue that we need to limit overly processed
carbohydrates. My point was that extremely low carbohydrate
diets can overly restrict healthful plant-based foods as well
as the bad boys.
write about the ‘build-up of acids in the blood called
ketones that happens when the body is starved of
carbohydrates.’ You neglect the full definition of ketones
which are ‘fatty acids’ … as ketones are NOT acids but
Ketones (or ketone bodies) are not fatty acids. They are
formed when fatty acids are broken down for energy. According
to Medline Plus Medical Dictionary, ketone bodies are
acetoacetic acid, acetone, and a derivative of hydroxybutyric
acid, ie. organic acids.
in what biochemical universe could the body actually starve
from lack of carbs? They are the only macronutrient
unnecessary for human survival."
one nutrient absolutely necessary for human survival is
glucose, a sugar most easily derived from the breakdown of
carbohydrate foods. According to the Institute of Medicine,
"glucose is the only energy source for red blood cells
and the preferred energy source for the brain, central nervous
system, placenta, and fetus." Deprived of glucose, brain
cells die. Fortunately as I mentioned in my column, the body
is amazingly adaptive. When glucose is not available from
carbohydrate foods, protein and fat can be used by the liver
to make glucose…a carbohydrate.
do we need any more sugar/carbs in our diet when our body can
produce any glucose required on its own?"
Experts agree we need more added sugar in our diets like we
need a hole in our heads. Nutrition is more than energy,
however. Foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit and
legumes are rich in dietary fiber and other nutrients
essential for optimal health. Let’s not throw out the baby
with the bathwater.
write: ‘Studies have shown that, for the first six months,
low carbohydrate diets produce greater weight loss than other
dieting methods. After a year, however, the overall success of
low carb diets is similar to other plans, possibly because the
diet is so difficult to maintain.’ ALL DIETS have similar
results…and no diet is immune from failure either. As Jason
Fung M.D. says: "All diets work. All diets fail. The
trick is finding a way of eating that works for you. There’s
no such thing as a diet for all."
totally agree with you on this point. Emerging science is
beginning to see how our unique genetic codes may one day
determine our individual diet needs. And as I mentioned in my
previous column, evidence is beginning to accumulate on the
therapeutic effects of the ketogenic diet for certain medical
conditions. Thanks for writing.