recent column, I stated, "Even if we entirely avoided all
carbohydrates, our bodies would use protein in an alternate
recipe to make glucose (sugar) to fuel our cells."
in Ontario, Canada, responded: "According to Dr. Jason
Fung, author of "The Obesity Code," if one eats a
diet of 65 percent healthy fat, 35 percent protein, and 5
percent carbohydrate, the body will be in ketosis and will
burn fat, not protein, to make glucose to fuel our cells. Only
when the body reaches the level of 4 percent fat will protein
be used to make glucose."
reader then goes on to describe his success with this diet
under his doctor’s supervision. "I have lost a pound a
week for 15 weeks and feel very good after the initial few
days of sugar withdrawal. My regime of full fat yogurt and
milk, unsweetened whipped cream in my coffee, olive and
avocado oils, limited fruit, no root vegetables, no flour,
beans or pulses satisfies my hunger as no other diet has. Have
you looked into the ketogenic diet? I believe it is
applaud your progress. And yes, I have looked into the
research on ketogenic diets. Here are my thoughts:
— the primary fuel for our brain, muscle and other body
functions — is easily provided by carbohydrates (sugars and
starches in most plant-based foods). In the absence of
carbohydrates, our amazing bodies can make glucose from fat
and protein. Ketogenic diets severely restrict carbohydrates
to force the body to manufacture glucose from these alternate
sources. This causes acids (ketones) to build up in the blood
— a condition called ketosis. In times of starvation or low
carb dieting, take your pick, our brains and muscles can
survive on ketone bodies.
ketogenic diet is extremely popular and controversial. Like
you, many of its followers report less hunger and more weight
loss compared to other diets. Yet experts argue its long term
effectiveness and safety.
diets eliminate or severely restrict any type of sugar or
starch including grains, fruit (natural fruit sugar,
fructose), potatoes and other starchy vegetables, beans,
legumes and milk (natural milk sugar, lactose).
plus side, ketogenic diets have been used successfully to
treat epileptic seizures in children. And many people who
adopt this eating plan eat more vegetables and less added
over the past 15 years show that animals and humans tend to
lose weight faster on ketogenic diets than with other types of
diets. Their effectiveness over the long term does not seem to
be any better than other weight loss plans, however.
down side, ketosis means that our bodies must deal with the
production of acids, including acetone, that build up in our
blood. This, say biochemists, disturbs the body’s natural
with diabetes are at risk of ketoacidosis — an extreme form
of ketosis that is life threatening. While promoters of the
keto diet say this is not a risk for healthy people, I
personally do not prefer to chronically feed my brain and
muscles this way.
opinion also is that carbohydrates are not evil monsters. They
are quite literally the energy from the sun transformed by
plants into fuel (sugars and starches). This energy is
transferred to me when I eat plant-based foods. If I severely
restrict these foods, I also eliminate some pretty important
nutrients and substances that reduce inflammation — a major
trigger for obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
study by the Agricultural Research Service, for example, found
that participants who ate whole grains (instead of refined
grains) lost weight while boosting beneficial bacteria in
their guts that fight off inflammation and harmful gut
strategy that helps us avoid empty calories from excess sugars
is a good step. Let’s not throw out the baby with the