A keto diet helped me and has helped 10s of thousands of people.
But nobody is talking about the risks of staying in ketosis for a long time.
I now think that long term keto is a BAD idea for most people.
Let me explain…First, I want to be clear…for people in a highly pathological state, ketosis may be able to help them. A strict, zero carb, carnivore diet is still a great elimination diet….I am not writing this for these people. I am writing this article for people that feel like they have somewhat of a grip on their health & and trying to figure out what to eat going forward.
I don’t think a keto diet will kill you, necessarily, but I now think that there are some dangers to doing it long term. There’s nothing worse than somebody who has no clue what you’re experiencing telling you that what you’re doing is wrong.
So first a little about me….
At first, like many, I truly thought that MCT oil and ketones were the key to torching all cancers, living to 180 and quadrupling my IQ.
I truly thought Tropicana murdered more people than Genghis KhanI stepped through the pearly gates of ketosis and for about 2 years and took a vow to rip sugar from the hands of anybody I saw eating it
My gut started to heal, I had more energy, my acne disappeared
But after 2 years I hit a wall and I wanted to understand more what happenedFirst, what is ketosis & what does it get right? Ketosis is not just a superhuman state…Keto is restricting carbohydrates below 50g / day to elevate your blood ketone levels.
The biggest benefit of being in ketosis is that you can tell people youre in ketosis. Others include many on keto diets reversing diabetes, ameliorating autoimmune issues, losing weight, etc
All good stuff…
But my question was at what cost?
And are the benefits from carbohydrate restriction & the ketones or from something else? I now believe that many of the benefits people experience on keto are from other changes they simultaneously make…
– Eating more protein
– Cutting out gut stressors
– Cutting out food additives
– More nutritious red meat
– Removing seed oils
– Eat more sat fat None of which are from cutting carbohydrate consumption 0…
Something which. I now believe will cause issues over time like I did for me (sleeo issues, energy issues, libido, falling testosterone, etc)
So if this is you, you’re not alone. And like you, I quivered in fear at the potential wrath of the ketone gods as I became more of a “sugar burner”
But here’s why you should reconsider long term ketosis. WHAT IS HEALTH
First, we need to align on what health is. When I speak of health, I’m not talking about 6 pack abs or just losing weight I believe health is maximizing your CHI…your vital energy. It is:
– Great energy
– Deep sleep
– Clear skin
– Good gut health
– Luscious hair
– Good libido
– Optimized hormones
– Peaceful mood
– Low stress
– Playfulness & creativityIf you lose a bunch of weight on a diet, but your libido tanks, you lose hair, have a terrible mood — i dont think that’s an optimal diet. This is what many people do not get about “dieting”
Now to Keto, what are the downsides?
#1 KETO IS A STRESSED STATE.
Ketosis is an inherently stressful state.
Your body requires glucose to function. If your blood glucose levels fall too low, you will fall into a coma and die. In fact, your body wants glucose so badly it will convert your own organs (including your brain) to glucose if you restrict calories too much (this is what happens in anorexia)
You cannot escape this fact
Claiming you’re addicted to sugar is like saying youre addicted to oxygenYour brain can replace some of the glucose fuel with ketones, but still requires some glucose to function. Additionally, as I discuss more below, there’s evidence that many of the most energy intensive organs and cells in your body require glucose for optimal function. So what happens when you cut sugar out entirely? To enter ketosis the following three things happen…
(1) Lower blood sugar
(2) release your stored glucose from your liver
(3) liberate free fatty acids from your stored fat tissue to turn into energy and ketonesWhen blood sugar falls too low, your body releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to initiate this entire process and liberate liver glycogen and stored free fatty acids.
Stress begins to rise… #2 You may not be starving, but dropping your blood sugar too low and liberate your fatty acid stores signals to your body that you are.
Remember, the reason your body stores fat isn’t because it looks good as a dad bod…it’s so that you have fuel when you need to survive. This is what people don’t get about keto…excessive fatty acids in your bloodstream are a signaling molecule that you’re undergoing stress and should slow everything down.
This study below shows that excessive FFA levels actually increases the stress response and create a positive feedback loop causing a number of disorders.Over time, low carb diets increase cortisol synthesis and down-regulate its degradation.
Homeostasis 101: your body is adapting to. this elevated stress state over time because you’re training it that this high stress is normal.Whereas sugar is much more than an energy source, it is a signal to your body that it is in an energy rich environment, can ramp up metabolism and relax.
Which is why it is so anti stress, shutting off the HPA axis, reducing ACTH and improving mood.Imagine your body is like a wooden house that is run off of one large fire. The fire thrives off of logs of wood right next to the stove…every room is warm, your 3 kids can all shower at the same time, you can use a hairdryer and washing machine at the same time…But as you run out fo this wood, you have to dip into the basement bug out supply…after which you need to dismantle your own house to light the fire…
You tear down the play room…the meat cellar…
Everything slows down bc you don’t know how long the shortage will last…The house is “losing weight”, but it’s also losing many of the most important functions that make a house worth living in! Why would you want to live in a house without a meat cellar??
And why would you want to be a human without energy and libido?
#2 KETO TANKS THYROID
And this is why keto tanks your thyroid…
The fatty acids tell your body to slow everything down because by ramping up metabolism you’d burn through all of your protein & fat reserves.
This happens via the thyroid Many in the keto and carnivore world acknowledge that their T3 levels (the active thyroid hormone) falls…
And most of them just write this off as unimportant…
This is incredibly irresponsible. The thyroid hormones regulates almost all vital bodily functions and is the central metabolic conductor.
And this is why low thyroid is tied to so many health issues.
I can go on and on about this, but a twitter thread is not the proper forum…
Over time keto is damaging to testosterone and androgen production.
“These observations thus suggest that reduced availability of glucose may be responsible for decreased testosterone synthesis or hypoandrogenism in the testis”There are some other studies backing this up showing that lower dietary carbohydrate consumption decreases testosterone over time.
Nobody wants to. lose their hair! What if your obsession with ketone levels is causing it?
Hair loss is multifactorial, but tied to energy production, thyroid and stress
One of the first things many people notice when they keto adapt is that their hair falls out.This happens for a few reasons. “it is a well established fact that thyroid disorders and hypothyroidism lead to hair loss”Additionally, according to this study, fatty acids and ketones are poor substitutes for glucose for the hair.
The hair is another energetically intensive organism that cannot function off of ketones & fatty acids and is very sensitive to the effects of stress.
Burning glucose produces more CO2 than burning ketones.
Via the bohr effect, co2 increases the delivery of oxygen, further enhancing metabolic rate. It also helps to activate vitamin k2.
Now this is just my hypothesis, but the more I dig into the ketogenic physiology, the more I see the resemblance to the diabetic and cancerous cellular state.
This was one of the bigger eye openers for me… When a cell is burning fatty acids, glucose cannot enter the mitochondria to be oxidized, but it still enters the cell.
Instead of being oxidized, however, it is turned into lactate via anaerobic glycolysis.According to warburg, one of the main characteristics of a cancerous cell is that it no longer oxidizes glucose in favor of fermenting it into lactate.
This recent study points out that it is excessive fatty acid oxidation (induced by estrogen in this case)And this recent study suggests that the lactic acid produced acts as a growth signal for the tumor.
In this paper on the heart, fatty acids inhibited the NA-K-ATPase, effectively preventing the heart from relaxing
I no longer think it is a good ideal to induce this state for long periods of time. CONCLUSION
I do think ketones have some interesting properties, but generating them endogenously ends up causing more issues through all the mechanisms I describe above.
Many of the most important and energetically intensive organs THRIVE off of glucose. I no longer believe being a fat burner is the key to living to 180, forestalling all health disorders and developing laser beams that shoot out of my eyes and set canola oil on fire