Category Archives: Dietary fat

The current state of affairs in nutri-Twitter

Rant.

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1) It’s almost as if you’re either:

a red meat-eating 110% keto-advocate

or

you think red meat and a ketogenic diet is harmful.

 

If you don’t say the diet is magical, the zealots will try to trick you into, or outright accuse you of saying it’s harmful.

Further,

 

2. And the protein/kidney debate re-surfaced again recently. To be clear: no studies have shown direct harmful effects of protein on kidney function. The studies cited by KDOQI are observational and on end-stage renal disease. Not mild kidney disease or slightly impaired renal function. If I had ESRD, I’d rather play it safe and not enroll in one of Jose Antonio’s high protein diet studies (~4.4 g/kg lol).

I’m pro-LC and HP but not anti-LF. Humans have thrived on a wide variety of diets over time regardless of macronutrient composition. Food quality seems more important in this context.

3. If ketones are muscle-sparing, then…

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CARBOTOXICITY [screaming face emoji]

Noxious Effects of Exaggerated Carbohydrate Intake (Kroemer et al., 2018)

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This blog post is about the above mentioned article. Disclaimer (qualm #1): it is very pro-low carb and refused to include any neutral or negative points about low carb. For example, had it been within the scope of the article, the authors may have said despite excluding the majority of carbohydrate-containing foods, low carb diets actually aren’t restrictive at all. In other words, this is not an unbiased review article.

 

 

Qualm #2: the authors say people have long-recognized the problems of lipid excess and it even has a name, “lipotoxicity.” But these revolutionaries thought the problems of carbohydrate excess need to be recognized so they coined the term “carbotoxicity.” Are we to believe these dorks never heard of “glucotoxicity” even though it was coined before lipotoxicity even was?!

The review is about the molecular, cellular, and neuroendocrine mechanisms that link a prolonged energy surplus to disease and accelerated aging. It doesn’t really distinguish how the energy surplus is established, specifically, but every now and then they throw out there “carbz.” Ignoring that, there are actually some pretty good points.

The history of dietary carbs had three major, transformative steps. The first was the transition from hunter-gatherers to agriculture which shifted the carbs from fruits, seeds, tubers, nuts, roots, and bulbs to a range of cereals (in Europe), rice (in Asia), corn (in Mesoamerica), and potatoes (in South America). And in Weston Price fashion, this was associated with an increase in dental cavities (probably more cause than correlation here).

Acarbose blocks carb digestion, D-glucosamine blocks glycolysis.

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Ketogenic diet as a metabolic therapy for mood disorders

Recent findings and current developments: where do we stand today?

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Great “Tl;dr:” figure ->

 

 

 

There is most definitely a multi-level bidirectional relationship between mood disorders and diet/lifestyle habits. Can diet cause or cure mood disorders? Can mood disorders cause you to eat/behave a certain way? Yes, yes, and yes. #Context.

That said, diet interventions present a unique and potentially useful treatment avenue for mood disorders.

Mood disorders are a significant source of mental capital loss with high rates of treatment resistance, in part, because we have no clue about the causes, full influence of their spectrums, or how exactly the effective pharmacotherapies work.

The ketogenic diet: why it should be explored ->

  1. Ketogenic diet has profound effects in multiple targets implicated in the pathophysiology of mood disorders, including glutamate/GABA transmission, monoamine levels, mitochondrial quantity and quality, neurotrophism, oxidative stress, insulin signaling, inflammation, etc., etc…
  2. Benign dietary ketosis is a very exclusive diet, immediately cutting out many of the potentially offensive foods.
  3. Malign dietary ketosis, while still technically ketosis, is full of unhealthy n6- and trans fat-rich oils, insufficient protein and fibre, etc. It’s basically the bacon-wrapped cheese dog version of keto.

Domains of depressive symptomatology of interest: anhedonia, rumination, suicidality, sleep disruption, appetite dysregulation, among others.

In this context, it may be perfectly legitimate to supplement a low carb diet with exogenous ketones or coconut oil.

BDNF BDNF BDNF!

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The neuroprotective properties of ketone bodies.

There is some overlap between the metabolic effects of calorie restriction (CR) and ketogenic diets (Maalouf et al., 2009). A lot of the underlying mechanisms are related to mitochondrial quality and quantity, anti-apoptotic factors, and neurotrophic factors (eg, BDNF induced by ketosis).

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The influence of ketones on intermediary metabolism

Two studies: one on infusion of D-b-hydroxybutyrate at three different level producing up to 2 mM at the highest level (Mikkelsen et al., 2014); and one on ingestion of a ketone monoester (R-3-hydroxybutyl-R-3-hydroxybutyrate) producing ~3.2 mM (Myette et al., 2018). Both studies were relatively small (n = 6 and 20, respectively) yet interesting.

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Mikkelsen: mainly justified the use of exogenous ketones in T2DM because of their ability to suppress hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia. And justified ’em in CNS disorders because adherence is poor in this population and goes downhill with increasing disease severity. They’re anti-ketone salts because: 1) the GI distress and salt load with doses required to get into the 2-3 mM range; and 2) they’re often racemic mixtures of D- and L-b-hydroxybutyrate (“D” is the endogenous one).

 

 

As expected, increasing the infusion dose linearly increased plasma bHB:

Further, as expected, brain uptake increased in parallel to plasma levels:

Interestingly, muscle uptake seemed to become saturated and not increase much further… this may be related to the “muscle-sparing effect of fat-derived fuels,” in other words, muscle is sparing ketones for the brain like it does during late starvation.

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ketones inhibit lipolysis

 

 

 

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Diet X DESTROYS Diet B in Protein-Matched Ad-Lib Feeding Study

DESTROYS!

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With language like that, you’d expect to see a pretty big difference between the two diets. I mean like, really big difference.

So I clicked the link. Aaaaand #nothingsauce.

 

?(????)?

This study was similar to: “Carbs: Low vs. Lower” where it was shown that many people do just as well losing weight on a low carb diet as they do on a ketogenic diet.

The study was actually quite good, but “destroys” is not the word I would’ve used, especially since the destroyer dieters lost only about 25% more fat mass (P=0.083) and FOUR TIMES MORE FAT-FREE MASS (P=0.054).

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Isocaloric MCT-supplemented ketogenic diet may improve cognition in Alzheimer’s patients

Two-thirds of the time, it works half of the time 🙂

Yes, we all pretend to know the mechanism how ketones may improve cognition in MCI/Alzheimer’s, but we don’t. Nobody does.

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-Preferred fuel? kinda meaningless

-Niacin receptor? if so, where are the studies on niacins or even nicotinamide riboside (the latter is kind of unrelated, but should yield some niacin in vivo) (P.S. blog post on NR in the works).

-Epigenetics? Idk. Of those, I’d say probably all contribute somehow.

Ketogenic Diet Retention and Feasibility Trial #KDRAFT (Taylor et al., 2017)

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Brain Health, Easy Steps

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Tl;dr: sleep, sunlight, seafood, and exercise. Maybe some others. No industrial foods.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) comes up a lot, so I’ll just tell you now, it’s like brain-fertilizer.

Sunlight promotes dopamine synthesis in your brain (eg, de Lima et al., 2011). Dopamine, via D5 receptor, has a lot of direct effects on memory and learning, but also stimulates BDNF (Perreault et al., 2013). Take a walk outside after breakfast and/or lunch. Bonus: vitamin D is also good for the brain and exercise after meals promotes +nutrient partitioning.

At night, you need melatonin, and for that, you need darkness. In my experience, it’s harder to control sleep onset & duration than time in darkness. T.S. Wiley recommends 9.5 hours of darkness. That’s a lot, I know, but I have a lot of respect for Wiley and she explains it well in Lights Out!

The studies on melatonin supps are mixed (eg, 1, 2, 3, 4) but those on crappy sleep aren’t (eg, 1, 2, 3), so come on fam, at least get some blue blockers (if you choose Carbonshade or Spectra479, use coupon code LAGAKOS for 15% off).

The positive influence of exercise on brain health seems to have many mechanisms, BDNF being one of them (Seifert et al., 2010). Myokines from exercising muscles have a part in this (Philips et al., 2014), so does beta-hydroxybutyrate (eg, Sleiman et al., 2016 and Marosi et al., 2016). Possible role for exogenous bHB supps?

 

 

Niacin boosts BDNF (eg, Fu et al., 2014). Fortunately, it’s fairly abundant in the diet, but if you wanna try something new, nutritional yeast can add cheesy deliciousness to just about anything.

Niacin is also a precursor to NAD+, and this company really REALLY thinks NAD+ is the bomb (see their website for a round-up of the science). Rodent studies have suggested nicotinamide riboside is better at boosting brain NAD+ than niacin (eg, Collins and Chaykin, 1972), but as mentioned above, niacin isn’t hard to find via diet.

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Yet another study showing low carb doesn’t impair performance +

and by some metrics, at least in this study, might even improve it.

Ketoadaptation enhances exercise performance and body composition responses to training in endurance athletes (McSwiney et al., 2017)

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Advantage of this study over previous ones: 12 weeks. I believe the choice to opt for self-selection over randomization was to improve adherence (which was pretty good for this 12 week-long study). Downside is, well, it’s not randomized. Crossover RCT is best but it’s always a trade-off: sample size, duration, tools, etc., everything has a price. Literally.

Tl;dr: Ketoadaptation doesn’t diminish performance at high intensity even after “draining the tank.”

The study: we aren’t told much about the diets, just high carb vs. ketogenic. And keto group was advised to drink broths for salts, mins, electrolytes, etc.* Speaking of which 🙂 Kettle & Fire is offering 20% off their delish broths/stock HERE.

*I don’t think this qualifies as cheating in this #context.

Before and after the 12-week dietary intervention, a battery of tests were performed: a six second all-out bicycle sprint (SS), immediately followed by a 100 km time trial (TT), immediately followed by a 3-minute sprint (CPT).

These were well-trained, healthy individuals who continued their training throughout the study. This & duration are two important nuances of this study (more on this below).

The biggest finding …*drumroll* … significantly greater fat loss in the keto group and this wasn’t even a weight loss study. They also jacked up protein intake so they didn’t lose muscle mass. Protein declined in the high carb group, but they were able to maintain muscle because carbs increased.

 

WHERE HAVE WE SEEN THIS BEFORE

HINT: HERE

 

 

Whether they knew it or not, this study was designed to test peak power output before (SS) and after (CPT) exhaustively draining the tank (TT). The theory is that ketoadaptation: 1) spares glycogen so there’s some juice left in the tank for the second peak power test, although racing 100 km is pretty tough so there couldn’t have been much juice left in either group; and 2) ketoadaptation relies more on fatty acids at every level of output, as evidenced by the RER figure (below). Fuel usage comes close at high levels of output (both groups rely more heavily on glucose), but ketoadapted is always a little lower (eg, see the right-most point in the figure below). And fat stores are basically limitless whereas glycogen is not. This may or may not have been a factor here.

 

PEAK PERFORMANCE

I don’t know why the authors reported peak power relative to body weight. I could understand lean mass, maybe, but keto lost a lot of weight via body fat. If peak power remained the same (as has previously been shown), it would [falsely] appear to increase in this study.

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Ketosis in an evolutionary context

Humans are unique in their remarkable ability to enter ketosis.  They’re also situated near the top of the food chain.  Coincidence?

During starvation, humans rapidly enter ketosis; they do this better than king penguins, and bears don’t do it at all.

Starvation ketosis

 

Starvation ketosis

Humans maintain a high level of functionality during starvation.  We can still hunt & plan; some would even argue it’s a more finely tuned state, cognitively.  And that’s important, because if we became progressively weaker and slower, chances of acquiring food would rapidly decline.

Perhaps this is why fasting bears just sleep most of the time: no ketones = no bueno..?

Observation: chronic ketosis is relatively rare in nature. This doen’t mean animals evolved a protective  mechanism against ketosis.

 

 

Animals with a low brain/carcass weight ratio (ie, small brain) don’t need it. Babies and children have a higher brain/carcass weight ratio, so they develop ketosis more rapidly than adults. Is this a harmful process? No, more likely an evolutionary adaptation which supports the brain.

ketones age

The brain of newborn babies consumes a huge amount of total daily energy, and nearly half comes from ketones.  A week or so later, even after the carbohydrate content of breast milk increases, they still don’t get “kicked out of ketosis” (Bourneres et al., 1986).  If this were a harmful state, why would Nature have done this?  …and all those anecdotes, like babies learn at incredibly rapid rates… coincidence?  Maybe they’re myths.  Maybe not.




 

Ketosis in the animal kingdom

Imagine a hibernating bear: huge adipose tissue but small brain fuel requirement relative to body size and total energy expenditure.  No ketosis, because brain accounts for less than 5% of total metabolism.  In adult humans, this is around 19-23%, and babies are much higher (eg, Cahill and Veech, 2003Hayes et al., 2012).

 

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