Tag Archives: ketogenic

Watch the Clock, Not the Scale

I’ve been known to say intermittent fasting is #weaksauce because most of the human studies show little or no effect and people frequently report being hungry (yes, even if LCHF). Human studies, not “n=1’s.”

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Well, now we know why. Time-restricted feeding (TRF) only really works when the feeding window is early (eTRF), as demonstrated by the recent Sutton study which showed, miraculously, great benefits achieved sans weight loss. Calories were strictly controlled in that study to prevent weight loss. AND when the participants were on eTRF, they actually reported less hunger in the evening.

 

 

We know from the studies by Jacobs and Hirsh that under ad lib AND isocaloric conditions, people lose more weight eating all their food for breakfast than those eating all their food for dinner.

 

 

That’s cuz metabolism is gimped at night. Lower metabolic rate and greater propensity to store fat.

Melatonin sensitizes the system, preparing it to optimally partition nutrients in the morning.

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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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Low carb diet. NAFLD.

An integrated understanding of the rapid metabolic benefits of a carbohydrate-restricted diet on hepatic steatosis in humans (Mardinoglu et al., 2018)

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Critique and analysis.

They did two very small (n=10 & n=7) 2-week long studies of low carb, high protein. Carb/fat/protein was 4/72/24 compared to 20/42/18 at baseline. There was no control group, so the results were compared to baseline.

 

 

Lots of pro’s and con’s on this one… but for that, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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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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Ketone supps and physical performance

We’ve had a couple more studies on the various ketone supps: two esters (D-b-hydroxybutyrate-R 1,2-Butanediol Monoester and R,S-Butanediol Diacetoacetate) and one beta-Hydroxybutyrate sodium and potassium salts (KetoForce). We’ll call them Clarke, Burke, and Stewart so I don’t get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome typing them out each time. Technically, b-hydroxybutyrate isn’t really a ketone, but whatevs.

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“Clarke”

 

“Burke”

 

“Stewart” (this is actually a blend of the sodium “Na” and potassium “K” [not shown] salts)

 

Two studies on Stewart

Nutritional ketone salts increase fat oxidation but impair high-intensity exercise performance in healthy adult males (O’Malley et al., 2017)

“Ten healthy, recreationally active men.” The participants did a brief warm-up then a 150 km cycling time trial after receiving 24 g Stewart or salt-matched placebo.  Controlling for salt was cool, but Stewart has about as 5 kcal/g, so the placebo could’ve controlled for that somehow, with either fat or carb, or something… (probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway)

Results: blood beta-hydroxybutyrate reached about 1 mM, power output declined 7% and it took the keto group about 45 seconds longer to complete the time trial.

Oral beta-hydroxybutyrate salt fails to improve 4-minute cycling performance following submaximal exercise (Rodger et al., 2017)

“Highly trained cyclists.” Similar study design as McSwiney’s — drain the tank with 90 minutes cycling at 80% max then 4 minute maximal performance test. Same dose as above in 2 divided doses. Same issue with the control group.

Results: blood beta-hydroxybutyrate reached ~0.6 mM and there was a trivial (non-significant) increase in power. This is actually in line with my interpretation of McSwiney regarding the decline in power output before and after draining the tank; ketoadaptation and all that jazz.

 

One study on Burke

Ketone diester ingestion impairs time-trial performance in professional cyclists (Leckey et al., 2017)

“Internationally competitive elite cyclists.” Two doses of 20 g Burke then a 20-minute warm-up followed by a 31 km time-trial. Non-caloric placebo control, whereas Burke is estimated 4.7 kcal/g. They were well-fed and caffeinated.

Results: beta-hydroxybutyrate reached ~1.1 mM, time-trial took 2% longer, and power was reduced 3.7%.

 

One study on Clarke

Nutritional ketosis alters fuel preference and thereby endurance performance in athletes (Cox et al., 2016)

“High performance athletes.” This study was different: one group got a drink that was 40% Clarke and 60% carbs (by calories), the other drink was 100% carbs. Calorie-controlled. They cycled for an hour at 75% max (to drain the tank), then 30-minute time trial.

Results: this is the first one that worked. beta-hydroxybutyrate reached 2-3 mM and they made it 2% further during the time-trial.

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS.

For my interpretation of these studies and an  explanation why I think the different keto supps had different effects (or if you just like what I do and want to support it), head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

Also, I’m open to suggestions so feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERETrueDark is running a pretty big sale HEREIf you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

 

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As if we needed another study about breakfast. Or 4.

Exhibit A. Participants were given ~30 grams of whey, casein, or carbs 30 minutes before bed (Kinsey et al., 2014). [side note: the closer it is to bedtime, the less food is needed to mess up your rhythms. Worded another way, if you’re gonna have a big dinner, the earlier the better]. The following morning, you guessed it, they weren’t hungry for breakfast. And they had higher insulin levels. FFS. Worded another way, light early dinner -> lower insulin and more hungry for breakfast, in the morning.

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Dopamine and breakfast.

Light and food in the morning.

Metabolism is gimped at night.

Exhibit B1. Expecting mothers: “Across the whole cohort, night-time, but not day-time, carbohydrate intake was positively associated with glucose concentrations after the glucose load and inversely associated with early phase insulin secretion (P < 0.05)” (Chandler-Laney et al., 2016).

 

 

Evening is not the best time to carb… but it’s not just carbs… and it affects infants, too.

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

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Sunlight, Meal Timing, and Circadian Rhythms.

we’re talking some serious epigenetics

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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.

For a more nuanced interpretation of this study (which is good, I promise!), head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

Also, I’m open to suggestions so feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERETrueDark is running a pretty big sale HEREIf you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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Endurance Performance Doesn’t Decline on a Low Carb Diet

The new study by Zinn and colleagues doesn’t debunk ketoadaptation. And the authors agree!

In brief, it was 5 ~50-year old recreational endurance athletes. They’ve been training a lot for a very long time. In other words, one way to view this study is the opposite of n00b gainz. Experienced exercisers don’t typically make gains in 10 weeks without drastically changing their training program or increasing protein intake – neither of which occurred in this study.

 

 

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

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Long-term fat adaptation.

Ketoadaptation

More on physical performance and ketoadaptation

A timeline of ketoadaptation.

 

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Conserved lean body mass? O_o

Alternative title: keto isn’t muscle-sparing if you compare it to any remotely sensible control group.

Exhibit A. Resistance training in overweight women on a ketogenic diet conserved lean body mass while reducing body fat (Jabekk et al., 2010)

The exercise intervention was resistance and progressive.  The diet was ketogenic, confirmed by urinary ketones… of note, presence of urinary ketones is a better indicator of ketosis than any information about diet (although they were advised to start at <20g carb/d).

 

 

As per usual, the LC diet was higher in protein… but that wasn’t enough to induce skeletal muscle growth, even when combined with resistance exercise… worded another way, resistance exercise and more protein prevented ketogenic diet-induced muscle loss:

 

 

Neither group was instructed to restrict energy intake, but from the above graph it’s relatively safe to assume the LC diet counteracted exercise-induced hunger.

Confirmed:

 

 

However, exercise-induced hunger isn’t conducive to fattening because the cause is exercise.  I think.

Ketones may spare muscle during starvation, but not in the context of regular people eating a ketogenic diet.  Otherwise, muscle mass would’ve increased in that study relative to the control group.  Confounded by negative energy balance?  Perhaps, but from where I’m standing, the LC diet did almost exactly what we expected: reduced food intake and induced a selective loss of fat mass.  And exercise also performed as expected: increased muscle mass.  In other words, if you want to gain muscle, you need calories, protein, and exercise.  Keto provides no advantages in this context.

 




 

Exhibit B. The effect of weight loss by ketogenic diet on the body composition, performance-related physical fitness factors, and cytokines of Taekwondo athletes (Rhyu and Cho, 2014)

Keto dieters got 33% more protein (40% vs. 30%), and still managed to lose almost twice as much lean mass as non-ketogenic dieters.

 

(figure from Suppversity)

 

The participants were physically active, and thus likely fairly insulin sensitive, so this may be why those assigned to a ketogenic diet lost less body fat…

 




 

Exhibit C. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women (Volek et al., 2004)

And in this study on sedentary insulin resistant folk, keto still wasted muscle (NS) despite more protein and calories:

 

 

If you’ve been paying attention, this wasn’t unexpected.

Sedentary and overweight: more fat loss on keto.

Keto and sedentary: muscle loss.

Sleep well, get your circadian rhythms entrained proper — otherwise these efforts will give you a mere fraction of the benefits.

 




 

Other~

Protein + exercise works: Interactive effects of an isocaloric high-protein diet and resistance exercise on body composition, ghrelin, and metabolic and hormonal parameters in untrained young men: A randomized clinical trial (Kim et al., 2014)

Simply replacing carbs with fat, or resisting food for as long as possible after waking up and staring at your smart phone all night: doesn’t work.

#context

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE.

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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