Fasting and it’s alternative therapy, the Ketogenic Diet are very popular and very misunderstood.
The original utility was treating neurological disorders during the early 20th century, particularly epilepsy. An oversimplified definition for ketogenesis is when the body taps into stored fat out of necessity due to low levels of stored glucose. This produces acids known as ketone bodies. A state of high ketone bodies in the blood is known as ketosis. The brain eats up most of it, the rest fill in the gaps for ton of other things including glucose.
In a state of ketosis, the epileptic patients experienced radical decreases in seizure activity. In some cases, the symptoms ceased altogether. Fasting for a few days to a few weeks was the first method for ketosis. Due to the sheer suckiness of this approach, a high-fat, low-carb replacement diet was developed to make the process suck a little less.
Essentially – fasting and ketosis benefit the brain more than anything else hence the positive effects on hormonal interplay, inflammation, mental-alertness, and all the other big selling points of these “diets” today.
The fat loss aspect stems from the big calorie deficit that comes with these therapies. Ironically, this was first seen as an adverse effect in the 1920’s. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that people like Robert Atkins, physique-conscious types, and competitive body builders revived these therapies and invented similar approaches for fat loss.
Common Keto Misconceptions
1) You need to eat high fat for Ketosis.
No you don’t. Any intense calorie reduction will get you there. However, high fat allows you to eat a little bit more.
2) Keto makes your body a “fat-burning machine”
No. Again, this is mostly from calorie reduction. One thing I will note is inflammation going down or looking less puffy which is frequently reported in success stories.
3) Keto is “unsustainable”
It’s not supposed to be sustainable. It’s a built-in survival process first and foremost. In the West, backwoods survival is no longer quite as common unless you decide to live far North or deep South. Therefore, imposing the state on yourself a couple times per year is not a terrible idea granted you’re a generally healthy human.
Is It All It’s Cracked Up To Be?
The majority of keto-curious people are usually out for the fat loss component so it’s important to know some history.
There are proven health benefits in it, but if fat loss is the primary goal – adherence to any dietary strategy that leads to a calorie deficit can work.