Ketogenic Diet Increases Brain Function and Healing

Ketogenic simply means getting your primary energy by burning fat, as opposed to most people in the US today who get most of their energy by burning glucose. Science is showing us that when fat is our primary fuel we function much smoother and healthier — including multiple studies showing brain benefits of burning fat os our primary fuel. In essence we access God’s engineering by shifting to burning fat rather than glucose.

Many people think our brain needs glucose as it’s primary energy. Wrong. Ketones are a by-product of burning fat and they duel our brain just fine. But if our body and brain are used to only having glucose as fuel (which likely means battling weight gain no matter how little you eat and often feeling hungry and having quick and sudden loss of brain and body energy, among other things (like high risk for diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more, which are the result of the Standard American Diet (SAD)), it can be a challenging process to switch, a process some experience as the low-carb flu.

How do we switch to burning mostly fat? Diet. Simply put, eat (at least) twice as many fat calories as you do carb calories. Here is a great review of “The Perfect Health Diet” book, an excellent resource for exploring and understanding the ketogenic diet and the science behind it.

Diet essentials (from the Perfect Health Diet):

  • By Calories, 20% carbs, 65% (healthy) fats, 15% protein. By weight, 65% plants, 35% animal foods,
  • Eliminate all veggie oils, eating only olive oil, animal fat, coconut oil, cold water fish oil (be sure it is mercury minimal or free). Eggs are fantastic.
  • Eliminate all grain and legumes, some nuts and seeds are OK, but soak them first to eliminate toxins and maximize nutrition and digestibility.

Counter to Popular Understanding…

  • You will lose weight eating a high fat diet (lots of reasons, but put simply, your body is able to burn fat in addition to storing it).
  • Animal fat is good for you, veggie oils are very unhealthy.
  • Since USDA recommendations and the standard diet pyramid of food groups, US diet has dropped from an average of 40% fat to 30% fat, but we are fatter and less healthy and at greater risk of health issues than ever because we are malnourished.
  • Grains and legumes are hard to prepare traditionally in a “pre-digested” way and such preparation does not eliminate all toxins — in effect their nutritive value is negative because of their anti-nutrients.

I have been experimenting with just how I do and feel on various levels of ketogenic diet. The results are amazing. The more ketogenic my diet, the better my brain capacity, cognitive energy, energy stability, longevity, and the better I feel.

Making the switch is not easy. There are some things I have struggled to hold onto. Despite wanting oatmeal to work for me, I have discovered there is no way with current modern food production methods to duplicate the way oats need to be handled to make them part of my diet. For me, giving up wheat and other grains was not a big deal, but the oats hurt and I needed to be sure I could not make them work. I can’t. The science is a lot to follow, but the Weston A. Price Foundation explains why, with the percent excerpt:

“Oats contain very little phytase, especially after commercial heat treatment, and require a very long preparation period to completely reduce phytic acid levels. Soaking oats at 77 degrees F for 16 hours resulted in no reduction of phytic acid, nor did germination for up to three days at this temperature.63 However, malting (sprouting) oats for five days at 52 degrees F and then soaking for 17 hours at 120 degrees F removes 98 percent of phytates. Adding malted rye further enhances oat phytate reduction.64 Without initial germination, even a five-day soaking at a warm temperature in acidic liquid may result in an insignificant reduction in phytate due to the low phytase content of oats. On the plus side, the process of rolling oats removes a at least part of the bran, where a large portion of the phytic acid resides.
How do we square what we know about oats with the fact that oats were a staple in the diet of the Scots and Gaelic islanders, a people known for their robust good health and freedom from tooth decay? For one thing, high amounts of vitamin D from cod’s liver and other sources, helps prevent calcium losses from the high oat diet. Absorbable calcium from raw dairy products, consumed in abundance on mainland Scotland, provides additional protection.

In addition, it is likely that a good part of the phytase remained in the oats of yore, which partially germinated in stacks left for a period in the field, were not heat treated and were hand rolled immediately prior to preparation. And some Scottish and Gaelic recipes do call for a long fermentation of oats before and even after they are cooked.

Unprocessed Irish or Scottish oats, which have not been heated to high temperatures, are available in some health food stores and on the internet. One study found that unheated oats had the same phytase activity as wheat.65 They should be soaked in acidulated water for as long as twenty-four hours on top of a hot plate to keep them at about 100 degrees F. This will reduce a part of the phytic acid as well as the levels of other anti-nutrients, and result in a more digestible product. Overnight fermenting of rolled oats using a rye starter — or even with the addition of a small amount of fresh rye flour — may result in a fairly decent reduction of phytate levels. It is unclear whether heat-treated oats are healthy to eat regularly.”