Why your BRAIN quits on Low-calorie Diets

IMG_9383From Jeff Volek PhD and Dr Stephen Phinney MD’s book, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, we read,

“The brain is the spoiled child of the organ family. It can burn glucose or ketones (or a combination of the two) and it can’t burn fat. This is interesting because the brain itself contains a lot of fatty acids in all its membranes and myelin (although little or none as triglycerides), and the many types of brain cells all contain mitochondria that should be capable of oxidizing fatty acids. Another surprise about the brain is how much energy it consumes each day (600 kcal) despite weighing just 3 pounds. This is more than 10-times the average energy use per pound of the rest of the body, which explains why the brain has such a large blood supply (to provide fuel and oxygen and also to keep it cool).

The other important fact about the brain’s fuel supply is that it contains no reserve supply of glycogen, and because it can’t burn fat, it is absolutely dependent upon a minute-by-minute blood supply containing both fuel and oxygen to meet its needs. This

Always seek to do this; what the Ironman triathlon has taught me about life

Learning has been a big part of my life. It started by reading the entire encyclopedia set my mom bought when I was a youngster. Then when I was old enough at age eight to obtain my own library card I would walk about a mile and half to the public library and spend all day there. I’d walk up and down the isles of books until a book title caught my eye and I’d pull it off the shelf and sit down in the isle and read it.

The Ironman triathlon has so many parts to it. There is the 2.4 mile swim that deals with efficiency of the stroke in removing drag and increasing the propulsive force. Not to mention having a calm mind swimming next to people the entire way without any way keep them from getting in your way or punching or kicking you.

The bike ride has many elements to contend with. The sheer length of 112 miles deals with the science body fuel; fat, glucose and glycogen. Then the hydration aspect of making sure your my body can stay healthy. Aerodynamics are an important aspect of going fast. The goal is to reduce wind drag at the expense of losing pedal power because my hips are closed by crouching in the aerodynamic position.

Finally the run of 26.2 miles after swimming and biking is the most challenging. My body takes the most pounding because in every stride I contact the ground and that shock has to be absorbed by my muscles, tendons and bones. Again fuel becomes important as well as hydration. The running stride can either promote less ground force and using gravity to move me forward or it can be a shear test of brut force and strength in moving forward.

Because my goal is to finish fast it has caused me to learn as much as I can about every aspect of the race. Racing in my 16th Ironman on November 19, 2017 in Tempe Arizona I’ve learned the most than any other Ironman. This is the first Ironman I believe I could win my age group (60-64). In all my prior races was just to finish.

I’ve improved in so many aspects as I’ve had a vision to win. Below are the milestones I’ve had in this Ironman:

  • Ketogenic lifestyle and how low-carb has helped me lose weight and teach my body use fat as my primary fuel. Losing weight will make me faster in all areas too.
  • Three weeks ago I spent a lot of time analyzing my swim stroke and discovered some major flaws. All I do when swimming since is to groove a more efficient stroke into muscle memory.
  • In May I spent a great deal of time in changing my position on the bike to let me be more aerodynamic. Because of a process of super compensation and adaptation, I’m teaching the muscles that I’m now using because of the change to be more aerodynamic to become strong. In the beginning of this change I was constantly sore in my lower back and hamstrings because they were now being used. Before in the more upright and less aerodynamic position I was mainly using my quads and not my gluts and hamstrings.
  • In February I discovered I was insulin resistant and that explained why I could not lose weight I had gained over the last three years and the reason I had bonked in at least 6 of my previous Ironman. This led me to ketones first and then a complete ketogenic diet.
  • I discovered several products to help me gain health and burn more fat and less glucose as I raced. I’ve used exogenous ketones to keep me in a higher state of ketosis and fat burning. I’ve used Vespa, a extract from hornets, to burn more fat as I raced. Then a week ago rediscovered redox molecules (Asea) to improve cellular function and ultimately my VO2Max (the rate of oxygen transfer to my working muscles).
  • A week ago I discovered a run method to allow me to use gravity to propel me instead of my muscles. It claims to have a 12 week adaptation phase to perfect it. I’ve shortened that time by accelerating the amount of time I’ve spent in learning it. It’s called the Pose Running Method. It has already produced efficiency and I’m running faster at the same heart rate (energy expenditure).
  • I learned that as an aging athlete I have to go harder and more often. I’ve been able to do that without injury.  I now perform targeted strength training routines in order to prevent injury.
  • I’ve learned compassion. I no longer beat myself up if I miss a routine or make a mistake in training. I accept God’s grace. I’ve spent a lot of time this year understanding grace and that it’s appropriate for me to ask God to help me and expect grace to provide the results. I’ll accept any outcome of the race. If I win I’ll be very happy. If I fail to finish or finish slower than the winner, I’ll be happy. In either case I’ll praise God for my results.

What I’ve Really Learned

It’s important to have a vision of where it is I want to go in my life. Then allow the vision to keep my mind opened to all possibilities. I’ve actively sought new knowledge. If my mind is pricked with an idea, like all those discoveries I’ve mentioned, I follow up and see where it will lead me.

It’s the answer to my prayers.

I asked for a way to lose weight. Ketogenic came into my life. The health I gained open my eyes to a new vision of winning this race. That changed vision of  winning, and again asking for help, led me to all these other discoveries. Each one started with my vision which led to those still small voices to look further.

For me this is a way of life.

This Special Day For Me

Everyday is special to me. Today is my 61th birthday. I’m taking the day off and going to the library and sit in the isles and read!

High Ketosis, Low Ketosis; Does it matter?

There are various degrees of ketosis depending on your needs. According to the chart below a Glucose:Ketone Index (GKI) below 3 is “Therapeutic ketosis” that the medical profession uses to treat epilepsy and cancer. A range between 3 and 6 would be “Moderate/functional ketosis” and desirable for obesity, type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Lower on the index, between 6 and 9, is “low ketosis” and used for maintenance, optimal health and weight loss. Any thing above 9 there is no ketosis.

ketosis index

The glucose ketone index published study

From Wikipedia we learn that “Ketosis is a metabolic state in which some of the body’s energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis in which blood glucose provides most of the energy.

Ketosis is a nutritional process characterized by serum concentrations of ketone bodies over 0.5 m/mol, with low and stable levels of insulin and blood glucose. It is almost always generalized with hyperketonemia,

Why I’m hooked on ketones!

IMG_4389

I’m insulin resistant. 

That’s why I’m on a ketogenic, low-carb, high-fat diet.

My Story

Over the last 4 years I’ve gained weight. I’m 60 years old. My weight gain was odd because I was training and participating in seven Ironman triathlons during that same time. My race weight before the gradual weigh gain has always been around 188 to 192 pounds. I’m 6’5″. Then in 2013 to December 1, 2016 it rose to 208 pounds (see photo above).

In each of my last seven Ironman triathlons I also bonked. I’ve bonked in many of the fifteen I’ve finished. In each of those bonks the “experts” gave me different reasons. I now believe they were all wrong because of their bias toward carbohydrates.

I’ve discovered the vast majority of the sports nutritionist are bias toward carbohydrates and/or ignorant regarding fat as a fuel source. I’m sure they are well meaning but haven’t they ever worked with a insulin resistant athlete?  Just today as I was leaving my gym and over their loud speaker system the promotion announced, “Right after working out it’s best to eat a meal of 60 grams of carbohydrate with 25 grams of protein. Limit your fat content.” I almost started to laugh. Everyone is programed to believe that carbohydrates are good and fats are bad for you.

Why you need β-hydroxybutyrate (ketone)

Researchers at YALE School of Medicine have found that a compound (B-hydroxbutyrate, Ketone) produced by the body when dieting or fasting can block a part of the immune system involved in several inflammatory disorders such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

In their study, published in the Feb. 16 online issue of Nature Medicine, the researchers described how the compound β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) directly inhibits NLRP3, which is part of a complex set of proteins called the inflammasome. The inflammasome drives the inflammatory response in several disorders including autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, and autoinflammatory disorders.

“These findings are important because endogenous metabolites like BHB that block the NLRP3 inflammasome could be relevant against many inflammatory diseases, including those where there are mutations in the NLRP3 genes,” said Vishwa Deep Dixit, professor in the Section of Comparative Medicine at Yale School of Medicine.

BHB is a metabolite produced by the body in response to fasting, high-intensity exercise, caloric restriction, or consumption of the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet.

Dixit said it is well known that fasting and calorie restriction reduces inflammation in the body, but it was unclear how immune cells adapt to reduced availability of glucose and if they can respond to metabolites produced from fat oxidation.

Working with mice and human immune cells, Dixit and colleagues focused on how macrophages — specialized immune cells that produce inflammation — respond when exposed to ketone bodies and whether that impacts the inflammasone complex.

The team introduced BHB to mouse models of inflammatory diseases caused by NLP3. They found that this reduced inflammation, and that inflammation was also reduced when the mice were given a ketogenic diet, which elevates the levels of BHB in the bloodstream.

“Our results suggest that the endogenous metabolites like BHB that are produced during low-carb dieting, fasting, or high-intensity exercise can lower the NLRP3 inflammasome,” said Dixit.

See the article here

How ketones are being used by Navy Seal divers, cancer and seizure patients

My Take Away

I’ve been using a exogenous ketone product (β-hydroxybutyrate) for the last several weeks and the full use of the Isagenix 30-Day Cleansing and Fat Burning System. I’m insulin resistant and over the past 24 months have not been able to reduce the fat around my waist using methods that has previously worked for the past 11 years. During my use of the ketone product I’ve been able to release 12 pounds of fat primarily because I can induce ketosis and put my body into strict fat burning even though I have stores of glucose in my body.

In addition to the ketones I’ve also changed my food macros to approximately:

60% Fat
25% Protein
15% Carbohydrates

I acquire the extra fat from 3 additional sources; MCT Oil, Coconut oil and Red Palm Oil.

My exercise has been 100% in zone two (fat burning). I’ve not purposely counted calories. Following the instructions using the ketones I’ve eaten when I was hungry.

There are several ketone supplements on the market and you may purchase them either directly from their company or through Amazon.

I’m a leading distributor for Isagenix however have no financial interest in the  ketone products.