The Keto Diet Craze: What You May Not Know
Part 1: Learn for Your Liver’s Sake. Let me get straight to the point: I´m worried. I’m referring to the popularity of so-called “keto diets,” which promote low-carbohydrate and high-protein consumption for weight loss. As with many other food and health-related trends, I’m particularly worried about any diet high in animal-sourced protein.
Here is why. First, to understand the benefits of any diet or food trend you must understand some basics about how the human body functions.
Your liver cells need healthy sugars
and carbohydrates to function properly.
Keeping it super simple:
1. High animal protein diet = high fat diet
It doesn’t make any difference whether you choose a lean cut of meat. A high-protein diet will always be high in fat.
2. High fat diet = an overloaded, overworked liver … eventually
the liver tries to clear up the fat that you eat and metabolize it into energy. So by eating high-animal protein foods at every meal, every day, your liver ultimately becomes overworked, tired and sluggish. When this happens, forms of fat and other toxins are released into the blood and will accumulate in your arteries, veins and other organs.
3. Overloaded and overworked liver = compromising of vital liver functions
4. Compromised liver functions daily, for extended periods = diminished natural detoxing capabilities
5. Diminished detoxing capabilities = toxin buildup
6. Toxin buildup = undeniable chronic diseases
7. Your liver cells need healthy sugars and carbohydrates to function properly. Trends such as the keto diet only allow minimal consumption of healthy sugars and carbs. In effect, this starves the liver cells, depleting them of the energy needed to clear up and metabolize your fat consumption.
Perhaps the main reason for the keto diet trend being so popular is also what makes it tricky and problematic. In the short run, you will lose weight quickly by putting your body into a state called ketosis.
For many people, this can seem like their last, best hope for losing those extra pounds. They love the idea of eating large amounts of food — mainly from animal sources — yet still losing weight
All about loving your liver
The problem with this trend, as I mentioned before, is not the ketosis in and of itself. The real problem is failure to understand or take into consideration the healthy functioning of your liver.
Think of this analogy: You are a parent who works 24 hours a day, all year round with no vacations. You must deal with an immense number of tasks: producing energy to care for your family (metabolization of food into energy), cleaning up routine messes all day long (detoxing), constantly organizing the household (enzymatic reactions), taking out the trash (proper disposal of toxins, medications, microorganisms, etc.) and cooking all the daily meals (modulating the sugars levels along with the pancreas). You continue taking care of the kids (the liver has various important functions related to innate and adaptive immunity). Finally at the end of the day, you strive to leave the house as clean as possible (on top of all the other functions the liver orchestrates all day long).
I hope this helps you better appreciate the extent that our bodies rely on the liver to perform more than 1,000 vital functions to keep us healthy. Can you imagine the impact of overloading this unselfishly amazing organ with loads and loads of fat with every meal?
Will there not come a time when this situation becomes unsustainable? How long can your liver continue doing its job to support your health and your lifestyle? It’s likely not as long as you might have thought.
Now ask yourself this: Do you suffer from any chronic disease? If so, then a diet trend is not the answer. Remember, quick fixes don’t work. Instead, a lifestyle change based on informed decisions can reverse, improve and heal your condition.
Keep learning in the next Howler issue. Part 2 of this article will offer specific advice on lifestyle changes for taking control of your health.
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