A ketogenic diet aims to limit carbohydrate consumption so that the body will use fat as an alternative energy source. When this occurs, fat is broken down in the liver, resulting in ketone production, a metabolic by-product. Ketones are used to replace glucose as a source of energy in the body. Ketones formed by fatty acids are not burned in the same way as glucose is. When you eat foods high in carbs, your body transforms them to glucose, or blood sugar, which your body uses for energy. Since glucose is the most basic energy type for the body, it is used as a primary fuel source of energy until the body uses stored fat as a fuel source.
The keto diet can be difficult to stick to, but it can be very beneficial when it does. The key goal is to consume more protein and fat calories while consuming substantially fewer calories from carbohydrates. Basically, you limit easy-to-digest carbs like sugar, soda, pastries, and white bread, as you can do anyway. When you eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, your body runs out of blood sugars and continues to break down protein and fat for energy (usually after 3-4 days).
Dietary Ketosis is the term for this state. This diet is more often used to shed weight since it requires more calories to turn fat into energy than carbohydrates, making you stay better much longer. It has often been found to assist with seizures, seizure control and seizure frequency, asthma, acne, and even certain cancers.
Is the Keto Diet or low-carb diet Good or Bad for Brain Health?
You might believe the ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is just the new weight-loss fad. But did you know that this diet has been used to treat treatment-resistant epilepsy since the 1920s?
According to studies, it reduces intractable epilepsy incidence in children by more than half. But it isn’t the only advantage it gives to the brain cells. An analysis of clinical trials showed that it strengthened signs of depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and schizophrenia. However, its effect on bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorder has been negative. One of the patients with extreme premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) found that her moods changed drastically after beginning the diet. Her brain metabolism had many activities just before her period, which went away after eating better.
According to conventional anti-epileptic pharmacotherapeutics, children with epilepsy who followed a ketogenic diet had increased alertness and cognitive functioning compared to a 2012 report. According to this report, the Ketogenic diet can also be useful for the treatment of other central nervous system (CNS) diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury. According to one theory, more research into the ketogenic diet is required to explain its possible effects on traumatic brain disorders and its function in neuroprotection. Overall, this would support healthy brain development and allow it to use its resources more effectively.
Brain Function Needs Continuous Energy Supply (Ketones)
Your brain is, without a doubt, the most powerful organ of the body. It helps you to make choices quickly, learn, talk, and perform hundreds of other tasks. It’s also in charge of many involuntary functions essential for survival, such as breathing, body temperature regulation, and hormone secretion. It is the central nervous system’s command center, collecting and transmitting signals across your body that cause you to do things like see a car pulling in front of you and then stop or swerve out of the way to avoid it.
The brain function absorbs 20% of your daily energy while accounting for just 2% of your total body weight. The brain needs a constant fuel source to carry out its essential tasks. Glucose to ketones, all of which cross the blood-brain barrier, can be used by the brain. Glucose is the brain’s primary energy supply in individuals who consume a low to a high-carbohydrate diet. The brain will use ketone bodies to satisfy a large portion of its energy requirements in people who follow a low-carb, ketogenic diet.
How Do Carb Restriction Effects your Brains?
When driven by carbohydrates, a stable brain needs roughly 110-145 grams of glucose (from the breakdown of carbs you eat) each day to function optimally. The majority of people who eat a conventional modern-day high-carb diet consume almost twice as many carbs as their brains need, maintaining a continuous glucose supply. What if you consume even less than 110 g of carbohydrates per day or not? Is the brain going to starve? Definitely not!
Your liver and muscles store glycogen, which is a form of glucose. In the liver of an average-sized individual weighing 154 lbs. (70 kg), about 100 grams of glycogen is processed, though the volume ranges from person to person. If you don’t eat carbs for a few hours, your liver breaks down glycogen into glucose and releases it into your bloodstream to save your blood sugar from dropping so much. While muscles stock glycogen much more than the liver, they are not released into the blood circulation to increase blood glucose levels and are still in the muscles to meet their energy demands.
After a 24-48-hour period without carbs, glycogen levels are reduced, and insulin levels drop (this happens much faster with high-intensity exercise). The liver increases its production of water-soluble compounds known as ketones formed when fatty acids are broken down. The fat you eat or the fat you store in your body will be used to make ketone bodies. The resultant ketones will pass through the blood-brain wall, providing more energy to the brain regions. This means that the brain has a substitute power source if the body’s stored carbohydrates run out.
Can your Brain Rely on the Utilization of Ketone Bodies Alone?
The brain needs glucose at all times. On the other hand, Ketones can satisfy up to 70% of the brain’s energy needs in certain people who adopt a strict ketogenic diet. Your liver will produce all of the glucose required for the rest of the brain’s energy needs by a mechanism known as gluconeogenesis (literally “making fresh glucose”). The liver uses the following compounds to make glucose:
Amino acids derived from protein ingestion (or, under conditions of inadequate protein intake or periods of starvation, from muscle breakdown). The breakdown of body fat or dietary fat releases glycerol (a portion of a triglyceride molecule).
Pyruvate and lactate are molecules formed as the body breaks down glucose. To re-create glucose, these molecules can be bound together again. So if you consume carbohydrates or not, your liver will meet all of your brain’s energy needs from stored glucose, gluconeogenesis, or ketone levels. “The lower bound of dietary carbohydrate that is consistent with life seems to be zero, assuming sufficient protein and fat intake and low carbohydrate intake.”
Takeaways from a Ketogenic Diets Review
A ketogenic diet can be an appealing treatment option for some illnesses, which can help you lose weight faster. But it’s difficult to stick to because it’s high in fried, processed, and salty ingredients, both of which are notoriously unhealthy. We really don’t know much about its long-term consequences because it’s so difficult to sustain that most people can’t eat this way for too long.
It’s also worth remembering that “yo-yo diets,” which cause accelerated weight loss and gain, are linked to an elevated risk of mortality. Rather than jumping on the next fad diet that can only last a few weeks or months (for most people, this does not involve the ketogenic diet), strive to consider the long-term transition. The best proof for a long, healthier, lively life seems to be a nutritious, unprocessed diet rich in very colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, almonds, peas, olive oil, and plenty of water. Get Rid of the Pounds and Keep It Off
Low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets include several health benefits. It’s well known, for example, that they can assist in weight loss and diabetes management. Not only that, the Keto diet can assist in many brain-related problems as well. The most compelling research concerns the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in children.
Ketogenic diets can help in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease as well, according to recent human studies. The results are still being investigated on people with these and other brain disorders. In addition to brain well-being, multiple clinical studies have demonstrated that low carb and ketogenic diets can help control weight loss and diabetes. These diets aren’t right for everyone if not done right, but they do help a lot of people who do it correctly.