Long Term Ketosis - Good, Bad, Ugly?


Being in nutritional based real active ketosis has its merits for medial issues to be addressed. I don’t doubt that.

But what is ketogenic long term? We do not have to be in active ketosis at all times cause if the physcial body is a healthier body then it will not ‘be in active ketosis’ every day or even for long periods ever…we burn ketones therefore we are ketogenic burn but we also have all ketones and burns in there changing and adapting and dumping diff. ketones at diff. times.

An active ketosis body will never a be just a longer term ketogeneic body in truth. How one eats will activate natural active ketosis thru manipulation as one might require but a ketogenic body burns ketones so different from when we start to how long on plan and what we do continue to eat.

Just put time into researching what is a ketogenic menu for the body and what is ‘an active ketosis forced ketosis’ menu and we see the differences. But in the end it is who you are and what one might require but I think most will never require ‘forced active ketosis’ on some pee stick for long term benefits from ‘just being a ketogenic’ body.

(Old Baconian) #22

Or when another party asserts they were not.

(Joey) #23

Like others, I wish I had reliably robust experimental results to point as the basis for much of what I believe in life. Instead I must rely on the perceived credibility of other sources. So I challenge much of what I see as a matter of good logical practice.

I’m very glad to see @amwassil initiate this thread and hope to follow along. But in this spirit, I’ll quibble (slightly) with this reasoning…

I’m unconvinced that genetic “dies” are ever cast. Between mutations, selection pressures, and epigenetics, it seems the more we learn about genetic lineage the more we come to see how remarkably malleable our DNA fingerprints are.

The fact that we can convert our mitochondria to burn “this” vs “that” fuel (viz. fat adaptation) in just a matter of weeks suggests to me the notion that our distant ancestors ate a certain way and therefore we’ve been set into a preconfigured dietary mode for maximum health seems flawed.

Observation across the globe/cultures strongly supports the conclusion that humans are natural omnivores - and can survive on any number of food groups for decades. Whether that’s “thriving” remains the interesting and open question.

Looking forward to reading whatever science is available. My guess is there’s very little indeed that’s useful on an n=1 basis. :vulcan_salute:

(Doing a Mediterranean Keto) #24

Just speculation, but the way I think is:

Humans really want sugars and refined carbs. This probably means (at least, to me) that humans had scarce access to sugars, in normal circumstances. And it was a big evolutionary advantage to eat as many sugars as you could find in nature.

Probably this means that humans were quite often in ketosis, but punctuated by periods out of ketosis (as many as they could).

For example, when I was eating bread, pasta, etc. I never wanted fruit. But when in ketosis, I know I would really like fruit. Even though in nature fruits were less “perfect” than now, I am pretty sure that a human would fill his stomach with fruits, if he found a fruit tree full of fruits.


yea if you didn’t have an entire roasted boar pig to hound down :slight_smile:

I feel ya but sugar ‘cravings’ and ‘today’ will never be what life was back in the day thousands of years ago and take into effect GMO increasing sugar content and transportation cause no one in Iceland was eating a pineapple.

So we have to truly put all this in real context of what it was and what it has become kinda :slight_smile:

back in hard times and more people required food, any darn source which is why in winter more died than survived…those berries and whatever plant sources in the area were life to be given to us another day…not for everyday enjoyment year round as it is now.

Natural real life. So forgotten now in this day. :frowning: and that covers any issues other than just our nutrition.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #26

The genetic die was cast 4-5M years ago when our hominid ancestors ‘gave up’ (‘lost’, ‘abandoned’ or ‘whatever’) their big guts and the ability to digest cellulose. We’re not going to get that ability back - and would not want it back even if we could. From that development we might still have remained just another primate genus of the tropical rain forest with a diet limited to less complex carbs than cellulose.

Fortuitously, though, when our ancestors lost their big, cellulose-digesting guts, they also came down from the forest canopy to the forest floor, then eventually out onto the savanna. I say ‘fortuitously’ because around 4M years ago our specific genus (Homo) began to grow a bigger and energy hog of a brain. This organ demanded a lot more energy than our ancestors could get from eating energy and nutrient dilute plant fodder.

Browsing the savanna of central Africa was a smorgasbord of energy and nutrient dense fat and meat on the hoof. We have sound evidence in the form of ‘Lucy’ (Australopithecus afarensis) that our ancestors were eating that fat and meat at least 3.9M years ago. Hunting those animals required skill and cooperation which a growing brain could provide. The fat and meat in turn provided the energy and nutrients required to continue to grow the brain. A positive feed-back loop.

(Joey) #27

That’s a rather specific recap of several million years’ worth of history. :wink:

You might enjoy Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” as much as I have. It’s a delightful romp through the trajectory of science which helps one appreciate just how much humility is needed when we form our beliefs about how things actually unfolded.

[Spoiler alert: We were dead wrong at pretty much every twist throughout the history of science.]

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #28

@Jamesbrawn007 I am expressing a conclusion based on the following evidence.

  1. Sometime between 4-5 million years ago our primate ancestors lost/abandoned the big guts and ability to digest cellulose. That was a big deal. All other related primates (the family hominidae) retain the guts and microbiota required to digest cellulose. We don’t. We retain only the ability to digest simpler carbohydrates - even what we call ‘complex’ carbs are lots simpler in structure than cellulose.

  2. Prior to the Holocene virtually all plants were composed primarily of cellulose. In fact even now 8-10K years into the ‘agricultural revolution’ most plants remain composed primarily of cellulose. Human edible plants for the most part - there are exceptions - are edible only because humans have domesticated and selectively bred them to be edible by breeding out the cellulose. And it took a lot of intelligence to figure this out and actually accomplish it… which leads to

  3. Humans have the biggest brains of all the primates, even the ones the same physical size and larger. The reason humans grew big brains and all of our primate relatives did not is simply that our ancestors ate more energy and nutrient dense fat and meat and our primate herbivorous relatives ate energy and nutrient dilute plants. We required hunting skills, coordination and cooperation - and tools - to hunt the big animals. Our brains gave us those attributes and demanded we feed them accordingly.

  4. Our ancestors were by necessity eating mostly fat and meat and very little digestible carbohydrate because there was not much digestible carbohydrate to eat. Possible exception: honey - availability, who knows? From Australopithecus afarensis we know that our ancestors were eating fat and meat 3.9M years ago and already knew enough to break large bones to extract the fatty marrow. That looks like the classic definition of a well-formulated ketogenic diet, maybe even carnivore with possible occasional/seasonal excursion on nuts or berries.

  5. And, from @amber

Therefore: I conclude that our human ancestors lived mostly in ketosis even prior to the onset of the Pleistocene. That in turn means that our ancestors lived mostly in ketosis for a minimum of 2.5M years and probably more like at least 4M years. That’s certainly sufficient evolutionary time to adapt our metabolism to flourish best in ketosis. While a carbohydrate loaded diet has only existed from a couple thousand years after the onset of the Holocene. A few K years max - in other words diddly.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #29

:heart_eyes: The really big deal was losing the ability to digest cellulose. If that had not happened, we would still be just another primate species chattering in the equatorial rain forest canopy.

(Joey) #30

And yet ironically, much of the chattering we humans do to this day seems to occur closer to the equator. :thinking:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #31

To answer a question not yet asked. The best answer I’ve read so far as for why our more recent ancestors became farmers is this. The abrupt climate change that happened at the end of the last glacial max led to the mass extinction of Pleistocene megafauna that our hunter/gatherer ancestors had depended upon.

(L. Amber O'Hearn) #32

I have addressed this in a presentation and a paper. It has a few problems including a fatal error, which is that if the variant prevented ketosis as described it would also prevent gluconeogenesis, which would obviously not be viable.

Presentation: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q-II2vBGn8U
Paper: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/8wz5h9kp

(L. Amber O'Hearn) #33

Thanks for tagging me and including my post.

I have several more pieces that I think argue well for long term ketosis, or let’s say, ketosis by default.

Oops, hit send before I finished!

Here’s one presentation that brings together a few lines of evidence: https://youtu.be/xAWReEm4l0w

(Bob M) #34

When are you and Ted Naiman coming onto the 2 Keto Dudes to have a conversation about protein? :wink:

Personally, I think you are both correct. Some people are probably OK with higher protein; some with higher fat.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #35

@amber Thanks for your response and input. I’m at work so can’t say much until later.

(L. Amber O'Hearn) #36

Thing is, what I keep saying is that some do well on higher protein, and others do better on very high fat; whereas Ted says high protein works for everyone and if you have excess body fat then high fat can’t work from principle. So I’m actually the only one who is correct.

(Bob M) #37

Looked at that way, I believe you are correct (that you’re correct :wink:).

(Bob M) #38

Anyone know why some “I’m a Carnivore!” people now eat carbs? Paul Saladino and Carnivore Aurelius, for instance? They are both on Twitter and have both gone from carnivore to some carbs, I believe.

While I think this is an interesting subject, I do go out of ketosis periodically. Not because I think ketosis is somehow dangerous, long-term, but I will have holidays where I eat high carb, and I’m sure I’m no longer in ketosis. Like this one, Thanksgiving 2017:

While I no longer track ketones, I’m sure I will not be in ketosis for at least some of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. When I was tracking, I tended to get back into ketosis quite quickly though. And I’m planning a 4.5 day fast the week after Thanksgiving (though we’ll see if I can follow through with that).

Edit: I’m not planning a carb intake to take a break from ketosis, which I believe some (Dr. Peter Attia?) do. I just have a holiday, and am not an addictive personality (in general), so I can have carbs and get off them in no time.

(L. Amber O'Hearn) #39

One could note some differences. The one that strikes me the most is that both insist on eating “nose to tail”, which in practice means a lot of liver (and they both sell these as supplements in some form). Most long term carnivores I know eat relatively little or no liver. Carbs may make it easier to deal with retinol overload. Regardless, I think there is some issue stemming from this mistaken insistence.


Amber, what’s your take on so called metabolic flexibility? The science seems quite convincing around insulin resistance from long-term ketosis. I listened to Tim Noakes recently address this issue and he said, to paraphrase, this shouldn’t be a problem provided you continued to avoid the carbs.