Lower calorie diet more Ketogenic?

(Herb Martin) #21

It’s 100% clear that my fasts (0-calorie) diets are far more ketogenic than either carnivore or traditional 0-carb alone.

At about 19 days my ketones went off the meter at 8.1+ so I could no longer even measure them accurately. :slight_smile:

After leaving that fast, my ketones were up pretty well for a week doing permissive carnivore and were 2-3 on entering the current fast.

Last night at the end of day #5, ketones were back up in the 6s.

So if we mean “higher ketones” then yes, some lower calorie diets can be more “ketogenic”.

If you force your body to mobilize and burn more fat then likely ketones will rise.

(Bacon is the new bacon) #22

Unfortunately, even with a low carbohydrate intake, the body will hang on to fat when it’s in famine mode. The key to fat burning appears to be low carbohydrate in conjunction with an abundance of calories. Trying to manipulate the First Law of Thermodynamics rather than the body’s hormones usually has rebound effects, because the body adjusts metabolism to input.

Manipulating the hormones works a lot better, and is what a low-carb diet is all about. And it brings with it the apparent effect of being able to eat as much as you like, since the caloric deficit is hidden in the appetite regulation. This is one of the effects that makes a keto diet even possible for me, since I have an insuperable mental block against counting calories (not to mention going hungry).

A now-outdated hypothesis, since gluconeogenesis has been shown to be driven by demand, not supply.

You’ve got it, Alec. That, in fact, is the whole point of fat-adaptation. After they become fat-adapted, the muscles actually turn up the opportunity to use ketones, so as to save them for the organs that really need them, the brain and the heart in particular. Moreover, the ketone bodies, β-hydroxybutyrate in particular, have highly beneficial hormonal effects.

Think of fatty acids as being like wood, and ketones as charcoal. Charcoal is an intermediate product of wood combustion, just as ketone bodies are intermediate products of fatty acid metabolism. Charcoal can be further combusted, and ketone bodies can be further metabolized, but they are used a bit differently from how their parent substances are used.

The ketone bodies are still an important part of a low-carbohydrate diet. For one thing, the heart apparently really thrives on β-hydroxybutyrate, because it has (if I got this right) hormonal effects on the heart muscle as well as providing fuel. There is also the brain, which does very well on β-hydroxybutyrate, as well as acetone (under certain circumstances). (Apparently, the brain could metabolize fatty acids—since every mitochondrion in the body is capable of that—but fatty acids can’t pass the blood-brain barrier.)

However, despite these specialized uses of ketone bodies most of the energy that the body uses in ketosis is fatty acids. You could even say “all of it,” in the sense that the ketone bodies produced by the liver could be described as a sort of “pre-digested” fatty acid. But now I’m just playing with the terminology.

(Bacon is the new bacon) #23

Dr. Fung has a fascinating explanation of how fasting and caloric-restriction affect the body. In the latter situation, the body has to adjust its energy expenditure to match the intake, whereas in fasting the metabolism keeps roaring along, it’s just that the fuel source has switched from food intake to internal reserves.

I assume the evolutionary logic is that once we run out of mammoth meat we need adequate energy to go out and hunt down another one, whereas if we’re eating at a deficit it means food supplies are limited—i.e., a famine—and the body had better conserve its resources to get us through.

(Full Metal Keto) #24

But what about this?

Controversy :cowboy_hat_face:


Technically supply-side GNG is debunked, but in the context of ketosis people can see fluctuations in glucose one way or the other depending on the type of amino acid.

In response to protein, blood sugar rises on a keto diet, even though I/G — the ratio of insulin to glucagon, stays constant, whereas on a glycolytic diet, I/G rises, but blood sugar stays constant. http://www.ketotic.org/2013/01/protein-gluconeogenesis-and-blood-sugar.html

(bulkbiker) #26

That sounds remarkably like saying that CICO doesn’t work because of the First Law of Thermodynamics… Love it!
A new perspective for me

(Bacon is the new bacon) #27

I like Gary Taubes’s notion of reversed causality: it’s not that we gained weight because we ate too much, but that we ate more because our body was in weight-gaining mode. Put it like that to a CICO-path and watch his or her head explode!

(bulkbiker) #28

Starvation ketosis? They measured ketones when people did the 800 cal for 8 weeks Newcastle Diet… so lower calories may well induce higher numbers… the point being whether that is

a) sustainable for any length of time
b) beneficial in any way
c) leads to maintained weight loss

My guess is the answer to all three is no.

(⚕ lowcarb.skrinak.com ⚕) #29

I have recently surprised myself in my n=1 experience. Nearly a year ago, I had increased my fat macros to align them with the more common values I’ve seen here, but only to experience decreased energy and prolonged rise in my body weight. To reverse this increase, I lowered my fat intake but dramatically increased my protein, to a positive benefit. BTW, it was a step back to Westman’s page 4 by way of what and amount of what I was eating.

I’ve talked about this elsewhere, but low-carb does not create nor consume energy ex nihil. We’re tapping into reserves that store fat for more extended periods, well past 24 hours, the standard CICO period for capturing “calories in.” We want to burn the fat stores, by design, while keeping the “fires” of metabolism burning.

When I rant against CICO, it’s the over-simplified 24-hour accounting of CICO that are ruinous when one is fat-adapted.

(Bacon is the new bacon) #30

As I mentioned, Taubes’s notion of reversing the causality makes a lot of sense.

(Bunny) #31

Some thoughts on this with a little devils advocate thrown in for a deeper speculation on what MIGHT be occurring?

…demand-driven, not supply-driven? When ever I see or hear this argument; No one ever stops to think if GNG is not taking place (or impaired?) could it be possible something is WRONG with their endocrinological system like diabetes? Shifting the calories away from foods that typically demand insulin?

A diabetic will say “I’m eating all this meat and fat and look how low my blood sugars are?” Until? A drop in blood sugar is typically short-term—only lasting during the initial three months or so? That may mean your getting better because your more insulin sensitive? So there has to be a cut off point with eating too much protein and fat?

Knowledge Bombs:

Before we even get into gluconeogenesis (GNG), let’s cover a couple of basic things so we can keep our heads about us.


It is true that most amino acids can be converted into glucose. (Leucine and lysine cannot. More on this in a bit.) But you know what else can be converted into glucose? Glycerol. The glycerol molecule from triglycerides (fats). Triglycerides—the form that dietary fats take—consist of three fatty acids joined to a glycerol molecule (hence their name, tri-glyceride). When triglycerides are broken apart (such as needs to happen in order to liberate the fatty acids so they can be burned/oxidized), you’re left with individual fatty acids and the glycerol. The fatty acids get burned or used for some other purpose, and two glycerols can be combined to make one glucose molecule. Yes, you read that correctly: the glycerol backbones from two triglycerides can make glucose. This isn’t something that happens to a huge extent, but it can happen. Funny how you never hear about this possibility when people are warning you not to eat more than 20 grams of protein in a meal, but see nothing wrong with encouraging you to glug down a cup of coffee loaded with 400 calories of butter and coconut oil.

So if you’re worried about GNG from “too much protein,” then you should also be worried about it from too much fat. (But the truth is, you shouldn’t worry about GNG from either of these things.) …” …More


[1] How Much Protein Do You Need In Nutritional Ketosis? Nitrogen Balance? “…The amino acids that the body uses for protein synthesis come from two sources. The most obvious is the dietary protein that we eat each day, but this is normally the lesser contributor of amino acids for protein synthesis. The major source is actually recycled amino acids from the breakdown of existing body protein. In a typical day when dietary protein and energy intakes are adequate to maintain lean body mass* (i.e., one is neither gaining nor losing lean tissue), more than two-thirds of the amino acids entering the bloodstream come from breakdown of existing body protein, while less than one-third come from digestion and absorption of dietary protein. …”

[2] How Much Protein do you REALLY Need? Are you in a Positive Nitrogen Balance?

(Carl Keller) #32

Hence the rest of my statement:

(Alec) #33

Thank goodness for that. If I was wrong I would have a lot of re-reading to do to find out why my mind model was completely wrong! :joy:

It seems then that it might be a common misconception that our energy source is “primarily” ketones. The reality is that our primary fuel source is fatty acids directly in the muscles, with some fat being metabolised in the liver which does create ketones as a by-product which are then used primarily by the brain and heart.

So, to go back to the original point, this chap who has set up this keto website has got that wrong, albeit that it seems to be a common misconception. However, someone setting themselves up as a keto expert should understand this stuff very well, and should be correcting these misconceptions, not extending them.

Another point about that website: I am unclear what you get there that you don’t get from these forums. I see these forums as the cutting edge of keto: there are lots of very smart people here doing experiments, debating the details of keto, and referencing the latest studies and research. Where else do you get all this? Certainly not in this chap’s website.

I think I’ll just stick around here.

(Wendy) #34

Um, not me. I have enough trouble not losing more weight. I’m not going to purposely cut my calories at this time. Or probably ever :grin:.

(Marianne) #35

I really enjoy all y’all smart people! (That would be you, too, @Alecmcq.)


(Heath Braunstein) #36

I currently am at my goal and maintaining my weight for the past 6 weeks or so. I still want to cut a bit of fat and gain a bit of muscle so I have “cut” and “gain” days. My caloric intake (57 yr old male at 185 lbs) ranges from 1200 to nearly 4000 per day. Seems to be working so far! I keep my macros at about 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs (or less at higher caloric levels) regardless to maintain ketosis.

(bulkbiker) #37

Except as many of us here know that statement is complete and utter bull.

(Bunny) #38

On the endocrinology web they are probably not factoring in the HOMA-IR (insulin sensitivity) skeletal muscle glucose sparing?

(Kirk Wolak) #39

I don’t mind fasting. It’s easy.
I eat MWF, and I love that schedule.

I also notice that eating 2 meals on eating days versus 1 meal has a HUGE impact.
Way bigger than calories alone. Eating twice produces 2 insulin hits! And with any insulin around before the second meal… I can imagine I am probably looking at a message to “Store, Store, Store!”

(Alec) #40

You are too kind. One of the most important ways to be smart is to know what you don’t know, and ask the right questions in the right places.

When you talk to non-biased experts they are always very clear about all the things they don’t know. The more you know the more you realise you don’t know.