The Case Against Keto

The Case Against Keto

July 27, 2019 7 By William Morgan


– I want to know how
to stop the keto thing.
What is keto?
I want to understand it
better in all honesty.
I don’t know whether I
want to stop it or not
’cause I don’t really
understand what it is.
Can you explain that to
us so we can get, yeah.
– The original ketogenic diet by the way
was famine, right?
– (laughs) It’s all calorie
deprivation (inaudible)
– No that’s exactly right.
So our brains can’t store
energy so we have to rely
on blood glucose, and our
brains evolved a mechanism,
when we run out of blood
glucose, so this is the end game,
so when we’re about to starve to death,
we start to catabolize
protein in our bodies,
and we create what are
called ketone bodies.
So our brains evolved a mechanism
to use those ketone bodies as fuel
to get us through that last gasp,
hope that we can find some
more food before we starve.
And so it was calorie
deprivation that triggered it.
And so, we did evolve to undergo
periods of feast and famine
and there is, Victor
Longo’s work at UCLA about
intermittent fasting is
somewhat interesting.
There is some evidence
that when we do fast,
that it may in fact,
we have a lot of protection
evolutionarily about
starving to death, we have
none against the other end of
over-nutrition.
And so when we’re getting
ready to starve to death,
anything we can do to
boost our immune system,
boost our health, kind of
get us through this to find
more food, would be beneficial.
There’s some evidence
intermittent fasting may do that.
And sometimes, depending
on how long you fast,
there will be some mild ketosis,
but it’s induced by calorie deprivation.
The idea of using dietary
manipulation to induce ketosis
is insane to me, because
the way you do it is,
you get rid of the carbs,
which you eat for fuel,
and you markedly increase
your fat and protein intake,
and a recent study just came out
in the Lancet just last
week or two weeks ago
which showed that people
who follow a low protein,
high fat ketogenic diet
die five years sooner than
people who don’t because,
again, just as we talked about
reductionism in diet, we
also practice reductionism in
health, so we wanna lose
weight, we wanna get our
sugars down, we wanna
lower our blood pressure,
we wanna treat our heart
disease, so when we think about,
say, weight, in that
framework, there’s lots of ways
you can lose weight, so you
can go on a plant-based diet,
you can go on a ketogenic
diet, you can smoke meth.
(audience laughs)
It doesn’t mean that it’s healthy.
In the long-term consequences
of the overconsumption of fat
with regards to many kinds of
heart disease, breast cancer,
colon cancer, it just doesn’t make sense.
– I agree with everything you just said.
I wish more people would
understand that it’s not,
I mean, keto is a sexy way of putting it
but it’s basically a starvation
diet like Dr. Kahn calls it.
It’s a starvation diet.
You put your brain into a
state where it has to produce
another hormone just to
metabolize fat as energy
because normally you
produce energy from carbs.
So just the foundation of
it is, it doesn’t make sense
from a nutritional point of view.
But, in some cases,
people use it as a tool,
like a tool in your toolbox.
The problem is people tend to look at it
as a long term sustainable diet,
so there are some cases where you can
effectively lose weight,
a lot of it could be in
the form of water weight
because once you deplete yourself
of all the glycogen stores
there’s a little bit of
attraction with water with that,
so you lose water weight,
when you re-introduce your
carbs back to your diet after
you leave ketosis which
is pretty hard to do,
I would say it’s more
restrictive than a vegan diet
if you want to call a
vegan diet restrictive
because most people just
assume if they just increase
their fats and reduce
their amount of carbs
they’ll automatically go
into a state of ketosis
and produce these ketone bodies,
like you were mentioning,
but you actually have to take markers,
you have to measure your blood,
you have to make sure
you maintain that state
for keto to actually be effective,
but in the mean time people
don’t worry about that,
they just hear the new
fad of this keto diet,
but, again, like I always say,
if you could do it this way,
by producing a hormone that
you have to trick your body
into doing, it’s not stable,
it’s not sustainable,
so why don’t you just do this other way
where it’s not only producing
similar or better results
but it also promotes longevity,
and, like, you said,
keto does the opposite.
– I know one common keto snack,
’cause I ran into somebody once,
she had frozen
butter balls
dipped in
raw milk chocolate.
Like that doesn’t make sense
that that would be nutritious.
– There are so many
different camps nowadays
that it’s almost impossible
to belong to one,
without being attacked or being divisive
between the other camps,
so I think the best way
to do it is to just,
there’s commonalities
between a lot of these diets
that aren’t talked about,
it tends to be extremists on this side
don’t like the extremists on this side,
but I think the amount of
evidence is pretty unequivocal
that if you do your primarily
whole-foods, plant-based diet
your health with increase,
the more you reduce your
animal-based proteins,
the healthier you’ll become,
the more it’ll promote longevity.
So I think acknowledging
other people’s point of view
and accepting that nobody’s perfect here,
I think vegans tend to,
at least some, tend to kind of
parade themselves around
as being the know-it-alls,
or they come across that way,
but it may not be a place
of, it’s coming from a place
of compassion because they
want to help other people
and help them live healthier lives,
so understanding that not
everyone’s at the starting point
that you are, even coming
from a very unhealthy diet
that decreases your
chances of living longer,
increases your chances
of contracting cancer
or other disease, even coming
from here to here is better
than people going the opposite way
and hey, screw you vegan,
I’m going to go on the
carnivore diet now
because you’re promoting
a plant-based diet in my face.
So I think just accepting
that people have different
opinions, but there’s
improvements that we can all make.
– And I think just to build on that,
certainly I get pushback
from my patients often times,
and so what I talk about is
what does it mean to be healthy.
So it’s not about…
Dialogues center around what
we should be doing, not about
what we shouldn’t be doing.
So it’s not about, you can’t
do this, you can’t do that,
because, again, often times,
especially young athletes,
there are young kids,
they’ll do the exact opposite
of what you say.
And so it’s really about
finding this commonality,
because again, if you look
across all these camps,
what’s in common?
Well, we know fruits and
vegetables, and true whole grains,
unprocessed grains, are
the most healthful diets
on the planet; look at the
Blue Zones work and on and on.
So it’s really about trying
to find the commonalities
around what’s healthy, and I think
if you use that as a starting point,
I think that’s important,
because again, as you say
vegans sometimes tend to be kind of
caught up in their
activism, can be judgmental,
and I don’t think that gets
anybody anywhere often times,
in fact there’s research that suggests
that actually it makes
people want to eat meat more
when you become militant
about the message.
And so it’s really about,
again, the dialogue I have
with my practice is, as human
beings what are we designed,
it’s almost like a pegan approach,
so what are we designed
to eat as human beings?
Well we weren’t hunter-gatherers,
we were gatherer-hunters.
It was much easier to go gather food
than it was to hunt.
We gathered whole-food
plant-based sources of energy.
There wasn’t white flour,
sugar, NutraSweet and all these
artificial sweeteners, we
didn’t have dairy because
we hadn’t domesticated mammals.
The little bit of meat we ate
came from animals that ate
what animals are supposed to eat.
Now that we’ve invented
sanitation and antibiotics,
we live long enough to
suffer the consequences
of the over-consumption of
animal protein and animal fats
and processed foods, something
our ancestors never had to
worry about, and take
one step further back,
and think about the
environmental consequences
of how we raise those
animals, not to mention how we
treat animals, the logical
conclusion should be
that whole-food, plant-based
diets are probably
the most healthful diets for human health
if you’re not starved for calories,
and you know Patrick Moynihan,
the senator from New York
once said, to paraphrase, we
can have our own opinions,
but we can’t have our own facts.
And so I try to gently share the facts,
and hopefully people come
around to the right opinion.