Is the keto diet for you? Tips from the diabetes summit.
One of the many people I interviewed in the type 2 diabetes summit is Dr David Harper, author of the Bio-Diet.
It is a low carb way of eating and he also gives a great explanation of nutritional ketosis or the Keto diet as it is commonly referred to.
He claims that this is the perfect was of eating for most humans based on his extensive research and named it the Bio-Diet as he claims biologically it’s the best diet for most people’s bodies. His opinion is that it is the best, not only for reversing disease but also for preventing disease and premature aging – most people nowadays are demonstrating evidence of premature aging as was outlined perfectly in Dr Ken Pettelier’s session on genes.
This session was so dense with information it is a challenge to pick three top tips. I am also adding a caveat that it is necessary to listen to his explanations and science before fully understanding or implementing. Otherwise get some guidance from a medical professional.
It is his opinion (and I agree) that the current medical system and dietary guidelines are more of a disease management system and we need to address root causes. This will encourage us to identify the cause of the disease in the first place and put a plan in place to tackle the cause rather than focussing on the symptoms. Then you can get rid of the disease or significantly improve it. In other words if you have type 2 diabetes rather than just trying to control blood sugars, blood pressure, cholesterol etc be very clear what caused your diagnosis in the first place. It’s not always as straightforward as “loose a bit of weight”.
Dr Harper felt as a scientist it necessary to apologise for the low fat, high carbohydrate, high grain diet that he previously supported. He now claims that these guidelines are being recommended in the absence of solid scientific evidence.
All of his recommendations are grounded in science and his methodology is based in randomised controlled trials – common in drugs but unusual in nutritional studies because of cost.
Here’s 5 findings from his and colleagues research:
- On a ketogenic diet 94% of people with Type 2 diabetes reduce drug doses and need for further medication and 60% of people can fully reverse it and be medication free.
- If you have abdominal fat you are at a significantly higher risk of chronic illness. By implementing a low carb or ketogenic diet you will reduce your risk of this by a whopping 70%
- The quality of life axis now starts to decline at around age 50. Most people start to show significant signs of aging, metabolism slows and blood bio-markers start to deteriorate. This can be reversed with the right diet and lifestyle, specifically the low carb/keto diet.
- In MRI scans our brain shows a distinct preference for BHB (Beta-hydroxybutyrate) over sugar. This only happens when we are in nutritional ketosis. This is not to be confused with the dangerous state of ketoacidosis – a pre coma state for diabetes
- You do not eat to eat meat to engage a low carb/keto state. It can be comfortably done as a vegetarian, more challenging as a vegan but certainly achievable with the right nutritional support.
Dr Harper outlines those people for whom a ketogenic diet it is not suitable and emphasises the importance of engaging your doctor and a nutritional coach if you are making the change. He also recommends the baseline checks to get done so you can see quickly how well you are responding clinically.
He agrees that low carbohydrate is also a fantastic step in the right direction but he has a preference for using keytones for fuel.
I would conclude that Dr Harpers view is regarded as extreme by many Doctors or Nutritionists. My experience is that the majority of nutritionists and doctors with a special interest in diabetes recommend a low carbohydrate diet but there is more and more emerging scientific evidence that the ketogenic diet can be suitable for some medical conditions.