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May 3, 2012

WHY A KETOGENIC DIET LEADS TO LONGEVITY AND SUPER HEALTH

Several studies were conducted showing reasons why a very low carb ketogenic diet with adequate but not excess protein facilitates the genetic expression which favors longevity and health. To understand this process it is necessary to look at the deeper mechanics which lead to health and longevity. For many years scientists have known that the hormone leptin has a strong effect on obesity. Drug companies tried to capitalize on this but found they could not just give an injection of leptin and produce weight loss. Leptin works in the body as a feedback mechanism and has to be sensitive to the intake of nutrients to regulate appetite.

No diet will work if the person is hungry. Almost all obese people actually have excess leptin. These people are leptin resistant. Leptin and insulin are the most important biochemicals in the body when it comes to health and longevity. These hormones are controlled by what one eats. Leptin is a powerful hormone which is produced by fat cells. Modern scientists realize that fat is not just inert tissue but is actually an endocrine organ like the pancreas and pituitary, influencing the body and particularly the brain. Leptin is a powerful regulator which tells the brain what to do about life’s two main biological goals: eating and reproducing.  It takes lots of fuel to make babies. Your fat, by way of leptin, provides feedback to your brain telling you whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat. It (along with insulin) tells the brain whether the time is nutritionally ripe to make babies, or whether the body should work to maintain and repair itself to reproduce at a future when more energy is available. It is a biological intelligence system; your fat by way of leptin actually controls your brain.

Leptin is one way this intelligence is transmitted to the brain. This now starts to show the evolutionary advantage to becoming leptin sensitive. It not only takes lots of energy to make babies, it takes a lot of energy to keep you healthy. It is clear from recent research that by controlling leptin and insulin one can increase the genetic expression which favors health and longevity. In evolution by natural selection, the body developed these two major ways of dealing with nutrition one by using sugar and the other by using fat as fuel. If food was plentiful, nature favored breeding. Remember that natural selection only cares that the genes express which favor future reproduction. After reproduction nature doesn't care if we live long and prosper, but only that the genetic information is passed along. This is much like the cells in our body. If individual cells die it doesn't affect the overall health of the body which goes on. In the same way creative intelligence cares only that life goes on collectively.

In times of scarcity the genes express which favor postponing the reproduction until there is more food available. It does this by increasing the repair and longevity mechanisms of the body. It has been known for decades that by calorically restricting the nutrition of an organism, its lifespan is dramatically increased. Obviously not too many people would be interested in living this way however.

Fortunately science has now shown that it’s not necessary to restrict all calories but only certain nutrients. By reducing the amount of carbohydrates as much as possible, while providing adequate but not excessive protein and high healthy oil as needed to meet caloric needs the body begins to down regulate the markers of aging and disease. This was demonstrate in a study Clinical Experience of a Diet Designed to Reduce Aging http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831640/

The markers which resulted were markers present in other studies of long lived people who were more than 100 years of age. The only thing these people had in common (some drank, smoked etc), was that they had these markers. They all had low fasting sugar levels, low fasting insulin levels, and low triglycerides. They also had a somewhat lower resting metabolism. Although many of these individuals inherited these markers the preceding study indicates that his can be reproduced by proper diet.

Dr. Ron Rosedale http://drrosedale.com/index.htm has created the specific diet which was used in the study and it can be eaten by meat eaters, vegetarian, or vegans. 

Recent Research


Longevity is the most global measure of health. The approaches to diet such as the introduction of trans fats and vegetable oils (except extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil) were initially thought to be healthy and reduce heart attacks, however the promoters of these foods didn't account for the increased inflammation and cancer that seems correlated with this type of oil. Overall longevity is reduced.

Recent research by Dr. Ron Rosedale, Dr. Stephen Phinney and others have clearly indicated that a nutritional ketogenic diet which is very low in carbohydrates, including only high fiber low starch vegetables, adequate protein. Adequate protein is about 1 gram per kilogram of lean body mass. This way of eating includes a large amount of healthy fat and oils, which should comprise most of the calories in the diet.

What a diet like this does is cause the body to switch from sugar burning to fat burning, which results in numerous health benefits. It takes about 3 weeks for the body to adapt to the change in fuel. A person may experience some discomfort during this period since the body has little carbohydrates and has not yet fully adapted to fat burning. Once adapted, and during the process it’s important to not cheat or eat carbohydrates since even one meal will stop the adaptation and require going through the whole process again. But longevity and great health is worth it.

In the article "Clinical Experience of a Diet Designed to Reduce Aging" (Journal of Applied Research, vol 9, no 4, 2009 Rosedale, Westman, Konhilis, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831640/), it is stated:

“This retrospective analysis of patients from a private clinic adhering to a high-fat, low carbohydrate, adequate protein diet [the Rosedale diet] demonstrated reductions in critical metabolic mediators including insulin, leptin, glucose, triglycerides, and free T3… Patients in this study demonstrated a similar directional impact on the measured parameters when compared to studies using more established models of longevity such as caloric restriction. We may have found a way to mimic caloric restriction, at least to some extent and any extent is extraordinary. It appears that my diet can mimic the hormonal changes in T3, insulin, and leptin seen in calorie restriction studies that are instrumental to mediate the major physiological and extremely beneficial effects of calorie restriction, but without having to calorie restrict. This could more rightfully be called the perfect diet."

The protein restriction, according to Dr. Rosedale, results in reduction of specific amino acids. These amino acids are naturally lower in vegetable protein than in animal protein. Combining this with a very low carb high fat vegetable diet naturally gives the best of both worlds. If the dietary fat was limited to olive oil, which has a low level of saturated fat, the body then tends to use more of its own saturated body fat creating an even healthier profile. Dr. Rosedale’s information can be found at the following link.

http://drrosedale.com/resources/pdf/The_good_the_bad_and_the_ugly_of_protein.pdf

The Flexi Diet shows a ketogenic diet can be eaten while being completely vegetarian or vegan.


Vegan Version of the Rosedale Diet


The Rosedale Diet has great success in improving health and more importantly, increasing longevity based on science. The Flexi Diet can show a way of eating the Rosedale diet while eating vegan with no animal products while staying within the guidelines Dr. Rosedale recommends. This is a very low carb ketogenic diet with researched health benefits.

Typical vegan version:
  • Use high quality vegetable protein, which contains no carbohydrates. The best of these proteins is the Gemma Pea Isolate. Avoid soy protein as there are reported health risks.
  • Eat as much healthy oil as needed to satiate hunger. These would include extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, and nuts or nut butters. (Peanuts are not a nut).
  • With nuts and nut butter add the protein to your daily total.
  • Avoid other vegetable oils as they are too high in omega 6. To get sufficient omega 3 the best is cod liver oil, but as that’s not vegan one could use flax oil.
  • Eat fibrous vegetables as much as desired but avoid all starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Avoid all grains and other starches, as well as all sugars, syrups etc.
  • Determine you lean body mass (formulas and calculators are on line) and eat 1 gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass.
  • People eating this way have had great health gains in all areas of their lives.

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