Is Keto diet truly the savior for millions suffering from diabetes, Alzheimers, cancer, auto-immune diseases and obesity or is it yet another fad with serious side effects? Listen to Keto veteran, scientist Dr. Dominic D’Agostino who has not only been researching the Ketogenic diet but also claims its his secret to keeping up with the supermen astronauts as a crew member on NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations 22 (NEEMO 22)! Dr. Dom D’Agostino is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. He is also a research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC).
In this podcast, Dr. Dom shares what exactly is a Keto diet, why it actually works, who its right for and how it positively affects your body, mind, and energy.
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Key Questions answered and highlights:
1. What is the Ketogenic diet for those of our listeners who are still scratching their heads going “Is it bacon and beef?”
– A ketogenic diet is not a high protein diet, but a high-fat diet.
– The percentage of the calories that make up the Liberal/Modified keto diet at least 65-70% while 90% fat for the Classical keto diet.
– The balance of the calories (10-30%) will come from protein.
– Ketogenic Diet mimics the metabolic state of fasting
– When you’re eating calories with the ketogenic diet ratios, your body produces these ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate) which are break down products of fat.
– Ketones are an alternative fuel for your brain to function on
– The true litmus test is used measure your blood ketone levels and if they’re not elevated, you’re not in Ketosis. Urine ketone measurements can also be valuable and less expensive to first confirm you have reached ketosis.
– It’s the ratio of the macro-nutrients that define the Ketogenic Diet.
2. What does your plate need to look like? What does your typical meal plan look like?
– Check The Ketogenic Bible for recipes and tips!
Dr. Dom’s Personal Keto Plan:
– 4 Egg Yolk Omelettes with Spinach and Mushroom
– Salad w/ Dressing (Olive Oil + medium-chain triglyceride or MCT Oil + Herbs)
– Greens like Asparagus, Brocolli
– Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Cook Cauliflower until soft, Put in Food Processor, Add Salt and Pepper)
– Fatty fish like Salmon or Trout
– Ketogenic Choco Mousse (Sugar-free concentrated Coconut milk + Dark Chocolate Baking Cocoa + Crushed Almonds + Stevia + Cinnamon) If you are OK with dairy sour cream can also be used.
Benefits of Ketogenic diet and why Dr. D’ Agostino does it:
1. Keeps him full and suppresses appetite from breakfast to dinner
2. Helps him keep up with top performers like astronauts when task loaded
3. Gives him more motivation and drive throughout the day
4. Gets more work done
5. Deeper sleep and less sleep requirement
6. Can function on 6.5 hours sleep
7. Functions better physically when forced into a sleep deprived state due work demands or travels
8. Cognitive resilience under sleep deprivation
9. No cravings because the food is higher in fat, it has a satiating effect.
Dr. Dom follows a modified version of Ketogenic diet which has 20-30% protein and sometimes bumps protein calories a little high on weight training days.
3. Who is the ketogenic diet for? What do you recommend? How do I decide if the ketogenic diet is right for me?
– It’s the standard of care for people who have seizures to follow a Keto diet especially if it’s refractory to drug treatment or does not respond to drug treatment
– The Ketogenic works when drugs fail. Many of the anti-epileptic drugs have side effects.
– For weight loss & diabetes
-Helps people with Autism, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
– Generally helps women with different types of hormonal issues like acne, perimenopause and PCOS
– The ketogenic diet rapidly controls insulin and suppresses insulin which produces ketones
– By suppressing insulin, it facilitates fat burning globally and especially around the midsection
– It’s effective for mobilizing fat for energy.
– Controls Inflammation which contributes to cancer and autoimmune
– It not only helps autoimmune disorders but also age-related chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, cancer or Alzheimer’s disease
4. Who does it not work for?
– People with Pancreatitis, liver problems like liver cancer, fat malabsorption or kidney stones.
– If a person has liver cancer, the liver does not make the ketone bodies and the ketone bodies provide the brain an alternative form of energy
– If you’ve had or have kidney stones, use Ketogenic diet cautiously. Drink water, eat high potassium foods and consider K+ supplementation.
– If you have fat absorption issues or have had the gallbladder removed, it could be challenging to do this diet, but many have succeeded.
– The whole household has to be onboard with the way you’re eating.
– For those who want to lose weight or control diabetes, they don’t have to go on a ketogenic diet. A simple carbohydrate restriction will do,
– Instead of 60 or 70% calories from carbs, simply get 20 to 30% calories from carbs.
– Make sure these carbohydrates are low glycemic. Eating vegetables and whole food sources can make huge difference.
– BUT, if you want results FAST, a Ketogenic diet can be a better option.
– You can do a Ketogenic diet for fast results then transition to a low carbohydrate lifestyle, switch out all starches with vegetables.
5. How quickly can someone get into Ketosis without having to constantly track that? If I start today a ketogenic diet, how long will it take for me to get into ketosis?
– If you start a strict ketogenic diet today, it takes of minimum of 48 to 78 hours to really registering ketones in your blood and urine stick.
– When you initiate the ketogenic diet, it’s a stress to your body. Your brain start to depend glucose as its primary energy source.
– Fats get converted to ketone bodies, these ketone bodies can replace glucose largely as a primary energy source
– Add coconut oil, MCT, ketone supplements to quickly elevate ketones,
– By supplying extra energy when sugar is limited ketones make your brain happy
– It is not only alternative fuel to brain and tissues, but also functions as a signaling molecule that can inhibit anti-inflammatory pathways
– Ketone bodies function to activate various genes that can boost antioxidant protection in body
– It can stimulate various genes that are associated with longevity, and increase lifespan
– A ketogenic diet is one way to mimic the life-extending health effect of calorie restriction
6. Do you have to do the keto diet forever? Is it a lifestyle redesigned choice? Is it something you do intermittently?
– The case study of Charlie Abrahams w/ Epilepsy (see ketogenic diet movie “First Do No Harm” with Meryl Streep)
– An average person who wants to enhance their metabolic health for longevity effects can practice intermittent ketosis.
– They can also practice intermittent fasting (only 2x a week is needed).
– No breakfast or lunch
– Eat at a time restricted window like 6 pm to 10 am
– Stay away from pasta, bread, potatoes, heavy starches
– The longer you do keto and adhere to it it easier gets
Note: You don’t have to do it all the time!
– You can stay in ketosis every 2-3 months out of a year and get major benefits- a reset in insulin sensitivity and fat metabolism.
7. Have you noticed a difference in MCT oils or does it not matter what brand you’ buy?
It really doesn’t matter overall, and they have done research in a lab on the various MCT oils
– MCT Oil Liquid from NOW Foods is cheapest
– Parrillo Nutrition CapTri C8 MCT Oil
– The elevation of ketones from that is 80% of what you get from a Brain Octane which is more expensive but also an excellent product
8. What other supplements are you taking for maintaining ketosis?
1. MCT oil/MCT oil powder
2. Kegenix PRIME
3. Pruvit Keto//OS 2.1 (Orange Dream)
(Find links to these products and other “approved” products/foods at Ketonutrition.org)
9. There’s some buzz around telomeres and the ketogenic diet. What do you know about that in your research?
– This is a hot area of study that has been incorporated in NASA missions, on ISS, and on NEEMO missions.
– The keto diet mimics molecular aspects of calorie (low IGF-1, mTOR, etc.)
– New tools are evolving, including saliva kits that a person can do at home. These will be incorporated into our research
10. Nutritional vs. Functional Ketosis: What is the difference between the two?
– Tim Ferris found the main thing that worked for his Lymes Disease was fasting ketosis and Nutritional Ketosis
– Ketosis is defined by an elevation of these ketone bodies in the blood and urine.
– Intermittent ketosis is ideal for people wanting health benefits, but also wanting to occasionally enjoy carb-based foods too
– It’s not normal to be on Keto all the time- probably NOT optimal.
– I personally cycle between low carb and keto diet
– Cycle your diet, stay metabolically flexible, incorporate healthy carbs with a wide variety of vegetables and smalls amounts of fruit.
– Stay away from grains
– It’s good not to stay in ketosis all the time; we don’t know enough yet. Seizure patients that stay in high/moderate ketosis for decades do not seem to have any overt health issues though.
11. What percentage do I need to be on to consider it a calorie restriction diet?
– For the average person, start at 10%
– Log for 2 weeks what you eat, calculate and look at the scale; If you have the same weight, divide calories by 14 — that’s how many calories per week you need to maintain body weight
12. What are some of your favorite apps?
– Avatar Nutrition
Books Recommended in this Podcast:
The Ketogenic Bible: The Authoritative Guide to Ketosis
The Ketogenic and Modified Atkins Diets: Treatments for Epilepsy and Other Disorders
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