The Keto Diet Works Only For A Week, Then It Causes Obesity And Diabetes

haidut

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A great study that goes a long way towards dispelling the currently dominant dietary fad - the keto diet, as well as various other functionally equivalent diets such as Paleo, Warrior, intermittent fasting, etc. As the study unequivocally demonstrates, the reductions in blood sugar and weight while on a low-carb happens only during the first 1-2 weeks. This matches perfectly the widely reported experiences of virtually all followers of such diets - i.e. they tend to rapidly lose weight in the first 2 weeks and then invariably hit a wall. Why is that? Well, most of the initial weight loss is due to water loss since cutting carbs has similar effects to taking diuretic drugs. There is not much fat loss, which is ironic as losing fat is arguably the goal of every diet. After the initial water loss and drop in blood glucose due to carb restriction, the stress system (HPA axis) gradually starts going into overdrive to compensate for the lack of dietary carbs. So, if cortisol rises after the initial "honeymoon" week then one would expect the weight to start climbing again (since cortisol promotes fat storage) and blood glucose to rise even if the person consumes only fat and is in ketosis. This is exactly what the study below found. By the second week of embarking on a keto diet, the balance between fat oxidation and fat storage starts to get heavily skewed in favor of the latter and the organism develops obesity and diabetes (II). That alone should be enough to give every keto follower a pause. Namely, the low-carb diets do not work even for the basic goal of fat loss, and will in fact make a person even fatter than before embarking on the diet. On top of that, the effects of chronically upregulated fatty acid oxidation (FAO) as well as fat storage are a separate and highly detrimental aspect of low-carb diets and has been implicated in virtually all chronic degenerative conditions but especially cancer, CVD, and neurological disorders.

Ketogenesis activates metabolically protective γδ T cells in visceral adipose tissue
"...After 2–3months of ad libitum KD feeding, mice gained significantly more weight compared to chow-fed controls (Fig. 6a) and exhibited elevated fasting blood glucose (Fig. 6b). KD-fed mice remained ketogenic (Fig. 6c) despite exceptional weight gain. Obesity in KD-fed mice was driven by excessive whole-body fat accumulation (Extended Data Fig. 6a–c) including in the liver (Extended Data Fig. 6d,e). Analysis of insulin-induced AKT phosphorylation in the livers of long-term KD-fed mice revealed an inverse relationship of weight gain/adiposity to insulin action (Extended Data Fig. 6f). Collectively, all these obesity-related phenotypes were associated with impaired glucose tolerance (Fig. 6d)."

Keto diet works best in small doses, Yale researchers find
"...A keto diet tricks the body into burning fat, said lead author Vishwa Deep Dixit of the Yale School of Medicine. When the body's glucose level is reduced due to the diet's low carbohydrate content, the body acts as if it is in a starvation state -- although it is not -- and begins burning fats instead of carbohydrates. This process in turn yields chemicals called ketone bodies as an alternative source of fuel. When the body burns ketone bodies, tissue-protective gamma delta T-cells expand throughout the body."

"...But when the body is in this "starving-not-starving" mode, fat storage is also happening simultaneously with fat breakdown, the researchers found. When mice continue to eat the high-fat, low-carb diet beyond one week, Dixit said, they consume more fat than they can burn, and develop diabetes and obesity. "They lose the protective gamma delta T-cells in the fat," he said."
 

Michael Mohn

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Hi Georgi,
You mentioned on a recent livestream that fresh meat contains almost as much glucose/ glycogen than protein. Do you have a source for this? Thank you for your answer!
 

rei

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Why do you group things that have little in common under this study? Intermittent fasting is universally healthy, ketogenic diet is more like a medical intervention. Even Ray Peat has made it abundantly clear that it is not bad to "skip a meal or two" which includes the two most common Intermittent Fasting regimes.

Exactly like with exercise, never go too far. But appropriately far is only beneficial as it will end up strengthening you. This is called Intermittent Fasting. Almost everyone is addicted to food, instead of eating when they need it.
 

berk

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mice...
 

yashi

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While I think it is very good to question any diet and the keto diet, I think it is very dangerous to make these very strong matter of fact claims from a single study.

The study states for example:
"Standard vivarium chow (Harlan 2018S; 58% of calories from carbohydrate, 24% of calories from protein, 18% of calories from fat, 3.1 kcal g−1) and KD (Research diets D12369B; 0.1% of calories from carbohydrate, 10.4% of calories from protein, 89.5% of calories from fat, 6.76 kcal g−1) were both provided ad libitum."

It could be the mice in the ketogenic group overeat because the protein to energy ratio is worse.
Also there is no information about fatty acids. Do they get all PUFA?
What is 'THE ketogenic diet'? Any diet restricting carbs to get into a ketogenic state could be this, even ones where you eat a huge caloric surplus.

Your post kinda acts like any style of a ketogenic diet people tout as healthy won't work, and I don't think this would be enough to counter them. In fact,
it could be framed against you for seeming misleading when making such broad, matter-of-fact statements.

For the record, I do think a low PUFA keto diet works for weight loss for a while as it's easier than a SAD diet to keep a calorie deficit (better hunger control, atleast for when atleast 20% of the calories are coming from protein). But longterm it possibly stresses the body and downregulates metabolism, so I am not a fan of it so much. I just think the argumentation against it should be a lot more nuanced than this.

(And yes, I am just new here, so I hope this doesn't come off as overly critical. But almost all nutrition studies have very big limitations and therefore I feel the discussions of them need a certain amount of detail and a differentiated approach)
 

RWilly

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What did your diet look like at this time?

I ate a lot of bacon, eggs, red meat, butter, coconut oil, pork, chicken, vegetables, blueberries, strawberries, etc. I found that I could remain in ketosis with resistant starch potatoes (cooked, cooled and optionally reheated), so I periodically included that in my diet as well.
 

EIRE24

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I ate a lot of bacon, eggs, red meat, butter, coconut oil, pork, chicken, vegetables, blueberries, strawberries, etc. I found that I could remain in ketosis with resistant starch potatoes (cooked, cooled and optionally reheated), so I periodically included that in my diet as well.
And you are telling me from this diet you put on weight and became insulin resistant?
 

RWilly

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And you are telling me from this diet you put on weight and became insulin resistant?

Yes. And I was big into this. In fact, I ran a low-carb forum at one point, which I'm now selling, because I can't relate to that way of thinking anymore.
 

EIRE24

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Yes. And I was big into this. In fact, I ran a low-carb forum at one point, which I'm now selling, because I can't relate to that way of thinking anymore.
Thats rather strange. Obviously your calories were very high on the keto diet and the way you eat now has less calories if it allowed you to lose the weight
 

RWilly

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Thats rather strange. Obviously your calories were very high on the keto diet and the way you eat now has less calories if it allowed you to lose the weight

Actually, my calories when going low-carb averaged about 1200. One of the things I'm working on now is to increase calories. Unfortunately I'm still gaining weight on this diet too. My overall labs however are improving, and my fasting insulin seems to go down with less fat and meat.
 

tca300

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Thats rather strange. Obviously your calories were very high on the keto diet and the way you eat now has less calories if it allowed you to lose the weight
Ya, I ate keto from about 2010 - 2011. I lost fat over a period of a few months and stayed very lean the entire time. I have several friends and a great aunt on keto, have been for years. None of them are remotely fat. Calories in calories out.
 

EIRE24

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Ya, I ate keto from about 2010 - 2011. I lost fat over a period of a few months and stayed very lean the entire time. I have several friends and a great aunt on keto, have been for years. None of them are remotely fat. Calories in calories out.
Are you being serious or sarcastic? I can’t tell . I do think people will lose weight on keto if calories are in check but for most they gorge on nuts and other stuff loaded with fat which is most calorie dense.
 

tca300

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Are you being serious or sarcastic? I can’t tell . I do think people will lose weight on keto if calories are in check but for most they gorge on nuts and other stuff loaded with fat which is most calorie dense.
No sarcasm. Just sharing an unbiased observation.
 

mipp

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I was on a low carb / sometimes keto diet for over 4 years. I put on weight and became insulin resistant. Practically all my labs (besides weight) have improved since quitting low carb.

The problem with all the fat is the endotoxin absorption.
Is Diabetes an Infection? A New Perspective on the Cause of Weight Gain and Type 2 Diabetes
I think there's a big difference between low carb and keto. I was on a low carb (never keto) diet for over 10 years and in retrospect, it mostly worked well. I wasn't always strict about it but for the most part I was around or below 100 g of carbs a day. It didn't make me diabetic. I was never obese, sometimes a few kg overweight, and my extra weight was proportional to how much I overindulged in carbs. Ate tons of pork fat and eggs during those years, so quite a bit of pufa. No major health problems, lab tests were good.
Now, after 5 years expermienting with high carb, very/low/moderate fat and low pufa, my results are mixed at best. Weight gain is too easy and my body composition didn't improve. I don't function better either. In some respects it's much worse.
I thought switching to higher carb would make things easier and cheaper. Turns out it's tricky, much more difficult than I'd thought. I've become orthorexic while trying to make it work.
 

tca300

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What were your reasons for changing diet? Did it make you more hypo?
Basically yes. Low energy, cold, low libido, poor cognitive function. Didn't feel all that well. That being said, it was definitely better than my vegan years.
 

EIRE24

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Basically yes. Low energy, cold, low libido, poor cognitive function. Didn't feel all that well. That being said, it was definitely better than my vegan years.
Yea I see people run into those problems most the time with keto. It’s weird how some people thrive on low carb and high fat and others just wilt away.
 
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6 months of keto was the most damaging thing I ever did to my body. I wish I had seen studies like the ones Haidut posted which would have made me reconsider trying it. I did it because a few years ago all the keto gurus promised that you could disregard calories while remaining extremely lean and also increase your athletic performance by dropping carbs. Both were absolute lies.

I lost water weight at first but slowly I began to gain weight. I even restricted myself to just 2000 calories a day which didn't stop the slow weight gain. I was always hungry, had severe brain fog, electrolyte imbalances with spasming muscles, my bowels stopped, and I was always cold. The promised keto adaption never came, even when I doubled down with zero carb. Towards the end of my experiment I added in a high carb day once a week which was the only day I ever felt well.

I would hit the runner's wall just walking up a flight of stairs. I never looked more unaesthetic than I did during keto. It totally wrecked my thyroid too. Returning to carb based diet made me feel warm and energetic again but made me gain weight rapidly. I wish I had never done keto. Worst diet ever by far.
 
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