I believe because I came to the awareness of the benefits of ketosis from a different direction than most.
My take on it is a little different. I was an expert in the Paleo diet for almost 20 years, having been the first doctor in America to base their practice on the Paleo diet before the ketogenic diet began to explode, exceeding “paleo” in google searches in 2015.
I had been well aware that hunter-gatherers are in ketosis an average of 70% of every 24 hour day, typically eating just one meal a day (this is how intermittent fasting is supposed to be done; it is how we are designed). If we are designed to spend 70% of our day in ketosis, that is a profoundly different physiology that we are not experiencing. There are a few groups that eat two meals a day, but they space them just four hours apart. I found that spacing curious at the time. It seemed more natural that they would have spaced their two meals 8 or even 10 hours apart. In retrospect it seems perfectly intelligent because that’s exactly the best way to maximize time in ketosis. Two meals a day for some groups makes perfect sense if the food available to them does not provide sufficient nutrient density to supply all of their needs in one meal. I tried eating just one meal a day. It is not easy folks! Especially if a person has some adrenal issues. After a few years, the idea sort of drifted into the past but was never forgotten.
So now, in light of all the new emerging and exciting information about the benefits of ketones and ketosis, I refer to ketones as the missing piece to Paleo. It also takes the benefits from the paleo diet much farther. When I first learned about Paleo, it explained so much about the reason we get chronic diseases – and wild animals and Hunter-gatherers do not – but at the same time, it did not improve my patients a much as it seemed it should. My patients improved amazingly, but they did not turn into Hunter-gatherers. I had them eat more meat, lift weights, drink more water, do a liver detox- all of which helped, but far too many remnants of their chronic diseases remained. They were happy, but I wasn’t.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: What are the Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet for Fitness and Overall Health with Dr Lane Sebring
When I first learned about ketones being such a powerful benefit to our health, I was reminded of the ketosis of Hunter-gatherers. It fit perfectly with Paleo! I learned also that ketones suppressed our appetite. Eureka! There it was! I realized I had the missing piece. The missing piece times two! First, ketones themselves were the answer to being able to eat just one large a meal a day and be happy. Hunter gatherers wake up in ketosis and now I know that’s why they don’t eat until around one or 2 o’clock. They’re not hungry. When they do eat their one Paleo meal, their blood sugar goes up and then comes back down again a short time after the meal, as that sugar from the meal is put into fat cells and stored as fat… and then fat comes out again to be used as fuel, and some of the fat is made into ketones by the liver. They thus go quickly into ketosis after a meal and ketones rise in the blood as the glucose (sugar) goes back down. Hunter-gatherers are very good at switching from burning glucose to burning ketones, from one fuel source to the other, much like a Prius. Ketones actually suppress glucose, so when glucose starts to fall after a meal and ketones start to rise to fuel the body, sugar is suppressed further by the ketones going down to about 60. They then spend the rest of their day and night in ketosis until midday the following morning when they eat their one meal.
The second reason ketones are the answer is that they complete or, nearly complete those remnants of chronic disease when and if they are left by Paleo. Significantly, that was true whether they chose to do it with diet and were able to successfully get into ketosis (not easy) or they simply drank ketones and got into ketosis that way. The effect of ketones is so profound and far reaching, the only way to explain their effect is that we as modern humans are missing our natural physiology and our natural physiology includes ketones. Ketones have multiple profound effects on the body and mind.
Most of our organs/body including brain, heart and muscles (pretty much everything except the liver which makes the ketones) prefer ketones for energy and will take them up and burn them preferentially over glucose, as long as they’re available, before switching to the less desirable fuel, glucose. Ketones make the same energy as glucose but requires 28% less oxygen to do it. Endurance and strength increases, the brain lights up and recall and focus improves, thinking is just easier and more complete. Skin clears up, they prevent muscle loss even with extended times between workouts. Sleep is better. Pain in our joints and muscles subside and inflammation is reduced. Ketones not only serve as a superior fuel but also serve a cell signalers. They increase antioxidant production in our cells and decrease inflammatory signal production.
I like to think of ketones as a superior body hacking that, from what I can tell, is better than anything we have yet to come up with. Imagine that. Our bodies make a fuel superior to anything we can find in our environment, which has got to be about the coolest thing ever; and our bodies prefer it.
Teaching patients for almost 20 years now about the Paleo diet and watching how it can change lives and cause diseases to fade away has been very satisfying to me both because of it’s effectiveness, but also because I was putting the power my patients’ health in their hands, exactly where it belongs.
What I saw happen with the Paleo diet was miraculous, but it did not work as well or as completely as I expected. I personally drink ketones in the morning, my brain and body light up and I want to go to work. Then I eat a big delicious Paleo lunch about an hour and a half later, drink another ketone drink and I’m good until bedtime; that makes for a great Day! Until we learn to switch quickly and easily from one fuel source to the other, this is about as Paleo as we can get. My big question with drinking ketones was, “does it impede the body from making ketones?” and evidence points to drinking ketones actually helps train your body to use and make ketones. You can get exogenous ketones in different flavors from Pruvit – we highly recommend them (affiliate link)!
One more thing. If you have stock in energy drinks, my advice is: Sell, Sell, Sell!
My name is Dr. Lane Sebring. I have been practicing medicine for over 18 years. I received my bachelor’s degree in Biology from University of Texas in Austin and my M.D. from University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Through my practice, I have developed a love for paleo, fitness, and healthy living.
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