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Is modified keto the key to weight loss?

By MYLENE MENDOZA-DAYRIT, The Philippine STAR Published Sep 26, 2023 5:00 am

Who has not heard of the keto diet? While it has been around since the 1930s, it has gained buzz in the last few years. Personally, I have never tried it but I know many who swear by it despite the many warnings from health professionals. 

After seeing my cousin in Los Angeles, who I last saw maybe six years ago, I was inspired to look into the diet again. He looks so good after losing so much weight. It’s also not like other weight loss I’ve seen where the person looks dry and older. My cousin looks youthful and healthy! 

I checked the latest book of Dr. Steven R. Gundry, Unlocking The Keto Code which delves into the new science of keto. Think of it as a modified version with more benefits minus the deprivation. That kept me reading.

Dr. Steven R. Gundry

Dr. Grundy said that a simple online search will overwhelm you with various types of the keto diet—dirty keto, clean keto, calorie-restricted keto, high-protein keto, the Paleo/keto hybrid, keto cycling, protein-sparing keto, and lazy man’s keto. 

I asked my cousin what prompted him to do keto. He said a doctor’s visit. It’s the usual medical prognosis of losing weight otherwise your blood chemistry already predicts a list of maintenance meds to take for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. 

The original premise is that if your revised diet is 80% fat with very limited carbohydrates, your body shifts into ketosis. In that state, the liver transforms fats into ketones that fuel the body instead of glucose that comes from carbs. Technically, your body becomes an efficient fat burner which means a ton of weight loss. 

In his book, Dr. Grundy explains that while he has been promoting a keto diet for the last 22 years, the view above is not why ketones are effective. The new discovery of the role of ketones, he said, will make everyone realize that a heavy, high-fat, and boring diet is not the holy grail to weight loss and a lot of health benefits (including that youthful glow). 

“If you are familiar with The Plant Paradox or any of my other books, you likely know that I’m famous (or perhaps infamous) for challenging people’s long-held beliefs about ‘healthy’ foods. Disruption is my nature. Even in my previous career as a heart surgeon, I pushed back on the way things had always been done, discovering new ways to protect my patients during open-heart surgery that are today considered best practices in care. Now, just like Mark Antony in Shakespearean’s famous play, I come not to praise keto, but to bury it—at least the conventional notions of the keto diet (or even most so-called healthy diets, for that matter),” he wrote. 

“When you understand the role of mitochondria and how they affect your metabolism, you no longer have to worry about fat percentages, macronutrient proportions, calories, or any other metrics…the role of ketones in weight loss and health is not what you think - and harnessing their benefits doesn’t require you to consume massive amounts of saturated fats,” he promised. 

“Once I opened my eyes, I saw clearly that ketones don’t work as an incredible fuel, but instead unlock the vital molecular process known as mitochondrial uncoupling, and that this phenomenon underlies everything we didn’t know about how to support health, well-being, and longevity,” he added. 

The new tune Dr. Grundy is harping is practically music to the ears of bread and pasta lovers. In his new book, he reveals an easier and less restrictive way to do keto. Dr. Grundy found out from studying research data that “even at full ketosis, our body can only get 30% of its energy needs met by burning ketones.” 

If you have heard the joke that not taking carbohydrates dulls the brain, there might be some truth to it. Dr. Gundry explained that “the brain needs 30 to 40% of its energy not from ketones but from burning glucose.” The paradigm shift happened when he realized that ketones are not the alternative super body fuel they were thought to be. 

His new theory is that ketones along with polyphenols from plant-based foods unlock a biochemical process called mitochondrial uncoupling. He explained the process extensively in the book. 

“In fact, you don’t need to eat a boring, high-fat, low-carb diet to get the benefits that ketones can provide. This makes keto so easy.” He further said that total carb elimination is unrealistic because “we are actually wired to seek out carbohydrates.” “All of us will eventually fail on a high-fat diet without carbs,” he concluded. 

Dr. Grundy realized that MCT or medium-chain triglycerides can trigger ketosis even in people who are also consuming carbohydrates. A few spoons of MCT oil (I love Laurin) in your coffee or through dairy products high in MCT can provide the keto benefits without going into a restrictive keto diet. Grab a copy of the book to know more (it’s available on Amazon).