In a recent article in The News, the Director of Nutritional Services at Tennova Healthcare – Harton, Angela Sowers stated that reducing or eliminating carbohydrates, as the Keto Diet suggests, can interfere with brain functionality, leaving you lethargic, dizzy and confused.
In today’s article I would like to take a closer look at what she said, and offer another point of view.
Let’s get started!
If you are reading this article, then you already know that I believe the Keto Lifestyle is a healthy way to maintain your ideal body weight, while still giving you more than enough energy to function throughout the day; enough energy, in fact, to work out regularly.
According to Angela Sowers, in the aforementioned article,
“what people are doing to their bodies when they participate in the keto diet is damaging and could become detrimental to their overall health.”
She goes on to say that the Keto diet was invented in the 1930s to assist patients with epilepsy or seizures; it was never meant as a weight loss diet. This is true, and in fact, the ketogenic lifestyle is still being used by doctors to assist adults and children in controlling certain types of seizures.
If you would like to read more, please refer to this article found on epilepsy.com.
Another excellent resource would be this article, found on epilepsyontario.org.
Sowers goes on to say:
Carbohydrates are a source of energy that the brain uses to function on a daily basis. Cutting carbs extremely low or completely out could have serious neurological effects. Depleting the brain’s energy source could result in gastrointestinal upset, dizziness, fatigue, confusion, and hypoglycemia for diabetics.
The fact that carbohydrates are a source of energy for the brain cannot be disputed. When we consume carbs, they are turned into glucose, and transported to the brain through the blood for energy.
But, saying that cutting carbs can lead to serious neurological damage is just not true.
When we decrease our carb intake, our body will naturally produce more ketones, and these ketones will be used by the brain for energy. In fact, ketones are a much more efficient source of energy for the brain. They are still transported by the blood to the brain, but transfer in a more efficient manner to the brain cells than glucose.
For a comprehensive explanation of the two sources of energy, and how the brain uses them, please refer to this article.
Note: If you don’t usually read the articles linked from the posts here at Keto and Exercise, please make an exception and read this one. It will help you understand the benefits of being in ketosis, and following the Ketogenic Lifestyle.
Further along in the article, Sowers states that once your body starts burning fat, it also starts burning muscle. She says:
“However, when the body begins to burn fat, it also begins to burn the muscle tissue as well.”
This is just not true. Whenever you reduce the number of calories that you intake, you will lose a little muscle tissue. If you are using the Keto Lifestyle as just that, a lifestyle, then there is no need to limit the calorie intake. As long as you have fat stored in your body, your body will use that fat to produce the ketones it needs for energy.
There is, in fact, scientific research that shows that a low carb lifestyle will in fact cause less muscle tissue loss than other traditional diets.
This study shows that the increased protein intake that goes along with the reduced carb intake in the keto diet will maintain your muscle mass.
My own experience is proof that this is true. Since starting the Ketogenic Lifestyle over a year ago, I have lost about 25 pounds of fat, while increasing my muscle mass. I continue to lift weights regularly (5-6 times a week) and am continuing to see gains in muscle mass, while having more energy than ever before.
Exercise AND Nutrition
Near the end of the article, Sowers finally says something I can get behind:
“Exercising or engaging in physical activity for 30 minutes to an hour three to five times a week can aid in weight loss. However, Sowers adds that correct nutrition is 75 percent of the weight loss.”
I couldn’t agree more! If you want to lose weight, you need to adjust how you are eating. If you keep eating the same way you have been eating (that’s how you put the weight on in the first place!), you cannot expect to lose weight. Something needs to change.
If you just add the exercise, that will help. That is a positive change. But there needs to be more. If you want to lose the fat, you need to become a fat burner. In order to become a fat burner, you need to stop giving your body glucose to use as energy. To do this, you need to stop having so many carbs. The carbs become the glucose that your body uses for energy.
Give your body more healthy fats, moderate protein, and low carbs, and you will become a fat burning machine. Add exercise (keeping in mind that muscle tissue will raise your metabolism and help you burn fat up to 48 hours after you stop exercising) and you will reach your healthy weight and feel great sooner than you thought possible.
So there you have it.
“People sometimes don’t research diets before they begin,”
Sowers said. I believe she is right. Unfortunately, I think she is referring to herself in this case. She needed to do a little more research on the Keto Lifestyle before she agreed to having this article published.
Again, I will remind you that I am not a doctor (or a nutritionist, for that matter). I am just a middle-aged (soon to be 55) man who has found a lifestyle change that has allowed me to be in the best shape of my entire life! I have never felt or looked better. Never.
I suggest you do your own research. Don’t just follow the crowd. Step out. Take a look.
What have you got to lose?!
Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day