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5 Reasons Why The Ketogenic Diet Might Not Be Right For You

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr, Michelle McMacken, an internal medicine physician shares why she doesn't recommend the ketogenic diet to her patients.

  • Reflect On:

    There is no doubt that ketone production has a wide range of benefits, but do we have to adopt a ketogenic diet to stimulate the production of ketones? What about fasting?

The ketogenic diet has gained a tremendous amount of popularity over the past few years, and it’s become a trend that many people are adopting without doing their own research first. We’ve written multiple articles on the ketogenic diet, a diet that promotes a high fat/low carb intake in order to prolong the production of ketone bodies in one’s blood. The release of these ketone bodies happens when we fast and deplete our glucose reserves, which develop from eating carbohydrates that turn into sugar. One can prolong the production of these ketones by sticking to a low carbohydrate/high fat diet, and essentially run off of fat instead of their glucose reserves.

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The ketogenic diet is being used as an intervention for cancer, and there are multiple studies showing how ketones can actually kill cancer. It’s becoming well known that cancer cells cannot efficiently process ketone bodies for energy. Essentially, the cell starves itself, and ketones help slow the proliferation of tumor cells. Dietary ketones have been shown to completely halt metastasis. For example, a study titled “The Ketogenic Diet & Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Prolong Survival in Mice with Systemic Metastatic Cancer” explains how it’s already known that the ketogenic diet elevates blood ketones and has been shown to slow cancer progression in both animals and humans. The study also revealed that the ketogenic diet “significantly decreased blood glucose, slowed tumor growth, and increased mean survival time by 56.8 percent in mice with systemic metastatic cancer.”

Fasting (when you fast you produce ketones) is also being used for cancer intervention, seizure prevention (epilepsy), and as a potential therapy for alzheimer’s disease, parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

A TEDx talk given by Mark Mattson, the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience, at the National Institute on Aging goes into detail about fasting, ketones, and how beneficial it is for the brain. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University and one of the foremost researchers of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying multiple neurodegenerative disorders.

In 1923, scientist Otto Warburg hypothesized that cancer was caused by a metabolic process whereby cancer cells fuel their growth “by swallowing up enormous amounts of glucose [blood sugar] and breaking it down without oxygen.” Coined the Warburg Effect, the theory was considered controversial at the time, but the past few decades have sparked new interest in it and oncologists now use the dependence on glucose that cancer cells have to locate tumours within a patient’s body.

Warburg made his discovery around the same time the ketogenic diet was found to be beneficial for epilepsy. Studies have shown that when the body produces ketones, they form a protective barrier around the brain, which is why more and more paediatricians are recommending the diet for children with epilepsy. It has a huge success rate, but since fasting is neither marketable nor profitable, it receives little mainstream attention.

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All of these are specific interventions for certain diseases, and they can be healthy. On a personal level, I believe fasting a few times a month is extremely healthy and can be very beneficial for the body. All of the studies in human and animal models show nothing but benefits.  Keep in mind that while you fast, you also get the benefits of ketones.

This is far different from continuing on with a no carb, high fat diet where you are constantly producing ketones and burning fat. It doesn’t seem normal unless you have to do it for a specific intervention, like cancer. Despite the potential health benefits, the ‘ketogenic diet’ has become a fad with potential dangers that people should also be aware of.

The Five Reasons

Below is a list of points regarding the ketogenic diet from Michelle McMacken, an internal medicine physician, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, and Director of Bellevue Hospital Weight Management Clinic.

I came across these via her Instagram, which make it clear she does not support the diet:

1. That we know of, no population in history has ever thrived on a very-low-carb/high-fat diet. There is exactly zero scientific evidence that a keto diet is conducive to longevity & longstanding vitality – unlike a plant-centric diet, the foundation of the longest-lived people on earth.

2. A keto diet may cause short-term weight loss, but possibly at a serious price. A 2010 review found that low-carb, animal-based diets increased cardiovascular death by 14%, cancer death by 28%, & all-cause mortality by 23%- trends confirmed in other large studies.

3. A keto diet hasn’t been shown to prevent, control, or reverse type 2 diabetes in the long run. Avoiding carbs will temporarily lower your blood sugar if you have diabetes. But this simply masks the underlying problem, which is insulin resistance – ie. glucose in our blood can’t enter our cells & the liver overproduces sugar. This is NOT the fault of carbs from healthy foods – whole grains, legumes, fruit, or even starchy vegetables. In fact, a high-carb, high-fiber, plant-based diet is exceptionally protective against diabetes & can actually REVERSE insulin resistance & lower diabetes complications. In contrast, low-carb diets can promote diabetes over time, as they foster inflammation & fat buildup in our cells, causing insulin resistance.

4. Keto diet research is in its infancy, focusing on short-term blood results & body weight – not actual rates of disease or death. And some findings are concerning. LDL cholesterol levels tend to rise (or at best, stay the same) on keto diets. An overwhelming wealth of research shows that the higher the LDL, the higher the risk of cardiovascular disease.

5. A keto diet is low in refined grains & added sugar, which is great. But it also can be low in phytonutrients, antioxidants, & fiber, all of which have profound benefits, and it forbids some of the most powerfully health-promoting foods on earth – whole grains, legumes, & many fruits. To me, that’s just not good medicine.

Her references:


The Takeaway

It’s great to see the world becoming more health conscious, it’s one of multiple contributing factors in raising our vibrational frequency, and feeling more ‘alive.’ That being said, a lot of ‘fads’ seem to pop up in this field, which are coupled with a great misunderstanding of how these specific diets, like the ketogenic diet, is supposed to be used. At the end of the day, balance is key, and it’s best to incorporate more organic fruits and vegetables in your diet, and completely cut out all processed foods, and substances like high fructose corn syrup etc. Being healthy is not hard, and it’s not complicated. If you’re going to incorporate a specific diet into your lifestyle, just make sure it’s not one that’s specifically designed to combat certain diseases, like the ketogenic diet.

Related CE Articles:

Study Shows What A Ketogenic Diet Did To Mice With Systemic Metastatic Cancer

Doctor Explains What Happens To The Body When It Goes Into Ketosis

The Biggest Misconception About The Ketogenic Diet…You Don’t Actually Have To Follow It

Ending The Debate About The Ketogenic Diet – 9 Studies You Must Be Aware Of 


 

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Meditation Changes The “Structure & Function of the Brain” In A Positive Way

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recent study has found found that different types of meditation can actually effect different areas of the brain.

  • Reflect On:

    Should meditation be included in the school curriculum, and used to treat certain mental ailments?

If you look at most ‘masters’ in the field of meditation, a common theme that currently exists is a big misconception about meditation, that it has to be done a certain way, that you have to sit a specific way or do something in particular in order to reap the benefits. These masters will be the first to tell you that it doesn’t have to be one specific way.

That being said, many spiritual groups, like certain monks for example, are taught different types of meditation in several different ways, so really, there’s no correct way to meditate, and the process of connecting with one’s higher self and quieting the mind can be done in multiple ways and practiced at various levels.

When meditating, one shouldn’t try to “empty” their mind, but instead, try to let ones thoughts, feelings, and whatever emotions end up ‘popping’ in there, pop in there. There should be no resistance to thoughts, no judgement of them. Simply let them be, don’t attach to them and just be at peace with it. You’re not doing anything wrong, just focus on your breath.

Personally, I believe that meditation is a state of being more than anything else.  Throughout the day, one can resist judging their thoughts, letting them flow until they are no more, or just be in a constant state of peace and self awareness. Contrary to popular belief, you can meditate anywhere, it can be done before bed, in the shower, while you are going for a walk, or even while washing the dishes.

That being said, I do also believe, speaking from my experience, that sitting down and doing the proper breath work and being present is a slightly different method and can sometimes create a more powerful experience, but there seems to be different variations of the exact same thing.

What’s interesting about meditation is the fact that it’s been practiced for thousands of years, and several ancient cultures were well aware of not only the non-physical benefits but its physical benefits as well, something modern day science is just starting to discover.

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One of the most recent studies has found that different types of meditation can actually effect different areas of the brain.

As Alice G. Walton, a writer for Forbes points out,

“Meditation and mindfulness training have accumulated some impressive evidence, suggesting that the practices can change not only the structure and function of the brain, but also our behaviour and moment-to-moment experience.”

She is correct, probably even more so than she knows. The evidence showing just how strong the mind-body connection is can actually be overwhelming. In fact, studies in the field of parapsychology have just as much, if not more, statistical significance via peer-reviewed research than the science which has been published to approve several different drugs, like antiplatelets, or the science that shows a daily dose of aspirin can help prevent a heart attack. It was published in 1999, by a statistics professor at UC Irvine.

This new study, which was recently published by the Max Planck Institute found that three different types of meditation are associated to changes in corresponding brain regions.

Watson goes on to explain,

“Participants, who were between 20 and 55 years of age, engaged in three different types of training for three months each, totalling a nine-month study period. The first training was dubbed the “Presence” module, and was very similar to focused awareness meditation, an ancient practice that’s been studied a lot in recent years. In this study, participants learned to focus their attention, brining it back when it wandered, and to attend to the breath and to their internal body sensations.” 

The second phase of training was called “Affect,” and its purpose was to increase compassion and empathy for others. The participants learned about a specific meditation dealing with “loving-kindness,” and again, the sole intention here was to enhance one’s compassion and empathy.

The last one was called the “Perspective” module, where the focus was simply to observe one’s own thoughts without judgement, while enhancing their understanding towards the perspectives of other people.

The researchers hypothesized that these methods would lead to volume increases in corresponding parts of the brain.  Numerous studies have proven the many physiological benefits of meditation, and the latest one comes from Harvard University of a study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)  who determined that meditation literally rebuilds the brain’s grey matter in just eight weeks. It’s the very first study to document that meditation produces changes in grey matter over time.

This recent study found the same thing, and they discovered that when they scanned the participants’ brains at the end of each module and then compared the groups against one another:

“Training in Presence was linked to enhanced thickness in the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which are known to be strongly involved in attention. Affect training was linked to increased thickness in regions known to be involved in socially driven emotions like empathy: and Perspective training associated with changes in areas involved in understanding the mental states of others, and, interestingly, inhibiting the perspective of oneself.” 

These results further elaborate on a wealth of previous studies showing what meditation can do to the brain.

Walton goes on to emphasize,

“Lots of research has found that experienced meditators have significantly altered brain structure and function, but a growing number of studies has also found that relatively brief meditation training in novices (for instance, the well-known eight-week MBSR program) can also shift brain function, improve well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.” 

The authors of the study mention:

“With growing globalization, interconnectedness, and complexity of our societies, ‘soft skills’ have become increasingly important…Social competences, such as empathy, compassion, and taking the perspective of another person, allow for a better understanding of others’ feelings and different beliefs and are crucial for successful cooperation.” 

Why This Is Relevant & Important

Imagine if this type of practice became a requirement of multiple school boards, what do you think would happen? For most of us, since the day we are born we’re all encouraged to follow the same path, and one of those paths is spending a large portion of our lives, for many years, for the entire day, at school. Then, as we age into adults, we do the same thing with ‘work.’ This type of human experience is far from natural, which is why I believe it to be one of the reasons (out of many) that stress, diseases, and mental health issues, among other rates, continue to rise exponentially.

While going through this process, we’re never really taught how to question the experience, we simply comply and are never really taught any sort of emotional education, at all. We don’t learn to deal with our emotions, we don’t learn about empathy, compassion, and stepping into another persons shoes… We’re not really taught what we are naturally gifted with from birth. It’s our empathy and compassion, our concern for others that makes human beings so special, but growing up, we don’t really talk about these things.

The world is changing in many different ways, and awareness about this kind of practice is spreading around like it never has before. Multiple schools are incorporating mindfulness education into their programs, and many parents from my generation are also incorporating these important concepts into their child’s development.

This is great to see, and as time unfolds, the more we tap into non-physical science and its tremendous benefits, the more we will speed up the changes that are so desperately needed on our planet right now.


Related CE Articles:

Scientists Demonstrate What Meditation Does To Your Gut & Your Brain

Mind-Body Connection During Meditation Can Now Be Measured – Thanks To Science

Study Outlines What Prayer, Meditation & Yoga Can Do To The Human Body

Physicists Examine Consciousness & Conclude The Universe Is Spiritual, Immaterial & Mental

Physicists Say Consciousness Should Be Considered A State of Matter – The Non-Physical Is Real

This is How Powerful The Mind/Body Connection Really Is

Nepals Military Set To Use Transcendental Meditation To Relieve Global Collective Stress To Stop War

“I Was Sort of a Jackass Before Meditation” – This Is How We Can Change Police Brutality

Tibetan Buddhist Master Monk Explains How Meditation Is Not What Most People Think It Is

How To Meditate: 6 Method That Can Get Anyone Meditating

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Dr. Lawrence Palevsky Testimony: Unvaccinated Children Are “The Healthiest Children I’ve Ever Seen”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a NY licensed paediatrician, speaks at a forum on vaccines in Connecticut, discussing the repeal of the religious exemption for childhood vaccines.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is vaccine hesitancy on the rise?

It’s always worrisome publishing an article about vaccine safety and posting it on Facebook. But why is that? One would think that discussions and concerns about vaccine safety would be encouraged. However, the opposite is true–Facebook has been cracking down on any information that they deem as “anti-vaccine.”

Does this mean that reporting on a study addressing the concerns of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines, for example, will be prevented from spreading and possibly even labelled as “fake news,” despite the fact that it’s been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal?

Does this mean that a paediatrician, like the one below, will also be censored for sharing his opinion based on his research and experience?

Dr. Heidi Larson’s Comments at WHO Summit

I’d like to point out that many scientists presented facts about vaccines and vaccine safety at the recent Global Health Vaccine Safety Summit hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. At the conference, Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project, emphasized that doctors and professionals should forego name-calling with ‘hostile language’ such as “anti-vax”.

She recommended encouraging people to ask questions about vaccine safety. After all, it makes sense–in order to make our vaccines safer and more effective, you would think everybody would be on board with constant questioning and examination. After all, that’s just good science, and it’s in everyone’s best interest. She also brought up the issue of confidence in vaccines:

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen–and we’re constantly looking on any studies in this space–still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider. And if we lose that, we’re in trouble.

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You can read more about the concerns brought up by scientists at that conference, in detail, here.

Dr. Lawrence Palevsky

One of those doctors who is losing confidence in vaccines is Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a practicing paediatrician trained at the NYU School of Medicine who did his residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. He spent the first nine years of his career working in emergency rooms running a neonatal intensive care unit. He recently spoke at a forum on vaccines in Connecticut, discussing the repeal of the religious exemption for childhood vaccines. In the video below, he provides a great summary as to why so many parents and physicians continue to become concerned about vaccine safety.

The parents that I work with in New York, that I see around the country are very concerned that their rights are being taken away, that their knowledge about the science is being pushed away by an agenda that only says, unvaccinated children are a problem.

No study has every been done in this country, appropriately, to address the health outcomes of children who are vaccinated versus the children who are unvaccinated. I have been seeing families in my practice for over 20 years, that have opted out of vaccination, they are the healthiest children I’ve ever seen.

Vaccine hesitancy among among health professionals is no longer a secret. A study published in the journal EbioMedicine outlines this point:

Over the past two decades several vaccine controversies have emerged in various countries, including France, inducing worries about severe adverse effects and eroding confidence in health authorities, experts, and science. These two dimensions are at the core of the vaccine hesitancy (VH) observed in the general population. VH is defined as delay in acceptance of vaccination, or refusal, or even acceptance with doubts about its safety and benefits, with all these behaviors and attitudes varying according to context, vaccine, and personal profile, despite the availability of vaccine services VH presents a challenge to physicians who must address their patients’ concerns about vaccines and ensure satisfactory vaccination coverage.

The Takeaway

The scientific community should never stop questioning, especially when it comes to medication. Based on the information that’s come out at the conference mentioned in this article, and the testimony shown above, it’s quite clear that there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the development of vaccines and vaccine safety overall. Discussion is always encouraging, as long as it’s peaceful and facts are presented in a proper manner.

It’s better to understand the reasons why a lot of people, parents, scientists and physicians are hesitant about vaccination and appropriately respond, instead of simply using ridicule and hatred, because that’s never effective and both parties cannot move forward that way. At the end of the day, scientists should never cease to question.

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A Potential Solution To Reduce Snoring & Sleep Apnea

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I’d like to share with you a convenient alternative remedy that has helped all of my clients to reduce snoring and sleep apnea, and that is by wearing a tape to keep your mouth closed during sleep. A new study published this year also showed the efficacy of this treatment.

Snoring and sleep apnea not only represent a holistic health risk to an individual, the irritating noise at night can often create conflict in a couple’s relationship. I’d like to share with you a convenient alternative remedy that has helped all of my clients to reduce snoring and sleep apnea, and that is by wearing a tape to keep your mouth closed during sleep. A new study published this year also showed the efficacy of this treatment.

Major Cause of Snoring & Sleep Apnea

One major cause of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is mouth breathing during sleep, especially when you sleep in the supine position. When you sleep in the supine position with an open mouth, gravity pulls down your jaw and tongue, which then compresses your throat. As a result, your airway gets suppressed and narrowed, leaving less space for the air to pass through.

Mouth breathing also introduces stronger air flow as you inhale and exhale, which exacerbates the airway soft tissue vibration, causing the loud snoring noise. Strong air flow during mouth breathing also induces strong negative pressure that sucks in the soft tissues around the throat area, further narrowing your airway and eventually causing it to collapse, resulting in obstructive sleep apnea.

The Quick Fix? Wear Tape To Keep Your Mouth Closed

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main causes of snoring and sleep apnea is mouth breathing. A quick fix to keep your mouth closed during the night is to apply a small piece of tape over it. When your mouth is closed and lips are together, it is harder for you jaw to fall back even when lying in a supine position. Keeping your mouth closed also forces you to breathe through your nose, which not only helps to regulate the airflow to reduce the negative pressure inside your airway, but also reduces soft tissue vibration

An otoralyngology study published this year in the American Academy of Otolaryngology Journal demonstrated the effectiveness of this technique, showing significant reduction in median AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index) score and snoring index [1].

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In the past few years, ENT specialist Dr. Hung Cheng Tseng and I have recommended wearing tape for all of our clients as part of our AirwayFit training program, and the feedback has been great. For some CPAP users, wearing tape on their mouth can help to eliminate the air leakage issue. In addition, if you often find yourself waking up with a dried mouth and throat, this method will also help you keep your mouth and throat moisturized throughout the night.

How To Apply?

In practice, wearing tape to sleep is actually a lot less daunting than it sounds.

Visit any drug store near you and pick up a small roll of medical grade paper tape. It should cost you no more than $10. I recommend ones that are hypoallergenic, porous, and non-waterproof. When you wear the tape, you want to roll your lips slightly inward so you don’t apply it directly onto your lips. Otherwise, your lips can really hurt when you remove it in the morning. Some people apply some lip balm or vaseline onto their lips first as a layer of protection.

You don’t have to wear the tape over your entire mouth. You can start by wearing it vertically, in the center, right beneath your nose, and that should suffice; as long as the tape keeps your jaw up, you should be fine. I also recommend you to pre-fold one of the corners of the tape, just so that there’s a corner you can grab onto easily in the morning to tear it off.  If you have sensitive skin and you find removing the tape hurts, you can wet it with water before you remove it in the morning. You could also reduce the stickiness of the tape prior to use by sticking it onto your forearm a couple of times before applying to your lips.

If you really are panicked by this idea, then as I mentioned before, you can try wearing it only at the center portion of your mouth. This will leave gaps on the two sides of your mouth but still keep your jaw in the upright position during sleep. Also, if it’s your first night trying this method, wearing the tape 30 minutes before you go to bed can help you adjust to the feeling.

Most people who have tried the tape method to keep their mouth closed find it convenient and more comfortable and cheaper than the alternative methods. However, I would caution against wearing tape to keep your mouth closed if you experience the following: nausea or epilepsy, or if you have consumed alcohol or any pill or medicine prior to sleep. Otherwise, give it a try today and you will find yourself waking up feeling much more energized and hydrated the next morning!

To learn more about your sleep trouble, visit www.AirwayFit.com

Source:

[1]    Huang TW., Young TH., “Novel Porous Oral Patches for Patients with Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Mouth Breathing: A Pilot Study” American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery 152.2 (2015): 369-373. Print.

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