The dietary principles of the Nootroo protocol calls for a ketogenic diet, or a fat based diet where the body is burning “ketones.” The diet was originally developed for drug-resistant epileptic patients because fat is a more stable energy for the brain. You can read up on the ketogenic diet around the site, but below are a number of excerpts from a recent Men’s Journal article titled “Why Experts Now Think You Should Eat More Fat.
The first paragraph of the article sums it up nicely:
A diet that reduces carbohydrates in favor of fat – including the saturated fat in meat and butter – improves nearly every health measurement, from reducing our waistlines to keeping our arteries clear, more than the low-fat diets that have been recommended for generations. “The medical establishment got it wrong,” says cardiologist Dennis Goodman, director of Integrative Medicine at New York Medical Associates. “The belief system didn’t pan out.”
The article actually touches on the science of why consuming sugar doesn’t allow for the breakdown of fat. I usually know a writer did their job when they mention Gary Taubes who is arguably the most knowledgeable expert on fat. It discusses how by having insulin levels high due to sugar, our body is never able to burn off the fat it has stored:
How a fatty pork chop can trump pasta begins with the fact that our bodies don’t process calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the same way. “When we eat carbs, they break down into sugar in the blood; that’s true of whole grains, too, though to a lesser extent,” says Jeff Volek, a leading low-carb researcher at Ohio State University. The body responds with the hormone insulin, which converts the extra blood sugar into fatty acids stored in the body fat around our middles. Our blood sugar then falls, and that body fat releases the fatty acids to burn as fuel. But carb-heavy diets keep insulin so high that those fatty acids aren’t released, Volek says. The body continues to shuttle sugar into our fat cells – packing on the pounds – but we never burn it. Dietary fat, meanwhile, is the only macronutrient that has no effect on insulin or blood sugar. “This means it’s likely excessive carbs, not fat, that plump us up,” he adds. Low-carb diets stop that vicious cycle, keeping insulin levels low enough to force the body to burn fat again.
One of the common refrains I hear regarding fat is related to saturated fat and heart disease and this article covers that as well:
But isn’t too much saturated fat bad for your heart? “The evidence for that has really disintegrated,” says Dr. Eric Westman, a bariatric physician and director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. It is true that saturated fat can raise cholesterol. But as we know, there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. And it turns out that a diet rich in saturated fat increases the former while decreasing the latter. Carbs, on the other hand, do exactly the opposite. In fact, a new Annals of Internal Medicine review of 72 studies and hundreds of thousands of subjects found no strong evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease
If a ketogenic diet is so good, and so healthy for you, why is it taking so long to catch on, even for doctors? There are a number of reasons for this which we will be getting into more in-depth here on the blog, but Gary Taubes has a few he likes to point out:
The first is the calorie-counting theory of weight gain, which came about in the 1950s. “It looks at the human body as a mathematical counting machine,” says Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. “Fat has more calories per gram than carbs or protein, so eating fat must make you fatter. It’s a naive view of human physiology.” The second idea, the lipid hypothesis, blamed saturated fat for clogging arteries. This notion emerged from vast population studies in the 1970s that found loose correlations between fat consumption, total cholesterol, and heart disease. Just because two things occur together, however, does not mean that one causes the other. But the lipid hypothesis became so popular at the USDA and the American Heart Association that, says Westman, “there was no money to fund research into anything other than low-fat, low-calorie diets for 20 years.”
Eating fat is the best dietary choice to make. Learning how to become ketogenic or at least some form of low-carbohydrate can be a bit difficult to adjust to for most people, but ultimately leaves you healthier over time.