What in the heck is the Ketogenic Diet? Part 1
Whenever I whip out phrases like “You need to get on a ketogenic diet” to someone, I always see the zombie-like haze take over their facial expression. About 10 seconds later that look is replaced by one of puzzlement, as their eyes begin to squint, and their face contort. The next question is always the same, “What in the heck is a Ketogenic Diet?” The simple answer to that question is that the Ketogenic Diet is not really a diet at all. It’s a way of life. It hearkens back to our distant ancestors. When we first started walking this planet, we were mostly hunter gatherers. There were times back then (sometimes quite frequently) where there wasn’t a lot to hunt or gather, and we’d have to go multiple days on very little food. Now I know that sounds crazy to us today. With modern refrigeration and modern conveniences, mancaves and big-screen TVs, it seems almost sacrilegious to go without skipping even a single meal, let alone going a day or two without food. My question to that is always, what has changed?
The answer is, what has changed is the very nature of our diet. As humans, we can run on two types of fuels, sugars or fats. Since the beginning of our time on this planet, up until somewhere within the last 100 years, we’ve always been primarily fat burners. Over the last 100 years, and within the past 50+ years we’ve slowly made the switch from fat burners to sugar burners. That is a significant line, and one that merits repeating. Within the past 50+ years we’ve slowly changed from primarily burning fat for fuel, to now burning mostly sugar for fuel.
My favorite analogy to understand this is to draw a parallel between a fireplace and our body. Both things need to burn fuel for energy or heat. In the fireplace example, you can ultimately do only one of two things, put a log on the fire, or burn sticks and twigs. Burning sticks and twigs works, it will heat your house, but guess what, about every two hours, you’ll have to go out collecting sticks and twigs again. The log is a better to heat your house. It may take longer to get the fire started, but once it starts, it’s a nice slow, consistent burn. Becoming a fat burner is like using the log to heat your house, being a sugar burner is like using sticks and twigs. We’re going to get into this analogy a little bit more next week and talk about the benefits of being a fat burner. See you then…