Each week, our founder, Elroy Vojdani MD, IFMCP counsels patients who excitedly share that they have just started a ketogenic diet, with the hopes of losing lots of weight quickly. A keto style diet is designed to make the body switch from burning carbohydrates for energy, to burning stored fat for energy. When the body is functioning in this manner, it is referred to medically as being “in a state of ketosis.” In order to trigger the body to switch into ketosis, 70 to 80 percent of all calories consumed need to be derived from fat. With this goal in mind, most dieters opt for predominantly eating large amounts of bacon, butter and steak. While most people who switch to eating this way do experience weight loss, they also experience a massive spike in their cholesterol levels – which puts them at a much higher risk for a heart attack and stroke.
Heavy consumption of fatty foods, containing large amounts of saturated fat (which are mainly derived from animals), have been scientifically and conclusively linked to an increased risk of developing several major health conditions – including the eventual development of dementia. This happens for a multitude of reasons, such as:
• an increase in bad forms of cholesterol in the blood
• increased inflammation in body tissue
• changes in the composition of red blood cells – making them more likely to clot and block an artery.
Studies have even shown that some of these changes can be seen after consuming a single meal high in saturated animal fats.
When the digestive system is bombarded with processing extraordinary amounts of saturated fats, it puts a tremendous strain on the gallbladder and the entire gastrointestinal tract. For this reason many people can’t tolerate high fat diets, and will experience significant physical distress – including stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea, particularly if the gallbladder has been surgically removed.
To avoid these adverse effects from a classic keto diet, Dr. Vojdani recommends replacing the animal sourced saturated fats out of your diet with mono or polyunsaturated fats sources from plants – such as olive oil, nuts and avocado. He also recommends swapping out some of the steak dinners with wild salmon. After these recommendations are followed by his patients who are on a ketogenic diet, Dr. V (as his patients like to call him) reports that their elevated cholesterol numbers drop back to normal levels, or sometimes even better. A recent head-to-head study that examined the effect of consuming high amounts of saturated fats from animals, versus mono and polyunsaturated fats from plants, mirrored the findings that Dr. V has witnessed with Regenera Medical patients on a keto diet.
If you are considering starting a ketogenic diet, or are currently on one, the Regenera Medical team strongly recommends that you ask your physician to monitor your cholesterol levels. During your visits, your physician can also help guide you safely through the diet – so you can avoid losing more than the unwanted pounds.