Fat, Glucose and Ketosis - The Puzzle Pieces
What If We Just Had It All Wrong?
Around (c. 1287–1347), an English Franciscan friar, who was a scholastic philosopher and theologian, formulated a widely accepted theorem, now called Occam’s Razor, that in layman's terms mean "all else being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one."
Maybe Occam’s Razor can be used to help us determine what should be our normal state for energy production and what should be our normal state for energy storage. Today, most people believe that our normal state for energy production is eating carbs that break down into glucose to form ATP (cellular energy) while our normal state for energy storage comes through eating and storing fats. Hmmmm….let’s check that out.
So in order to examine the theory that glucose should be our preferred energy molecule while, fats (ketones) should be our preferred storage molecule; let’s ask a few key questions that might shed some light on the answer. With that said, if glucose was meant to be our primary energy source…
• Why would the body adopt a method of energy production that requires a molecule (insulin) to transport an energy molecule (glucose) into the cell? Wouldn’t it be easier if the primary energy molecule could just go directly into the cell for processing and at the same time pass through any cell membrane (like ketones do)?
• Why would the body adopt an energy molecule (glucose) that produces 38% less ATP energy versus the alternative energy molecule of a ketone?
• Why would the body select an energy molecule (glucose) that requires three times the number of steps to break it down into energy versus the alternative energy molecule of a ketone?
• Why would the body select an energy molecule (glucose) that requires more cellular oxygen to produce the same amount of ATP energy versus the alternative molecule of a ketone?
• Why would the body select an energy molecule (glucose) that produces 10 times the number of excited, cell-damaging “free radicals” versus the alternative energy molecule of a ketone, that doesn’t?
• Why would the body favor an energy source (glucose) that requires “constant refueling” (you can only store around 2000 calories of glucose) versus an alternative fuel source (fats) that has access to an almost limitless calories that it continuously synthesizes into energy and is controlled by simple enzymatic action that yields 2.5 times the caloric content? BTW most people in America are sitting right now (pardon my pun) on hundreds of thousands of available calories.
Based on the answers to those questions, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense that glucose would be our primary fuel source, does it?
And when I apply Occam’s Razor to those above questions, it even makes less sense.
After being completely immersed into this world of fats, ketones, glucose, insulin, etc. for over four years, and living ketogenically for three years, let me share what I believe.
Our energy production process evolved using fatty acids and ketones as its primary energy source and our fat storage process evolved using glucose and insulin as its primary energy source.
From all the research I have read, especially recent research, and being ketogenic for the past three years, I believe our biology have evolved in a very similar manner to other animals. This means our stored fat was utilized for continuous energy production while carbohydrates that we ate during favorable growing seasons were stored as fat (triglycerides) using the glucose/insulin pathway. Even our hunger and eating hormones support this theory because when we use fats for fuel they satiate us and when we eat carbohydrates we want to keep eating them, which means our body is in storage mode.
And if that’s not enough evidence, let’s look at the statistical data of what a “carb rich” diet has done to us and our children. In 1960 the percentage of overweight people in the US was 11%, while in 2016 it is over 70%, not to mention that we now consider childhood obesity an epidemic. Since the 70’s and the invention of the so-called “food pyramid” where we were told to eat more carbs and eat less fat, we have added the two new categories of “morbidly obese” and “super morbidly obese” to just describe how bad it’s gotten. Need more convincing? I just read an article from the New York Times dated September 12, 2016, entitled “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat.” It makes for a great and shocking read.
Please pardon my insolence here, but I can’t find any solid information today that supports the notion that glucose was our primary, primordial energy source. To the contrary, there is scientific data supporting the notion that the primary role of fatty acids/ketones within human metabolism is energy production in the form of cellular ATP and when compared to the other two macronutrients carbohydrates and proteins, fatty acids/ketones win hands down in producing the most ATP energy with the fewest damaging by-products.
I often ask the question, “Name me one essential carbohydrate?” That particular question draws a lot of blank faces because the answer is simply “there aren’t any.” There are essential fatty acids, there are essential amino acids, but there aren’t any essential carbohydrates. The reality is fatty acid metabolism generates high energy, and creates biologically important molecules, like ketone bodies, which are preferentially used by the brain and other neurological tissues, not to mention the heart and kidneys.
So if I have convinced you that fatty acids and ketones indeed evolved as our primary energy source, then what do think might be the primary role of glucose and insulin? Hmmm…might it be FAT STORAGE…
Here is what I do know about fat storage. I know that fat doesn’t trigger the acute hormonal reactions that create fat storage the way that glucose and other carbohydrates do. I know that the glucose/insulin reaction is powerful and your blood sugar levels increase very rapidly when you eat carbohydrates. I know your pancreas pumps out insulin to immediately take the excess sugar out of your blood and I know insulin stores that extra sugar, first as glycogen and then as triglycerides (fat), when your glycogen stores are full. I also know they call insulin the fat storage hormone.
And we shouldn’t forget that when insulin is activated, its energy production “counter partner” hormone called glucagon, whose primary job is to mobilize stored sugar back into the blood for energy use CAN’T operate. These two hormones, insulin, and glucagon are constantly in a battle with each other and cannot be present in the blood at the same time. So either your body is in an energy-burning/mobilizing state (glucagon) or your body is in an energy storage state (insulin). When you are using fatty acids and ketones for energy, insulin is in fact suppressed and causing you to be satiated and not hungry. Cool idea for natural weight management, don’t you think?
The reality is that SUGAR triggers fat storage NOT fat. It is that simple. In fact, the FAT in a sweet roll will actually help to slow down that sugar spike from that sweet roll, and thus reduces the insulin surge, mitigating some of the ill-effects of the sweet roll. While I am not advocating fatty sweet rolls, this whole “fat-free food thing” is killing our children and us. Isn’t it ironic that “non-fat” foods are pounding our bodies with a ton of insulin while they additionally removed the one thing that could slow that process down, fat? Isn’t that called THE DOUBLE WHAMMY? And we wonder why so many people are insulin insensitive/resistant and suffering for Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases. The saddest part of getting this entire food pyramid wrong about the primary roles of fat and sugar is what it’s doing to our current children, the first generation ever that is not expected to outlive their parent’s generation.
The good news is we now know about the lies, and the gross information we have been fed for 5 decades. Science has also greatly advanced and is now providing us the knowledge and power to stop this horrible nutritional epidemic. But five decades of misinformation and horrible eating habits is tough to overcome. It will require a consolidated, all-out effort from all of us. Our first task is to STOP EATING SUGAR AND CARBS! And believe me, that’s no easy task!
The second task is to help people understand what’s happened to them by eating carbs and sugars and the third task is to help them change their primary energy system back to eating fats in a very easy and delicious way. We created Kegenix™ - our patented product that provides exogenous ketones - and a special system called Keto Eating™ to provide key tools to help people more easily “flip their metabolic energy switch” to adapting to fats from sugars and then maintain healthy eating so they can actually improve their and their children’s cellular health.
The SUGAR CYCLE is a vicious and addictive cycle. What my partners and I believe is that people need to get angry over what has happened to them and their children. They need to understand that there have been forces at work that have under minded our health and the health of our children. They did what they were told and to a large degree, it’s not their fault. It is time to take our health back and this requires us to get our body’s energy system back on track.
The reality is, “We just had it all wrong.” FATS are meant to be our primary FUEL and CARBS and SUGARS are meant to be our primary STORAGE…this appears to be the simplest explanation and the answer you get when you simply apply Occam’s Razor to our present dilemma.
We look forward to participating in the KETO REVOLUTION™ and invite you to join us.
Watch for our Webinars with Dr. Brimhall and our presentations at Homecoming 2017, in Tempe Arizona, January 27-29.
By Gary Millet, MBA, BA, BA, CPA, Co-Founder of Real Ketones and Developer of Kegenix™