Is Newsweek Dumb Or Disingenuous About the Ketogenic Diet?

Is Newsweek Dumb Or Disingenuous About the Ketogenic Diet?

How many ways can one article get things wrong?! Newsweek’s overwhelmingly wrong-headed Can You Lose Weight on a Ketogenic Diet? is clearly going for a record.

[bctt tweet=”How many ways can one article get things wrong? @JosephFrankel @Newsweek ‘Can You Lose Weight on a Ketogenic Diet?'”]

Can You Lose Weight on a Ketogenic Diet? You Didn’t Answer Your Own Question

Let’s start with the simple fact that Joseph Frankel never actually addresses the question asked in his headline, I suspect because the answer is “yes,” and it would take rearranging his world view and actually learning something to admit it.

Then there’s his speculation that carbohydrates are the primary fuel of the body. Since carbohydrates were in relatively short supply in the human diet until the Agricultural Revolution about ten thousand years ago, this seems unlikely. It is true that so long as insulin levels are elevated because of excess glucose in the blood, the body will preferentially burn glucose, but that does not mean that glucose is the ideal fuel for the human body, only that the body has a mechanism to get rid of the stuff as quickly as possible.

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Mr. Frankel writes scornfully about free fatty acids and ketones, as if they are third-rate energy sources. Yet what is the goal of every person dieting to lose weight? To burn fat. In Frankel’s world, this is apparently undesirable. Perhaps he feels people should lose weight by reducing muscle mass? Cutting their hair?

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Fat Is An Excellent Fuel Source

As for fat being a poor fuel source, it is actually an excellent fuel source, containing more than twice the calories – fuel – per gram of carbohydrates or protein. Our bodies evolved to store fuel when it was available, so they would have a steady supply of fuel when the food supply ran short. Since it was when food was hard to find that our ancestors needed to be at their keenest – to have the energy and wit to hunt or gather – evolution supplied us with the ability to store super-fuel, and even to convert that super-fuel, fat, into a second form, ketones, that will run almost all tissues that cannot utilize free fatty acids. As for the few that require glucose, the liver can easily make sufficient glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, “making new sugar”, especially since a healthy blood stream contains only about one teaspoon of sugar.

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We have evolved a perfect system for coping with periodic food shortage, which explains not only the value of fat and ketones as fuel sources, but also the emerging benefits of fasting.

The Ketogenic Diet IS NOT HIGH PROTEIN!!

Frankel repeats the hoary myth that a ketogenic diet is “high protein.” Properly done, it is a very low carbohydrate/moderate protein/high fat diet. Very few people eat no carbs; most keto dieters eat vegetables, nuts, and even some low sugar fruit – and there are, indeed, animal foods that contain modest quantities of carbohydrate – look up oysters.

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Even a cursory glance at the research would have shown Mr. Frankel that ketogenic diets are showing clinical promise for everything from fighting cancer to improving cognition in Alzheimer’s patients. And my friend and colleague, Dr. Eric Westman, has a track record of treating type 2 diabetics and achieving normal – not “controlled,” but normal – blood sugar with no medication in 90% of them.

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The Ketogenic Diet Reverses Diabetic Nephropathy

I find it particularly amusing, after years of being told “That diet will wreck your kidneys!” that a ketogenic diet has been demonstrated, both in mice and humans, to reverse diabetic nephropathy. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure. Tests show that my kidneys are doing nicely, thank you.

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Dana Carpender CarbSmart Fat Fast Cookbook
Dana Carpender

As a person who has eaten this way for twenty two years now – that’s thirty-seven percent of my life – I can testify that for me it is far more pleasant than the constant hunger and energy swings that came with a “healthy” low fat diet built on whole grains. If Joseph Frankel likes, he may eat my share. My doctor can attest to my health at the age of fifty-nine.

What About Exogenous Ketone Supplements?

I have not tried the exogenous ketone supplements of which he tells, considering them both expensive and unnecessary. But since I can have an avocado and cheese omelet fried in bacon grease, or a rib eye steak and a Caesar salad (hold the croutons) any time I like, I have no trouble generating ketones of my own, and enjoying it.

[contentcards url=”” target=”_blank”] [bctt tweet=”The @JosephFrankel @Newsweek article ‘Can You Lose Weight on the Ketogenic Diet?’ is so poor it’s an embarrassment.”]

Oh, and I don’t pee on strips; that’s old school. I have a breath ketone meter, thanks.

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But other than that, Mr. Frankel, nicely done.

Andrew DiMino CarbSmart Publisher, President & FounderNOTE FROM ANDREW: Newsweek science writer Joseph Frankel who normally writes interesting articles (see The Ethics of Lab-Grown Brains, Brain-Eating Organism Likely Killer of Bay Area Sharks, and Edie Windsor, LGBT Activist, Was Also a Computer Whiz) seemed to phone this one in for the article published on 11/14/17.

[bctt tweet=”Hey @JosephFrankel @Newsweek ‘Can You Lose Weight on the Ketogenic Diet?’ is a poor article.”] So Joseph Frankel, if you’d like to actually learn the science of the ketogenic diet and/or correct your article with facts, please contact Dana Carpender here at CarbSmart and she’ll be glad to spend the time with you.

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