Fasting, Ketosis, Gut Health, Microbiome, and a Natural Human Diet
So, we live in a very, very exciting time. We are learning soo much about how diet effects our health! All kinds of information is not only coming out, but all coming together as more and more of these individual silos or diet ideologies are merging together. Walls are being broken down and people are asking questions. They are challenging traditional ideas in the effort of optimal health. They want more than an pill to alleviate “Symptoms” they want to actually BE healthy and or Healthier! People are actually Sick of being Sick! as well as watching loved ones die and suffer way too young!
So fasting, ketosis, gut microbiome or gut health and natural human diets aka paleo/caveman diets are all pretty big buzz words in the dieting world for many reasons. There is all kinds of research being done on them for fat loss, inflammation, and metabolic diseases like, cancers, diabetes, obesity, Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s and more. All these diet ideologies are very much tied together, not any single one of them really the silver bullet, but together… could they be what we are looking for?
So let’s look at fasting first. Being a Paleo guy and Biologist I like to overlay an evolutionary template (like Loren Crodain) with the science on things to see if that makes sense in a way that millions of years may have shaped it. Now there are all kinds of intreptations on “Fasting” and people currently define a “Fast” in many different ways. Some say having a small window during the day that you can only eat. ie Noon to 5. Some say 3 days, some 7 days, to 30 day fasts. How you decide to define your fast is up to you. But from an evolutionary stand point think about how man would have gone about his day. First of all, if you will, picture waking up under a tree outside, rubbing the sleep out of your eyes and starting your day. No job other than to eat, and procreate and live do to so. Basic survival of the species. So remember breakfast, lunch and dinner are a relatively new thing. They are a product of civilization, work schedules etc. We were left with foraging for food, you had to either hunt or gather. Depending on the season it may very well have been halfway through the day before you found anything at all, and probably not much at all. It might have been some berries, could be a small animal. Fast forward to today, a modern world, where we are constantly eating and food is almost always available doesn’t match our history. The idea of “Fasting” aka “skipping a meal” or two really fits with our ancestry. Add to that the new research that shows this constant over eating, of foods we never had during those few million years really compounds our problems, and rears its head in the form of metabolic diseases.
“Fasting” and food availability lends it’s self well to the idea of Ketosis and Nutritional Ketosis. In our modern world we seem to have plenty of food at any given time. Well, let me restate that, we have plenty of “things” playing the role of food at any given time. If you take a good look at some of this stuff and read these labels, a BIG portion of it never existed 100 years ago let alone within the last 2.5 millions years of evolution. We have sooo many processed, man configured and engineered foods, it would have been hard for our ancestors to even recognize them as food. They also don’t resemble the macro content (fats, carbohydrates, protein) of anything naturally occurring. The biggest addition to our Modern Diet is processed grains and dairy which most of us have accepted as normal food, but in fact cause chemical shit storm in our bodies. Back to my previous points, of food scarcity, quality of food, not being high carb, we found ourselves in either nutritional ketosis and or some type of fasting ketosis way more often than in a calorie surplus consisting in the form of High Carb. You can see from the expert below that our Ancestors diet resembled that of a ketogenic ratio…. so that takes us to. ketogenic diets.
For those of you not familiar with nutritional ketosis, being in ketosis or a ketogenic diet. Let me help with an over simplified break down for you. A state of nutritional ketosis or ketosis is established when we either have a restriction of the macro molecule carbohydrate, a calorie restriction, or are fasting (starvation), so that there is very low amount of blood sugar in our system. Most of us use (sugar/glucose) as our primary fuel source but in Ketosis our body switches over to a state in which it actually metabolizes Fat for fuel, either from its storage (fat cells) or the food we eat for our main fuel source. This is a completely natural process. Where you will often get raised eye brows is from people who don’t understand this or confuse it with a diabetic condition that can happen called Ketoacidosis in which you not only have a abnormally high ketone level, 25-50 mmol but you also have an elevated glucose level simultaneously. In addition, sometimes will hear a diet referred to as ketogenic or what is a ketogenic meal. This is usually referring to a diet or meal that has a marcro layout something to the tune of 5% carbohydrate, 25-35% protein and 60-70% fat. But the truth is, a calorie deficit can put you in ketosis as well as a diet that restricts carbohydrate, adequate protein and a deficit in fat calories. Again, these are more arguable points depending on the trendiness of group.
So recapping thus far, given the menu items we had available, how available food was during most of our evolution the concept of what we are currently calling fasting as well as being in nutritional ketosis while maintain a Paleo diet grocery list, really makes a lot of sense. This matches our biology and our evolutionary template so one would think we are good. Not so. We need to get the nutrients to our systems via out guts.
Gut Health and Microbiome
We are left with gut health and our microbiome. From my evolutionary perspectives opinion this could very well be the 1st stop on the list. If you can go back to the beginning of life. Life started out as single cell organisms that ate and reproduced. So a moving stomach if you will, eating, and reproduction/cell division of some form. Now picture this process with a few billion years of add-ons and modifications shaping and molding via genetic mutations and environmental pressures pushing the old model out, on the chance that the new model had a slight advantage in that new world. With this, came some partnerships. Millions of microorganisms that teamed up with us tagging along for the ride in a great symbiotic relationship. Some responsible for our ability to process our nutrition as well as protecting us from foreign invaders. Unfortunately our modern diet in the form of processed foods, grains, simple sugars and daries as well as antibiotics, a host of other environmental chemicals, and stress has disrupted this gut health and microbiome by killing off millions of our partners, It has also perforated our guts lining letting things into our bloodstream that would never have made it to other systems in our body’s causing auto immune issues and more.
“Let me just say, we do not walk alone. Our guts and our digestive systems are a very complex to say the least”…Jamie Caporosso
So there it is folks, Biology, Mother Nature, or God’s handy work at it’s best. IT IS NOT 1+1 = 2. this is biology at it’s absolute finest. It is a huge network of systems coming together through millions and millions of year of evolution. Hopefully a good combination of all those ideologies may help you rebuild your gut health, reset your insulin responses, and repair damage from a modern diet. So for now, that’s the best we can do with the information we have. When we discover more, I’ll do my best to see if it makes sense and share it all with you. For now, keep reading and doing your best to be informed.
and Remember….. Eat Like you Care About Yourself!
Jamie aka KetoDaddy
This information was pulled from years of studying and lots of books and documentaries. Most recently.
- Grain Brain 2013, and Brain Maker by David Perlmutter.
- Documentary The Gut: Our Second Brain
Please visit my YouTube channel for recorded seminars and my one stop shop KetoDaddy.com to help keep you supplied with all your keto needs.