The Science of Low-carb/Ketogenic Diets and Weight Loss

​Summary:

  • Low carb/ketogenic diets cause weight-loss; prevention/reversal of chronic disease and premature ageing.
  • The mechanism by which this is effected mimics the mechanism by which dietary sugar reduction reduces tooth decay.
    A reduction of dietary carbohydrates and sugars corrects the microbial environment in the intestine, similarly to in the mouth and this corrects various pathways to lead to the correction of health and body composition.   
  • This is the new scientific understanding of the primary mechanism behind low carb/ketogenic diets
  • Over-growths of bacteria and other 'western'  lifestyle  factors lead to weight gain and poor metabolic health by dysregulating the AMPK  signals in the hypothalamus in the brain. 
  • AMPK signalling in the hypothalamus in the brain is the ultimate central regulator of body weight, since it controls the appetite and fat burning.
  • AMPK signalling in the hypothalamus is also the central regulator of the healthiness of the function of every system in the body. 
    It therefore plays a crucial role in the progression of almost any disease or disorder associated with ageing and metabolic health. 
  • Correcting AMPK signalling in the hypothalamus is paramount if we are to achieve optimal health and sustainably achieve a more optimal body composition. 
  • Diet and lifestyle changes are the best strategies we have for optimising AMPK signalling in the hypothalamus by modulating the bile signals which have been found to control AMPK  signalling. 

How The Low Carb/Ketogenic Diet Improve AMPK Signalling in The Hypothalamus to Overcome The Vicious Cycles Which Make Us Fat and Keep Us Fat.

First I would like you to consider the gastric- bypass procedure. 
This is the most powerful strategy we currently  have available to us for the reversal of obesity and associated health disorders.

People who under go this procedure are able to lose massive amounts of weight and keep it off. They don't suffer the large rebound weight gain which the typical dieter is prone to.
They are able to do this without the gnawing appetite, food cravings and discomfort which dieters usually have to suffer in their quest to achieve a lower body weight. 
The gastric bypass procedure is somehow able to overcome the various vicious cycles which manifest during the onset of health  dysregulation.
This procedure restores optimal AMPK signals in the hypothalamus to normalise the appetite and lose excess body fat and reverse to a great extent many of the disorders which accompany obesity.  
It is even able to overcome the problem of low leptin levels which occurs when we lose body fat, meaning that the gastric bypass patient is able to keep the weight off, rather than suffering a progressively increasing appetite as more body fat (and leptin levels) is lost. 

How is The Gastric Bypass Able To Overcome These Vicious Cycles and a Depletion of Leptin During Weight-Loss? 

The answer is a powerful signal from the intestine, which is activated by gastric bypass.

The signal is called intestinal gluconeogenesis (IGN).

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This intestinal signal  powerfully optimises AMPK signalling in the hypothalamus.
It has the same enhancing effect on the hypothalamus as leptin.

In the physiological case of weight loss, where we have a reduced leptin level and in the physiological case of obesity, where we have leptin resistance in the brain; this powerful IGN signal is able to compensate for failing leptin signals - as it has the same boosting effect on the brain.

The IGN signal is able to RESCUE the situation, by replacing or compensating for the fact that we have leptin deficiency or leptin-resistance.

How Does the Gastric Bypass Activate This Important Corrective Signal?

The gastric bypass increases the IGN signal by improving bile acid signalling. 

Healthy bile acid signalling activates the IGN signal. 

It improves bile acid signalling because it removes the terrain of the small intestine, bringing the bile acids directly to the bile acid receptors, where they can activate the IGN signal. 

Why is the journey along the small intestine problematic for bile acid signalling?

The small intestine is home to trillions of bacteria.

When these bacteria grow out of control, they 'damage' the bile acids passing through the small intestine.

When the bile acids get 'damaged' by the bacteria, they do not adequately activate the right bile acid receptors and good signalling to the hypothalamus becomes compromised, resulting in increased appetite, poor metabolic health and weight gain. 

The issue is not about having a LACK of good bacteria, it is about having TOO MUCH of the wrong types of bacteria.

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The Gastric bypass prevents damage to the bile acids by removing the location where the bacteria 'damage' the bile (the small intestine).

This is great for those who are able to get this procedure, but it does come with risks and it is not an available possibility for most.
So what about the rest of us?

How to Mimic The Gastric Bypass With Diet 

The overweight individual, with failing hypothalamic AMPK signals has very poor immune  control over the bacteria in the intestine.

We need to somehow reduce the levels of bile-'damaging' bacteria in the intestine, in the absence of gastric bypass procedure (which does this by surgically removing the small intestine).

We can reduce the number of bacteria in the small intestine, by ‘STARVING’ them out, with a low carb/ketogenic diet.

We have to deprive bacteria  of their favourite foods; sugars and carbohydrates. ​

Carbohydrates are broken down to glucose in the intestine and provide food for the proliferation of bacteria.

A low-carb diet starves the bacteria to reduce the appetite, beat food cravings and lead to weight loss

By starving out the excess bacteria,  bacterial damage of  the bile acids is reduced, bile acid signalling is improved and the IGN - hypothalamic AMPK signalling axis is optimised. ​

Sugar and refined carbohydrates can create a problem even for those with a healthy functioning hypothalamus.
Because these types of carbohydrates are broken down rapidly, they provide a readily available source of sugar for the growth of bacteria.

This fast flourishing of bacteria can outstrip the capacity of even a healthy innate immune system to control them.

A low-carb diet starves the bacteria to reduce the appetite, beat food cravings to lead to weight loss

The overgrowth of bacteria leads to increased bile acid damage, a reduction in the IGN signal and a failure of hypothalamic AMPK signalling.

This is part of the process by which hypothalamic dysfunction is initiated.

Overeating sugary and refined carbohydrates is one of the major dietary problems which initiates failing health and body composition.

However, for those who have already developed failing hypothalamic AMPK (the over-weight and the weight-reduced), the innate immune system is  functioning on low and  this reduces the 'tolerance' for even healthier types of carbohydrates. 
This is because they are less able to control the bacteria which proliferate in response to dietary carbohydrates, even the 'healthier', slower digesting ones. 

The over-weight and the 'weight- reduced' ​have low tolerance for even healthy carbohydrates, since they have a less effective immune system to control  the bacteria which grow in response to carbohydrates. 

This means that those who have not yet developed weight or health problems would be wise to limit sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, to avoid the onset of hypothalamic AMPK failure and all the healthproblems which ensue from that. 

However, those who have already developed AMPK failure (through poor diet choices and lack of exercise) and the consequent immune failure; will find that they have to either adopt a very low-fat diet (to reduce bile production) or adopt a very low carb/ketogenic diet to compensate for the loss of  immune control over the bile-'damaging' intestinal bacteria. 

Low carb/ketogenic diets are the most powerful tools we have available to us , in the absence of  gastric-bypass,  to reduce levels of bacteria, improve bile acid signalling, activate IGN and optimise AMPK signalling throughout the brain and body.

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