When I heard from a dear friend that he wanted to go through gastric bypass surgery, because he couldn’t get his weight under control, my heart sank. I thought he’s heading into a lifetime of more illness and disease, just because he can’t control his carb intake. One wouldn’t think that losing part of their stomach could hurt that much when in all actuality, you’re looking at cutting one of your most important lifelines. That is, if you don’t want to be addicted to pharmaceuticals for the rest of your life. I’m beginning to wonder why this procedure would ever be recommended,
I wouldn’t be so concerned about this if one of the effects of this surgery didn’t involve loss of one of your most influential hormones, ghrelin. Post-surgical data show a reduction in the amount of ghrelin in the stomach of bypass surgery recipients. This one factor alone could severely limit your ability to fight off future illnesses and disease.
Your stomach doesn’t just hold food to be digested, it produces one of the most important hormones for your health, ghrelin. If you take away the source of this hormone, you’re taking away future health.
I touched on this in Carbs, The Payoff of Life Without Carbs, and it has to do with control of your hormones. If you let your hormones control you, you’re going to be subject to leptin’s influence and your hormones are going to follow their own path of least resistance. This is going to continue, to force you to feed them, more carbs.
However, if you’d rather control your own hormones, you’ll learn the value of ghrelin resistance. This will allow the ghrelin to build up in your system where it can perform its magic, the magic of building a bigger brain, boosting anti-oxidants.
The Importance of Ghrelin
Ghrelin is first and foremost a growth hormone, as well as a hunger hormone, but it also serves many other functions. These functions include, but are certainly not limited to, the following attributes (according to Wikipedia);
“Ghrelin promotes intestinal cell proliferation and inhibits apoptosis during inflammatory states and oxidative stress. It also suppresses pro-inflammatory mechanisms and augments anti-inflammatory mechanisms, thus creating a possibility of its therapeutic use in various gastrointestinal inflammatory conditions, including colitis, ischemia reperfusion injury, and sepsis. Animal models of colitis, ischemia reperfusion, and sepsis-related gut dysfunction have been shown to benefit from therapeutic doses of ghrelin. It has also been shown to have regenerative capacity and is beneficial in mucosal injury to the stomach.”
“Although the vast majority of neurons in the mammalianbrain are formed prenatally, parts of the adult brain (for example, the hippocampus) retain the ability to grow new neurons from neural stem cells, a process known as neurogenesis. Neurotrophins are chemicals that help to stimulate and control neurogenesis.”
Looking at the attributes above, Ghrelin not only supports anti-inflammatory mechanisms, but it’s this last attribute that sets it apart from all the other benefits that this diet provides, as it promotes neurotrophins in the brain which in turn help the brain to produce new cells. In other words, it makes the brain grow. That means that going hungry turns on factors in your brain that actually make it grow. BDNF is just one of these neurotrophins that I talk about on the MY Life Without Carbs page. There are a few others you can find out about at the previous link.
So Ghrelin not only tells when to eat, it also inhibits cell death, it helps control pain and disease by controlling anti-inflammatory mechanisms as well as encouraging our brain to grow by encouraging neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells. It’s this one factor that intrigues me the most. This means that I can grow new brain cells, something that I thought was lost 30 years ago after my severe closed head injury. I didn’t use to think that brain cells couldn’t grow back, when in all actuality, they’re growing all the time, through neurogenesis, (at least for those who want them to grow).
Ghrelin is the hormone of choice when it comes to controlling inflammation. Reducing the amount of it in the body will do little more than increase any expression of inflammation and that includes arthritis and pain, the worst expression of inflammation. Why would anyone want to increase their pain?
Ghrelin is such an important hormone in the body, I can’t understand why anyone would want less of it in their body. It protects the body from so much it’s a downright shame.
How to increase Ghrelin
This may indicate the healthiest benefit of being on a ketogenic diet, the ability to resist the influence of ghrelin on your urges to eat.
Building ghrelin in your body is not the easiest thing to do. It requires effort. There are several ways to build your ghrelin, some easier than others, but all effective.
For me, the easiest way was to exercise, but the exercise wasn’t getting me to my other goals. It was increasing my brain power, but it wasn’t helping me to lose weight. It wasn’t until I decided to give up carbs myself that I finally reached my weight goals and this turned out to be the healthiest manner in which I increase my brain power. This, to me, is evidence of the biggest difference between a carb diet and a keto diet.
It was when I went on the keto diet, my brain growth seemed to multiply because it was 23 months after my switch that I published this site. When you compare that to the length of time it took me to write my post about myself, the difference is astounding. I attribute that to lack of carbs in my body mucking things up.
The damage that carbs do to the body includes but is not limited to;
Bigger brain through brain growth (extra BDNF in the brain)
Anti-oxidant growth (extra Nrf2 to amp up anti-oxidants)
Larger expression of ghrelin’s benefits in the body
Weight maintenance is natural
Low to no body fat
No plaque in the blood
No heart disease
Less expression of a common cold
fewer mosquito bites
I used to get mosquito bites all the time. It seemed that mosquitos flocked to me just to get some of my blood. Now. I rarely get bitten. When I do get a mosquito bite, a seldom notice it, as it doesn’t itch as much as it used to. That is evidence to me, of a lack of willingness of my body to get inflamed, from a mosquito bite. How sweet it is.
Becoming ghrelin resistant is in my opinion, the biggest benefit of being on a ketogenic diet. This allows ghrelin to work more of its magic in your body.
When one balances the benefits versus the damage each diet inflicts on the body, it’s not hard to see the benefit of the keto diet over the carb diet.
When I hear of gastric bypass surgery now, I think, Where is the sense in this?
It’s amazing to think about what some people will unknowingly force themselves to endure, just for the vague perception of an easy path out of their dilemma, when all they have to do, is curb their carbs.
This is the best part of my journey, getting to share with you, all of my experiences since I first gave up this horrid food. My first impulse is to think, I can’t say enough about the benefits I’ve received and experienced from being on this ketogenic diet. But, I’m going to try to lay out as many of them as I can, explaining how it’s benefited me, and more importantly, how I can save money by allowing those benefits to continue, by remaining on my keto diet. This, to me, is the most important part, of why I’m doing this.
The first benefits I received, I hinted to in my last post, so I’ll list those “enlightenment feelings” that I first felt, here also. I call them enlightenment feelings, because of the weight they lifted off my shoulders when I suddenly realized that I had complete control of my weight. And because I had complete control of my weight, I had much better control of my health. It actually took about a month for the enlightenment to come. But once it came, I knew it, and I knew it firmly. It may have been the most liberating experience I’ve felt since I rode my motorcycle from coast to coast, border to border, and then some. But, that was 35 years ago before my severe closed head injury changed my life.
After spending 29 years gaining weight, from a relatively sedentary life, after living with hemiplegia for 29 years from the two strokes I had in 1984, after living with chronic pain for 20 years (pain bad enough it became nauseous at times), after more than twelve years of opioid medication to fight the pain, along with antidepressants, and a multitude of other drugs and supplements meant to counteract the side effects of the opioid medication (weight gain, constipation, dull senses, growing dumber each day, prostate enlargement and too may others to list here), after countless acupuncture sessions, after more nerve blocks than I ever should have had, after searching for any drug, any device – mechanical or electrical – every therapy, and even after researching all surgical options, I’d had enough. The opioids did nothing but make me fat, lazy and stupid, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I decided 2 years ago, that I was going to stop eating bread, and that was it. I was still going to keep eating other carbs, but I wasn’t going to eat bread or anything that had any type of “bread product” in it. I told my family that, and I don’t think they believed me. I really don’t think anyone in my family thought that I could re-arrange my lifestyle, to allow for this change in behavior. I call it a change in behavior because that’s what it actually is. It take’s a change in your behavior, to fully give up carbs. This change in behavior has been so beneficial for me, that I don’t know if I can explain all the benefits here, and still keep this post to less than 2000 words. But I’ll try.
You have to know this! The biggest benefit I received right off the bat (after about a month), was the weight loss I experienced, that I could not achieve, while I was eating carbs. I not only had lost the 10 lbs I was overweight, I lost another 10 lbs on top of that. I could do things, all of a sudden, that I couldn’t do since before my brain injury, 31 years prior. This actually brought about a new life in me. I’m not tired all the time like I use to be. Although I can (and do sometimes), work all day long on an empty stomach, I’m not hungry. Yes, I feel the hunger pangs, but they’re so easy to ignore, that after a few seconds they disappear, and I don’t feel them anymore. That, in my estimation, is the greatest gift this diet has given me. My ability to go hour after hour after hour after hour, sometimes up to 16 hours, if I need to, without eating and most importantly without running out of energy. What a blessing this diet has been for me. Thank you, Dr. Perlmutter. You’ll never believe how much money I save, by not going down the bread aisle at the grocery store, anymore, or the pasta aisle anymore. Staying out of the bakery has probably saved me the most money. I know it’s done more to save my life and preserve my health than it’s saved me in money, that I would have spent on groceries. The benefit it’s been for my health is truly unsurpassable, to say the least.
Let’s go through a few of these benefits that I’ve experienced starting approximately 23 months ago;
Weight lifted off my shoulders This was the feeling I first had when I realized that I was in full control of my weight and henceforth, my health. As I said before, this was the most liberating experience I’ve ever felt since my coast to coast motorcycle ride. What an exhilarating experience, I hadn’t felt that alive, like I said, in 35 years. All of my senses were growing keener, my capabilities were expanding at what felt like an exponential rate. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like shouting from the rooftops. I’m not the only one this has happened to. It happened to one of my best friends, who went on a keto diet to help him with his high PSA levels, failing kidney functions, deep vein thrombosis and the threat of cancer after having a kidney removed due to a tumor on it. His keto diet had allowed him to drop his medication list from 23 medications to 14, in the first 6 months. He’s since dropped his medication list down again to 8 medications. He tells me, he’s blowing his doctors away because none of them are familiar with the benefits of this diet. He’s teaching them.
More Energy is quite possibly the biggest benefit I’ve experienced. I honestly know what it’s like to run efficiently, on empty. This was a feeling that was completely foreign to me, prior to my transformation. I’ve never been able to keep going, like this before, on an empty stomach. And I do it day after day after day, never losing energy or stamina. My energy levels have risen to the extent, that I often work 18 hour days with few breaks and only one meal, that I nibble on throughout the day the day. I seldom have to stop just to eat. I only do so after being reminded, that I need to put something in my body, to keep it going. I sometimes get, strange feeling the hunger pangs without feeling hungry. I tell myself to embrace this feeling because when this happens, I’m setting my brain up for future growth. Yes, I said that right,
Brain growth. Studies have shown, that the fatter you are the smaller your brain is, and it only diminishes in size the fatter you grow. Studies have also shown that the thinner you are the larger your brain is, and often the exact opposite occurs, the thinner you are, the larger your brain is allowing you to enjoy the benefits of not only having a larger brain but being able to use it. This has to do with the production of BDNF. BDNF is what sets your brain up to allow it to grow, which you can find out more in Grain Brain. “Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, also known as BDNF, is a protein that, in humans, is encoded by the BDNFgene. BDNF is a member of the neurotrophin family of growth factors, which are related to the canonical Nerve Growth Factor. Neurotrophic factors are found in the brain and the periphery”, according to Wikipedia. “BDNF has also demonstrated to increase the body’s natural antioxidant defenses by boosting enzymes and molecules that are important in quenching excessive free radicals”, as reported by Dr. Perlmutter. As I mention directly below, the hungrier you can go, the more BDNF your body can produce, as calorie restriction increases the production of this brain growth protein/antioxidant booster. Not only calorie restriction enables its production, but exercise also activates the production of this protein, making exercise as important as a good keto diet, to allow the body, to build this protein up in your system. This is what, initially, allowed our hunter-gatherer ancestors, to succeed in the animal world, where other mammals couldn’t keep up with them, in their evolutionary cycle. By running after prey and from predators, their exercise worked to build up their brains and mental powers. This in return allowed modern man to evolve into what we’ve evolved into, a mammal intelligent enough to build the world we live in today and allows us to look into space for the future. I can see how this BDNF in my system, has allowed me to complete these posts in the time in which I’ve written them.
Build up of my immune system. As important as the BDNF, is to brain growth, it’s also an important antioxidant, which is what protects our cells from oxidative damage. Nrf2 is another antioxidant, important to cellular protection. Nrf2is as important to cellular protection as BDNF is to brain growth. Nrf2 is a basic leucine zipper (bZIP) protein that regulates the expression of antioxidant proteins that protect against oxidative damage triggered by injury and inflammation..Several drugs that stimulate the NFE2L2 pathway are being studied for the treatment of diseases that are caused by oxidative stress. “Not surprisingly, calorie restriction has been demonstrated in a variety of laboratory animals to induce Nrf2 activation”, said Dr. Perlmutter in his book Grain Brain, meaning the hungrier you can stay, the more you’ll build up this important antioxidant protein. And of course, having the ability to increase the amount of this antioxidant in your system, is only going to improve your life, by cutting down on the amount of time you present an illness or disease and that means fewer trips to your doctor. What more can you ask for? I don’t experience headaches anymore, I don’t experience colds or the flu as often as I did before, I just don’t get sick as much as I used to. Even the mucous in my sinuses has abated, not making me blow my nose as much as I used to. This alone has helped cut back on the sinus headaches to the point, to where I only need an Aleve for a headache about once every 2 or 3 months. This is something I could never experience while on my high carb diet. Living without as much illness and disease can save me countless dollars, that I would otherwise waste, just trying to either cure my ailments or even just live with the diseases that I would inevitably have if I were to remain on a carbohydrate diet. We all know how cheap it is, not to get sick,
Pain Control could be the next best thing that’s happened to me. My pain levels have continuously and steadily abated, from the high levels they were at when I was eating carbs. This reduction in pain has opened up, even more, doors for me, as it’s easier to exercise harder, giving me a greater benefit from my workouts, not only for my body but for my brain as well. being able to take advantage of a harder workout allows my body to build greater amounts of BDNF in my system, allowing my system to better regulate the oxidation to my cells that contribute to my pain by not allowing inflammation to infiltrate my body. The inflammation is caused, directly, by eating a high carbohydrate diet. Cut the Carbs Cut the Inflammation. Cut the medical expense. It’s that simple.
Stabilization of Emotions. This is the most important factor of this diet, as far as everyone who interacts with me on a daily basis knows, I now don’t lose my temper as often. I don’t get frustrated as often, I don’t have the mood swings that I used to have, from the fluctuations in my blood glucose. That’s something that only happens on a high carb diet. On low carb diets, they’re virtually non-existent. I often wish that this information had been known 31 years ago. I wonder if it had, would a better diet had enabled me, to speed my healing, 31 years ago? I knew, then, that whole grains were good for me, because it was professed everywhere I went. Even though a good portion of these studies were available of examination at that time, few doctors, specialists, or nutritionists knew of them, because of the suppression of the studies. Who suppressed them and why, is going to take up, probably, multiple posts, to completely untangle that quagmire. The fact remains, that I am much more even-tempered now, simply because my blood sugars don’t fluctuate because I have virtually no blood glucose in my system. My system runs on fat and ketones, because fat, is more than 200% more efficient than carbs. Is it any wonder, that you have to eat so many of them, to get just half the energy out of them? My body runs so much better on this “high octane” fuel, that I save money every time I don’t go out to eat, because I won’t eat what they want to feed me. I have to be very careful when I dine out, and you should too, because restaurants know the cycle that bread puts your through, how it makes you hungry just after you eat it, because of the fluctuations in your blood sugars. That’s why they’re happy to give you a bread basket, as soon as your seated. They’re often taken with the hostess as she seats you, because they know that those rolls, biscuits, bread, or any other of a myriad of sugar destabilizers, are going to make you order more when you waitress or waiter comes to take it. More than saving money from not eating at restaurants, I save money every time I go to the grocery store, which actually, I’m visiting much less these days (and that saves me even more money). But this point begs the question, who shelved these studies, so the medical community any even more importantly, the FDA, who structures our food guidelines, that tell us what’s healthy to eat and what’s not, couldn’t even look at the data? Why didn’t they deem this information that important? Could it have been the involvement of the crop seed companies, who sell their crop seed to farmers to grow it? Could it have been the grain industry? Could it have been the restaurant industry? Could it have been the bread industry? In all probability, it was all of them. Again this is something that I will have to address in another post. (It will probably take multiple posts.)
Liberation From Corporate Control This will probably be the most important aspect of this diet, in my life, going forward. The freedom I will be able to experience, because I’m not a slave to those pesky carbs, has more to do with corporate control than most of us want to realize. By controlling the amount of sugar they put in our diet, they can control our buying habits. Who hasn’t been addicted to chocolate? The reason they addict you to chocolate is, so you’ll buy more. They do it with chocolate, they do it with all candies, all breads, all pastas, all cereals, all forms of alcohol, even all juices and soft drinks, they want you addicted to this huge cash cow, because that’s the nature of the business they’re in. They make a consumable product, that’s so sweet and tasty, people everywhere will love it and buy it, and they don’t even have to put anything extra in it to make it addictive, because it already is, due to it’s massive sugar content. Again this gets into the concern of control, in these industries. What are their motives? Is their motivation little more than greed? Do they know, how they feeding the obesity epidemic, which feeds the diabetes epidemic, which feeds the dementia epidemic and also feeds the cancer epidemic, the cardio-vascular epidemic, the arthritis epidemic, the gastro-intestinal epidemic, the headache (migraine, sinus and stress) epidemic, and the Celiac disease that exists in the thousands of us? They obviously feed this food to their families, because they get just as sick as the rest of those who remain on a carb diet. This tells me that they don’t know what they’re forcing the world to live on and the consequences of living on it. I honestly think that all farmers, think that they are serving the world a purpose by growing this grain, for us. I honestly don’t believe that they know just how dangerous it really is. They can’t, and still grow it. So it must be, that they’re being lied to, to continue to grow it. After all this is what keep the money coming in.
Freedom From Illness and Disease I know I touched on this before, in point 4 when I talked about the tremendous boost my immune system, but I have to re-iterate how much benefit this one factor alone, has granted me. Not getting sick has to be the single best thing I can do for my body. It frees up so much time, that it’s not even funny. Not getting sick allows me to always be at the gym every day I need to go. This allows me to build up that BDNF, that’s so important in helping me to expand my mental capabilities. It also helps me to reinforce my auto-immune system, by building this same protein along with the rdf2 that also builds up my anti-oxidants. These two gems allow me to stay healthier, keeping me clear of the doctor’s office, except for routine wellness visits. The savings in money not spent is quite substantial. The fact of the matter is, that I already have too much wrong with me for anything else to go awry. I can’t afford to aggravate the problems I still have, the high blood pressure (even though I control it with my keto diet), chronic pain, hemiplegia, severe BPH (due to medications I was on for over 12 years), that all began with the severe closed head injury that I’ve learned to deal with, for 31 years. With all of these “pre-existing” conditions, left over from when I was on a carb diet, I can’t afford to acquire any more. The beauty is, I’m continuing to diminish my afflictions, instead of aggravating them, simply because of my MTC keto diet. One of the biggest improvements I had right off the bat, was the end to the acid indigestion, stomach cramps, and headaches. All of these were manifestations of the wheat I was eating. But they’ve been gone for so long now, that I forgot all about them, until 2 hours after I initially published this post. That’s why I had to add these last few lines. to this post. (That’s the pleasure of writing a blog, you get to add to it, any time you wish, after all, it is a blog).
No mucous My nose doesn’t get stuffed up anymore. It doesn’t even get congested unless of course, I let some wheat or grains into my diet the day before. I use to wake with a stuffed nose every day. Now I don’t. I used to get sinus headaches. Now, I don’t. I always had problems breathing through my congested sinuses. Now, I don’t. That means no sinus headaches, no congestion, no sniveling. And no, I don’t suffer colds anymore.
Less Sweat I sweat a lot less now than what I used to in the past. I think this is because I have much less fat on my body. My fat percentage is 16% which is in the excellent range for my age, 62. Because of this, I don’t experience the thirst that I used to when I was carrying all that fat.
I’ve tried to keep this chapter under 2000 words, but it looks like that’s not going to be possible, but a few more words to express the wonders that this diet has brought to my body, should be set forth here before I close out this edition of this series.
In my life, I’ve never had as much energy as what I do right now. I just got my blood work back earlier this week and after discussing my diet with my doctor, to make sure, everything I’m doing is safe and productive. All my blood tests have come back with results like I’ve never seen before. My high blood pressure is a thing of the past. My cholesterol levels, although being high (which is what I want), are better balanced than they’ve ever been in my entire life (high HDL, low LDL and VLDL). All of the panels requested, in my blood work, were as normal as they’ve ever been. My doctor said, after seeing my results from my blood work, ” whatever you’re doing, is good. Keep it up.
I still have high blood pressure because I’ve been diagnosed with it in the past, I’m just controlling it with my diet. How easy this control, is! When my blood pressure was checked the other afternoon around 3 PM (when your blood pressure is often the highest), it was 120/60, which is the benchmark of normal blood pressure. You just can’t get results this good on a carbohydrate diet. They’re only possible on a low carb diet. They’re even more possible on an MCT ketogenic diet like the one I’m currently on. If this kind of a diet could do this for me, with all the health problems that I’ve had, can you imagine what it could do for you? The only way you’ll know, is if you try it out. I can make you this guarantee, that you will experience most all of the same benefits, that I’ve experienced if you were to transform your diet into a high fat, low carb diet. Any way you look at it, it’s a win, win, win situation, for anybody who has the courage to accomplish it. One month is all you need to see results! Why don’t you, then, give it a try? Or are you still holding on the fallacy that you must eat carbs? If so, you need to see this.