It's trendy to go low-carb these days, even no carb. And, yes, this can lead to quick weight loss. But ditching carbs is tough to do over the long haul. For starters, you're swimming upstream. On average, adults in the U.S. get about 50 percent of their daily calories from carbohydrates. And, if you truly cut out all carbs, you'll have to give up fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans — which are the building blocks of a healthy diet, as previously noted. Here Franziska Spritzler reflects on how low carb and ketogenic diets boost brain health, medically reviewed by Amy Richter, RD:
“Low carb and ketogenic diets have many health benefits.
For example, it’s well known that they can lead to weight loss and help manage diabetes. However, they’re also beneficial for certain brain disorders.
This article explores how low carb and ketogenic diets affect the brain.
What are low carb and ketogenic diets?
Although there’s a lot of overlap between low carb and ketogenic diets, there are also a few important differences.
Low carb diet:
- Carb intakes can vary from 25–150 grams per day.
- Protein is usually not restricted.
- Ketones may or may not rise to high levels in the blood. Ketones are molecules that can partly replace carbs as an energy source for the brain.
- Carb intake is limited to 50 grams or fewer per day.
- Protein is often restricted.
- A major goal is to increase ketone blood levels.
On a standard low carb diet, the brain will still largely depend on glucose, the sugar found in your blood, for fuel. However, the brain may burn more ketones than on a regular diet.
On a ketogenic diet, the brain is mainly fueled by ketones. The liver produces ketones when carb intake is very low.
How low carb and ketogenic diets supply energy for the brain
Low carb diets provide your brain with energy via processes called ketogenesis and gluconeogenesis.
Glucose is usually the brain’s main fuel. Your brain, unlike your muscles, can’t use fat as a fuel source.
However, the brain can use ketones. When glucose and insulin levels are low, your liver produces ketones from fatty acids.
Ketones are actually produced in small amounts whenever you go for many hours without eating, such as after a full night’s sleep.
However, the liver increases its production of ketones even more during fasting or when carb intake falls below 50 grams per day (2Trusted Source).
When carbs are eliminated or minimized, ketones can provide up to 75% of the brain’s energy needs (3).
Although most of the brain can use ketones, there are portions that require glucose to function. On a very low carb diet, some of this glucose can be supplied by the small amount of carbs consumed.
The rest comes from a process in your body called gluconeogenesis, which means “making new glucose.” In this process, the liver creates glucose for the brain to use. The liver makes the glucose using amino acids, the building blocks of protein (4Trusted Source).
The liver can also make glucose from glycerol. Glycerol is the backbone that links fatty acids together in triglycerides, the body’s storage form of fat.
Thanks to gluconeogenesis, the portions of the brain that need glucose get a steady supply, even when your carb intake is very low.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/low-carb-ketogenic-diet-brain#fuel-for-your-brain
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