KETO – FASTING – AND GETTING SICK
I encourage fasting for many reasons only one of which is based around the Ketogenic diet and Ketosis. I wrote this almost exactly 3 years ago when I once again found myself beginning to see what always turns out for me to be a disastrous binge eating season. Followed by broken dreams and unfulfilled new year’s resolutions. Been there? It sucks I know.
I had also found that many times I had entered into a new fad protocol (me trying to sound cool and not say fad diet), especially one that changed my macros and/or included intense exercise – I got sick and this inevitably stalled my progress.
Another thing I had done when I was looking into starvation and the immune system, was I reread a fascinating book on starvation and amazing public service. Dudes actually starved for the benefit of their fellow man! So let me take a rabbit trail before I thrill you with preventive immune system building.
Starvation Experimentation – Psychology
Ketogentic Diet how to guides cover the benefits of intermittent fasting very well so I won’ go onto this here. One of the multitudes of things I found of particular interest in this book “The Starvation Experiment” was a few excerpts on how starvation enhances our hunting abilities in addition to our general psychology.
This book covered a little known but true experiment done towards the end of World War II in the US, where researchers wanted to learn how to help people who had endured serious famine and starvation to recover. However, where to get the human subjects?
Every War, Military Intervention, or Conflict re-emerges a contingency of Conscientious Objectors (COs). Conscientious objectors are not unpatriotic, or apathetic (if they didn’t care they wouldn’t have the word conscientious in their title). So during and after World War II, a number of them (all men at that time), signed up and went through a selection process for the year-long project that would serve their country and others’ in a way that didn’t require the killing of other humans. Quite the contra-positive. It was to help the worn torn people emerge out of starvation and nutritional depletion.
These COs volunteered as human lab subjects. They would be systematically (and voluntarily) starved for a period of time. This to enable scientists to find out how best to help famine victims recover.
The Principal Investigator (PI) was Dr. Ancel Keys – he who invented the K Ration for military personnel (that later became Meals Ready to Eat/MREs). Two unusual facts about your author: I me Christopher Claunch
- As part of my multitude of entrepreneurial failures I have always wanted to develop a better MRE
- I want to be a human lab experiment one day if it can serve a high enough purpose say, curing type 2 diabetics
Keys was also going to be responsible later on for linking cholesterol with heart disease. I’m currently reading research papers to see if he was able to link insulin to this as well.
Funded by the U.S. Army and located in the basement of the University of Minnesota football stadium, 36 men were chosen and invited to make their new home in the dormitory set up. There, they would have to face a nearly constant battery of medical tests (along with psychological tests as well), and fulfill the expectation of walking at least 22 miles/week – all on the honor system of not eating off the official diet. (They could walk into town where there were restaurants etc. so the temptation was certainly there.) I find the psychological findings in this book to be more compelling for me than the physiological.
Such an experiment would not be allowed now as medical ethics have evolved, but back then, it was OK. This medical ethics causes me consternation, and is reminiscent of the AIDS epidemic where patients that had 60 days to live were given placebo.
The US knew that WWII would lead to widespread famine post-war. There was conveniently a group of healthy young men (all COs), who were willing to sign up for their country and their idealism. Another critical requirement for the project, there was available funding. So this eager to help group of young went to work; starving.
This was really quite a fascinating story (especially during the actual starvation stage). The subjects could eat during the starvation phase of the project, but it was extremely-controlled (calorie restricted) and menu (Macro Nutrient delivery). The average man lost 25% of his beginning body weight and the photos documenting this weight loss are dramatic. (Life magazine did a special article on the experiment towards the end when the men had lost most of their weight conceivably for shock value and of course to sell more magazines).
It was also intriguing to see how the lack of fuel affected the men, both physically and mentally. One man was booted out of the experiment for cheating and enjoying a little extra food (found out as he wasn’t losing weight at the same rate as the others). Everyone else stayed the course, although not without event.
Other results I noted (although I was looking for vision improvement), included hearing being more acute during starvation (perhaps a mechanism inherently provided by our miraculous human body; to improve our ability to hunt for food?). Others of particular interest. Their intellect was not being adversely affected and in some cases enhanced (although the subjects reported that they felt less smart when they were hungry).
As for the end results of the project, researchers learned how to effectively help famine victims recover. Previous knowledge was that the best way to re-introduce food to a starving person was through a stomach tube. Keys’ study showed that it was important just to give them calories, not a special complicated mix of proteins, carbs and fats. Food was what they needed. (This project also helped with treatment of those with eating disorders, as those have a very similar effect on the human body as this experiment did). I have parenthetically documented so many comments I think I could write a serious of hypothesis and dissertations on this. If the Harvard Medical School is looking to grant an armchair neuroscience PHD to someone, I am in. For those looking for the answers to why a High Fat, Mod Protein, Low Carb diet is healthy, read the book and prepare for some awesome science.
NEW YEAR’ RESOLUTIONS – STARTING A NEW DIET
When it comes to big changes it is important we understand nutrient delivery, timing, and our body’s response to these variables. I return from my rabbit trail…….
Glutamine and Keto
Glutamine peptides are sold as a nutritional supplement to improve muscle and soft tissue repair following exercise, injury or surgery. While glutamine is generally well-tolerated, glutamine peptides are more potent and may result in side effects. Consult with your physician prior to using a supplement containing glutamine peptides.
Bottom Line – when you deliver nutrients is as important as what you deliver. I suggest if you are going on a new program, especially one that radically different than the FDA recommends take your Glutamine. It may just keep you out of the doctor’s office.
L-Glutamine – Immune System
Glutamine is an amino acid or protein building block produced by the body. It serves a variety of functions in supporting the IMMUNE, nerve, and digestive systems. Glutamine occurs naturally in the body and is also found in many of the foods I normally consume, lentils and beans, but is generally low in the Ketogentic diet. You can get some if you are eating whole foods like the recommended poultry with skin, cottage or ricotta cheese, spinach, kale and cabbage. Red meats like wild game and Bison are further excellent sources of Glutamine. Along with the benefits, glutamine also has some side effects and I would not be doing you a quality service if I didn’t at least mention there are some.