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Did You Know Fat Is Brain Fuel?


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Low-carb, high-fat menu plans have been criticized in the past by a false belief that the diet would raise cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease because of the high fat content. But, times are changing and so are the beliefs that fat is a good source of fuel for the brain. Using a ketogenic diet in patients with epilepsy, usually allows children and adults to take less anti-epileptic drugs, while remaining seizure-free. Nutritional ketosis is a healthy state in which your body burns fat as its primary fuel rather than glucose. Mounting research indicates nutritional ketosis may very well be the answer to a long list of health problems, starting with obesity.

In a Western diet, the sugar found in your blood (glucose) is the brain's primary source of fuel. Although your muscles can directly use the fat you consume for energy, the brain cannot. However, the brain can use ketones that are produced by the liver when glucose and insulin levels are low (such as during a night's sleep). The ketogenic diet involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat to put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis results in a steady flow of ketones to fuel the brain and can result in improved focus and concentration.

The fastest way to induce ketosis naturally is by fasting, but it is not possible to fast forever. But, when carbs are eliminated or minimized, the ketones produced can provide up to 70% of the brain's energy needs. Although most of your brain can utilize ketones, there are portions that do require glucose to function properly. Some of the needed glucose can come from the small amount of carbs in a low-carb diet. The rest of the glucose comes from a process called gluconeogenesis. Again, your body relies on your liver to make new glucose from amino acids and stored fat. Thanks to gluconeogenesis, the portions of the brain that need glucose can receive a steady supply, even when your carb intake is very low. 

To learn more about the health advantages of eating real foods and following a low-carb menu plan, contact the Metabolic Research Center nearest you. We offer a one-on-one consultation to discuss your body's specific needs for losing weight and restoring your health.

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