A ketogenic diet — which is very low in net carbohydrates and high in healthy fats — is key for boosting mitochondrial function. Healthy fats also play an important role in maintaining your body's electrical system. When your body is able to burn fat for fuel, your liver creates water-soluble fats called ketones that burn far more efficiently than carbs, thereby creating fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals. Ketones also decrease inflammation, improve glucose metabolism and aid the building of muscle mass. The benefits of a cyclical ketogenic diet are detailed in my latest bestselling book, "Fat for Fuel." While the book was peer-reviewed by over a dozen health experts and scientists, a new large-scale international study (known as the international Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology, or PURE, study) adds further weight to the premise that high intakes of healthy fats — especially saturated fats — boost health and longevity.
The idea that a low-fat diet is the answer if you struggle with weight gain and/or have risk factors for heart disease is a persistent one. For the past 50 years, obesity and heart disease have steadily risen. The question is why? Are dietary fats really to blame? And if they are, which fats gave rise to these problems? It's unfortunate, but researchers have frequently failed to take into account the fact that not all fats are created equal. Some do harm, while others are vitally important for optimal health. Even more tragic, harmful and beneficial fats have been confused, leading to a situation where people are encouraged to eat the unhealthy ones and avoid the beneficial ones. In more recent years, a number of scientists have stepped forward to promote a healthier view of dietary fats. But trying to change public policy is a difficult task that often takes one or more decades.
In 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. Most experts consider him to be the greatest biochemist of the 20th century. His lab staff also included Hans Krebs, Ph.D., after whom the Krebs cycle was named. The Krebs cycle refers to the oxidative reduction pathways that occur in the mitochondria. So just how does the metabolic inflexibility of cancer cells differ from healthy cells? A cell can produce energy in two ways: aerobically, in the mitochondria, or anaerobically, in the cytoplasm, the latter of which generates lactic acid — a toxic byproduct. Warburg discovered that in the presence of oxygen, cancer cells overproduce lactic acid. This is known as The Warburg Effect. Mitochondrial energy production is far more efficient, capable of generating 18 times more energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) than anaerobic energy generation. Warburg concluded that the prime cause of cancer was the reversion of energy production from aerobic energy generation to a more primitive form of energy production, anaerobic fermentation. To reverse cancer, he believed you had to disrupt the energy production cycle that is feeding the tumor, and that by reverting back to aerobic energy metabolism you could effectively "starve" it into remission. Although he was never able to conclusively prove it, he maintained this view until his death in 1970. One of his goals in life was to discover the cure for cancer. Sadly, as so typically happens in science, his theories were never accepted by conventional science despite his academic pedigree — until now. The New York Times recently published a long, detailed article about the history of modern cancer research, including Warburg's theories on cancer, which are now becoming more widely accepted.
Governments here and abroad have been cautioning the public for decades on the dangers of high fat diets. Their claims based on "their science" concluded that it's best to avoid fat because of its extra calories - and saturated fats raise the risk of heart disease. You'll still see this on most food pyramids regulated by government policy on diet and nutrition. However, just as mandated healthcare policies fail at the federal level, so do those related to nutrition. This low-fat mantra has been questioned for years by clinicians and nutritional scientists - not least because it has failed to halt the obesity epidemic. The fact is, contrary to official advice by our diet dictocrats, high-fat diets lower blood sugar, improve blood lipids, and reduce obesity.