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  1. #1
    Registered User lelionrouge's Avatar
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    Glucose vs. Ketones for brain energy and performance

    I have been on the Primal diet forum for a week now challenging some of their concepts. At the end of the day, I see it as a rehashed low carb diet.

    Something interesting came up today. Using glucose or ketones for performance...

    I found an interesting article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...-brain-ketones

    It would be great if some really experienced users could help me with this.

    So my question really is, if you are in a state of ketosis, using ketones for fuel, can you keep the same energy levels mentally/physically vs. glucose?

    My goals are to maybe lose about 10 lbs of fat, gain another 5 lbs in lean muscle, and have a positive mood and outlook mentally. Do you see any flaw in this if I had my body in ketosis or using ketones for energy instead of glucose? Is it arguably better to use ketones for fuel?
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  2. #2
    I'll Mod Til I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lelionrouge View Post
    I have been on the Primal diet forum for a week now challenging some of their concepts. At the end of the day, I see it as a rehashed low carb diet.

    Something interesting came up today. Using glucose or ketones for performance...

    I found an interesting article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...-brain-ketones

    It would be great if some really experienced users could help me with this.

    So my question really is, if you are in a state of ketosis, using ketones for fuel, can you keep the same energy levels mentally/physically vs. glucose?

    My goals are to maybe lose about 10 lbs of fat, gain another 5 lbs in lean muscle, and have a positive mood and outlook mentally. Do you see any flaw in this if I had my body in ketosis or using ketones for energy instead of glucose? Is it arguably better to use ketones for fuel?
    The only way for you to know how keto will affect you is to actually do it.


    Of course, it's your choice, but I see no reason to put yourself through excluding the body's primary energy source, along with missing out on all the micronutrients that complex carb sources provide. You can get the same result (reduction of body fat) by simply reducing your calorie intake.
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

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  3. #3
    Getting "toned" lVlaKaVeLi's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    The only way for you to know how keto will affect you is to actually do it.


    Of course, it's your choice, but I see no reason to put yourself through excluding the body's primary energy source, along with missing out on all the micronutrients that complex carb sources provide. You can get the same result (reduction of body fat) by simply reducing your calorie intake.
    Basically this^^
    Personally, I think keto is stupid.
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  4. #4
    Chasing cats since 1967 WonderPug's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lelionrouge View Post
    It would be great if some really experienced users could help me with this.

    So my question really is, if you are in a state of ketosis, using ketones for fuel, can you keep the same energy levels mentally/physically vs. glucose?
    For me, nutritional ketosis, compared to an isocaloric diet of a more traditional macronutrient mix, provides dramatically better health markers, reduced visceral fat, increased lean body mass, dramatically improved mental clarity and focus as well as enhanced performance (no bonking even with 2+ hour intensive lifting sessions in a overnight fasted state).

    That said, it took me north of six months to fully realize these benefits and certainly not everyone reacts as I did.

    In terms of objective indications of efficacy, for those with certain medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, there might be a meaningful advantage to nutritional ketosis.

    For health individuals who engage in vigorous exercise, it's likely a function of individual preference.

    For those inbetween, the jury is still out but there is some interesting research on the subject.

    More specifically, there have been 18 relatively recent RCT's comparing low carb to other diet protocol, with all such studies that I'm aware of showing at least some advantage for low carb protocols as follows:


    Shai I, et al. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med 2008;359(3);229–41.

    Gardner CD, et al. Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and learn Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women. The a to z Weight Loss Study: A Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2007;297:969–977.

    Brehm BJ, et al. A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2003;88:1617–1623.

    Samaha FF, et al. A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity. N Engl J Med 2003;348:2074–81.

    Sondike SB, et al. Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents. J Pediatr. 2003 Mar;142(3):253–8.

    Aude YW, et al. The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet vs a Diet Lower in Carbohydrates and Higher in Protein and Monounsaturated Fat. A Randomized Trial. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:2141–2146.

    Volek JS, et al. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women. Nutrition & Metabolism 2004, 1:13.

    Yancy WS Jr, et al. A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia. A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140:769–777.

    Nichols-Richardsson SM, et al. Perceived Hunger Is Lower and Weight Loss Is Greater in Overweight Premenopausal Women Consuming a Low-Carbohydrate/High- Protein vs High-Carbohydrate/Low-Fat Diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105:1433–1437.

    Krebs NF, et al. Efficacy and Safety of a High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Diet for Weight Loss in Severely Obese Adolescents. J Pediatr 2010;157:252-8.

    Summer SS, et al. Adiponectin Changes in Relation to the Macronutrient Composition of a Weight-Loss Diet. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Mar 31. [Epub ahead of print]

    Halyburton AK, et al. Low- and high-carbohydrate weight-loss diets have similar effects on mood but not cognitive performance. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:580–7.

    Dyson PA, et al. A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective in reducing body weight than healthy eating in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. Diabet Med. 2007 Dec;24(12):1430-5.

    Keogh JB, et al. Effects of weight loss from a very-low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial function and markers of cardiovascular disease risk in subjects with abdominal obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:567–76.

    Volek JS, et al. Carbohydrate Restriction has a More Favorable Impact on the Metabolic Syndrome than a Low Fat Diet. Lipids 2009;44:297–309.

    Partsalaki I, et al. Metabolic impact of a ketogenic diet compared to a hypocaloric diet in obese children and adolescents. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2012;25(7-8):697-704.

    Daly ME, et al. Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in Type 2 diabetes–a randomized controlled trial. Diabet Med. 2006 Jan;23(1):15–20.

    Westman EC, et al. The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low- glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr. Metab (Lond.)2008 Dec 19;5:36.
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  5. #5
    Registered User lelionrouge's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WonderPug View Post
    For me, nutritional ketosis, compared to an isocaloric diet of a more traditional macronutrient mix, provides dramatically better health markers, reduced visceral fat, increased lean body mass, dramatically improved mental clarity and focus as well as enhanced performance (no bonking even with 2+ hour intensive lifting sessions in a overnight fasted state).
    Interesting. Thanks for chiming in. My real decision making factor on this is mental clarity and focus. I don't want to be depressed if my body is using ketones. Ha.

    I might just give this a go tonight and tomorrow to see how I feel. Thanks again!
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  6. #6
    Chasing cats since 1967 WonderPug's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    Of course, it's your choice, but I see no reason to put yourself through excluding the body's primary energy source, along with missing out on all the micronutrients that complex carb sources provide.
    My diet is composed from a large amount of plant matter, mostly vegetables, often in excess of one kilogram per day, and yet I can remain within the bounds of nutritional ketosis.

    Thus, the diet, when rationally composed, is extremely nutrient dense.




    Originally Posted by lelionrouge View Post
    Interesting. Thanks for chiming in. My real decision making factor on this is mental clarity and focus. I don't want to be depressed if my body is using ketones. Ha.

    I might just give this a go tonight and tomorrow to see how I feel. Thanks again!
    It takes at least three to six weeks to adapt, so trying it for a day or two is a waste.

    For an excellent discussion of the underlying science, please see here.
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  7. #7
    I'll Mod Til I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WonderPug View Post
    It takes at least three to six weeks to adapt, so trying it for a day or two is a waste.
    ^^^^ This.

    The absolute minimum I've ever heard mentioned was two weeks. If you intend to see if it's for you or not, give it a fair trial.
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

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    The diet seems to work particularly well for those who have metabolic syndrome, especially if a conventional diet combined with intensive exercise fail to prevent (or reverse) the syndrome.
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    The Merciful alan aragon's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lelionrouge View Post
    I have been on the Primal diet forum for a week now challenging some of their concepts. At the end of the day, I see it as a rehashed low carb diet.

    Something interesting came up today. Using glucose or ketones for performance...

    I found an interesting article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...-brain-ketones

    It would be great if some really experienced users could help me with this.

    So my question really is, if you are in a state of ketosis, using ketones for fuel, can you keep the same energy levels mentally/physically vs. glucose?

    My goals are to maybe lose about 10 lbs of fat, gain another 5 lbs in lean muscle, and have a positive mood and outlook mentally. Do you see any flaw in this if I had my body in ketosis or using ketones for energy instead of glucose? Is it arguably better to use ketones for fuel?
    When adequate protein intake is matched between diets, there's nothing particularly superior about ketosis versus non-ketosis for the goal of improving body composition. As for how mood is affected, the current evidence comparing keto vs non-keto is equivocal, with mood tending to be better in non-keto conditions in the long-term (1 year or longer). Your personal experience in this respect counts most since the research evidence is mixed. PS - your suspicions about the Primal diet being somewhat hokey-pokey are correct.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by WonderPug View Post
    The diet seems to work particularly well for those who have metabolic syndrome, especially if a conventional diet combined with intensive exercise fail to prevent (or reverse) the syndrome.
    Without getting into an exhaustive review of my background and goals, I think this could work for me. Just wanted to make sure my brain functions properly, because I value my brain over my body and I would hate to be depressed, sluggish, cranky, etc. But it seems like people experience improved mental clarity when the brain is using ketones.
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  11. #11
    Registered User lelionrouge's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by alan aragon View Post
    PS - your suspicions about the Primal diet being somewhat hokey-pokey are correct.
    Yeah, the founder Mark Sisson is running an infomercial type operation, and the people who are following him are fanatical like you wouldn't believe. I'm starting to wonder if Mark Sisson is related to David Koresh.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by lelionrouge View Post
    Without getting into an exhaustive review of my background and goals, I think this could work for me. Just wanted to make sure my brain functions properly, because I value my brain over my body and I would hate to be depressed, sluggish, cranky, etc. But it seems like people experience improved mental clarity when the brain is using ketones.
    If you've been dissatisfied with the results of a more conventional diet, especially if that dissatisfaction is despite intensive exercise, it's worth trying nutritional ketosis for a three to six month trial to evaluate how you respond to the diet.

    It might be useful to get comprehensive blood work and body composition numbers beforehand, and at the 3 and 6 month marks, so you can evaluate objective markers of efficiency as well as the more subjective ones such as mental clarity and mood.
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    Sidenote for the OP - this admittedly poorly controlled diet showed that ketosis can provide neurocognitive benefit for older adults with early memory decline and increased risk for neurodegeneration: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21130529

    However, I'd like to reiterate that most of the low-carb versus conventional diet research that shows weight loss, body composition, metabolic, or clinical superiority of low-carb does not match protein intake between diets. The Low-carb diets almost always have higher protein, so it's not necessarily the carb restriction per se that imparts the benefits. This common methodological shortcoming was addressed recently, and indeed, the increased protein rather than the decreased carb intake was found to be the beneficial factor in weight loss/weight maintenance: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22935440
    Last edited by alan aragon; 08-24-2013 at 04:56 PM.
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    Originally Posted by WonderPug View Post
    If you've been dissatisfied with the results of a more conventional diet, especially if that dissatisfaction is despite intensive exercise, it's worth trying nutritional ketosis for a three to six month trial to evaluate how you respond to the diet.

    It might be useful to get comprehensive blood work and body composition numbers beforehand, and at the 3 and 6 month marks, so you can evaluate objective markers of efficiency as well as the more subjective ones such as mental clarity and mood.
    Hmm... To give you a quick overview of my background, I quit alcohol and cigarettes recently. I used to party alot, wine and cheeses, etc. I got fed up. Now I have a good diet and I'm at the gym 6-7 days a week. I lift heavy, and I walk up the hill 2.8km to the gym, and back unless it's raining.

    I was planning to wait a few months to see how my body reacts and morphs without alcohol... Maybe I will put this ketosis stuff on hold for a few months to see how I perform over the next few months.

    Maybe it's a misconception, I just feel like my mood and endurance won't be the same if I'm in a state of ketosis.

    I'm making some serious gains, I just need to be consistent for the rest of the year, hell, for the rest of life. Thanks again guys.
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  15. #15
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    A percentage of the population appears to respond better to conventional diets and a percentage of the population appears to respond better to ketogenic diets. The distribution is not clear, but it seems to be advisable to adjust diet based on your response.

    Starting with a conventional diet, assuming no relevant medical conditions, is a logical course of action, with a ketogenic diet used to combat either preexisting medical conditions and/or poor response to a conventional diet.

    In your case, why not try a conventional diet for several months, evaluate how you feel, and then adjust if needed?
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    Originally Posted by WonderPug View Post
    In your case, why not try a conventional diet for several months, evaluate how you feel, and then adjust if needed?
    I think that's what I'm going to do. Thanks man. I think alcohol/cigarettes and not being consistent with the gym before were my main issue actually.

    I was just on the primal forum this week trying to ascertain if those guys are on to something revolutionary... I think I can do more than ok with a conventional diet. My motivation level for training right now is through the roof!

    I had no idea what the difference was between the body using glucose or ketones until now. Txs again!
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  17. #17
    Chasing cats since 1967 WonderPug's Avatar
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    You're welcome.

    Good luck and just keep an open mind and be adaptive to how your body responds.

    Also, make sure you start with a good, proven resistance training program so you can get the most bang out of your gym efforts.
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    Gotta love the nutrition world and the scientific studies...

    Here's a study on glucose with an emphasis on superior cognitive performance: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/74/3/409.short
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  19. #19
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    Originally Posted by WonderPug View Post
    You're welcome.

    Good luck and just keep an open mind and be adaptive to how your body responds.

    Also, make sure you start with a good, proven resistance training program so you can get the most bang out of your gym efforts.
    ^This plus be careful of what primal forums can do to your nutritional IQ
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by alan aragon View Post
    ^This plus be careful of what primal forums can do to your nutritional IQ
    I caused a huge stir on there this week... Hahaha... To be honest I got the impression that the community is mostly women who lost 50-60-70 lbs or are trying to, the guys don't strike me as hardcore fitness enthusiasts... That's just my read, I could be wrong.
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  21. #21
    Chasing cats since 1967 WonderPug's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lelionrouge View Post
    I caused a huge stir on there this week... Hahaha... To be honest I got the impression that the community is mostly women who lost 50-60-70 lbs or are trying to, the guys don't strike me as hardcore fitness enthusiasts... That's just my read, I could be wrong.
    The demographics tend to be very different as these are self-selecting communities.
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    Originally Posted by lelionrouge View Post
    I caused a huge stir on there this week... Hahaha... To be honest I got the impression that the community is mostly women who lost 50-60-70 lbs or are trying to, the guys don't strike me as hardcore fitness enthusiasts... That's just my read, I could be wrong.
    In my observations of primal/paleo forums, the emotionally cherished beliefs take priority over the research evidence. Not the other way around, as the scientific mindset should be.
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  23. #23
    I'll Mod Til I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by alan aragon View Post
    ^This plus be careful of what primal forums can do to your nutritional IQ
    ^^^^ This.

    And by a country mile.







    Originally Posted by lelionrouge View Post
    I caused a huge stir on there this week... .
    That's a good thing. Who knows, maybe whatever you posted will get one of those poor saps to start looking at actual science rather than some 'guru' spouting nonsense.







    Also, Sisson = ganef. Wanted to put that in here in case a Google search of his name happens to bring up this thread.
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

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  24. #24
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    Originally Posted by alan aragon View Post
    In my observations of primal/paleo forums, the emotionally cherished beliefs take priority over the research evidence. Not the other way around, as the scientific mindset should be.
    I tried to convince them that it's simply a rehashed atkins diet with a caveman as the marketing theme and a dude wearing vibram fivefingers. I'm glad I did my own research actually... I created a 30 page forum post and I was being bashed constantly. It was fun...

    I found a pretty interesting article on glucose and caffeine while I was googling:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20521321

    Gatorade + 200mg caffeine pill could be a cost effective energy booster...

    I'm going to side with glucose for now. I just have a feeling my mood would be off if I went into ketosis.
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  25. #25
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    Also, Sisson = ganef. Wanted to put that in here in case a Google search of his name happens to bring up this thread.
    Hahahahahaha... You made me laugh! :-)
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  26. #26
    I'll Mod Til I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lelionrouge View Post
    Hahahahahaha... You made me laugh! :-)
    There can be humor in the hard truth sometimes.







    This sport, as well as the 'civilian' population simply looking for improved health, is fraught with scammers, pitchmen, and snake oil purveyors who think nothing of cheating people out of their hard-earned money under the guise of "good health" and/or "fast muscle gains." When they show up in this forum, they're going to get exposed for what they are.
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

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  27. #27
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    [QUOTE=ironwill2008;1123628183]There can be humor in the hard truth sometimes.

    Man, I gotta tell you from my experience on the forum there this week, Mark Sisson is treated like a god. Seriously. It's mind boggling....
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