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Your brain on Keto | T nation

I hate the Patriots and Keto Sucks

Dieters are a kind of football fan. Think of Patriots fans. It is popular to love the Pats these days because they have won. They are in the limelight and everyone jumped on the bandwagon. And these bandwagon fans can be unbearable.

But the true Pats fans, those who have loved them since childhood – back when they suck – are not vile. They are very different from the ones they love now because it's a hip thing. And because of these newer fans, I hate the patriots – even though I'm not used to that.

Keto now has it in the limelight. Many people have put themselves on the train and have become super fans, even if low carb diets have long been on the market. I do not really hate the keto diet. It has some advantages. But it is the behavior of the Keto cultists that annoys me and somehow makes me "hate".

In other words, I do not like the patriots the way I do not like the keto diet. But I'm objective enough to realize that both are really damn good.

Keto does not suck. It brings a lot on the table. Although I would not say that this is the best diet, for some people it can feel as if. The problem is that those who feel great about keto think that it is the universal diet everyone should get involved with. They make it their personal mission to recruit others. Not unlike vegans, intermittent Fastern, Paleoesser and macrocounters.

The problem is that not everyone on Keto feels good or achieves good results. Why do Keto fanatics believe that they will do that? Because of what it does for them. Consider this.


GABA, glutamate, and keto

Think of keto not just as a fat loss agent. In some people, it can reduce anxiety and mood swings, increase well-being and improve sleep. As? By increasing the conversion of the neurotransmitter glutamate into GABA, another neurotransmitter.

Why does one feel better through this transformation? Consider the symptoms of high levels of glutamate. A person who has high levels of glutamate may report:

  • Insomnia (excessive arousal)
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Mood swings
  • Social anxiety
  • Slightly addictive
  • Difficult for yourself)

Keto lowers glutamate and increases GABA. We'll talk about how it works, but let's look at the symptoms of low GABA. A person who does not have enough GABA might see:

  • Stress and social anxiety
  • Tendency to high muscle tension
  • Insomnia and rethinking at night
  • Early riser (may wake up at 3am and can not falling asleep again)
  • Taking everything personally
  • Susceptible to chronic pain and headache
  • Frequent urination
  • Relaxing during hard times
  • Slightly frustrated
  • Hypersensitivity to noises
  • More Prone to tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vulnerable to irrational phobias
  • Unorganized
  • More risk for bulimic episodes

You can see how someone with high glutamate and low GABA would not feel great. Since glutamate is converted to GABA, high levels of glutamate usually result in low levels of GABA. In such cases, the problem is the bad conversion.

So how exactly is the keto diet to be included in all this?

Ketones enhance the action of the glutamate decarboxylase enzyme (GAD), which is responsible for the conversion of glutamate into GABA. In other words, if you are in a ketosis, lower glutamate and increase GABA.

If you have high levels of glutamate or low levels of GABA brain chemistry, you probably feel better when you switch to keto. But not everyone will.

I understand what happens. If you have felt really good afterwards, it is possible that you felt bad for a long time (often not even conscious because you got used to it), and suddenly you feel like a new person.

What works like a miracle is simply an increase in GABA and a decrease in glutamate. They bring your brain back to what it should have been all the time. But compared to your previous state, it feels like a veil has been lifted from your eyes. If you have this kind of experience, you can easily become the Keto evangelist.

But here's the thing: Some people will have the opposite reaction. Everything depends on your brain chemistry.

  Bacon Frown

Why Keto sucks (for some)

In the brain, there are two main inhibitory neurotransmitters: GABA and serotonin. Both calm the brain, reduce anxiety and allow you to relax and sleep better. While keto may boost GABA, it will lower serotonin.

And unlike the person we talked about earlier (with low levels of GABA and normal-high levels of serotonin), keto will make you feel like a low serotonin crap. It increases anxiety, but does not diminish it and makes it difficult for you to turn off your brain. This also leads to chronically elevated cortisol levels.

Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that strengthens your brain, is tyrosine, another amino acid.

Depending on what you eat, one of these amino acids is preferred for transport over the other. If you eat carbohydrates and protein, you prefer tryptophan (which increases serotonin production), and if you eat protein and fats, you prefer tyrosine (which produces more dopamine and less serotonin).

In a keto diet you will be producing more dopamine but much less serotonin. People who naturally produce a lot of serotonin do not have any problems, but those who do not do so will become more anxious, no longer eager for new things, and may have trouble concentrating and sleeping.

That's the paradox of the keto diet: it can be a great anti-anxiety diet for some, but the worst possible anxiety diet for others.

To summarize:

  • Keto is ideal for people with low GABA and normal to high serotonin levels.
  • Keto is NOT suitable for people with low serotonin levels.

Strengthening the Brain

If you've read the best damn diet for natural lifters, you've seen that in most people, I wanted to avoid carbohydrates in meals before training. The first carbohydrates of the day would be like the Plazma ™ the training drink.

This strategy promotes the production of dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline is made from dopamine), which gives you more energy and drive better mood. Basically, dopamine and adrenaline are the best neurotransmitters to boost your brain.

When your brain shoots faster, you think faster, react faster, build more mental connections, your muscles contract more, you are more coordinated, etc. 19659003] You could argue that taking a keto diet is the power can improve by increasing dopamine and adrenaline, which fires your brain on all cylinders. In some cases this might be true. But not at all.

What if you are someone with an overactive nervous system? It always shoots at all cylinders. Rethinking, over-analyzing, being afraid of taking risks, not wanting to leave your routine, you can not turn off your brain so you can not fall asleep, and your muscles get tense.

For this person, the increase in dopamine and adrenaline becomes even worse. At some point, you want to turn off your brain for the night. It's cool to be in combat or flight mode during the day, but you need to be in rest and recovery mode to relax and recharge for the next day.

Carbohydrates are useful for this. They allow the calming of the brain either by increasing the serotonin level or by reducing cortisol.


The Readiness Hormones

As a serious lifter, we all know about cortisol, especially because we regard it as muscle wasting hormone. Their function, however, is not to initiate the self-destruct sequence in your muscles. It has many very real and important roles.

It is often referred to as a stress hormone, but I prefer to call it a "standby hormone". It puts your body in the best physical and mental condition to fight a tiger or walk in front of it. Its main functions are:

  1. increase in alertness and concentration by increasing the conversion of norepinephrine into epinephrine
  2. Increase of heart rate and cardiac contraction strength (increase of blood flow) by the same mechanism
  3. Mobilization of stored energy (glucose, fatty acids and amino acids )
  4. Inhibition of the immune system (to have more resources available for the other systems)
  5. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level (increasing the value when lowering)

When you put your brain on the back burner In combat-or-flight Mode, in which the autonomic nervous system remains in sympathetic mode, you have a higher cortisol level, since cortisol is required for the conversion of norepinephrine into epinephrine.

Also, with a keto diet Blood sugar can easily fall too low, which also increases cortisol levels, especially if you tend to overproduce it.

This is one of the drawbacks of the keto diet: If you feel hard to calm the brai n down it could make matters worse. If you tend to overproduce cortisol, the problem is probably accentuated.

There are benefits to low carbohydrate foods or more specifically to low carbohydrate meals. Therefore, I prefer to have low carbs all day long when I have to fire my nervous system fast. But adding carbohydrates, if you need to calm the brain after exercise, and in the evening also offers many benefits.

But when it comes to the brain, be careful when recommending a keto diet for everyone. The truth is, it does not suit everyone and will lead to different experiences, depending on your brain chemistry and hormone levels.

Keto is more like Dan Marino, not Tom Brady

Dan Marino was an amazing quarterback. He could be devastating against some teams. He has done many things better than any other QB of his time. But he had a limited skill that made him average compared to some teams.

Keto is the same way: it offers some great benefits and under certain circumstances, it may be the best choice. So if you're one of those people who respond well, spreading the word can be tempting.

For these people, it can be more effective than other diets when it comes to fat loss. Not because carbohydrate cutting is magical, but because the keto diet in some people reduces cravings and makes it easier to get into a calorie deficit and stay there.

This is especially true for people with high glutamate and low GABA. Go back to the list of features of people with high levels of glutamate and low GABA, and two will stand out:

  • Slightly addictive (high glutamate)
  • More risk for bulimic episodes (low GABA)

Glutamate is the emotional enhancer ; it increases the reaction to something, to someone or to an event. If you love a particular food, the higher level of glutamate increases the luster response. As a result, you can become more addicted to food, and you demand a lot more after a diet.

Lowering glutamate can reduce these types of cravings. If you increase the GABA value, you reduce the desire for restlessness.

By increasing dopamine and adrenaline, keto can also dull hunger. When your autonomic nervous system is in sympathetic mode, your appetite for food decreases. Adrenaline and dopamine are what puts you in this mode. So if you're busy, you might say you "forgot to eat", but in fact you were not even hungry.

And finally, the fats saturate. Fat takes longer to digest and does not lead to blood sugar fluctuations. This also reduces hunger. For many, a keto diet makes it easier to eat fewer calories. But do not make a mistake, you will lose fat just because you are consuming less total calories.

While it's a great way to fight hunger in some people, it makes it worse for others. Those who have low serotonin levels will require carbohydrates if they go keto. This is her brain, which forces her to consume foods that help raise serotonin levels. The concept of comfort foods may be more accurate than people think.

Keto may be fantastic for you, but very annoying for someone. It remains an inferior option for maximum muscle growth and will not be the best fat loss diet for everyone. So do not be the guy who's trying to get everyone to believe the same thing he does. Because in truth, not everything works for everyone.

If you're a keto fanatic, try to be more objective. I hate Tom Brady, but I can objectively say that he is the GOAT for what he does. As you can tell, keto is not optimal for muscle growth and does not work for everyone. Being objective does not make it less effective for you. And honestly, people will be willing to listen to you.

The only ones who like to preach about how great keto is are other keto apostles. And they do not have to be convinced.

Should you go keto?

Keto – What science actually says

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