Keto Myths

Keto: Debunking Common Myths

Keto Myths

“There’s only one goal for this talk, and that’s to arm you to answer any question about keto or ketogenic and low-carb nutrition approaches,” Jim McCarter said during a presentation at a CrossFit Health event on Oct. 13, 2019.

McCarter, MD and PhD, is an expert on the ketogenic diet, particularly its effectiveness in treating and reversing Type 2 diabetes (T2D). His personal journey with ketosis began in 2012 after he began researching the health-related effects of corn syrup and sugar. His research led him to Gary Taubes’ book, The Case Against Sugar, and the discovery of several misconceptions he had carried “dating back to medical school.”

During his talk, McCarter focuses on correcting some misconceptions about nutrition and metabolic health, particularly about nutritional ketosis. He notes several benefits of ketosis, explaining that ketones provide an alternative form of energy to glucose in individuals with insulin resistance (ketones provide about 60% of the brain’s energy during fasting). Ketosis also lowers insulin levels, which improves insulin sensitivity, and ketones provide a signal for the body to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

McCarter then highlights how clinical research has debunked 40 common myths about the ketogenic diet. As the former Head of Research for Virta, a nationwide telemedicine provider and full-stack technology company focusing on the reversal of T2D, much of the data he uses comes from the Virta-Indiana University Health (Virta-IUH) clinical trial.

One of the prevailing myths about diet is that it is unsustainable. McCarter claims this is false, observing that of the 465 participants in the Virta-IUH trial, 74% were able to maintain participation, even with extensive tracking demands. Most agreed to extend their participation to five years, he adds.

For those interested in beginning the ketogenic diet, or those following the diet who want to be equipped with data to defend the choice, McCarter explains where to go to find information debunking each of the myths.

After explaining how clinical studies have debunked each of these myths, McCarter concludes his talk by addressing the doctors in the audience: “Be informed. Talk with your patients. Debunk myths meant to cause fear … . Let patients know they have a choice to reverse diabetes.”

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