There are many out in keto land that tend to think I am off my rocker with my advice to eat full calories and 3 meals a day so as not to ruin your metabolism. That is fine. Let them think what they like. Those that follow my advice and see the results are all I need to be satisfied at the end of the day that I am doing what is right. From time to time however it is nice to find out that my ideas have been thought by others and even tested. As far back as 1953 or earlier there were people with Common Sense.
Alfred Pennington was one of those rare people that had too much Common Sense to believe that weight was just a matter of calories in and calories out and if you ate less and moved more that all problems would go away. He saw the failure of calorie restricted diets even then. He watched as people starved themselves and rarely achieved any measure of success. It is super awesome to know that I had a kindred spirit more than 65 years ago. He bravely decided to fly into the storm that ensues when you challenge the CICOpaths.
He had found that, in those that restrict calories to reduce weight, a reduction of basal metabolic rate happens. Other researchers found that this happened as well but deemed it insignificant because it simply corresponded with reduction in weight. Pennington disagreed. He saw the value of keeping metabolic rate high. If you can keep metabolic rate high while you lose weight this further increases the likelihood that you can keep weight off later. He, like me, did not consider drops in metabolic rates of 12.5-15% to be all that insignificant. It only seems like common sense that a higher metabolic rate means a better ability to tap into fat stores and use them rather than have them accumulate. Not to mention that there would be less of a need to starve yourself to stay lean.
He discovered that with simply restricting carbohydrates rather than calories, satisfactory weight loss can be achieved without the decline in metabolic rate.
“There appears, however, to be an even greater advantage to this method of treatment, in contrast to general restriction of the whole dietary pattern; for, when carbohydrate, alone, is restricted, there is no decline in the basal caloric expenditure. When, however, the total caloric intake is restricted, a decline in basal caloric expenditure is to be expected.” – Pennington, 1953
There was still some kinks he may not have worked out as to the mechanism but he had the basic premise of it down. He still had not really figured out the insulin effect on the release of fat from adipose but he was definitely headed in the right direction. This is one of my favorite statements of the whole paper.
“Most of the meat you buy is not fat enough, so get extra beef kidney fat, slice and fry it to make up the proper proportion.”
He had the right idea. He new that the key to fat mobilization was getting the cells used to using fat as fuel rather than supplying them with glucose to use instead. Let them eat fat I say!
There was someone else who had this same idea about fat adaptation. He was a professor, at which university I do not know, who said that the cells surely had a maximal amount the could metabolize but this maximal level was greatly dependant on the quality and quantity of nutrition that was brought forth to them. Voit’s concept of the metabolism would seem to find support in studies which show that the utilization of glucose, fatty acids,and ketones by the tissues is influenced by the concentrations of these substances in the blood. The decline in metabolism of the obese during weight reduction by low calorie diets, therefore might reasonably be taken to indicate that the reserve stores of body fat are not being mobilized rapidly enough to meet the metabolic needs of the tissues. He postulated that having less concentrations of glucose in the blood and more of fatty acids and ketones would lead cells to be more adept to using them for fuel and eventually, perhaps, the fat stores would become more likely to release fatty acids to meet the bodies needs. What they did not grasp at this time was in the absence of inulin from excess consumption of carbohydrates, glucagon would start freely releasing the fat trapped in storage.
Below is a link to his description and explanation of his method where he found people could easily lose weight on diets that had little to no restriction. People could easily consume up to 3,000 calories or more and still lose an appreciable amount of weight. They would also be more likely to keep it off than those trying to white knuckle their way through life on severely restricted diets.
Pennington study on full caloric weight loss on a High fat and High protein diet – 1953
Now I know there are those of you reading this that still by into the whole CICOpath mentality and will say, “Well this is just one crazy guy just like the moron who writes this. What does that prove?” Well it wasn’t just one crazy guy. There was a group of researchers at a university in Montreal Canada that decided it was worth a test. They recruited 48 people to test it on that had previously failed with caloric restriction and other trickery like bulking agents or amphetamines. Of these 48 subjects, 8 dropped out right away because they hated the idea of not having sweets, imagine that, and another 12 that dropped out later because they got bored and found that they were constipated. Little did they know that this could have been fixed by some magnesium, electrolytes and maybe some extra water. Of the 20 that remained they all lost significant amounts of weight and found that this style of diet was easy to maintain and preferred it to any other diet they had tried. Several of them were followed for 2 years post and all those that stuck with the diet had maintained or continued their weight loss.
Validation of Pennington’s theories by replication study – 1961
Now isn’t it nice to know that I am not the only person who is crazy enough to have the idea that you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight and be healthy. Hopefully that give some insight to those that think I am legit out of my mind. 🙂
With all of this said, most of these people that had success with it stuck with it for a year despite the fact that they were only losing 1-2lbs per week. This is key to a successful lifelong journey to health. This is not a get skinny quick plan. This is a way of life. Also to those that have trouble losing even eating to TDEE, remember that those that lose quickly are most likely those that have not every dieted before. Those of you that do have trouble, think about all the times you lost weigh with calorie restriction and gained it back. Each time you do that you lower your metabolic rate considerably making it harder each time to mobilize fat. The more you have done it the harder it gets the next time.
We can fix this. It is possible but it takes time and patience. Trust the process and buckle up for the journey. There is light at the tunnel.
If you want to get your Ketogenic Diet back to a place of Common Sense and learn how to heal your metabolism you can get personalized coaching from Coach Jack.
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