Bone Broth is Anti-Ketogenic

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As many of my readers know, I am a huge fan of bone broth. I have been drinking it almost everyday since I began my Zero Carb journey 9 months ago. I found it extremely helpful during the adaptation phase while my body was getting used to an all-meat diet. However, I recently made some changes in my Zero Carb diet. I decided to decrease protein and increase fat in an effort to create a Ketogenic version of a Zero Carb diet. But, I continued to drink bone broth while making these changes.

While I was successful in lowering my fasting blood glucose and increasing my fasting blood ketones, the changes were only moderate. I was now in nutritional ketosis, but at a very low level.Then, I decided to skip the bone broth for a few days, and the effect on both my glucose and ketones was quite dramatic. After only one day without bone broth, my fasting blood glucose decreased from 85-95 mg/dL to 65-75 mg/dL, and my fasting blood ketones increased from 0.9-2.4 mmol/L to 4.8-6.5 mmol/L.

I must admit that this was a very unexpected and shocking discovery. It was also very disappointing because I truly do LOVE bone broth. However, upon further investigation, it was not so surprising. Bone broth contains high amounts of the amino acid glutamine and, apparently, glutamine can easily be converted into glucose.It is for this reason that Dr. Thomas Seyfried, author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, recommends limiting glutamine, as well as carbohydrates, to people following a Ketogenic diet for cancer management. Cancer cells can use glutamine for fuel just as easily as they can use glucose from carbohydrates.

Bone broth has many wonderful healing properties, but it definitely inhibits the production of ketones. Many people choose to drink bone broth during both short and long fasts, but the powerful anti-ketotic effects of bone broth are likely to be highly counter-productive. One of primary benefits of fasting is its ability to lower blood insulin levels, and drinking bone broth during a fast may significantly reduce this benefit. So, if ketones are more important to you than the nutritional components present in bone broth, then you will definitely need to think twice before imbibing bone broth.

Addendum:

After I originally published this article, I forwarded it to a few of the Ketogenic experts to get their response. Jimmy Moore’s comment was that a person would have to be drinking “gargantuan” amounts of bone broth to have it affect the blood sugar and ketone levels this way.

So, I decided I should clarify that I was drinking 1 quart per day which I do not consider to be a “gargantuan” amount. It is certainly possible that drinking  only 1-2 cups per day would have had less of an impact, but I don’t think you can state that categorically without actually testing it. According to Kaayla Daniel, author of Nourishing Broth, 1 cup of chicken bone broth contains 1,000 mg of glutamine.

My whole point with this post is to bring awareness to the fact that bone broth may not be as innocuous as many people so blythly assume. If you are including it as part of your Ketogenic diet, or while fasting, you would be wise -in my humble opinion – to test its impact on your personal fasting blood glucose and ketone levels.

 

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My First 30 Days on Zero Carb by Candi Leftwich

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Candi and her little friend MooMoo.

I was diagnosed with psoriasis and Crohn’s Disease in 2012 at the age of 37. Both came as a surprise, as the psoriasis popped up out of nowhere, and – although I had alternating constipation and diarrhea for several years – I’d always thought my bowel habits were fairly normal. My Primary Care Physician encouraged me to follow a whole foods diet plan (gluten-free) and to make an appointment to see a Dermatologist.

I was prescribed Clobetasol ointment for topical treatment and Methotrexate for internal treatment of the psoriasis. I took used both of these medicines for 12 weeks. The psoriasis lesions lessened to some extent, but they never went away…and then – to my horror – they actually started spreading from just my knees, elbows, and abdomen to my face, ears, hands, and feet. I knew something had to change, so I started doing some research of my own. All this research pointed in the direction of dietary changes.

I watched Joe Cross’s documentary, ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead,’ and dove straight into a juicing frenzy. I had only fresh raw juice for 30 days, but I saw no results with either of my health issues. More research led me to probiotics and foods rich in these good bacteria. I made Kombucha and milk kefir, and I fermented every vegetable I could get my hands on. My kitchen looked like a science lab. While I enjoy(ed) fermenting, I didn’t see major health results.

I decided to follow a raw foods diet for 14 days. I’m not sure if that would’ve helped or not, because I fell off the wagon after 7 days. There’s only so many zucchini noodles a person can eat. Naturally all these dietary changes started adding weight to my 5’2 body. I discovered the low-carb movement, and thought it might help with weight loss. But I had no hope that low-carb would do anything positive for my health issues.

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Candi with her husband before starting Zero Carb.

I stumbled into the Facebook group Zeroing In On Health (ZIOH) through one of the many low-carb and ketogenic diet Facebook groups I already participated in. I hadn’t lost any real weight through several months of keeping to the ketogenic guidelines of very low carb, moderate protein, and high fat, so the idea of Zero Carb intrigued me.

I read all the posts on ZIOH, as well as all of Kelly Williams Hogan‘s posts on her blog My Zero Carb Life. I’d done everything else, so I figured why not try meat and water for 30 days…it wouldn’t kill me.

I transitioned to Zero Carb quite easily – as far as the physical aspects are concerned. I experienced no major negative symptoms of withdrawal or adaption. The mental transition was a totally different ball game, however. I experienced both grief and anger. I mean, who were these people that said it was a good idea to give up my flavored coffee creamer and my delicious vegetables?!

Plus, I occasionally volunteer at a local organic farm, and receive free fresh vegetables – what’s so wrong with that? And I enjoyed playing with my $300 masticating juicer that I had purchased to follow Joe Cross’s popular juicing program. It was hard to turn off my desire to craft up some kitchen witchery with food experiments. But I persevered. “It’s is only 30 days,” I told myself.

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Candi after 30 days on Zero Carb with MooMoo.

Now, after only one month of eating this way, the magic of meat and water is becoming more apparent to me everyday…

My stomach no longer feels bloated and crampy.

My bowels have calmed down considerably. I have gone from 4-6 loose bowel movements per day to only 1-2  per day. And when I do feel the need for a bathroom, it is no longer an urgent emergency.

My skin is clear and my acne is gone.

My hair and eyelashes have grown noticeably longer.

My mood and energy have both improved. I feel less stressed out and more optimistic about life in general.

My libido has increased.

My weight has decreased from 132.8 lbs to 126.0 lbs.

And -most importantly – my psoriasis has greatly diminished (see pics below).

All this in just 30 days!

Left Elbow – Before Zero Carb

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Left Elbow – Before Zero Carb

Left Elbow – After Zero Carb

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Left Elbow – After Zero Carb

Abdomen – Before Zero Carb

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Abdomen – Before Zero Carb

Abdomen – After Zero Carb

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Abdomen – After Zero Carb

Left Knee – Before Zero Carb

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Left Knee – Before Zero Carb

Left Knee – After Zero Carb

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Left Knee – After Zero Carb

(Please note: All of the above “before” photos were taken after the topical ointment and 30 days of fresh raw juice had failed to make much of a difference, followed by 12 weeks of Methotrexate tried as a last resort due to its toxic nature…only to have the lesions get worse and continue to spread. All of the “after” photos were taken on the 30th day of eating a Zero Carb diet free of all plant foods.)

I was not prepared to release my love of coffee when I began Zero Carb, so I have continued to have two cups a day with some heavy whipping cream. I have been eating mostly beef, pork, and chicken. I also eat eggs, drink homemade bone broth, and have a bit of cheddar cheese from time-to-time.

I still like to include fermented foods in my diet, so I make and enjoy kefir butter, kefir sour cream, kefir cheese, and Kombucha flavored with a variety of herbs. I usually eat two meals per day, but sometimes only one. It just depends on how hungry I am.

I no longer see plants in the same light as I once did. They do not make my mouth water. I never felt as good consuming any kind of plant foods as I do right this very minute…finishing off my steak. I’m so pleased that I gave Zero Carb a fair chance for 30 days full days.

My results are proof that the body can show measurable signs of healing within a brief period of time. Thank you ZIOH veterans for showing me the path. I hope this inspires other people to take the 30 day meat and water challenge.

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Candi visiting with some deer friends.

 

On June 7, 2015 Candi posted this picture of herself to share that the psoriasis that plagued her for so long is almost completely gone after just 3 months of following a Zero Carb diet.

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Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

If you are interested in meeting others who practice an All-Meat diet, please feel free to join us in the Facebook group Principia Carnivora for support.