paleolithic diet

My lifestyle regime has been created by myself on the basis that early man is our best example of optimal survival. So as far as I can, I have eaten similar foods and exercised in the same way as a hunter-gatherer might.

Now, I discover that this is called the Paleolithic Diet. See wiki entry, robbwolf’s page, and nerd fitness for examples.

Oh, how wonderful it is to invent the wheel!

There was also this in the Mail online on ketones and diabetes and starvation:

Could this elixir hold the key to weight loss? Experts hope it’ll also treat diabetes, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s 


PUBLISHED: 22:00, 26 November 2012 | UPDATED: 07:38, 27 November 2012

There’s a new drink that could not only help you lose weight, but could also treat epilepsy, diabetes and possibly even Alzheimer’s. It might also be an incredible energy booster. When a group of international rowing champions took it, one of them beat a world record.

It sounds far too good to be true, but the drink’s scientific credentials are impeccable.

It’s been developed by Kieran Clarke, professor of physiological biochemistry at Oxford University and head of its Cardiac Metabolism Research Group, at the behest of the U.S. Army.

Equally amazing is that the drink doesn’t involve a new drug. It contains something our bodies produce all the time.

This key ingredient is ketones — the tiny, but powerful sources of energy our bodies make naturally when we start using up our fat stores for energy because there are no carbs around.

We all have slightly raised ketone levels before breakfast because we haven’t eaten for a while. And if you fast for a few days or go on an Atkins-type high-fat diet, your body will start pumping out ketones. They are nature’s way of keeping you supplied with energy — especially your brain and muscles.

The clever trick Professor Clarke has pulled off is to have found a way to make ketones in the lab. This means that instead of having to follow difficult diets (with unpleasant side-effects such as constipation and bad breath), you can just add ketones to a normal diet — in the form of the Drink, as it’s known

It’s a radical new approach, which flies in the face of more than 30 years of advice that a  low-fat diet with lots of carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight, treat diabetes and  protect your heart. It also raises questions  about the demonising of diets such as Atkins, which are blamed for causing constipation and kidney failure.


So how do ketones help? They are the reason why high-fat diets such as Atkins seem to work so well. Without the energy from carbohydrates, your body starts releasing stored fat, which the liver turns into ketones for energy.

The pounds drop off faster than with a low-fat diet because you are actively burning up stored fat. But there are other benefits of these ketogenic diets, as they are called. Blood sugar levels come down because you are eating hardly any carbohydrates.

In a study published earlier this year, Professor Clarke found that rats given the new ketone compound ate less and put on less weight than those getting the same amount of calories from a high-fat or a high-carbohydrate diet.

In the first trial Professor Clarke has run on humans with diabetes, completed within the past few months, the effects were also impressive. In the week-long study, eight people with diabetes had three ketone drinks a day as well as their normal diet.

As with the rats, their weight dropped (an average of nearly 2 per cent of their body weight), but so did their glucose levels, cholesterol and the amount of fat in the blood. The amount of exercise they did went up as they had more energy. However, the study was small and as yet unpublished.

To anyone with diabetes, the idea of ketones being good seems extraordinary. That’s because they are usually warned that high ketones can be very dangerous. In fact, the danger is limited to cases where the diabetes isn’t controlled and the patient has very high blood sugar levels as well.

That’s rare these days with effective drugs. Indeed, very high-fat diets, which produce ketones, are being tested as a treatment for diabetes.


The Drink has its roots in ketogenic diets, which are designed to raise ketone production. One medical area where a very high-fat ketogenic diet is used as standard treatment is in childhood epilepsy.

A review by the Cochrane Collaboration found that in children who weren’t responding to drugs, it was as effective as medication would normally be.

This followed a major study conducted four years ago by Professor Helen Cross, a neurologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, which showed the diet was effective.

‘About 30 per cent of epileptic children don’t respond to drugs and they can have a dreadful time — 100 fits a day is not uncommon,’ says Susan Wood, a registered dietician who works for the charity Matthew’s Friends Clinics, which aims to make a high ketogenic diet available to all children who may benefit from it.

‘We see a big drop in the number of seizures in nearly 40 per cent of the children who go on the diet.’

It’s thought the diet helps suppress stimulation signals to the brain.

The problem is that ketogenic diets can be hard to follow. A typical high-fat diet for children with epilepsy, for instance, includes oil, butter, double cream, eggs, mayonnaise and cheese. Not to everyone’s taste.

Even more difficult on this sort of diet, you have almost no fruit or vegetables (most count as carbo-hydrates) — this can lead to mineral and vitamin shortages and a raised risk of heart disease from all the fat.


And this is where the U.S. Army comes in. Like other radical innovations, such as the internet, driverless cars and a battery-powered human ‘exoskeleton’, the ketone drink was the result of a commission from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is set up to research imaginative high-risk projects.

‘Back in 2003 they were looking for an energy source that would improve soldiers’ mental and physical performance under battlefield conditions,’ says Professor Clarke. ‘Troops weren’t taking enough rations into action because they filled their rucksacks with extra ammunition instead. As their blood glucose dropped, they became confused and sometimes ended up shooting their own side.’

Professor Clarke had been working on ketones as a high energy source for more than a decade when she approached DARPA, who funded the research that allowed her to discover a way to make ketones in the lab.

‘No one had done it before,’ she says. ‘We called it DeltaG, which is the biochemical name for energy, but also has a military ring to it — Delta Force and all.’ She tried the new compound on rats and found it boosted physical and mental performance.

But that wasn’t all. The rats became much healthier. They lost body fat, had lower levels of triglycerides (fatty acids) in their blood and lower blood sugar levels. There were no signs of harmful side-effects.

U.S. defence chiefs are reportedly delighted with the Drink, but it’s expected to be a while before it’s taken up on a large scale by the Army.

So how does a drink that adds ketones help you lose weight if you’re not burning fat to produce those ketones in the first place? It is because ketones make you less hungry — they damp down hunger centres in the brain. This means you eat less and so you have the same weight loss as on a high-fat diet.

Meanwhile, because you’re eating less, your blood sugar levels come down (which is good for diabetics).


Eighteen months ago, Professor Clarke tried her ketones on rowers.

DeltaG ketones come in a thick, clear liquid that is very bitter, so in the trials on rats and humans, it has a little water added along with orange-coloured flavouring plus some sweeteners to make it more palatable — in this form it’s known as the Drink.

A group of top international rowers were given it shortly before they rowed on fixed machines in a lab.

After half an hour of hard rowing, those getting the Drink had rowed on average 50m further in the same time than when they had a dummy drink. This was an improvement of 0.5 per cent. It can be the difference between silver and gold.

Dr Scott Drawer, head of research at UK Sport, who helped design the trial, said: ‘Ketones have been ignored as an energy source in sport. We need to look at them seriously.’


The big idea of the Drink is that it is a way to get the benefits of weight loss and metabolic improvements that come with raised ketones without going through the pain of the diet.

But what about the dangers of high levels of ketones? Ketogenic diets are linked with constipation (through lack of roughage) and sometimes bad breath (the result of the way ketones happen to smell). Increased ketone levels may also lead to kidney failure, osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease, according to NHS Direct.

Professor Clarke believes fears about raising ketone levels are based on a misunderstanding. ‘Our bodies have a parallel system designed to make use of ketones as an energy source, which is faster and more efficient than the way our bodies use glucose. Gram for gram, ketones give you 38 per cent more energy than glucose,’ she says.

‘The trouble is we rarely need to use ketones because we are surrounded by food. But that’s happened only in the past 50 years when everyone has had enough to eat. Before that many people would often be ketogenic.’

The ketone pathway developed as a way to provide animals and humans with energy in times of famine; it’s only if someone has uncontrolled diabetes that raising ketones is dangerous.


But what do other experts think? Dr Rhys Evans, reader in physiology, anatomy and genetics at Keble College, Oxford says: ‘Ketones are a superb source of energy, so it makes perfectly good sense to use them as extra fuel for the brain and muscles.’

‘Kieran has pulled off a neat chemical trick creating a new version in the lab. In metabolic terms, this offers some new and exciting possibilities.’

Epilepsy researcher Professor Cross adds: ‘Getting the new ketones could be a boon.’

When it comes to epilepsy, neurologists are concerned about the health risks of a high-fat diet, while sticking to it can be difficult for children — a ketone drink could be more appealing.

So why haven’t we heard about this before? It’s because ketones are a natural product that can’t be turned into a top-selling treatment, so no drug company is interested.

‘We have a problem raising the money just to produce enough of it to run trials cheaply,’ says Professor Clarke (which is why you won’t see it in shops for some time).

She adds: ‘DeltaG is not a licence to stay glued to the TV eating take-aways. It provides 10 per cent of your total calories (each drink is around 200 calories), so if you are going to lose weight you are going to have to cut that much from your diet or you would put on weight.

‘For best results, you should be eating a sensible, healthy diet, maybe some variation of the Mediterranean.’

And then there is the taste — ‘It tastes dreadful — just like the cold remedy Benylin — so you’d take it only if you had to,’ says Professor Clarke.

But losing weight without feeling hungry might prove pretty attractive!

Read more:

For many people with Type II (and type I under controlled conditions) benefit from a high fat, low carb diet. Carbs turn to sugar in the blood and raise blood glucose levels – what is ironic is that we’ve been telling our doctors and health trusts this for years and years but they still insist on a high carb diet for diabetics which is actually killing them. You don’t tell an alcoholic to continue to drink every day! You don’t tell someone who’s allergic to fish to eat a portion of fish every day! So why in gods name do doctors insist that diabetics eat loads of carbs every day? Oh, perhaps their mission is to kill us off – save money – or is it so that they can benefit from the government handouts for every diabetic on their lists, so they want to keep the cash cow running.

tired-of-rip-off-uk , somewhere else, 27/11/2012 11:19

I recently did the Cambridge diet and because you eat so few calories your body automatically produces ketones and you dont feel hungry. this article doesnt mention the dangers of drinking alcohol whilst your body is in ketosis, and it also doesnt mention that you shouldnt do it for long periods of time as your body is in ‘starvation mode’.

Low carb is the way forward. Loads of energy, beautiful skin, weight loss perfect! oh! and bad breath does not occur if you are adequately hydrated. Ketones give a sweet fruity smell to the breath. The bad breath is dehydration.

the voice in the corner, is this England ?, 27/11/2012 8:07

Click to rate     Rating   105

It says at the beginning of this article about fasting. I started the 5/2 diet 10 weeks ago and i have lost just under a stone and a half. I only eat roughly 500 calories on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the rest of the week i eat normal. The knock on effect is great, meaning i tend now to not overeat on the 5 normal days. I feel great, it is not difficult to sustain as it is only for a day and tomorrow, you can eat again. Also, i stopped smoking 7 weeks ago so any weight gain from that has not been seen. Great result for me.

fliss, manchester, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 9:24

Click to rate     Rating   72

It is already widely acknowledged that for diabetics to go low-fat with lots of carbs isn’t the best way to reduce blood sugar although the official uk booklets continue to preach this. Elsewhere low carb diets are actively promoted.

why do I bother, england, 27/11/2012 1:10

Anyone who has read the Atkins Diet – and been on it – will be aware of ketones – as the first two week phase is designed to make your body go into ‘ketosis’ . Interesting that the late Dr Atkins may well have been proved rioght with his high fat, low carb diet after all.

Stephen, Cornwall, 27/11/2012 10:11

stuartbartley, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 09:08 Very true. Like you’re explanation. I stopped eating gluten nearly 3 weeks ago. Lost half a stone and have more energy. My joints feel great. I don’t feel bloated. And I don’t even feel hungry! I like to keep fit and do half marathons and 10 mile races but find I tire in the last few miles. I’d definitely take this drink if it becomes available. However, I can see the drug companies doing their best to smear its reputation if it does what it says on the tin!

sicon67, Gosport, Hampshire, 27/11/2012 9:22

Click to rate     Rating   21

Or you can just make your ketones naturally by alternate day fasting. Alternate 24 hours of water only fasting with a 24 hour eating window where you can eat whatever you want in regular amounts.

Bobbo, London, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 10:23

This is not news to low carbers,have known for decades that a body’s preferred fuel is fat, specifically ketones, and not glucose. A low carb high fat diet (Primal or Atkins) will give you EXACTLY the same results as this concoction but it tastes nicer, is better for you, is cheaper and won’t put more profit into the pharma coffers..

Educatrix, Keeping Trump Out of Town, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 9:49

I have just gone back on a low carb way of eating (paleo) because although I was eating carbs again, I noticed my energy levels had dropped and my depression had come back. I generally feel SO much better on a low carb diet and Paleo suits me because certain veg and fruit are allowed, but it is expensive sadly.

Nancy, London, 27/11/2012 11:11

I stopped drinking this year after 20 odd years, but to be honest I felt exactly the same, I don’t smoke and exercise regularly so felt quite fit anyway….I have done a couple of 2/3 day fasts in the past couple of months after watching a TV programme and I have to say 2/3 days without food and I strangely felt the best I have felt for years…I believe in this article but you can do it by fasting for a 2/3 days…try it, it’s hard but you’ll feel great.

Everbeenhad, Toytown, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 10:48

Your comments:This article conflates ketosis with dangerous ketoacidosis. Ketosis is normal and natural. Why drink something that tastes bad in order to mimic the effect of a diet that works perfectly well by itself? Atkins-type diets are extremely effective, as well as very satiating, meaning one never has to be hungry. They aren’t as limiting as the article suggests. Fruit and vegetables are fine, so long as sugar and starch are limited. Atkins diets mainly involve breaking our addiction to carbohydrates. After about 8 weeks, once appetite hormone sensitivity has been restored, the addiction is broken and people don’t feel the carb cravings anymore. It’s extremely liberating. I lost 9 stone and got my life back eating this way. Nothing else ever worked. Losing weight eating natural foods is so much better than chemical quick fixes that only avoid dealing with the underlying problem.

nmfoss, Ottawa, Canada, 27/11/2012 5:37

Easy – just fast for a few days each week (eat nothing), but remember to drink plenty of fluid (Not booze, wine or beer). It will do the same job, and is cheaper.

uncle vanya, Colchester, United Kingdom, 27/11/2012 10:57


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