Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Ultimate Diet

"At that unique level of purity, it [HVMN sports drink] quickly and effectively delivers the optimal ketone levels for accelerated athletic performance."
HVMN company website 

"While we don't make explicit claims around turning your body into fat-burning machines, we have shown it reduces ghrelin, so it likely reduces appetite."
Geoffrey Woo, co-founder, HVMN, California

"Keto hype-train officially surpassed gluten-free hype-train in Canadian Google searches frequency. Which train crashes first?"
"Is this [study assessing HVMN's drink with 15 people, for four hours] even clinically relevant? Did it lead to the subjects actually eating less food? Did it have an impact on their health, their body composition?"
"The things that matter in the real world weren't measured here, but it's being hyped as the 'best diet'."
"The biggest question to ask yourself is, which diet could I happily do, forever?"
Aric Sudicky, Canadian physician, lifestyle medicine
hvmn ketone ester

The study, a 30-minute time trial, did see publication in Cell Metabolism last year. There were 39 cyclists among whom some imbibed the ketone drink and they managed to go on an average of 400 metres' greater distance than the cyclists who instead consumed a drink high in carbohydrates or fat. The HVMN drink has no salt, fat or carbohydrates; it is reputed to be 98-percent ketones. And, according to one taster who reviewed it, tastes "very, very extremely bad".

So to respond to Dr. Sudicky's query about happily indulging in the HVMN sports drink, it would depend upon whether the person involved is motivated more emphatically by the prospect of losing weight, alternately spurting ahead with greater energy and endurance, than the unlikelihood of appreciating the taste of this "very extremely bad" tasting liquid appetite-suppressant and weight-loss liquor.

The thing of it is, people are so consumed, so to speak, with the prospect of being and looking fit, of losing weight to appear healthy and athletic, that they will latch on to any kind of diet that promises to deliver the results they hanker for. The beverage in question is a small 25-gram drink and within 30 minutes of imbibing, the body responds by reaching a level of ketosis hastening what would normally take days of fasting to accomplish.

Ketogenic diets work by being ultra-low in carbs and high in fat. The normal biological function that results in the body using its fat stores to ward off starvation is called ketosis, a dangerous condition that people with undiagnosed Type One diabetes reach, leaving them dangerously debilitated and in need of instant medical attention. When carbs can't be processed by insulin-secretion into glucose fuel, the liver forms ketones.

This drink formulation, "the world's first ketone ester drink", is an elixir that lowers blood levels of the hormone ghrelin, the hunger hormone, resulting in a decreased appetite, a lowered interest in eating. In the U.S., the federal Food and Drug Administration has classified the drink as a food; a package containing three units is set to be priced at $99, expected to come on the market in the U.S. early in 2018, later expanding to Canada.
HVMN, a Silicon Valley based startup that's launching a “ketone ester” the company claims puts people into a state of ketosis within 30 minutes and that mimics the effects of fasting for up to three to four days. HVMN handout

Marketed as a sports drink to enhance performance for "serious athletes", the company foresees that its product would also be useful in a ketosis diet considered by nutritionists to represent the most extreme of the low-carb plans. Carbs are restricted in Keto diets to as low as five percent of total calories in a diet where no grains, cereals, fruits or sugars are permitted.

This diet, in its early days, can result in a state named "keto flu", represented by bad breath, brain fog, sugar cravings, crankiness and dizziness, along with other symptoms. Dietitians claim that the diet encourages the consumption of unhealthy foods high in fat, salt and processing. HVMN's ketone ester, according to Woo, delivers "seven to ten days' worth of a fasting amount of ketones in a consumable form".

Ten elite male cyclists were involved in a study later published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology where Dr. Louise Burke and her colleagues at the Australian Institute of Sport found riders performed poorly after drinking a ketone supplement, an outcome due to "gut discomfort". "Prolonged vomiting and dizziness" caused one of the study cyclists to drop out after the warm-up. Woo responds by pointing out that the study made use of a different ketone compound than what his formula uses.

The HVMN compound comprised of betahydroxybutyrate, one of three ketone compounds naturally produced by the body during a fast or a period of starvation, was developed with a $10-million military grant during the Iraq War, when a food stuff "to enhance war fighter performance on cognitively and physically demanding missions" was called for. A decade of collaboration with Oxford University and National Institutes of Health scientists succeeded in its development.

In November, a small study with 15 normal-weight volunteers was published in the journal Obesity, revealing that people who consumed the ketone ester reported feeling less hungry two to four hours after drinking the compound in comparison to others who had consumed a dextrose drink. As well, the hormone ghrelin remained suppressed for a longer period.

Rats fed a ketone ester diet for five days ran 32 percent further on a treadmill in another study, completing a maze 38 percent faster (with fewer errors) than rats fed chow equal parts carb, fats and protein.

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