December 10, 2015 12:58 ET

Dr. Gregory Brammer -- Expresses 'Catastrophic' Concerns With Atkins Diet

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - December 10, 2015) - Dr. Gregory Brammer, a Board Certified/Board Trained Emergency Medicine Physician and Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, has expressed deep concerns about the potential dangers of adopting the ketogenic diet, originally introduced by Dr. Robert Atkins in 1972 and widely known as the Atkins Diet. In his recent blog post titled 'Dying to be Skinny?', Dr. Brammer discusses a non-scientific experiment he's conducted on a long aisle of magazines at a local grocery store. "Amazingly, some 85% of those magazines having female cover models boasted one or more articles on diets extolling the grand number of pounds one could quickly lose. Of these diets, a substantial number were variations of the low-carb ketogenic diet."

According to Dr. Brammer, the foundation of these diets creates a "NON-PATHOLOGICAL STATE OF KETOSIS" in which the body burns fat for fuel as opposed to carbohydrates. "Advice from such articles and the internet on ketogenic diets is, for the most part, assumptive. They often render results overladen with anecdotal science, inaccurate facts, and little, if any, warning that such diets can be devastating to one's health. While a popular way to lose a few pounds, it can be dire for those with underlying health issues," explains Dr. Brammer.

With 19 years of experience as a Board Certified/Board Trained Emergency Medicine Physician and Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Dr. Gregory Brammer has treated over a thousand cases of PATHOLOGICAL KETOSIS almost exclusively involving Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). With existence of different types of Diabetes, Dr. Brammer explains, "The cause of Type I Diabetes is not precisely known but is an admixture of complex genetic factors combined with environmental factors that result in the autoimmune destruction of nearly all the cells that produce insulin. Alternatively, with Type II Diabetes, the body develops resistance to insulin and/or cannot produce enough of it. Commonly understood Type II risk factors are excessive weight, abdominal fat distribution, and inactivity. Genetics plays a more substantive role in Type II Diabetes."

According to Dr. Gregory Brammer, the majority of DKA occurs in Type I Diabetes. While only a small percentage of DKA is thought to occur in Type II diabetes, the literature suggests the incidence may be as high as 10-40% of all cases. "This suggests that, as physicians, we have been misdiagnosing a significant number of Type II DKA patients with the most common severe metabolic derangement Hyperosmolar Non-Ketotic Acidosis. The significance of this cannot be overstated," Dr. Brammer persists.

In his educational post, Dr. Brammer also defines what a ketogenic diet, or Atkins Diet, is: "By definition, a ketogenic diet involves ingesting large quantities of fat, moderate protein and virtually zero carbohydrates (30 to 50g). The basic process involves the body using its fat as the primary fuel supply rather than carbohydrates."

Dr. Brammer is concerned that "The introduction of a ketogenic diet to diabetics who are in Early DKA could be catastrophic. In DKA, the body cannot control glucose levels resulting in Hyperglycemia and threatening acidic environment from breaking down fats into their respective acidotic ketones. This is exactly what happens in NON-PATHOLOGICAL KETOSIS from the ketogenic diet, which further exacerbates the problem."

Healthy people experience the ketogenic diet with mixed results, as this type of carbohydrate limitation is challenging to maintain. The restrictive nature is particularly dangerous for individuals with food-related obsessions and eating disorders. According to Dr. Brammer, "The short-term side effects include severe fatigue, loss of satiety with extreme hunger, thirst with excessive urination, lightheadedness, shakiness, sweating, and chills. Ketogenic diets can also lead to kidney stones, an increased risk of bone fractures, and, even more disturbing, PATHOLOGICAL KETOSIS by creating an acidic physiological environment."

People on ketogenic diets experience a wide variety of physiological responses and adaptivity. Notwithstanding the above, Dr. Brammer suggests, "There is evidence in large studies noting that patients who can tolerate a NON-PATHOLOGICAL STATE of KETOSIS do experience a higher weight loss on ketogenic diets compared to other methods of weight loss. Ketogenic diets have also proven to be effective in the treatment of pediatric seizures recalcitrant to standard therapies. Additionally, possibilities of increasing aerobic sports performance exists."

In summary, Dr. Brammer asserts, "It's reasonable to conclude that individual responses to ketogenic diets are not predictable. Unquestionably, those at risk should avoid it, and all who perceive themselves as healthy should consider this diet with an abundance of caution and consult their physician first."

Most experts do not recommend a ketogenic diet for long periods of time but collectively fail to establish how long a healthy person can live on their own fat with such stringent carbohydrate restriction. Therefore, Dr. Brammer concludes, "The panacea of KETOGENIC DIETS AND LIFESTYLES is not appropriate fodder to lure people to magazines at the grocery store rather than focusing their attention on moderation and finding healthy food choices a few aisles over. A healthy weight and body composition is desirable. However, getting there should not jeopardize one's health and well-being."

Dr. Gregory Brammer is an expert Board Certified & Board Trained Emergency Medicine Physician with almost 20 years of experience in Emergency Medicine, an international speaker, and consultant who has served an estimated 2.5 million people in his region. As a respected EMS Specialist, Physician, Cardiac Resuscitation Expert and Educator, Dr. Brammer's works are published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine and Veterinary & Human Toxicology. He has spoken and lectured internationally on the subjects of Emergency Medicine Services, Point-of-Care-Testing, and other topics related to health and well-being.

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