Top positive review
A Fun Keto Adventure with Brain Focus
Reviewed in the United States on October 13, 2018
Genius Foods is another in a long line of recent books touting the benefits of a ketogenic diet. Each of these books has a twist. The Genius twist is a focus on brain health with three principles: eat mostly fat, but eat lots of fiber too, and do intermittent fasting.
Author, Max Lugavere, notes the key to excellent brain health is avoiding inflammation, overfeeding, nutrient deficiencies, toxic exposure, chronic stress, physical stagnation, and sleep loss. The book then runs through each of those maladies with proposed solutions, including lifestyle choices like regular exercise and lots of sleep. While the book’s theme is brain health, the book focuses on health generally. Follow the Genius Foods lifestyle, the book sells, and you’re pretty much guaranteed not just brain health, but heart and gut health too.
Lugavere gives us 10 super “Genius Foods” to maximize brain processing and minimize brain decline: (1) extra-virgin olive oil, (2) avocados, (3) blueberries, (4) dark chocolate, (5) eggs, (6) grass-fed beef, (7) dark leafy greens, (8) broccoli, (9) wild salmon, and (10) almonds. The book alternates between a chapter discussing an important health topic—like the importance of sleep or fasting, for example—and a brief chapter about a specific Genius Food.
The first key to Genius Foods is eating mostly fats. Extra virgin olive oil reduces inflammation, protects your brain against decline, and is shown to stop your body from converted excess carbs into stored fat. The book also points out the importance of DHA and EPA, which is mostly found in beef, eggs, and fish. If you don’t eat those foods, the book recommends a fish-oil supplement. And there’s lots of talk about MCT oil, which is shown to go straight to liver to produce ketones and can slow down Alzheimer’s progression. But in any event, according to Genius Foods, eat lots and lots of fat. When eating leafy greens like spinach or kale, for example, you must eat fat because it helps greens’ nutrients get to the brain. And saturated fats from animals are best and most chemically stable.
But never combine fat and carbs. Genius Foods says if you look at nature you’ll see fat and carbs aren’t ever combined, except in breast milk which is designed to make a baby fat. Plants have carbs and protein but rarely fat. Meat has protein and fat, but no carbs. If you go against nature by combining them, you will get fat and reduce brain health.
The second key to Genius Foods is fiber from vegetables, which is linked to better cognition, sleep, and a longer life. In fact, fiber consumption determines healthy aging more than any other variable including sugar consumption! Those who eat the most fiber are 80% more likely to be free of hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and disability..
The third pillar of Genius Foods is fasting, which promotes a longer life and restoration. Fasting causes growth-hormone development, improved decision making, antioxidant production and cell repair, increased cholesterol recycling, and the ability to grow new brain cells. Fasting leads to ketosis, which is gets rid of toxins. 16 hours of fasting, and eight hours of feeding, stimulates fat burning and cell regeneration. Other types of fasting, like starving for one full day and eating all day the next, have similar effects. Find the fasting that works best for you and incorporate that fasting into your life for maximum brain health.
The book goes through all the usual keto rhetoric, like cholesterol isn’t an important predictor of heart disease. There’s recent data, it says, suggesting that higher cholesterol protects against dementia. Studies show that people with higher cholesterol perform better on cognitive tests than people with lower cholesterol.
Like the author of Big Fat Surprise (https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RV7PR2274EKAX?ref=pf_ov_at_pdctrvw_srp), which Genius Foods cites, Max Lugavere is a journalist rather than a health professional. So, the writing is similarly compelling, and articulated in a way that anyone can understand. The thesis behind Genius Foods is the same as other books coming before it, like The Paleo Diet (see https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2G2574G7FO9VM?ref=pf_ov_at_pdctrvw_srp), which Genius Foods discusses.
With that said, Genius Foods is a fun, enjoyable read and reinforces what we should be eating and doing to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I very much enjoyed Genius Foods and highly recommend it as another great keto adventure. Five Stars.