On the heels of my recent posts from Dr. Michael Eades about ketosis cleaning your cells, I found the following in Jimmy's blog about gluconeogenesis.
Gluconeogenesis is the process by which necessary bodily glucose is made when there are not sufficient carbohydrates to do the job.
According to Dr. Michael Eades, the body needs about 200g of carbohydrate a day. On a low-carb diet, ketones can replace about 70g of that, leaving a deficit of about 130g that the body actually needs that ketones can't provide.
That's where gluconeogenesis comes to the rescue. It is the reason that humankind does not need carbohydrates to survive - we can make our own as long as their is sufficient caloric intake of fat and protein. Blood sugar needs to stay in a tightly controlled range (generally about 65-99). My last fasting glucose test was 75 - well within normal range. Gluconeogenesis is responsible for that 75 number - without it the blood sugar of everyone on a low-carb diet would plummet.
It's also the reason the Inuit Eskimos exist at all - their carbohydrate intake is very low - if carbohydrates were so important to health and weight management, they would have died off long ago.
From the Straight Dope Web site on these Eskimos:
Much of what we know about the Eskimo diet comes from the legendary arctic anthropologist and adventurer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who made several daredevil journeys through the region in the early 20th century. Stefansson noticed the same thing you did, that the traditional Eskimo diet consisted largely of meat and fish, with fruits, vegetables, and other carbohydrates...accounting for as little as 2 percent of total calorie intake.
Why does the average American eat 300g of carbohydrate a day if 200g is all we need, and our bodies can function quite well on zero grams? Could this be the reason for the obesity epidemic is this country? We've done quite well lowering our fat intake, and yet as a nation we are getting more obese by the year. Perhaps it's time for a different approach.