You’ve heard about ketosis, Keto, Keto-adapted, and a Ketogenic diet since it has been quickly gaining popularity in mainstream diets. So many of us have health symptoms that mainstream medicine has been unable to help so we’ve been searching desperately for new answers on our own.
The Ketogenic diet on its most basic level is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet that offers amazing health results by relying on fat as the main source of our bodies energy. Ketones and fat are used more efficiently than glucose by the brain, heart, and muscles and are only produced when insulin, blood sugar, and liver glycogen levels are low due to a restriction of carbohydrates from food and a shift in metabolism.
Most people never get to experience the amazing results of burning fat for fuel.
When you are burning fat, your liver makes ketones for your cells to use as energy. Ketones come in three types; acetoacetate (found in the urine), acetone (found in the breath), and beta-hydroxybutyrate (found in the blood) and can be testing for in these three ways; urine, breath, and blood.
The health benefits of Ketosis are numerous and stem mainly from the negative effects of the standard American diet that is high carbohydrate, low fat, and full of inflammatory foods such as grains, sugars, and processed vegetables oils. A Ketogenic diet will:
- Increase your energy,
- Lower inflammation,
- Lower blood pressure,
- Stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels,
- Minimize cellular oxidation and the formation of free radicals,
- Accelerate weight loss,
- Reduce your appetite,
- Increase performance,
- Increase focus and clarity,
- Slow aging and cognitive decline,
- Balance your hormones,
- And make you feel amazing.
It’s no surprise that going Keto involves high fat and low carb eating.
In fact, on a Ketogenic diet your diet will consist of more healthy dietary fats than you can imagine.
However a Ketogenic diet is different than just going low carb because it is necessary to moderate your protein intake depending on your individual circumstance as well. A typical SAD diet is too high in protein consumption over all and while some of us do benefit from more protein, others do better to reduce their amount temporarily for healing purposes. Also instead of storing dietary protein, your liver will turn excess protein into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. Thus just following a low carb diet is not sufficient to start burning fat and producing ketones.
Just as there is no one size fits all approach to creating pure health, the Ketogenic macronutrient amounts are different for each person. While an athletic person or relatively healthier person may handle more carbohydrates, protein, and fat, those who are less active or have more metabolic damage may have tighter dietary restrictions. Playing around with your individual macronutrient amounts but staying in the range of 65-80% fat, 15-25% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates will help to determine your own individual thriving place.
Staying under 30 grams of net carbohydrates (fiber excluded) seems to be the sweet spot for most people
to enter into ketosis although some may need to go lower to achieve the same results. We know that every carbohydrate turns into glucose so it’s not just processed foods, breads, refined grains, and sugars but even root vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and natural sweeteners are all turned into glucose after being broken down in the digestive tract.
If your body is only using glucose for fuel, you will not be able to burn your body fat.
On a Ketogenic diet your body switches from burning glucose to burning fat for energy. This is a powerful metabolic shift.
Once you are fat/Keto-adapted (using fat for fuel) you can still burn carbohydrates but not the other way around. Being fat-adapted allows you to successfully enter into nutritional ketosis (not to be confused with Ketoacidosis a life threatening condition caused by the inability to produce insulin or due to liver malfunction) and increase your overall metabolic flexibility. Remember though if your body is used to running off of carbohydrates don’t expect it to happen overnight. To avoid common pitfalls give yourself a period of 4-6 weeks for your body to adjust.
Your body doesn’t only utilize the new ketones for energy. What’s cool is that your muscle can use fatty acids as well as ketones increasing your potential for more sustained energy, more successful exercise, and higher levels of performance. After lowering your carbohydrates, increasing fat and moderating your protein, your fat cells will release fatty acids 4-6 hours after meals and while intermittent fasting. Your muscles will use for these fatty acids for energy and the remainder will be turned into ketones by your liver to supply the rest of your body with sustained slow burning energy.
Keto can be confusing, there is a lot of misinformation out there, a lot of “dirty Keto” advice to fill up on bacon, cheese, and pork rinds, and tons of questionable “Keto-friendly” products and supplements that might throw off your success. In fact, many people quit their Keto journey way to early, after just 3-4 weeks, and never get to experience the awesome feelings of having more clarity, sustained energy, and an overall increased spark for life.
If you are curious about Keto, want help to make sure you start out right, you can sign up for my 30-day plant-based Pure Keto Reset here. I put in the time to develop a full plant-based Keto lifestyle education that is easy to follow in week by week increments so you can be sure to reap the benefits and not turn back. Additionally read more about if Keto is right for you and get some tips to how best to cook on a Ketogenic diet.