Ketosis: Not just about dieting …

 Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones.

If you’re healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don’t normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. It can also happen after exercising for a long time.

Ketosis is a popular weight loss strategy. Low-carb eating plans include the first part of the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet, which stress proteins for fueling your body. In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry. It also helps you maintain muscle.

For healthy people who aren’t pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. You can also start ketosis by fasting.

Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of some diseases such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and even heart disease.  Other research is studying the effects of these diets on simple things like acne and more serious conditions like cancer,  polycystic ovary syndrome, and nervous system diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Nutritional Ketosis May Be Key  

Emerging scientific evidence suggests by eating a healthy high-fat, low-carbohydrate and low- to moderate-protein diet, you stay in ‘nutritional ketosis’: a state in which your body burns fat as its primary fuel rather than glucose, which is ideal for most people.

  Endurance athletes are embracing this way of eating because it boosts physical stamina and endurance. Benefits include feeling less hungry and having fewer food cravings once you’ve made the shift from burning sugar to burning fat as your fundamental fuel. Burning fat more efficiently may also lengthen your life. Researchers have identified about a dozen genes associated with living longer.

The underlying reason for so many people being overweight and in poor health, in recent times is that the popular modern diet is overloaded with non-fiber carbs as the primary fuel, which in turn restrain your body’s ability to access and burn body fat.

Nutritional Ketosis For Brain Health  

Your brain will work better in general when burning fat rather than glucose. Water-soluble fats, can cross the blood-brain barrier and feed your brain. Improved cognition and mental acuity are among the first things people notice when entering nutritional ketosis.

The choices you make in dietary fats are critical, Fatty acids contribute to the formation of cellular membranes, and it’s virtually impossible to have the most favorable biological function with impaired cell membranes.  So dietary fat serves dual purposes; first, as a fuel, then as the building blocks for the structural components of your body. The helpful dietary fats referred to here are natural, unprocessed fats, found in whole foods like seeds, nuts, butter, olives, avocado, coconut oil, raw cacao or cacao butter, not processed vegetable oils and MCT oils.

Ketogenic Diet Food

Stick to the strict 5% carbohydrate allowance used on Ketogenic Diets :

 

Do Not Eat  

  • Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
  • Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
  • Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
  • Tubers – potato, yams, etc.

 

 

Do Eat  

  • Meats – fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.
  • Leafy Greens – spinach, kale, etc.
  • Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
  • High Fat Dairy – hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds – macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Avocado and berries – raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
  • Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners
  • Other fats – coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
  • Beverages Mostly water. Flavor it if needed with stevia-based flavorings or lemon/lime juice.

While it varies, the average meal plan intake is 70 percent fat, 25 percent protein, and five percent carbohydrates and limits the amount of fiber eaten. This will be challenging for all of us who love carbs.

 

 

Exercise can fit into your routine while eating for ketosis. Just keep in mind a few factors:

Aerobic exercise   is anything that lasts over three minutes. Lower intensity, steady-state cardio is fat burning, making it very friendly for the keto dieter.

Anaerobic exercise   is characterized by shorter bursts of energy, such as from weight training or high-intensity interval training. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel for anaerobic exercise, so fat alone can’t provide enough energy for this type of workout.

Flexibility exercises are helpful for stretching out your muscle, supporting joints, and improving muscle range of motion. Increasing your flexibility can help prevent injuries caused by shortening of the muscles over time. Yoga and simple after-workout stretches are good examples of this.

Stability exercises –   include balance exercises and core training. They help improve your alignment, strong muscles, and control of movement.

When doing exercise that is more intense, such as working out more than three days a week and at high intensity, you’ll need to adjust the keto diet to fit the carb needs for the amount of exercise. Sticking to the standard ketogenic diet likely won’t be enough.

Eat 15-30 grams of fast-acting carbs, such as fruit, within 30 minutes before the workout and within 30 minutes after. This will provide the muscles with the proper amount of glycogen to perform during the training and also recover. The carbs will be used exactly for this purpose and will prevent any risk of leaving ketosis.

 

Ketogenic Diet and Cholesterol

A ketogenic diet has shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup. More specifically low-carb, high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL and decrease in LDL particle concentration compared to low-fat diets.

People with high HDL (the “good“) have a low risk of heart disease, while people with high LDL (the “bad”) have an increased risk. On a lowcarb diet, HDL tends to go up and triglycerides down.

Ketogenic diets increase the concentrations of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol more than low-fat, high-carb diets.  Low-carb, high-fat diets decrease LDL particle concentration (LDL-P) and increase the size of LDL cholesterolKetogenic diets decrease the amount of harmful VLDL cholesterol in the blood.   VLDL contains the highest amount of triglycerides. VLDL is considered a type of bad cholesterol because it helps cholesterol build up on the walls of arteries. Normal VLDL levels are from 2 to 30 mg/dL.

In medicine, the Ketogenic Diet is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. 

Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.

Ketosis is a complex metabolic state that comes with many unique benefits. The healthiest way of achieving ketosis is through following the ketogenic diet. In general, ketosis is safe and beneficial for most people. It is one of the primary reasons why the ketogenic diet is so effective at improving a variety of different health conditions.

  Is the Ketogenic Diet right for everyone? Probably not. Is it right for you? You need to do much more research than is provided here before making that decision, but I hope you learned a little bit about it. I know I did.

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