Detox diet, vegetarian diet, intermittent fasting, cookie diet, cabbage diet, junk food diet, liquid diet, gluten diet, blood type diet… No wonder we’re obsessed with diets since there are so many for trying out!
And, as the story of harmfulness of certain diets gradually reaches more and more people, we tend to reconsider our choices and hopefully devise/find a diet that is both efficient and doesn’t deprive our bodies of essential nutrients.
In the pool of all kinds of diets, keto-diet is considered to meet both requirements. So let’s learn a thing or two about it.
Glucose – Fuel for Your Body
Life comes in many forms, all of which need energy to survive – light energy, chemical energy or both. The human body is a complex machine and has its own primary power source – glucose.
Glucose is one of the simplest carbohydrates, which we get from fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. As soon as glucose enters the cells, it is broken down into carbon dioxide (which we exhale) and water, providing energy along the way. This is why you should eat something sweet when you’re feeling tired. (Dare you to choose fruit over candy!)
The body uses a portion of glucose to obtain energy, but the rest is stored in the form of glycogen, primarily found in liver and skeletal muscle. Remember this is an evolutionary trait from the prehistoric period, since the body is always prepared for starvation (due to potentially scarce sources of food)!
If We Run Out of Fuel
If our cells use up all the glucose (even the extra glycogen), proteins (amino acids as the basic units) and fat (fatty acids as the basic units) are next for breakdown.
Now, pay attention to this, for this is an important part. The liver doesn’t break down fat completely; it produces the so-called ketone bodies instead. And since most cells use fatty acids to produce energy, many of them cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, so the brain’s primary energy source are in fact – these ketone bodies.
An interesting fact is that one of them is acetone, so people with high levels of ketone bodies have a nail-polish-remover-like breath. If the production of ketone bodies is faster than the body requires, a metabolic condition called ketosis occurs. So basically, ketosis is the result of converting fat into energy, and releasing ketones in the process.
How to Achieve Ketosis
The liver produces a certain amount of ketone bodies constantly. Ketosis is a normal metabolic reaction on varying degree of carbohydrates consumption.
If one’s carbohydrate intake is below 60 grams per day, the liver starts with ketosis. Mild ketosis occurs after 12-14 hours of fasting, and if the fasting continues, ketosis increases and ketone bodies accumulate.
Try our keto calculator.
Most diets agree that carbohydrates intake should be minimal or even left out. Keto diet goes with the second option. Obviously, losing weight truly starts with losing fat, which is broken down only after all the glucose is spent.
Keto diet promotes ketosis by restricting carbohydrate intake to 2-4% of calories. If you decide to start a keto diet consider buying keto supplements from a trusted web store. The choice is yours.
Besides minimizing carbohydrates intake, basic ways to achieve optimal ketosis include:
• Be careful with your protein intake and keep it optimal – they can be converted to glucose, but are essential for your muscles, kidneys and brain function.
• Eat more fat, for it will satisfy your hunger without taking extra carbs.
• Include coconut oil in your diet as well as other healthy fat sources.
• Work out – physical activity during fasting increases the level of ketones in the body.
Is Ketosis Safe?
Certain studies indicate ketosis and ketogenic diet can have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, epilepsy, lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, weight management, brain function, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine treatment, etc. Some temporary ketosis symptoms – ketosis flu, include nausea, dehydration, etc.
On the other hand, like every other diet, this one also includes serious lifestyle changes and should be performed responsibly and carefully. A serious complication called ketoacidosis may develop due to the abnormally high level of ketone bodies in the blood. Their presence lowers pH in the blood, making it more acid, and basically poisons your body.
For now, keto diet’s benefits overweight the potential risks, but better safe than sorrow – test your ketone levels (by using different online ketone calculators) and adjust your diet accordingly.