The Beginners Guide To Ketosis: Investigating Low-carb, High-fat Eating
The only hard and fast rule of health is that health is personal and what works well for one person may not work for someone else. Aside from that rule, there are “frameworks” that seem to benefit large groups of people. One more level down from that are alternative strategies that benefit smaller groups. Ketosis is likely one of those alternative strategies that works well for certain, smaller groups of people. So, right off the bat I want you to understand that Ketosis might not be for everyone. I’m going to lay out the case for potential benefits of Ketosis. If it sounds interesting and beneficial to you, then consider trying it. (see our free cheat sheet to help you). What is Ketosis Ketosis occurs when liver glycogen gets depleted and the body burns fatty acids for fuel. The primary driver of this state is a very low carbohydrate intake. Often, it also requires a low protein, higher fat intake. You can also achieve a state of ketosis by not eating altogether. The creation of ketones is a byproduct of this metabolic state. Ketones are a source of fuel, just as glucose is a source of fuel. Ketones tend to have some added benefits, though. What role does Ketosis play in human health? Ketosis allows our bodies to function in the absence of carbohydrates, both physically and mentally. Instead of burning carbohydrates, or converting protein to glucose, the body burns ketones. This is pretty much a survival mechanism. It allows your body to function in a state of caloric deprivation. This is why ketosis often gets bad press (as it’s linked to “starvation”). Being a survival mechanism doesn’t make it invalid as a strategy, though. There can still be potential benefits to be had. Let’s cover a few of them… Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Loss Being in ketosis Continue reading >>
Should You Have Cheat Meals On A Ketogenic Diet?
Damn does that cake look good! Cheat meals. Everyone thinks about them when following any diet, and the ketogenic diet is no exception. You might be wondering if you should have cheat meals while going keto. Is it worth it? Is it okay? Will it mess up your progress completely? Intellectually, why would you want to eat something that isn’t in line with your goals or your health? Let’s face it, cheat day meals are bad for you. We know it. The ketogenic diet is simple, but not always easy, and there are some grey areas, so lLet’s talk a little bit about what happens when you have cheat meals and whether or not they’re worth it. You might know people who do low-carb long-term and schedule cheat meals in at regular times, such as on the weekends or set days each month. While this creates a healthy mindset around not needing to be perfect, things are a little different with the ketogenic diet. Since keto is stricter than other low-carb diets, (see our post on keto vs. Atkins) it’s more tempting to have cheat meals. However, the effects of them can be more dramatic. Disadvantages of Cheat Meals on the Ketogenic Diet Here are some consequences of having cheat meals. These are things to consider before flying off the deep end with some emotional eating. Let’s get the big one out of the way first, Cheating Takes You out of Ketosis Since cheating on the keto diet more than likely will take you out of ketosis—especially if the cheat meal or snack is carb-heavy—you have to be prepared for this fact. Know that it’ll likely set you back some and take some time to get back into a ketogenic state. When you have eaten what you suspect was a “cheat meal,” put it to the acid test, and test your ketone levels. People are often surprised that they stay in ketosis after Continue reading >>
Lose Weight By Achieving Optimal Ketosis
Do you want to lose weight? Here’s number 16 of my 18 best tips. All of the published tips can be found on the How to Lose Weight page. Before we get started, here’s a short recap of the tips so far: The first and most crucial piece of advice was to choose a low-carb diet. The next were eating when hungry, eating real food, eating only when hungry, measuring progress wisely, being persistent, avoiding fruit, beer and artificial sweeteners, review your medications, stressing less and sleeping more, eating less dairy and nut products, stocking up on vitamins and minerals, using intermittent fasting and finally, exercising smart. This is number sixteen: 16. Get into optimal ketosis Warning: Not recommended for type 1 diabetics, see below. We’ve now arrived at tip number 16. If you’re still having trouble losing weight, despite following the 15 pieces of advice listed above, it might be a good idea to bring out the heavy artillery: optimal ketosis. Many people stalling at weight plateaus while on a low carb diet have found optimal ketosis helpful. It’s what can melt the fat off once again. So how does this work? A quick run-through: The first tip was to eat low carb. This is because a low-carb diet lowers your levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, allowing your fat deposits to shrink and release their stored energy. This tends to cause you to want to consume less calories than you expend – without hunger – and lose weight. Several of the tips mentioned above are about fine-tuning your diet to better this effect. Video course Do you know exactly how to eat a low-carb and high fat diet (LCHF)? This is required for ketosis. If not the easiest way is watching this high quality 11-minute video course on how to eat LCHF, and the most important things to think a Continue reading >>
How Long Does It Take To Reach Ketosis?
It only takes 1-3 days to get into ketosis. But getting in ketosis is easy, becoming keto-adapted is the tricky part. It usually takes a month to get to the first stage of becoming keto-adapted, and it takes up to 2 years to fully train your body to use ketones fully. The body is always producing at least some small level of ketones. But the ketones themselves really aren't important, it's what their levels signify (fat breakdown). Once the available blood glucose and stored glycogen is used up, the body starts breaking down triacylglycerols (the fat we all hate) to use the resulting fatty acids for energy to get gluconeogenesis going in order to stabilize blood glucose levels. The results from this oxidation of triacylglycerols are ketone bodies. all of these metabolic processes are constantly occurring all at once to some degree, just some way more than others depending on the levels of insulin and other hormones. I just am looking for the specifics like what concentration of glucose is enough to signal the fed-state (when the body stores fat,) and at what rate the body uses the blood glucose it has. The reason a key symptom of untreated diabetes is rapid weight loss is due to them not making the needed insulin. Insulin is one of the key regulators for the fed state, so therefor their body chemically always thinks it is starving, even if there is abundant blood glucose, so it's always breaking down fats for energy to synthesize new glucose from precursors and tearing down muscles for amino acids. Once they take enough insulin, the body can then enter the fed state and start storing fat and rebuilding. So what I want to know is what amount of glucose at any given time is enough to raise insulin to the level needed to signal the body to store fat. I also realize that wi Continue reading >>
The Paleo Guide To Ketosis
Ketosis is a word that gets tossed around a lot within the Paleo community – to some, it’s a magical weight-loss formula, to others, it’s a way of life, and to others it’s just asking for adrenal fatigue. But understanding what ketosis really is (not just what it does), and the physical causes and consequences of a fat-fueled metabolism can help you make an informed decision about the best diet for your particular lifestyle, ketogenic or not. Ketosis is essentially a metabolic state in which the body primarily relies on fat for energy. Biologically, the human body is a very adaptable machine that can run on a variety of different fuels, but on a carb-heavy Western diet, the primary source of energy is glucose. If glucose is available, the body will use it first, since it’s the quickest to metabolize. So on the standard American diet, your metabolism will be primarily geared towards burning carbohydrates (glucose) for fuel. In ketosis, it’s just the opposite: the body primarily relies on ketones, rather than glucose. To understand how this works, it’s important to understand that some organs in the body (especially the brain) require a base amount of glucose to keep functioning. If your brain doesn’t get any glucose, you’ll die. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need glucose in the diet – your body is perfectly capable of meeting its glucose needs during an extended fast, a period of famine, or a long stretch of very minimal carbohydrate intake. There are two different ways to make this happen. First, you could break down the protein in your muscles and use that as fuel for your brain and liver. This isn’t ideal from an evolutionary standpoint though – when you’re experiencing a period of food shortage, you need to be strong and fast, Continue reading >>
8 Ways To Blast Through Low-carb Flu And Dive Into Ketosis
Have you just started a low-carb diet? Do you find yourself feeling exhausted and overcome by tiredness? Perhaps you are thinking that going low-carb wasn’t a good idea after all… You might already know that these symptoms are not uncommon, especially if you are doing low-carb for the first time. Also known as “low carb flu” or “Atkins flu”, this phase is completely normal – although by no means pleasant. This condition occurs when you cut your carb intake sharply, to about 20-30g a day, in order to induce ketosis. What is low-carb flu? Your body is used to running on carbs. It’s been operating this way for decades. Cutting carbs in favour of fat is a huge change for your metabolism. Your body needs some time to adjust to this change. This period of adjustment can sometimes cause flu-like symptoms. Fatigue is the most common one, but you could also get muscle cramps, headaches, dizziness and mental fog. Some of these symptoms are markers of sugar withdrawal. Sugar addiction is real and common, so trying to break away can be difficult. Low-carb flu is not actual flu Please note that “low carb flu” does not include fever or respiratory cold-like symptoms such as coughing or sneezing. If you are experiencing any of these, it means that you might have actually caught an infection! So it would be a good idea to postpone starting your diet until you are all clear. How can you fight tiredness and other symptoms of low-carb flu? First of all, remember that it won’t last forever. Low-carb flu usually lasts around 3-5 days (although could be 1-2 weeks for some unlucky people with high metabolic resistance). Here are some simple tips on making this transition easier. 1) Eat more fat Fat is the key to this whole issue. You must eat lots of it – a lot more th Continue reading >>
How Long Can You Stay In Ketosis Safely?
Are you looking for a diet for weight-loss or fat-loss? If so then you might be interested in ketosis. The question is whether you can stay on it permanently. That’s because it’s critical for any ‘diet” to become part of your everyday life and eating habits. It’s important to first understand what it is all about. It’s a natural state of the human body when it’s fueled almost 100% by body fat. This state takes place during a low-carb or “keto” diet as well as during fasting. It’s important to understand how this process is related to fat loss. The term originates from the fact that the human produce produces tin fuel molecules known as “ketones.” When the body doesn’t have enough blood sugar/glucose it gets energy from this source. The body produces chemicals when it gets a very low supply of carbs and a moderate amount of protein. The liver’s fat produces ketones then the body and brain use it for fuel. The process is especially important for the brain since the organ can only run from glucose/ketones. Medical research shows that early humans probably experienced the state very often. The reason is that hunter-gatherer societies ate a high-meat diet and had less access to carbohydrates than modern humans. As a result human bodies evolved so they could get energy from fat even though it mimicked starvation mode. Today there are various reasons why people use the ketogenic meal plan. Some of the most common ones are to lose weight or control epilepsy. The firm supporters point out the health benefits of the diet but others note that it’s a dangerous “hack” of the body’s regular metabolic system. These are the benefits to this process: Less eating due to no appetite More fat loss from abdominal cavity Lower blood sugar/insulin levels Lo Continue reading >>
Metabolism And Ketosis
Dr. Eades, If the body tends to resort to gluconeogenesis for glucose during a short-term carbohydrate deficit, are those who inconsistently reduce carb intake only messing things up by not effecting full blown ketosis? If the body will still prefer glucose as main energy source unless forced otherwise for at least a few days, is it absolutely necessary to completely transform metabolism for minimal muscle loss? Also, if alcohol is broken down into ketones and acetaldehyde, technically couldn’t you continue to drink during your diet or would the resulting gluconeogenesis inhibition from alcohol lead to blood glucose problems on top of the ketotic metabolism? Would your liver ever just be overwhelmed by all that action? I’m still in high school so hypothetical, of course haha… Sorry, lots of questions but I’m always so curious. Thank you so much for taking the time to inform the public. You’re my hero! P.S. Random question…what’s the difference between beta and gamma hydroxybutyric acids? It’s crazy how simple orientation can be the difference between a ketone and date rape drug…biochem is so cool! P.P.S. You should definitely post the details of that inner mitochondrial membrane transport. I’m curious how much energy expenditure we’re talkin there.. Keep doin your thing! Your Fan, Trey No, I don’t think people are messing up if they don’t get into full-blown ketosis. For short term low-carb dieting, the body turns to glycogen. Gluconeogenesis kicks in fairly quickly, though, and uses dietary protein – assuming there is plenty – before turning to muscle tissue for glucose substrate. And you have the Cori cycle kicking in and all sorts of things to spare muscle, so I wouldn’t worry about it. And you can continue to drink while low-carbing. Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet: Is The Ultimate Low-carb Diet Good For You?
Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is it safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss. What is a ketogenic diet? In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis). Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones. Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. Carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of the typical American diet. One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and Continue reading >>
What Everybody Ought To Know About Ketosis
Recently I wanted to explore the world of Ketosis. I thought I knew a little bit about ketosis, but after doing some research I soon realised how wrong I was. 3 months later, after reading numerous books, listening to countless podcasts and experimenting with various diets I know have a sound understanding of ketosis. This resource is built as a reference guide for those looking to explore the fascinating world of ketosis. It is a resource that I wish I had 3 months ago. As you will soon see, a lot of the content below is not mine, instead I have linked to referenced to experts who have a greater understanding of this topic than I ever will. I hope this helps and if there is something that I have missed please leave a comment below so that I can update this. Also, as this is a rather long document, I have split it into various sections. You can click the headline below to be sent straight to the section that interests you. For those that are really time poor I have created a useful ketosis cheat sheet guide. This guide covers all the essential information you should know about ketosis. It can be downloaded HERE. Alternatively, if you're looking for a natural and sustainable way to improve health and lose weight head to this page - What is Ketosis? What Are The Benefits from being in Ketosis? Isn’t Ketosis Dangerous? Ketoacidosis vs Ketosis What Is The Difference Between a Low Carb Diet and a Ketogenic Diet? Types of Ketosis: The Difference Between Nutritional, Therapeutic & MCT Ketogenic Diets Is The Ketogenic Diet Safe? Long Term Effects Thyroid and Ketosis - What You May Want To Know What is a Typical Diet/Macro Breakdown for a Ketogenic Diet? Do I Need to Eat Carbs? What do I Eat On a Ketogenic Diet? What Do I Avoid Eating on a Ketogenic Diet? Protein Consumption a Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Faq
With all the new people finding, switching, and transitioning into a low carb diet, I figured it was about time I put together an FAQ on all the common questions that are asked when someone is starting out. I don’t go too in depth in the answers, but I tried to give a direct answer and then link to a more in depth article on the topic to help you fully understand it. If you have any other questions you’d like to be added, changed, or are unsure about – please feel free to leave a comment below so I can fully explain, or make changes to the answers on this page. Best wishes, and to all the new people out there – good luck and happy dieting! Frequently Asked Questions Click any of the questions below and it will take you to the answer. How Long Does It Take To Get Into Ketosis? A ketogenic diet is not a diet that you can whimfully choose to go on and off of at any point. It takes time for your body to adjust and go into a state known as ketosis. This process? Anywhere from 2 – 7 days, depending on your body type, activity levels, and what you’re eating. The fastest way to get into ketosis is to exercise on an empty stomach, restrict your carbohydrate intake to 20g or less per day, and be vigilant with your water intake. To improve the rate at which you enter ketosis, there is a method called Fat Fasting. I’ve written an article on Fat Fasting on a Ketogenic Diet and everything involved with it. Make sure that if you use this method, it is only for a few days, otherwise it can bring harm to you. Where Can I Find Low Carb Recipes? Everywhere on the internet! There’s recipes on almost every health website nowadays, and a quick Google of what you want will definitely help you out. You can even convert high carb recipes that use sugar or fruits in them to low c Continue reading >>
‘i Did A Low-carb Diet For 2 Weeks—here’s How Much Weight I Lost’
I've tried my fair share of weird weight-loss strategies, none of which I wind up maintaining long-term because of the crazy restrictions. But in the summer of 2015, my parents started their own journey on the low-carb diet, and after seeing each of them successfully shed some pounds, I decided to give the diet a try for myself and see what kind of low-carb diet results I'd get. Diets that minimize carbs go by many names. Chances are you've heard people refer to the Atkins, South Beach, or Keto (short for "ketogenic") diets. For the purposes of this experiment, I followed the rules laid out by Susan Kleiner, Ph.D, R.D, author of Power Eating, in this article. Since I work out moderately at least three times a week, I planned to consume 100 grams of carbohydrates per day on the plan—and that was the only rule. Considering cheese is naturally low in carbs (and was the hardest thing to give up during my bouts of Paleo and Whole30), I figured I'd finally met my perfect weight-loss match. So, armed with no further restrictions than capping my carb count, I kicked off two full weeks on the diet. Here's what I learned and what my low-carb diet results looked like. I've heard people preach about the wonders of food journals and how helpful they can be, but I always found the idea of writing down every last bite of food I consumed to be overkill. After all, I'm pretty aware of what I'm putting in my body, thankyouverymuch. But during my first day of counting carbs, I realized how helpful it really was to keep track of what I was eating. I kept my daily journal on a Google doc and updated it throughout my day. Not only did it help me keep a daily tally of how many carbs I'd eaten, but it was also a great reference for looking up the number of carbs in foods I eat regularly. Any Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Results | I Lost 30lbs In 6 Weeks
My Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Results Before I talk about the ketogenic diet, I would like to give you a little background about myself. A few years ago I had manage to eat and drink my way up to 280lbs. Even though I have a goofy smile in the picture below, it was a very depressing time in my life. The only thing I was worried about when I got off work was beer and unhealthy foods. I could go to Long John Silver’s and eat eight pieces of fish, eight shrimp, a large box of fries and still look for more food to eat. The last thing on my mind was any type of diet or exercise. I was about 265lbs in the photo below… Uhggg!! Fast forward a few years, I went through a separation and ended up homeless. I decided to quit drinking, start working out and of course, find a job… At the time of this next photo I was about 250lbs and had been sober for two months. I had been working out for about a month, doing a total body workout three days a week. When I would workout, I would do three sets of ten reps per body part. That’s all I remembered from high school when I played football…lol About 250lbs As far as my diet goes, I just did what I was taught in the past about eating healthy. It was basically high carbs, low fats, fruits and veggies. I remembered the old food pyramids back when I was a kid and all I could think of was… “Fat is Bad”… It made sense… Why would I eat fat if I was trying to lose fat? As you notice at the top of the pyramid, Fats and Oils are to be used sparingly. And from looking at the bottom of the pyramid, I can eat all of the bread, rice, cereal and pasta I wanted. So that’s exactly what I did. I was eating tons of bread from sandwiches because most of the deli slices were low fat. I’m talking loads of spaghetti, lasagna, mac and chees Continue reading >>
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How Long Does It Take For The Ketosis Diet To Work?
When it comes to weight loss, everyone wants rapid results. A ketosis diet, better known as a ketogenic diet or low-carb diet, helps you lose weight by forcing your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs, causing you to go into a state of ketosis. The rate of weight loss on a ketosis diet varies, and how long it takes to work depends on how much weight you need to lose, but you may be able to lose more than 12 pounds in a month. Video of the Day Your body's preferred source of fuel is glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates. When fasting, your body undergoes hormonal changes that stimulate the release of fat from your fat cells, where it is transported to the liver and made into ketones, which are then used for energy. The ketogenic diet is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates, which mimics fasting to produce ketones and the state of ketosis. How quickly you get into ketosis varies, but can happen in one to two days. When followed as advised, people on a ketogenic diet for weight loss lose weight and lose it quickly, according to dietitian Juliette Kellow. According to a 2008 study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," men who followed a ketogenic diet for four weeks lost an average of 12 pounds. The men in the study were able to eat fewer calories without feeling hungry or dissatisfied. It's important to note that this was a small, short-term study, and weight loss results may vary. The concern with losing weight too quickly is that you lose muscle and water rather than fat. Most health care professionals recommend a slow rate of weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds a week. Losing water and muscle on a weight-loss diet may zap your energy levels and your motivation, and you may be more likely to regain the weight. While ketogen Continue reading >>
Here's Exactly How I Lost 50 Pounds Doing The Keto Diet
Of all the places to seek life-changing nutrition advice, I never thought the barber shop would be where I found it. But one day last January, after a couple years of saying to myself, "today's the day I make a change," my barber schooled me on something called keto. Normally, I take things he says with a grain of salt unless they're about hair or owning a business, but this guy could literally be on the cover of Men's Health. He's 6 feet tall, conventionally attractive, and his arms are about five pull-ups away from tearing through his t-shirt. If anyone else had implied that I was looking rough, I would've walked out in a fit of rage, but I decided to hear him out. I should clarify that I was out of shape, but my case wasn't that severe. I hadn't exercised in a few years and basically ate whatever I wanted and however much of it, but I was only about 30 to 40 pounds overweight. My barber went on to explain that this diet, paired with an appropriate exercise routine, allowed him to completely transform his body in less than a year, and all he ate was fatty foods. Once he showed me his "before" picture, I was sold. It was time to actually make a change. Short for ketogenic, keto is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet that forces your metabolism into what's called a state of ketosis. There's a much more scientific explanation to that, but it basically means that instead of burning carbohydrates (mainly glucose, or sugars), your body switches to burning fat as a primary source for energy. Keto isn't necessarily about counting calories, though the basic idea of eating less in order to lose weight still applies. This is more of a calculated way to rewire your metabolism so that it burns fat more efficiently over time, using very specific levels of each macronutrient Continue reading >>