What Are The Optimal Ketone Levels For A Ketogenic Diet?
If you’ve just started a ketogenic diet, then you’ll know that it can be really tough to figure out if you’re doing keto right. Am I eating too many carbs? Too much protein? Should I still be feeling tired? When is the fat burning supposed to start? It’s confusing, and one of the most confusing aspects is what your optimal ketone levels are supposed to be. Unlike most other diets, the ketogenic diet is designed to put your body into a state of ketosis in order to get your body to start burning ketones instead of the glucose that it usually burns when you eat a high carb standard American diet (SAD). But to know whether you’re in ketosis and whether your body has enough ketones circulating for you to use as energy instead of glucose, you have to measure your actual ketone levels and then determine whether they’re high enough for you to be reaping the benefits of the ketogenic diet. If you’ve tried searching for this information already, then you’ll know that there’s some controversy depending on which expert you follow. So in this article, we’ll tell you exactly what the different experts are suggesting are the optimal ketone levels as well as give you recommendations for what ketone levels you should be aiming for depending on your goals with a ketogenic diet. A Few Quick Notes Before We Start… If you’re looking for signs other than testing your actual body ketone levels as to whether you’re in ketosis or not, then please check out this article instead that provides you with signs you’re in ketosis. If you’re a type 1 diabetic, then this article is not for you and the optimal ketone levels suggested below are not applicable to you. Please check out the tons of other ketone level articles on the web to ensure your ketone levels do not reach Continue reading >>
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What Is Ketosis?
"Ketosis" is a word you'll probably see when you're looking for information on diabetes or weight loss. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? That depends. 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 and during pregnancy. For people with uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a sign of not using enough insulin. Ketosis can become dangerous when ketones build up. High levels lead to dehydration and change the chemical balance of your blood. 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 don't have diabetes and aren't pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That's about 3 slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can start ketosis by fasting, too. Doctors may put children who have epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, very low-carb and protein plan, because it might help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat modified Atkins diets. Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show sp Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Dieting 101: How To Use Fat As Fuel
Eating fat to burn fat sounds contradictory, if not nuts, right? The world is full of people who are fat because of high-fat diets, so why would a fit person want to follow suit? I'm not talking about stuffing your face full of peanut butter cups. I'm talking about following a ketogenic diet—or, put simply, a high-fat, moderate-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diet designed to make the body burn fat for fuel. Bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and researchers alike have found that such diets are an effective fat-loss tool. In fact, studies have shown that ketogenic diets induce numerous favorable metabolic and physiological changes, including weight loss, less oxidative stress, improved body composition, reduced inflammation, and increased insulin sensitivity.[1-4] That being said, what does the science surrounding ketogenic diets have to say about individuals looking to run faster or farther, jump higher, or improve other aspects of sports performance? Shouldn't athletes be swilling Gatorade before, during, and after their events instead of adopting a high-fat, restricted-carbohydrate diet? Not necessarily. Ketogenic diets have become increasingly popular among athletes ranging from Olympic competitors to endurance runners, with good reason. Let's take a closer look at the science. What Exactly Is A Ketogenic Diet, Anyway? Ketogenic diets are very high-fat, moderate-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets. The exact breakdown of the diet varies between individuals, but a general profile may reflect 70-75 percent fat, 15-20 percent protein, and only 5-10 percent carbohydrate. So, you're probably thinking, all I need to do then is watch out for the carbs, right? Not exactly. Ketogenic diets are not the same as high-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets. I often hear Continue reading >>
Is A Ketogenic Diet Really More Effective For Fat Loss?
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study last week to investigate claims that a ketogenic diet can facilitate greater fat loss than diets relatively higher in carbohydrate. Commonly known as “keto”, a ketogenic diet is a diet typically characterized by a 4:1 ratio of dietary fat to protein and carbohydrate and was originally used in the treatment of childhood epilepsy. It has been theorized that keto diets facilitate greater fat loss in humans as an absence of dietary carbohydrate forces the body to oxidize fat as its primary energy source. Taubes and colleagues set out to test this theory. Their study was conducted over eight weeks in a research facility known as a metabolic ward. Seventeen overweight or obese volunteers participated, with no opportunity to eat foods outside of the diets of the study. For the first four weeks, the subjects were fed a high-carbohydrate, high-sugar diet. Fifty percent of their total calories came from carbohydrate (338g per day), and 25% of their total calories came from sugar. The HCD diet totaled 2,739 calories per day. For the second four weeks, they were fed a very-low-carbohydrate, low-sugar ketogenic diet. Five percent of their total calories came from carbohydrate (36g per day), and 2% of their total calories came from sugar. 15% percent of the calories came from protein. The keto diet totaled 2,738 calories per day. Note that the caloric intakes were kept close to identical, meaning fat loss could only be attributed to the source of the food rather than its caloric content. The volunteers spent two days a week inside metabolic chambers, where their calorie expenditure was measured. Once every two weeks, their body composition was measured via a DEXA scan. The researchers also used doubly labeled water to m Continue reading >>
How To Lose Stubborn Belly Fat Through Ketosis
Losing stubborn belly fat is one of the biggest challenges when getting in shape. Belly fat is not only aesthetically unappealing, it has health consequences. It can make you vulnerable to many conditions such as diabetes and heart problems. In this blog, we will share with you why belly fat is so ‘stubborn’ to burn, explain what exactly is Ketosis and how you can lose stubborn belly fat through Ketosis. We will also share a specific exercise and a diet plan to help burn this belly fat. What is Stubborn Belly fat and why it is bad for our health? While you may have fat all over different parts of your body, it isn’t the same. Stubborn belly fat is the soft layers of fat around the waistline that covers your abs. To be more precise, there are three types of fat: Triglycerides– A fat circulates in your blood Subcutaneous Fat– The layer of fat directly below the skin’s surface. This is the fat you can grab with your hands Visceral Fat– The dangerous fat. This is located beneath the muscles in your stomach Belly fat unfortunately does not just sit still. Some visceral fat is necessary, but too much can lead to health problems. You can estimate whether you are carrying too much belly fat by measuring your waist with tape. Anything over 80 cm (31.5 inches) in women and 94 cm (37 inches) can provoke health issues. Carrying excess visceral fat is associated with an increased risk for: Coronary heart disease Cancer Stroke Dementia Diabetes Depression Arthritis Obesity Sexual dysfunction Sleep disorders Why is Stubborn belly fat so “Stubborn”? To understand what makes belly fat so difficult to burn,let’s dive into the biology. Burning fat is a two-part process: Lipolysis is the process whereby fat cells release molecules of stored fat into the blood. Oxidation Continue reading >>
Keto Diet Science: How Your Body Burns Fat
By now, you’ve probably heard about the keto diet. You've probably heard that it all but bans carbs and sugars, or that it's been clinically shown to reduce epileptic seizures in kids, or even that it helps people condition their bodies to burn fat. As we detailed in our recent feature on the keto diet, all of those things are true. But as any bodybuilder knows, you don't need to be on the keto diet to burn fat. Heck, you can do it with a focused meal and exercise plan. So we've been wondering: When your body "burns fat" for energy, what's really going on there? How exactly does the keto diet work? And why the hell is it called the "keto" diet, anyway? Play Video Play Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% Remaining Time -0:00 This is a modal window. Foreground --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Opaque Background --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Transparent Transparent Window --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Transparent Transparent Font Size 50% 75% 100% 125% 150% 175% 200% 300% 400% Text Edge Style None Raised Depressed Uniform Dropshadow Font Family Default Monospace Serif Proportional Serif Monospace Sans-Serif Proportional Sans-Serif Casual Script Small Caps Defaults Done Well strap some protective boxing headgear over those thinking caps, bros, because we’re about to roundhouse kick you in the brain with some KNOWLEDGE. (For a detailed breakdown of the chemistry at work, be sure to check out our references: this explainer on ketone bodies from the University of Waterloo, and this ketosis explainer from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology [PDF], plus our feature on the keto diet from the July/August issue of Men's Fitness.) Why does the body go into fat-burning mode? For most pe Continue reading >>
Can You Burn Fat Without Being In Ketosis?
When you're trying to lose weight, what you really want is to lose fat while preserving your lean muscle mass. Ketosis occurs when the body burns fat at a high rate. Lowering your carbohydrate intake gets you into the fat-burning zone, but you don't necessarily have to be in ketosis to achieve this goal. Video of the Day Ketosis means that your body is burning fat at high enough rates that you have a lot of ketone bodies, waste compounds produced during the burning of fat. These ketone bodies can also be burned for energy by your brain and most of your other body cells. To have ketone levels high enough to be detectable, you need to keep your carbohydrate intake lower than 50 grams per day, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. If you are in ketosis, which can be verified by using urine ketone strips, you can be 100 percent sure that your body is in fat-burning mode. During a study published in 2005 in the "Journal of the American Medical Association," researchers compared different diet plans, finding that people can lose fat without being in ketosis. If your carb intake is too high, your body prioritizes burning these carbs first. You can promote fat burning by decreasing your carbohydrate intake, but you don't necessarily need to go as low as required to be in ketosis. Restrict your carbs slightly to help your body switch into fat-burning mode more easily. You can burn fat even if you're not producing ketones as long as you create a calorie deficit. In other words, if you eat slightly less than your body needs, your body must gain energy from somewhere else, such as the fat in your love handles. To burn more fat, cut down on your portion sizes, especially of carbohydrate-rich foods such as sweets, soft drinks, bread, pasta, rice an Continue reading >>
How To Become A Fat-burning Machine With The Ketogenic Diet
Perhaps the most immediate and dramatic benefit of ketogenic eating is the opportunity for quick and efficient reduction of excess body fat. This also means easy, long-term maintenance of your ideal body composition. Ketogenic eating can make you an efficient fat-burning machine. When you are in full-blown keto, you enjoy complete dietary satisfaction, rarely feel hungry (even if you skip meals!), and never have to struggle, suffer, restrict calories, or force strenuous workouts in order to burn extra calories. Instead, you allow your body to naturally calibrate you to a healthy composition and weight. The scientists, medical professionals, and athletes on the ground floor of the keto movement can barely contain their excitement over its power to reliably reduce excess body fat, enhance neurological function, protect against diseases of cognitive decline, and slow the rate of inflammation and oxidative damage that are the essence of the (accelerated) aging process. Research has suggested it's also able to help prevent seizures, halt the growth of cancerous tumors, and improve athletic performance for all types of athletes.1 In essence, ketogenic eating allows you to benefit from the extraordinary (and scientifically validated) metabolic efficiency, general health, and longevity benefits of fasting—without having to starve yourself. When you're starving, engaging in a purposeful fast, or adhering to a nutritional ketosis eating pattern, your cells prefer to burn fat and produce ketones. Ketones burn efficiently and quickly in the body. In fact, they have been the preferred human fuels in our body for 2.5 million years of our hunter-gatherer existence.2 On the other hand, the high-carb, high-insulin-producing Standard American Diet (SAD) causes you to burn glucose (also 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 >>
Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 2: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.
In Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 1 you discovered how eating a high fat diet doesn’t make you fat, and may actually increase the amount of fat you burn as fuel at both rest and during exercise, allow you to exercise or function for longer periods of time while eating relatively few calories, massively improve your health and not limit performance in the least. But much of that information is theoretical, and not grounded in hard, sweaty numbers. Sure, there are videos such as this that suggest high-fat diets and ketosis-adapted performance can aid with things such as fat loss and high-altitude resilience, but there is scant data related to the pointy end of human performance potential. However, what if we could actually prove that eating a low-carb, high-fat diet for a long time, becoming fat-adapted and even avoiding carbohydrates during the one time when we’re most encouraged to consume carbohydrates (during exercise)… …could actually turn you into a fat-burning machine without losing a shred of performance capability or causing any metabolic damage? That, my friends, would rewrite the fat-burning textbooks. Let’s find out if it can be done… ——————————————– Enter The Exercise Nerds: The FASTER study at the UCONN Human Performance Laboratory As you’ve already learned – from controlling cancer to reducing your waistline to biohacking your brain – a high fat and low carb diet has been shown to massively enhance health, energy levels, and focus while reducing risk of disease. But what does a high-fat diet do to the body when you’re exercising? Does it actually cause you to burn more fat as fuel? Does it mess up your gut? Does it drain precious muscle and liver energy stores? And most importantly: can you turn Continue reading >>
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When You Are In Ketosis Are You Burning Fat Rather Than Muscle?
Ketosis is when your body is preferentially burning ketones for fuel, instead of sugars. This state should not be confused with diabetic ketosis or keto-acidosis. Ketones are produced when your body is burning fat instead of glycogen. Glycogen, or sugar, is what is referred to as your body's "preferred" fuel, but your body will burn ketones when there is not enough glycogen to meet your metabolic demands. Consult your physician before beginning any dietary program. Video of the Day Burning muscle can occur, usually when your protein intake is not high enough, which can be a problem with some radical diets. The body needs 10 essential amino acids, and if you are not getting them in your diet, your body will scavenge muscle tissue for them. This can also occur when you are just not getting enough calories in general, and your body converts amino acids into glycogen for use. This process is known as de novo gluconeogenesis. The easiest way to avoid this is to simply eat more protein. Remaining in ketosis and avoiding muscle loss requires a balance of nutrient intake. If you take in too much protein, such as possibly more than 30 to 40 percent of your total caloric intake, the excess will probably be converted to glycogen, and your body will no longer be in ketosis. This occurs because it is easier for you to burn carbs than it is to burn ketones, and your body will expend as little energy as possible. So ensure your protein intake is sufficient, but do not get too much. The remainder of your caloric intake needs to come from fat. And if you are active, remember, you will need more protein than your sedentary counterparts, according to Dr. Peter Lemon of the University of Western Ontario. As soon as you consume any significant amount of non-fibrous carbohydrates, such as si Continue reading >>
How To Burn Stored Body Fat — A Ketosis Primer
“So, how do you tell your body to start burning stored body fat?” my friend and fellow mother asked. “Cut the carbs,” answered another mom. “I go into ketosis just about every afternoon.” “Ketosis? Isn’t that bad for you?” The short answer? No. I talk to a lot of people who want to lose weight. They try all sorts of things — exercise, calorie restriction, you name it. Sometimes, they lose the weight. Inevitably, they gain it back. That’s because what they’re doing is going on a diet — a temporary fix at best. What they need is a lifestyle change, a perspective shift, a new paradigm. Of course, you all know the paradigm I espouse — a conversion to eating real, traditional foods. Yet even a conversion to eating real food won’t necessarily help the pounds melt away. If you’re still eating 200 grams of carbohydrates a day — even if they’re “traditional” carbohydrates like sprouted or soaked grains, unrefined sweeteners, etc, you’re not going to lose weight without making some serious changes. If your body is regularly storing body fat (you gain a little bit of weight each year), then something is wrong with how your body metabolizes food. Let me introduce you to a new concept: the body fat setpoint. The body fat setpoint is the mass of body fat that your body attempts to defend against changes in either direction. It’s your body’s attempt to maintain homeostasis. This is why if you exercise more, you eat more. It’s also why if you restrict calories, your metabolism slows down to compensate. Why should you care about the body fat setpoint? From Stephan at Whole Health Source: We care because this has some very important implications for human obesity. With such a powerful system in place to keep body fat mass in a narrow range, Continue reading >>
Silicon Valley's Favorite Diet Has Techies Eating Lots Of Fat
Geoffrey Woo, left, is one of Silicon Valley's biohackers — those who experiment with diet and medical devices in a DIY approach to biology.Melia Robinson/Business Insider Geoffrey Woo likes to start the day with a plate of eggs, cheese, and avocado. It might not sound as if Woo — cofounder and CEO of "cognitive enhancement" supplements startup Nootrobox — is dieting. But he subscribes to an increasingly popular diet — the ketosis or "keto" diet — that he hopes will help him live longer and better. It has especially gained traction among Silicon Valley's biohackers, who often experiment with diet and medical devices in a DIY approach to biology. The high-fat, low-carb diet turns the body into a fat-burning machine. When you turn off access to glucose, a primary fuel source derived from eating carbohydrates, the body taps into its own fat stores for energy. Here's why health nuts, from Silicon Valley to fashion runways, are saying yes to fat. The keto diet has been called the "holy grail of good health and weight loss" by some doctors and bloggers. Melia Robinson/Business Insider Sources: Nootrobox, GreenMedInfo.com On the flip side, it's a nutritionist's nightmare, according to Scientific American. The keto diet completely reorganizes the building blocks of the food pyramid as outlined by the USDA. A strict keto diet cuts back carb consumption to 20 or 30 grams a day, which is about the number of carbohydrates in one small apple. Source: Time On the keto plan, it's all about healthy fats. "You'd want healthy fats to account for about 80% of your calories, and protein around 20%," Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University, told Time. By comparison, Americans, on average, get about 50% of their calories from carbs, 15% from p Continue reading >>
Burn Fat With A Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet What is a cyclical ketogenic diet and how does it help one burn fat? By the way, what even constitutes an optimal physique? This is different based on each individual’s unique genetic potential but researchers would agree that we should have a moderate to thin structure and good muscular development. While many have sought after a thin physique, the mantra of the 21st century is that strong is the new thin! We want to have a good body fat percentage (6-15% for men and 15-30% for women) and have developed well-toned musculature. This article discusses how to build muscle and burn fat with a cyclical ketogenic diet Ketogenic Diet and Fat Metabolism: A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the bodies metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This nutrition plan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. This leads to improved muscle development and fat metabolism (1, 2). The ketogenic diet is built around good fats such as grass-fed butter, coconut products, avocados, nuts/seeds, pasture-raised animal products and extra-virgin olive oil. This diet should also focus on low-carbohydrate fruits, vegetables and herbs as staple components. The fat levels will be between 60-80% of calorie intake. How Ketones Are Formed? The body has two major energy sources, it burns glucose or ketone bodies. The majority of people burn glucose primarily because they are constantly supplying a steady form of sugar, starches and proteins that can be turned into blood sugar. When one either fasts or goes on a low-carb, moderate protein and high fat diet they switch their energy source to fat. In particular, the fatty acids are broken down into keto Continue reading >>
Can Eating Fat Help You Lose Weight? Let’s Look At The Ketogenic Diet.
Fat makes your meals more palatable and helps you feel full, so it’s no wonder the high-fat ketogenic diet is increasing in popularity. The diet has been trending for the past three years, as “keto” blogs and cookbooks continue to pop up and build an impressive fan base. This diet has been used under close supervision by physicians and dietitians since the 1920s for treating epilepsy and has shown promise in managing brain cancer. But is it useful and healthy as a strategy for weight loss? First, the basics: On the ketogenic diet, at least 70 percent of your daily calories come from fat. Five to 10 percent of your calories come from carbohydrates (20 to 50 grams a day). The rest, up to 25 percent of your daily energy, comes from protein. By contrast, the healthy diet recommended by the Institute of Medicine is 45 to 65 percent carbs, 20 to 35 percent fat and 10 to 35 percent protein. The ketogenic diet’s low-carb target can be met only by avoiding grains, dairy products, fruit, and legumes such as chickpeas and lentils. Starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash are out, and even amounts of lower-carb vegetables are limited. So what’s left to eat? Typically, eggs cooked in butter for breakfast; for lunch and dinner, meat, chicken or fish with salad or green vegetables and plenty of oily dressing. Sorry folks, no alcohol on this diet. Even red wine is out. The ketogenic diet gets its name from a process called ketosis. Ketosis happens when your body doesn’t have enough energy from glucose (carbohydrates), so it adapts by using stored fat for energy. The result? Weight loss. Does the ketogenic diet lead to faster or more sustainable weight loss than other diets? The research to date suggests that initial weight loss on the keto diet is impressive but Continue reading >>