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 >>
Why The Ketogenic Diet May Help Fight Diabetes, Cancer
A diet extremely high in fat may not seem like the best way to lose fat. But there’s a growing body of research showing that the high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet is not only good for weight loss, but also may help in preventing disease. The ketogenic diet, or keto, relies on using your fat as fuel, instead of glucose from carbohydrates or protein. Simply put, the daily ketogenic diet consists of 75 percent fat, 20 percent of protein, and a teeny allotment of carbohydrates, about 5 percent. This balance of macronutrients is intended to put your body in a state of ketosis, which suppresses the release of insulin and blood glucose levels. The benefits of ketosis to your health are improvements in biomarkers like blood glucose, reduction of blood pressure and decreased appetite due to fullness linked to consumption of fats. You might think this sounds a lot like the Atkins diet — it’s not. The main difference lies in the protein content of the diet. Atkins tends to be very high in protein, while ketogenic is moderate. Getty Images stock It's not the easiest plan to follow, but the theory of ketosis as a possible prevention against disease is gaining attention from cancer specialists. Tumor immunologist Dr. Patrick Hwu, one of the leading cancer specialists in the U.S., has followed the keto diet for four years, although he prefers to call it the fat-burning metabolism diet, or fat-burning diet. More research is needed to prove its benefits, but Hwu, the head of cancer medicine at MD Anderson in Houston, believes in it after seeing improvements in his own health. Why keto works The body’s first and preferred fuel of choice is glucose — stored as glycogen. Anytime you eat a carbohydrate, be it lentils or licorice, the body turns it into glucose, or sugar. B Continue reading >>
Which High-protein Diet Is Best: Atkins, Dukan, Or Ketogenic?
If you've been on the lookout for a new way to lose weight, you've probably noticed that low-carb, high-protein diets—like Atkins, the ketogenic diet, and the Dukan diet—have become kind of a big deal. Not only did all three make the cut on Google's annual list of most searched diets, but two (Atkins and Dukan) are also on the 2016 US News & World Report's roundup of best weight-loss diets. Each of these diets follow the same basic premise: limiting carbs means the body turns to stored fat for fuel. But is one of these plans more likely to lead to pounds-shedding success? We caught up with Edwina Clark, R.D., head of nutrition and wellness at Yummly, to find out how these three diets compare. "The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet," says Clark. Up to 75 percent of your daily calories come from fat, 5 to 10 percent from carbs, and the rest from protein. By severely limiting carbs to 50 grams or less, this diet forces your bod to burn fat for energy, a process known as ketosis. Unlike the Atkins and Dukan diets, the keto plan doesn't work in phases. Instead, you sustain the low-carb, high-fat, high-protein eating ratios until you reach your goal weight. There is no maintenance plan once you reach your goal. Unsurprisingly, limiting your carb intake this much means missing out on quite a few (delish) foods, including legumes, root vegetables, and most fruits. Starchy veggies, such as squash and sweet potatoes, are also off the table, along with refined carbs. Thanks to carb counting and food restrictions, meal prepping is paramount to following this plan. The rapid weight loss you'll experience at the start of this diet might be helpful in the motivation department, but you're not dropping fat from the get-go, says Clark. "Carbs are stored w Continue reading >>
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Why You Need To Stop Worrying About The Color Of Your Ketostix
Yeah, I know you like to use them, but there are so many misconceptions about what they are telling you, that I need to intervene and make sure you get it. But before I go there, let me urge you to just buy The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, and read pages 164-165. Phinney and Volek have the best description of this that has probably ever been written, and you should really just read it from them. If I could copy these pages verbatim and paste it here, I would. Seriously, it’s only a few bucks and it’s quite literally the book you want to own if you’re interested in low carb ketogenic diets. OK, while you wait for your book to arrive, let’s dig in… What ketostix measure First off, we need to understand what ketostix actually measure, and more importantly, what they don’t. Generally speaking, ketostix measure excess ketones in your urine. They are considered excess, because they are removed from your serum and shunted to your urine by your kidneys. Their caloric content is thereby wasted. Of the three types of ketones (acetate, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate) produced by your body, ketostix only measure acetoacetate. This is extremely important to understand, because it turns out that your body produces different quantities of these different types of ketones depending on how long you’ve been in ketosis. If you’ve been in ketosis for a while, you’re going to see a reduction in the “intensity” of what you register on your ketostix for two reasons: A change in the relative volume of the ketones produced/present in your body A reduction in the volume of ketones in your urine as your kidneys reduce the amount they secrete Both of these are covered below. Changes in the types of ketones you produce When you first start your ketogenic 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 >>
How To Maintain Ketosis
The ketogenic diet is all the rage right now, and more people are learning about the benefits of ketosis on their health and weight loss goals. However, there’s still some confusion around the process itself and the correct ways to maintain ketosis. This information will help you maintain a steady state of ketosis safely and efficiently, no matter your needs. Getting into Ketosis First things first. Before we can maintain ketosis we have to get understand what is ketosis and get into this primal metabolic state. Ketosis occurs when the body has little to no access to carbohydrates, its normal source of fuel, and begins breaking down and burning fat for energy instead. The ketosis process can have many benefits including: Curbed hunger and faster weight loss Improved blood sugar regulation Enhanced cognitive performance Better mental focus Less chance of inflammation Reducing risk for conditions like type II diabetes When the body’s in ketosis, fats are broken down and ketone bodies, or “ketones,” are created for the body to use for energy. Three Main Ways of Maintaining Ketosis Long-term Short-term Cyclical The way you use the ketogenic diet depends on your specific needs, but what’s important is making sure you maintain a state of ketosis during the full time you’re on keto. This is not the same as simple going low-carb, and it requires some extra effort and tracking. However, the results are worth the extra work! Short-Term vs Long-Term Ketosis Just as it sounds, the only difference between short- and long-term ketosis is the amount of time you properly follow the ketogenic diet. The standard version of the ketogenic diet involves eating around 20-50 grams of net carbs per day to keep the body in ketosis, although the exact amount depends on each person. C Continue reading >>
What’s The Deal With Ketostix?
This is a summary/extract from The Ketogenic Diet by Lyle McDonald. Whether correct or not, many ketogenic dieters tend to live or die by the presence of ketones in their urine. The presence of ketosis, which is indicative of lipolysis can be psychologically reassuring […]. However it should be noted that one can be in ketosis, defined as ketones in the bloodstream, without showing urinary ketones. Although up to 100 grams of carbohydrate will allow ketosis to develop, it would be rare to see ketones excreted in the urine at this level of intake. Since the only measure of ketosis available to ketogenic diets are Ketostix ™ carbohydrates must be restricted below this level of ketosis is to be measured. As a general rule of thumb, dietary carbohydrates should be below 30 grams per day for ketosis to be rapidly established and for ketones to be lost in the urine. However, this value varies from person to person and depends on other factors such as protein intake and activity, which allows individuals to consume relatively more carbohydrate without disrupting ketosis. After adaptation to the diet, it appears that individuals can tolerate relatively greater carbohydrate intakes without disrupting ketosis. Although not completely accurate, Ketostix ™ can provide a rough measure of how many carbohydrates can be consumed while still maintaining ketosis. As long as trace ketosis is maintained, carbohydrates can be gradually added to the diet. Since Ketostix ™ only register relative concentrations, rather than absolute amounts, changes in hydration state can affect the concentration of ketones which appear. A high water intake tends to dilute urinary ketone concentrations giving lighter readings. Ketones in the urine simply indicate an overproduction of ketones such that Continue reading >>
The Benefits Of Ketosis
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body begins to break down stored fat and to burn it for energy. As part of this process, your blood level of ketones -- byproducts of fatty acids that have been broken down -- rises sharply. Diets that are extremely low in carbohydrates often induce a state of ketosis. While extreme and prolonged ketosis can be dangerous, mild or moderate ketosis produces some health benefits. Consult your doctor before beginning any ketogenic diet. Video of the Day Ketogenic diets, popularized by New York City cardiologist Robert C. Atkins in the early 1970s, promise quick weight loss to those who steer clear of most carbohydrates in favor of more proteins and healthy fats. Variations on this low-carb diet plan have proliferated in the years since Atkins published his “Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution” in 1972. Adherents to these diets purposely induce a state of moderate ketosis in order to burn off some of their stored fat. A team of U.K. obesity and metabolic health researchers compared the effectiveness of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet with that of a high-protein, medium-carbohydrate nonketogenic diet among a group of 17 obese men. In findings published in the January 2008 issue of “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” researchers reported that the ketogenic diet reduced hunger and lowered overall food intake significantly more than the nonketogenic diet. The use of ketogenic diets for the symptomatic treatment of epilepsy predates the use of these diets for weight loss, dating back to the early 20th century. Although researchers still don’t fully understand the mechanisms involved, scientists believe the ketones provide a more efficient fuel for the brain and offer an increased degree of protection against da Continue reading >>
Can You Be In Ketosis And Not Lose Weight?
Are you in ketosis, but not losing weight? This phenomenon is far more common than you think. What you might not know is that insulin is not necessary to store body fat. That's a myth. The body has a back up system to store excess energy even when carbs are very low. However, the situation isn't hopeless. It just requires you to embrace your individuality. If you're stuck, and your weight won't budge, here's what you can do to get the scale moving again. In 1972, Dr. Atkins introduced the world to the concept of carbohydrate sensitivity. He talked about the damage that excessive carbohydrates can do to your metabolism, suggested that overweight and obesity was caused from a metabolic defect, and played up the necessity of being in the state of ketosis to achieve effective weight loss. Since then, many low-carb dieters have mistakenly thought that the number of ketones that have backed up in the bloodstream is what makes the diet work. It doesn't. This strong misconception -- that ketones are vital to the fat loss process -- has caused a lot of confusion. While being in ketosis is essential to initially trigger the metabolic changes needed to switch from predominantly burning glucose to predominantly burning fats for fuel, you can certainly be in ketosis but not lose weight. And here's why: [Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you decide to buy something by using one of those links, I might receive a small financial compensation, at no cost to you.] What to Do if Low Carb Doesn't Work If your metabolism is average, you lost a decent amount of weight during the first two or three weeks, but then suddenly, weight loss slowed down. For some people, weight loss completely stopped. For others, you might have gained some of that initial water loss back. The Continue reading >>
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The Ketogenic Diet 101: A Detailed Beginner's Guide
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. Over 20 studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve health (1). Ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease (2, 3, 4, 5). This article is a detailed beginner's guide to the ketogenic diet. It contains everything you need to know. The ketogenic diet (often termed keto) is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain (6, 7). Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has numerous health benefits (6, 8, 9, 10, 11). The ketogenic diet (keto) is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones. There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including: Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs (1). Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days. Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts. High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Vs. Low-carb Diet: A Personal Choice
Ketogenic diets (aka keto diets, nutritional ketosis or NK) are currently all the rage, and for good reason. As I wrote in a previous post a few weeks ago, very-low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets (VLCKDs) are extremely effective for weight loss and diabetes, among other things. There's also emerging evidence suggesting they may be beneficial for certain cancers and neurological conditions like Parkinson's disease and ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Having previously worked in a clinical setting with several patients who had the misfortune of contracting these diseases, I find it very encouraging that following a ketogenic might offer some improvement for them, as well as others in the same boat. I follow a VLCKD and receive a lot of great feedback from others who have also experienced overwhelmingly positive results with this way of eating. I love hearing these success stories, so please keep them coming. However, one reader named Michelle had this to say in the comments section of my recent article: "I don't do well on a very low carb diet; I have to have around 50-70 g's of carbs a day to feel well and function. I guess this is still low carb when compared to the standard diet, but find so much prejudice against me because people say 'If you just stuck to eating VLC you would eventually lose weight and feel better'. This just is not the case with me. I've adapted the LC diet for me and I feel great and I am losing weight steadily. Please folks, stop thinking that one size fits all, it does not! Great site. Thank you for all your efforts." I was disappointed to hear that this woman -- who is most definitely following a low-carb diet and having success doing so -- feels that others are judging her for not restricting carbs to ketogenic levels (generally defined Continue reading >>
Tweet Ketosis is a state the body may find itself in either as a result of raised blood glucose levels or as a part of low carb dieting. Low levels of ketosis is perfectly normal. However, high levels of ketosis in the short term can be serious and the long term effects of regular moderate ketosis are only partially known at the moment. What is ketosis? Ketosis is a state the body goes into if it needs to break down body fat for energy. The state is marked by raised levels of ketones in the blood which can be used by the body as fuel. Ketones which are not used for fuel are excreted out of the body via the kidneys and the urine. Is ketosis the same as ketoacidosis? There is often confusion as to the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Ketosis is the state whereby the body is producing ketones. In ketosis, the level of ketones in the blood can be anything between normal to very high. Diabetic ketoacidosis, also known as DKA, only describes the state in which the level of ketones is either high or very high. In ketoacidosis, the amount of ketones in the blood is sufficient to turn the blood acidic, which is a dangerous medical state. When does ketosis occur? Ketosis will take place when the body needs energy and there is not sufficient glucose available for the body. This can typically happen when the body is lacking insulin and blood glucose levels become high. Other causes can be the result of being on a low carb diet. A low level of carbohydrate will lead to low levels of insulin, and therefore the body will produce ketones which do not rely on insulin to get into and fuel the body’s cells. A further cause of ketosis, less relevant to people with diabetes, is a result of excessive alcohol consumption. Is ketosis dangerous? The NHS describes ketosis as a pote Continue reading >>
Cyclic Ketogenic Diet
A cyclic ketogenic diet (or carb-cycling) is a low-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption. This is a form of the general ketogenic diet that is used as a way to maximize fat loss while maintaining the ability to perform high-intensity exercise. A ketogenic diet limits the number of grams of carbohydrate the dieter may eat, which may be anywhere between 0 and 50g per day. The remainder of the caloric intake must come primarily from fat sources, as well as protein sources, in order to maintain ketosis. (Ketosis is the condition in which the body burns fats and uses ketones instead of glucose for fuel.) The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet can be complex, as it requires the dieters to closely watch the number of carbohydrate grams they eat during the intermittent period that they are not maintaining a strictly low carb/moderate protein diet. When following a low carbohydrate diet, for the first few days, there is an adaptation period during which most people report feeling run-down or tired. Some people report feeling irritable, out of sorts, and unable to make decisions. For most people these feelings disappear after the adaptation period, however, and are replaced with feelings of calm and balance, and more consistent energy. Although most people report a waning of cravings while in ketosis, some people may crave carbohydrates during ketosis for psychological reasons. During a hypocaloric ketogenic diet, the carb cravings may combine with hunger pangs, making matters worse. (However, it is noteworthy that most people report having no hunger pangs on a ketogenic diet, due to its higher fat and protein contents, which help to increase a sense of fullness). A CKD offers a way to combat this. It offers a cyclical "refeed" Continue reading >>
Ask Allison: What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
Q: What is a Ketogenic/Keto diet? A: A ketogenic (keto) diet is a very high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet. It has many medical benefits for children with epilepsy, and some people follow a keto diet for its potential weight loss benefits. A keto diet results in ketosis—a state in which ketones, formed from fatty acids, are burned as the main energy source by the body and brain rather than glucose (glucose, or blood sugar, is the broken down, usable from of carbohydrates). Q: What is ketosis? A: Ketosis is the result of a ketogenic diet in which the body produces ketones for fuel instead of using glucose. While in ketosis the body switches to fat for almost all energy needs. Q: What are ketones? A: Ketones are an alternative fuel to blood sugar (glucose) for the body. There are three different ketones (or “ketone bodies”) used by the body for fuel (acetone, acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate). Ketones are produced in the liver from fat as a byproduct formed during the conversion of fatty acids to fuel. Q: What do you eat on a ketogenic diet? A: Someone following a ketogenic diet will consume moderate amounts of protein, high amounts of fat, and very low amounts carbohydrates (less than 50g/day); a rough macronutrient ratio would be 15-25% protein, 70%+ fat, and 10% carbs. This usually includes natural fats (butter, olive oil), meat, seafood, eggs, cheese, and primarily green vegetables. People on a keto diet will avoid sweet, sugary, and starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta, rice, and bread. Q: What’s the difference between keto and low carb? A: They are very similar; in most low carb diets, however protein is not restricted whereas for a keto diet protein is restricted to moderate amounts. Additionally, many low carb diets don’t require the majorit Continue reading >>
Mild To Moderate Ketosis. . . Now What?
Okay, I've been reading paleohacks for months now but have never asked a question. . . so bear with me please. I am female, 27, 5'6", 128 pounds & do Crossfit 3x/wk as well as some walking/sprinting on my off days from Crossfit. I deadlift 255, squat 165, press 90 & power snatch 75-80. I reliably get two rest days a week, always get 8-9 hours of sleep per night & take 6-9000mg of fish oil per day. I started eating Paleo last fall & did it probably 65-70%. I saw a loss of 10 lbs while gaining strength. Then did a 40 day strict Paleo challenge starting in March & have stuck with it ever. I do have the occasional (once every two weeks or so), conscious cheat of something dessert-ish, usually ooy-gooey chocolately goodness or cheesecake. My goals are SO close & I just need some direction as to what I can do to push myself over the edge. 1 Worst Carb After Age 50 If you're over 50 and you eat this carb, you will never lose belly fat. HealthPlus50 I don't really have a specific body weight goal, I just want to shed enough body fat to have more visible muscles, specifically in the stomach area. I have a persistent layer of fat covering my abs that I'd like to shed, to prove to myself that I can do it & then evaluate just how hard it is to maintain. In the past week I've gone completely sugar free & higher fat & am now in mild to moderate ketosis. So all of that to say. . . what now? Do I decrease my overall calorie intake to promote fat burning? Up the exercise? Sleep more? Do some IF? I'm just not sure what is the best course of action here. I don't want to lose strength, just fat. I'm looking forward to the wealth of knowledge here at paleohacks pointing me in the right direction. Continue reading >>