Ketosis – Advantaged Or Misunderstood State? (part I)
As The Eating Academy approaches its first birthday in about a month, I figured it was as good a time as any to put together some thoughts on a subject I get asked about with great frequency. (For those wondering when I’ll get to Part X of The Straight Dope on Cholesterol, the answer is, “hopefully before the end of the year.”) A few months ago I was planning a post along the lines of “the 10 things you need to know about ketosis,” but I’m now thinking that might be putting the proverbial cart before the horse. So, let’s start with a more fundamental set of questions. In part I of this post I will see to it (assuming you read it) that you’ll know more about ketosis than just about anyone, including your doctor or the majority of “experts” out there writing about this topic. Before we begin, a disclaimer in order: If you want to actually understand this topic, you must invest the time and mental energy to do so. You really have to get into the details. Obviously, I love the details and probably read 5 or 6 scientific papers every week on this topic (and others). I don’t expect the casual reader to want to do this, and I view it as my role to synthesize this information and present it to you. But this is not a bumper-sticker issue. I know it’s trendy to make blanket statements – ketosis is “unnatural,” for example, or ketosis is “superior” – but such statements mean nothing if you don’t understand the biochemistry and evolution of our species. So, let’s agree to let the unsubstantiated statements and bumper stickers reside in the world of political debates and opinion-based discussions. For this reason, I’ve deliberately broken this post down and only included this content (i.e., background) for Part I. What is ketosis? Ketosis is Continue reading >>
Nutritional Ketosis, Part I – The State Of Being A Superman
If you regularly follow articles on health and nutrition, you have undoubtedly heard about ketosis. In the last several years, the interest around ketogenic diets has been rising constantly, with more and more studies done and data available to critically assess their effectiveness. When people hear the word “diet”, the first objective they associate it with is losing weight. But ketogenic diets are more than just methods of weight-control. They have profound therapeutic effects on certain medical conditions and, generally, represent an evolutionary advantage that has allowed our species to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, with typical dietary choices of today – driven largely by clever marketing messages and hidden agendas of large food corporations trying to convince you that eating their stuff is the best thing you can do and you should really ignore any potential health implications – ketosis has become a forgotten skill. Which, in the era of overwhelming proliferation of metabolic disorders and other debilitating diseases, puts those who do not consider following at least some form of a ketogenic diet at higher risk. This article is an attempt to change the current state of affairs. Ketosis is a vitally important metabolic state – and knowing when and how to use it is something that you definitely want to do if you care about your physical and cognitive performance. So, let’s take a closer look at what ketosis is and why you might be interested in it. Your body constantly requires energy. Every single little process in every cell needs fuel– even when you seem to be doing absolutely nothing. You need energy not only to move your body by contracting your muscles, but also for cell division, maintaining heartbeat, digestion and, most importantly – b Continue reading >>
Video: What Eating “high-fat” Or “keto” Does To Your Blood Sugar
What happens to your blood sugar when you eat fat? The steps you need to stabilize your blood sugar and increase your fat-burning hormones (by following a Fat Fueled, keto eating style). Up until I found keto (high-fat, low-carb living) I was in the “eat every 2-3 hours in order to control blood sugar” camp. What I didn’t know, was that the constant eating; generally of carbohydrates, was exactly what was causing my blood sugar irregularities – constant “hangry” feelings, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, and more. After a couple of weeks of eating Fat Fueled, keto, I no longer struggled with hypoglycemia. It was as if my sugar lows just… disappeared. And I’m not the only one that’s experienced massive changes to blood sugar shortly after shifting to a Fat Fueled, keto life. I invited Dietitian Cassie on the show today to help explain exactly what happens to our blood sugar when we eat fat – the ins and outs of insulin resistance, actions that affect blood sugar, how to use carb-ups to heal insulin resistance and much more. Today’s keto video encourages us to use dietary fat as our ally, to rely on it to support balanced blood sugar, thriving hormones and a healthy body. For video transcription, scroll down. Highlights… What foods affect blood sugar How dietary fat affects your blood sugar If combining carbohydrates and fat is a good thing How fat cells are created How to get into fat-burning mode Signs and symptoms of insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity How cortisol (and a poor sleep) affects your blood sugar How carb cycling and carb refeeding can help bust through insulin resistance How to heal yourself from insulin resistance Resources… Watch the video: When to know it’s time to carb-up (and how to do it) Step-by-step guide on goin Continue reading >>
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 >>
Monitoring Ketone And Blood Glucose Levels On A Low Carb Diet
By Mary T. Newport M.D. While it is not necessary to measure ketone levels, many people who make the change to a low carb, ketogenic diet and/or use ketone salts would like to have some positive proof that their ketone levels are, in fact, elevated. When transitioning from a higher carb to a low carb, ketogenic type diet, it can take several days to begin to see an increase in ketone levels and the ketone level may continue to rise for two or three weeks before it levels off. The ketone level can fluctuate somewhat throughout the day and can vary considerably from person to person. Using ketone salts, such as Prüvit KETO//OS® or KETO//OS Max, as a supplement can give you a jump start on getting into ketosis and increase ketone levels within 30 to 60 minutes of taking the product. Using coconut oil and MCT oil as part of the diet can help increase and sustain ketone levels as well. There are several ways available to measure ketone levels in urine, blood or by using a breath analyzer. When blood levels of ketones become elevated, the excess ketones will filter out of the blood into the urine. Urine ketone test strips were originally developed for diabetics to help determine if they are going into diabetic ketoacidosis when the blood sugar is elevated. There are a number of companies that sell urine test strips that change color when ketone levels are elevated – usually the deeper the color, the higher the ketone level. This will not tell you what your actual blood ketone level is but can give you a rough idea of whether you are in ketosis or not. However, one of the drawbacks to using urine test strips is that they only measure the ketone acetoacetate and not beta-hydroxybutyrate, which tends to be much more elevated than acetoacetate during ketosis. Also, Prüvit ke Continue reading >>
How To Measure Ketones And Optimize Ketogenic Diets
The problem with diets is that we think that one diet should be good for everyone. But research and N=1 experiments show that’s not the case. Learn about measuring ketones and ketosis to understand how your low carb or high fat diet is really affecting you. If there is one area of our bodies that is debated to extremes, with literally hundreds of differing strong opinions on it, it’s nutrition. For many, beliefs about nutrition and diet are tribal. We put ourselves in different camps and we war agains the other camps. Whether it be paleo, low fat, low carb, Atkins, high fat, low protein, vegan, raw vegan and so on. It’s exactly this sort of area where I see data as essential. Without data we have no hope of cutting through the maze of opinions to get to what really works. Part of the problem with nutrition and diets is that we tend to think that one diet should be good for everyone. But increasingly, research and N=1 experiments, are showing that that isn’t the case. And this is exactly why you should pay attention to today’s show. Today, we’re looking at what has relatively recently become the fastest growing nutrition or diet trend. The high fat diet. Also known in different guises as the ketogenic diet, or the low carb diet. And specifically how this can affect our different individual biochemistries, how we can measure “Ketosis” and other biomarkers to understand how our specific biology is reacting to it… and allowing us to troubleshoot and course correct when it isn’t getting the desired results we’re looking for from it. Today’s guest is Jimmy Moore. In 2004, Jimmy, at 32 years, weighed 410 pounds. Since then he has transformed his own biology, shedding all that additional weight with low carb and ketogenic diets. He has also interviewed n Continue reading >>
Estimating Blood Ketone Levels From Blood Glucose Readings
Ok so the doctor suspects my aunt has a lymphoma, which is a type of cancer. I would like her to get into a state of nutritional ketosis so she can get rid of it through autophagy and by starving the cancerous cells of sugar. I had planned to make her measure her blood ketone levels so I can monitor her progress and modify her diet when necessary, especially because I won't be seeing her everyday and I need a way to make sure she's doing the diet right. Unfortunately I'm on a low budget, and I can't afford too many ketone test strips (she will be using Precision Xtra). The BG strips, on the other hand, are a lot cheaper. So I had this idea of only measuring her blood glucose levels. If the blood glucose level gets below normal range, that means ketone bodies are doing the job of supplying the rest of her energy, right? Then the fasting ketone level must be somehow inversely proportional to the fasting sugar level. For example if the glucose meter reads 50mg I can be sure she's in ketosis(if she doesn't show symptoms of hypoglycemia that is). At the same time, I would like to get the actual numbers for ketones. Our plan is to get her to around at least 2.0 mmol consistently. So this was a lengthy post, here's my question: Is there a formula to estimate ketone levels from just knowing the blood glucose level? What were your own BK and BG levels both at one given time while on keto? edit/ Thank you for those who answered so far :) Yes, I am aware that ketosis is not the solution for all diseases and all types of cancer. But I have seen observational studies suggesting that fasting for 140 hours before and after a chemotherapy diminishes its side effects such a nausea and fatigue, and can also raise the chance of survival. Keto is kind of a "fake starvation" so I thought it Continue reading >>
Glucose Ketone Index (gki) – What Ratio Do I Need For Nutritional Ketosis Benefits?
Generally these blog posts are a result of scratching my own itch (answering my own question), and this post is no different. At the time of writing this, I’m doing a 5-day fast, and wanted to understand the readings I’m getting for my blood glucose and blood ketone levels. Initially I thought that blood ketones were all that mattered, and certainly a lot of people only talk about that reading. But looking at Dr Thomas Seyfried’s paper on treating brain cancer (glioblastomas). It suggests that its important to take into account blood glucose also. In their study, they acheieved optimal results when their patients maintained what they called ‘nutritional ketosis’. And as part of the paper, they included a formula for what this means. The chart below describes visually what they mean by nutritional ketosis, and how it affected the tumour growth. The red is an increase in ketones as a fictional patient goes deeper into ketosis. The black line represents blood glucose, that decreases to a plateau, as carbohydrate sources are removed from the diet, and glycogen stores decrease. So that sweet spot they reach at the end is an optimum level of nutritional ketosis. Now… obviously in our case we are (hopefully) not trying to slow the growth of a glioblastoma. But by getting into ketosis we’re hoping to achieve a number of benefits including: Reduced IGF-1 Immune system rejuvenation (perhaps mainly lymphocytes) Increased cellular autophagy Reduced inflammation (often measured by improved C-reactive protein levels) The extent of these benefits will depend if you’re eating a keto diet, or doing a water fast/fast mimicking diet. But all 3 should improve the biomarkers such that you have a reduced risk of major diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disea Continue reading >>
It Really Is In Your Blood: Glucose To Ketone Ratios
I wrote awhile back about how I felt that I might be going a little mad obsessing over my blood numbers and measuring my blood glucose and ketone levels. This is one of the greatest differences, in my opinion, between people that follow a ketogenic or low carb lifestyle for overall health reasons or weight loss, and those of us who are experimenting with using a ketogenic approach as a specific disease therapy. I’m using the term “therapeutic ketosis” now for this, as you’ll know if you’re a Constant Reader here at Greymadder. I think people in the first category, with weight loss or general health goals, can definitely be helped by measuring ketones, and that this is vital to the success of the approach. However, in my personal experience using this approach to “starve” my brain tumour, I find I can become quite the data junkie, measuring blood levels of both glucose and ketones up to four times a day, because in my mind, the optimal levels of both are perhaps what’s required to have a therapeutic effect. I base this on the book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease by Dr. Thomas Seyfried, in which he advises that there is a window of effectiveness of therapeutic ketosis for cancer that uses a glucose to ketone ratio of 1.0. This essentially means that when measured in mmol/L (“millimolar”), blood glucose and ketones should be equal, or even achieving ketone levels that are higher than the glucose levels may be preferable. There is general agreement between my favourite go-to references (Ellen Davis, Dominic D’Agostino, Miriam Kalamian, all found in my Resources section) that this glucose to ketone ratio of 1.0 is best. Miriam Kalamian, in her ebook Get Started with the Ketogenic Diet for Cancer further notes that it should not be disregarded that a thera Continue reading >>
How To Easily Track Your Glucose Ketone Index (gki) On Your Ketogenic Diet
Tracking ketone levels is a large part of success on the ketogenic diet. It helps you know how far you are into ketosis and where we might need to make changes. But did you know that there’s an even better way to step it up a notch? The glucose ketone index is a simple calculation that allows you to find out how ketosis works best for you individually. Without it, you could be in full, high-level ketosis yet still not getting the full benefits. In this post, we’ll be looking at how to easily track your glucose ketone index for different aspects of health along with your ketogenic diet. Basics of the Glucose Ketone Index Here’s what you need to know about the glucose ketone index (GKI): Researchers have used the index in studies on the ketogenic diet, fasting, and more. Additionally, it has been used for tracking changes and progress regarding weight loss, athletic performance, management of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes, and even cancer treatment. Now that we’ve covered the basics of what the GKI does, let’s talk about how you can use tracking it to your advantage. Tracking Your Glucose Ketone Index What’s so special about the glucose ketone index is that it lets you track both glucose and ketones at the same time, taking into account how they work together. It’s a way to know your optimal state for addressing all sorts of health conditions. Tracking this number benefits you over simply measuring ketone levels. That’s because even if you’re deeply in ketosis, you could still have high blood glucose levels that throw things off and affect your health. Essentially, it gives you a more full picture of your metabolic health. The numbers you can expect to target depend on your intentions for being in ketosis. Is your goal weight loss, better overa Continue reading >>
How The Ketogenic Diet Works For Type 2 Diabetes
Special diets for type 2 diabetes often focus on weight loss, so it might seem crazy that a high-fat diet is an option. But the ketogenic (keto) diet, high in fat and low in carbs, can potentially change the way your body stores and uses energy, easing diabetes symptoms. With the keto diet, your body converts fat, instead of sugar, into energy. The diet was created in 1924 as a treatment for epilepsy, but the effects of this eating pattern are also being studied for type 2 diabetes. The ketogenic diet may improve blood glucose (sugar) levels while also reducing the need for insulin. However, the diet does come with risks, so make sure to discuss it with your doctor before making drastic dietary changes. Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, so a high-fat diet can seem unhelpful. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to have the body use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates or glucose. A person on the keto diet gets most of their energy from fat, with very little of the diet coming from carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet doesn’t mean you should load up on saturated fats, though. Heart-healthy fats are the key to sustaining overall health. Some healthy foods that are commonly eaten in the ketogenic diet include: eggs fish such as salmon cottage cheese avocado olives and olive oil nuts and nut butters seeds The ketogenic diet has the potential to decrease blood glucose levels. Managing carbohydrate intake is often recommended for people with type 2 diabetes because carbohydrates turn to sugar and, in large quantities, can cause blood sugar spikes. If you already have high blood glucose, then eating too many carbs can be dangerous. By switching the focus to fat, some people experience reduced blood sugar. The Atkins diet is one of the most famous low-carb, high-p Continue reading >>
Not to be confused with Ketoacidosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which some of the body's energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis in which blood glucose provides energy. Ketosis is a result of metabolizing fat to provide energy. Ketosis is a nutritional process characterised by serum concentrations of ketone bodies over 0.5 mM, with low and stable levels of insulin and blood glucose. It is almost always generalized with hyperketonemia, that is, an elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood throughout the body. Ketone bodies are formed by ketogenesis when liver glycogen stores are depleted (or from metabolising medium-chain triglycerides). The main ketone bodies used for energy are acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate, and the levels of ketone bodies are regulated mainly by insulin and glucagon. Most cells in the body can use both glucose and ketone bodies for fuel, and during ketosis, free fatty acids and glucose synthesis (gluconeogenesis) fuel the remainder. Longer-term ketosis may result from fasting or staying on a low-carbohydrate diet (ketogenic diet), and deliberately induced ketosis serves as a medical intervention for various conditions, such as intractable epilepsy, and the various types of diabetes. In glycolysis, higher levels of insulin promote storage of body fat and block release of fat from adipose tissues, while in ketosis, fat reserves are readily released and consumed. For this reason, ketosis is sometimes referred to as the body's "fat burning" mode. Ketosis and ketoacidosis are similar, but ketoacidosis is an acute life-threatening state requiring prompt medical intervention while ketosis can be physiological. However, there are situations (such as treatment-resistant Continue reading >>
How To Know If You Are In Ketosis Without Strips.
To know whether or not you’ve entered ketosis you can measure your blood ketone levels. But how to know if you are in ketosis without strips? Well, we’re already mildly ketogenic after an overnight fast. Once our liver glycogen stores have been depleted we begin to produce ketone bodies at an exponential rate. Despite that, it doesn’t mean that we’ll be utilizing them efficiently. If we’re not adapted, then our brain and muscles won’t be able to put those ketones into use. Nutritional ketosis begins if our blood ketone levels are over 0.5mMol. To indicate that, you can use either urine strips like Ketostix. There are also breath takers. The most optimal range for ketosis is between 0.5 and 3 mMol. Ketoacidosis occurs over 10mMol, which is quite hard to reach. It usually happens with people who are diabetic or after excessive alcohol consumption. But there are a few problems with measuring ketones. Having elevated levels of ketones doesn’t mean you’re in ketosis. These urine strips are expensive and taking several measurements a day is very costly. That’s why there’s another way how to know you’re in ketosis without strips. Like said, elevated ketone levels doesn’t necessarily mean ketosis. It might even be the opposite. If we’re not putting ketones into use, then we’re probably urinating it out. That’s why urine strips are not ideal. What we want to know as well is our blood sugar levels. Glucose and ketones are contradicting fuel sources. If one is elevated, then the other has to be decreased. If we have high blood sugar levels, then we won’t be able to use fat for fuel. We definitely won’t be in ketosis. Quantifying is great because it gives us an accurate interpretation of our condition. However, we shouldn’t get stuck with the dat Continue reading >>
High Blood Sugar In Ketogenic Dieters! Plus A Special Surprise (hint: Genotypes And Metabolism)!
A while ago Michael and I were discussing future article topics. There are truly a plethora of avenues to go down in this area of research and there is no lack of things to research and comment on. But even though I have a couple of pretty cool MCT articles sitting around on my desk, I want an interesting topic. I want something new. Something challenging. Besides, everyone is drinking the MCT koolaid these days. It’s become passe. (Also, it upsets my stomach and I have a personal vendetta against it. So there.) What’s new? There has to be something new! Michael pointed me to one of his old articles on physiological insulin resistance as an idea. I brushed it off at first. Dismissed it as a quirk. But then I thought about it. WHY does blood glucose rise in response to a low carb diet? It truly is an interesting question. What does it say about low carb diets if they induce an almost diabetic effect on circulating glucose? Thus my research began. This short abstract confirmed that it is normal for people on low carb diets to experience a rise in blood glucose levels. Because it’s a non-open journal (shame!), there’s a one-sentence explanation given: A decrease in first-phase insulin secretion may partially contribute to the short-term LC/HFD-induced increase in postprandial plasma glucose levels. First phase insulin secretion? There’s a first phase? So… There’s more than one phase to insulin secretion? I had no idea. Call me ignorant but I had no idea until this point that there was more than one phase to insulin secretion. This article delves deeper into the signaling involved in (what I learned is called) biphasic insulin secretion. The first phase of insulin secretion lasts approximately 10 minutes, and the second phase of insulin secretion picks up afte 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 >>