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Optimal Ketosis

How To Know If You’re In Ketosis: A Guide To Testing Ketone Levels

How To Know If You’re In Ketosis: A Guide To Testing Ketone Levels

Ketosis can be a powerful way to use your metabolism for fat loss, mental output, physical performance as well as many other health benefits. But how do you know if you’re actually in ketosis? As the old adage goes “test, don’t guess” when it comes to your health. In this guide, we’ll show exactly how to test your ketone levels to know if you’re in ketosis so you can make sure you’re getting all of the benefits that ketosis has to offer. There are three primary forms of ketones in your body, acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutryate. Each of these compounds do different things in the metabolism of ketosis and can be tested individually with differing techniques. Not all measurement is created equally, however, and some can be better than others for different purposes or times. The three different ketone bodies can be measured when they spill over into three different areas of your body: your breath, urine or blood. The good news is that all of these ketone level measurements can be done at home, by yourself. You don’t have to go to any lab or use any fancy high tech equipment. Tracking diligently, at least when you’re getting used to ketosis based diets, is important so you know how much you react to different variables like exercise, type and amount of food, and amounts of exogenous ketone supplements. Also, the optimal level of ketones for specific goals can vary per person. Knowing the amount where you thrive in the goal you want to achieve (and consistently checking if you’re hitting that amount) is the fastest way to reach your goals. Testing levels of ketones with urine strips (acetoacetate) One of the ketone bodies, acetoacetate, can be measured directly in the urine if they are in excessive levels. The way metabolic substrates get into Continue reading >>

Optimal Ketogenic Living

Optimal Ketogenic Living

I became aware of Optimal Ketogenic Living (OKL) from a mention in Reddit Keto Diet Facebook group. OKL's Facebook page is here: Copied from the OKL page: "Focus is on a ketogenic lifestyle that is primarily informed by the best science and then applied to our own individual experience. A group focusing on what is real and what is achievable. A place where a great foundation and a way forward can be found." They provide lots of great info, guidelines, Q&A, resources, science info, moral support, etc. My old keto ways haven't been working lately, even though I've strictly tracked my intake and allowed for some anomalies when I went over on carbs. These are my notes so far -- I've been convinced enough to adopt their macros and focus to see what changes may occur. - OKL plans for Protein to provide 20% of your energy needs. On the regular keto diet, we're accustomed to restricting our Carbs; with OKL we need to really focus on providing the Protein. When I looked back at the past 40 days, my Protein averaged 66g/day … far shy of the 115g/day that OKL suggests -- nearly 2000 grams less than needed (per OKL standards) over that 40 days! Perhaps this is to blame for my increasing sluggishness and hair loss, as long as my weight barely moving downward. (I'm delighted that I didn't gain, phew!) Lean Body Mass (LBM) is protected by optimal protein macros. Proteins are the building blocks for cell repair & renewal. - OKL provides a chart for finding your *optimal* Protein macro (not a maximum, but an optimum number to achieve), a *maximum* Carb macro, and a range for your Fat intake. First thing to note is that the chart is calculated based on your height and the optimal Lean Body Mass for that height. So it's using your optimal healthy stats for LBM. (compare this approach to Continue reading >>

5 Ways To Measure Your Ketones

5 Ways To Measure Your Ketones

5 Ways to Measure Your Ketones A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the individual’s metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This is called fat adapted, when the body has adapted to run off of fatty acids/ketones at rest. Research has demonstrated that this nutrition plan improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation throughout the body. This leads to greater fat metabolism and muscle development as well as a reduced risk of chronic disease. (1, 2). I get asked all the time how to measure the state of ketosis. There are several major ways and we will discuss those in this article. Measuring Your Ketones There are three types of ketone bodies: Acetone, Acetoacetate and Beta-Hydroxybutryate (BHB). Each of these three can be tested as acetone is a ketone released through the breath, acetoacetate is a ketone released through urine and BHB is (although not technically a ketone it acts like a ketone) in the blood stream and used by the cells for energy. 1. Blood Ketone Meter This measures BHB and is considered to be the most accurate way to measure ketone bodies. These have the ability to determine the ketone level in your blood precisely but they are also pricey and invasive. Personally, I freak out every time I have to prick my finger!! The Precision Xtra blood glucose and ketone meter is a good buy at $28-$30. The expensive part is the ketone test strips here which can cost $4 each. If you are looking at testing yourself every day it is going to cost you $120 a month and the $30 meter. Here is a starter kit you can get on Amazon Most people will enter into a light nutritional ketosis (between 0.5-1.0 mmol/L on the meter) within two or three days. It typically takes Continue reading >>

Ask Allison: What Is A Ketogenic Diet?

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 >>

What Is “nutritional Ketosis”?

What Is “nutritional Ketosis”?

IN A NUTSHELL: Nutritional ketosis is a state of health in which your body is efficiently burning fat as its primary fuel source instead of glucose. When undergoing a ketogenic diet you are essentially converting yourself from a “sugar burner” to a “fat burner”. This is accomplished by reducing your consumption of carbohydrates, increasing your intake of fat, and consuming only an adequate amount of protein to meet your body’s needs. The term nutritional ketosis is claimed to have been coined by Dr. Stephen Phinney & Jeff Volek, two of the leading experts and researchers in the field of low carbohydrate dieting (Check out this informative video to hear a talk from Dr. Phinney). Ketosis is achieved by following a “ketogenic diet” which is high in fat, very low in carbohydrates, and adequate in protein (Please Note: It is “adequate” in protein, NOT “high” in protein. More on this later). By consuming more lipids you are enhancing your body’s fat burning function by up-regulating the enzymes and other “metabolic machinery” needed to burn fat more efficiently, therefore making it easier for your body to tap into stored adipose tissue as an energy source (i.e. you turn yourself into a fat-burning machine!). But don’t we NEED carbohydrates? While it’s true that our red blood cells and a small percentage of brain cells and kidney cells are exclusively glucose dependent, the body can actually GENERATE carbohydrates in a process called gluconeogenesis in which certain non-carbohydrate substrates like proteins (amino acids) and certain constituents of fatty acids (glycerol) can be converted into glucose. The quantities of glucose produced by the body are sufficient to meet the needs of these particular cells and also help to balance the body’s bl Continue reading >>

Jimmy Moore’s N=1 Experiments: Nutritional Ketosis Day 121-150

Jimmy Moore’s N=1 Experiments: Nutritional Ketosis Day 121-150

I’ve just wrapped up the fifth month in my current n=1 testing of the concept known as “nutritional ketosis” and the interest in this has not waned a bit. In fact, many of my readers have even decided to take the plunge for themselves and started testing their blood ketones to see where they stand, too. I think a lot of people are just as shocked as I was (with a .3 mmol/L reading the first time I tested) because they thought they were doing everything right on their high-fat, low-carb nutritional plan. But perhaps they’ve fallen prey to some of the most common low-carb mistakes that seek to sabotage your efforts at attaining the optimal weight and health you so desperately desire. I sure did and now I’m correcting those thanks to the information I’ve obtained from this handy dandy little ketone meter. It’s not cheap to test your blood ketones on a daily basis (or TWICE daily as I have been), but the data you obtain about yourself is so invaluable. Even if you only test your blood once or twice a week, you’ll know more about how well you are doing on your healthy low-carb lifestyle from ascertaining the level of beta-hydroxybutyrate in millimolars than most of your fellow low-carbers. This is some pretty cool cutting-edge technology that’s available to us nowadays and it is opening the eyes of a lot of people right now. Knowledge is power and there are a lot more empowered people in the low-carb community these days. You don’t have to test necessarily to reach a state of nutritional ketosis. But it’s always good to know exactly where you stand so you can make appropriate changes to see the desired results. I recently shared an evaluation of the differences between the two major blood ketone meters — Precision Xtra and NovaMax Plus — so you can Continue reading >>

The Beginners Guide To Ketosis: Investigating Low-carb, High-fat Eating

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 >>

Ketogenic Diet 101 For Beginners: What Is Ketosis?

Ketogenic Diet 101 For Beginners: What Is Ketosis?

When you’re beginning a ketogenic diet, your main goal is to lose body fat and overall weight. You want to try and achieve the body you’ve always wanted. Ketogenic diets have multiple benefits, but it’s safe to assume that losing weight is your end game. How are you going to lose weight, though? You need to get your body into ketosis. Once this diet is in full effect, your body will be in ketosis and start melting fat from your body. Ketogenic Diet 101: What Is Ketosis? To understand the benefits of keto and how it works it’s important that you understand what is metabolic state known as ketosis. Ketosis For starters, ketosis is a metabolic process that happens in your body. Your body is going to start burning fat since it is lacking glucose to use as energy. Without glucose in your body, there is going to be a buildup of acids called ketones. Ketones You can think of ketones as your body’s new source of energy. Your body has used sugar as fuel your entire life, now it’s switching to using ketones. The gas your body is using has switched from regular to premium. The ketones are going to force your body to get rid of your body’s fat stores much faster than you would on another diet simply because your body will have almost no sugar to use. Ketones are important because your brain is going to feed off them like it’s ready to devour an entire buffet. Your brain needs fuel and since you won’t be consuming many carbs, ketones will provide your brain with the energy it needs to function properly. How Long Does It Take? Getting into ketosis is going to take everybody a different amount of time. For some, it may take a few days, for others, it may take up to a week. It all depends on how your body wants to react to the ketogenic diet. It’s possible to get in Continue reading >>

A Quick Primer On The Ketone Test Strips...

A Quick Primer On The Ketone Test Strips...

A Quick primer on the Ketone Test Strips... Questions about ketones, ketosis, KetoStix, and its implications and misconceptions have always been one of the most common querries at Low Carb Luxury. We'll try and clear up some of those mysteries here. So... what are they? You'll hear them referred to as KetoStix (the original brand name), Urine Test Strips, Reagent Strips, Ketone Testing Strips, and Lipolysis Test Strips. Depending on the plan you follow and whether you are new to this way of life, or an old timer from the 70's, you'll be referring to them as one name or another if your plan calls for being in Ketosis. Please note, we're not here to debate the merits of Ketogenic vs non-Ketogenic diets here, so don't send me mail of disagreement. For me personally, being in Ketosis is my ideal state and keeps my body's systems at their best. The Ketosis we're talking about here is what Dr. Atkins refers to as "Benign Dietary Ketosis" (or BDK), and should never be confused with Acidosis — a dangerous state for diabetics and those in advanced starvation where acetone builds in the blood and tissues. People will sometimes tell you that producing ketones is dangerous for the body. This is simply misinformation. They're confusing ketosis (the state from a Ketogenic diet) with ketoacidosis (or acidosis) which occurs in uncontrolled diabetes and/or starvation. Ketones? Ketones are incompletely burned carbon fragments. The very fact that they are less efficient as fuel is what makes them give you that 'metabolic advantage.' Some of the calories burned are not used to their full capacity... hence the person can eat more calories when in ketosis than when not, and still lose the same amount of weight. Ketoacids are short (four carbons long.) It's important because in that way the Continue reading >>

What Is Ketosis? Hint: It Can Help You Burn Fat & Suppress Your Appetite

What Is Ketosis? Hint: It Can Help You Burn Fat & Suppress Your Appetite

We’ve longed been told that calorie restriction, increasing exercise and reducing dietary fat intake are the keys to weight loss. But, if you’ve ever attempted to control your weight by subsisting on fewer calories — especially from mostly bland “diet foods”— you’re already probably aware that this typically produces minimal results and is extremely hard to stick with long-term or consistently. Considering the high rates of obesity now facing most developed nations — along with an increased risk for health conditions like diabetes or heart problems as a result — researchers have been anxiously working on how to suppress appetite and achieve weight loss in a healthy, sustainable manner. The keto diet has emerged over the past several decades as one potential answer to this large-scale weight loss problem. (1) While there are some differences in opinion, depending on who you ask, regarding the best approach to very low-carb dieting, studies consistently show that the ketogenic diet (also called the keto diet) produces not only substantial weight loss for a high percentage of people who adhere to it, but also other important health benefits such as reductions in seizures, markers of diabetes and more. The keto diet revolves around eating foods that are high in natural fats, consuming only moderate protein and severely restricting the number of carbs eaten each day. Even if you don’t have much weight to lose, entering into a state of ketosis can be helpful for other reasons — such as for improved energy levels, mental capabilities and mood stabilization. What Is Ketosis? Ketosis is the result of following the ketogenic diet, which is why it’s also sometimes called “the ketosis diet.” Ketosis takes place when glucose from carbohydrate foods (like Continue reading >>

How To Measure Ketones And Optimize Ketogenic Diets

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 >>

Keto Macros: How To Calculate Your Optimal Ketogenic Macronutrients

Keto Macros: How To Calculate Your Optimal Ketogenic Macronutrients

Following a keto diet means paying attention to your macros so you stay in ketosis. While you can find a few online calculators for this, it’s more than possible to calculate your optimal ketogenic macronutrients without one. This article will break down, step by step, how you can determine your own personal needs regarding calories and macros on a ketogenic diet. Here are the things we’ll calculate: #1 Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) This is the number of calories your body needs just to support its vital functions (without taking into account extra energy needed for things like exercise). This is important because the more of you there is, the more energy (calories) you need to support daily processes. While it’s tough to get an EXACT calculation of basal metabolic rate, we can get really close by using the Harris-Benedict equation below. (If you’re in an area that uses metric, the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation will be easiest for you.) BMR for men = 66 + (6.2 x Weight in pounds) + (12.7 x Height in inches) – (6.76 x Age) BMR for women = 655.1 + (4.35 x Weight in pounds) + (4.7 x Height in inches) – (4.7 x Age) Let’s break each of these down a little more. Calculating Height and Weight Measure your weight in pounds. This step is easy. Calculate your height in inches. Multiple the feet by 12, then add the additional inches. For example, someone 5’ 8” would be a total of 68 inches tall. Your Age Since muscle mass gradually declines as we go past age 30, BMR decreases over time as well. That’s why age is factored into this equation. Your Gender Since body composition is typically a little different between men and women, gender factors into the equation. So, again, use these equations to get your basal metabolic rate: BMR for men = 66 + (6.2 x Weight) + ( Continue reading >>

Tracking Blood Ketones: Behind The Scenes Data On The Ketogenic Diet

Tracking Blood Ketones: Behind The Scenes Data On The Ketogenic Diet

Tracking Blood Ketones: Behind the Scenes Data on the Ketogenic Diet I’ve tried a lot of diets. I first went vegetarian, then slow carb, then gluten-free, then Paleo. I even did a 28-day Chipotle diet, which is exactly as awesome as it sounds. Eventually I found the Ketogenic diet. For me, like for many people in our communities, this all started with a health concern. I was born with a heart condition. It never impacted my life, but it was there, lingering. When I was a junior in college, a few classmates and I were out enjoying late night pizza. Out of nowhere, one classmate suddenly jolted upright and fell off his stool. He died. I found out the next morning it was from a lingering heart condition, not too unlike my own. I started to think about my health a lot more after that. I read about nutrition and started exploring the confusing world of diets. As I learned more and as I became more involved in Quantified Self, I found myself wanting to quantify these diets. That’s what drew me to Keto. It’s the most measurable diet. Quick Summary of the Ketogenic Diet Keto is a high-fat, very-low-carb diet, usually with 70% of calories coming from fat. The idea is to switch your body from using glucose as its primary energy to breaking down fats into ketones for energy. You can measure the macros that you eat and you can measure the ketones in your urine, breath, and blood. In 2013, I did my first experiment with the ketogenic diet. In that experiment, I tracked everything I ate in MyFitnessPal and compared it to other data I was collecting. I found my energy increased, my sleep quality went up (according to my Zeo data), my cholesterol levels improved, and my food cravings went away. However, I also found that measuring everything I ate was a pain, I didn’t really kn Continue reading >>

How To Lose Weight By Achieving Optimal Ketosis

How To Lose Weight By Achieving Optimal Ketosis

Ketosis Weight Loss First of all what is ketosis? You have tried all the “healthy” ways to lose weight and you lost a lot of weight too. But you are not yet at your goal and whatever you try does not seem to be working anymore. You are eating right, you are working out, and you are drinking lots of water. Now what else can you do? When you are at a plateau, you need to pull out the big guns to help you lose weight. The Ketogenic diet is one of those magic tricks that can put your body back into gear and jump start weight loss again. Normally, our body utilizes carbohydrates that we consume to get energy for regular body functions. But when we are on a diet, our body produces energy molecules known as ketones from the fat present in our body. This process of burning a lot of fat to produce these ketones is known as ketosis. This method of weight loss is most effective because you do not lose much muscle mass, and instead lose more fat in a short amount of time. Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss: Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan in a Nutshell: The trick to put our body into ketosis mode is to avoid all sources of carbohydrates from rice, grains, sweets, potatoes and all those starchy food. You need to consume a controlled amount of proteins such as eggs, meat etc. but you should not overdo it as excess protein intake will spike your insulin level too. A way to feel full quickly is by ingesting high amount of fatty food, like using copious amount of butter in your meat or with your vegetables. Since you are not eating starch and consuming less amount of proteins, this will not make you gain weight, but instead will make you feel fuller. You can also consume certain vegetables that contain fewer carbohydrates to keep your hunger in control. More fat consumption will make sure you eat Continue reading >>

Going Keto Pt. 2: Preparing For Ketosis

Going Keto Pt. 2: Preparing For Ketosis

Sponsored Content Last month we covered the wide range of fascinating benefits one can expect to see while on a ketogenic diet. The same dietary regimen that can fight all sorts of diseases and metabolic ailments can increase satiety while keeping you so unbelievably cut that people will be offering you band-aids all day. These enticing benefits could have you chomping at the bit to start right here and now, but before taking one bite be sure you're fully prepared if you hope to reap peak results from going keto. #1: IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS It's critical that you've written down clear, measurable goals before embarking on this new lifestyle (trust us, it’s more than just a diet). Depending on whether you're looking to build muscle, stay shredded, improve blood markers, or starve (and potentially prevent) cancer, the type of keto diet you follow will reflect that significantly. A ketogenic diet is technically any diet that causes the body to produce ketone bodies, so watch your macros closely, but get creative when you can. Keto diets will vary from one person’s goals to another… not unlike the wide range of meal plans you'll find in the IIFYM crowd. If you didn’t read Going Keto Pt. 1, go back and read that HERE. A few key things to remember before going forward: for those of you doing keto, it's best to err on the side of higher protein. Excess protein increases the likelihood of ‘gluconeogenesis’ though, which is when the body converts protein into glucose. If this happens, your body won't produce as many ketone bodies (if at all). On the flip side, a 4:1 ketogenic diet is not one you want to remain on indefinitely, either, due to such low protein intake. Commit to a higher fat ratio for a relatively short period of time (one month is great) to maximize endoge Continue reading >>

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