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 >>
Ketone bodies Acetone Acetoacetic acid (R)-beta-Hydroxybutyric acid Ketone bodies are three water-soluble molecules (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and their spontaneous breakdown product, acetone) that are produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low food intake (fasting), carbohydrate restrictive diets, starvation, prolonged intense exercise,, alcoholism or in untreated (or inadequately treated) type 1 diabetes mellitus. These ketone bodies are readily picked up by the extra-hepatic tissues, and converted into acetyl-CoA which then enters the citric acid cycle and is oxidized in the mitochondria for energy. In the brain, ketone bodies are also used to make acetyl-CoA into long-chain fatty acids. Ketone bodies are produced by the liver under the circumstances listed above (i.e. fasting, starving, low carbohydrate diets, prolonged exercise and untreated type 1 diabetes mellitus) as a result of intense gluconeogenesis, which is the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources (not including fatty acids). They are therefore always released into the blood by the liver together with newly produced glucose, after the liver glycogen stores have been depleted (these glycogen stores are depleted after only 24 hours of fasting). When two acetyl-CoA molecules lose their -CoAs, (or Co-enzyme A groups) they can form a (covalent) dimer called acetoacetate. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a reduced form of acetoacetate, in which the ketone group is converted into an alcohol (or hydroxyl) group (see illustration on the right). Both are 4-carbon molecules, that can readily be converted back into acetyl-CoA by most tissues of the body, with the notable exception of the liver. Acetone is the decarboxylated form of acetoacetate which cannot be converted Continue reading >>
What Are Ketones And Are They Healthy?
What Are Ketones and Are They Healthy? If you are up on your health news or follow anyone in the health field, you have likely heard the term ketogenic diet. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to adapt the body to utilize fat as its primary fuel source instead of sugar. The body does this by first converting fat into what are called ketones that the cells can then burn as fuel. It is at this point that I typically get asked, what are ketones? In this article, I am going to clear up any gaps, explain exactly how ketogenisis works, and why it can be so beneficial for the human body. Biological Role of Ketones For our ancestors, eating three meals a day just wasn’t a thing. Instead they would hunt and forage for the foods they could find. When there wasn’t food, they wouldn’t eat. What this means is that sometimes they would go for days at a time with no food. To sustain life during times of scarcity, the body is thought to have developed the ability to utilize fat as an alternative fuel source. In a traditional nutrition course, you would learn that sugar is the body’s primary fuel source while fat is a secondary fuel source. When sugar stores are burned up, the cells then convert to burning fat as an energy source. What we are finding out now is that fat can actually be a healthier and more sustainable source of energy. Our Society Is Full of Sugar Burners Modern day, we have an abundance of food that is available to us at all times. Most of us regularly eat three meals a day with intermittent snacking in between. This kind of frequent eating, along with an overemphasis on carb-rich and sugary foods, causes a reduced ability to burn fat. As these foods damage our bodies on a metabolic level, we actually lose the ability to produce ketones. This type of reliance on Continue reading >>
A Neurologist On Ketone Drinks & What The Ketogenic Diet Can (really) Do For Your Brain
Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D. Deciding what to eat for optimal health can be confusing. There are so many different dietary approaches, and each is touted as the most beneficial to our health and waistlines, yet the actual nutrition advice often differs greatly or conflicts. It can be difficult to keep up with all the trends and fads, and sometimes it's hard to know who to trust. I'm often asked for nutritional guidance in my clinic, and recently I've been hearing a lot of questions about the ketogenic diet from my patients. Here's exactly what I tell them. Despite its current surge in popularity, the ketogenic diet has been around for a long time and is commonly used for refractory seizure disorders (epilepsy). In fact, evidence of its efficacy for epilepsy dates back as far as 1921. There are many different types of the ketogenic diet,including the classic version, the medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) diet, the modified Atkins diet, and the low-glycemic diet. Because fasting is a rapid method of achieving ketosis, intermittent fasting diets can also be ketogenic depending on how it's accomplished. But what is ketosis? Here are five simple scientific facts that I often give to my patients: 1. In ketosis, human metabolism switches its main energy source from carbohydrates to fatty acids and ketones once the storage form of glucose (glucagon) is used up. 2. In ketosis, the fat cells break down triglycerides into fatty acids, and those fatty acids are used as the energy source by the liver and muscles. 3. The liver cells take the fatty acids and oxidize them into ketones, which are used as the energy source by the brain, muscles, and other tissues. 4. Ketones are in the specific forms acetoacetate, acetone, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Therefore, checking beta-hydroxybutyrate seru Continue reading >>
Ketones are a beneficial product of fat metabolism in the body. When carbohydrate intake is restricted, it lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. As insulin levels fall and energy is needed, fatty acids flow from the fat cells into the bloodstream and are taken up by various cells and metabolized in a process called beta-oxidation. The end result of beta-oxidation is a molecule called acetyl-coA, and as more fatty acids are released and metabolized, acetyl-coA levels in the cells rise. This causes a sort of metabolic “feedback loop” which triggers liver cells to shunt excess acetyl-Coa into ketogenesis, or the making of ketone bodies. Once created, the liver dumps the ketone bodies into the blood stream and they are taken up by skeletal and heart muscle cells at rates of availability. In addition, the brain begins to use ketones as an alternate fuel when blood levels are high enough to cross the blood brain barrier. Testing Laboratory Microbiology - Air Quality - Mold Asbestos - Environmental - Lead emsl.com There are three major types of ketone bodies present in the human blood stream when the metabolic process of ketosis is dominant: Acetoacetate (AcAc) is created first β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is created from acetoacetate Acetone is a spontaneously created side product of acetoacetate In times of starvation, or a low carbohydrate intake resulting in low insulin levels, ketone bodies supply up to 50% of the energy requirements for most body tissues, and up to 70% of the energy required by the brain. Glucose is the main source of fuel for neurons when the diet is high in carbohydrates. But when carbs are restricted, ketogenesis becomes the primary fuel process for most cells. During fasting or low carbohydrate intake, levels of ketone bodies in the blood stream can Continue reading >>
Raspberry Ketones — Do They Really Help With Weight Loss?
Raspberry ketones are chemicals from red raspberries that are thought to help you lose weight fast. Ketones are natural chemicals that give raspberries their enticing aroma, and they also occur in blackberries and cranberries. When ketones are taken from raspberries, they can be used to add fragrance and flavor to foods and products, such as colas, ice cream and cosmetics. The raspberry ketone is actually one of the most expensive products used in the food industry — the natural compound can cost as much as $20,000 per kilogram. That’s why supplement companies use synthetic raspberry ketone, which is much cheaper. Some research in rodents or in test tubes shows that raspberry ketones might increase measures of metabolism and affect a hormone in the body called adiponectin, which regulates metabolism. Raspberry ketones are claimed to cause the fat within cells to be broken down more effectively, which helps the body burn fat faster. The big issue here is that these claims are not supported with human research, as there is no reliable scientific evidence that proves raspberry ketones improve weight loss when taken by people. Are raspberry ketones another common unhealthy way to lose weight? Studies Involving Raspberry Ketones A 2005 study published in Life Sciences evaluated whether or not raspberry ketones help prevent obesity and activate lipid metabolism in rodents. The study involved two groups of mice — one that was fed a high-fat diet and took raspberry ketone doses for 10 weeks and another group that was given a high-fat diet for six weeks first and then began receiving raspberry ketone doses for the remaining five weeks, along with the high-fat diet. The results of the study suggest that raspberry ketones prevent the high-fat-diet-induced elevations in body Continue reading >>
Metabolism And Ketosis
Dr. Eades, If the body tends to resort to gluconeogenesis for glucose during a short-term carbohydrate deficit, are those who inconsistently reduce carb intake only messing things up by not effecting full blown ketosis? If the body will still prefer glucose as main energy source unless forced otherwise for at least a few days, is it absolutely necessary to completely transform metabolism for minimal muscle loss? Also, if alcohol is broken down into ketones and acetaldehyde, technically couldn’t you continue to drink during your diet or would the resulting gluconeogenesis inhibition from alcohol lead to blood glucose problems on top of the ketotic metabolism? Would your liver ever just be overwhelmed by all that action? I’m still in high school so hypothetical, of course haha… Sorry, lots of questions but I’m always so curious. Thank you so much for taking the time to inform the public. You’re my hero! P.S. Random question…what’s the difference between beta and gamma hydroxybutyric acids? It’s crazy how simple orientation can be the difference between a ketone and date rape drug…biochem is so cool! P.P.S. You should definitely post the details of that inner mitochondrial membrane transport. I’m curious how much energy expenditure we’re talkin there.. Keep doin your thing! Your Fan, Trey No, I don’t think people are messing up if they don’t get into full-blown ketosis. For short term low-carb dieting, the body turns to glycogen. Gluconeogenesis kicks in fairly quickly, though, and uses dietary protein – assuming there is plenty – before turning to muscle tissue for glucose substrate. And you have the Cori cycle kicking in and all sorts of things to spare muscle, so I wouldn’t worry about it. And you can continue to drink while low-carbing. Continue reading >>
Is There A Dark Side Of Ketosis?
I can’t remember what appetizer she pointed to, but the woman sitting to the left of me said this so casually, and several folks at the table knew exactly what she meant, confirming what I’d long suspected: Ketogenic diets have officially gone mainstream – or recognizable at a party mainstream at least – in 2017. Let’s back up and demystify ketosis, which simply means you’re utilizing ketone bodies – more commonly called ketones – rather than glucose as your body’s primary fuel. Just like your car uses gasoline, your body needs fuel. That usually means glucose. But let’s say you’re on a very-low carbohydrate, higher-fat diet. Your body doesn’t get a lot of glucose, which primarily comes from carbohydrate and to a lesser degree protein. That means your liver’s backup glucose (glycogen) also becomes in short supply. Unlike your car, your body doesn’t just shut down. Thankfully, you have an alternative fuel source called ketones. Ketones are organic compounds your liver always makes. You’re cranking out ketones right now as you read this. During starvation or (more likely) when you restrict carbohydrate and increase fat intake, your body uses ketones as its primary fuel. In other words, when your body doesn’t receive or can’t make enough glucose, it shifts to this alternative fuel. Almost every organ can utilize ketones except for your red blood cells (which don’t have ketone-metabolizing mitochondria) and liver. Your liver, in fact, does the heavy lifting. This hardworking organ metabolizes fat into three ketone bodies: acetoacetate (ACA), beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and acetone.(1) BHB is the first substrate that kicks ketosis into action. Among its benefits, BHB reduces chronic inflammation and restores healthy inflammation levels. In Continue reading >>
Avoid This Ketogenic Rip-off
The Truth About Exogenous Ketones Ketones are all the rage among low carbers. And like most things in nutrition and performance, we've found a way to get them in supplement form so we don't have to do any actual work. What are ketones? They're a byproduct of ketosis caused by the process of converting fat to fuel. Your body makes them when it's in a calorie or carb restricted state. What do they do? The body and brain can use them as fuel without the presence of glucose in the blood. And now, you can take ketone supplements (salts and esters), known as exogenous ketones, without actually restricting anything. According to those promoting this nasty-tasting supplement, that means you can have a brain and body fuelled by ketones, along with all of the supposed health benefits that come with running on fat. Well, don't fall for it. Exogenous Ketones = Endogenous Fat Storage? The problem with ketone supplementation (EXOgenous) is that it's not even close to the same thing as being in ketosis (ENDOgenous ketone production). And just like the butter-blended-into-coffee trend, it's a farce. Ketones may be depressing dieters' hunger and giving them a hit of energy and cognitive enhancement, but it's INHIBITING their ability to burn fat, providing zero nourishment, and doing nothing for their metabolic health. There's an assortment of evidence suggesting that it's probably making things worse. Think of exogenous ketones kind of like alcohol. When they're consumed, everything is stored and nothing else is burned. So any lipolysis (fat burning) that would be taking place is halted; any glucose and fatty acids in your blood that were circulating are stored; and the ingested ketones are burned until there aren't any left. More importantly, this clearance of alternative fuels (glucos Continue reading >>
Your Brain On Ketones
The modern prescription of high carbohydrate, low fat diets and eating snacks between meals has coincided with an increase in obesity, diabetes, and and increase in the incidence of many mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. In addition, many of these disorders are striking the population at younger ages. While most people would agree that diet has a lot to do with the development of obesity and diabetes, many would disagree that what we eat has much to do with our mental health and outlook. I believe that what we eat has a lot to do with the health of our brains, though of course mental illness (like physical illness) has multifactorial causes, and by no means should we diminish the importance of addressing all the causes in each individual. But let's examine the opposite of the modern high carbohydrate, low fat, constant snacking lifestyle and how that might affect the brain. The opposite of a low fat, snacking lifestyle would be the lifestyle our ancestors lived for tens of thousands of generations, the lifestyle for which our brains are primarily evolved. It seems reasonable that we would have had extended periods without food, either because there was none available, or we were busy doing something else. Then we would follow that period with a filling meal of gathered plant and animal products, preferentially selecting the fat. During the day we might have eaten a piece of fruit, or greens, or a grub we dug up, but anything filling or high in calories (such as a starchy tuber) would have to be killed, butchered, and/or carefully prepared before eating. Fortunately, we have a terrific system of fuel for periods of fasting or low carbohydrate eating, our body (and brain) can readily shift from burning glucose to burning what ar Continue reading >>
6 Health Benefits Of Ketogenesis And Ketone Bodies
With heavy coverage in the media, ketogenic diets are all the rage right now. And for a good reason; for some people, they truly work. But what do all these different terms like ketogenesis and ketone bodies actually mean? Firstly, this article takes a look at what the ketogenesis pathway is and what ketone bodies do. Following this, it will examine six potential health benefits of ketones and nutritional ketosis. What is Ketogenesis? Ketogenesis is a biochemical process through which the body breaks down fatty acids into ketone bodies (we’ll come to those in a minute). Synthesis of ketone bodies through ketogenesis kicks in during times of carbohydrate restriction or periods of fasting. When carbohydrate is in short supply, ketones become the default energy source for our body. As a result, a diet to induce ketogenesis should ideally restrict carb intake to a maximum of around 50 grams per day (1, 2). Ketogenesis may also occur at slightly higher levels of carbohydrate intake, but for the full benefits, it is better to aim lower. When ketogenesis takes place, the body produces ketone bodies as an alternative fuel to glucose. This physiological state is known as ‘nutritional ketosis’ – the primary objective of ketogenic diets. There are various methods you can use to test if you are “in ketosis”. Key Point: Ketogenesis is a biological pathway that breaks fats down into a form of energy called ketone bodies. What Are Ketone Bodies? Ketone bodies are water-soluble compounds that act as a form of energy in the body. There are three major types of ketone body; Acetoacetate Beta-hydroxybutyrate Acetone (a compound created through the breakdown of acetoacetate) The first thing to remember is that these ketones satisfy our body’s energy requirements in the same w Continue reading >>
Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet. The aim of the diet is to try and burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is also commonly observed in patients with diabetes, as the process can occur if the body does not have enough insulin or is not using insulin correctly. Problems associated with extreme levels of ketosis are more likely to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes patients. Ketosis occurs when the body does not have sufficient access to its primary fuel source, glucose. Ketosis describes a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid. As ketone levels rise, the acidity of the blood also increases, leading to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can prove fatal. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ketoacidosis, for which emergency medical treatment is required to avoid or treat diabetic coma. Some people follow a ketogenic (low-carb) diet to try to lose weight by forcing the body to burn fat stores. What is ketosis? In normal circumstances, the body's cells use glucose as their primary form of energy. Glucose is typically derived from dietary carbohydrates, including: sugar - such as fruits and milk or yogurt starchy foods - such as bread and pasta The body breaks these down into simple sugars. Glucose can either be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If there is not enough glucose available to meet energy demands, th Continue reading >>
Ketones: Clearing Up The Confusion
Ketones, ketosis, ketoacidosis, DKA…these are words that you’ve probably heard at one point or another, and you might be wondering what they mean and if you need to worry about them at all, especially if you have diabetes. This week, we’ll explore the mysterious world of ketones, including if and how they may affect you. Ketones — what are they? Ketones are a type of acid that the body can form if there’s not enough carbohydrate to be burned for energy (yes, you do need carbs for fuel). Without enough carb, the body turns to another energy source: fat. Ketones are made in the liver from fat breakdown. This is called ketogenesis. People who don’t have diabetes can form ketones. This might occur if a person does extreme exercise, has an eating disorder, is fasting (not eating), or is following a low-carbohydrate diet. This is called ketosis and it’s a normal response to starvation. In a person who has diabetes, ketones form for the same reason (not enough carb for energy), but this often occurs because there isn’t enough insulin available to help move carb (in the form of glucose) from the bloodstream to the cells to be used for energy. Again, the body scrambles to find an alternate fuel source in the form of fat. You might be thinking that it’s a good thing to burn fat for fuel. However, for someone who has diabetes, ketosis can quickly become dangerous if it occurs due to a continued lack of insulin (the presence of ketones along with “normal” blood sugar levels is not necessarily a cause for concern). In the absence of insulin (which can occur if someone doesn’t take their insulin or perhaps uses an insulin pump and the pump has a malfunction, for example), fat cells continue to release fat into the circulation; the liver then continues to churn Continue reading >>
Benefits Of Fueling Your Body With Ketones
Why Ketones are a better fuel source than glucose Where do our bodies get the energy to fuel our activities of daily living? Glucose is the main fuel source of our bodies, but there is another type of fuel that is available to our bodies, ketones. Ketones are a natural by-product of fat metabolism. When the body has run out of glucose to use as fuel it will switch fuel sources and start converting fat into fatty acids and then into ketones. Our bodies were designed to use this duel source of energy based on how we lived in the caveman days. In the summer and spring when food was plentiful, cavemen would eat more food and pack on the extra and store it as fat. Then in the fall and winter when food was scarce, the cavemen would live off that extra stored fat. Nowadays, since food supply is plentiful all year around and there is no physiological need or demand to live off the stored fat, thus we may just keep packing it on, all year around. What are the differences between ketones and glucose as a source of energy? Research suggests that ketones are a better, cleaner source of energy for the body and actually provide more energy than glucose. Unlike glucose, ketones do not depend on insulin to get into the cells for use. Ketones produce less carbon dioxide and free radicals than when the body uses glucose as a fuel source thus are less toxic for our body, making it a cleaner fuel source. Unfortunately, ketones are harder energy source for our bodies to tap into since they require your body to be in either a starvation mode or at least be in a state of very low in carbohydrates. Nowadays, the most common way of getting the body to produce ketones, or be in a state of ketosis, is by being on a very low carb diet i.e. a ketogenic diet. Typically, a ketogenic diet consists of 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 >>
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