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 >>
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 >>
A Beginner’s Guide To The Ketogenic Diet: An Effective Way Of Optimizing Your Health
Many Americans suffer from various chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and the main culprit is usually the food they eat. The standard American diet contains excessive amounts of protein and carbohydrates, neither of which is good for your health because it eventually causes you to develop insulin and leptin resistance. As a result, you gain excess weight, develop inflammation and become prone to cellular damage. To avoid this problem, significant changes in your diet are necessary, and the best way is inducing your body into a state of nutritional ketosis, a condition where your body burns fat as its primary fuel instead of sugar. In order to reach nutritional ketosis, you must follow a ketogenic diet. But what exactly is a ketogenic diet? This guide will tell you everything you need to know about a ketogenic diet – how you can apply it to your lifestyle and what positives you can reap from it. The Various Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet A ketogenic diet is a dietary approach that focuses on minimal carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and high healthy fat consumption — the three keys to achieving nutritional ketosis. In fact, it’s what I recommend for most people who would like to optimize their health. There are many reasons why you should try a ketogenic diet. It can be very beneficial for people suffering from chronic conditions, or for people who would simply like to be healthier than their current state. You’ll be excited to know that a ketogenic diet can help with the following: • Weight loss If you’re trying to lose weight, then a ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to do it, because it helps access your body fat so that it can be shed. Obese people in particular can benefit from this method. In one study, obese test subjects were Continue reading >>
Fellow Low-carbs, How Yellow Is Your Urine?
I'm in Ketosis constantly and I notice that my urine, especially in the morning, is SUPER deep yellow. Like multivitamin-runoff yellow. I hydrate myself at the watering hole (my kitchen) in the morning. I try to sip water or ginger tea throughout the day. Since ketosis is obviously dehydrating (lose all that water weight), I replace lost water by drinking regular filtered water with a pinch of sea salt (my own version of Gatorade) or coconut water. But for the most part, when in ketosis, my pee never really gets as watered down as when I'm not in glycolysis. Continue reading >>
7 Signs You Might Be In Ketosis When Doing The Ketogenic Diet
One of the main goals of starting the ketogenic diet is to get your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body has depleted its glycogen stores so blood sugar and insulin levels drop causing the body to look for an alternative fuel source. The fuel source that it begins to use is known as ketones which are produced by enzyme breaking down fat in the liver. 7 Signs You Might Be in Ketosis Testing for ketosis is not the most accurate science. A blood glucose monitor or ketone test strips can show you your ketone levels but these are not always an accurate portrayal of ketosis. Instead, your body does a great job of letting you know when you’re in ketosis and shows you the signs through a number of different ways. Here are things to look out for to see if your body is in ketosis. 1. Weight Loss Weight loss is one of the more obvious signs that your body is entering ketosis. However, the weight loss can be a little deceptive initially due to what is actually being lost. In our Keto Dash program, we find that most of our member lose between 4-6 lbs in the first week of applying the keto diet. This isn’t your body burning fat but finally being able to release the water that was being held by the fat cells due to the drop in insulin. Insulin is one of the main causes of weight gain and when your insulin levels drop, they allow the fat cells to release the water they are holding. When this occurs it then allows the fat cells to enter your bloodstream where they can then enter the liver and be converted by enzymes into ketones. After the initial rapid drop in water weight, you should continue to lose body fat consistently if you are able to stick with the low-carb aspects of the diet and keep your body in a caloric deficit. 2. Loss of Appetit Continue reading >>
What’s Up With My Pee?
Sometimes new ketonians think of the strangest things to ask about on the Ketogenic Success Facebook group. One thing that just seems to keep coming up, again and again, is the question regarding changes to their urine stream. (I always want to remind people that there are over one hundred forty thousand users in the Ketogenic Success group, and maybe this isn’t a question they would ask in front of a crowd that large, but clearly, the question is on a lot of minds!) So let’s look at a couple of changes you may notice in the toilet after emptying your bladder. Change in Color You may find that your urine is changing color. Frequently folks report it getting lighter. This is totally normal. When you pass more water through your body, the urochrome that gives your urine its yellow color is diluted and your liquid waste may shift in hue to become straw colored. This happens as your cells release their retained water, as well, so this sight is commonly paired with a ‘whoosh’ in weight loss as inflammation decreases in your body. If your urine becomes nearly clear, or entirely transparent, you may be drinking too much water. Don’t force yourself to drink water if you’re not thirsty (unless you are dehydrated, more on that in a moment). If you are continuously drinking water and your pee is clear, be sure to replace your electrolytes with each serving (easiest thing to do is add Himalayan salt to your water bottle, or even pop a couple of H Salt crystals with each new glass of water). You can also replace electrolytes by drinking a shot of pickle or olive brine (just make sure it’s high quality, without unnecessary chemical ingredients). If your urine gets darker, on the other hand, you are likely not drinking enough water. Sometimes when we are dehydrated our b Continue reading >>
10 Things Your Pee Can Tell You About Your Body: Taking A Deep Dive Into Urinalysis, Dehydration, Ketosis, Ph & More!
See, for the past several days, I’ve been randomly grabbing drinking glasses from the shelf in the kitchen… …and peeing into them. And yes, I realize that now you will likely never want to join me at my home for a dinner party. So why the heck am I urinating into our family’s kitchenware? It’s all about better living through science and figuring out ways to live longer and feel better (at least that’s what I tell my wife to appease her). It’s also about my sheer curiosity and desire to delve into an N=1 experiment in self-quantification with urinalysis. It’s also because I’ve been too lazy to order one of those special urinalysis specimen cups with the cute plastic lid. And let’s face it: with my relatively frequent use of a three day gut testing panel, my wife is already somewhat accustomed to giant Fed-Ex bags full of poop tubes sitting in the fridge, so urine can’t be all that bad, right? Anyways, in this article, you’re going to learn exactly why I think it’s a good idea to occasionally study one’s own urine, and you’ll also discover 10 very interesting things your pee can tell you about your body. Enjoy, and as usual, leave your questions, thoughts, feedback, and stories of your own adventures in urinalysis below this post. ———————– The History Of My Interest In Urinalysis Two years ago, I first became interested in urinalysis when I discovered a new start-up called “uChek”. The premise of uChek was quite simple. People with diabetes who want to check the amount of glucose in their urine would simply be able to download uChek to their iPhone or iPad. Then, after a “mid-stream collection,” (yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like and, in my experience, despite my Private Gym training, can be quite difficult to Continue reading >>
Eat Fat To Lose Fat? A Functional Medicine Expert Explains 4 Ways To Do The Ketogenic Diet
We are trained to think that in order to lose weight, we need to eat less…especially less fat. But what if I told you that the key to making the body a fat-burning machine was to eat fat? That's right! To lose fat you need to eat fat, and lots of it. This is the basis behind the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a diet high in fat, low in protein, and even lower in carbohydrates. Eating this way makes the body produce ketones in the liver from the digested fat, which is where the "ketogenic" diet gets its name. The ketones then take the place of glucose as fuel for the body, which is what our bodies typically use when we eat the average American diet of higher carbs and protein. With a high level of ketones and a low level of glucose in the blood, the body produces less insulin. In turn, it becomes a fat-burning machine, as less insulin being pumped out means that the body has a far easier time burning stored fat for energy. So, what does the ketogenic diet look like? There are several variations on the ketogenic diet, broken down below: Keep in mind that only the standard and high-protein ketogenic diets have been studied extensively. Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and are primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes. The exact amount of fat and protein is a matter of individual body responses and activity levels, but almost everyone on a ketogenic diet will consume only 10 percent or less of calories from carbohydrates. This means that any food high in carbohydrates should be limited or avoided, including sugary foods like cakes, cookies; and candy, grains and starches including beans and root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and beets; fruits (except for small portions of berries), tomatoes, low-fat/sugar-free products, and alcoh Continue reading >>
Lose Weight By Achieving Optimal Ketosis
Do you want to lose weight? Here’s number 16 of my 18 best tips. All of the published tips can be found on the How to Lose Weight page. Before we get started, here’s a short recap of the tips so far: The first and most crucial piece of advice was to choose a low-carb diet. The next were eating when hungry, eating real food, eating only when hungry, measuring progress wisely, being persistent, avoiding fruit, beer and artificial sweeteners, review your medications, stressing less and sleeping more, eating less dairy and nut products, stocking up on vitamins and minerals, using intermittent fasting and finally, exercising smart. This is number sixteen: 16. Get into optimal ketosis Warning: Not recommended for type 1 diabetics, see below. We’ve now arrived at tip number 16. If you’re still having trouble losing weight, despite following the 15 pieces of advice listed above, it might be a good idea to bring out the heavy artillery: optimal ketosis. Many people stalling at weight plateaus while on a low carb diet have found optimal ketosis helpful. It’s what can melt the fat off once again. So how does this work? A quick run-through: The first tip was to eat low carb. This is because a low-carb diet lowers your levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin, allowing your fat deposits to shrink and release their stored energy. This tends to cause you to want to consume less calories than you expend – without hunger – and lose weight. Several of the tips mentioned above are about fine-tuning your diet to better this effect. Video course Do you know exactly how to eat a low-carb and high fat diet (LCHF)? This is required for ketosis. If not the easiest way is watching this high quality 11-minute video course on how to eat LCHF, and the most important things to think a Continue reading >>
Symptoms Of Ketosis:
If you are considering the ketogenic diet or have already started down this carb-free road, you may wonder what you can expect. Here’s the thing. Ketosis looks different for everyone, but I will share many of the most common symptoms with you today. If something other than what’s listed here is happening to you, just do a quick Google search for that symptom and keto. You should be able to find what you’re looking for! The Early Signs: The early signs of ketosis vary from person to person. The biggest impact on how quickly you notice the symptoms of ketosis will have a lot to do with how you ate before you started the diet. If your diet was very high carb, you might get hit pretty quickly and furiously with what we like to call the “Keto Flu.” This can last anywhere from 3 days to a week or more. Once your body has adapted to burning ketones for energy instead of glucose, you’ll be golden so don’t give up! Here’s what you can expect within the first 2-3 days of starting the Ketogenic Diet: Fatigue & Weakness (lack of concentration) Headaches Metallic taste or sweet taste in your mouth (I experienced this, and it tasted like blood in my mouth) Lightheaded / Dizzy upon standing Heightened Thirst Hunger / Sweet or Carb Cravings Dry Mouth possibly paired with “Keto Breath.” Stomach Discomfort / Mild Nausea / Cramping Trouble Sleeping or Staying Asleep (early waking) Water weight loss (perhaps an excessive loss of weight within the first two weeks) Frequent Urination Allergies or cold like symptoms may flair up For the ladies: Period issues: You may experience a longer, shorter, earlier, later period because of Keto. Seriously it causes all of that. Each woman is different, and I have experienced every one of those issues with my period since starting ket Continue reading >>
How Do I Know If I Am In Ketosis?
[Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase something by using one of those links, I may receive a small financial compensation, at no cost to you.] Ketone testing strips are not reliable, so it can often be difficult to know if you are in ketosis, especially, if you are not losing weight as quickly as you had hoped. Weight loss isn't a sign of being in ketosis, so even if the scale isn't moving, you could still be using dietary fats to fuel your daily activities. To put your mind at ease, we have put together a list of the signs and symptoms of ketosis for you, as well as advice on what you can do to be more comfortable during Atkins Induction. "How do I know if I am in ketosis?" I have been getting quite a few emails and comments lately from people who have been asking me if they are in ketosis. After a bit of discussion back and forth, the conversation usually reveals that: 1) The ketone strips that Dr. Atkins recommended are only turning pink; and 2) They are not losing much weight. Both of the above ideas show a misunderstanding about: the purpose of ketosis weight loss and low-carb diets So, I went searching through the archives to see what I had already written on the topic. During that extensive search, I found this old post on how to tell if you are in ketosis. This post was originally written in 2012. It contained a bullet list of symptoms that could help you know if you are in ketosis. It also explained what you can do to ease the symptoms and make yourself more comfortable while going through the change. I decided that since so many of you are struggling and don't know if you are in ketosis, or not, I would give the post a major overhaul. I wanted it to accurately reflect what we know about ketosis today. Many people believ Continue reading >>
How To Detect Ketosis
How can you tell if your low-carbing efforts have been effective enough to induce ketosis? Learn how to check your ketones! The state of ketosis The state of ketosis means that the body has switched from depending on carbohydrates for energy to burning fats for fuel. This means not only dietary fats (olive oil, guacamole, deep-fried pig ears), but also all the jiggly bits around your waist — clearly a desirable state for anyone looking to shed extra weight. When the body metabolizes fat, it generates molecules called ketones (also known as ketone bodies). As you restrict carbohydrate intake and amp up the dietary fat, more fat is metabolized and a greater quantity of ketones are created. Most of the cells in your body — including those in your brain — are able to use ketones for energy, although many people experience a few days’ adjustment period, often called the low carb flu. One of the varieties of ketones generated — acetone — cannot be used by the body and is excreted as waste, mostly in the urine and the breath. Conveniently, this makes it very simple to measure whether or not you are in ketosis. Upon entering ketosis, some people report a distinct change in the smell of their breath as a result of the extra released acetone. It could be “fruity” — it’s been likened to overripe apples — or even “metallic.” If you notice this happening during your first few days of changing your diet, it could be a good sign you’re in ketosis. The unusual smell isn’t anything dangerous, but it could be annoying. Drinking plenty of water should help, or get yourself some sugar-free gum. Most people report “keto-breath” diminishing after the first few weeks. Detecting ketones in urine The more accurate way — and the one we recommend — to check f Continue reading >>
Measuring Ketosis With Ketone Strips: Are They Accurate?
Many people following keto diets want to be in ketosis, a natural state in which the body burns fat for fuel. For this reason, people are curious about whether they are doing enough (via carb restriction) to achieve this state. As a result, ketone strips are a popular tool that numerous people use as a way of measuring ketosis. However, just how accurate are they? And how do they compare to alternate methods of measuring ketones? What is Ketosis? Anyone following a standard high-carbohydrate diet will be burning glucose for energy. However, the body can use both carbohydrate and fat for fuel (1). When carbohydrate intake is very low, the body switches to burning fat for energy. As this happens, our body enters a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a natural biological state during which our body burns fat for fuel. While we are “in ketosis,” our blood levels of ketones—a by-product from the breakdown of fats—rise. Measuring these ketones (also known as ‘ketone bodies’) can, therefore, provide a hint as to how deeply our body is (or isn’t) in ketosis. For this reason, ketone strips—which measure the level of ketones—have become increasingly popular in recent times. Key Point: Ketosis is a biological state where the human body burns fat rather than carbs. What are Ketone Test Strips? For people who want to know if they’re in ketosis, ketone test strips are a cheap and simple way of detecting ketone levels. They are otherwise known as ‘ketone sticks’ and work by urinalysis to tell us the volume of acetoacetate in our urine. If you don’t know what acetoacetate is, then let’s start at the beginning. First of all, there are three types of ketone body; Acetoacetate Acetoacetate is one of the two main ketone bodies, and it is present in urine. We can test f Continue reading >>
How To Tell When You’re In Ketosis
Ketosis isn’t some mystical state, achieved only by days and months of fasting and spiritual connection. Kind of the opposite, actually. A lot of people (whether or not they follow a low carb diet) go into a state of ketosis every night without even trying, just by having a functioning metabolism. Of course, as soon as they eat carbs again, they’re knocked out and back to burning carbohydrates preferentially – but we’re not here to talk about them. The question at hand is for those following a low carb diet, who want to be able to tell when they’re in ketosis. Seems simple enough. Keto Sticks I’m including these, and listing them first, because they’re pretty widely known in the keto community. You really can’t throw a rock without hitting a post about them. The thing is, keto sticks work nicely to tell that your body has been in a ketogenic state recently, they just aren’t the best at letting you know whether or not you’re in a ketogenic state now. I’m not totally against using them, just not as a regular means of identifying your body’s current state. They’re certainly a good starting point to try and see when you hit that keto place. Keto Meter There are two varieties of these: blood & breath. Both test your current state of ketosis, but are costly. The advantage of breath over blood is no skin pricking, and any diabetic will tell you that has its benefits. The breath meter will also save you in the long run, if you plan on using this daily for any duration of time. While the blood meter is initially 1/5 the cost of breath, use requires testing strips that are $35 for 10. Yikes. Of course, if you don’t want to spring for a testing meter, you can check your body’s symptoms… Your Pee & Poo Yup. Get excited, you’re about to become very 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 >>