What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic process through which the body converts fat into energy. Ketosis is the physiological state in which the body takes its primary energy from fats (food and fatty tissue) and derived metabolic products (ketone bodies).
The human body uses sugar as the essential source of energy, not the use of fats, which accumulate. Glucose is the easiest molecule the body can transform and use for energy. So the body is prone to choosing sugar over any other energy source.
When we say sugar, we mean all types of sweets that contain processed sugar, as well as natural sources of sugar (fruits, sweet vegetables, honey, maple syrup, etc.)
The principle behind diets like the Dukan diet and the Paleolithic diet is, Ketosis can lead to weight loss. Still, it can also bring health risks as it reduces the body’s primary energy source, carbohydrates.
In the case of a diet without any sugar, the body no longer has glucose available to produce energy. Ketosis occurs when our liver metabolizes fatty acids (burns fat) without sugar, transforming the molecules into ketones.
These ketones are released into the blood, so the body uses them to ensure optimal energy. Our pancreas produces two antagonistic hormones: insulin and glucagon. Insulin is a storage hormone; through it, the amount of glucose in the blood is reduced when its level increases.
Insulin facilitates glucose penetration into cells, using it for energy, transforming excess glucose, and storing it in adipose tissue.
Glucagon has the role of raising blood glucose levels, being a catabolic hormone which facilitates the burning of fat. Glucagon converts complex molecules into simple molecules so that the body can use them as a source of energy.
When we stop giving the body sugar, our pancreas decreases insulin and glucagon production, thus facilitating fat burning.
The human body is brilliant and needs a short period to adjust to the new metabolic state and learn where it gets its energy. You don’t need sugar or carbs, but it will burn ketones.
To induce the state of Ketosis in the body, you must follow a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat and protein.
How does Ketosis work?
Ketosis is nothing more than a state where fat burning is very high. This is because the body is forced to obtain energy almost exclusively from ketone bodies, not glucose, the body’s traditional fuel source.
Ketone organs are energy molecules (like glucose) synthesized by the liver from our fat or fatty acid stores obtained through food. Although it occurs naturally in the body, Ketosis is pronounced without carbohydrates or periods of prolonged rest.
Ketosis allows, for example, people to go for weeks without food as glycogen stores (the way glucose is stored), and muscles and the liver are depleted within a day or two. Burning fat allows metabolic processes to continue even when the body remains 20 to 30 days without receiving a single external energy molecule.
The main factor behind the increase in insulin rates is carbohydrate consumption. The higher the nutrient intake, the greater the hormone release by the pancreas.
When you restrict carbohydrate intake or go through prolonged rest periods, your insulin level remains low because no glucose in the circulation requires cells to enter insulin.
Low insulin levels stimulate the liver to break down fatty acids stored in adipocytes (fat cells) to form ketone bodies, which will be used as an energy source for the body.
This is it: Ketosis allows you to burn fat without using thermogenic supplements or turning to other dubious products.
How is Ketosis measured?
- Blood ketone meters
- Urine test strips
- Ketone breath analyzer
Benefits of Ketosis
- Burning old fat, which we carry in our body for years;
- It has a constant level of fat burning, which determines a continuous level of energy in the body throughout the day, without having ups and downs as in the case of sugar consumption;
- Weight loss, since the regulation of hormones that cause the accumulation of fat also occurs;
- The feeling of satiety and reduced appetite helps us listen to our body and realize what kind of hunger we have;
- Regulation of blood sugar;
- Mental clarity;
- We give our pancreas a break after years of putting it to work;
- Reducing inflammation in the body causes most of the diseases people face today.
Ketosis is one of the steps in our program, used to cleanse the body and burn old fats in which toxins accumulated over the years are stored, as well as blocked emotions and trauma.
Our body must go through all four food seasons to benefit from healing, health, and energy.
As I said, there are four seasons of food, but people spend their entire lives stuck in one season, and this is not one of burning fat.
With us, you will learn precisely what each season looks like and which foods will make the body move from one food season to another, depending on each individual’s goal.
How to get into Ketosis?
To get into Ketosis, you need to restrict your carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 20-30 grams per day (the exact amount may vary from person to person) ad als attention to your protein intake.
To do your accounts:
- 1 g of carbohydrates = 4 kcal;
- 1 g Protein = 4 kcal;
- 1 g of fat = 9 kcal.
Simply put, Ketosis is a physiological state in which a large part of the body’s cells derives its primary energy source from fat and fat-derived metabolic products, such as ketone bodies.
Signs and symptoms that you are in Ketosis
The best way to determine if you are in Ketosis is to measure the concentration of ketone organisms in your circulation or urine.
While the first procedure can be performed using a small digital device, quantifying ketone bodies in urine can be done using specific measuring bands.
Another much less accurate method of recognizing the state of Ketosis involves analyzing some symptoms that may or may not be present simultaneously. These are:
- Bad breath; is when people reach full Ketosis. To reduce or eliminate bad breath, most people use chewing gum several times a day; they should know that this can increase the blood sugar level and reduce the level of ketones.
- Weight loss, which can occur in the first week.
- Increased ketones in the blood can vary between 0.3 and 0.5 mmol / l. Accurate measurements can be done with these ketone meters.
- Increased ketones in the urine; Another technique to measure ketones in urine daily is with unique indicator strips.
- Appetite suppression
- Increased focus and energy
- Short-term fatigue
- Digestive problems
During Ketosis, some people may also experience a state of euphoria and increased mental alertness.
Aspects of the State of Ketosis
Ketogenesis occurs in the body of healthy people when blood sugar falls below a certain threshold. The state of Ketosis should not be confused with the state of ketoacidosis, which occurs in untreated people with type 1 diabetes, in which the body is unable to produce insulin that corrects / balances hyperglycemia and hyperketonemia effects.
Fats cannot pass the blood-brain barrier or be a metabolic substrate. The remaining 30-40% of the energy required for brain metabolism is primarily satisfied by glucose through gluconeogenesis and not only.
Effects of Ketosis
The high consumption of saturated fats of animal origin can also cause an increase in LDL and cholesterol levels that stimulate the formation of plaques on the walls of the arteries.
The low energy levels associated with Ketosis can make it engage in regular physical activity. D difficulting a diet, I prefer less intense exercises, such as walking, light bike rides, pilates, and stretching sessions.
What to eat in Ketosis?
Check the foods allowed in the ketogenic diet to lose weight without risk to health;
About 80% of the calories on the ketogenic diet are from eating fat. But it is not just fat because saturated animal fats can increase LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and cause arterial blockage, increasing the risk of severe heart problems.
The ketogenic diet for weight loss using Ketosis should include healthy fat sources such as olive oil, walnuts, avocado, omega-3s (found in tuna, salmon, and sardines), and flaxseed oil.
Protein-rich foods will maintain satiety and prevent muscle loss during Ketosis. Avoid healthy protein sources, such as tuna, salmon, chicken breast, and lean red meat.
In addition, excess protein also increases the level of insulin in the circulation, compromising the state of Ketosis.
In general, the higher the fat content in milk, the lower its carbohydrate content. Cream cheese, for example, does not contain carbohydrates, while white cheese can contain up to 5 g of nutrients per 100 g serving.
Although carbohydrate consumption is entirely restricted during Ketosis, you should not forget to include vegetables in your menu to lose weight. Vegetables provide essential nutrients for metabolism, and their absence from the diet can even prevent weight loss.
The thing to do is choose non-amylose vegetables, such as eggplant, artichokes, and zucchini, and avoid those with higher carbohydrate content, such as peanuts, sweet potatoes, corn, and beans, For instance.
Leafy vegetables, such as spinach, thistle, mustard, kale, and other greens, can be eaten in large quantities because they are low in carbohydrates.
Some low-carb fruits are strawberries, avocados, peaches, and watermelon.
What does it mean to reduce carbs in Ketosis?
At the beginning of the diet, shortly after the decrease in carbohydrate intake, there is significant weight loss, but it is not due to the elimination of fats.
Low carbohydrate diets assume that the greater the formation of ketone bodies, the greater the use of fat stores.
So without carbohydrates, there is no insulin; more ketone bodies equate to more fat use, resulting in weight loss.
When you stop eating carbohydrates, the body uses glycogen stores for energy, promoting water release. This is because when stored, glycogen (the body’s way of storing glucose) retains moisture, and its mobilization eliminates the need for excess fluid in the muscles and liver.
Since each gram of glycogen binds to another four grams of water, you must understand that losing 2 to 3 kg in the first few days of Ketosis is not tricky. However, as glycogen stores run out, this effect diminishes, which is when weight loss tends to be the least.
For the process to occur, however, your carbohydrate intake must be as low as possible, as even small amounts of nutrients can stimulate insulin release.
The answer depends on individual to individual. An unwritten rule of thumb is to cut your carbs to about 50g a day, and after a few days, you should be in the state of Ketosis. That denotes several aspects:
1. To reduce carbohydrates to approximately 50 gr. Per day, you need to know precisely how many grams of carbohydrates are in each food you eat.
Example: a 100g apple (rarely apples that small) has about 14g of carbohydrates, of which about 3G is fibre (which should not affect blood sugar). So this little apple has a network of 11g of carbohydrates. So you can’t afford keto.
He mentioned that berries, for example, are low in carbohydrates so they could have a firm place in the daily diet. Also, to balance the diet and eat nutritious food, it can be said that greens and certain vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin, peppers, leaves, etc.) have reduced the consumption of carbohydrates in volume and should not be lacking in the keto diet.
2. You know exactly that you are in Ketosis when you measure it accurately.
At the moment, there are several methods to measure ketone bodies.
The most straightforward and accessible would be through urine tests (such as Ketostix) found in some pharmacies (and can be ordered online). Sometimes these tests can be imprecise, but I say that for beginners, they are helpful enough. There is a technical explanation that can be returned to in other posts.
An accurate method is through blood tests (all at home) with devices similar to a glucometer. Examples of brands include Accu Chek, CareSens (what I use), etc. They test for beta-hydroxybutyric acid (a ketone body) in the blood.
Another method would be more through breath tests with a Ketonix-type device, which I do not know much about, but I see the product’s creator.
3. The above 2 points take a bit of effort, but I can say that you can get used to such precision in a few days.
So it’s more of a willpower game if you want a more accurate assessment of ketone levels in your blood, urine, or respiration every week.
If you are losing weight on the ketogenic diet, enjoy your diet without obsessing over your ketosis levels.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.