What is Ketosis? Part Two
This article is part two of two, focusing on teaching you about ketosis if you are new to this subject.
You can find part one here: What is Ketosis?
In part one, I covered the definition of ketosis, how it’s a metabolic state in which the liver produces ketone bodies at sufficient levels to provide energy for the body when glucose is low.
I then went over the Krebs cycle, and how our bodies have evolved to be able to convert fats into ketones to help us survive for weeks without food.
Is Ketosis Beneficial?
So now we’ve established that there is an evolutionary advantage to going into nutritional ketosis. Our brains can only survive on either glucose or ketones, and our body can only store enough glucose for approximately 24 hours.
The liver plays a crucial role in converting fats into ketones, providing us with a method of fueling the brain and other organs.
Dr Peter Attia has studied whether nutritional ketosis could offer an advantage in physical performance. His conclusions were that ketosis likely enhances aerobic capacity, and muscular endurance. He concluded that it has no effect on aerobic power, and is unlikely to have an effect on muscular strength.
The Ketogenic Diet
The basics of a ketogenic diet are to get 70-75% of your calories from fat, 20-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrates each day. Sometimes the fat % can go up to 90% in some interpretations.
Remember that the objective of this diet is to go into ketosis and maintain that metabolic state. The difference between this diet and a regular low-carb diet is the amount of carb and protein allowed. The amount of protein will vary depending on your height, exercise and gender.
Fats have little effect on blood sugar and insulin, and overeating protein will result in glucose production (which in turns increases insulin, preventing the body from going into ketosis). This is why there is a higher percentage of fats in a ketogenic diet.
You can expect some weight loss on a ketogenic diet. What else can you expect?
When you make the effort to be in a near constant state of nutritional ketosis, you no longer have those ‘foggy’ brain moments. You’re more switched on, able to think more clearly.
The reason for this is that you can have up to 40% greater blood flow to the brain on a ketogenic diet. This needs to be experienced for yourself to truly comprehend how enormous this benefit is.
Do you have troubling getting to sleep at night? Perhaps you have difficulties staying awake and alert during the day (this ties into the previous point about a clear state of mind). Sleep issues are extremely common across the United States and other countries.
Under nutritional ketosis, you can expect to have several hours more sleep a night. There are other tips to help people who lack sleep (turning down electronic lights, getting sunlight during the day to help your circadian rhythms, using blackout curtains) but ketosis gives you greater physical and mental health by giving you a sound night’s sleep.
This also spills over into an enormous boost in the energy levels you have throughout the day. You never feel tired, irritable or like you can’t be bothered. You’ll actually be excited to do your exercise each day.
Appetite Under Control
This is the big one for most of you trying to lose weight. I myself have struggled with cravings. I can go a day or two eating healthy foods, but my sugar cravings always come back and I can’t help picking up a few tasty morsels when passing them by in the supermarket.
The ketogenic diet is specific to each person. You need to consume the right amount of proteins and carbohydrates tailored to your carb tolerance level. Most of the food comes from dietary fats.
When you strike the right balance, you will feel satisfied, nourished and will not have that insatiable hunger following you everywhere you go.
You stand to gain a multitude of health benefits on the ketogenic diet.
These include lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol and higher HDL cholesterol (both of these are good for a healthier heart), better digestion, less fasting insulin levels and much more. You can lose weight and maintain it at a healthy level quite effectively.