What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
Chances are you’ve heard about the Ketogenic Diet. The Ketogenic Diet is becoming very popular among those who want to lose weight and optimize health…and for good reason. Eating a keto diet will profoundly change your health, your weight and your mental well-being..but there is a price to pay.
The average person who is not reducing carbs in their diet has an average carbohydrate intake of 300 grams per day. The Ketogenic diet loosely recommends 20-50 grams of carbs per day (some can stay in ketosis on 100 grams a day). When you consider that just one serving (1 cup) of pasta is 45 grams of carbs (who eats just one cup), you can see how restrictive and difficult the ketogenic diet can be. Having said that, many people have been successful with it for years.
So What are Ketones?
Those who are not intermittent fasting, eating low carb or not on a ketogenic diet, are typically using glucose for fuel – a source of energy for the body. Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, fat is not needed for energy in many cases and is therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose (sugar) as the main form of energy. By drastically lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis. Your body increases fat oxidation and breaks down fats into ketones to be used as the primary energy source.
Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low – our bodies energy source. We also produce ketones, albeit, at a much lower level while we sleep and a small bit during the day.
During the fasting state or other low carb states such as sleeping or on the ketogenic diet, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. We are genetically wired to use ketones for fuel as our ancestors missed meals or went days without finding a meal and yet, we survived as a species. However, in this modern day of eating 5 or more times a day, having food available to us 24/7, we are burning glucose as our primary energy and it’s a dirtier fuel, if you will. Brain cells, for example, function more efficiently when they use ketones for fuel rather than sugar.
You can look at the difference between ketones and glucose as ketones being the electrical car = clean fuel and glucose is the gas-powered car = dirty exhaust.
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
- Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy – providing your main source of energy is in a higher carb intake.
- Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.
Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are generally not needed and are therefore stored. Glucose + insulin can increase inflammation in the body.
Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy, as mentioned. But by drastically lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis. You can become a fat-burning machine when your body begins to use fat as its primary source of fuel over glucose.
What are Just Some of the Benefits of Ketones?
~Weight Loss, Better mental focus; more energy, oxygen capacity, motor performance and athletic performance; improved Sleep quality and duration; Blood Sugar Balance and enhanced insulin sensitivity – helps to fight Type 2 Diabetes and food desire; helps to lower blood pressure; Increases satiety or a feeling of having had enough to eat and decreased food cravings; enhanced blood flow; Increased HDL cholesterol; Migraine treatment; neuroprotective benefits such as Alzheimer’s disease, memory or cognitive function; improved mood; reduction in inflammation; stroke and heart disease prevention; enhanced athletic ability. ~via Ben Greenfield, Author and Health Expert
The great news is that you can also achieve ketosis within 60 minutes without severely restricting your carb intake. Exogenous ketones as in supplement form, has been a game-changer for everyone who wants all the benefits of ketosis or the ketogenic diet, but does not want to change their diet. Again, the same outcomes and benefits with the supplement and a healthy diet.
Here is a quick video on exogenous ketones:
I’d like to introduce you to one of the primary scientists and founders of the benefits of ketones – Dominic D’Agostino, PhD. Here is his home site and a podcast featuring him about ketones where he has links to many of his research interests and other resources for ketogenic diets and supplemental ketones. Dr. D’Agostino states that ketone bodies, whether they come from fasting, keto diets, MCTs or exogenous ketones, have potential applications across many areas from longevity to performance, to health and mitigating some of the risks and symptoms of certain diseases like cancer and neurologically inclined diseases such as Alzheimers or Parkinson’s.
What does a typical keto meal look like? Delicious!
or how about a Tomato Frittata?
So whether you decide to create more ketones on the Ketogenic Diet or with an exogenous ketone supplement, you will be rewarded with a healthier, leaner and happier you.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like more information on exogenous ketones or the Ketogenic Diet.