Read below to learn all about Keto!
WHAT IS THE KETOGENIC DIET?
The ketogenic diet is an approach to eating that is high fat (75%), moderate protein (20%) and low carb (5%). This is designed to put the body into a state of ketosis.
In ketosis, your body burns ketones (instead of glucose) for fuel, which provides numerous physiological benefits for your body.
Most of our lives we’ve been told the primary source of energy for our bodies is sugar (glucose). However, there is a more efficient source of fuel that is rarely utilized: ketones.
When the body metabolizes fat it produces ketones, which are then used by cells to power their normal functions.
Ketosis is the metabolic state of having ketones in the blood, typically above 0.5mmol/L. The purpose of a ketogenic diet is to eat in such a way (high fat, adequate protein, low carb) that it puts your body into ketosis.
Many people do Keto to lose a lot weight quickly, enhance their mental performance, energy, mood, or disease prevention and therapeutic benefits.
Why would you want to eat fat instead of carbs? When you eat high amounts of carbohydrates, these convert into glucose in the liver. This causes your body to produce insulin (commonly referred to as an insulin spike, leading to insulin resistance), to help transport glucose through your bloodstream.
When glucose is present, your body will resist burning fat. By removing carbohydrates and replacing them with fat, you are forcing your body to burn that fat for fuel. Leading to amazing weight loss results.
For most people, a range of 20-50 grams of carbohydrate intake per day is ideal for the keto diet. Most people either choose to do 20 grams net carbs (total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols) or 50 grams total carbs (they do not minus fiber and sugar alcohols). We personally recommend to track net carbs.
Protein is extremely important on keto. Ideally, you should consume 0.68 grams of protein per pound you weight. This
is the optimal amount for performance and muscle building.
The truth is that on a keto diet, you can eat a lot more protein than some other sources promote. (without being kicked out of ketosis.) Too much protein won’t raise your blood glucose and decrease your ketone levels. That’s just a myth.
The remaining 75% of your calories come from fats. Since fat is the main source of nutrition on a ketogenic diet, it’s important to source high-quality, healthy fats.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is the metabolic process of using fat as the primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates. This means your body is directly breaking down its own fat stores as energy. You enter ketosis when your body doesn’t have enough glucose (carbohydrates) available. The prime function of the ketogenic diet is to put the body in ketosis.
Ketones are byproducts of the body breaking down fat.
HOW KETOSIS WORKS
Step 1) Cutting Off Carbs
When there isn’t a sufficient level of available glucose and glycogen levels are depleted, blood sugar and insulin levels decrease, and the body looks for an alternative source of fuel (fat, ketones).
Step 2) Breaking Down Fats
The body breaks down fats for energy. This process is known as beta-oxidation, where there is an increase in acetyl-CoA, which turns into acetoacetate. Acetoacetate then shifts to beta-hydroxybutyrate, the ketone body that floats around in your blood to then provide energy to the body and brain.
Step 3) Using Ketones/Ketosis
The Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet & Ketosis:
• Weight loss: When your body is using fat directly as a source of energy, you lose weight more readily because your body taps into your own fat stores for energy instead of the sugar you eat.
• Improved energy levels: Without surges of glucose, your body has more consistent energy levels because you can use your own body fat for energy (no sugar crashes or food comas).
• Increased mental focus: Fat is a more consistent source of energy, and preferred by the brain, meaning you don’t have ups and downs in energy and focus.
• Longevity and disease prevention: Ketosis has been shown to decrease inflammation, Alzheimers, and benefit cancer patients and diabetics.
• Increased physical performance: Ketosis uses oxygen more efficiently and avoids physical crashes of low blood sugar.
WEIGHT LOSS BENEFITS OF KETOSIS
Ketosis can be a desirable approach to weight loss for the following reasons:
• Increased Fat Oxidation: In ketosis, your body burns dietary fat and your own body fat as its primary source of fuel.
• Hormone Regulation: Ketosis can help sustain weight loss by regulating hormones that affect weight. That means eating a ketogenic diet can help you avoid cravings for unhealthy foods, reducing the chance of gaining the weight back.
• Appetite Suppression: Feeling full, even on a weight loss diet means you can better listen to your body’s true hunger signals.
• Blood Sugar Regulation: Weight loss diets that include high carbohydrates can create blood sugar spikes that leave you feeling hungry again soon after eating—as well as tired and unfocused.
The keto diet has been shown to bring better weight loss results than a calorie-restricted or normal low-carb diet. If you are on a keto diet, you are already using fat as your main fuel source, so it becomes easier to burn fat stored within your body as well.
People also see good weight loss results on the keto diet because eating a low carb, high fat diet can help you feel less hungry and not have to count calories or portion sizes to lose weight. Plus, cutting out the refined carbs and sugars helps avoid crazy spikes in blood sugar that can lead to the feeling of being hungry again soon after eating.
TYPES OF KETONES
There are three types of ketones. They are:
1 Acetoacetate (AcAc)
2 Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB)
THE PROCESS OF CREATING KETONES
Acetoacetate is the first ketone created from breaking down fat. This then leads to the formation of Beta-hydroxybutyrate. Acetone is created spontaneously as a side product of acetoacetate via decarboxylation.
WHY OUR BODIES USE KETONES
Humans have always relied on ketones for energy when glucose sources were scarce (i.e. no fruits available during winter). It is a normal state of metabolism. In fact, most babies are born in a state of ketosis. However, with abundant sources of carbohydrate, people rarely access ketosis and it becomes a dormant metabolic pathway. Our ancestors likely had frequent periods of time when high carbohydrate food wasn’t immediately available. For this reason, our bodies are amazing at adapting to burning of ketones for fuel.
How to Test Ketones
Testing your ketone levels is important to know if keto is working for you. Eating “keto” foods doesn’t automatically mean you are in ketosis.
We can test if our diet is truly “ketogenic” to allow our bodies to enter ketosis.
There are 3 methods for measuring ketone levels. They are:
1 Urine Testing – When ketone levels in your body increase past a useful point, they get excreted through urine. You can easily measure excess amounts of ketones with a urine strip. It’s easy to test at home, but not completely reliable. As long as the strip turns color you are in ketosis.
2 Blood Testing – You prick a finger and squeeze a drop of blood onto a test stick to test the amount of the ketone called Beta-Hydroxybutyrate in your blood. This is the most accurate method for testing your body’s ketone levels, but the most expensive. As long as you read a .5 or higher you are in ketosis.
3 Breath Testing – You can measure the amount of acetone in your breath using a breath meter. This is the least reliable method of testing for ketosis.
Is the Ketogenic Diet Safe?
Having high ketone levels (0.5-5.0mmol/L) is not dangerous. Ketosis is a perfectly safe and natural metabolic state, but it is often confused with a highly dangerous metabolic state called ketoacidosis.
KETOSIS VS KETOACIDOSIS
Ketosis: The metabolic state when fat is the primary energy source instead of carbohydrates. Ketosis is a perfectly normal state of human metabolism. Without ketosis, all humans would have died many thousands of years ago in times of carbohydrate shortages, such as winter and drought.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA): A dangerous metabolic state that is most commonly seen in people with type 1 diabetes and sometimes type 2 diabetics if they aren’t properly managing their insulin and diet. The condition can be deadly if untreated.
OTHER SIDE EFFECTS OF KETOSIS
KETO FLU SYMPTOMS
Many people deal with common side effects similar to flu-like symptoms as they become fat adapted after decades of running on carbs. The keto flu can often be shortened or avoided completely by taking one of our ketone supplements, which help switch the body into ketosis instantly. They make the transition period much shorter and easier. These temporary symptoms are byproducts of dehydration and low carbohydrate levels while your body is still trying to use carbohydrates as its primary energy source, including:
• Brain fog
• Stomach pain
• Low motivation.
These symptoms will pass once the body has switched into ketosis.
REMEDIES TO KETOSIS SIDE EFFECTS (CURE KETO FLU)
• Drinking lots of water
• Adding salt and electrolytes
• Time. Often your body just needs to get used to low carbohydrate levels and switch into ketosis
• Eating more fat. Higher proportions of fat in your diet will help getting into ketosis.
• Exogenous ketones. Taking supplements containing ketones helps boost your body into ketosis much faster.
What to Eat on Keto: Ketogenic Food List
The following foods make up the majority of the ketogenic diet, but not limited to:
• Meats: fatty cuts of beef, chicken and other poultry, pork, lamb, goat, turkey, veal, and fish sources like salmon, sardines, catfish, tuna, trout, etc.
• Oils: oils like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, ghee, butter, and nuts and seeds (whole or as butters)
• Whole eggs: yolks preferred as they contain all of the fat content
• Dairy: full-fat cheeses, sour cream, full-fat (unsweetened) yogurt and heavy creams
• Low-carb vegetables and fruits: avocados, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and other leafy greens; small quantities of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
For years and years, fat was seen as harmful for heart health and we were told to reduce them as much as possible. However, recent studies have debunked this, showing no significant link between saturated fats, which humans have been eating for thousands of years, and the risk of heart disease.
Fats include cooking fats and oils, dairy products and nuts and seeds.
KETOGENIC FOODS TO EAT: PROTEINS
The best protein for keto has a reasonable fat content.
Remember, it’s not necessary to limit your protein on keto. The following protein sources are keto-friendly:
• Beef, preferably fattier cuts like steak, veal, roast, ground beef and stews
• Poultry, including chicken, quail, duck, turkey and wild game — try to focus on the darker, fattier meats
• Pork, including pork loin, tenderloin, chops, ham, bacon and ground
• Fish, including mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout, halibut, cod, catfish and mahi-mahi
• Shellfish, including oysters, clams, crab, mussels and lobster
• Organ meats, including heart, liver, tongue, kidney and offal
• Eggs, including deviled, fried, scrambled and boiled — use the whole egg
• Lamb meat
• Goat meat
KETOGENIC FOODS TO EAT: CARBOHYDRATES
The majority of your carbohydrates should come from vegetables such as leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and most other vegetables that grow above ground.
The rest of your carbohydrate intake should come from the carbs in nuts and seeds, the small amount in dairy and on occasion, from fruits like berries.
Foods to Avoid on a Ketogenic Diet
In any healthy diet, there are the obvious things to avoid: processed carbs, sugars and fried food. On keto, you must avoid any high-carb foods that could kick you out of ketosis.
FOODS TO AVOID: CARBOHYDRATES
You must avoid all grains, legumes, sugar, starchy vegetables (potatoes) and fruit on the ketogenic diet. These foods contain high traces of carbohydrates and very little fat and protein
CONSUMING ALCOHOL ON KETO
Alcohol slows fat burning and ketone production. Drinks to avoid include:
• Wine (especially sweet wines)
• Sugary mixers that contain soda, syrups or juices
• Flavored alcohols
The best options include:
• Whiskey, scotch or bourbon
• Vodka, gin, brandy
Supplements on a Ketogenic Diet
Supplements are a popular way to maximize the benefits of a ketogenic diet. Used in conjunction with a nutritious, whole-food based ketogenic diet, our supplements can help you get into and stay in ketosis quickly and easily, leading you to better and quicker results.
WHAT ARE EXOGENOUS KETONES?Exogenous ketones are a supplement used for boosting performance and energy, or complementing a low carb diet designed for weight loss. They are ketones you can consume that your body isn’t directly making. However from your cell’s perspective, they cannot tell the difference.
Recall that fats break down into ketones, which are then used as fuel by the body. Exogenous ketones are ketones that come from outside the body.
HOW TO USE EXOGENOUS KETONESUse exogenous ketones to increase the ketone (energy) levels in your body which will:
1 Transition you into ketosis faster, which help with symptoms of the “keto-flu”
2 Boost energy at anytime of day (during work or exercise)
3 Get back into ketosis after eating carbohydrates
4 Suppress appetite in between meals or during a fast
5 Reduce inflammation
6 Increase mood and mental performance
BENEFITS OF EXOGENOUS KETONES
• Higher Ketone Levels: Especially in the morning or between meals, ketones boost your body into an effortless fat burning mode.
• Physical Performance: Ketones before and during workouts give you energy and decrease need for oxygen.
• Mental Focus: Ketones improve energy levels for brain cells, increasing mental output and sharpening focus.
• Improved Overall Wellbeing: Ketones help you get into ketosis for benefits from enhanced well-being, to disease prevention and longevity.
WHEN TO TAKE EXOGENOUS KETONES
• In the morning or between meals for a sustained energy boost.
• Before or during exercise as a no-carb energy boost. • During the day for peak mental performance and sharper focus.
• After eating a meal that knocks you out of ketosis (eg. high carbs) to transition yourself back into ketosis.