How to get into ‘ketosis’ and why you should care
You’ve probably arrived at this article because you typed something about weight loss into Google. I’m not an advocate of “lose weight quick” schemes. Weight loss takes discipline and effort. But if you are looking for a way to shave off those pounds you might want to consider a ketosis based or ketogenic diet. But like any weight loss program, it should be followed correctly and after you’ve done some research.
What is ketosis?
We’ve all heard of low carb diets and how they work. In theory, this type of diet burns off fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. Instead of expending glucose for energy (glucose is derived from carbs and stored in the liver or muscles as glycogen), the body will break down fat stores. Creating ketones (a type of acid), which are a source of fuel, just like glucose is.
Ketones get eliminated in urine, so if you measure your ketone levels through urine analysis (i.e., strips from a pharmacy) and they are high, you know you’re in ketosis, this means that your body is breaking down fat and converting it into energy. And so the weight loss begins.
The Ketogenic Diet: What is it?
When your body adapts to this kind of diet, you will be less hungry too, which means fewer snacks, more energy, and a highly functioning brain.
No, ketosis is not the same as starvation. While you are forbidding carbohydrates, you should be balancing your diet with the correct levels of protein and fats so that your blood sugar levels are stable. Creating ketones and burning fat is a better way of dieting than just reducing calories or starving yourself.
Other benefits of ketosis
Some studies of ketosis have shown that ketosis is beneficial for cancer as it starves cancer cells, which feed on glucose and cannot use ketones for fuel. Being in ketosis can also benefit those who have epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s due to its neuroprotective nature and its ability to slow down or stop cellular death.
As you’re storing less glucose, there is also less chance for neurotoxicity, one of the leading causes of brain disease.
What is Ketoacidosis?
A ketogenic diet is a short-term solution to weight loss, but like anything, beware of overdoing it. When ketones build up in your blood, they become acidic which eventually leads to a metabolic state called ketoacidosis. The main causes of this state are too much alcohol, starvation or an overactive thyroid.
It is important to note that if you have diabetes -particularly type 1 diabetes- and decide to go on a ketogenic diet; please consult a medical professional first. A drop in insulin means that your body cannot properly process the available glucose and could cause some serious impact on your health.
Ketosis simplified: How to get into ketosis
Here’s the lowdown on ketosis. Your body becomes a fat burner and not a sugar burner. Even though you will be replacing carbs with fats, it does not mean that you can walk into your nearest BK and eat the patty without the bun. You will still need to eat a balanced diet to get enough nutrients to fuel your body like high-quality fats, organic vegetables that don’t contain starch and good sources of protein.
Takeaway: For your daily calories, aim to get 75% of your calories from healthy fats, 20% from protein and 5% from carbohydrates. However, for the first 2 weeks, aimed at keeping your carb intake to less than 20 grams per day. After that, you can eke up to as much as 50g per day. Be sure to use your keto sticks to monitor your level of ketones in the blood, ensuring you are still in ketosis.
To continue learning more about the ketogenic diet, read the following articles:
Dai "Coach Moose" ManuelDai Manuel: Your Lifestyle MentorSeptember 28, 2017