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Ketosis and Ketogenic Diet: Everything You Need to Know

Ketosis and Ketogenic Diet
Ketosis and Ketogenic Diet

What is Ketosis? This is a question many people still ask but rarely have a clue what it entails. This present post gives you insight into everything you need to know about ketosis and a ketogenic diet. Drum roll!

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a normal metabolic state where the body is fueled by fat instead of carbohydrates.

When the body lacks enough carbohydrates or glucose from energy food, it burns the stored fat leading to the formation of by-products of fatty acids known as ketones.

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

A ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet, where the body initiates a natural process of ketone production in the liver to serve as an energy source.

It goes by other names like the keto diet and low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF). The drastic reduction of carbohydrate intake forces the body to become efficient in burning fat putting your body into a ketosis state.

Food components that make up a ketogenic diet are known as ketosis macros. The macronutrients are made up of low levels of carbohydrates, high fats, and some proteins that induce the body into ketosis.

A ketogenic diet shares many of its similarities with Atkins, which is often recommended for weight loss.

How Do I Get My Body into Ketosis?

Sticking to a low-carb diet (ketogenic diet) is by far the most efficient way of getting your body into ketosis.

As is the norm, the cells in your body depend on glucose, or sugars for energy even when there are other sources of energy like fatty acids and ketone bodies.

However, when one takes a diet that involves fewer carbohydrates, the glucose and insulin levels are reduced. As a result, stored fatty acids are released.

The liver converts these fatty acids into ketone bodies, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetoacetate. These bodies are used to run the body.

You can also get your body into ketosis through a process called Ketosis induction. In a nutshell, this means the process of getting your body into ketosis by relying on a low-carb, high-fat diet. The induction only occurs through the intake of specific grams of carbohydrates in a day.

Other ways of getting into ketosis include ramping up your physical activities, which leads to glycogen depletion, fasting, maintaining an adequate protein intake, testing the ketone levels in your body, and consequently adjusting the diet as needed.

How Many Carbs Can You Eat and Still Be in Ketosis?

The amount of carbohydrate intake required to achieve this state is not universal. It is individualized and in some people, it is as low as 20 grams a day.

Others will achieve it by eating twice this amount or more. Therefore, the recommended amount should be between 20 to 50 grams per day.

The best way to enter into ketosis is to stick to this plan in a low to a high method. If you achieve results in 2 to 3 days, add net carbs of about 5 grams every week. It is the quickest and the most reliable way to discover your net limit.

Starting with a high to low diet should involve net carbs of 50 grams, which is gradually reduced to about 5 grams every week until the presence of ketones is felt.

Although this method is less difficult than the low to high plan, it is not recommended as it may take a while before ketosis occurs.

How Long Does it Take for the Body to Go into Ketosis?

The body stores only about a two-day supply of glucose in form of glucose. Therefore, sticking to a low-carb diet of 20 grams in 2 to 3 days is sufficient to get your body into ketosis.

Is it Good to Be in Ketosis?

It is a good way of staying healthy because you get to incorporate healthy fats from nuts, coconuts, and avocados among others in your diet.

Ketosis improves the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and reduces the effects of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

However, following a ketogenic diet for a long could lead to potential health issues, especially in people with diabetes. It must be followed by a physician’s directions.

How Different is It from Fasting?

Fasting involves normal eating but within certain window times. It is usually between 6 and 8 hours every day.

What this means to some individuals is skipping breakfast and eating later in the day. Ketosis and fasting are similar and they involve depleting the carbohydrates in the body causing it to burn the stored fats.

Fasting results in ketosis as it makes the body transition to a metabolic state that burns fatty acids and ketones to fuel normal functioning.

The only difference is that when fasting, you eat after a specific time while in ketosis, you rely on a low carbohydrate diet.

Benefits of Ketosis

Keto diets are beneficial in several ways, one being the killing of your appetite in a good way. Some of its benefits include:

a) Weight Loss

Cutting on carbohydrates and consuming more proteins and fats, is the ideal way to eat a lot fewer calories.

Ketosis leads to more weight loss. Ketogenic diets rid the body of excess water and lower insulin levels. As a result, the kidneys shed excess sodium, which leads to accelerated loss of weight in the first two weeks.

A Low-carb, high-fat diet leads to more weight loss than any other diet people use to lose weight, this is why the easiest way to lose weight in this process is through a ketosis induction.

Sticking to a ketogenic diet is easy to follow and if you are looking at keeping your weight off for a long time, ketosis provides a sufficient level of appetite suppression that is efficient.

However, it is sometimes not recommended for some people especially when the weight loss happens fast. Other benefits include the reduction of harmful fat and blood sugars.

b) Good for a Lifestyle

A ketogenic lifestyle is adopted by abandoning your daily eating routine and adopting a low-carb, high-carb diet. Why ketogenic diet is considered a lifestyle is because some people make ketosis a long-term change.

They find it realistic and healthy as it involves enjoying good food without starving. A ketogenic diet is also easy to follow both in the short and long term. However, the lifestyle is much more difficult for vegetarians.

c) Can Be Combined With Exercise for Weight Loss

The burning of stored fats for energy in ketosis is the same effect you can experience under vigorous exercise. Through cardio exercise, you can begin burning fat after exercising for more than twenty minutes.

Glucose is stored as glycogen in muscles and during an exercise, the glycogen is shed making you lose lean muscle because a keto diet doesn’t make you achieve a toned body, combining ketosis and exercise is highly effective in weight loss.

d) Improves Brain Function

When your body goes into ketosis, there is a release of fatty acids. These acids include Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids, which are a with the improved cognitive functioning of the brain.

It is, therefore, true to say that ketosis improves brain function.

e) Has Been Used to Treat Epilepsy

The burning of fat to power the brain has often been utilized as a treatment method for children with epilepsy who do not respond well to medicine.

Although it remains a controversial issue, other studies like the one that appeared in the journal of Neurology showed positive results even in adults.

Ketosis Diet Dangers

Ketosis is followed by many myths that have people confused. However, much of the dangers associated with it only occur when one doesn’t enter ketosis the right way.

The lifestyle has several benefits, as we have discussed before and it is always one of the ways to stay healthy. The side effects include keto flu, ketoacidosis, and an overworked kidney.

The last two are only experienced when the fatty acids production and ketones surpass the optimum limit. Therefore, ketosis is safe as long as it is practiced within its limits.

However, when the body is adapting, there is a manifestation of headaches. One is bound to feel lightheaded as part of the keto flu-like symptom in the first few days of withdrawal.

When the levels of insulin and serotonin are low during a ketogenic diet, some experience sleep problems. This is referred to as ketosis insomnia.

In other individuals, they experience joint pain, especially when one is on a keto diet. It is often accompanied by fatigue and weakness.

Abandoning a normal eating routine and adopting a low-carb diet is often followed by keto flu, which is also characterized by loss of appetite and waves of what is known as ketosis nausea.

What are the Other Side Effects of Ketosis?

The side effects are relative to individuals. However, some of the most conspicuous side effects include:

  • Keto Flu
  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent urination
  • Muscle cramps

Example of a Ketogenic Diet Menu

A ketogenic diet involves a maximum of 50g a day of carbohydrates. For breakfast, you could have about 15g, some proteins, and some fat.

Combining this with 2 to 4 eggs with onions, spinach, and mushroom cooked in olive oil topped with about 2oz cheddar cheese should be sufficient for a diet.

A lunch diet should include more than 15g of carbohydrates and or a salad. Leafy greens, arugula, lettuce, avocados, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes would be ideal.

Chicken breast and tuna, nuts, potatoes, noodles, or rice can also be consumed. End your day with proteins from chicken, turkey, and fish among others. Carbohydrates should include less than 15g of carb.

Ketosis Diet Tools

  • Ketosis strips – They are strips utilized to test the urine to determine how your body is responding to the keto diet or if you have achieved this state.
  • Ketosis drink –  It is a form of drink containing ketone energy that is used as part of a keto diet.
  • Ketosis diet foods – These are low diet food consumed for one to induce ketosis.
  • Ketosis recipes – They are recipes that include a low carbohydrate diet used as a lifestyle for ketosis.

Ketosis Vs Paleo

Ketosis focuses on following a strict diet of low carbohydrates. The Paleo diet involves getting rid of elements that are harmful to your body. These elements include refined carbohydrates and table salt among others.

What’s the Bottom Line – Does Ketosis Work?

Ketosis works. It is safe as long as the ketone level does not exceed the optimum requirement. If abused, the dangers of ketoacidosis may occur.

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