The word “keto“ is a short version of “ketogenic“ which is when the body produces small fuel molecules called “ketones”. Let’s get a little more technical now.
There are three types of ketone molecules that our body uses as fuel:
1. Acetone 2. Acetoacetic acid 3. Beta-hydroxybutyric acid
After a few days of a low carb diet, your liver starts lacking sugar. Your mind and body will soon require energy, and that’s where the liver provides fuel - it starts making ketone bodies from fat that you store in your body, then releases much needed glucose to help you feel on top of your game.
While many of our organs, including muscles, can burn fat directly, our brain can run only on glucose and ketones. Even though our brain is relatively small organ, it consumes about 20% of body energy per day.
When you choose a ketogenic diet, your entire body starts running mostly on fat, no matter if you are sleeping, thinking, working or running. This is a great way to burn off those few extra pounds! People on the keto-diet have also found their focus, attention, and memory improve. You will also feel less hungry, and more energetic.
Benefits of Ketosis State
According to NCBI (National Centre for Biotechnology Information), ketones reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which are believed to play a big role in many chronic diseases. Apart from already mentioned keto benefits, it also helps you to:
Regulate appetite and lose weight: According to NCBI research, being in ketosis state suppresses hunger. You actually turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Plus, it will save you a lot of time and money by not having to snack all the time. A keto diet can result in a calmer stomach, less gas, less cramps and pains.
Reversal of diabetes and prediabetes: According to NCBI research, people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, being in ketosis can help normalise blood sugar and insulin response, which leads to discontinuation of diabetes medication.
Enhance athletic performance: As already mentioned, during keto diet, your body receives long-lasting fuel which is very helpful for physical activities.
Epilepsy management: According to NCBI research, ketosis state has been proven effective for controlling epilepsy in both children and adults who don’t respond to anti-seizure medication.
There are some very exciting, early stage research that show other benefits such as reducing frequency and severity of migraine headaches, reversing PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome that affects about 10% of childbearing age women), possibly slowing down of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, potential treatment for brain cancer, less acne, heartburn, and overall making people live longer and healthier!
How To Get Into Ketosis State
Minimum carbohydrates (maximum of 20 grams daily).
Eat around 20 grams of carbs per day. Enjoy fibres as much as you like. It is easy to calculate your carb intake. Look at the packaging of the product you eat and it always shows you the quantity of carbs per 100 grams of the product. The other way to explain 20 grams visually:
20 grams (each):
20 grams (each):
☞ Eat as much as you want: eggs, avocado, meet, fish, cheese, coconut oil, olive oil.
☞ Food that you can eat daily: berries, full-fat cream, olives, salami, nuts, vegetables (avoid fruits as they have natural glucose), and mayonnaise. These are all healthy fats. So, go for it! Don’t be shy.
☞ Drinks that you can have daily: unsweetened tea, coffee, water, diet soft drinks, champagne, red and white wine, pure spirits, such as tequila, whiskey and vodka. Avoid beer, cider and all types of cocktails and liqueurs.
If you have any doubt about food or drink carb quantity, it is worth looking at the label where you can find information on sugar quantity per serving and 100 grams.
Cook with coconut oil.
This is a good replacement of vegetable oils and it is much more resistant to the heat.
To help yourself to get into ketosis state quicker, you need to exercise. Do what you prefer: gym, dance classes, running or simply walking.
Signs Of Ketosis State
Although there are devices that help you to measure blood ketones, you still can understand ketosis state by noticing the following signs in your body:
• Decrease in appetite and food intake
• Dry mouth or a metallic taste in the mouth.
• Increased thirst and more frequent urination.
• “Fruity breath”, which may be more apparent to others than yourself.
• Initial fatigue, followed by an increase in energy.
Side Effects Of Keto Diet
Before starting ketogenic diet, you should be aware of some side effects that you will experience in the beginning. The reason for these side effects is that your body has to learn, switch and adapt to a new way of making energy. This is normal process, but try to switch your body to ketones production gradually. When coming out from ketosis state do not start with starvation or binging. Have plenty of water and electrolytes (including salt) daily.
During the first few days of keto diet, you can experience:
• Changes in mood, be easily annoyed
• Tiredness, headache, light-headedness
• Lack of motivation
• Light nausea
• Cramps, constipation
After your body adapts to these changes, you will stop having side effects and will notice healthier life with weight loss.
Who Should Avoid Keto Diet
If you have the following conditions, you should avoid keto diet and consult with your doctor:
• Taking medication for high blood pressure
• Liver, heart, or kidney disease
• History of gastric bypass surgery
• Individuals with rare metabolic conditions that are typically diagnosed in childhood, such as enzyme deficiencies that interfere with the body’s ability to make and use ketones.
Disclaimer: while ketogenic diet has proven many benefits, there are still some controversial topics related to saturated fats, cholesterol, whole grains, red meat, whether the brain needs carbohydrates and restricting calories for weight loss. This article is strictly informative and does not give any advice. Please, consult your doctor for further information. We would like to thank Diet Doctor and NCBI for the provided information.