So What is Ketosis?
Have you heard it from a friend? At the gym? Are you scratching at your head wondering what ketosis is?
Ketosis is actually a state of metabolism. More specifically, ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates / sugar / glucose.
When you stop eating carbohydrates, your glycogen supply starts to dwindle.
When this happens, we need to find an alternative fuel to use.
As a result, the body compensates for this by taking fats and turning it into ketones to utilize as energy.
Many individuals are using ketosis to lose weight and even remedy various health issues.
Ketosis is essentially achieved through a ketogenic diet restricting carbs and sugar to under 25 grams per day while increasing protein but primarily fat consumption.
In this post, we’re going to dive into the benefits, the drawbacks, how to get into ketosis and more!
What is Ketosis Even Good For & Why Should You Care?
Tons of research over the last few decades has shown a significant amount of evidence for not only weight loss, but also promising results for conditions like neurological diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. [R]
As for weight loss, ketosis exhibits a variety of awesome benefits.
One of the benefits being a suppressed appetite. [R] As one may infer, since an individual in ketosis can start utilizing their own fat for energy, the body needs less energy from external sources like food; especially in the case of individuals with excess fat / energy stores.
If modifying diet has the possibility of eliminating or reducing the use of pharmaceuticals, the benefits of this diet are huge.
On a personal side-note, ketosis has definitely improved my response to stressors / anxiety and has helped immensely with overall physical energy along with cognition / brain fog.
Nobody will take initiative like you will for your health.
If you leave your health to others, you will end up sick mentally and physically.
All you will ever be is a customer to pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. That’s no fun.
Top 5 Benefits to a Ketogenic Diet
1.) Ketosis Shows Evidence for Therapeutic Use
In the 1920’s, Ketogenic diets have been utilized to assist individuals struggling with epilepsy.
In some cases, the diet was capable of completely removing the need for medication. It has since shown more promise to support those suffering from acne, polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, cancer and more. [R]
2.) Ketogenic Diets Can Suppress Hunger & Thus Promote Weight Loss
As discussed, in a state of ketosis, the body utilizes fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This allows for the body to burn its own fat for energy thus needing less energy from food. [R]
3.) Mood Stabilization
This publication suspects that a ketogenic diet may have a use as a mood stabilizer in individuals with bipolar illness. [R] They have noted positive changes in brain-energy profile in subjects following a ketogenic diet.
So what is ketosis being shown to be good for here?
Well, it is explained that extracellular variances that happen while in ketosis would be expected to decrease intracellular sodium concentrations.
In other words, your body excretes sodium and this is a common property that all effective mood stabilizers share.
4.) Ketosis Can Improve Endurance & Performance
In 5 separate studies including 39 athletes, ketosis is shown to improve physical endurance. [R] They suggest that the findings could represent clues to a greater human potential and better comprehension of metabolism in health and disease.
5.) A Ketogenic Diet Can Help Improve Epilepsy & Anxiety
This publication proposes a mechanism your brain uses to handle glutamate, glutamine and GABA while in ketosis. [R] As a result of ketosis, the brain shows enhanced conversion of glutamate to glutamine.
In turn, this allows for an improved removal of glutamate; the most important excitatory neurotransmitter.
Furthermore, it seems to show a more efficient conversion of glutamine to GABA; which is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter.
The Negatives of Ketosis
One of the major things to know about ketosis is that electrolytes need to be adequately supplied.
At least in the beginning stages, I have noticed this is essential.
In ketosis, the body goes into a water flushing state so it is easy to lose electrolytes quickly.
Signs of electrolyte depletion can emerge as headaches, feeling dizzy, constipation, cramps and bloating.
Though, these symptoms are typically referred to as the ‘keto flu’ which ultimately comes down to electrolyte imbalances as your body is transitioning its metabolic state.
Staying hydrated and getting enough potassium, magnesium and sodium will ensure proper physical and cognitive function. Most electrolytes should be incorporated into the diet itself.
Below I have listed the most important electrolytes in order from most important to least.
Optimal Daily Doses of Electrolytes for Ketosis:
- Sodium: 4000mg-6000mg per day
- Potassium: 1500mg-3000mg per day
- Magnesium: 300mg-500mg per day
Typically sodium will be the reason for headaches, dizziness, fatigue and restlessness.
Potassium depletion will usually manifest as nausea, muscle weakness, cramping and constipation.
Lastly, magnesium depletion can also show itself as irritability, anxiety, lethargy, muscle spasms / cramps and impaired coordination.
After experimenting with ketosis and zero carb for the past 3 years, I have noticed that I do well without supplementation.
I assume this has to do with how your body compensates over time on this diet. It learns how to properly partition nutrients and electrolytes.
During the adaptation period, I was using these electrolytes. They provide a small but ample amount of supplemental electrolytes.
Another downside to ketosis is the adaption phase. If you are coming from a high carbohydrate diet or a SAD (Standard American Diet) you will 100% experience WITHDRAWALS FROM SUGAR.
The withdrawals from sugar / carbs will subside as you become fat adapted. During my withdrawal period, I experienced lethargy and intense cravings for sugar; especially honey for some odd reason.
This is good to take note of as you will know what to expect and what you are up against.
How Do I Know I Am in Ketosis?
The easiest way to tell you are in ketosis is by using testing strips that test for ketones in urine.
The higher the concentration of ketones in the urine indicates a deeper state of ketosis.
Typically, the more carbohydrates and sugar you restrict, the more ketones your body produces.
However, once your body becomes accustomed to burning fat, less ketones will be expelled into the urine as your body efficiently utilizes them instead of wastefully excreting them.
So test strips usually are used in the adaption phase (first 2-6 weeks) when you are first entering ketosis.
I can actually ‘feel’ when I am getting back into ketosis by increased energy, focus and a crisper mind with no brain fog.
Take note of how you feel before you start the diet and after to compare.
How To Get Into Ketosis
To get into ketosis, you will need to restrict carbohydrates and sugar consumption to less than 20-30 grams per day.
This is what I did; however, ketosis can still be achieved with higher carb and sugar intake – though, the more you restrict, the more effective ketosis will be.
Furthermore, most will find that it is a lot more difficult than it sounds because nearly everything seems to have added carbs and sugar.
This surprised me at first since foods you generally regard to as ‘healthy’ will not cut it for this diet.
I will enjoy things like seafood, steaks, eggs, cheeses, salads, etc.
So what is ketosis in terms of dietary intake?
Most ketogenic diets recommend 80% of your calories come from fat, 15% from protein and 5% from carbs.
Typically, I will just eat until satiety and thats does it for me.
How closely you follow this diet will dictate how quickly you would see the benefits.
If you have any questions or comments definitely leave a comment and I will be sure to get back to you!
If you already eat a ketogenic or zero carb diet, how does it compare with the way you used to eat?
Until Next Time,