Ketosis is a state where the body is using fat for energy. During ketosis the body breaks down fat instead of carbohydrates to produce energy (ATP) and in the process it produces ketone bodies.
Ketones are used for energy in the blood stream and the heart, brain, muscles and kidneys actually prefer ketones to glucose for energy.
It is a good idea to measure your ketone production to check if you are in ketosis. You can measure ketones at home on an empty stomach via a finger prick test. You can also measure your urine ketones if you purchase some urine test sticks.
Benefits of Ketosis
The obvious and most common benefit of achieving ketosis is effortless weight-loss and absence of hunger, so you won’t find yourself constantly snacking. You will also have balanced blood sugar so you won’t mid-morning or mid-afternoon slumps.
Your insulin will be low which means possible remission of insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. You may also have clearer thinking as the brain prefers ketones as fuel.
People have reported better digestion, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Ketogenic diets have been studied for the effectiveness in curing cancer and putting epilepsy in remission.
One down side of going into ketosis is the so-called “keto-breath” which results from the increased production of acetone which is excreted via the urine and breath. Luckily this does not last forever and may pass after a few weeks or months. In the meantime you may want to invest in some dragon breath aids.
Ketosis versus Ketoacidosis
Many people confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis and this gives the ketogenic diet a bad name. Ketoacidosis is actually a state that occurs in type 1 diabetics which couples high blood ketones with high blood sugar because type 1 diabetics cannot produce insulin. This situation is dangerous and can be life threatening but it does not affect people who are not type 1 diabetics.
Type 1 diabetics are not advised to embark on a ketogenic diet, but if they do they must check that their blood sugar levels do not rise and adjust their insulin accordingly. Type 2 diabetics usually produce enough insulin to avoid ketoacidosis.
What to Eat to Reach Ketosis
When your diet is low enough in carbohydrates, your glycogen levels drop and you enter ketosis. For optimal ketosis one must have very low levels of insulin in the blood. This means avoiding obvious sources of carbohydrates like bread, cakes, pasta, grains, potatoes and many fruits. You also need to make sure you do not eat too much protein as this will convert to glucose and raise your insulin too.
The most important food group for ketosis is fat. This will fill you up so you aren’t reaching for high protein or high carb foods.
If you are ready to begin your journey into ketosis, stock up on high fat and low carb supplies here.
Check out ketogenic recipes here.