What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a state where the body burns ketones (fatty acids) rather than glucose irrespective of the amount of fat that the body is consuming.
Naturally, this leads to burning fat in the body and avoid production of the toxic by-products of glucose metabolism.
It is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein diet, with just the right amount of healthy fats to help the body rely on fat for energy rather than glucose.
Why shift to Ketogenic diets from the currently recommended Low-fat diets?
Much of what we now know about the dangers of high fat intake is predominantly based on a single research by a scientist from Minnesota named Ancel Keys.
His iconic study; “The Seven Countries Study” examined the association between diet and cardiovascular disease in different countries.
Keys concluded that heart disease was directly related to high-fat consumption. It is now thought that the study was flawed and had many scientific errors.
Based on this study alone the American committee of the U.S. Senate published the first Dietary Goals For The United States and was picked up by the USDA.
Basically, the guidelines recommended a low-fat, high-carb diet for everyone.
Interestingly one notices that the obesity epidemic started around the time these guidelines were issued and soon after the epidemic of type II diabetes followed.
These guidelines were not welcomed by many respected scientists especially John Yudkin (who at the time was insisting that SUGAR was to blame). He wrote the book: “Pure,
White and Deadly”
However, his theory was shot down and he was massively ridiculed by the likes of Ancel Keys and his theory was discredited.
Evolution of low-carb diet
Since then, many studies have concluded that Keys’ hypothesis does not hold true, and there is no direct correlation between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease
- 5 Studies on Saturated Fat — Time to Retire the Myth?
- Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study. Lancet. 2017 Aug 28.
This is where there has been a major paradigm shift in what we describe as a “Healthy Diet”.
More and more scientists, healthcare providers, and nutrition experts and finally some Medical Doctors (such as Dr.Mercola, Dr.Jason Fung, Dr.William Davis) are recommending a “Low-Carbohydrate” diet such as the Ketogenic diet.
Ketosis is a very natural process that the body switches to when food intake is decreased.
What we are aiming for is starvation of carbohydrates not starvation of calories.
By decreasing carbohydrates the body is forced to break down fat, this leads to the production of ketones.
Burning ketones is like burning clean energy such as “Solar Energy” while burning glucose is like burning “Diesel or coal”.
A key misconception is that you are allowed to have endless amounts of fat on the ketogenic diet.
This is far from true… Consuming large amounts of leafy green salads is a major cornerstone of this lifestyle
The whole point is to reduce the carbs (refined sugar, cookies, pasta, bread, croissants, muffins, donuts, cakes, fatayer, kunafa, biscuits, crackers..etc) and help the body become “fat adapted”.
The body is “fat adapted” when it can comfortably switch from needing to burn glucose to burning fat as a major source of fuel.
It might take the body a few days to weeks to adapt to the low levels of carbs, and this is called the “Keto Flu”.
As you make the transition from a typical High Carb-Low Fat diet to a Low-Carb/High-Fat (LCHF) diet; your body might rebel!
You might miss the “sugar high” and feel tired with low energy, and lethargy.
As long s you are consuming the recommended amount of calories that are right for you, along with healthy fats and moderate proteins; this stage will pass within a couple of days. Hang on there!
You will soon start enjoying the many, many benefits of a ketotic state such as no brain fog, high energy, stable mood, reversal of metabolic syndrome and best of all shedding of the unwanted weight.
How long should you be in ketosis?
Once you know the system; you can be in and out of ketosis. So make sure that you have some days when you slightly increase your carb (Healthy carbs) intake and then go back to ketosis.
From an evolutionary standpoint; we as humans are programmed to burn fat for fuel.
Our ancestors went through periods of famine and feast. During a period of famine they had to survive and be in a ketotic state and when there was food they would feast and nourish their bodies.
The point being they were not addicted to carbohydrates. For the sake of survival, they had to be keto-adapted (i.e. be able to get into ketosis when needed) in order to function with high efficiency.
How do you know you are in ketosis?
You will start losing weight as soon as you lower your carb intake. The first couple of pounds might be water loss because carbs retain water.
Get rid of the carbs and all the water retention goes away. This is why you need to make sure that you are replacing your electrolytes. Take lots of leafy greens for potassium and add sea salt or pink Himalayan salt to your water if you feel dizzy, hypotensive or are low on magnesium.
However to be sure that you are in nutritional ketosis you need to measure the ketones and glucose in your blood.
Most references recommend Precision Xtra that can be found on Amazon
So there you have it… A short and simple summary about ketosis.
As always make sure to do your own research and seek medical advice when needed.
The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable
Cronometer to calculate macros