Ketosis: The Simple Breakdown
How to get started with the ketogenic diet (and if it's even right for you?)
“Keto” is all the buzz right now and it’s only continuing to grow into a mainstream lifestyle.
But what exactly is “Keto”? “Ketosis”? The “Ketogenic diet”?
You’ve arrived at the right spot. Here’s the quick primer.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body produces raised levels of “ketones” through healthy fats. Ketones, produced in the liver, become the fuel for your body and brain, and replace ATP energy molecules that are made by using glucose.
You are in ketosis when your body begins to produce ketones. Ironically, fasting is the fastest way to get to ketosis, but when you can’t fast, you can find a balance of what to eat (and when) to keep your body producing ketones. This lifestyle — the ketogenic diet — is a balance of losing weight (a benefit of fasting) and performing efficiently.
The Ketogenic Diet is:
- a high level of fats
- a medium level of proteins
- and a very low amount of carbs
By decreasing your carbohydrate intake dramatically, you are taking the first step towards ketosis. Don’t worry about cutting your carbs either. Your body doesn’t really need carbs because your liver will always make sure you have enough glucose in your bloodstream for your body to perform healthily.
On a ketogenic diet your entire body switches its fuel supply from glucose/blood sugar to, almost entirely, fat. As a result, fat burning increases as your insulin levels become very low (a caution to diabetics.)
Here’s the quick ‘Eat’ and ‘Don’t Eat’ visual.
Who should NOT do a ketogenic diet?
Most people can safely do a ketogenic diet. But in these three situations you may need extra preparation or adaptation:
- Are you on medication for diabetes, e.g. insulin?
- When starting a strict, low-carb diet, you may need to lower your insulin doses by 30-50% or more.
- Are you on medication for high blood pressure?
- If you’re on blood pressure medication and start a low-carb diet there’s a risk of getting low blood pressure. You may relatively quickly become too healthy for your medication.
- Are you breastfeeding?
- In extremely rare cases, a strict, low-carb diet can be potentially dangerous when breastfeeding. 50g of carbs for a moderate-low carb intake is suggested to ensure proper nutrition for your baby.
In general, the first few days of a ketogenic diet may be a little rough. The transition for your body to enter ketosis by reducing carbohydrates may result in feeling lethargic, slight dizziness, or light-headedness. The “keto headache” will only be temporary until your body starts burning fat for fuel.
Steps for success
These are taken straight from our own, in-depth breakdown by Rachel who goes further into the science with more facts, information, and graphics.
- Keep exercising. This prevents muscle loss as your metabolism changes.
- Reduce your carbohydrates to about 50g/day
- Increase your healthy fats, such as coconut and avocado. Have you tried grass-fed butter in your coffee??
- Eat a moderate amount of protein (about the size of your palm).
Your brain runs far better on ketones, your body fat is being used for fuel, you’re building muscle and you’re not getting hangry. It’s time to change your perception and kick carbs from the base of the food pyramid.
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Intrigued enough to try the ketogenic diet? New in 2017, we now offer Keto-friendly meals that fit the lifestyle and are fully trackable with your macros. Browse our menu here.
A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners by Diet Doctor
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