In normal circumstances, the body’s cells use glucose as their main form of energy. Glucose is typically derived from dietary carbohydrates, including sugar and starchy foods such as bread and pasta which the body breaks down into simple sugars. Glucose can either be used to fuel the body or stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen.
If there is not enough glucose available to meet energy demands, the body will adopt an alternative strategy in order to meet those demands. Specifically, the body begins to break down fat stores to provide glucose from triglycerides. Ketones are a by-product of this process.
Ketones are acids that build up in the blood and are eliminated in urine. In small amounts, they serve to indicate that the body is breaking down fat, but high levels of ketones can poison the body, leading to a process called ketoacidosis.
Ketosis describes the metabolic state whereby the body converts fat stores into energy, releasing ketones in the process.
The ketogenic diet
Ketosis diets are also referred to as ketogenic diets, LCHF diets, Banting diet, or sometimes low-carbohydrate diets. The diet itself can be regarded as a high-fat diet, with around 75% of calories derived from fats. In contrast, around 20% and 5% of calories are gained from proteins and carbohydrates respectively.
Adhering to the ketogenic diet can lead to short-term weight loss. A study conducted in 2008 and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that obese men following a ketogenic diet for 4 weeks lost an average of 12 lbs during this time. The participants were able to consume fewer calories without feeling hungry while following the diet.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the ketogenic diet could have a healthful effect on serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It may also improve levels of HDL cholesterol better than other moderate-carbohydrate diets.
These health benefits could be due to the loss of excess weight and eating of healthier foods, rather than a reduction in carbohydrates.
The ketogenic diet has also been used under medical supervision to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy who do not respond to other forms of treatment. Some studies have suggested that the diet could also benefit adults with epilepsy, although more research is required to confirm these findings.
However, longer-term adherence to the ketogenic diet does not appear to yield great benefit. A 2014 review of diets found that after a year, the difference between a ketogenic diet and a normal protein diet was only around 1 lb (roughly 0.4 kg).
The American Heart Association (AHA), American College of Cardiology, and the Obesity Society have concluded that there is not enough evidence to suggest that low-carbohydrate diets such as the ketogenic diet provide benefits healthful to the heart.
My 5 tips to help to stay in ketosis
- Only eat when you are hungry – get your body out of that old habit of snacking because food is in the pantry, or eating other peoples left overs because they are in front of you, dont just eat because its an old habit, your body will tell you when its hungry, and on the keto diet over time you will notice you eat less and less sometimes only 2 small meals a day because the fat intake keeps you fuller for longer.
- Watch your macros make sure you are getting the right amount of fat and protein for your body while eating a small amount of carbs allowed. To find your correct macros click here and of course dont pig out on the red list foods.
- Drink plenty of water especially if you are fasting. you should drink about 2 Litres a day
- Sleep well – your body repairs and restores while you sleep so you must get a good 7-8 hours sleep a night.
- Keep it simple and plan ahead! Being organised is key – as crazy as it sounds on Tuesday I already know what I am going to have for lunch and dinner for the week. I plan each meal and it makes grocery shopping so much easier. Food prepping is more time consuming on this diet because you are chopping and cooking, boiling and baking everything that you need to make so you need to be organised but keep it simple. There are alot of great yummy recipes you can eat on keto but start off simple so its not to confusing . Also alot of people just eat the same thing every day so they know what their macros will be and its also easier just creating a huge batch of food and freezing it or splitting it up over a few days (especially if you are also cooking daily for your partner or kids) you will already have your meals sorted. Check out my recipes here