To Keto and Beyond
What is keto?
Well in simple terms, keto is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, moderate protein nutritional lifestyle. Although, a lot of people like to call it a diet for its weight loss effects.
Keto is so much more than just another weight loss diet. It's a key to good health and longevity. When used correctly, I personally believe keto can heal just about everyone.
The list, of ketogenic benefits, is endless the more you do your research on it. It's important to know before starting keto, that it is nearly impossible to know everything inside and out.
Therefore, it is quite likely that you will make mistakes and that's okay. Nobody is perfect, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither were your internal and external health problems (if that's why you've turned to keto).
Personally, I believe in this way of life for the health benefits I've saw on myself and for the several accredited studies that have been made.
I am not a health practitioner but I have devoted years to the understanding of how the body and the ketogenic “diet” work, simply because I enjoy it.
I chose to create this website in hopes of helping people out there to get a better understanding of what keto is and how to make it a bit more easy. I also want to show people that it is attainable in almost every country.
So please take my information with a grain of salt and enjoy my site for what it's worth.
Let's get back to what keto is if you're still interested, like I was, in the nitty gritty details.
First off, why all the fat? Fat is so important because it allows the body to produce ketones, in the liver, and use them as an energy source for the body rather than glucose.
Ketones occur once the body doesn't have a sufficient amount of carbohydrates or sugar to produce glucose for energy. It then switches over to using fat for energy, resulting in ketones bringing your body into a state known as ketosis.
This means in order to start producing those ketones one must eliminate all high-carbohydrate foods such as starchy fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta, grains and sugar, while increasing the consumption of foods high in fat such as nuts, avocados, oils and butter.
- the molecules that make up most fat are called long-chain triglycerides or LCTs
(LCTs: butter, olive oil, eggs, cheese and nuts to name a few).
- other types of fat molecules are known as medium chain triglycerides or MCTs
(MCTs: coconut oil, palm oil to name a few) the shorter the carbon chain is the more ketogenic the fat is considered.
Breaking down ketones and understanding their functionality within the body
There are 3 ketone bodies produced within our liver: Acetoacetate (ACAC) is the first ketone body that is broken down from fatty acids within the body. ACAC converts into Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), can be broken down into acetone and carbon dioxide or is expelled from the body via urine. The process of converting ACAC into BHB is essential to the ketogenic diet. This transformation provides the brain with a rich source of energy that can be readily used, unlike fatty acids. This is because fatty acids cannot cross the blood brain barrier where as BHB can.
Acetone is one of the bodies that is produced as a by product of ACAC. Although thought to be virtually useless by the body, studies on rats found that acetone has anticonvulsant effects making it a helpful treatment towards seizures (more about that later). Acetone is eliminated from the body by means of respiration and sweat.
Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is the third ketone that is derived from the ketone ACAC. Being the most abundant of the three, it is the main source of energy for the body.
Typically, one would measure their ketone levels found in the urine (ACAC), breath (acetone) or blood (BHB) to help determine whether or not their body is creating ketones:
- once the body shows high levels of ketones released via urine or breath, this is a clear indication that ketones are being made but not a clear sign that they are being used
- when the urine or breath test shows low ketones but your blood ketone values show high, this means your body is using the produced ketones
- below 0.5mmol/L (2.9mg/dl) is not considered to be in ketosis
- between 0.5-1.5mmol/L (2.9-8.71mg/dl) is considered to be in light nutritional ketosis
- around 1.5-3mmol/L (8.71-17.43mg/dl) is considered the optimal range for ketosis
- anything above 3mmol/L (17.43mg/dl) could mean that you are not getting enough food (fasting) or that your body is lacking insulin. A higher reading than the said optimal range should not give better nor worse results
The misperception, -understanding & -information
In todays society, most people would believe that fat makes us fat and why wouldn't they? This notion has been instilled in most of us, on a daily bases, since birth, by everyone we are surrounded by.
Since this fear, of becoming fat by eating fat, has been long engraved into our heads, it is only natural to feel bad, at first, for doing something you've been told is wrong. It will take time to get over, I won't lie, but once you do you will be so glad you did.
You will see for yourself that fat does not make you fat and all its other amazing health benefits. * A great source/if you are in doubt/to get a great overview in why our diets changed from eating a lot of fat to eating carbs...For a better understanding on why most of us still consider fat is making us fat...
One major benefit you may start to notice is the regulation of your blood sugar (blood glucose).
Let's start off with a typical glucose eating diet. Coming from the food you eat, your body creates glucose from sugars, carbohydrates and too much protein. This is then turned into energy and used as fuel for the body. Glucose that isn't used right away as energy gets stored in cells for later use.
This is where insulin comes in. Created by the pancreas, insulin is produced when there is an excess amount of glucose in your bloodstream. In order to lower blood glucose levels (high blood sugar), insulin grabs the glucose and stores it away in the cells.
Insulin resistance is when the cells in your body become so saturated with glucose that they start to resist or ignore the signal from insulin, which tells them to be stored into cells, bringing down high blood sugar levels.
The specific cause of insulin resistance is still unknown but there are certain factors that correlate with its existence. These include but are not limited to:
- oxidative stress
- eating a high calorie, high sugar diet
- lack of physical activity
- having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or Cushing's disease
- taking high doses of a steroid
Now what happens to insulin on a ketogenic lifestyle?
Normally, one would eat a diet consisting of the following macronutrient percentages:
- 60-85% calories from fat
- 15-30% calories from protein
- 5-10% calories from carbs
With this in mind, let's look into the effects of each macronutrient on insulin:
- protein has a mild effect on insulin (2-3 times above normal)
- carbohydrates (depending on the specific carb) can increase insulin levels >10times above normal
- dietary fat has no effects on insulin levels what so ever
Therefore, indulging in a lifestyle that reduces the cause of insulin spikes (carbohydrates) and increases the cause for the reduction of insulin (fat) then it is only obvious that you will improve your insulin sensitivity.