While your body will experience a ton of benefits when doing keto, one of the main benefits that cause people’s ears to perk up is when they hear about the weight loss that happens.
The basis behind this weight loss is a metabolic state that your body goes into known as ketosis.
In fact, the whole purpose of the ketogenic diet is to get your body into ketosis. Without ketosis, there is no keto.
But what exactly is ketosis? That’s what we are going to explore in this post.
What Is Ketosis?
In our Keto Bootstrap program we take the approach that the more knowledge you have about keto and what it does to your body, the better chances of success that you will have. That’s why we start all members off with a 5-day boot camp before really diving into the diet.
You might roll your eyes at the science part of a diet but it’s essential to understanding why something works and why it doesn’t. So with that being said let’s dive.
When you deprive your body of carbohydrates, which are the main fuel source for people, you’re also depriving your body of it’s ability to keep glycogen stores filled up.
When this happens it needs to find another fuel source so your body starts to transition to a metabolic state known as ketosis. When your body is in ketosis, it begins to convert fat into ketones which become your body’s new fuel source.
But what are ketones?
Ketones, also known as “ketone bodies”, are byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy. It’s that simple.
There are 3 types of ketones:
- Acetoacetate: this is created from the breakdown of fatty acids and is either converted into BHB or acetone.
- Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid (BGB): formed from acetoacetate and is technically not a ketone but for the sake of the ketogenic diet we consider it one.
- Acetone: this is created from acetoacetate and it breaks down quickly. If you’re wondering why you get bad breath at the beginning of keto it’s because this ketone is expelled through your breath and waste.
Why Does Our Body Need Ketones?
We are spoiled in a time where a lot of us have access to food whenever we want. A healthy number of people, unfortunately, don’t have that luxury today and even more didn’t have it in the past.
The reason why the human body can survive weeks without food is because it was made to use up the available resources it contains and for most people the abundant resource is fat.
When you go a couple of days without eating, your glycogen stores are quickly used up and instead of your body going comatose it shifts gears so it can use a different energy source which are ketones.
Testing Ketone Levels
There are a couple of different ways to see if your body is in ketosis and each have their level of trustworthiness.
The most common method for checking ketone levels in your body is by using urine strips. They are cheap to purchase and they show you the level of ketones that your body is getting rid of and this is why they aren’t as accurate for testing ketosis as people want to believe.
While it’s great to see your body producing ketones, that’s all the stripes will tell you. If you take the test in the morning you might see different results in the afternoon and in the evening.
That means you might take one test and think you’re not in ketosis and take another a couple hours later and think that you are.
The strips are a good sign of your body producing more ketones than you are burning but not necessarily a sign of being in ketosis.
Blood Glucose Meter
A blood glucose meter is a more expensive alternative for testing through urine strips but is a lot more accurate because it tests ketone levels in your blood.
If you want to test frequently it can get pretty costly due to each strip costing between $5-$10.
How Long Does It Take?
So how long does it take before your body goes into ketosis and starts producing ketones? That’s wholly dependent on the person and what steps they take.
Some people enter ketosis faster than others. In out 3-Day Weight Loss Manual we provide you with a technique to enter ketosis as quickly as possible.
It starts with a one-day fast, then goes into eating the right foods to make sure you’re depleting your body of its glycogen stores. The goal is to remove these glycogen stores as quickly as possible to help your body enter ketosis.
There are a number of awesome benefits to being in ketosis that go beyond losing weight. Here are a couple.
Better Mental Focus
Ketones are a consistent fuel source for your body, unlike carbs that go through spikes. Because of this, your brain has a consistent energy source to pull from which leads to better mental focus.
You aren’t left with a foggy brain so if you find yourself needing to improve your mental focus, keto is a great way to accomplish that naturally.
Have you ever seen long-distance runner pop those gel packs in the middle of a race? The reason why is because they need to replenish their glycogen stores.
On keto, you’re not relying on glycogen so instead of popping gel packs you just keep on trucking.
The exception to this is people that do high-intensity, short bursts workouts like bodybuilders. In their case, they may consider an alternate ketogenic diet where they load up on carbs before a workout.
Ketogenic diets have been proven to help people that have epilepsy.
In fact, the ketogenic was first introduced as a treatment for people with epilepsy back in the 1920s. One of the major benefits of the ketogenic diet for people that suffer from epilepsy is that they don’t have to take as many medications.
Over the years many studies have shown that cancer cells feed off of sugar. Fortunately, cancer cells don’t know how to use ketones as a fuel source so if you remove sugars from your diet, it’s been shown to stop the growth of cancerous cells.
While keto itself is not going to cure cancer it can go a long way in helping to treat it.
Your body can easily get into ketosis, but there is an optimal level of ketosis.
The range you want to be in for optimal ketosis is anywhere between 1.5-3mmol/l. I know this doesn’t make much sense to you now, but if you use one of the three options listed previously, you’ll understand your ketone levels much more.
It is possible to have too many ketones in your body and this could cause some health issues. It’s called ketoacidosis. This happens when your ketone levels are 10+mmol/l. The good news is that this is impossible to achieve on a regular ketogenic diet.
If you are in ketoacidosis, seek help immediately. There is a severe problem with your body. You will start having nausea, stomach pain, and this could eventually lead to a coma.
Like I said, this is a rare occurrence and really shouldn’t be a worry. This should only be a worry if you have type 1 diabetes because your pancreas will produce insulin to some degree, even though it won’t be much.
Ketosis Is What Your Body Wants to Be In
As you can now see, ketosis is a natural body state and is not something new. Our ancestors survived due to ketosis and it can help change the lives of people today.
However, without understanding of what ketosis is and its benefits, many people will still scoff at the idea of limiting carbs in their diet.