What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is the act of getting your body to utilize ketones – as opposed to glucose and insulin – as its primary fuel source. When you successfully get into ketosis, your body will start to tap into its own fat sources to burn for energy. You’ll acclimate to your ideal body weight, enjoy more mental clarity, an uptick in energy, improved sleep quality, and your cravings will go away.
The brain can run off of either glucose (and insulin) for fuel or ketones (fat). It is not designed to run off of both. Due to the typical high-carbohydrate American diet, the majority of us have some degree of insulin insensitivity. Glucose requires insulin to get into the cell to be used for energy; however, if we’ve beat our insulin receptors up over time due to high glucose exposure or stress, or eating an excess in carbohydrates, the receptor sites become unable to allow the glucose we consume into our cells. Glucose then gets shunted off to the liver and stored as fat. Ketones are high energy bonds that do not require insulin to get into the cell. By utilizing ketones as your fuel source, you’ll finally be giving your over-worked insulin receptors the much needed break they deserve!
Isn’t Keto the same as Paleo?
The mistake most people make when attempting ketosis is confusing it with a paleo diet. While closely related, ketosis is NOT paleo. The difference is this: a paleo diet leads with protein which can, in some individuals, lead to a state of ketoacidosis. Excess protein in the body gets shunted off and turned into ammonia. Not only can this be toxic, but it will make one feel achy, feverish, lethargic, nauseous, foggy, etc. This is why high protein diets such as paleo or Atkins tend to not work for all people for the long haul.
Light ketosis leads with fat. To do so, anywhere from 55% – 65% of your diet should come from healthy fats, then leafy greens, some protein, and very little carbohydrates. If you’re leading with fat you should avoid getting into ketoacidosis, and should feel satiated, have high energy and mental clarity, and will sleep well!
Is Ketosis for everyone?
Yes! Ketosis is safe, and is strongly encouraged, for every person of every age!
But fat makes you fat, right!?
WRONG. We’ve been misled by the big giants of the food industry, for too many years now, to believe that a high fat diet is what makes us fat. Study after study has been manipulated to make us believe that eating a diet high in complex carbohydrates is ideal for weight loss and optimal health. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When your body starts utilizing fat (ketones) as fuel it will actually begin to tap into its own fat sources to burn for energy! This helps one to acclimate to their ideal body weight. Typical fat loss is around ¼ lb per day when starting ketosis. You’ll quickly notice your clothes start to fit differently as you lose water weight and as your inflammation goes down.
Don’t feel like you’re ready to give up carbs? Here’s why (and why you don’t have to)…
When gliadin (the protein wrapping around gluten) and casein (the protein wrapping around dairy) enter into the bloodstream they actually cross the blood brain barrier, bind up our opioid receptors (this is where the term comfort food comes into play) and turn into gliado-morphin and caso-morphin. They literally act like man opiate to the body, making us quickly feel satiated and more calm. This is why so many of us are, quite literally, addicted to carbohydrates and dairy. Not to say that these foods are necessarily bad for you, but choosing the right quality of products and the timing of when you eat them is extremely important.
Ketosis is not a complete abstinence from carbohydrates. In fact, carbohydrates are necessary to use as fuel for workouts and, at times, to prevent ketoacidosis. This doesn’t mean you have permission to run to the donut store pre-workout! You want to eat just as much as you are going to burn off, and aim for healthy carbohydrate sources (think fruit, nuts, sweet potatoes).
There are also wonderful carbohydrate substitutes for “pastas” or “rice” or even “mashed potatoes”! We promise that you won’t feel deprived when abstaining from the real (less healthy) version.
Is Ketosis a fad diet or a complete lifestyle change?
We’re constantly asked how long one has to do ketosis for. The goal is for ketosis to become a lifestyle, and within just a few weeks of implementing most of our patients understand why. This is the best way to eat for your blood sugar levels, mental health, and overall well-being. There are no negative side effects to a ketosis diet, and by getting away from processed, highly refined foods, we allow ourselves to eat the way our ancestors used to eat. Ketosis is the way our bodies were designed to eat!
What are the benefits of doing Ketosis?
We could write a novel on this topic, but here are some of the top benefits of a ketosis diet:
- Allows one to acclimate to their ideal body weight
- Heals insulin receptors
- Lowers cholesterol
- Decreases inflammation
- Stabilizes thyroid function
- Starves cancer cells
- Stabilizes sex hormones
- Increased energy
- Increased mental clarity + function
- Stabilizes mood
- Improved quality of sleep
- Gets rid of cravings
- Avoids blood sugar spikes and crashes
- Can prevent and reverse diabetes
- Is the only diet that has been proven to prevent and reduce Alzheimer’s and dementia!
How long will it take me to get into Ketosis?
It can take anywhere from 6-12 months for your insulin receptors to come back online, which means that during this time you need to do your best to stay in steady ketosis all of the time. Not that those months should feel like work! People can find their rhythm and get into light ketosis in as little as 2-3 days, but don’t feel discouraged if it takes you longer. There is a lot of trial and error that comes into play when trying to find your keto-zone and we find that keeping a food journal, especially in the beginning, can be very helpful. If you’re a patient, you’re encouraged to stay in contact with our staff so that they can help you fine-tune your specific dietary needs.
How do I know if I’m in Ketosis?
Visually, you will be passing ketones through your urine which you’ll test via test strips. We love the Perfect Keto Ketone Test Strips. Cognitively, you’ll feel sharp (goodbye brain fog!). Energetically, you’ll feel ready to take on anything. Your sleep will improve significantly. Your cravings will be GONE!
What is Keto-flu?
Depending on how carbohydrate heavy your normal diet has been, you may experience keto-flu which is your body withdrawing from carbohydrates. You may feel nauseous, irritable, fatigued, or light-headed. Some people have experienced breaking out in rashes as their body detoxes from yeast. Symptoms shouldn’t last more than a few days to 2 weeks.
Do I need bile salts?
The answer is likely yes. If you don’t have a gallbladder, the answer is absolutely yes.
Most of us have spent the majority of our lives not utilizing our gallbladder to its full potential. For this reason, that organ doesn’t function as efficiently as they should, so when we increase our fats in our diet we may experience gallbladder spasms which can make us feel nauseous or crampy. By adding in bile salts we essentially give our bile a helping hand, and allow the fat that we consume to get emulsified more easily so that we can actually get into light ketosis. If we are unable to break down our fats, our body won’t read them as ketones when testing our urine. So, yes. We encourage everyone when they start ketosis to add in bile salts on a daily basis. Your exact need will be unique to you.
So, how do I get started?
Some people can become overwhelmed when starting a diet that can feel like a complete lifestyle overhaul. Our goal is to make that not be the case. We encourage our patients to start with making one meal a day (ideally dinner) and all snacks keto-friendly. Once you’re comfortable, expand into incorporating all meals to be keto-friendly. You’re encouraged to be testing your urine frequently when you’re starting to get into ketosis, until you find you’re able to tread water throughout the day in the light keto zone.
If you’re a patient, please call the office to set up a time to go over implementing ketosis with one of our staff members.