What is Ketosis and How Does it Relate to Weight Loss?
Our society has a fear of eating fat.
And rightfully so! But not for the reasons you may think.
Our government and mainstream health organizations and media have been warning us about the dangers of dietary fat for decades. They’ve said fat makes us fat. And they’ve said the consumption of fat (especially saturated fat) increases our risk of heart disease.
Well, the truth is, science has never truly supported these theories. In fact, it was recently exposed that the sugar industry paid scientists to downplay sugar’s detrimental role in human health–and paint fat as the villian instead.
This explains why our food industry dedicated to low-fat foods (and heavily processed carbs) has done nothing to improve our health as a nation. In fact, the incidence of obesity and heart disease have skyrocketed since dietary fat was shunned.
So let me set the record straight…
Your body NEEDS fat?
Fats and cholesterol are the building blocks of hormones. They are structural components of EVERY cell membrane in your body. And your brain is made up of mostly fat.
Thus, eating a diet void of fat can contribute to many serious health problems. Especially when fat is replaced with heavily processed carbs (i.e., white flour products and sugar), which are the real culprits of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
While science has known this to be true for quite some time, this message is finally hitting mainstream. As a result, the ketogenic diet (high-fat/low-carb) as well as mini-fasting (a.k.a. intermittent fasting) have become quite popular.
What is ketosis?
Fasting and/or reducing your carbohydrate intake causes your body to burn fat for fuel as opposed to glucose. And this natural process is known as ketosis.
You see, once your glucose reserves are used up, your liver begins to break down stored fat to produce ketones. And these ketones are then used to make energy.
Further, ketones not only provide an alternate source of energy, but they’re actually a more efficient source of energy than glucose. For instance, 100 grams of glucose generates 8.7 kilograms of energy (a.k.a. ATP). However, 100 grams of ketones can generate between 9.4 and 10.5 kilograms of energy. This equates to an energy increase of roughly 8–20%.
How does ketosis relate to weight loss?
Ketosis is an essential process if you’re trying to lose weight. Because the only way to get rid of excess body fat is to burn it off.
And what’s even better is that ketosis is a way for your body to burn fat while at rest. This means your body is burning fat while you’re reading articles such as this one. It also means spending hours on the treadmill isn’t necessary. Although…I still recommend exercise regularly. Just in shorter stints.
Here’s what else ketosis can do for you…
Recent studies of the relationship between diet and obesity have suggested that ketones may protect your brain from cognitive impairment and even improve your mood.
Some other potential benefits include:
- Improved Glycemic Control – If you’re overweight or obese, there’s a good chance your cells are insulin resistance. This means your cells don’t respond well to insulin. As a result, your body is unable to efficiently utilize glucose. And in a desperate attempt to lower your blood sugar to a safe level, your liver converts unused glucose to fat.
On the other hand, a ketogenic diet (high-fat/low-carb) has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Which is essential for a healthy metabolism as well as weight loss.
In this study, 80% of overweight participants with type 2 diabetes were able to discontinue or reduce their medications after 16 weeks on a ketogenic diet.
- Improved Cholesterol and Lipid Profile – Several recent studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of dietary fats and the associated low-carb nature that ketogenic diets have on cardiovascular risk factors.
In particular, a high-fat, low-carb diet has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol, reduce blood triglycerides, and increase the size and volume of LDL particles. This is important because we now know small, dense LDL particles are the real (and possibly only) threat when it comes to cholesterol and heart disease.
- Improved Performance for Endurance Athletes – Science has shown that low-carb ketogenic diets promote fat burning while at rest as well as during exercise. However, researchers have also demonstrated that a long-term high fat diet has the potential to slow down the rate at which endurance athletes utilize carbohydrates. As a result, their performance may be enhanced during long distance events.
But wait, is ketosis safe?
Ketosis, a “fat adapted” state, has allowed humans to survive for millions of years by enabling the body to produce its own source of energy during periods of hunger.
This means ketosis is not only natural, but it’s one of the reasons why humans still exist today. Thus, for most people, no harm can come from it.
Nevertheless, the term ketosis often gets confused with ketoacidosis.
What is ketoacidosis?
Ketosis simply means that your body is generating and burning ketones for fuel in the absence of glucose. This is often referred to as “nutritional ketosis” either from fasting or eating a high-fat/low-carb diet.
On the other hand, ketoacidosis is a complication associated with type 1 diabetes due to low insulin levels.
Ketoacidosis results in extremely high levels of ketones. This dangerous state can lower the pH of your blood and cause damage to your organs among other things. Thus, it’s a very serious condition. And immediate treatment is necessary.
However, it’s important to understand that nutritional ketosis is NOT the same thing as ketoacidosis.
How to enter ketosis?
Now that we’ve established that ketosis is a safe and effective way to burn fat and lose weight, you may be wondering how to make it work for you.
Well…you can reach ketosis by limiting your carbohydrate intake to less than 20 grams per day and/or by mini-fasting. However, the quality of the foods you do eat is so important. Processed junk won’t cut it!
This is why my Bone Broth Diet is the perfect way to get started. It reduces your intake of carbohydrates, incorporates mini-fasting twice a week, and focuses on healthy whole foods. Essentially, your body will enter ketosis without you even having to think much about it.
However, if you decide to go at it alone, here are a few words of advice:
- Stick to healthy fats (and eat them) – Highly processed “vegetable oils” are inflammatory and will counteract your weight loss efforts. Therefore, stick to health promoting fats, such as coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter and ghee, avocado, wild salmon, and raw nuts and seeds. Variety is key!
It’s also important to actually eat healthy fats when attempting to achieve ketosis. If you’re not, you’re probably eating too much protein. And while protein is an essential dietary component, too much protein can prevent ketosis. Because your body can actually make glucose from protein. And in the presence of glucose, your liver won’t effectively be breaking down fat to make ketones.
- Eat lots of colorful vegetables – Vegetables provide your body with an abundance of nutrients necessary to metabolize your food and burn energy. They’re also a great source of fiber and powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. All important for good health and weight loss.
- Choose your carbs wisely – Never waste your ration of carbohydrates on processed junk and sugar. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll only crave more, which will make it almost impossible to reach ketosis. Your carbs should come from vegetables and a limited amount of fruit.
Expectations & Considerations
You may experience irritability, headaches, and/or fatigue for the first few days as your body learns how to utilize an alternate source of energy. This is normal and will subside.
However, I should mention that my Bone Broth Diet is designed to minimize these symptoms and make the transition as smooth as possible.
It’s also important to note that if you have type 1 diabetes, renal insufficiency, or any other medical condition, you should check with your healthcare provider before attempting nutritional ketosis.
Ketosis (not to be confused with ketoacidosis) is a natural process that allows your body to make it’s own energy from stored fat. It’s what allowed humans to survive for millions of years during periods of famine.
When done right, ketosis can be a safe and highly effective way to blast belly fat without feeling deprived or spending hours at the gym. And my Bone Broth Diet offers an easy to follow plan to enter ketosis without much thought and experience all of the benefits it has to offer.
Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!