What is Ketosis?
What is Ketosis? Ketosis is a very misunderstood concept in nutrition. A lot of doctors believe it’s dangerous and most people don’t even know what ketosis is. Trainers think of ketosis as inefficient body fuel. You won’t find many great things about it in the majority of the mainstream literature.
Before I clear a few things up. I recommend The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Dr Steve Phinney & Dr. Jeff Volek, for anyone who wants all the details on what ketosis is really all about!
- Ketosis is when the body burns mainly fat instead of sugar for energy
- Eating under 50g of carbs is usually low enough to enter ketosis
- Most of our internal organ function better running off of fat
- Ketosis is very different from Ketoacidosis
- Fat is a more consistent source of energy & can’t be depleted as quickly as glucose
- Ketosis has been shown to improve a lot of medical conditions
- There is no downside to being in ketosis except for some dietary restrictions
- Ketosis is arguably the most effective weight loss tool
When we restrict our carbs and sugar intake to below 50 grams, most of us will enter ketosis. In the beginning stages of ketosis, most people will feel tired, weak, loss of concentration, and even a loss of appetite. This is because the body is switching from using primarily sugar(glucose) as it’s main fuel to using fat (ketones). The body takes time to adapt to this change. Once one allows their body to be keto-adapted, all the short term symptoms will disappear and their newly adapted body will reep the benefits of ketosis!
Benefits of Ketosis
The benefits of ketosis are quick and healthy weight loss, more efficient energy, less hunger and cravings, mental clarity and improved cardiovascular health! Ketosis works by breaking down body fat and dietary fat into ketones and using them as fuel. This is why ketosis is very effective for weight loss.
Ketosis has also been known for a wide number of health benefits. It has been used to treat epilepsy for years. Recent studies have also shown that ketosis actually helps deal with cancer as well!! Most internal organs prefer fat as fuel. Ketosis has also been reported to improve sleep, skin, acne, and digestion.
Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis
Ketosis and Ketoacidosis usually get mixed up. Ketoacidosis is a rare condition found in type 1 diabetics that don’t produce insulin. If they don’t monitor their ketone levels, they might go into shock and even die. This applies to only about 1% of the population and is nothing to worry about. Ketosis is completely harmless.
Another myth is that ketosis causes damage to the kidneys and other organ. This is simply not true. There is absolutely no evidence supporting these claims. There are a lot of doctors that consider ketosis an extreme starvation of the body. While it is true that people enter ketosis while in starvation, there is a difference between starvation and dietary induced ketosis. When someone is starving, they are missing vital nutrients that keep them healthy. In dietary ketosis, one is actively changing how they eat to enter ketosis in a safe and healthy way.
Fat vs Sugar
Our body has a lot more stored fat than it does stored glycogen (stored sugar). When our body is running off of mostly fat, there is no risk of “hitting the wall” or crashing. Sugar provides instant energy for someone who is running off of it, but in ketosis, consistent energy is already there!
A lot of people judge ketosis too quickly when it comes to performance and don’t allow the body enough time to adapt to the change in energy source. Studies have shown that athletes who are keto-adapted perform as well as athletes who are using glucose(sugar) as fuel.
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