Get Well, Stay Well

Alisha Eskew

The “ketogenic diet” has recently become a more popular dietary regime. In short, the ketogenic diet is a system of eating where most calories come from dietary fat and very little come from carbohydrates. Eating this way will switch the body from glucose metabolism to “fat” metabolism for energy, and this fat metabolism state is called ketosis.

As you may know, carbs in the diet are the source of glucose which is used in the body as energy. When there are limited amounts of carbs available, blood glucose levels are so low that the body turns to breaking down adipose tissue into ketone bodies which are used for energy.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, I want to first wipe away any misconceptions you may have about “fat.” Firstly, “fat” in the body and “fat” in foods are very different. I will refer to fat in the body as adipose tissue and fat in foods as dietary fat. Many people believe that eating fat will turn into fat in the body, but they could not be more mistaken.

To enter a state of ketosis on the ketogenic diet requires the diet to be 60-70% dietary fat, 20-30% protein, and 50g carbs or less per day. It takes about three weeks of this strict eating for the body to actually adapt and turn to ketosis.

There are many benefits to this type of eating. This diet is the best of the best for stubborn adipose tissue and weight loss. During the first experimentations with the ketogenic diet, researchers found that those in ketosis burned adipose tissue at twice the rate than was believed to be the human limit.

We all know how addicting sugar and carbs can be. Being on the ketogenic diet may help the brain escape this sugar dependency. Moreover, most people’s diets are high carb, so the body often becomes inefficient at using its fat tissue; a problem the ketogenic diet may fix.

There are some drawbacks. Eating this way is quite a big commitment and takes a lot of planning. It takes around three weeks of eating 50g carbs or less per day for the body to even switch into a state of ketosis. Even one day higher than the limit of 50g carbs/day will throw the body back into glucose metabolism. 50g of carbs or less means utilizing vegetables as the only carbs eaten—very minimal fruit would fit into this 50g.

This diet is great for weight lifters because it supports muscle building. For endurance athletes, the ketogenic diet may be an optimal choice of eating because the body’s main source of energy is the adipose tissue, so it ultimately improves the anaerobic threshold and increases the time before “bonking”.



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'Get Well, Stay Well' have 2 comments

  1. January 25, 2017 @ 5:38 am Douglas

    When people write about the ketogenic diet they nearly always make several factual errors. This article was much better than most. Only fault I can find is the statement that a person will fall out of ketosis if they, one day, dare eat a larger amount of carbohydrates. Not so! I sometimes breakdown and eat some bread or noodles, or even a lot more, but I return to ketosis right away. The next day all will be normal. One reason seems to be that the body appears to forget how to utilize carbs, so a short carb burst seems to have little effect. 2nd reason is that the metabolism will continue to be a fat burner for a longer period before switching back to burning carbs again.
    I follow the the ketogenic diet in order to control my type 2 diabetes, this way I can avoid eating pills, or injecting insulin, and my diabetes doesn’t progress into a worse state. Another factor is that cancer is strongly suppressed when it can’t get carbs. Ketosis also seems to hold Alzheimers at bay, and last, it’s good for the heart.

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  2. January 25, 2017 @ 5:50 am Lee

    This is a great article and unlike a lot of the regurgitated keto diet articles I’ve read, you seem to have actually done your research!

    Just one thing I’d like to add from my own experience, related to this part…

    “To enter a state of ketosis on the ketogenic diet requires the diet to be 60-70% dietary fat, 20-30% protein, and 50g carbs or less per day. It takes about three weeks of this strict eating for the body to actually adapt and turn to ketosis.”

    I’ve been doing keto on and off over the past few years and have dropped from 110kg to a fit and lean 80kg. I have gone through the keto-adaptation phase many times and have found with a lot of effort I can get into ketosis in as little as 1 day but usually no more than 3 days.

    Day 0 and 1 of this article may be of interest: http://www.ketosisirl.com/7-day-ketogenic-diet-plan/

    3 weeks is probably the average because most people go into keto unprepared and do too many things to jeopardize their own efforts. You could have lost a lot of extra body fat in those 3 weeks! As someone who has gone from 35% to 15% body fat you can take my word for it!

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