For years, we’ve been taught that glucose is the primary source of energy for the mind and muscles. But did you know there is a contender?
While glucose can be very efficient as a “fuel”, there’s a new sheriff in town. With the huge scientific about-face on fat, glucose is taking a back seat. This process is called ketosis*.
What is ketosis, exactly? To put it briefly, ketosis is when your body is no longer using glucose for fuel but using ketones instead. Where do ketones come from?
Fat turns into ketones and is used as a fuel just like glucose, but you’re burning fat instead of sugar. Yes, that means stored fat as well as dietary fat. Or to put it another way, the fat already inside your body and the fat you eat from food.
That’s the simple version, and there are a lot more details that take place. Ultimately, ketosis is a good thing that can help you to lose weight and feel awesome.
The best kind of diet to put you into a state of ketosis is a low-carb diet. Some even call it the Lacto-Paleo diet, which simply means Paleo but with certain dairy allowed. Every person is different, so the amount of carb intake maximum will vary, (this is called bio-individuality) but to stay in a strict state of ketosis you have to eat less than 50 grams of carbs daily, preferably from a vegetable source. Some can be more lenient, others need to be stricter. There is still a lot of research being done to identify the specifics but ultimately it comes down to the previously mentioned bio-individuality.
A low-carb diet is an old trick that’s getting a refresher course in the mainstream. While we know it works and is sustainable and healthy for the long run, studies are still being done on why it works so well.
The hardest part about a ketogenic diet is the sacrifice of all those delicious bready foods. Once you ingest a high source of simple carbs (example: donuts and pizza) you throw your body out of ketosis by inundating it with glucose. The body will more quickly utilize glucose as a fuel source than it will ketones (fat) if you keep it in full supply. This is part of the reason people are losing weight and feeling good by eating cauliflower pizza crust. You get the benefit of a delicious meal that makes you feel like you’re cheating, but with all the benefits of a low-carb, ketogenic food. It’s satiating, it’s tasty, and it’s keto!
*Not to be confused with ketoacidosis – a condition that is associated with diabetes and severe alcoholism. It is common practice to refer to this condition as a type of ketosis but is very different than the topic covered here. For more information, please refer to this article on ketoacidosis: http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/ketoacidosis.html
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