Ketosis is the process by which fats are broken down to produce energy. The process begins with the liver breaking down fats into glycerol and fatty acids. The fatty acids are then broken down further to yield ketones in a process called ketogenesis. Ketones are alternative sources of energy for the brain and muscles. Using ketones as sources of energy is, therefore, a natural and safe way of burning excess body fat.
We will be looking at seven tricks that, when employed, usher the body into ketosis. Before that, however, let us look at the process of energy production in the body.
Glucose is the body’s ideal source of energy. The energy is used to fuel vital organs, like the brain and heart, and sustain vital processes, like breathing and the beating of the heart. If, however, the body lacks sufficient glucose repositories, the energy to maintain the vital biological processes must be sourced from elsewhere.
Proteins, as sources of energy, are the body’s second preference. For proteins to produce energy, they are reconstituted to form glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis.
Ketosis, as is now clear, is the body’s least favored source of energy. To usher the body into ketosis, therefore, care must be taken to ensure that protein and glucose levels are very low. With that in mind, let us look at seven essential components of the perfect keto diet (a diet designed to usher the body into ketosis), and learn how to get into Ketosis.
Protect The Proteins:
Protein levels in the keto diet must perform a delicate balancing act; they must be just right. If protein levels are overly high, protein will be used to produce energy and knock the body out of ketosis. In fact, as high as 56% of all excess protein, in the body, is converted to glucose by the process of gluconeogenesis.
When protein levels are overly low or absent, on the other hand, no gluconeogenesis occurs. Some cells and organs cannot use ketones as fuel. The body will, therefore, be forced to respire its own muscles to fuel the cells and organs leading to loss of muscle mass.
An ideal keto diet should contain 0.55-0.77 grams of protein for every pound of lean mass. Some proteins, however, must be avoided altogether. Beef and turkey, for example, raise the levels of insulin and, therefore, mitigate ketosis.
Curb The Carb
An ideal keto diet must be low-carb. Limit the carbs to 25 net grams per day. When carbs are this low, blood sugar and insulin are lowered. Low blood sugar ensures that sugar (glucose) will not be respired to provide the body with energy. Reduced insulin levels, on the other hand, allow the body to release fatty acids from fat stores. The fatty acids are then used by the liver to produce ketones.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
MCTs are fats that are rapidly absorbed by the body. They reach the liver faster than traditional fat molecules. An ordinary fat molecule is digested by bile salts from the gallbladder. MCTs, however, bypass the gallbladder making their digestion all the quicker.Bacon and chicken skins are very rich in MCTs. Coconut Oil is another rich source of MCTs. It is, however, worthy of special mention due to its high levels of lauric acid. Half of the fats in coconut oil are lauric acid based. Research has shown that lauric acid produces the most sustained levels of ketosis among MCTs because it is digested slower than other MCTs.
Favor The Fats
Ketosis is all about getting the body to derive its energy from fats at the expense of all the other sources. To achieve this, you must first avail a decent amount of fat to the body. 60%-80% of all daily calories should be acquired from fats. When dealing with such a high-intake of fats, however, it is crucial that you pick out the healthier high-fat foods. Good examples of such foods are avocado oil, tallow, lard, and coconut oil.
Some people employ fast-fasting techniques to rush their bodies into ketosis. While fast-fasting, very low amounts of calories are consumed per day. Only about 1000 calories should be consumed with 85%-90% of the calories being sourced from fats.
The body stores excess glucose, in the muscles, in the form of glycogen. When glucose levels are low, the body converts the glycogen to glucose. The glucose is then used as a source of energy. Whenever this happens, ketosis is stalled. To hasten ketosis, therefore, it is vital to exhaust the stored glycogen. This is achieved through physical exercise.
Physical exercise forces the body to use up all the stored glycogen. When a keto diet complements the exercises, the body lacks carbs to replenish the glycogen. The end result is that the body will have no option but to go into ketosis.
Research has shown that exercising before a meal (keto diet) pushes the body into ketosis faster than exercising after the meal. To maximize the effects of the physical exercises, therefore, let them always precede the keto diet.
Early To Bed
The body produces the most ketones while you sleep. It is, therefore, important to give the body adequate sleep. Lack of adequate sleep has the potential to mess up the best of keto diets. For adequate sleep, ensure that you are in bed by 10 PM. You should also keep electronic gadgets away from you. Artificial lights in the devices, like phone lights, send signals to the pineal gland of the brain informing it that it is not yet dark. The information makes it harder for you to fall asleep.
Test The Success Of Ketosis
The production of ketones evidences the success of Ketosis. There are three main types of ketones;
- Acetone: This can be measured on the breath.
- Beta-hydroxybutyrate: This is measured in the blood.
- Acetoacetate: Can be measured in the blood, urine, and blood.
Measuring the amount of ketones produced is informative on the extent of ketosis. Always measure with the intention of improving your approaches until you tailor a process that works best for you, as an individual.
If you are under some form of medication, ask your physician for advice before embarking on ketosis. The same advice holds true if at all during the ketosis, you suffer some persistent form of discomfort.