A ketogenic diet is when 70-75% of your calories come from fats, 20-25% come from protein and 5% or less come from net carbs (carbs after you subtract fiber). Your body uses two main sources for fuel which are carbohydrates and fats. This diet will cause your body to use fat as its primary fuel as opposed to carbohydrates and will get your body adaptive to tapping into your fat stores for energy when glycogen stores in your liver and muscles are depleted.
When you eat carbs your body body will produce glucose and insulin. Glucose is easiest for your body to convert into energy so it will generally use this first if present. Insulin is a hormone that stores glucose for later use or converts it into energy. By lowering intake of carbs to the point that they are used up you can enter a state of ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process that allows us to tap into fats to survive when calorie intake is low. Ketones are produced and from breakdown of fats in the liver. The energy currency of the body, comes in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). The mitochondria within every cell in the body either metabolize glucose or ketones to form this important energy molecule.
A keto diet will drop insulin levels and turn you into a fat burning machine. You will tap into fat stores for energy breaking your fat loss plateau.
Ketones are a great source of fuel for the brain. Studies show that an increased intake of fatty acids can have wonderful benefits to our brain’s function.
Fats are shown to be the most effective molecule to burn as fuel so you will feel an increase in energy. It is also a reliable energy source since everybody has fat stored in their body at all times.
Prevents Type 2 Diabetes
When you eat foods high in carbohydrates it will spike your insulin levels. Do this a lot and soon you will become insulin resistance which leads to type II diabetes. Going keto will help you control this since carbohydrates will be too low to spike insulin levels.
How to Get Into Ketosis
Stay below 50g total carbs and 25g net carbs per day. Don’t overdo it on protein as well because your body can use protein for fuel. Stay betweeen .6g to .8g of protein per pound of lean body mass. Intermittent fasting will help get you into ketosis. You can also use MCT Oil. MCT are medium chain triglycerides C6 caproic, C8 caprylic, C10 capric, C12 lauric acid. MCT is wonderful for getting you into ketosis faster as your body can easily use it for energy so you it is used to using fat for fuel.
How to Tell When You Are In Ketosis
Urine Strips – This is the cheapest option and good for when you are starting out. You just put urine on the strip and look at what color it is depending on the presence of acetoacetate which is unused ketone in the body.
Blood Test – You can check with a blood meter which checks for Beta Hydroxybutyrate which is technically not a ketone but is present when in ketosis. It is the most accurate way to check for ketones in the body.
Breath – Ketonix makes a high quality accurate breathalyzer that checks your ketone levels. A cheap semiconductor alcohol breathalyzer can check for acetone in your breath which is a sign you are in ketosis. A high quality alcohol breathalyzer with fuel sensors can differentiate from alcohol and acetone so those will not work.
If you do not want to make any purchases to test for ketones just see if you have the symptoms and feelings. Increased urination, dry mouth, bad breath, increased energy and reduced hunger are symptoms and feelings when under ketosis.
Keto cycling is when you take 1 or 2 days out of the week to re-feed on carbohydrates in order to restore glycogen levels. Some bodybuilders prefer this because of the positive effects of ketosis and increased strength after re-feeding on carbs. If it can help them then it can probably help break their fat loss plateau!