What's the Deal with Ketosis?
It's official. We have a new trendy diet.
Behind every trend is a load of research and hoards of famous people trying them out to get the upper hand in their performance.
There will always be good reasons to try out any of the diets that you have ever heard of. Most diets have quite a bit of truth behind them and yet there are plenty of people who still get bad results.
This article is about the science behind the benefits of ketosis and the truth for why an individual might not get any results...
It is all about fuel.
Every cell in our body needs three things to survive--oxygen, stimulation, and fuel usually in the form of glucose/blood sugar/carbs. In modern America people often eat for pleasure or simply because they are bored--if you have ever stayed home during a rainy day with nothing to do then you know what this is all about.
It seems like on my family holidays all we do is eat and then talk about what we are going to eat later.
But if you are someone who experiences fuel crashes by getting tired between meals or getting cranky if your blood sugar drops (amongst other things) you have some indication to what fuel means to your body. Your cells depend on it to perform their vast and unique tasks every minute of the day. Balancing our fuel input to fuel output is a tough task even though we eat a lot, but that has to do with the differences of our useable fuel sources.
Now our body only has two different fuel sources-
GLUCOSE and KETONE (ketosis is the state of using ketones as our body’s primary fuel source) and there are many differences between the two.
First thing you should know is that your body way prefers to use glucose. It is a really easy fuel that is readily available and your body doesn’t have to do much in order to use it (biochemists would scoff at that comment but hear me out) and you have a lot of it passing through your system. This is because the majority of our diet includes glucose- rice, bread, sugar, potatoes, other carby/starchy things… you get the point. This is part of the reason that ketosis didn’t become popular until now--no one wanted to give up french fries.
Ketones, on the other hand, have a pretty complicated process (very simplified statement and I’ve offended the biochemist community for sure now). In the very basics of the process, your body has to convert fats to make ketones. This is good news if you want to lose fat, and in fact anyone who loses fat uses ketones (unless you use triglycerides to make glycerol). But because of the body’s preference to glucose along other obstacles, our body rarely uses ketones.
This is the hardest part of ketosis.
Your body has stored up glucose (in your liver and muscles) and it would even prefer to let your energy crash than to make ketones. So until you burn up all the extra glucose energy your body will have a hard time converting. Meanwhile, if you slip up during this phase by consuming anything with glucose then you will not convert to ketones, and anytime you consume glucose after that you have to start from scratch. If that sounds really hard to you then you agree with the majority of people out there.
But there is so much research being published about the benefits of ketones for many health conditions and issues that it is too important to ignore. Here are some of the well documented benefits:
- Ketogenic diet is an effective treatment for epilepsy
- It is a difficult fuel source for cancer cells because of oxidative stress
- Many increases in brain function
- Effective for fat loss, Brain Injury, and Alzheimer’s
Amongst other things, these topics are noted as breakthroughs in science. As a clinician this research hits me in the face.
If this fuel source is so beneficial to the numerous health issues that we face today then we need to make it more achievable. A recent study published February 2016, shows evidence that supplementing certain elements in our diet can trigger ketosis regardless of dietary restrictions.
When these researchers supplemented sodium/potassium βHB mineral salt, 1,3-butanediol acetoacetate diester, medium chain triglyceride oil, and 1,3-butanediol the researchers were able to get ketone levels high enough to kickstart sustained ketosis causing the above effects in rats.
Now it’s not like you can get all of these products at your corner store but supplementation is becoming a more popular trend and companies are starting to release compounds for this exact reason which are enormously promising. I will review some of the better supplements that are trying to achieve these results in a later post.
There are however some things to know before trying ketosis for yourself.
One thing is that when most people restrict carbs they increase proteins and fats. For this reason vegetarians, vegans, and people with gall bladder/liver problems have a tough time.
The increased fats make people with challenged detox pathways feel absolutely terrible (migraines, dizziness, nausea, bloating and moodiness). It should also be noted that your gut bacteria really, really like carbs and specifically they like short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) that come from the breakdown of carbs. If you are considering trying the ketogenic diet then you need to be taking some form of SCFA’s for gut health.
The ketogenic diet is powerful and can get most people incredible results but they are tricky waters to navigate. If you want some customized help to see if the ketogenic diet is best for you and how to maximize it, give us a call.
If you want more information like this then subscribe to our email list to get other juicy health tips and health hacks, and feel free to comment below if you have any questions regarding ketosis and your health.
Some resources from our research...
Kawamura, Masahito Jr., David N. Ruskin, and Susan A. Masino. "Metabolic Therapy for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in a Dish: Investigating Mechanisms of Ketogenic Diet Using Electrophysiological Recordings in Hippocampal Slices." Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. Frontiers Media S.A., 2016. Web. 18 Jan. 2017
Masino, Susan A., and David N. Ruskin. "Ketogenic Diets and Pain." Journal of Child Neurology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.
Allen, Bryan G., Sudershan K. Bhatia, Carryn M. Anderson, Julie M. Eichenberger-Gilmore, Zita A. Sibenaller, Kranti A. Mapuskar, Joshua D. Schoenfeld, John M. Buatti, Douglas R. Spitz, and Melissa A. Fath. "Ketogenic Diets as an Adjuvant Cancer Therapy: History and Potential Mechanism." Redox Biology. Elsevier, 2014. Web. 18 Jan. 2017
Selfridge, J. Eva, Heather M. Wilkins, E. Lezi, Steven M. Carl, Scott Koppel, Eric Funk, Timothy Fields, Jianghua Lu, Ee Phie Tang, Chad Slawson, WenFang Wang, Hao Zhu, and Russell H. Swerdlow. "Effect of One Month Duration Ketogenic and Non-Ketogenic High Fat Diets on Mouse Brain Bioenergetic Infrastructure." Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2015. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.
Paoli, A., A. Rubini, J. S. Volek, and K. A. Grimaldi. "Beyond Weight Loss: A Review of the Therapeutic Uses of Very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) Diets." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Nature Publishing Group, Aug. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.
White, Hayden, and Balasubramanian Venkatesh. "Clinical Review: Ketones and Brain Injury."Critical Care. BioMed Central, 2011. Web. 18 Jan. 2017
Cunnane, Stephen C., Alexandre Courchesne-Loyer, Camille Vandenberghe, Valérie St-Pierre, Mélanie Fortier, Marie Hennebelle, Etienne Croteau, Christian Bocti, Tamas Fulop, and Christian-Alexandre Castellano. "Can Ketones Help Rescue Brain Fuel Supply in Later Life? Implications for Cognitive Health during Aging and the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease." Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. Frontiers Media S.A., 2016. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.
Kesl, Shannon L., Angela M. Poff, Nathan P. Ward, Tina N. Fiorelli, Csilla Ari, Ashley J. Van Putten, Jacob W. Sherwood, Patrick Arnold, and Dominic P. D’Agostino. "Effects of Exogenous Ketone Supplementation on Blood Ketone, Glucose, Triglyceride, and Lipoprotein Levels in Sprague–Dawley Rats." Nutrition & Metabolism. BioMed Central, 2016. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.