December 17, 2017

Ketogenic Basics: Why To Go Keto!

Trying to lose weight? Then you may have heard the word “ketone”, “ketosis” or “ketogenic” being thrownketogenic-basics around. People are calling the ketogenic diet a miracle method; the best way to shed pounds and get healthy.

Although the ketogenic diet is only starting to make waves in the health world, it has been used for centuries to deal with diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, cognitive impairment, depression, and even cancer.

Not sure what the ketogenic diet is all about? Keep reading to find out.

Ketogenic Basics: Eating like our Ancestors

Our Paleolithic ancestors spent most of their time in a state of ketosis. Their diets naturally consisted of high fats, some proteins and very low carbohydrates.

In addition, they would often go through periods of feast and famine. During times when food was scarce, they would rely on their fat stores to provide ample energy. These fat stores allowed our ancestors to survive, even thrive, without food for long periods of time.

Their diet has provided us with a basic understanding of keto-adaptation and has greatly influenced research in the field. Based on our ancestors’ eating patterns, researchers have recognized the need to transition away from sugar burning and a constant need for fuel and strive towards fat burning and the promotion of sustainable energy.

Ketogenic Diet 101

A ketogenic diet consists of eating low-carb, high-fat and low to moderate protein. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing carbs with healthy fats.
This way of eating causes the body to go into a state of ketosis. In ketosis, the body burns fat as fuel instead of glucose, which is key to weight loss and improved health. However, it is important to mention the only time fat is the most efficient fuel source is when there is little glucose available for use in the body. Thus, one must be strict when following the ketogenic lifestyle.

But, Don’t We Need Sugar for Energy?

As we eat our food, our body breaks down proteins to amino acids, carbohydrates into glucose and fats into glycerol and essential fatty acids. These are then further broken down into energy units that the cell mitochondria use to produce energy.

However, to better understand the difference between the sources of fuel to produce energy and their effect on the body, let’s use the analogy of a fireplace.

A fireplace that burns wood (glucose), produces smoke. This smoke goes up the chimney as best as it can, but often leaves behind a dirty residue that is difficult to clean. In this scenario, “smoke” represents inflammation in the body.

Like wood, glucose is a dirtier source of fuel. It produces waste that accumulates at a cellular level and causes unwanted after effects.

In comparison, when a fireplace uses natural gas (ketones) less smoke is produced and little to no mess is made. This fuel is safe; it warms your house without undesired side effects.

Using ketones as fuel results in an increase of cellular energy and protection of the mitochondrial membrane. It also contributes to a reduction of inflammation and its markers.

In addition, ketones can be used by neurons that cannot use glucose, making the brain (which is 70% fat) sharper and more efficient.

While there are essential requirements for both fat or protein (meaning, we would die without eating at least some fat and at least some protein), we can live a perfectly healthy life without consuming large amounts of carbohydrates.

The key is to train the body to use ketones instead of sugar as its energy source. This can be done through a ketogenic diet.

Benefits of Ketosis Include:

• Natural hunger and appetite control
• Effortless weight loss and maintenance
• Mental clarity
• More restful sleep
• Normalized metabolic function
• Stabilized blood sugar levels
• Restored Insulin sensitivity
• Lower inflammation levels
• Feelings of happiness and general well-being
• Lowered blood pressure
• Reduced triglycerides
• Use of stored fat as fuel source
• Endless energy
• Eliminated heartburn
• Improved fertility
• Prevention of brain injury
• Increased sex drive
• Improved immune system
• Slowed aging
• Reduction in free radical production
• Improvement in blood chemistry
• Optimized cognitive function
• Reduced or eliminated acne
• Faster recovery from exercise
• Reduced anxiety or mood swings
• Reduced need for medications

Want to learn more? In partnership with good friend and Keto expert, Dr. Heather Cardin, I’m offering a FREE Ketogenic seminar on Saturday June 3rd and Sunday June 4th in the Ottawa area. Click here to find out the details and RSVP today.

Can’t join us? Learn more about the Ketogenic lifestyle in my upcoming book Hack Your Health Habits.

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