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A Beginner's Guide To The Keto Lifestyle

If you have been trying to lose weight, you have probably heard of the keto diet. But when you ask, “what is keto?” or “how does it work,” the scientific jargon that gets thrown at you can feel dense and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be; in fact, understanding the science behind the ketogenic diet can be a simple and straightforward process. We’re going to discuss it here! And we promise you’ll feel more comfortable with keto afterwards. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">What is keto?</p></h4> <div class="row mb-4"> <div class="col-12 col-md-5 push-md-7 align-self-center"> <img style="padding-bottom: 15px;" class="img-fluid" src="" alt="MeasuringTapeAroundWaist"> </div> <div class="col-12 col-md-7 pull-md-5"> Keto is short for the <em>ketogenic diet</em>, a diet that revolves around the process of <em>ketosis</em>. Ketosis is a type of metabolism human bodies can enter into when they switch from using sugars and carbohydrates as energy to using ketone bodies as energy. What that means for you, as a dieter, is that your body will stop craving sugars and carbs and instead use the fat you eat and the fat stores in your body for fuel sources. </div> </div> But wait a minute, let’s back up a sentence: what are <i>ketone bodies</i>? <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">A Breakdown of Ketone Bodies</p></h4> Ketone bodies are a small group of acids that the body makes in order to use fat as energy instead of broken down sugars and carbohydrates<sup>1</sup>. There are three types of these acids: *acetone*, *acetoacetate*, and *2-hydroxybutyric* acids. They all come from breaking down fats. <div class="row mb-4"> <div class="col-12 col-md-5 push-md-7 align-self-center"> <img style="padding-bottom: 15px;" class="img-fluid" src="" alt="SkullInOffice"> </div> <div class="col-12 col-md-7 pull-md-5"> More specifically, ketone bodies are made in the liver when the liver doesn’t have enough <em>glucose</em> to break down for energy<sup>2</sup>. Glucose is a simple sugar and the body’s favorite fuel source. When we are out of glucose, the liver breaks down fats into <em>fatty acids</em>, and fatty acids then get broken down into ketone bodies. </div> </div> Why break down fats twice? Well, fatty acids are too big to pass the *blood-brain barrier*, meaning they cannot reach your brain’s cells. While all of the rest of the cells in your body can happily eat up fatty acids for energy, your brain needs your liver to break them down further into ketone bodies<sup>3</sup>. Ketone bodies are small enough to pass the blood-brain barrier, and they can be used as fuel for the brain—as well as fuel for the almost all of the rest of the cells in your body! They’re just not the brain’s favorite source of fuel, and who can blame the brain? Sugars are addictive! Ketone bodies aren’t a magical energy thouce, though, and the human body cannot survive on ketone bodies alone. For example, red blood cells don’t have the right equipment to use ketone bodies for energy; they can only use glucose<sup>4</sup>. This is why it’s important on the ketogenic diet not to cut out carbohydrates completely; your body needs more fuel than just ketone bodies. <div class="row mb-4"> <div class="col-12 col-md-5 push-md-7 align-self-center"> <img style="padding-bottom: 15px;" class="img-fluid" src="" alt="FeetOnScale"> </div> <div class="col-12 col-md-7 pull-md-5"> Going on a ketogenic diet is not the only way to create ketone bodies. In fact, these acids are normally present in your bloodstream, just not as much as you would see on the ketogenic diet. Overnight, about 2 to 6 percent of your body’s energy comes from breaking down ketone bodies<sup>5</sup>. These ketone bodies are produced because while you are sleeping, you are not eating, but your body still needs fuel for nighttime repairs and to keep you alive. </div> </div> The amount of ketone bodies produced in your liver is determined by the amount of *insulin* circulating in your bloodstream. Insulin is made by your pancreas in reaction to the the amount of glucose you’ve eaten. When you don’t have a lot of insulin circulating around your liver assumes that you haven’t eaten enough glucose and will start creating ketone bodies. As we mentioned earlier, ketone bodies are acids and too many of them can make our blood acidic, which is very dangerous. But this is what insulin is for, if your blood becomes too acidic your body will make insulin to tell the liver to halt ketone production. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">How do Ketone Bodies Affect the Body?</p></h4> Phew! We covered a lot of topics just now; are you still with us? We have one last topic to cover before we’re done; this time we’re going to talk about how this all relates to *you*. You see, ketone bodies are both efficient to make and are a potent energy source. They require less energy to break down and create than glucose, while creating more energy for your cells to use. Because of this trade off, your body has more time and energy to expend towards cleaning house and repairing the tissues and cells that are damaged and hurting your health! Ketone bodies protect muscle tissue, stimulate the creation of new *mitochondria* (the powerhouses of your cells), prevent cancer growth, and ketone bodies act as antioxidants<sup>9</sup>. All of these wonderful health benefits are considered to be the highlights of going on a ketogenic diet, but the truth is that all of the health benefits are produced from of ketone bodies! <div class="row mb-4"> <div class="col-12 col-md-5 push-md-7 align-self-center"> <img style="padding-bottom: 15px;" class="img-fluid" src="" alt="WaterPouredIntoGlass"> </div> <div class="col-12 col-md-7 pull-md-5"> If you are looking to test your ketone levels, which is the level of ketone bodies in your blood, it can be done very simply and at home with blood test strips. Blood test strips are commonly used by diabetics to test their insulin levels, so you can readily find a tester and it’s supplies in most drug stores. The blood test directly measures the level of ketones in your blood which gives you a far more accurate reading than ketone strips, which measure the amount of ketones that have “spilled over” into your urine. </div> </div> Ketone bodies are the most efficient fuel for your body to use. They provide more energy than glucose sources and help the body’s processes run more smoothly. Since they come from breaking down fats, running off of ketone bodies also leads to weight loss. If you are looking to lose fat, check out <a target="_blank" href=""><b><i>our programs</i></b></a> to see how you can get ketone bodies fighting for your corner. <h5><p style="color: #000000">Resources</p></h5> 1. <a target="_blank" href="">Medical Definition of Ketone bodies</a> 2. <a target="_blank" href="">What Are Ketones?</a> 3. <a target="_blank" href="">What are Ketone Bodies</a> 4. <a target="_blank" href="">What Are Ketones?</a> 5. <a target="_blank" href="">Ketone body metabolism</a> 6. <a target="_blank" href="">Why DKA & Nutritional Ketosis Are Not The Same</a> 7. <a target="_blank" href="">What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacidosis</a> 8. <a target="_blank" href="">What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacidosis</a> 9. <a target="_blank" href="">What Are Ketones?</a>

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