In this 2 part article I will firstly explain what a ketogenic diet is and then share my personal story of what lead me to this diet and how it could help people prevent disease and maintain better health for many people. Don’t think for a minute that I’m blindly recommending this diet for everyone, as it’s most certainly not. I’ll explain why later in this article.
First things first, what is ketosis?
To understand what this diet is, we firstly need to understand what ketosis is and how it works in the human body. There are two metabolic states that our body can utilise energy and they are glycolysis (blood glucose) and ketosis (ketone bodies). Mild ketosis starts from about 0.5mm of blood ketones (add chart). Our normal default setting is glycolysis providing we’re not eating a ketogenic style of diet or on a prolonged period of fasting.
Ketosis is our body’s natural survival mechanism, which will start burning body fat for energy, when all the glucose stores in our body are empty. 1 This can happen when you go for a prolonged period without food or through nutritional strategies such as limiting the amount of carbohydrates and proteins that are consumed on a daily basis.
When this gets implemented, your body becomes very efficient at burning fat for energy. The liver converts fat into ketones, which supplies energy for the body and the brain. 2, 3
Side note: Please do not confuse ketoacidosis with ketosis, they are two very different metabolic states, but commonly confused.
What is a ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet is essentially a very low carbohydrate diet, with moderate amounts of protein and high levels of fat. Fat becomes your major fuel source, much like carbohydrates are in a common western diet.
The macronutrient breakdown for a “modern/standard ketogenic diet” is 75% Fat, 20 % Protein and 5 % carbs. There can be variations of these ratios but these are the most heavily researched percentages and can get most people into nutritional ketosis within a few days.
The amounts of proteins and carbs can be increased dependant on genetics and physical activity levels/requirements. The way to assess this is measuring blood ketones through a device called a Precision Xtra and blood glucose to see how much you can tolerate before your body resumes utilising glucose as it’s major fuel source. It’s a fine balancing act between the two and the only real way to know is to measure this, as there can be individual variance.
Why a ketogenic diet?
You might be thinking why? Why reduce carbs? What benefits?
This is not some flash in the pan diet that was made to sell a million books, it’s actually back with substantial scientific literature, pointing to favourable outcomes to treat weight loss, various diseases and improve overall health. 4
The diet was originally developed to treat epileptic children, but now there are variations that have adapted for other health benefits.
It has been shown to be an effective way for people to lose weight, reduce food cravings and control blood sugars and insulin levels, compared to a low fat diet. 2, 5, 6
Less food cravings and better self-regulation
People report much lower levels of hunger on a ketogenic diet and can self regulate food consumption better, without calorie counting. 7
Reduces risk or can treat type 2 diabetes/insulin resistance.
Several studies have shown that the ketogenic diet can improve insulin sensitivity, lose excess fat, reduce or even eliminate diabetes medications. 8, 9 It has also been shown to be a much more effective treatment, than following a higher carb restricted diets for diabetes patients. 10
There have been several studies that have reported that is can slow down tumour growth in several types of cancers. Ketogenic diet expert Dom D’agostino talks at length, about using the ketogenic diet, as an additional measure that could be beneficial alongside the traditional medical treatments of cancer. If you’re interested listen full interview here about cancer and disease prevention through the ketogenic diet.
Other reasons for following a ketogenic diet
Reduces the total number of meals required to eat per day. If you’re someone who has a busy schedule and struggles to fit all your tasks into the day, then the ketogoenic diet can save you substantial time. As fat is an energy dense macronutrient with 9 calories per gram, the volume of food you’re required to eat is much less. It fills you up for longer and you can cut from 4 to 5 meals down to 2 dense meals per day with little effort and carvings.
Skipping meals without mental fog and straight into fasting without pain
When you’re body has adapted to nutritional ketosis, skipping a meal or intermittent fasting becomes easy. The body is adapted to burning fat, and can continue to fuel itself for weeks without skipping a beat. If you try to fast going from a normal carbohydrate diet, you will experience brain fog, bad moods, hypoglycaemia and a general lack of energy.
Interested in trying the ketogenic diet? Submit your email to receive my FREE formula to get into ketosis quick and seamlessly. Without experiencing the “keto flu” and food cravings.
Please note before undertaking any extreme change in diet, I would highly recommend consulting your doctor and getting a full panel of blood tests done. This is not for everyone and there are always people that might not respond well to this style of eating. Please also note if you are going to fast, for longer than 24hours, it should be done under medical supervision.
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- Frederic Martini et al., Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology / Frederic H. Martini, Judi L. Nath, Edwin F. Bartholomew ; William C. Ober, Art Coordinator and Illustrator ; Claire W. Garrisson, Illustrator ; Kathleen Welch, Clinical Consultant ; Ralph T. Hutchings, Biomedical Photgrapher, (San Francisco, Calif. : Pearson/Benjamin Cummings, c2012.9th ed., 2012).Eric C Westman et al., ‘A Review of Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diets’, Current atherosclerosis reports 5, no. 6 (2003): 476-83.
- Stephen D Phinney et al., ‘The Human Metabolic Response to Chronic Ketosis without Caloric Restriction: Preservation of Submaximal Exercise Capability with Reduced Carbohydrate Oxidation’, Metabolism 32, no. 8 (1983): 769-76.
- John M Freeman, Eric H Kossoff, and Adam L Hartman, ‘The Ketogenic Diet: One Decade Later’, Pediatrics 119, no. 3 (2007): 535-43.
- Toshiyuki Fukao, Gary D Lopaschuk, and Grant A Mitchell, ‘Pathways and Control of Ketone Body Metabolism: On the Fringe of Lipid Biochemistry’, Prostaglandins, leukotrienes and essential fatty acids 70, no. 3 (2004): 243-51.
- P Sumithran et al., ‘Ketosis and Appetite-Mediating Nutrients and Hormones after Weight Loss’, European journal of clinical nutrition 67, no. 7 (2013): 759-64.
- Alexandra M Johnstone et al., ‘Effects of a High-Protein Ketogenic Diet on Hunger, Appetite, and Weight Loss in Obese Men Feeding Ad Libitum’, The American journal of clinical nutrition 87, no. 1 (2008): 44-55.
- William S Yancy et al., ‘A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet to Treat Type 2 Diabetes’, Nutrition & metabolism 2, no. 1 (2005): 34.
- Guenther Boden et al., ‘Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Appetite, Blood Glucose Levels, and Insulin Resistance in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes’, Annals of internal medicine 142, no. 6 (2005): 403-11.
- RR Henry, P Wallace, and JM Olefsky, ‘Effects of Weight Loss on Mechanisms of Hyperglycemia in Obese Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus’, Diabetes 35, no. 9 (1986): 990-8.