How does Ketosis work?
The Keto Diet is a diet that focuses on eating foods high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbs. The diet is said to help with rapid weight loss by forcing your body into a deprived state which gets it burning this fat for energy. Click to read more on the Keto Diet. You may have heard the word ‘Ketosis’ batted around when hearing about this diet too. But how does Ketosis work I hear you say and what on earth is Ketosis?
When you are eating a diet rich in carbs or high in sugar, these carbs and sugars are your main source of energy and your body converts them into glucose. Any glucose leftover that has not been burnt is stored in the liver for when your body might need it as glycogen. Once this extra storage space has been taken up, anything that doesn’t fit into storage gets used as fat or tissue in the body. This over time adds to weight gain and fat around the body.
When thinking about giving our body energy to function on a daily basis, carbs, although normally the main source of energy, are not the most effective ways of putting fuel into our bodies. Believe it or not, when some people lower their carb intake and increase their fats on a Keto diet, they actually feel like they have more energy and don’t feel sluggish and tired like they did when they were eating more carbs.
When our bodies eat more fat on a Keto diet, it’s been proven that the energy provided is actually ‘better’. It can sometimes be hard to get our body to take this ‘better’ energy when we eat carbs, as when we eat more carbs than fat, our bodies take the easy route and go for glycogen over fat fuel as it takes less energy to burn carbs than fats and is therefore easier for the body. If however there is little to no glycogen in the body to be burnt, our bodies have no other choice but to turn to fat energy. The easiest way to therefore get our body to work harder and take from our fat energy is to lower our carbs.
This is now where the process is Ketosis starts. Ketosis is essentially when you stop burning carbs as fuel and you start burning ‘ketones’. The body starts breaking down our fat stores to give us energy and provide us with glucose from triglycerides when we reduce our carb intake and our body is searching for energy. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the body and ketones are a by-product of this process taking place. They are essentially acids that build up in our blood.
One of the major benefits of ketosis is that is helps us to burn fat and therefore lose weight.
When our bodies do start burning fat rather than glycogen, it also takes longer for this fat to digest which means we will feel fuller for longer which in time can lead to weight loss too. Some people may also question as to whether this process is safe and in short, my opinion is that yes it is safe because it is a normal metabolic process. However, extreme levels of ketosis can incur Ketoacidosis which is when the levels of ketosis in the body are extremely high and they can poison the body.
To conclude, I would recommend read the benefits and pitfalls of the Keto Diet before weighing up whether it is for you!