You have likely heard the term ketosis or heard about a “keto diet,” but maybe you haven’t yet explored all that it entails. Maybe you have been dubious as to its benefits. Or maybe it just seems too difficult. We know you have a lot of questions. In this blog we hope to explain some basics and help you understand what it means to put your body in ketosis. Then, you can decide if this way of eating is right for you.
First, let us say that, though it’s often called a keto “diet,” it’s not what many think of as a traditional diet that’s done for a few weeks or months to lose weight. It’s really a way of eating and a way of living.
What is ketosis?
According to Everyday Health, “Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that occurs when your body doesn’t have enough carbs (or glucose) for energy, so it burns fat instead.”
We all know that our body’s main source of energy is food. The three main nutrients in food—carbohydrates, protein, and fat—supply our bodies with energy. After eating, our bodies will break down carbs first. Then they will move to fat and protein.
Our bodies naturally break down carbohydrates into glucose. They then use the glucose as fuel. Our livers store the rest until we need it. But the keto “diet” changes this. It teaches our bodies to burn fat instead of carbs for fuel. When we reduce the amount of carbs we consume, the store of glucose in our bodies drains. If our bodies cannot burn carbs for energy, it begins burning fats instead. As it does this, it produces ketones, and these become the main source of energy.
So, if we want to reach ketosis, we must limit the amount of carbs that we eat on a daily basis. That can be difficult, and it means reading food labels. In order to reach ketosis, we would have to eat between 20 and 50 grams of carbs per day. That may seem like a lot until you realize that one medium-sized apple contains about 25 grams of carbs and a slice of whole-grain bread has about 12.
Why would I want to go keto?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “The keto diet has many possible benefits including potential weight loss, increased energy and treating chronic illness.”
That statement alone is enough of a motivator for many. One of the greatest benefits is weight loss. Putting your body in ketosis can also help with the symptoms related to diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, autism, and even type 2 diabetes.
It can also help increase your energy levels and reduce inflammation throughout your body.
What can I eat?
As you begin, you may feel frustrated or unsure about what kinds of foods to eat, but rest assured that it’s not as difficult as you may think. This new way of eating is low in carbs but high in good fats and moderate in protein.
Good foods to eat include lean meats and fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, avocadoes, butter, leafy greens, celery, natural peanut butter, cucumbers, olive oil, and other assorted low-carb fruits and vegetables.
You will want to stop eating—or eat very little—beans, grains, potatoes, high-carb fruits, sodas, candy, and sweet sauces and condiments like BBQ sauces and ketchup.
It can be hard to know where to begin, but there are lots of websites with great recipes out there to help you.
The good news is that it doesn’t take long to put your body in ketosis. The Cleveland Clinic states that “if you eat between 20 and 50 grams of carbohydrates each day, it will usually take you two to four days to enter ketosis.”
Depending on your current weight, you could start seeing results on the scale within a week.
Are there side effects of ketosis?
As we have seen, the keto diet has numerous benefits, but it also has some side effects, most of which are temporary. The most common is the “keto flu”—which includes an upset stomach, headache, and excessive tiredness. This is a sign that your body is going through changes, but these feelings will go away rather quickly.
Some people also notice what is called keto breath. This is caused by the ketones creating acetone in your body and will also go away within several days.
Some people may experience constipation or an increase in cholesterol. This is why it’s vital to get fiber from leafy greens and to eat lean meats and add low-carb fruits and vegetables to your diet. Make sure to also drink plenty of water so you don’t become dehydrated.
Don’t confuse ketosis and diabetic ketoacidosis
Ketosis and ketoacidosis are two very different things. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition that affects diabetics. It can also affect those who have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes. This condition occurs when there are too many ketones in the blood due to a lack of insulin. When this happens, the blood turns acidic. This is a life-threatening condition.
However, in ketosis, the ketones in your blood are not usually enough to turn your blood acidic.
But, if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, consult with your doctor before you make any lifestyle or diet changes.
Getting your body into a state of ketosis has many benefits, and some of PI’s products can help! PI’s Isolate Whey and Diet & Energy Ripped Whey protein powders are low in carbs and can easily fit into your keto diet. So don’t worry about having to give up everything you love!
What we put into our bodies matters. We live in a society saturated with junk food, fast food, and carbs. If you have never looked at the carb content in the food you eat, do so. You will be surprised—and maybe horrified—at how many you consume on a daily basis. But eating healthier does not have to be boring, and eating a keto diet does not take all the joy out of eating. There are plenty of delicious foods you can enjoy. You simply need to explore your options and try new foods.
Once you do, I’m betting you will see a difference that you will love. And your body will thank you.