Ketosis

This post should be called ‘ Use Fat for Fuel.’ Simply put, beyond all of the Biochemistry and technical jargon associated with Ketosis, this is exactly what happens. When you eliminate a lot of Carbohydrates from your diet, instead focusing on quality Protein and Fat, the body is able to pull stored Fat and use it for energy. It is a win win situation.

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What happens is when your cells are low of its preferred source of energy: Glycogen, (blood sugar), it breaks down stored fat in cells via a process called Beta Oxidation, thus converting free fatty acids into Acetyl coenzyme A to be used as energy. This whole process is called Lypolisis. The body naturally senses glycogen shortage and calls on the Liver to produce Ketone Bodies, which are shipped out to the cell to begin the process. There are two main ketone bodies: Acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate, which create a state of Ketosis. Ketosis is simply utilizing an alternative source of cellular fuel to create energy for the body. The fuel being fat.

 

Simple right? Who knew Biochemistry could be so fun!

 

The human body has developed, over millions of years, a sophisticated strategy to survive when there are not a lot of carbohydrates available. In fact:Our bodies were fairly frequently operating in the arena of ketosis. Add to this the fasts and famines of primal living, and it’s clear that ketones served as an essential energy source. 5
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Eliminating Carbs … What’s Really Important!

 

The Human Body has no need for Carbohydrates, although we do eat them for vitamins, minerals, fiber, enzymes, and phytochemicals. Green stuff is good! Just not sugar, grains, and starch. AND, remember, despite what your good old fashioned government food pyramid says about ‘Eat yer Grains!’ you now know it truly is hogwash. Put simply: “When you consume a diet very low in carbohydrates, the body responds to the significantly lowered levels of blood sugar by flipping the switch to another power source.” 5

Low in carbohydrates is vague, but the number most agree upon is 50-80 grams of carbs per day to promote Ketosis.


Training the Mechanism of Ketosis

A great way to encourage Ketosis is to practice Intermittent Fasting. No, this isn’t a Gandhi hunger strike, but possibly going without food from dinner the night before until lunchtime the next day. A long walk or a moderate intensity workout in the morning ensures  pulling fat for fuel. Also, another important mechanism called Apoptosis encourages cell-death of useless cells, purging them for the creation of new and stronger ones.


These practices encourage “up-regulation” of the body’s fat-burning metabolic functioning and “down regulation” of fat storing systems. For those looking to lose fat, this becomes an extremely effective tool

Over time, this process becomes efficient as the body “unfolds” in its genetic expression. 5


The Brain

The brain runs 20% more efficiently on ketones than glucose. A profound and absolute statement sure to get me in a lot of trouble, BUT:

The brain is a particularly greedy organ when it comes to energy requirement. To put this comment in perspective consider the following: though our brain represents only about 2% of our body mass, it accounts for about 20% of our energy expenditure. 4

 

Other things to consider which even the medical community is waking up to: too much blood sugar equals a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and bad things happen. Bad things like Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Stroke, Parkinson’s, Peripheral Neuropathy, and Tumors.

 

And, back to the evolution of our species thing, “In a state of starvation we’ve only got about one to three days before we’re in trouble.  If our brain doesn’t get a hold of somethingelse, besides glucose, we will die quite unceremoniously.” 4

Thus, Ketosis.

 

“Ketones are particularly important in the brain, which, because of the blood-brain barrier, lacks insulin in most areas.” 4

 

 So, there you have it, an intro to Ketosis. a powerful weapon to not only pull and use stored fat as fuel, but an overall healthy and normal mechanism for the human body.

 

SOURCES:

 

1. Biochemistry: Pamela C. Champe, Richard A. Harvey, Denise R. Ferrier

 

2. A High-fat, Ketogenic Diet Induces a Unique Metabolic State in Mice

Adam R. Kennedy , Pavlos Pissios , Hasan Otu , Bingzhong Xue , Kenji Asakura , Noburu Furukawa , Frank E. Marino , Fen-Fen Liu , Barbara B. Kahn , Towia A. Libermann , Eleftheria Maratos-Flier

Vol.no.DOI:

http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/292/6/E1724

 

3. Hepatic Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 Is Regulated by PPARα and Is a Key Mediator of Hepatic Lipid Metabolism in Ketotic States

Michael K. Badman1Pavlos PissiosAdam R. KennedyGeorge KoukosJeffrey S. Flier, and Eleftheria Maratos-Flie

http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131%2807%2900129-5

 

4. The Eating Academy: Peter Attia, Ketosis, Advantaged or Misunderstood state? (Part I & II)

http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/ketosis-advantaged-or-misunderstood-state-part-i

 

5. Mark Sisson: Marks Daily Apple, on Ketosis

 

6. Wikipedia:Ketosis, Ketone Bodies, Beta-Oxidation, Krebs Cycle, Lypolisis, Beta-Hydroxybutyrate

“We evolved to produce ketone bodies so we could not only tolerate but also thrive in the absence of glucose for prolonged periods of time.  No ability to produce ketone bodies = no human species.”- Peter Attia