What is ketosis and its benefits for weight loss?

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about the ever-popular term ‘ketosis’ and the ketogenic diet. 

But what is ketosis? Ketosis is a natural metabolic process that happens inside your body when it does not have enough carbohydrates to burn to produce energy. As a result, the body will burn fat and produce ketones in the blood to use for energy. The process of ketosis can be induced by following a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet, also known as the ketogenic diet.

How does ketosis work?

When you eat fewer carbohydrates, your insulin levels go down, and fatty acids are released from your body’s fat stores in large amounts. A lot of these fatty acids end up in the liver where they are turned into ketones. However, unlike fatty acids, ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain as glucose would.

While glucose is preferred in terms of energy for the brain as certain cells can only use glucose for fuel, it is a common misperception that the brain cannot function without dietary carbohydrates. 

The majority of your brain can use ketones for energy when your diet is low in carbohydrates. Interestingly, through a process called gluconeogenesis, your body can make use of protein and other molecules to produce the glucose that the brain needs in order to function during ketosis. In this way, your brain’s energy needs are completely fulfilled.

Can it help me lose weight?

Following the ketogenic diet – which is designed to reach a metabolic state of ketosis within your body – has proven to be effective when it comes to safe and quick weight loss. One specific study found that people who follow a ketogenic diet can lose 2.2 times more weight than people on a low fat or calorie-restricted diet.

Certainly, a large pro that comes with the ketogenic diet is that people tend to feel less hungry as a result of the ketosis process. It also means it becomes less important to count calories. Of course, the biggest benefit offered by the ketogenic diet is rapid weight loss. People often report that once starting the ketosis process, weight loss happens almost immediately in the initial phase once starting the ketosis process.

Does it have any other benefits?

Ketosis is not only great for losing weight safely and quickly, but it also has other positive effects on your body. For one, it can decrease your risk for heart disease. It can also improve insulin sensitivity, particularly in the case of type 2 diabetes.

What is the ketogenic diet?

Generally, in order to reach a state of metabolic ketosis, you would need to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day. However, the exact amount of carbohydrates you should include in your diet to achieve ketosis varies between individuals and can even be as low as 20 grams.

The kinds of carbohydrates you would need to avoid to promote ketosis include grains, legumes, potatoes and fruit. You would also need to cut our candy and sugary drinks.

Your macronutrient goals should be a caloric intake of 70-75% of fat, 15-20% of protein, and 5-10% of your calories should come from carbohydrates.

Before you commit to adopting the ketosis way of life and eating, it is best to check with a doctor or registered dietician that the ketogenic diet is a safe option for you.

To learn more about ketosis and its benefits for safe and quick weight loss as well as a free consultation, contact us.