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What About the Keto Diet and Exercise?

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keto diet and exercise

Let start off with listing a few athletes that use the keto diet and exercise to compete at the professional level: Lebron James, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, several argue that Tom Brady’s diet teeters in and out of ketosis. With the best advice money can buy, why are they using a keto diet and exercise?

ANSWER: Keto Diet And Exercise Provides A Distinct Advantage

Before I reveal that distinct advantage using the keto diet and exercise, let’s look closer at endurance athletes. Endurance athletes pay lots of attention to their deliverance of energy while they compete. If they run out of usable energy at the end of their race, bad things happen.

keto diet and exercise

The next time your community is hosting a marathon, volunteer to hand out water or guard an intersection in the last mile of the race. Watch what happens to some of the ill-prepared athletes as they push themselves at the end of the race.

It is not uncommon to find athletes losing control of bowels and behaving strangely– as if their thinking is not quite right.  I am not talking about the crazy notion of running 26.2 miles. I am referring to the way they can’t connect the right words or thoughts or actions to the current setting in front of them. This is called “bonking.”

‘Bonking’ is the term for running out of fuel during an endurance race. Specifically, the fuel for their brain is missing. Traditional athletes fuel their bodies with carbs. Their glucose fuel source must be replenished again and again throughout the race. They burn through their fast, carb-based energy like the “pine-needles” in a campfire. The burning rate of that energy becomes wickedly fast at the end of a long race.

All of their energy stored in the liver and muscles has been depleted. Glycogen storages are tapped. Empty. To finish the race, they must carefully calculate this delicate situation. They must throw the proper amount of ‘pine needles’ into their furnaces to keep racing. Too much glucose too fast and the gut will struggle to absorb it in this intense situation. This results in the squirts and the wrong time.  

If they run out of glucose, they ‘bonk.’ Their brain shuts down. Without enough sugar, their brain starts taking functions “offline.” With a totally glucose-dependent body, the only fuel their cells know how to use is glucose. They are stuck.

Just imagine for a moment who we are talking about. These are very lean athletes. Many keep their body fat close to 15%. As a comparison, non-athletes are closer to 25%.  If you are overweight that percent sores to over 30% body fat. How much energy could these skinny athletes possibly deliver if their body-chemistry had adapted to ketosis?  In short: A LOT.

Even a lean athlete with under 15% body fat can carry more than 50,000 kilocalories in their fat. These calories are useless to them because their system is not adapted to burning fat for fuel.  Their chemistry has been practicing and perfecting the use of carbs. Not fat.

keto diet and exercise

The last mile of a 100-mile race is not the time to be asking your body to figure out ketosis. After several hours of intense exercise, an athlete running out of available glucose will describe their ‘bonk’ as,  “a strange experience where a dramatic loss in performance, a profound sudden depression, and intense food cravings coincide.” Observers may notice the athlete shake and quiver with chills. They lose control of their bowels or bladder. They stumble as if drunk while their brain scrambles to find any morsel of glucose lingering around.

The bonking athlete is much like a diesel-powered truck that runs out of fuel while hauling a tank filled with gasoline. There is gasoline fuel in his tank, but diesel engines are not equipped to use gasoline.

On the other hand, fat-fueled athletes, have the advantage. They have a choice between fuel sources.  The flexibility to choose between fat and glucose in the last 2 miles of the race only happens if they’ve properly prepared their mitochondria. If their mitochondria never saw more than a morsel of glucose over the past three months, their cells boast the perfect condition to flip between either fuel. Their body has “turned on” the mitochondria parts that burn fat. This burnable fat is called a ketone.

keto diet and exercise

This gives them a distinct advantage. Their brain cells can use either fuel. So can their muscle cells. So can their heart cells. Their body adapted to efficiently use either fuel.

If their body gets low on fuel, they can add some glucose and use it. But if they run out of glucose, their keto-adapted cells quickly activate their furnaces to burn fat instead of carbs.

This transition happens in a flash if they are keto-adapted. They don’t poop their pants. They don’t ‘bonk.’

keto diet and exercise

Becoming fat adapted through a life of ketosis does not erase your body’s ability to use glucose. You will always use the glucose in your blood before you use ketones.

Evolution has guaranteed that the glucose always gets used first. However, if your body only sees glucose as fuel and never sees ketones, the mechanism to burn a ketones all but disappears.  To keep the parts of the cell actively ready to use ketones, your body must burn ketones for the better part of your life.  I can’t skip over 

another teachable moment that I’ve learned from the athletes under my ketogenic-care. They universally remark about how much better they think. It takes only one glimpse at the research of endurance athletes by Dr. James O’Keefe, a cardiologist from the Mid America Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Hospital, to appreciate the multitude of health risks found in the population of endurance athletes.

Their bragging rights linked to the elite 26.2 club deserve respect. However, what we have known for some time that their bragging aught to stop after the first or second marathon. The list of ailments found in the hearts other body parts of endurance athletes in their second decade of a racing compares to patients pushing 80 in my medical clinic.

When I pair the striking improvement my keto-adapted athletes report in their sleep, tissue-repair time, and mental stamina, my mind jumps to the word INFLAMMATION.  The link between the vast problems that reverse on a ketogenic diet consistently point towards the near-removal of inflammation when in a ketogenic state. Maybe these endurance athletes will have fewer troubles linked to chronic inflammation if they spend most of their time in ketosis.

The jury is still out on that. Fat-fueled, low-carb endurance athletes aren’t just running races, they are winning at record-breaking times. Nothing grabs the attention of competitive endurance athletes, like titles.

keto diet and exerciseketo diet and exercise These athletes are tossing out the carb-dense foods and chewing on fat for their fuel. Just think how much time gets shaved off a race if they don’t have to pause for a bathroom break ten times in the race’s last stretch.

But what does this all mean for the “normal” athlete that wants to try the keto diet and exercise?

Use carbs to fuel your body before a peak performance. ABSOLUTELY.  You will feel the rush of carb energy surge into your system and kick you into high gear. However, give yourself the advantage by training in a ketogenic state.

 Keep your mitochondria burning ketones outside of those peak performances. Ketosis promotes the fastest healing times, in part, due to its anti-inflammatory state.

From head injuries to torn muscles to micro-tears in a tendon – a bath of ketones coursing through your veins ensures the chemistry of lowest inflammation.

Finally, ketosis strengthens your mental performance. Any athletes wet behind the ears knows that games are won in your mind. Clear thinking, restful sleep, and protection for an irritable mood all lead to the best performance possible.

For more information on the keto diet and exercise, check out the book ANYWAY YOU CAN on Amazon or Audible by Annette Bosworth, MD.

keto diet and exercise

RESOURCES:

  1. Volek, Jeff, and Stephen D. Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: an Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable. Beyond Obesity, 2011
  2. Volek, Jeff S., et al. “Effects of Dietary Carbohydrate Restriction versus Low-Fat Diet on Flow-Mediated Dilation.” Metabolism, vol. 58, no. 12, 2009, pp. 1769–1777., doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2009.06.005.
  3. Volek, Jeff S, et al. “Low-Carbohydrate Diets Promote a More Favorable Body Composition Than Low-Fat Diets.” Strength and Conditioning Journal, vol. 32, no. 1, 2010, pp. 42–47., doi:10.1519/ssc.0b013e3181c16c41

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Autophagy and Fasting: The Mystery Behind It.

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autophagy and fasting

Autophagy. The literal translation of this word: ‘to eat thyself.’

Autophagy is a hot topic. Yoshinori Ohsumi’s 2016 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine converted the medical world’s previous whispers and murmurings about Autophagy and fasting into a full-blown conversation. Ohsumi discovered how our body degrades and recycles its cellular components. Autophagy for short. 

Why should you care? Isn’t this a keto-focused site?

Well, it turns out ketones and autophagy are linked.  

Baby Boomers: please pay attention.

You endured the most abuse from the medical establishment over the last 40 years. Before it’s too late, we in the medical establishment might have a few years to redeem some of the atrocious recommendations that your generation lived were given. The science of how your body eats itself is something you should pay attention to and master.

It may sound weird, but this process of autophagy might be the saving grace to medical advice for your era. The science of autophagy surfaced in the nick of time for Boomers.

Autophagy removes debris found inside your body’s cells. All those years of poorly fed brain cells, sleep deprived hearts, smoking in your early years, and becoming fatter than any generation before has left you with lots of crusty cells. The debris within your tissue has been there for years. If you are overweight, this debris has been around for as long as those extra pounds have insulated you. PLUS ten years.  Brain autopsies tell the tale.

Proteins build up in a damaged brain. This damaged brain leads to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The beginning of these problems don’t start with your genetics; they begin with inflammation.

After ten years of constant inflammation, your gray matter’s genetics can trigger all sorts of brain diseases. The chemistry produced by the combination of fasting and high ketones reverses the inflammatory grime afflicting most Baby Boomers’ brains. In fact, this chemistry decreases the swelling of the brain. Fasting and high ketones trigger your cells to start eating the ‘junk’ that has been messing up your brain’s electrical signals and activity for years.  

Brains destined for dementia have been squirreling away extra proteins for years before you experience your first memory glitch. If you could take a virtual tour around your brain the year before your memory starts to go, you would see lots of these crusty, extra proteins also known as plaques or neurofibril tangles.

Are you already experiencing memory problems? Start eating up plaque! Stimulate autophagy by adopting a keto lifestyle with intermittent fasting.

Hopefully, I have your attention! That strange word with a comical definition should interest every Baby Boomer.

How do you switch on your autophagy processes? Thankfully, Nobel laureate Ohsumi’s research sheds light on this science. Autophagy is a very regulated process where your cells break down components and then use those parts as nutrition.

Our cells are programmed to die. When will your cells die?

That depends on how well you’ve taken care of them.

Apoptosis (pre-programmed death) is triggered when cells become old and worn down. Different cells in the body live longer than others, but they all have an end date – a predestined date that they will die. That date comes quicker if they are poorly built or inflamed continuously.

A similar process happens on the subcellular level. Instead of throwing out the whole cell via apoptosis, autophagy replaces just a section of the cell. This process doesn’t kill the entire cell.  

  • APOPTOSIS says, “This cell is crap. Time is up. Throw it all away.”
  • AUTOPHAGY says, “This section of the cell is crap. Let’s break it down and use it as fuel for the rest of the cell.”

Autophagy describes your cells’ internal housekeeping processes. Your cells vacuum up debris and recycle these parts as fuel. Cells clean up the old worn out or defective proteins inside them and toss them into the furnace, the mitochondria. Thankfully, those burning flames of the mitochondria are right there inside the cell too.

Why should you care? Answers: Flabby skin after weight loss.

It is embarrassing to share how many Boomer patients have said these words to me, “Doc, I don’t want to lose that weight. It will leave me with too many wrinkles.”  

I’ve got some great news for you. If you lose weight while stimulating autophagy, your body will ‘eat’ those deformed skin cells that caused your wrinkles. You will ‘eat’ those extra blood vessels, fat cells, and connecting cells as you lose weight. Without that left-over, unneeded tissue, your skin connects tightly to the overlying tissue. It results in tight, toned skin. No batty arm wings for you!

Take a trip through history. Lookup Holocaust victims in World War II concentration camps. The photos of these people show tight skin and no flabby or wavy folds of skin.

Some were overweight when they entered those camps. Sadly, they lost lots of weight during their months or even years of imprisonment. These individuals were in a state of ketosis with intermittent fasting for most, if not all, of their confinement.

A Tale of Two People who Lost 100 Pounds:

One loses 100 pounds while stimulating autophagy. The other woman used a low-calorie (a.k.a.torture) diet to lose the same amount of weight. No autophagy involved.

The autophagy patient’s body successfully absorbed all of her flabby skin cells and used the cellular parts as fuel. Additionally, there is no extra flesh in her arms, butt, or abdomen. Her body used that protein- and fat-filled tissue to feed her system during her fasting period. She saved herself the pain and expense of having to go under a plastic surgeon’s knife just to cut those ‘wings’ of flab off.  

In the medical field, these leftover tissues are collectively called a ‘curtain of skin.’ Removing all this excess tissue by way of surgery carries a massive risk of blood loss. Until I saw this with my own eyes, I underestimated how many blood vessels remained in that tissue after tremendous weight loss.

The restricted-calorie patient also lost weight and got skinnier. No doubt about that. But her weight loss program left behind thousands of blood vessels, connective tissue cells, skin cells, fat cells and more.

Patients who choose to cut that curtain of skin off after their weight loss suffer from large rope-like scars where the surgeon connected the remaining skin back together. They are not soft and flexible scars-they are keloid roadmaps.

Why?

One word: INFLAMMATION.  

Nothing says inflammation like blood when it is outside of your blood vessels. Thousands and thousands of little threads of blood vessels remain in that curtain of skin. Without the help of autophagy, there is no process to remove the leftover blood vessels and tissues that used to hold, feed and support those layers of fat. Regardless of how skilled your plastic surgeon may be, shutting down every tiny blood vessel before stitching the edges of the skin closed leaves some gnarly-looking scars.

The imagery unsettles my patients and me as I tell them of their options. However, it is inspiring to see folks lose 100 pounds and NOT have this ‘flabby arm-wings’ problem. People do manage to lose weight and avoid flabby skin-only if they trigger the process called autophagy. By activating the recycling process of the energy found in the leftover flabby skin, your body can eat itself into a tighter, firmer, and better-looking form.

How do you trigger autophagy?  

This answer involves complicated biochemistry. Thankfully, the cliff notes can be summed up in one word: FASTING.

As previously mentioned, your body chemistry during times of no eating is an enhanced version of the same chemistry you have during ketone production. By achieving ketosis before you fast, you set the stage for faster autophagy activation. Your ketone-burning cells can start ‘recycling’ their crusty parts in as little as 12 hours from the start of your fast. On the other hand, if carbs are your cells’ primary fuel source, autophagy kicks in several days after you stop eating.

Good news: When patients are keto-adapted you don’t have to fast as long as Grandma Rose did. She fasted for over forty days.  You don’t even have to fast 24 hours. By establishing a ‘fasting window’ of 12 hours every day (this includes 8 hours while you sleep), you benefit from your body’s recycling system. In fact, fasting can change the way you age.

Fasting’s anti-aging benefits come directly from the autophagy triggered when people stop eating for longer blocks of time. Fasting triggers two reactions. First, your body finds nutrition although you haven’t consumed any calories. Where? Your body converts old junky proteins from within your cells into energy. Second, your cells experience a burst in growth hormone production. Human growth hormone promotes muscle and bone growth. This compound also pushes your body to empty its fat cells.

As I write this post, I am on my fifth day of fasting. My average blood sugars hover in the 50-80s and my ketones have steadily risen to the 4.0-5.5 range. Because this fast occurred after months of ketosis, the transition was not difficult. In fact, I would agree with the literature that the first two days are the hardest. After that, each day seems to produce a higher level of energy and clearer thinking. Two of my patients in their 80s have recently fasted for seven days.

 IN THEIR 80s! They attend my weekly keto-support-group and shared their experience with all of us. They choose to fast this long after reading and learning about autophagy. For several months prior they had been in ketosis with pockets of intermittent fasting. Most of their fasts lasted 24 to 48 hours. A few times they did 72 hours. This week-long fast pushed them to a new level. I don’t recommend this long of a for most people … especially in their 80s.

However, these folks were very good at monitoring their biometrics of blood pressure and blood sugars and blood ketones.  They also had quick access to me if anything went awry. But it didn’t. They reached their goal of seven days with only salt, water, and tea. This fast certainly boosted their growth hormone, sparked their metabolism, and ignited autophagy deep inside their cells.

How do you stop autophagy?

Just start eating again. When your body gets glucose from your food, insulin production is triggered. Insulin slams the brakes on autophagy. Even the smallest amount of insulin can stop ‘energy recycling’ in its tracks. Autophagy is only possible through fasting. A ketogenic diet allows you to slide back into a fasting state much more comfortable and faster compared to multiple days needed with a carb-heavy diet.

BOOMERS: EAT YOURSELF!

If you want to learn more about the ketogenic diet, check out the book ANYWAY YOU CAN on Amazon or Audible by Annette Bosworth, MD.

RESOURCES:

  1. Nobel Prize Honors Autophagy Discovery.” Cancer Discovery, vol. 6, no. 12, 2016, pp. 1298–1299., doi:10.1158/2159-8290.cd-nb2016-127
  2. Ogawa, Chikako, et al. “Autopsy Findings of a Patient with Acute Encephalitis and Refractory, Repetitive Partial Seizures.” Seizure, vol. 35, 2016, pp. 80–82., doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2016.01.005.
  3. Kerndt, Peter R., et al. “Fasting: The History, Pathophysiology and Complications.” THE WESTERN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, vol. 137, no. 5, Nov. 1982, pp. 379–399. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6758355
  4. Fung, Jason. “Blog.” Intensive Dietary Management (IDM), idmprogram.com/blog/

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Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis: Separating Benefits from Danger.

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keto diet and cancer

Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis is only a great discussion because they are two separate things. Gives you a chance to kill two birds with one stone! 

“Isn’t Ketosis the same as Ketoacidosis?”

No. Truth be told, I only hear this question from healthcare professionals that didn’t slow down enough to carefully think about that question. Like me, their brain jumped to the near-death scenario of ketoacidosis when they heard the word ketosis. Most of my patients have never heard of either of these words.

Before you present this idea to your doctor, read this blog.  Print it out and take it along on your doctor visit. 

Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis = DANGEROUS

This is a life-threatening condition. This deadly chemistry shift happens to Type 1 diabetics.  Remember, Type 1 Diabetics are those people who cannot produce insulin. Their pancreas does not squirt out this sugar-handling hormone when their blood sugars rise.  

Since 1922, these patients have the privilege of surviving without a functional pancreas because of insulin. Insulin injections allow the entrance of those glucose molecules into the cell.  Once inside, they are burned as fuel.

Without the injection of insulin, Type 1 diabetics can’t use blood sugar as fuel.

Insulin triggers your body’s cells to capture the sugar in the blood and deliver it to your furnaces. Only then can your cells burn it as fuel. Without insulin, sugars circulate continually and never enter cells. Insulin is the chemical key that allows glucose to enter your cells. Once inside, mitochondria burn this sugar compound for energy.

Without insulin, the sugar in your bloodstream rises and rises.  It entered the system and there is no way to get rid of it as fuel.  

What Happens When Mitochondriaa Don’t Get What They Want?

When mitochondria can’t access sugar fuel from your bloodstream, your body switches over to ketones. As previously stated, the enemy of ketones is insulin. When there is no insulin in your body, ketone production has no limit.  

Ketosis vs KetoacidosisKetones, as fuel, work just dandy for Type 1 diabetics. Unlike glucose, ketones need no help getting from your blood to the furnaces insides of your cells. Ketones slip right through your cell walls and straight to your mitochondria for energy production. Ketones ARE usable to a diabetic. Without insulin shots, Type I diabetics switch each and every cell to a ketone-burning furnace.

Before long all furnaces are churning through the ketones. Massive ketones churn out of their liver. Excessive ketones burn within their mitochondria in their tissues. With every cell in the body burning ketones for fuel, a tremendous amount of energy swelters the system.  Remember that each ketone delivers 32 units of energy as compared to 2 units produced by each glucose molecule. While all the engines burn through ketones, the glucose molecules are stuck outside the cell and walled off from the furnaces. This causes the blood sugars to rise and rise while the system burns more and more fuel.

With every cell glowing hot with ketone fuel, what is the problem?  

As the Type 1 diabetic fuels the whole system on ketones, their body’s chemistry becomes overheated and acidic. Couple the intense energy production with the very high blood sugars and these patients can die from this situation. Heavy ketone buildup creates an acidic environment: ketoACIDosis.

Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis

For those of us that normally produce insulin, even after months of cranking out ketones, we will never have 100% of our furnaces burning ketones. Many of our cells use ketones for fuel, but some cells still use glucose. Glucose always outranks fats for fuel, as long as the fuel can get to the furnaces.  

Insulin assists the glucose with entrance into the cell. If glucose floats by, insulin triggers the cell to grab glucose and pull it in. In that situation, the cell burns glucose while ketone fuel is halted. Normally cells constantly change back and forth between using ketones and glucose.

If you look at 100 cells you will find the ratio of those using glucose versus ketones will fluctuation based on how much glucose gets funneled into the furnaces. Once all the glucose is used up, the furnaces switch back to ketones.  If you spread a sprinkle of glucose, a few cells with gobble up that glucose and flip back the other way.

 

Ketosis =  NOT DANGEROUS  

Nutritional ketosis refers to the steady production of ketones which are then converted by your mitochondria into energy. Ketosis is triggered by a sharp drop in blood sugar inside the cell.

This low glucose is made possible by fasting or cutting out your carbs. Without insulin, Type 1 diabetics have low blood glucose inside the cells because they have no insulin ‘keys’ that allow entrance.

Here’s how it normally plays out: once you stop eating so many carbs, your body uses up its stored sugar.

Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis

For those of us with insulin, our body burns the glucose fuel circulating in your blood. Next, it empties your stored fuel in your liver. When all that‘s used up, your insulin and sugars drop continuously. Finally, insulin all but disappears.  

One by one, your mitochondria switch from glucose to ketones for fuel. They keep the fire burning, but transition from the fast-burning sugars to slow-burning fat. Not every mitochondrion makes the switch, but more and more of them transition to burning fat. A few sugars enter your system and quickly get burned as the mitochondria switch back and forth.

When you eat mostly fats, your mitochondria become efficient at using either option for energy. A few are switching over to sugar and back again to fat when all the sugar is gone. This fat/sugar blend keeps ketone levels within a safe range. Without insulin, close to 100% of your cells burn ketones. This creates the life-threatening situation of KetoACIDosis.

For further information about this check out the book, ANYWAY YOU CAN: A Beginners Guide to Ketosis. Visit our site bozmd.com today!

RESOURCES:

  1. Kelley, Sarah Aminoff, and Eric Heath Kossoff. “How Effective Is the Ketogenic Diet for Electrical Status Epilepticus of Sleep?” Epilepsy Research, vol. 127, 2016, pp. 339–343., doi:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2016.09.018.
  2. Nuttall, F. Q., and M. C. Gannon. “Plasma Glucose and Insulin Response to Macronutrients in Nondiabetic and NIDDM Subjects.” Diabetes Care, vol. 14, no. 9, Jan. 1991, pp. 824–838., doi:10.2337/diacare.14.9.824
  3. Scott AR1; Joint British Diabetes Societies (JBDS) for Inpatient Care; JBDS hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic guidelines group; Management of hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state in adults with diabetes; Diabet Med. 2015 Jun;32(6):714-24. PMID:25980647  DOI:10.1111/dme.12757

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Keto Diet Health Benefits: Differences in Fuel Sources.

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Learning the differences between your fuel sources and how they are used in your body can help you reap all the keto diet health benefits.

Look at what you had for your first meal today. No matter what time you first ate today, that first meal broke your overnight fast. Hence the name, ‘break fast’ or breakfast. Now, sort your first meal’s items into these three categories:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fat

That’s it. These are the only options in life that we have. Three types of food. If you had two eggs and buttered toast for breakfast, you would have eaten all three nutrient categories:

  • keto diet health benefitsEggs = protein and fat.
  • Butter= fat.
  • Toast= carbohydrates.

When thinking about eating a food item, think of these three options and see which category your meal fits in. For example, if you had a bowl of oatmeal with milk, you ate mostly carbohydrates with a splash of protein.  There is no fat in that meal.

  • Is it a carbohydrate?
  • Is it fat?
  • Or is it protein?  

These three categories fuel our bodies. There’s a whole bunch of geeky science that I can go into to try and explain this. But I’m keeping this simple. All food falls in one of these three buckets.

Differences in Fuel Sources

Let’s begin with the easiest buckets: carbohydrates and fats.

Carbohydrates:

Let’s begin with the most simple buckets: carbohydrates and fats. Referred to as carbs most of the time, are foods that turn into sugar inside your body. Sugar in the blood is called glucose or fructose.

Your daily energy depends on:

  1. What type of fuel do you put into your body?
  2. What chemistry was happening inside your body before you added that fuel?

My Campfire Analogy Explaining How Different Food Choices Result in Different Energy Types

After you rake a season of pine needles together, put them into a pile. You barely need to add a flame to watch the whole mound ignite. The dead pine needles and leaves curl from the nearby heat and burst into flames. Some even fly into the air because the process happens so quickly. And then it’s over. The fuel is gone.

That’s how carbohydrates fuel your body. They shoot up quickly without much trouble. The energy burns intensely but doesn’t last very long. We call this a sugar rush.

keto diet health benefits

What does this feel like? A sugar rush? What does a sugar rush feel like? This sounds like a silly question, right?  

Yes, it may seem silly until you spend time in a clinic with patients who are unaware of their high sugar levels. These patients can drink or eat a tremendous amount of sugar without experiencing a rush. Are you one of these patients?

You may be unaware of your chronically elevated blood sugars. A sugar rush should be felt quickly. Tomorrow morning, after no food or drink for 12 hours, gulp down one cup of orange juice. This should send your sugars soaring. It is like drinking a cup of sugar water. When your blood sugar peaks you should feel a surge of energy. If you are unaware of your consistently high blood sugar, you won’t notice much. Your glucose levels were already high to start with, and that juice added only a tiny fraction to your total.

The price you pay for this cheap, quick fuel is the energy crash you suffer when it runs out.

Fats:

Fat also fuels your body.

Fat fuels your body the same way a brick or a stable, dense, log feeds a fire. If you’ve ever tried to start a campfire with a thick log as your fuel, you probably spent the night staring at a dark fire pit in the cold. Before the log would burn, it needed the correct environment in the fire pit.  

The hard part about using the log is getting it started. Once you finally ignite it, you get a steady source of heat, light, and energy for the rest of the night. That is how stored fat works inside your body.

Fat, like the log, can be a tricky bugger to get going. But once your body starts burning fat for fuel, you get steady, sustainable, and solid energy. The heat from one burning log can spread to the next log releasing even more fuel. Fat provides a constant long-lasting source of energy for your body which is one of hte main keto diet health benefits.

How Does Fat Energy Feel?   

When you send fat to fuel the body, it transforms into glistening compounds called ketones. Once this fuel begins to burn within your cells’ mitochondria, much like burning logs in a campfire, your fuel source becomes steady and abundant. Over the course of two weeks, your body ads more and more logs to your energy production.  

Protein:

Protein-energy acts like a campfire that uses twigs. The twigs produce enough of a flame to help the log or the brick churn out heat.

Without the log, the sticks quit burning. Fuel from twigs lasts longer than pine needles, but cannot sustain the fire without a log. Sticks need a consistent renewal of pine needles or a continuous supply of heat from a log to keep the fire going.

If sticks burn without a log present, or without repeatedly adding kindling, the fire runs out. When your protein powers the body without fat as your primary fuel, your energy runs out. If protein molecules are burned without fat the energy runs out.

When you compare the pine needles [carbs] to the sticks [protein], the pine needles and sticks both burn easily but don’t last very long. The fire from the pine needles bursts much higher and faster than fire fueled by sticks, but neither burns for long without help.

When you compare carb fuel to protein fuel, both delivery energy rapidly to the body, but the energy runs out. Both carb and protein fuels crash after their peak-with carbs crashing a lot sooner and harder. The sticks [protein] wear out if there isn’t a log [fat] around to sustain the fire.

What Does Any of This Have to do With a Keto Diet Health Benefits?

If your fuel comes from fat, your body makes molecules called ketones. A chain of fat goes into our cells’ furnace. This cellular fuel house is called the mitochondria. It spits ketones out when fed fat. When the ketones swim throughout the body and your bloodstream, it fuels your cells with a source of energy that is steady, strong, and reliable. Ketones show up in your system when your cells use fat, in the absence of carbohydrates, for energy.

keto diet health benefits

When you eat carbohydrates, glucose and other sugar molecules appear in your blood. After eating carbs, glucose, and fructose flow through your bloodstream where mitochondria suck them into their furnaces. These molecules line up in front of your mitochondria [furnace] and burn rapidly. Glucose, like pine needles in a fire, deliver fast, quick energy. Your cells’ furnaces burn hot and fast when using glucose. This glucose-based energy reaches the highest heat level your body can produce-only to crash when your glucose runs out.

One more time. Carbs go into your body, and mitochondria gobble their fast-burning, pine-needle-like energy, only to leave the system fatigued and tired after the crash. Fat goes into the body and ketones fuel mitochondria producing a steady, strong source of energy-just like campfire logs.

Tips How to Maintain the Keto Diet Health Benefits

Knowing which foods assist in entering and maintaining ketosis is essential. The MeTone Life Pocket Guide & Fridge Chart will lead you step-by-step through this process as you discover how to fit keto-friendly foods into your everyday life. At the grocery store or dining out, these tips will ensure you are making the best choices possible for a new you.

Learn more about what foods to eat through our FOOD GUIDE teaching you the good – better – and best options for ketosis eating.  

RESOURCES:

  1. Mursu J1, Robien K, Harnack LJ, Park K, Jacobs DR Jr; Dietary supplements and mortality rate in older women: the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Oct 10;171(18):1625-33. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.445
  2. David R Jacobs, Jr  Myron D Gross Linda C Tapsell; Food synergy: an operational concept for understanding nutrition; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 89, Issue 5, 1 May 2009, Pages 1543S–1548S, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736B
  3. King DE1, Mainous AG 3rd, Geesey ME, Woolson RF; Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun;24(3):166-71. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15930481.

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