When you start the ketogenic diet the question, you will likely be asked is, "What is Ketosis?". You need to know how to answer this question, not only because people will ask, but because the foundation of this diet is knowledge and understanding.
You've probably been on numerous diets over the years, and yet here you are again, willing to try anything to lose weight and live a healthier life. If you don't start with a firm foundation, everything you're working for will eventually fall apart.
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Why It Matters:
I don't want to see that happen so over the next month we are going to take a good long look at what the ketogenic diet is and how you can benefit from understanding everything about this new lifestyle. This series will be written for everyone.
The newb, the curious, the keto'er that has hit a plateau, and everyone in between. I'm not just writing this for you; I'm writing it for myself as well. I have dedicated my time and energy into digging deeper and learning as much about keto as I possibly can, and I hope you will join me. It's not enough to figure out your macros and build a meal plan. You have to gain wisdom in all areas of this diet to reap lifelong benefits.
The ketogenic diet is only a fad diet if you make it one. Ketones have been changing the lives of people since the 20's, so the science behind it is nothing new. This diet wasn't created to make a sleazy doctor rich. It was first used to treat children with epilepsy. So open your mind, and be prepared to learn a thing or two about yourself!
What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state of the body that comes from consuming a low-carb (usually under 50 grams or less), moderate protein (based on individual activity level), high-fat diet that forces your body to use ketones as it's an energy source. By controlling your intake of these macronutrients, you are essentially draining the body of its the common energy source (glucose) and in turn, it reacts by creating its own energy source from the fat you have stored (ketones).
Our bodies are like cars that are fueled by two types of gas. Sugar (cheap gas that essentially damages your car ) and Fat (premium fuel that improves your car's performance). We need to stop fueling our cars on sugar and start burning fat as our primary energy source.
Think about it like this. Over the course of your life, you have been consuming more glucose (sugar) than you need to function on any given day. Your body's response is to send insulin out to capture your glucose and store it in your fat cells, as fat. When you drain the body of the original energy source, it is forced to resort to using the stores you currently have (fat) as a source of energy. As that fat is burned it releases your new energy source into your body (ketones) which are measured in both your bloodstream and urine.
How Long Will It Take?
Now that you have a better idea of what ketosis is (being energized by fat instead of sugar) you may wonder how long it will take for you to get "into ketosis". As you will see everything about the keto diet is highly personalized (as it should be) so you may go into ketosis within two days while it may take someone else a full week. Our bodies go into ketosis when blood sugar and liver glycogen are drained completely. Glucose stores can only last in the body for about two days so you could go into ketosis in as little as two days. Of course, this depends on weight, your food intake, and any sensitivities you may have. If you notice that you are in ketosis, but have not become keto-adapted, you may need to start removing things like dairy from your diet to see if you are sensitive to it. (I will address this again in a future post).
Real Life Experience:
My seven-year-old daughter, on the other hand, weighs 50 pounds and after one day of low carb high fat, she was in deep ketosis and threw up the next morning.
Both of my boys and my parents were in light ketosis within 48 hours of starting keto, and my husband took over a week to test positive for ketosis.
Everything is variable, and there is no "right answer" when it comes to getting into ketosis so don't get discouraged if you don't go into ketosis as quickly as others.
What Happens After The Fat Is Gone?
If your body is burning fat from the reserves you've stored over years of a high carb (sugar loaded) diet you can expect to burn that fat on the ketogenic diet, but what happens when you've burned that fat and reached your goal weight? After you've burned up your body fat stores, your body will continue to use the dietary fat you eat to fuel itself.
Note: Don't forget to tweak your macros as you lose weight or if you change your fitness routine. You can use this guide to figure out your macros, and update it as needed. It makes sense that your numbers would change as your body does, which is why one size fits all diets seem absolutely crazy when you understand how your body works. By now you probably know that calories are not a good way to plan a diet, but sadly 90% of all diets start with a focus on calories and calorie calculations.
I hope this answers the question What Is Ketosis? in a way everyone can understand. Ketones are natural fuel sources produced by your body. That alone should make you feel good about living the ketogenic lifestyle we aim for here at Keto Size Me.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me or leave a comment below. We are all in this together and we can learn and grow as a community.