Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Welcome to the first edition of the Heroics Online Blog! Here we’ll discuss all things Heroic, with an emphasis on health, wellness, and training physical and mental. And kicking it off is a topic that is both close to our hearts and on the lips of many out there in the world today…
The Ketogenic Diet!
The ketogenic diet has been on the rise recently. Its advocates promise a plethora of benefits, ranging from effortless weight loss to seizure management to improving insulin resistance. What is it, and how is it different than other diets?
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a system of eating that works by shifting the energy source preferred by
your body from carbohydrate based to fat based. The human body has two possible sources
of energy for its needs: ketones, and glucose. Glucose is created when your body breaks
down carbohydrates or proteins for energy, and ketones are generated when your body breaks down fats. The ketogenic diet is named after the process of creating ketones; Keto - ketones, and genic, 'to make'. By feeding your body foods that have a specific ratio of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, it causes your body to shift from using glucose for energy to using fats. This state is known as ketosis.
The benefits of “being in ketosis”
Ketosis, the state of burning fat as the primary fuel, has a number of benefits.
• It makes it easier to lose excess body fat.
• It provides steady energy throughout the day
• It eliminates brain fog.
• It can reduce or eliminate insulin resistance, in some cases reversing type 2 diabetes.
• Reduces systemic inflammation.
• Many people report a feeling of well being.
Why does Keto work?
In order to understand why the keto diet works the way it does, it’s useful to understand the
differences between glucose and ketone metabolism. When your body breaks down
carbohydrates and proteins for fuel, it then releases glucose into the blood stream. Your body responds to glucose in the blood stream by releasing insulin, which takes the glucose where it needs to go. Unfortunately, when the amount of glucose is large, lots of insulin is released, causing the glucose to go into your muscles at once… leading to the dreaded post sugar high crash. Lots of energy… followed by very little energy.
The other thing that happens with a diet that fuels your body with glucose is that sometimes
insulin resistance develops. When large amounts of carbohydrates are consumed on a regular basis, your body releases large amounts of insulin, and eventually your cells can become desensitized. Once this happens, it takes more and more insulin to get the glucose where it needs to go; this results in more and more glucose getting converted into fat as opposed to used for energy, and eventually can lead to type 2 diabetes.
The ketogenic diet solves these two problems by setting your body up to burn fat as opposed to glucose for fuel. Ketones work without insulin, and they are released much more steadily into the bloodstream then glucose, resulting in an even flow of energy. Also, because ketones are generated from fat, using them for fuel means that your body will able to burn your fat reserves for fuel when you eat less food, resulting in weight loss.
Keto: Is it for you?
Keto isn’t for everybody. Unlike most diets, with keto simply counting calories is just one part of the nutritional math required. Because shifting your system into ketosis involves the ratio
between the various types of nutrients you consume, you have to count not only calories but
also the type. Furthermore, everybody’s bodies are different when it comes to ketosis; getting the effects you want can require experimentation and adjust over time. In most cases getting into ketosis requires measuring blood glucose and ketones regularly by drawing blood from your finger like a diabetic in order to see how your body is reacting to what you’re eating. Some people complain about the “keto flu”, a period when your body is figuring out how to enter ketosis and feels low energy while it adapts to burning fat as the primary fuel. This is caused by an electrolyte imbalance as you make the shift, and can be managed, but takes some awareness and attention. In general, it is a good idea to get metabolic and lipid panels done by your doctor prior to starting keto to make sure everything is in order. Many steps and lots to think about! But if you are willing to tough it out and put in the work to figure it out, the ketogenic diet has many benefits and can be quite rewarding.
Interested in trying out keto, and looking for help? Ask one of our trainers here at Heroics for tips and guidelines for how to get started!