What is Ketogenic Diet?

What exactly is “Ketogenic”?, Ketogenic is derived form the word “Ketosis” which refers to the state of human body when there is low or lack of Carbohydrates, and our body switches to burn fat instead of glucose for energy. In simple terms ketosis or ketogenic diet is a diet with low or no carbohydrates.

Ketogenic diet replaces carbohydrates with protein and fat, shifting the metabolism to burn fat, also known as lipolysis, when this happens you lose most of the fat in your body. Ketogenic diet has been used as a treatment for seizures for nearly a century, though exact mechanism is elusive, it has done wonders for epilepsy patients.

Fat, proteins and Carbohydrates are called as macro nutrients that forms the bulk of the food we eat., while vitamins and minerals are knows micro nutrients and essential for health. Ketogenic diet involves the metabolic shift known as ketosis induced by reducing the intake of carbohydrates and increasing the intake of fat and required amount of protein.

Body produces ketones when it burns fat, which is used as energy, and this stage, where our body uses ketones as the primary source of energy is called the Ketosis. Ketones ( 3 types ) are produced in the mitochondrial matrix of liver cells, when there is a lack of carbohydrates and energy must be obtained from breaking down of fatty acids.1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10634967

Ketogenic Diet for Fat Loss

Carbohydrates from grains and fruits are converted to glucose and used for energy, and the excess of glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. But the glitch is, we can store only a few thousand calories of glucose, when the storage space for glycogen is full, glucose is converted into fat, and voila! you are doomed.. nope just kidding.

But in reality this is a serious issue, unless you burn the excess calories regularly, our body will continue to convert the excess glucose into fat and continue storing it.

With traditional diets we rely on carbohydrates for energy and as a result we need to replenish the glucose levels by eating throughout the day. Excess glucose is also converted into triglycerides in the bloodstream, which results in the risk of heart disease.

Most of the traditional low-carb diet contains high protein and low fat, which hinders fat to be used as the primary source of energy. While keto diets are high in fat and balanced protein, which triggers the fat burn throughout the day, and we can lose fat and weight easily.

Burning fat also helps in enhanced brain function, increased hormone efficiency and balanced blood sugar levels.

How Ketosis Works

Ketosis or Ketogenic pathway works as follows.

When the glucose concentration in the blood falls too low, a hormone called glucagon is released, which stimulates the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose, and used as a energy. This also triggers the body to burn fat for energy. Burning fat for energy is called lipolysis.

During lipolysis, fatty acids and glycerol are metabolized to generate energy. When body burns fat it produces ketones, which acts as carbs. Our brain, skeletal muscles and liver can use this ketone as energy.

Though Brain and Red blood cells require glucose, our body can produce glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, where the liver turns amino acids ( building blocks of protein ) and fatty acids into glucose. So surprisingly, there is no need to eat carbohydrates to produce glucose.

Ketogenic pathway

Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

In ketosis state your body starts to metabolize fat and use it as energy. Carbohydrates are the easiest source of energy, which also hinders the fat metabolism so when you cut the carbohydrates your body will begin to convert and using fat as energy.

Your body in the state of ketosis produces ketones, unlike glucose excess ketones are not harmful to your system and excess ketones produced, which are not needed are simply excreted through urine, easily and harmlessly. It is also easy to check if you are in a state of ketosis using urine testing strips in the morning.

Your body will undergo a metabolic shift when you are in ketosis and prefers ketones instead of glucose. You will not be craving sugar, with balanced protein intake, you will produce enough glucose for energy.

Ketogenic diet is perfect for weight loss and controls insulin levels in the body. Insulin is the substances that makes you crave food, especially sugar.

Studies show that ketosis diets for children with epileptic seizures show a significant improvement, In one study, 38% of the kids on the ketosis diet had more than a 50% reduction in the frequency of seizures while 7% had greater than a 90% reduction.


References   [ + ]

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10634967

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