Ketosis, Ketones, low carb: these terms are a staple in the weight loss industry. The concept of the Keto diet’s weight loss effect revolves around these three words in a pretty straightforward way:
But why? What do these terms mean and how do they affect weight loss?
Ketosis is defined as the metabolic state that occurs when the body burns fat to produce an alternative energy source that is useful to cells in place of ATP created from carbohydrates. This alternative energy source is called Ketones, which are capable of providing the same, if not better, fuel source to all cells in the body. Ketosis occurs when the body doesn’t have any carbohydrates to metabolize into ATP (energy molecules).
The body has had millions of years to adapt and evolve, always improving its chances of survival. One of these evolutionary adaptations is how the body digests food and converts it to energy. When there was a time when a person’s next meal was never guaranteed, the body was always planning ahead. It would convert ingested carbohydrates and proteins into energy for use as an immediately available fuel source throughout the body. Fats take more time to convert so it is seen as a less preferable option compared to the other options.
Although fats take longer to convert to energy, the amount of energy produced by 1 gram of fat is almost twice the amount produced by 1 gram of carbohydrates or proteins. These two characteristics made fats the perfect backup fuel source to supply the body with energy when meals were scarce, so the body would store the fats it took in with a meal.
This was great millions of years ago, but is often an inconvenience today. Foods are not only higher in carb and fat content, they are more consistently received, with the average person eating at least 3 meals per day. So the body is now storing even more fat, more often, resulting in excess stores of fat cells that never get burned off unless carbohydrates are intentionally avoided.
So we’ve taken this survival tactic and turned it into one of the most successful weight loss diets available, the Keto Diet.
In order to convince our bodies to begin metabolizing the stored fats through Ketosis, we have to basically trick it into believing carbohydrates are unavailable to create energy so it must dip into its emergency stores, fat cells.
The lack of carbohydrates causes insulin levels to decline, allowing fat cells to break down into smaller molecules that are transported to the liver, where they are converted into Ketones and then distributed throughout the body as the fuel needed to perform essential functions.
To get the body to enter Ketosis and start burning fat, most people will need to eat a maximum of 50g of carbohydrates per day. Of course, the fewer grams ingested means the body will have to burn more fat at a faster rate.
So next time you’re meal prepping for the week and stop to think “how is this actually working?” Just remember Ketosis and what it’s doing for your body to help you achieve your weight loss goals! If you have any more questions about Ketosis and how it can help you make sure you fill out and submit the form to the right or schedule your free consultation here so you can talk to one of our certified weight loss coaches about Keto and other diet options available to help you lose weight!