To Keto or NOT to Keto
I've had a few discussions recently about Ketogenic diets. They've been around for 100 years or so (originally developed as a tool to treat epilepsy), but unfortunately there is a lot of misleading and contradictory information going around (particularly about exogenous ketones) so I wanted to put out some basic, simple facts!
1. Ketosis is a natural metabolic state where the body processes fats as a source of fuel for the body.
2. Ketosis occurs when the availability of glycogen (think carbs) is sufficiently low enough.
3. Ketosis does not occur instantly. It takes time for the body to enter ketosis, and the process can be easily disrupted by consumption of excess carbs.
4. Ketosis uses fats from our body stores OR from the food we eat. In fact, the body will prioritise fats from our food before it uses our stored fat.
5. You can still gain body fat when in a state of ketosis. EAT TOO MANY CALORIES, YOU WILL GAIN BODY FAT. Ketosis does not stop us storing EXCESS fats.
6. Ketosis can have several side effects, some of which can be serious, so monitoring ketone and lipid levels can be essential. The long term effects of a Keto diet is still not fully known. (Personal thought - medical conditions aside, if you need to pee on a stick to know if your diet is on point, then something is very wrong!)
And now on to Exogenous Ketones (I struggle to type that so I'm gonna shorten it to EK 😀) - Ketones derived from external sources / supplements.
1. Consuming EK does not guarantee the body enters Ketosis. There is some SCIENTIFIC evidence that they can aid the body in reaching and maintaining ketosis but the process is dependant on your overall nutritional intake.
2. EK are not magical! You won't suddenly start burning body fat at a superhuman rate because you took a keto drink (despite what you see on some social media videos)! Caloric deficit is still required before we utilise those stored fats (See point 5 above) and the rate at which you lose body fat will greatly depend on the size of that deficit.
3. EK can be expensive. Ketosis is a natural state which does not require supplementation. Look at your diet before splashing out on expensive aids.
SO, is a Keto diet for you? Well that depends on why you're considering it. Do you suffer with epilepsy? Are you hoping to lose some body fat? Do you dislike most high-carb foods? Should you be making this decision with your doctor's input?
Ultimately your diet is your choice, but don't get sucked in to dietary fads or promises of miraculous results. And if fat loss is your goal, remember EVERY fat loss method boils down to consuming less calories than you burn! FACT!