So today I’m writing this post while I’m sitting at the dealership waiting for my car to get serviced. It’s later than normal. Yesterday I sat on the patio for 7 HOURS with my bestie drinking wine and eating too many carbs. It has literally been too long since we have had time by ourselves to talk and solve all the world’s problems. Do I feel guilty? No! Would I do it again? Absolutely. Life is too short to be perfect, right?
Anyway, I have been following a higher fat profile this week than what I have been, so I wanted to talk about the health benefits of ketosis. I have FOR SURE knocked myself out of it yesterday, if I was in it. But that’s okay. Today is a new day. I really struggle with an all or nothing mentality and I’m trying really hard to work that out. So, today I want to talk about the health benefits of ketosis.
Ketosis describes the state where the body has switched from burning glucose to burning ketones. Contrary to popular belief, glucose is not the body’s only fuel source. When glucose is not available, our bodies recombine proteins and fats to create ketones, an alternative energy source. And when we are burning ketones, we are in a state called ketosis. As you will see, ketosis can be very healing for our bodies.
1. Fat Burning
We used to believe that the fat you eat is the fat you wear. But actually, the truth is far more complicated. If we eat piles of fat on top of a high carbohydrate diet we will naturally gain body fat. But if we eat under 120 grams of carbohydrate a day, higher fat intake is healthier. And if we eat under 45 grams of carbohydrate a day, our body switches into “fat burning mode.” All the genes associated with burning fat activate, and our body prioritizes fat burning. This means when we run out of fuel, our body doesn’t ask for more food, like with carbs, but quietly swaps into burning out own body fat. I personally try to stay between 20-30 net carbs to get into ketosis.
2. Increased Satiety
An added benefit of burning our own fat, as noted above, if that we don’t feel hungry as often. When we are eating a high carbohydrate diet we are trapped, chasing insulin highs and lows. We eat carbs, our blood sugar spikes, then our insulin spikes, our blood sugar crashes, and we feel hungry again. This causes overeating. By eating fewer carbs and burning our own body fat, we increase satiety and eat less.
3. Improved Hormones
The most obvious hormones rebalanced by ketosis are satiety hormones. When we eat fewer carbs our insulin level go low and stay low. But as our stomachs are full for less time, we also produce ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger. And as we are burning our fat cells, the amount of leptin they release increases, decreasing hunger further. But something even better happens to our hormones when we eat more fat. Many people in the West suffer low hormones all around. This is because we do not eat enough cholesterol to make a healthy amount of our hormones. This leads to breast tissue in men, no periods or heavy, painful periods in women, infertility, obesity, among other things. By eating more cholesterol, we improve our hormone balances.
4. Better Skin, Hair, Eyes, etc.
As our hormones improve, our outward appearance naturally improves too. Our skin becomes more toned and radiant, and wrinkles plump out. Our hair grows stronger and shinier. And our eyes are brighter and more youthful. But when we decrease our carbohydrate intake something else happens. When we are eating too many carbs, our bodies store a lot of them in our muscles in the form of glucose. They also store processed glucose as fat tissue under our skin. For every gram of glucose we store, we must store three grams of water. So our tissue expands, and our muscles get watery and soft. This creates an unpleasant, doughy appearance. By decreasing the amount of carbs we eat, we burn some of that glucose and reduce our fluid retention, looking tighter and slimmer.
5. More Explosive Energy
When we are burning glucose, we need to keep it topped off. This is because, as we mentioned earlier, as we burn glucose we start craving more carbs. If we’re doing endurance sports, this is particularly obvious, but it also happens every day. When we fire into a stressful, energy burning situation, our body uses up most of its free energy. If that energy is glucose, we feel very hungry all of a sudden. This hunger causes lack of focus, and lasts until either we eat carbs, or start producing ketones. If we are already burning ketones, then we don’t need to switch over. This allows us to cope better with sudden bursts of mental and physical activity throughout the day.
6. Better Nutrient Absorption
Finally, many nutrients are absorbed better with healthy fats in our systems. Some vitamins, like vitamin E, cannot be transported without fat. And some nutrients, like calcium, can take so long to absorb, that if we slow our digestion with fibers and fats, we get more out of them.
I have been feeling really good this week following a higher fat profile. For some really great information check out The Keto Beginning. I think I’m going to start posting my food diaries and macros next week if you guys are interested. Let me know. If no one cares, I won’t bother, Lol 😉 If you are in the areas effected by Hurricane Harvey, my prayers are with you.
Talk to you soon,