KetosisKetosis is a metabolic state that occurs when your body burns fat as its main fuel source for energy instead of glucose. The keto diet has many possible benefits including potential weight loss, increased energy, and treating chronic illness.
The keto diet reduces the number of carbs you eat and teaches your body to burn fat for fuel instead. When you eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, your body eventually runs out of fuel (blood sugar) it can use quickly. This typically takes 3 to 4 days. Then you’ll start to break down protein and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight. This is called ketosis.
What is a keto diet?
“Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet (like the Atkins diet). The idea is for you to get more calories from protein and fat and less from carbohydrates. In this state, your liver turns fat into small energy molecules called ketones, which your brain and other organs can use for energy.
A keto diet is well known for being a low-carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver for energy. It’s referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc.
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
- Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so it will be chosen over any other energy source.
- Insulin is produced for processing the glucose in your bloodstream by carrying it around the body.
Eating a keto diet lowers insulin levels, often dramatically, which can help you access your body fat stores for energy. Many studies show significant weight loss on keto, without having to count calories. Keto diets may have other positive health effects, such as reducing blood sugar levels.
2. What to eat on a keto diet?
The keto diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. The standard keto diet consists of 70% to 80% fats, 10% to 20% proteins, and 5% to 10% carbohydrates.
Carbs from all sources are restricted on the keto diet. So you’ll have to cut out all bread, cereal, and other grains and make serious cuts to your fruit and vegetable intake. The types of foods that provide fat for the keto diet include:
- Meats and fish.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Butter and cream.
- Oils such as olive oil and canola oil.
People use a ketogenic diet most often to lose weight, but it can help manage certain medical conditions, like epilepsy, too. It also may help people with heart disease, certain brain diseases, and even acne.
How long does it take to get into ketosis?
If you eat between 20 and 50 grams of carbohydrates each day, it will usually take you two to four days to enter ketosis. However, the time it takes to enter this state varies based on several factors. It may take you a week or longer to get into ketosis. Factors that may influence how long it takes you to achieve this state include your:
- Carbohydrate, fat, and protein intake.
- Physical activity level.
- Sleep health.
- Stress level.
If you eat a high-carb diet before starting a keto diet, it may take you longer to reach ketosis than someone who consumes a low-carb diet. That’s because your body needs to exhaust its glucose stores first.
What is Insulin? How does insulin determine Weightloss?
Insulin is a hormone, which means it’s a substance the body produces to affect the functions of organs or tissues, and it’s made and released into the blood by the pancreas.
Insulin’s job is a very important one: when you eat food, it’s broken down into basic nutrients (protein breaks down into amino acids; dietary fats into fatty acids; and carbohydrates into glucose), which make their way into the bloodstream.
These nutrients must then be moved from the blood into muscle and fat cells for use or storage, and that’s where insulin comes into play: it helps shuttle the nutrients into cells by “telling” the cells to open up and absorb them. This cycle occurs every time you eat food: amino acids, fatty acids, and/or glucose find their way into your blood, and they’re joined by additional insulin, which ushers them into cells. Once the job is done, insulin levels drop to “normal” and the pancreas waits for us to eat food again and repeat the process.
The “logic” goes like this:
High-carb diet = high insulin levels = burn less fat and store more = get fatter and fatter
And then, as a corollary:
Low-carb diet = low insulin levels = burn more fat and store less = stay lean
It’s true that insulin causes fat cells to absorb fatty acids and glucose and thus expand, but that’s not what causes you to get fatter over time…overeating does.
If that doesn’t make sense to you, let’s quickly review how energy balance relates to fat gain and loss. Energy balance refers to the amount of energy you burn every day versus the amount you give your body via food.
- If you give your body a bit more energy than it burns every day, a portion of the excess energy is stored as body fat, and thus you gain weight slowly.
- If you give your body a bit less energy than it burns every day, it will tap into fat stores to get the additional energy it needs, and thus you lose weight slowly.
You see, at any given time, your body requires a certain amount of glucose in the blood to stay alive. This is vital fuel that every cell in the body uses to operate, and certain organs like the brain are real glucose hogs.
Now, when you eat food, you give your body a relatively large amount of energy (calories) in a short period of time. Glucose levels rise far above what is needed to maintain life, and instead of “throwing away” or burning off all excess energy, a portion is stored as body fat for later use.
Scientifically speaking, when your body is absorbing nutrients eaten and storing fat, it’s in the “postprandial” state (post meaning “after” and prandial meaning “having to do with a meal”). This “fed” state is when the body is in “fat storage mode.”
Once the body has finished absorbing the glucose and other nutrients from the food (amino acids and fatty acids), it then enters the “postabsorptive” state (“after absorption”), wherein it must turn to its fat stores for energy. This “fasted” state is when the body is in “fat-burning mode.”
Your body flips between “fed” and “fasted” states every day, storing fat from the food you eat and then burning it once there’s nothing left to use from the meals.
Here’s a simple graph from Weightology that shows this visually:
Simply put, you can’t get fatter unless you feed your body more energy than it burns, and you can’t get leaner unless you feed it less energy than it burns.
What is Insulin resistance? How it affects Weightloss? How do you get rid of it?
Insulin resistance means that the body is no longer sensitive to insulin and cannot use it correctly. In time, the body may stop producing this hormone. It also means that glucose is more likely to build up in the blood and this can lead to too high blood sugar levels. When the body becomes resistant to insulin, it tries to cope by producing more insulin. People with insulin resistance are often producing too much insulin than healthy people.
Insulin is a hormone that comes from the pancreas. It enables the blood sugar to move out of the blood and into the body’s cells. When a person has insulin resistance, their cells stop responding to insulin in the usual way. This loss in sensitivity to insulin means that they begin to lose the ability to take in glucose.
In response, the pancreas boosts its insulin production so that glucose can continue to enter the cells. At first, this will help. The cells will have energy, and blood sugar levels will not rise.
However, as the cells’ resistance to insulin increases, the pancreas needs to produce more and more insulin. Eventually, it becomes unable to create enough insulin to move the glucose out of the blood and into the cells.
Insulin Resistance and Weight
A person who has risk factors for diabetes may have insulin resistance without knowing it. Even if their blood sugar levels are normal, they should take steps to prevent diabetes.
When managing insulin resistance, your main goal isn’t necessarily to lose weight, but rather to help your body maintain steady glucose levels, so you can avoid not just weight gain, but also the potential ensuing health issues described above.
In the process, you may naturally begin to lose weight as well, which will help your body use insulin more effectively (and benefit your heart health). So, what are some ways to manage your weight and blood sugar levels or, if necessary, lose weight with insulin resistance? The first, and perhaps most obvious, strategy: is mindful nutrition.
“Regardless of dietary preference, it’s important to limit your carbs, especially those that are higher in sugar or have a higher glycemic index”. A food’s glycemic index measures how quickly it will cause your blood sugar levels to rise, based on the number of digestible carbs it has. Foods like white rice or white bread, desserts, chips, fries, and even some sweetened dairy products (think: fruit yogurt) typically have a high glycemic index, but unprocessed foods can have a high glycemic index well, such as pineapple or bananas.
How is insulin resistance treated?
Several actions are known to decrease insulin resistance. Among them are weight loss, exercise, glucose-lowering medication, and changes in food choices or eating habits.
Exercise is the most effective tool. Exercise helps by reducing body fat, which makes cells less resistant to insulin, and by building muscle, which helps the body use insulin more efficiently.
Since not all factors that contribute to insulin resistance can be treated, such as genetic factors and age, lifestyle modifications are the primary treatment for insulin resistance. Lifestyle modifications include:
- Eating a Healthy Diet: Your healthcare provider or nutritionist may recommend avoiding eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates (which stimulate excess insulin production) and eating less unhealthy fat, sugar, red meats, and processed starches. Instead, they’ll likely recommend eating a diet of whole foods that includes more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and lean poultry.
- Physical Activity: Getting regular amounts of moderate-intensity physical activity helps increase glucose energy usage and improve muscle insulin sensitivity. A single session of moderate-intensity exercise can increase glucose uptake by at least 40%.
- Losing Excess Weight: Your healthcare provider may recommend trying to lose excess weight to try to treat insulin resistance. One study revealed that losing 7% of your excess weight can reduce the onset of Type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease is a common condition caused by the storage of extra fat in the liver. Most people have no symptoms, and it doesn’t cause serious problems for them. In some cases, though, it can lead to liver damage. The good news is you can often prevent or even reverse fatty liver disease with lifestyle changes.
What are the causes of fatty liver disease?
In fatty liver disease, excess fat is stored in liver cells, where it accumulates. A variety of factors can cause this fat buildup.
Drinking too much alcohol can cause AFLD. Heavy alcohol use can alter certain metabolic processes in the liver. Some of these metabolic products can combine with fatty acids, leading to the formation of types of fat that can accumulate in the liver.
In people who don’t drink a lot of alcohol, the cause of the fatty liver disease is less clear. For these people, it’s possible their body produces too much fat or doesn’t metabolize fat efficiently enough.
What are the treatments for fatty liver disease?
Doctors recommend weight loss for nonalcoholic fatty liver. Weight loss can reduce fat in the liver, inflammation, and fibrosis. If your doctor thinks that a certain medicine is the cause of your NAFLD, you should stop taking that medicine. But check with your doctor before stopping the medicine. You may need to get off the medicine gradually, and you might need to switch to another medicine instead.
There are no medicines that have been approved to treat NAFLD. The most important part of treating alcohol-related fatty liver disease is to stop drinking alcohol. If you need help doing that, you may want to see a therapist or participate in an alcohol recovery program. There are also medicines that can help, either by reducing your cravings or making you feel sick if you drink alcohol.
Self-Care for Fatty Liver Disease
Lifestyle changes can help:
- Exercise More: Try to be active at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. If you're trying to lose weight, you might find that it helps to exercise more. But if you don't already exercise regularly, get your doctor's OK first and start slowly.
- Be Kind to Your Liver: Don’t do things that will make it work harder. Skip alcohol. Take medications and over-the-counter drugs only as instructed. Talk to your doctor before you try any herbal remedies. Just because a product is natural, that doesn’t mean it’s safe.
- Get Your Cholesterol Down: Eat a healthy plant-based diet, exercise, and take your medications. This will get -- and keep -- your cholesterol and your triglyceride levels where they need to be
- Manage Your Diabetes: Check your blood sugar, and take medications as your doctor prescribes.
Overweight & Obesity
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn't just a cosmetic concern. It's a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.
There are many reasons why some people have difficulty losing weight. Usually, obesity results from inherited, physiological and environmental factors, combined with diet, physical activity, and exercise choices.
Health Issues Caused by being Overweight
Although there are genetic, behavioral, metabolic, and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through normal daily activities and exercise. Your body stores these excess calories as fat.
In the United States, most people's diets are too high in calories — often from fast food and high-calorie beverages. People with obesity might eat more calories before feeling full, feel hungry sooner, or eat more due to stress or anxiety.
Many people who live in Western countries now have jobs that are much less physically demanding, so they don't tend to burn as many calories at work. Even daily activities use fewer calories, courtesy of conveniences such as remote controls, escalators, online shopping, and drive-through banks.
People with obesity are more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:
- Heart disease and strokes. Obesity makes you more likely to have high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart disease and strokes.
- Type 2 diabetes. Obesity can affect the way the body uses insulin to control blood sugar levels. This raises the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
- Certain cancers. Obesity may increase the risk of cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovary, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, and prostate.
- Digestive problems. Obesity increases the likelihood of developing heartburn, gallbladder disease, and liver problems.
- Sleep apnea. People with obesity are more likely to have sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
- Osteoarthritis. Obesity increases the stress placed on weight-bearing joints, in addition to promoting inflammation within the body. These factors may lead to complications such as osteoarthritis.
How to Lower Your Risk
The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. A healthier diet increased physical activity, and behavior changes can help you lose weight. Losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight can lower your risk for several of these health conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
A combination of diet and exercise can help you lose weight slowly over time. There’s no need to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. The key is to be consistent and to continue making healthy choices.
What is Intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat.
With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time. Fasting for a certain number of hours each day or eating just one meal a couple of days a week can help your body burn fat. And scientific evidence points to some health benefits, as well.
Top 5 Health Benefits of Fasting1. Supports blood sugar management
Several studies support the use of fasting as a means of improving blood sugar control and potentially reducing the risk of diabetes. However, gender may play a part and more studies are needed.
2. May help with disease prevention
Lightening your normal eating pattern appears to give your body the time to focus on other important functions, including disease prevention. With this in mind, it may also improve the body’s ability to manage chronic inflammation and, as such, reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
3. May support brain function
Animal studies suggest fasting may protect brain health and increase the production of nerve cells. Human studies report fasting may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve social connection.
4. May delay aging and support growth and metabolism
Fasting, and in particular adopting a diet low in protein, has in animal studies been associated with an extended life expectancy.
Furthermore, fasting appears to promote levels of human growth hormone, a hormone that plays an important role in growth and repair, metabolism, weight loss, muscle strength, and exercise performance.
5. May support weight loss
Many dieters turn to fast as a manageable approach to weight loss. Studies show that controlling the times we eat or undertaking short-term fasts can aid weight reduction, and fat loss and improve blood lipids. That’s not all: other studies have shown fasting to increase the ability to switch metabolism to fat burning, preserve muscle mass and improve body composition in overweight people.