If you are a regular reader you will know that Peter and I live in ketosis. Simplistically put our bodies burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
This post is in answer to a reader’s question about how our bodies deal with carbohydrates when we live in ketosis.
Fuel consumption by the body is a complex subject. I will attempt to break it down so that you may better understand.
Normal diet – high in carbohydrates
- Carbohydrates are broken down by the liver and turned into glucose. They are then released into the bloodstream to be used as energy by the muscles.
- If you eat more carbohydrates than your body needs the body will store extra in the form of glycogen in your liver and muscles. This process is called glycogenesis.
- Only small amounts of glycogen are stored. If you continue to eat more than your body needs the glycogen will be converted to triglycerides and stored in fat cells.
- Triglycerides are needed by the body as an energy source. Too many can cause diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome; a cluster of conditions which can cause heart disease and hardening of the arteries.
- Simple carbohydrates are easily broken down by the body into glucose. Complex carbohydrates take a lot longer. These are where you should get the majority of your carbohydrates from whether eating a high carb or low low carb diet.
Ketogenic diet – low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and high in fat
- Ketosis happens when the body has no more stores of glucose or glycogen. Your body will burn stored fat as fuel and from this produce ketone molecules. Ketones can used by the brain and muscles as fuel.
- Fat is broken down by the liver into two molecules: glycerol and fatty acids (a key component of triglycerides)
- The fatty acid is then broken down in a process called ketogenesis to form acetoacetate.
- Acetoacetate is converted to ketone bodies:
Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB); the preferred fuel for the brain
Acetone; mostly excreted causing the stinky breath people in ketosis can suffer from.
- Until your body will continue to expel ketones until it has adapted to using them. As your body adapts it will use more of the BHB as fuel.
- Some parts of the brain require glucose to function. Fortunately our highly efficient bodies have learned how to convert protein into glucose.
Some interesting facts
- The body prefers to use ketones as fuel and far more efficient at doing so. Using less energy gives the brain the ability to repair and construct instead. How exciting is that!
- GABA which I’ve written about before is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in our nervous systems. It calms and regulates anxiety. GABA is made from glutamate. So is aspartate, too much of which can manifest as seizures, bi-polar disorder, depression and other neurological problems. When on a ketogenic diet glutamate tends to be made into GABBA. I call that a win, win.
[bctt tweet=”Chiselled and calm, an awesome combination.” via=”no”]
This should help explain the conversion of carbohydrates while in ketosis.
I have been eating a ketogenic diet since the beginning of this year and it is amazing. So far I have experienced: weight loss (in all the right places), calmness, better sleep, complete absence of menopause symptoms, better digestion, no constipation, no bloating, clearer thought, more sustained energy. Try it and see for yourself.