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Understanding ketosis

Understanding ketosis & fat adaptation

ketosis

You might have heard many people talk about the keto diet and that it is a high-fat diet. But what does all this really mean? Why is this important and how does our body react to a high-fat diet?

Let us drill into the world of ketones!

The car fuel tank comparison

A car needs fuel to work. And now you will ask. What type of fuel should we use? What fuel is the best?

But before we try to answer this, let’s discuss about our fuel tank first. Our body can store about 100 gram of glucose into the liver and 400gr into the muscles. Once this short term tanks are filled up the rest is stored as fat. This is an unlimited storage. And this fat is fuel. Our body is a very intelligent machine and everything is done with intention. Storing fat for later use as energy, makes total sense right? In times of shortage and throughout human evolution, our ancestors needed to be able to rough it out, until they cought the next pray. The problem in today’s society is the abundance of food and energy which is always around us which prevents us from ever using that reserved energy.

And if you never ride your bike, it probably needs to be taken for a repair first, hence it means for us that it can take some time to get used to it. Same stands for fat metabolism. If you eat all day or you get your energy mainly from carbs, you will not be able to use your fat tank very efficiently. And this takes a few weeks even for someone healthy and with well balanced hormones.

Once you start using your own fat for energy, then you are in ketosis and fat adapted!

Benefits of ketosis

Ketosis is state where you body creates ketones as a side-product of fatty-acid metabolism and has many benefits.

  • Ketones are the bodies prefered energy source. Without getting too technical you should remember two numbers. Each molecule of glucose can create 38 energy molecules (ATP) whereas each molecule of a fatty-acid can produce 129 energy ATP molecules. Quick note here since it is not that simple! Our body also needs vitamins, minerals, electrolytes on a daily basis into making us an effective kick-ass machine.
  • Ketosis will help regulate insulin and blood glucose. a low-carb diet will have a very small effect to your insulin level and will regulate the blood glucose spikes through-out the day.
  • Ketosis will help with cravings. Getting into ketosis means you are using your own-fat for energy which will make fat-loss effortless since your body will be able to efficiently use that fuel tank we talked about. Cravings will complete go away after a few of weeks of adaptation. Fat is more nutrient-dense than carbs. Fats contain nine calories per gram, whereas carbs contain four calories per gram. Fat also contains fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. When your body gets the nutrients it needs from fat, you feel more satiated with less food. Another reason you feel full with less food? Ketones also boost cholecystokinin, a hormone that keeps you feeling full. Consequently, you need less food throughout the day to stay feeling energized. 
  • Faster weight loss. When you go from being a “sugar burner” to a ketone burner, one of the quick side effects is loss of water weight. But by the time you’re fat adapted, your liver is used to converting fat into blood ketones for fuel. Increased fat intake lowers insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that tells your body to store fat, so with less insulin, less fat gets stored. This means you continue to lose fat! Many people start keto because of the weight loss benefit.
  • Increased congnitive function. Being in ketosis is well know to increase your concentration and focus levels. High-carb diets can make you tired. You burn through blood glucose quickly and consequent blood sugar spikes and plummets create feelings of fatigue. When you’re fat adapted, you are on a fat-burning diet and have stable energy levels throughout the day, which means you experience more energy, less fatigue, more focus.
  • Increased endurance with physical activity. When you’re fat adapted and exercising, you leverage fat instead of glucose for energy. This is particularly important because every body has limited access to glucose at any given time, and a glucose-driven body has a hard time quickly switching from reaching for glucose stores to reaching for fat stores; this is why endurance athletes relying on high-carb energy need to refuel in the middle of their activity; otherwise they “bonk” or experience an energy crash. When you’re fat adapted, you have easy access to a much greater energy supply – fat – which allows you to maintain more energy and exercise longer.

In summary and quoting from a recent study

Ketosis will increase and maintain circulating ketone bodies, especially β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB), which is one of the most abundant ketone bodies in human circulation. Increased β-HB has been reported to prevent or improve the symptoms of various age-associated diseases. Indeed, numerous studies have reported that a ketogenic diet alleviates symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers.

 

https://youtu.be/TfSJFPu50_A

Understand the importance of ketosis and low insulin in a great podcast with Dr.Bikman

How to get into ketosis

 

There are two simple ways to get into ketosis which from our opinion should be combined

  • Practise intermmitent fasting daily. A protocol like 16/8, where you restrict your eating window to 8 hours is an ideal way to get you in ketosis, with many more benefits which we have already discussed.
  • Eat a low-carb diet. Restricting your carb intake by removing refined carbs such as wheat, pasta, cakes and consume some more foods with healty fats like olive oil, avocado, eggs andmeat will trigger your fat burning metabolism.

 

How often should you be in ketosis

 

This can be tricky question, but we don’t want to completely exclude carbs from our diet. Assuming we have regulated our hormones (insulin etc), reached our ideal body weight and dont have any other medical issues, eating some low glycemic carbs can be very benefical.

  • Eating carbs on days where you are doing intense exercising can be ideal since your body will replenish its carb reserves and will use directly the energy instead of storing it.
  • Eating some carbs will help your gut to keep the microbiome balanced and able to digest carbs.


Key Takeaways

  • Being in a state of ketosis most of the time is a natural physiology from a human evolution perspective.
  • Include low glycemic , unrefined carbs in your eating plan.

Further reading




Importance of Resting Heart Rate

Imagine someone telling you that you have a fixed amount heart beats in your lifetime and that you should choose very carefully how you spend them.

That is scary, but it also not very far from reality. Do you want your waste your heart beats in being angry, stressed and out-breath. These are all common situations where our heart rate rises and we for sure don’t want that.

Heart is important

Your RHR is how fast your heart beats when you are relaxed. RHR is both a gauge of your heart health and a biomarker of aging.  RHR changes as you age and varies from person to person. It is important to know your RHR as it can help you assess your heart health over time. Being aware of changes in your RHR can help you uncover a heart condition early. How can you lower your resting heart rate to live longer and reduce your risk of serious diseases? Let’s dive into this.

Is it is said that the total number of heartbeats per lifetime is similar across all mammals. For example, a mouse has a heart rate of 500 to 600 beats per minute but live less than two years. At the other extreme, the Galápagos tortoise has a heart rate of about six beats per minute and has a life expectancy of 177 years. By doing some simple maths we can see that the heart of a mouse beats 100 times faster than that of a turtle. But a turtle lives 100 times longer than the mouse. Humans, are are somewhere in the middle with about 60 bpm and have about 1 billion heartbeats per lifetime.

Of-course this is only an indication. But a stong indication of metabolic health. The faster the metabolic rate (how fast you age), the shorter your lifespan.

People with a higher resting heart rate may have a shorter life expectancy compared to those with a lower resting heart rate.

In a recent report from 2019 confirms how important resting heart rate is.  Participants with a baseline RHR of  greater than 75 bpm had about a two-fold higher risk of all-cause death , cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease compared with those with  less then 55 bpm. Furthermore, every beat increase in heart rate was associated with a 3% higher risk for all-cause death!

What affects the resting heart rate

Everything is important but they are sorted in order of importance.

  1. Emotions: Being stressed, excited, or upset will raise your pulse and keep it high for a long time.
  2. Body Size: If you are obese your RHR could be higher than average as your heart needs to work harder to circulate throughout your body.
  3. Medications: High doses of thyroid medication can raise it.
  4. Water: Being dehydrated raises your RHR.
  5. Temperature: When temperature and humidity rise, the heart needs to pump more blood. This may increase the pulse rate up to 5 to 10 bpm.

How to Lower Resting Heart Rate

  1. Exercise raises your heart rate temporarily, but over time your body becomes more efficient and your resting heart rate lowers naturally. Too much exercise or exercising for more than 45 minutes a day might have the opposite effect.
  2. Reducing Stress through meditation and other stress management techniques helps your body reach a relaxed state, and lower your resting heart rate.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight: The larger the body, the harder the heart must work. Losing weight will bring down your resting heart rate.
  4. Diet: A whole food based diet lowers resting heart rate naturally. Practising intermittent fasting will also help, since you will give your gut a chance to rest from digestion which is a very intense process.
  5. Stay hydrated: Drinking water generally lowers RHR and activates your parasympathetic nervous system.

 

 

Next Steps

 

 

 

 

Lowering your resting heart rate is from my perspective a key marker of health, and you should monitor it closely. You can do that with a good sleep tracking device as it is best to monitor you RHR during sleep. A good target could be around 50 bpm, but this is very individual to everyone.

 

 

From all the tips presented above, I would suggest putting extra emphasis on relaxation before sleep. Sleep quality is largely neglected and reducing our heart rate before going to sleep will help us get to our lowest RHR early in the night and feel refreshed.

 

 

Practicing for 10 minutes before sleep some simple breathing techniques will help you a lot! You should inhale slow and exhale even more slowly. Aim for 5 to 6 breaths in a minute. It might take some time to get comfortable with this, but your body will thank you for it. The heart will stop being over-worked, there will be an increase in red blood cells and mitochondria in your muscles.

 

 

It can take several weeks to significantly lower your resting heart rate naturally, but trust me it is really worth it.

Key Takeaways

  • The resting heart rate is a key indicator of health and sleep.
  • Practise breathing techniques to lower you resting heart rate before sleeping. The RHR should be at its lowest between 2-4am.
  • Further Reading