No-Carb is the new low-carb! Everyone is talking about ketogenic nutrition. Celebrities such as Adriana Lima, Tim Ferriss and Lebron James are fans of this high-fat diet.
Why Keto? 428 answers from our readers.
A few days ago I sent our readers an email with the following two questions:
- What is your primary goal with the ketogenic diet?
- Which one question about the ketogenic diet do you really want answered?
The interim result (answers are still coming in) shows a clear interest in the subject of ketogenic diets. We have received 428 valuable answers so far. On the survey have clicked more than 700 people. Accordingly, our readers primarily want to achieve three different goals with Keto: Burn fat, have more energy and generally be healthier. The great thing is, Keto is very promising in all three areas! But first, let's look at the basics.
What is the condition of ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic condition that leads to an increased conversion of fatty acids into so-called ketone bodies in the liver. Ketone bodies are molecules formed in the liver from fatty acids. They are a transportable form of acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA for short), an acetic acid residue that mitochondria can use to produce energy. Ketone bodies thus serve the body as an alternative source of energy to glucose, which is obtained from the digestion of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates or simplified sugar (glucose) are the main source of energy for our body. The body's energy supply is essentially ensured by the glucose dissolved in the blood and each body cell can process glucose directly. If we stop supplying carbohydrates, the glucose stores are used up after 24 to 72 hours, depending on the person. Wait, that's pretty short! If our brain were really only running on carbohydrates, would we starve to death after three days at the latest? This would have been fatal for our ancestors in many cases. So from an evolutionary perspective alone, our body must have thought of something else.
In the absence of glucose, our body has learned a cool trick during evolution. If the body stops receiving sugar for several hours, the blood sugar level drops and the pancreas secretes a hormone called glucagon, which in turn causes fatty acids to be converted into transportable ketone bodies. The cells can then generate energy from these ketone bodies, just like from glucose. The reason why a person can survive 50 to 60 days without food is therefore belly bacon. Unbridled feasting actually makes sense from an evolutionary point of view!
What are the scientifically proven advantages of Keto?
Summarized again: The state of ketosis is achieved when the body switches from sugar to fat as the primary source of energy due to a significantly reduced carbohydrate intake (less than 50 grams per day). This condition usually brings with it a whole series of changes.
Weight loss: The ketogenic diet is very good for getting rid of überschüssige pounds. The many fats saturate and unused ketone bodies can easily be poured out again without setting.
Sleep and energy: Ketone bodies offer your Körper an ideal source of energy, which balances the blood sugar level stable hält and various hormones. This will make you sleep better and make you feel rested and fit every morning.
Concentration and mental performance: Some well-known followers of the ketogenic diet, such as Peter Attia, Dave Asprey and Lyle McDonald swear by the mental performance leaps that come with ketosis. I also feel a strongly increased ability to concentrate in the morning. However, I have not yet been able to identify a scientific basis for this and there are critical voices every now and then. The reduced carbohydrates stabilize the blood sugar and the feeling of hunger normalizes. In addition, ketones have an anti-inflammatory effect, giving the body more energy für mental challenges to Verfügung Goodbye Brainfog!
Disease prevention: Ketone bodies protect our body from oxidative stress and are already used in various therapy cycles and for prevention. Positive effects of keto are associated with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, some cancers, hypertension and Hashimoto's, among others. Only recently, the promising effect of keto on migraine was again highlighted.
Sports: Although many athletes fear the initial drop in performance with fewer carbohydrates, Keto is also promising in competitive sports in the long term. After fat adaptation of the body, many athletes, including basketball player Lebron James and tennis player Novak Djokovic, report longer periods of concentration and faster recovery.
Slowing down the aging process: In the coming years, the use of ketosis and ketone bodies in therapy cycles could revolutionize the treatment of some serious neurological diseases. Ketone bodies protect our body from oxidative stress and are very likely to prevent diseases such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. To do this, they slow down the natural aging process of the body. If you want to understand the advantages of ketosis more precisely, I can only recommend Peter Attia's really interesting lecture.
Are there any risks with Keto?
Risk of ketoacidosis with insulin deficiency: Ketoacidosis describes an excessive concentration of ketone bodies in the blood. In contrast to ketosis, in ketoacidosis blood gases, blood salts and hormones are life-threatening and must be treated. Since this condition is mainly caused by an acute insulin deficiency, diabetics in particular must be very careful. However, a correctly applied ketogenic diet has enormous potential, especially for diabetics. However, this should be well informed and started in company of a nutritionist or doctor.
Nutrient deficiency: People on a ketogenic diet often do not get enough of some essential minerals and nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, sodium and vitamin D (as fat-soluble), which contribute to a quick recovery of the body after high exertion. Especially people who are dependent on many different nutrients, such as pregnant women and competitive athletes, should be careful and definitely consult an expert if they want to eat a ketogenic diet. Especially in ketosis you should try to keep your electrolyte balance stable. My tip: Add one more spoonful of Himalayan salt to your food or a glass of water in the morning.
Dry eyes: Many people who start ketosis report dry eyes after a few days. This is probably due to the strong dewatering, which goes hand in hand with the strong reduction of carbohydrates. Eye drops from the pharmacy help here.
Conclusion: After a first experiment I was not yet convinced of no carbohydrates on my plate. However, a new experiment with much more background knowledge has so far been very promising. I don't want to miss the long ability to concentrate after my favourite coffee in the morning! I also upgraded this recipe and developed a real Biohacker Coffee to bring you even more flow into your life.
Get started with the 5-step protocol for fast keto entry
For everyone who wants to start with the ketogenic diet right now, we have our 5-step protocol. With it you can easily and quickly achieve your first successes with Keto. However, if you are already advanced and want to delve further into the ketogenic diet, then we have an offer for you below.
1. Reduce the sugar to under 50 grams per day!
The body prefers glucose to ketones and runs on sugar as long as you leave it. Therefore reduce the sugar content in your diet to a minimum (maximum 50 grams per day). This is indeed enormously little and corresponds to just two apples or a cereal bar.
2. Drastically increase the fat content!
Without sugar, you need energy from other sources. That's why you need good quality fatty foods like meat from pasture, fresh fish, regional vegetables, willow butter, olive and coconut oil, avocados and nuts (no peanuts, they're not really nuts either). Many keto beginners do not know what to eat. For this we have created an ingenious Keto-Recipes Ebook, which you can download for free.
3. Start the day perfectly with the Biohacker Coffee!
In order to get over the first withdrawal symptoms with the omission of the usual carbohydrates better, a fat-containing drink is suitable in the morning. The Biohacker Coffee is the most effective and fastest way to recharge your batteries and boost your fat metabolism. The blend of high-quality coffee, willow butter and C8 oil provides energy, sharpens the mental focus and keeps you full for a long time. Products to support a ketogenic diet can be found in our Flowgrade Shop.
4. Accelerate the process with intermittent fasting!
For quick initial success, include two intermittent fasting days, for example Tuesdays and Thursdays, in your diet plan. This gives your body enough time to renew cells and get into ketosis faster. An example keto day with intermittent fasting can be found here! In our recipe book you will find tasty ideas for the post-fasting meal.
5. Stay disciplined until the fat adaptation!
At the beginning of a change to a ketogenic diet, many people feel weak and tired. This is also called "keto flu" or "keto fever" and describes the phase in which enzymes are formed and the body learns to use ketone bodies effectively as an energy source. Once the body has learned to run on fat, it is keto or fat-adapted. This usually takes between 1 and 3 months. Therefore stay disciplined for at least 4 weeks and keep your carbohydrate consumption as low as possible. It will pay off! After the adaptation you can jump back and forth quite simply and also insert an exception day or "Cheat Day".
My 4-week Keto self-experiment
In my sporting past I had little success with Low Carb. I lost weight, but muscle strength and my hormone levels were also totally mixed up. I blamed it on low glycogen stores in the muscles that did not replenish quickly enough after exercise without carbohydrates. Meanwhile I am aware that I simply didn't know my way around enough at that time. I set up a new experiment, got a blood ketone meter (I use the Glucomen LX Plus with these test strips, which you have to buy separately). Even though I've been in good shape all my life due to the many sports, I've always had a hard time getting a six-pack and, above all, keeping it. After my four-week Keto experiment I was very satisfied with the results.
What have I done?
Over 4 weeks I have reduced my carbohydrate intake (with a few exceptions) to below 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. I fasted several times a week (usually 3 to 4 times) for about 16 hours at a time. This method is called intermittent fasting, in which nothing is eaten for a period of 14 to 18 hours. So I didn't eat from 10 pm to about 2 pm, usually even longer. In the morning I had a biohacker coffee. Strictly speaking, coffee interrupts the fasting period. Since I drink the coffee with butter and C8 oil, it even helps to reach the state of ketosis. I measured the ketotic state using my blood ketone levels.
What were my results?
After about 4 days I was in ketosis for the first time with a blood value of 1.8 mmol per liter. I measured beta-ketone or beta-hydroxybutyrate, the most prominent ketone body.
Besides an increased energy level, a more balanced mood and less need for sleep, I made the following observations:
- From 20.4% to 16.8% body fat (via my Withings Body Fat Monitor)
- decreased from 105,4 to 99,8 kilos (even if that wasn't my goal)
- A significantly better HDL / LDL ratio
- magnesium deficiency (washed out of the body with less carbohydrate intake)
- About 5 % loss of strength
My body also lost quite a lot of water, as can be seen from the concise veins on my right arm.
My conclusion: Keto is heavy and brings enormous advantages
It was quite difficult for me to stick to the rigorous, low-sugar diet plan. But once I was in ketosis, the announced changes were quickly noticeable. I felt more energetic, needed less sleep and burned noticeably more fat. I also lost water (which accounts for a considerable part of the weight loss) and minerals were probably washed out with it.
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