What is Ketosis and a Ketogenic Diet?

 ketogenic diet

In short it’s a diet that is a lot closer to what your human physiology has evolved to eat, and many experts think this is a far healthier way to eat compared with modern carb-laden diets.

Ketosis, in a nutshell, is the state in which your body is burning fat for energy instead of glucose (carbohydrates).

But What About My Blood Sugar?

Most people think that their main fuel source is glucose or ‘sugar’. For most people it is, although they may not realise that it doesn’t have to be. There is another option.

Lots of my patients complain of having bouts of low blood sugar and feeling tired, shaky, no energy. These feelings generally drive them to eat carbohydrate based food to boost their blood sugar and get their fuel levels up.

But, diets with significant amounts of carbohydrates are a modern phenomenon, one that our physiology hasn’t really evolved to cope with.

High carb diets (at the expense of good quality fats) have a strong link to obesity and loads of illness like heart disease, arthritis and cancer.

In truth we don’t ever have to eat sugar or starch of any kind to be healthy.

Glucose is only actually needed in an ongoing every day way to fuel your red blood cells. These are the cells that make your blood look red, they carry oxygen around your body. This glucose can be made from protein.

Everything else in our body can run really well on ketones.

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is when your body is using ketones to make energy. Ketones are by-products of fat breakdown. They can be used by all parts of your body (except your red blood cells).

Humans, and what we evolved from, ate a ketogenic diet for millions of years. So it must be a pretty safe diet to get us this far! This means that pre-agriculture all humans were in a state of ketosis and did not rely on their blood sugar level and carby snacks to get them through the day.

Here’s an interesting fact. A ketogenic diet was the number treatment for people with epilepsy until the first epilepsy drug was developed in 1938. This says that a high fat diet is good for your brain (and high carb isn’t).

A ketogenic diet is very low carb (usually just green leafy veg and fruit, no grains), high fat with enough protein.

If you are interested in learning more about high fat, low carb eating – let me know in the comment box below.

Have an Uber Healthy week

Dr Julie

 

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11 thoughts on “What is Ketosis and a Ketogenic Diet?”

  1. In the US we are encouraged to eat a lot of grain. I don’t because I don’t think it is healthy. I think it has something to do with the USs weight problems

    1. Not KFC, no, ha ha!
      The reason being is that fried food is really high in trans fats, which are really, REALLY bad for you health.
      A healthy high fat diet would include seeds, nuts, oily fish, full fat cheese and milk, good quality meat. It would also include plenty of fresh veg, some fruit. It wouldn’t include grain based food.

  2. Lorraine humphries

    How can I get over the guilt factor of allowing myself to enjoy fat after a life time of reciting the fat free mantra?. I ate an avocado the other day and was eaten up with guilt.

    1. Hi Lorraine – fantastic question!
      1. How has a life-time of reciting the low-fat mantra helped your health and weight? Ask yourself this every time you feel guilt over eating healthy fat like avocados.
      2. Accept you have been brain-washed by a combination of ill-informed (but perhaps well meaning) people, and deliberately mislead by the diet and food industry for their gain. Somewhere along the line you have accepted this rubbish as truth, like so many people (including me a while ago).
      3. Remind yourself that it isn’t good quality fat that makes you fat, it’s carbohydrates.
      4. Also remind yourself that a deficiency in good quality fats is causes weight gain!
      Intellectually you might know this already but you obviously aren’t living this yet, an old program is still at work in your mind. Repetition of the right info is really important. Just think how many times you’ve listened to the low-fat BS, it’s a well worn path in your brain, you need to start on a new path – that starts in your head.
      Well done for eating the avocado. Next step – feel good about it!

  3. Dr Julie, some more info on ketosis would be helpful. It interests me that in a comment above you included milk in it, given the modern day cow is quite inbred and the extensive use of bovine growth hormone in the western world to increase their milk production.. I would have thought milk might not be a suitable food? Thanks

  4. Dr. Julie Coffey

    Hi Leonard, I’ll do some further blogs at some point.
    You’re right, milk and milk products aren’t top of the list for healthy foods, however I personally don’t completely exclude them from my diet. That said I don’t have very much at all.
    Humans are the only species to have milk beyond being babies, and it’s another species breast milk at that!

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