Ketones and Ketosis
“Ketones are a scam.”
“Consuming exogenous Ketones are dangerous, hurt the liver and kidneys and prevent you from making your own Ketones.”
“It’s pyramid marketing, it must be a scam.”
Every day I receive these 3 messages at least once.
I get it. ESPECIALLY THE PYRAMID SIDE OF THINGS. It has taken me a few years to get over that fact. I still have issues with it.
But I tell you this, I would rather have a lot of non-health professionals pyramid marketing the hell out of something that works – Ketones - Vs other pyramid marketing supplement companies.
As for Ketosis itself!
There is growing and abundant evidence on the positive effects of Ketosis on various health markers and as a solution to widespread modern illnesses.
It is a viable option for achieving blood sugar stabilisation (very important for diabetics) and addressing metabolic syndrome:
Have a read here:
It is estimated that 1 in 4 people in the WORLD will experience some form of mental health disorder in their lifetime, with a current 450 million people currently estimated to be suffering from mental health issues. There is a rising chorus for the use of Ketosis to alleviate mental health issues.
Am I saying that if we put the entire world in Ketosis everybody would magically be cured and no more mental health problems would cripple the world?
Of course not. That is absurd.
However, what I am saying is that for the majority of Westerners who are chronically over eating processed carbohydrates, suffering from unstable blood sugars, pre-diabetic, and diagnosed as having metabolic syndrome eating a ketogenic diet or close to a ketogenic diet would do wonders for their health.
This is a great video on what actually starts to happen in the body when you get into ketosis.
Let’s talk type 2 diabetes, a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. This is attributed to a poor lifestyle and excessive sugar consumption as well as some genetic pre-disposition. This is a neat little article on addressing type 2 diabetes via nutritional ketosis.
Why is this important?
Well type 2 Diabetes is according to Diabetes Australia the epidemic of the 21st century and the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system.
Yep, we eat so much sugar we are causing the biggest health issue currently facing our country.
But me telling people to eat enter a restrictive carbohydrate diet (all carbs become sugars) is considered bad advice?
· 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes
· Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes. This includes all types of diagnosed diabetes (1.2 million known and registered) as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes (up to 500,000 estimated)
· More than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year
· For every person diagnosed with diabetes there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day
· Total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia estimated at $14.6 billion
Please stop and re-read those facts again.
How do we treat diabetes?
Lifestyle management: exercise and moving away from sedentary lifestyles.
Nutrition: low sugar diets, and diets that stabilise blood sugar levels, good sources of fats, vegetables, adequate protein.
What delivers this nutritional strategy most effectively?
What is Ketosis?
The human body has two main fuel sources, glucose (from carbohydrates or excessive protein) or beta oxidation (ketones from the breakdown of fats).
Ketosis is the use of ketones from the breakdown of fats as your primary source of fuel and is often referred to as being ‘fat adapted’. For everyone who has not been on a ketogenic diet you operate on glucose as your main source of energy. To convert your body to using fat as your fuel source requires some specific work.
Let me explain what that requires and if it is right for you!
Changing your fuel source?
Think of your body as a car. Glucose is unleaded petrol and gets you roughly 500km a tank, whereas ketones are diesel petrol and get you 1000km a tank! To convert your car from unleaded petrol to diesel means you are going to have to take it to the car shop for a major overhaul of its engine. That work is going to take a few days and cost you a bit of money.
Bear with me.
When converting from glucose as your primary fuel source, (after a lifetime of eating carbs, potatoes, rice and breakfast cereals – remember the food pyramid anyone!), is going to cost you a bit of effort and discomfort. Things like the Keto-Flu, where you feel like you have the flu (people have been hospitalised before they thought they were so sick), fatigue, headaches and constipation can occur. Not to mention drastic reduction in athletic performance, initially anyway.
But you must remember, you are changing your engine here. You are changing your physiology, from that of carb dependant, to fat using. It requires a cost.
How do you do this?
To convert to beta oxidation (ketosis) requires the absence of sugars and the limiting of total carbs to under about 20-50grams of carbohydrates a day. IN doing so, the body undergoes a few rough days of glucose depletion until it can start to get fats broken down in the liver which results in the body’s secondary fuel source, Ketones.
Can you speed this process up?
Recently, I was fortunate to attend a symposium and present alongside one my favourite authors and presenters in the nutrition world, Cliff Harvey. If you want to further your knowledge on nutrition and healthy eating I highly recommend you get his book, The Carb Appropriate Diet (He signed mine!!).
Here is an extended interview with Cliff about healthy eating, ketosis and health! It is definitely worth the investment of time. (Click here)
(Around the 14-minute mark, Cliff talks about the use of exogenous ketones to help with the transition over to a ketonic state).
Here are some additional measures to help speed things up:
First. You can deplete your body’s stores of glucose faster than it takes for the body to utilise its’ own stores passively. To do this, you would partake of a few high intensity training sessions, such as sprint running, HIIT circuits or weight lifting. Such an approach is popularised by Luis Villasenor from www.ketogains.com. Alternatively, many might find that stressful, and stress is particularly detrimental to the application of ketosis, especially in the early days.
Stress causes spikes in adrenalin, adrenalin requires fast acting sugars and as a result causes glycogen release as well as carb/sugar craving. So, if that seems to stressful for you there is another way to approach it.
Author and podcaster Tim Ferris implements a slightly different approach when he does a monthly fast, and this is an approach that can be helpful for people to utilise when beginning their ketosis transition. He will fast from a Friday night until Sunday dinner, approximately 48 hours. Here’s how he does it; He eats a good dinner Friday night, consumes exogenous ketones Saturday morning, drinks plenty of water, minimises intense physical output, and instead goes for a 2-3 hour walk, and consumes either MCT’s or more exogenous ketones over the weekend, as well as fluids and salts. Tim Ferris is a wealth of information on human optimisation for health and productivity. He is definitely worth checking out. Try this podcast to get you started, in it he interviews the scientist who created the first exogenous ketones: (more info here)
Two. Increase your fat intake, particularly the intake of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT oils) which are more easily converted to ketones in the body than other fats.
Three. Minimise lifestyle stressors such as sleep deprivation, stress etc, to provide the body with an easier opportunity to undergo a major physiological change. And, also, to make it easier on yourself!
Four. You can utilise exogenous ketones, as in pharmaceutically manufactured ketone bodies, to provide an immediate source of ketones which will aid in fighting off the effects of the ‘engine change’ (Keto flu), and almost trick your body into producing its own ketone bodies faster. (ketone code). The intention with these ketone sources is to provide your body and brain energy until your ketone levels elevate naturally. At which point the feelings of hunger will reduce, and you will feel like you have more energy.
Think of it this way: You are putting your body into a state of ketosis by consuming ketones (you then use these ketones for fuel), until it can enter a state of ketogenesis (create its own ketones from the metabolism of fats in the liver).
“But Ketosis ‘ruins my gainz in the gym.”
One of the most common statements I receive is the above and how Ketosis is negative for body composition results; “fat makes you fat” and “you need carbs to gain muscle and train hard. Check this:
“The Ketogenic Diet can be used in combination with resistance training to cause favourable changes in body composition, performance and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained males” (more info here)
One of the top body building and body composition coaches in the world, Menno Hensleman, offered this at his recent course that I attended:
“Carbs are a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you think you need them, you think you need them.”
Now, the oral receptors for carbohydrates that activate the dopamine response lay in the mouth. A trick to get the “HIT” from carbs, without consuming them is utilise a trick from Professor Tim Noakes (more on him shortly). Prior to racing or training, gargle or swish some highly sugary fluid, like orange juice, around in your mouth and without swallowing spit it out. This will have the effect of stimulating those carb receptors without spiking your blood sugars or consuming the sugars. (Remember sugar and acid are bad for your teeth, so wash your mouth out a little while later).
More on weights training and ketosis. One of the main benefits of a high fat diet is the increased anabolic hormone production (saturated fat is the precursor to testosterone/hormone production). This effect is stronger in strength trainees than sedentary people, most likely as a result of higher activity of these hormones in strength training people. So, you can, through a ketogenic increase your testosterone production.
Is that bad for your gainz?
Of particular importance I think for athletes/people training is that Keto diets are particularly effective at reducing chronic inflammation, which may increase muscle growth via a clearer inflammatory signal for muscle repair.
Whilst additionally, the protein sparing effect of ketosis will be extra beneficial during strength training since protein turnover/synthesis rates are higher.
“Chris, it’s all about calories in vs calories out. Doesn’t matter what the calorie is, it just has to fit your macros. Plus, you can’t lose weight eating fat, eating fat makes you fat.”
I constantly take hits about how weight loss is more than just calories in vs calories out. There are a great number of studies that really highlight how those on unrestricted calorie low carb diets out perform those on low fat calorie restricted diets. But let’s go back to when some rally cool stuff was performed.
IN the 1940’s they could get away with some pretty crazy stuff in the name of science. A group of volunteers went from a standard American diet to being subjected to a prolonged starvation diet which included low fat intake of 30 grams, 225 grams of carbs and 100 grams of protein per day to equate a total of 1500 calorie per day. The results were shocking, with the participants suffering terrible ill health.
Fast forward a few years later and another study was conducted wherein a group of volunteers in London were put on a low carb high fat diet. The energy intake was 1560 calories per day, almost exactly the same caloric content as the study described above!
However, the macros consisted of protein 83 grams, carbs 67 grams and fat 105 grams. The participants were recorded as feeling great energy and mental clarity. NOTE THE DIFFERENCE IN MACROS.
Tim Ferris writes a great review of it here with a leading obesity research Doctor: (check it here)
Gary Taubes’ book Good Calories, Bad Calories devotes a couple of pages to this semi-starvation study, and there is the book The Great Starvation Experiment: Ancel Keys and the Men Who Starved for Science.
Go through all that and tell me, is a calorie a calorie?
Now I have been in and out of nutritional ketosis for the last few years. Everyone always says how good the food is whilst you’re on it. And although you can get pretty sick of it all at some point, largely I agree.
However, I have really developed a love of vegetables as well as a desire for a really high micro nutrient intake, and hell, I just love a Late (or two) each day and a pizza on Friday night. As a result, I have a Late (or two) each day, a pizza on Friday, and I try to consume up to 9 cups of vegetables a day, which leaves me with a relatively high carb intake and pushes me out of ketosis.
Being in ketosis is great. Hopefully, the discourse above highlights some of its potential benefits.
But I want the diverse range of micro nutrients that 9 cups of vegetables can provide, I want my god-damn pizza, and hell help’th the person that prevents me from obtaining my Late.
So, enter Exogenous Ketones.
In ketogenesis your body produces ketones. In ketosis your body runs on ketones.
With the advent over just the last few years of exogenous ketones, you can now enter ketosis as a result of a supplement.
Why did they create it? Well the benefits of ketosis are evidenced based.
As with all good things, if it is good, lets make it easier for people to get it.
And in this case, it started with the USA department of defence approaching scientists to develop ketones to hep with Navy Seals enter ketosis in the field as ketosis was good for the cognitive functioning and endurance, as well as under water dive times (enhanced mitochondrial and oxygen functioning).
It got developed.
It entered the market as Pruvit. A ‘community-marketing’ company (read pyramid marketing) set up specially to sell it:
Do me a favour and help me construct Giza and buy through my link above!
There are a few reasons why I overcame my:
about community marketing and went with Pruvit (http://primalthenics.ShopKeto.com) over other and subsequent ketone supplements.
1) They were the only company that produced the exact same molecule of beta-hydroxy-butyrate (ketone salt) that is produced by the body. Others use a mirror image. So, sit your left hand on top of your right hand. Kind of looks the same-same, but different, hey? Get someone to sit their right hand on top of your right hand, looks much better, hey?
Ø QUALIY MATTERS
2) “LEAD WITH EDUCATION” is their motto. This is something I live by in my line of work – Health and Fitness. I do my best to really serve my team members, friends, family, and followers as best as I can by providing as much information as I can in a common sense, middle ground, applicable manner.
3) It tastes good, particularly compared to others I have tried.
4) It means more people are getting educated and receiving the benefits of ketones.
5) It’s easy. You:
Ø click on a link, http://primalthenics.ShopKeto.com (remember build my Giza please)
Ø click on your product (I prefer Keto-Max maui punch caffeine free)
Ø click on today and auto-ship (auto-ship you get a big discount, plus, get serious and give it 3 months to work. Have you ever tried one exercise session and complained your lack of fitness wasn’t cured?)
Ø create account, address, account name,
Ø it gets delivered every month
Ø if you need help you just message the person who set you up and they help you so you’re never alone.
Ø You mix it and drink and ENTER KETOSIS.
“But the powder doesn’t work, and you don’t get the same benefits from exogenous ketones as endogenous and its bad for your liver and kidneys!
I got this message the other day.
SO, let’s take a look at this.
Exogenous ketones can provide a number of outcomes.
For athletic performance this is a good read:
“Recent development of ketone esters facilitates acute ingestion of βHB that results in nutritional ketosis without necessitating restrictive dietary practices. Initial reports suggest this strategy alters the metabolic response to exercise and improves exercise performance, while other lines of evidence suggest roles in recovery from exercise.” (more info here)
It is a slightly different derivative (ester is a liquid alcohol-based molecule, which is unpalatable and I don’t think as effective as the BHB salts), but it still attenuates the effectiveness of exogenous ketones.
“Ketone Supplementation (KS) rapidly elevated blood ketones to therapeutic levels (2–5mM), and simultaneously decreased blood glucose by 20%. KS altered a number of metabolic pathways which may contribute to its anti-cancer effects. Markers of both oxidative stress (oxidized glutathione) and antioxidant capacity (carnosine and anserine) were elevated by KS” (more info here).
So, you can go and buy anti-oxidants (proper ones are expensive), glutathione supplements (doubly expensive), or drink 25 glasses of red wine (kind of ruins the health effects maybe?) to get the required amount of a single effective dose of glutathione or you can get the body to upregulate its own anti-oxidant and glutathione systems by taking ketones. Also, look at its effectiveness on addressing blood glucose levels, 20%, that’s epic. This drop, in blood glucose, is possibly a result of the acute increase in insulin sensitivity from being in ketosis and can therefore, present as a potential therapy for type-2 diabetics via regulation of blood glucose. (Remember the earlier statistics)
Ingesting ketones can raise BHB in the blood by upwards of 2 mMol for nearly 8 hours (more info here).
Ingest ketones and be in ketosis! Bang. Didn’t even have to eat any fat to get there.
Whilst it additionally also improves oxygen utilization, especially in the central nervous system (CNS (more here) This effect decreases the likelihood of oxygen reaching potentially toxic levels in the CNS, which in turn has a number of other positive health ramifications (such as those discussed in the previous section).
I would encourage you not to see exogenous ketones as a weight loss tool, though they will help with that, but, rather, as a
ü A tool for change
ü A viable fuelling alternative
They will provide the necessary energy and cognitive enhancement to enable you to seek a healthier, happier and more active lifestyle devoid of the pitfalls of sugar crashes, carb dependency, and low grade chronic inflammation.
I turned 35 a few months ago. A week later I started having exogenous ketones every single week day, and now feel the healthiest, strongest, leanest, and for me most importantly, most mentally stable and ‘awake’ I have ever felt.
I know that is very subjective, but I’ve been in prolonged ketosis before, and I actually feel and perform better now, compared to what I did then.
I used to have a coaching program that ran for three months and I coached people through the nuances of entering nutritional ketosis, and in particular overcoming the dreaded keto flu (when you are manually changing your engine from unleaded to diesel, it requires a lot of work).
I don’t have to do that anymore.
I’ve upgraded to an automatic transitioning process. And I have cut my coaching fees because there is far less work for me to do.
Follow the steps.
Let me know if you have any issues.
AND, I just get to focus on performance training and management.
AND, I can help more people.
So, entering my 23rd year of coaching, after having coached and worked with Olympic athletes, professional sportsmen and women across a number of different sporting fields, I have faith in a product, for a change.
Exogenous ketones will continue to grow as an important topic of research in the coming years. This research will aim to validate their various uses (physical performance, weight loss, neuroprotective effects etc.) or disprove its effectiveness. There is currently good research on many of the positive effects of ketones and I have a great deal of belief and conviction in the product and I am really excited to see more research develop.
Exogenous ketones are developing as a solid product for health and longevity markers at this point, for reducing the risk/effects of cancer and possibly preventing/reversing type-2 diabetes, as well as the enhancement of athletic performance.
It is only going to get better.