How Does the Keto diet work?
If you’ve been surfing the internet trying to find the best ways to lose weight, then most probably you have heard about the Ketogenic diet. Unlike other weight-loss diets, the Keto diet is the most baffling.
Ordinarily, we know fat as the culprit in weight gain. When you have gained too much weight, even without a stranger saying it, you will always hear ‘cut it’. You begin to self-loathe and might even begin an intense exercise routine to break down some fat, but the keto diet preaches the opposite— eat fat, fat, and more fat!
This sounds crazy. Doesn’t it?
How do you eat more fat, when you want to cut fat?
Well, if you’ve been scratching your head trying to figure out how the Keto diet works, Hurray! I’ve got you covered. By the time you finish reading this post, you will know the science behind the Keto diet and why it is such an amazing health plan for you.
To grasp how the keto diet works, you first need to know how the body is naturally engineered to satiate its hunger, create energy, and keep all the systems working.
Here is how the body feeds itself normally
Your body depends hugely on sugar for energy. The most common source of sugar is the carbohydrates. When you eat high-carb foods or excess proteins your body will break them down into glucose which provides ATP energy; the fuel that powers every activity of the body.
However, we tend to eat more carbohydrates than the body needs, which compels that body to store the excess glucose as glycogen through a process known as glycogenesis or as fats through the lipogenesis process.
Fortunately, the body will use up the stored glycogen within 24 hours. As for the stored fats, they take longer because they are only used as an alternative fuel when the body has exhausted the supply of glycogen.
The body is accustomed to using sugar as primary source of energy, therefore your weight will increase when you have too much fat stored in your body.
What happens in Keto Diet?
Well, the keto diet adapts the body to feed from fats as opposed to carbohydrates. Instead of the body breaking down carbohydrates into glucose, it will break fats into fatty acids and glycerol for energy.
However, the brain cells cannot use fatty acids and glycerol, therefore the liver must synthesize the fatty acids and glycerol into more efficient energy molecules that the brain cells can utilize.
In the liver the glycerol are broken into glucose through gluconeogenesis (even in keto diet, glucose is still needed as there are cells that can only use glucose) while the fatty acids are broken into ketones through ketogenesis.
The formation of BHP and Acetones
The process doesn’t end with formation of ketones. Through ketogenesis, the ketones are synthesized to produce acetoacetate which is further converted into two distinct ketone bodies;
- Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) – BHP is more a more efficient energy source than acetoacetate. Your body will naturally convert acetoacetate into BHP after a few weeks of being in keto. The brain loves BHP as it utilize it 70% more efficiently than glucose.
- Acetone – Though acetones can still be broken down into glucose, they are majorly excreted as waste through urination. Acetones are responsible for the smelly breath known to keto dieters.
The condition of having more ketones in the body is referred to as Ketosis. It is the goal of every keto diet enthusiast. For you to be in the ketosis state, you must limit carbohydrates while ensuring that you consume adequate proteins and high-fat foods.
So the keto diet is built on the premise of starving the body of carbohydrates so that it forms a new metabolic pathway— using fats as the primary source of energy. Keto diet aims at almost 0% carbohydrates and 70 % fats.
This however shouldn’t fool you that the focus of keto diet is solely to reduce carbs, it is also to provide adequate supply of fats and proteins (this is the difference between keto diet and starvation).
The keto diet is very effective in weight loss, but is has a lot of benefits. Several studies have recommended it as an effective alternative therapy in combating epilepsy in children. When you do it right, you will be amazed with the results.