No doubt, in the recent times, ketones are a very hot topic in the LC world. It seems so “IN” to plan your diet around them that one can easily feel “OUT” if you don’t do it. So is this only a short-term trend or are we dealing with a serious issue here?
I sincerely think to answer the question there is only one solution, especially if you are on ZC: we should interest ourselves to ketones, so we can understand their physiology and relation to weight loss and health, and be able to read about it and follow the “evolution of knowledge” in this field.
Ketones bodies are produced in the liver + brain cells when your body switches from burning glucose to fat for energy. This happens with a very low carbohydrate intake AND when your diet proteins do not exceed your daily needs, as about 50% CAN be transformed into glucose
Ketones seem to be the body’s favorite source of energy, especially for the brain but also for muscles according to recent studies. We could even say the human body was designed to work on ketones, not glucose. If your body ‘runs on ketones”, your daily needs for glucose goes down to 30 g (mainly for red blood cells and a few brain cells). This glucose can easily be produced by glucogenesis from proteins in the liver, and with glycerol from dietary fat + adipose tissues. YES, 20 % of fat can by transformed into glucose. If you eat 100 g of fat per day, you can produce 20 g glucose!!!
It seems measuring ketones bodies is a useful tool, as it is the only “physiologic way” your can know if your body can burn excess fat. Dr. Atkin’s himself knew it and recent studies are proving it again. So let’s see what WE can do about it.
First, we have learned with years the measurement of ketones bodies in the URINE seems NOT reliable as results can vary upon your actual hydration (dilution or concentration), your ketosis status in the last few days (it is not an instant process) and, of course, your level of physical activity.
The most reliable way to know if you are in optimal ketosis (between 1.5 and 3 mmol/l), is to measure them in the blood. If you have a good budget, you can purchase a testing device + strips and do it at home but it is extremely expensive (2.50 – 5.00 $ per strip).
After reading about ketones and blood sugar, I realized another way to estimate if you are in ketosis. But don’t get my wrong, this is an approximation; but, still, it seems reliable: BECAUSE ketones can only produced when your blood sugar is LOW, measuring this last one can give you an hint. If your blood sugar is above 90, your chances being in ketosis are much lower then if you are under 90 and stay there INCLUDING ONE HOUR AFTER A MEAL.
And how can we get our glucose to stay under 90 after a meal? First do a ZC diet (easy!) then be sure your are NOT doing high-protein meals, which is not that easy on ZC… I know. The trick being you should know your MINIMAL daily protein needs (to maintain your lean body mass), then you divide the amount into 3 or 4 daily meals. This way, you reduce your chance of glucogenesis, which can kick you out of ketosis.
To measure your blood sugar, you can buy online a NOVA MAX BLOOD GLUCOMETER for 16$ and a box of 100 strips (.30 $/strip), which is quite affordable.
Finally, the healthy blood ketone level of 1.5-3 of a KETOSE DIET is very different form the ACIDOKETOSIS status of diabetics. To avoid confusion (especially in the LC world), it has been redefined as “HIGH KETONES BODIES IN THE BLOOD and BLOOD SUGAR OVER 250”. So don’t let anyone put you down with the risk of a ketone diet.
Anyway, I will write more about the subject as I just ordered a blood ketones measuring device!!!