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Old 02-19-2013, 05:50 PM   #1
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WOE: nutritional ketosis
Basics of Nutritional Ketosis

Here is a basics of nutritional ketosis post I wrote to better explain to people why I'm eating the way I am. I copy and pasted it here. Hope it helps.

Before reading this, I highly recommend you check out my Biochemistry Primer which goes over a lot of important concepts that will make this easier to understand.

What is nutritional ketosis?

It is a state in which your body prefers to burn stored body fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. The way to achieve this is to eat a diet high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates.

My primary goal is to lower my body fat percentage. After learning about nutritional ketosis, and seeing how effectively it worked for others, I wanted to see if I could benefit from it as well.

Why is it important to eat a very low amount of carbohydrates?

In a typical diet where carbohydrates are the primary source of energy, your body undergoes multiple peaks and troughs in blood glucose concentration. After a carbohydrate rich meal is consumed and your blood sugar spikes, insulin is rapidly released to bring it back down into the normal range. The problem is that insulin can overshoot a bit causing your blood glucose to dip a little too low. This stimulates your appetite and causes you to eat more carbohydrates, which then leads to more insulin being released, perpetuating the cycle.

You end up eating an excess amount of carbohydrates, which are then converted into extra body fat. Your body is also exposed to a large amount of insulin as it is trying to keep your blood sugar under control.

Having so much insulin around is detrimental because the presence of insulin actually inhibits your body from burning fat. This effect can actually persist for days! For example, if you eat a bagel for breakfast today, exposing yourself to insulin, your body will stop burning its stored fat for the rest of the day. This will continue on into tomorrow and probably the day after.

If my goal is to get rid of body fat, I need to do two things:

1. Prevent my body from storing new fat
2. Get my body to burn the fat that I already have.

As you can see, consuming carbs works against both of these things.


Why is it important to eat a moderate amount of protein and a large amount of fat?

When you eat protein and fat, as they are absorbed into your blood stream, they cause no effect on your blood sugar. Since there isn’t a spike in blood sugar, your body doesn’t release any insulin.

Protein and fat also cause you to feel full faster and longer so you end up eating less over all. Maintaining a caloric deficit is important if your goal is to lose fat. As I wrote in my biochemistry primer:

A key point to remember is that your body is very efficient in storing energy. It has the ability to convert any excess carbohydrates, proteins, or fats that are consumed into stored body fat.

Any excess calories eaten, whether in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, or fats, can be converted to body fat if they’re not utilized to meet immediate energy demands or used to replenish supplies to maintain your body.


How does nutritional ketosis occur?

The process by which your body goes from burning carbohydrates to burning fats is called ketoadaptation. The key to becoming ketoadapted is to minimize your exposure to insulin by restricting carbohydrate intake.

An important fact to remember is that your body will do whatever it takes to keep its blood glucose concentration within its preferred range of 70-100 mg/dl. With only a very small amount of carbohydrates coming in, your body needs to work to keep its blood glucose concentration in this range. It begins by metabolizing its stores of glycogen.

Once all the glycogen is used up, it turns to gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is the process in which your body makes glucose from amino acids, lactate, and glycerol. This glucose is then released into the blood stream to maintain your blood glucose levels between 70-100 mg/dl.

In order to preserve the blood glucose that your body worked so hard to make, your body turns to another source for energy instead: ketones.

In this carbohydrate-depleted state, your body begins to convert its stored body fat into ketones. Ketones are then released into your blood stream to be used for energy. Organs such as your brain and skeletal muscle that normally run on glucose, stop using it, and start using ketones to function instead.

Your body is now optimized to burn its stored fat for energy.



How long does ketoadaptation take?

The entire process takes 2-4 weeks to complete.



How do you know when you are in nutritional ketosis?

When you are in nutritional ketosis, your body is converting your stored fat into ketones that are sent into your blood stream to be used for energy. The more fats you’re burning, the more blood ketones you will have.

Since I love playing with data, once I discovered that blood ketones can be measured directly and accurately, I immediately bought the test kit. After a pinprick, a drop of blood is placed on a test strip that is measured by a small machine.

A ketone measurement between 0.5 – 3.0 mmol confirms that you are in nutritional ketosis.


When is the best time for me to check my blood ketones?

The best time is first thing in the morning while fasting. This will give you the most accurate reading.

Volek and Phinney describe a diurnal variation in ketone production, with the lowest amount in the AM. So if you’re in the zone in the morning, then you should be for the rest of the day, since that will be your lowest reading.

In my experience I’ve become distrustful of testing later in the day because of the potential effect of my meals. Food can still be absorbed 6 hours after you’ve swallowed it.

The reason you test is to know whether your body is producing ketones. You don’t want any ketones coming from something you’ve eaten to screw up your numbers and give you a false impression as to what’s going on.



So how many carbs should I eat to achieve this?

It is recommended to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day (for reference, an apple contains 17 grams and a banana contains 51 grams).



How much protein should I eat?

It is also important to only eat a moderate amount of protein, approximately 0.6 to 1.0 grams per pound of lean body mass.

For example, I currently weigh approximately 180 lbs. I estimate my body fat percentage to be 20%, which means that the amount of body fat I have is:

20% x 180 lbs = 36 lbs.

My lean body mass is therefore:

180 lbs – 36 lbs = 144 lbs.

So the total amount of protein I should eat is in the range of:

0.6(144) to 1.0(144), or 86 – 144 gm.

For reference, a burger patty contains 35 grams of protein, an egg contains 6 grams, and a strip of bacon contains 2 grams.

In order to function properly your body is constantly breaking down and building up proteins. It is important to consume enough protein to replenish the necessary amino acids your body requires.

However if too much protein is consumed, your body will convert excess amounts into glucose via gluconeogenesis to do what it can to replenish its glycogen stores. This in turn will stimulate the release of insulin, which blunts the burning of fat.



How much fat should I eat?

For nutritional ketosis, it is recommended that 65-80% of total calories should be from fat.

Assuming I eat 50 grams of carbs and 144 grams of protein, my caloric intake will be:

50 grams of carbs x 4 calories/gram of carbs = 200 calories
144 grams of protein x 4 calories/gram of protein = 576 calories

This comes out to a total of 776 calories, which doesn’t even come close to my basal metabolic rate of 1700 calories. This doesn’t include any extra activity I do such as digesting food, brushing my teeth, walking to my car, BJJ, surfing etc.

For me, just to meet my basic metabolic demands I need to eat an additional 924 calories from fat, which comes out to about 54% of my total calories. I can bump this percentage up to the 65-80% range simply by eating more fat, decreasing my protein intake (144 gm is at the top of the recommended range), or doing a combination of both.

Since I am fairly active, my daily estimated caloric expenditure is actually in the vicinity of 2700 calories, so as long as I’m eating less than 2700 calories, my body will be burning more fat than it’s storing.



Thank you for reading this. I hope you’ve found this to be helpful.

The primary resource I used for this was The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
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Thank you for posting this.I want to do this woe so bad. But I just keep messing up. This way is the only way to keep my BS down. So I have to do it.
I just keep reading the the posts all of the time trying to understand this way.
Been back eating this way for three days and already feel better. Just slow at getting what it all means in my head. So thank you again.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:47 PM   #3
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Great write-up bjjcaveman.

May I ask your source for this part: "This effect can actually persist for days! For example, if you eat a bagel for breakfast today, exposing yourself to insulin, your body will stop burning its stored fat for the rest of the day. This will continue on into tomorrow and probably the day after."
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:41 AM   #4
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In a typical diet where carbs food are the primary source of energy, your body goes through multiple highs and lows in sugar levels focus. After a carbs rich meal is absorbed and your sugar levels rises, blood insulin is rapidly launched to bring it back down into the normal range.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:54 PM   #5
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Excellent explanation! Thanks!
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:20 AM   #6
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very good post dude, informative stuff

admins: requesting sticky!
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:50 AM   #7
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This is really interesting!
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:07 PM   #8
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Glad you guys find it helpful!
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:18 PM   #9
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Thanks for posting this information!
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:36 AM   #10
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Great post.
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:23 PM   #11
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Great info! Thanks.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:56 PM   #12
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Excellent post.

Can you please give the calculation for calories from fats like you did here:

Quote:
50 grams of carbs x 4 calories/gram of carbs = 200 calories
144 grams of protein x 4 calories/gram of protein = 576 calories
Even I can follow this
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:48 AM   #13
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Fat is 9 calories/gram.

120 grams of fat = 1080 calories

HTH (Hope that helps)
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:47 PM   #14
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bjjcaveman. thank you for the info. I actually discovered you through your blog and your NK experiment, after I reviewed Jimmy's posts. I bean eating NK without testing, but your site made me realize that ketones need to be measured accurately. I'm also self experimenting and set a 90 day goal.

I'm wondering how your adjustments have been going to lower your cholesterol levels? I thought that one of Jimmy's latest post in regards to his lipid profile was telling. It seemed to take him 6-9 months after he began his experiment to see overall improvementsl. Our bodies maybe able to adapt to ketosis, meaning using fat for energy, but the health benefits aren't realized until our bodies have fully adapted, which takes time. I think even Dr. Atkins discovered this through his practice and wrote about it in his books. I believe atkins recommends to wait at leat 6 months before running any blood test.

I haven't been to your site in a couple weeks and I hope to see a new post regarding your n=1.

Take care.

Last edited by actionzen; 05-06-2013 at 12:52 PM..
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:43 AM   #15
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Ketosis

hi there, i am brand new to this forum and site and new to ketogenic lifestyle. I am very close to my goal weight but have struggled my whole life with binge eating, carb cravings and issues. I can't believe I've never come accross this way of eating untill now. My binge eating and cravings are under control and I would love to continue this lifestyle.

I follow a 5% carb, 35% proteien and 60% fat program and I count calories. I am very active and weight train 4 - 5 a week my big problem is that I do not go into ketosis. I've been tracking my calories and using ketostix and it just doesn't turn purple, or even pink for that matter.

I've gone so far as starting a fat fast, which i am on day 3 but my weight is not moving and also i am not going into ketosis, can anyone please help!
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:52 AM   #16
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It would be easier for others to help if you post your actual number of grams and calories. Percentages are a good start, but if your carbs/protein grams are too high, that might be the problem. How tall are you?

Urine keto sticks can be unreliable as an indicator of ketosis. So many things can effect the results.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:02 AM   #17
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While on the fat fast I am staying within my 1000 calories per day and my fat is anywhere between 96 - 100 g and my carb and proteien count is together about 26g. I read that on a fat fast it doesn't matter how the 10% is made up of as long as 90% is made up of fat. I have done all the calculations and used various tools for for getting my bmi and bmr etc, so i know I am eating within my limits. I am 1,7m tall, don't know my length in inches.

When i am not doing the fat fast I generally try and stay between 1300 - 1450 calories and that will consist of about 17g Carbs, 118g Proteien and 90g fat.

I had cake on my daughters birthday but it was the first time in 9 days and went straight back into low carbing. I try to stay below the 17 g carb if I can. I count carbs in everything and deduct fibre. If I have coffee I have ground coffee and liquid sweetner that do not contain any carbs from the bulking agents.

That is about my entire pedigree.
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:18 PM   #18
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Also ketosticks are not a good indicator for ketones in the long term as your body become more effcient at using it's ketones and releasing less from your urine.

You may want to decrease your protein intake.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:47 PM   #19
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I will give it a bash! Although I know thaty when you do weight lifting, the way I do, your body needs the extra proteien to build muscle or you'll end up losing all the muscle you worked for so hard. But thanx! Any other advise would also help. I am on day 4 of my fat fast and I have actually picked up 0.5 kg and it is driving me insane!!!!!!!
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:06 AM   #20
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it's recommended to keep your protein levels between .8 -1.5 grams per kg of weight. I use a 1-1 ratio for now and adjusted slightly upward bc I was losing lean body mass. I went from 87 grams of protein to 95. Use small incremental changes to make adjustments. Also, if your body doesn't use all of the protein, you have a possibility that the protein will be converted into glucose, which will throw you out of ketosis. So tweaking your protein levels can be key. Also keep in mind that if your not using all the fat you ingest as energy, you won't use your store fat. So losing weight requires you to tweak your fat intake as well. But first things first, you need to get keto adapted so that your body learns to burn fat as energy. Then tweak the other variables like total calories, protein, fats, and carbs. IMO, this is the way I would approach NK.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:34 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karendewet View Post
While on the fat fast I am staying within my 1000 calories per day and my fat is anywhere between 96 - 100 g and my carb and proteien count is together about 26g. I read that on a fat fast it doesn't matter how the 10% is made up of as long as 90% is made up of fat. I have done all the calculations and used various tools for for getting my bmi and bmr etc, so i know I am eating within my limits. I am 1,7m tall, don't know my length in inches.

When i am not doing the fat fast I generally try and stay between 1300 - 1450 calories and that will consist of about 17g Carbs, 118g Proteien and 90g fat.

I had cake on my daughters birthday but it was the first time in 9 days and went straight back into low carbing. I try to stay below the 17 g carb if I can. I count carbs in everything and deduct fibre. If I have coffee I have ground coffee and liquid sweetner that do not contain any carbs from the bulking agents.

That is about my entire pedigree.


Three things I can see here.

1. Cake...if you had cake 9 days into NK, you haven't had long enough to become keto-adapted. It can take weeks to get to that state. This is a very unforgiving way to eat. It took me 9 weeks to get blood levels high enough to be in NK. Without a cheat.

2. your protein levels look to be on the high end for your weight.

3. you may need to increase fat, when not doing fat fast, to a higher % of calories

Maybe coming off the fat fast, you could add 90g of protein and 20g carbs to what you are already eating, although that is still a low % of fat.

You don't have much weight to lose. Do you know your % body fat?
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:04 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by actionzen View Post
it's recommended to keep your protein levels between .8 -1.5 grams per kg of weight. I use a 1-1 ratio for now and adjusted slightly upward bc I was losing lean body mass.
Although I'm losing I'm still wondering if my numbers are correct? I've been trying to eat around 1500 - 1700cal. but I'm wondering if I'm not eating enough to preserve my lean body mass? According to Volek and Phinney I should be eating around 2305 cal for a goal weight of 145. How does one know if they're losing LBM? I am 62, however, but I'm not sure if they say anywhere to tweek numbers for age...

Thanks Much,
Marcia
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:44 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunflwr1 View Post
Although I'm losing I'm still wondering if my numbers are correct? I've been trying to eat around 1500 - 1700cal. but I'm wondering if I'm not eating enough to preserve my lean body mass? According to Volek and Phinney I should be eating around 2305 cal for a goal weight of 145. How does one know if they're losing LBM? I am 62, however, but I'm not sure if they say anywhere to tweek numbers for age...

Thanks Much,
Marcia
Hi Marcia, I use a rather crude method of measuring my body fat by using calipers I ordered through amazon. It was like $15 and it was the bigger one that comes in three different colors, white, black, and red. The calipers comes with instructions that describes where on your body you can measure and based on these measurements charts where you can figure your fat mass %. I measure three separate places on my body, middle point of the outside of my pecks, an inch from by belly button, and the mid point of my thigh. These are points that apply to men and for women it's different. I then add all the numbers and refer to the chart to see what my fat mass % would be. By doing this I can compare my numbers week by week to see what's going on with my fat loss and my LBM. I noticed last week that I had some loss with LBM, nothing to be alarmed by but I'm experimenting to see if my increasing my protein in small increments (the increase was only 7 grams) if this will help preserve my LBM or will it just turn into glucose and stall my weight loss. It's normal and pretty hard to avoid the loss of LBM when losing fat mass. Typically, you would want to lose the fat mass and get to your ideal body comp/weight, and after, work on building muscle. Building muscle usually requires an increase in some fat mass, and once you build muscle, you go through the same cycle of losing fat mass. It could be a never ending cycle, but it depends on what your goals are.



The other way, which is way more accurate, is to use a dexa body comp scan or a body pod, the first being more accurate. I've heard these can range from $60-$200.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:00 AM   #24
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Thank you for this informative post. At the moment I am on Atkins induction (DANDR) but this more or less describes my long term plan so great to know I will have plenty of info and support here
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:07 AM   #25
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Could anyone calculate what I should be eating as at the moment my daily settings are
Cals 1200 Carbs 75 Fat 40 Protein 135 Fibre 14

Never really get to the protein range as I cannot eat very much of any sort of meat or fish. Cheese I could eat by the pound but would that be healthy?

I am 4'11" tall weigh 189lbs and am 78yo
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:53 AM   #26
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Hi Emmaline, welcome.

If you want to try the Nutritional Ketosis way of eating, you want to eat a higher percentage of your calories in fat. the keto-calculator shows:

calories - 1250 -1700
carbs, 20 - 50g
protein, 75-141g
fat, 100- 148g

If you use the lowest numbers, carbs 20g, protein 76g, and fat 100g, that would put you at 1280 calories and 71% fat.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:46 AM   #27
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Thankyou I will try that.
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