You Want to be in Ketosis

June 12, 2022

You Want to Be in Ketosis

Yup. Every day. You want to be in ketosis! What is ketosis? What is a ketone? Let's explain. A ketone is a carbon-oxygen double bond that is naturally made whenever your body shifts into "fat-burning". But it is so much more. It turns out to be a critical signaling compound that turns on anti-aging in many ways. The question is how to make them and how to lead a lifestyle that encourages their production. Note, we are not talking about the terrible ketoacidosis of uncontrolled diabetes that occurs in the vacuum of no insulin.  The "house of medicine" has been misled, thinking that all ketosis is a prodrome to that condition, when in fact we are talking about a natural, in fact, beneficial state of physiology.

So, let's start with that. First of all, you have two major fuel sources to burn. Your fat stores, of which you are likely at least 20% fat and possibly as much as 50%. And carbs, which we eat every day. Now, consider that you can only store 1,500 calories of carbs. Anything more gets pushed into fat for longer-term storage. Fifteen hundred calories will only last you about 12 hours or so. Eat supper, and top off your carb tank. That's 7 pm. Now, 12 hours later, it's 7 am and you do a finger stick for ketones. Your level will be 0.1. You are beginning to turn on ketones/fat burning. Primarily a ketone body called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). It's a 4 carbons long molecule. But you eat breakfast and have a carb source: cereal, toast, orange juice.  You have a rise in glucose in your blood, and an insulin response.  Ketones disappear upon the presence of insulin. But if you skip breakfast, have only black coffee, by lunchtime, your BHB will be 0.4. 

If you then continue to never fill up your carb tank and only eat 800 calories a day of which 50% is fat (this is the foundation of the Fast Mimicking Diet) for 5 days, your BHB will rise daily until on day 5 you will be at 4.5. You do that because your body needs 2,000 calories a day, and you are only getting 800 so you have to draw on your fat stores to make up the deficit. You are in full fat-burning mode and losing weight. More importantly, your ketones have dramatically turned on your anti-aging mechanisms, and folks who do that 4 times a year will add 16 years to their health span. 16 years. Probably the singularly most powerful antiaging tool we have. (Read Longo's book: The Longevity Diet).

Prior to civilization and growing grains as crops, we were hunter-gatherers. We didn't have carbs year around. The natural cycle of nature was that we had 8-10 months of adequate food sources, but every year 1-4 months of food scarcity during which we had to switch to our fat stores. We only had carbs for the few weeks than any particular fruit was ripening. We had a much better chance of survival if our metabolism could switch back and forth from fat to carbs. 

But that is a hard diet to do for most folks because they have been on carbs for so long, they have not stimulated the enzymes to make ketones in their peroxisomes. It's even more difficult if we are insulin resistant and thereby have elevated insulin all the time. (Insulin instantly turns off ketone production.) Folks who are insulin resistant (88% of us) try it, can't make ketones, become hypoglycemic and feel too awful. They quit and fail. Once your are ketone competent, your glucose can be 45 and you have no symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Is there a way around that to teach your body how to get back to "flex-fueling"? Yes. The key is breakfast and the timing thereof. At 7 am, everyone, always, is in nascent ketosis. 0.1. You have made the first timid step. So, we now know unequivocally that you can make some. We just want to wake up your DNA, and make more enzymes to manufacture more ketones. It takes a week or two for your DNA to get that done. Start a process of stretching out breakfast to 8 am. Then 9. Then 10 until you make it to noon. You will be in ketosis for 6 hours. Your enzymes will develop and you will feel the effects of that for yourself. You will find it to be easier, and finally easy.

How well does that work for weight loss and longevity? Groundbreaking work on monkeys and mice in Madison and the University of Texas on diet and fasting was completed just a few years back that showed that calorie restriction worked in prolonging life, but calorie compression worked just as well, regardless of the calories. Mice fed in a 3-hour window, versus 24/7, were remarkably healthier. They lived longer. They weighed less. The exact same calories over 24 hours led to weight gain. Same process has been proven in every animal species ever studied. Can you compress your calories into 12 hours, then 11, then.........6? What was more amazing is that it didn't matter what type of calories the compressed timing mice ate. (Unending chocolate ice cream?)

What you have done is to activate your "metabolic gym".  You have turned on all the genes that make the enzymes for you to make ketones.   Your metabolism can switch back and forth between carb and fat burning. Your brain learns to run on ketones, as do your muscles, your gut, and your kidneys...... And your body starts bathing in the wonderful, metabolic effects of ketone magic. (Read next week)

Now, there is a lovely little trick you can do to keep nudging yourself into ketosis. You can have coffee with a tablespoon of MCT oil in it. What is MCT oil? Mid Chain Triglycerides. It is a byproduct of coconut oil with carbon fat chains that are only 8 and 10 carbons long. Those are liquid. They go directly into your fat cells and can only be broken down into ketones. Add a tablespoon of MCT oil to your coffee (they have no flavor) and your blood ketones pop right up. You will feel the energy boost and very likely also feel your thinking to be a bit clearer.

www.What will Work for me. I've learned to do this and am now finally, at the point of feeling confident that it is not too hard. The bottle of MCT oil is finally empty, after using 1 T a day. Most importantly for me is that my average blood glucose has dropped some 20 points and my waist size has dropped two notches on my belt. I have been using Ketone Esters, another nifty trick to make ketones, regularly when I feel a little woozy and thing I'm short of fuel. They are amazing for giving you your energy back in 5 minutes. Two molecules of ketones, bonded together in an ester bond, gets into my blood faster than any other food source, and raises your ketone level very rapidly without turning on insulin. Try it.

References: Science News , Cell Metabolism, Ketones - The Fourth Fuel, Unlocking the Ketone Code, J Lipid Research, Jr Lipid Research, The Longevity Diet

Pop Quiz

1. What is a ketone? Answer:                      The "Fourth Fuel". It is the fragment of a fat molecule that is the common pathway of fat burning, or weight loss. Carbs, fat and protein are the first three.

2. What does ketosis mean?                  Answer: That you have turned on making ketones.

3. How do you do that?                  Answer: By not eating for 12 hours and burning out your carb tank of glycogen.

4. Can you do it faster than 12 hours?                            Answer: Of course. That's why exercise is so good for you. It uses up your carb tank and switches you over to ketones.

5. Can you raise your ketones faster than sitting around waiting for hunger?                            Answer: Yup. Just a tablespoon of coconut oil will do it. Put it in your coffee and call if Bullet Proof Coffee.