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What Is Ketogenesis And Why Is It A Part Of The New Health Craze?

what is ketogenesis

One of the methods to consciously change your body is through ketosis. Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof Coffee and author of New York Times bestseller The Bulletproof Diet, managed to lose about 100 pounds by getting into a state of ketogenesis. So what’s this all about and can we all use these techniques?

Dave Asprey is considered to be one of the foremost bio-hackers in the world. According to Dave, biohacking is the art and science of changing the environment around you so that your body and biology do what you want them to do.

Dave completely transformed his body with a biohacking state called ketogenesis. And besides Dave Asprey, Vishen Lakhiani also reshaped his body with biohacking.

So what’s there to learn?

Dave Asprey ketogenesis
A photo of Dave Asprey

What Is Ketogenesis?

Ketogenesis is a biochemical process in which the body produces a group of substances known as ketone bodies.

Ketone bodies are produced by breaking down fatty acids and ketogenic amino acids. Ketogenesis supplies our organs, especially the brain, with needed energy under circumstances (such as fasting).

Insufficient ketogenesis can lead to hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar.

On the other hand, excessive production of ketone bodies can lead to ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition that is the result of extremely high levels of ketones and blood sugar.

Dave Asprey doesn’t stay in ketosis all the time.

Instead, he uses cyclical ketosis and surfs in and out of this state. He found out that cyclical ketosis gave him more willpower, energy, and resilience without the consequences that come with long-term ketosis.

What Are Ketones?

Ketones, or ketone bodies, are byproducts of the process in which the body breaks down fat for needed energy when carbohydrate intake is low.

Here is an explanation of the entire process:

When you eat foods that contain carbs or great amounts of protein, your body will break them into sugar (known as glucose). Typically, glucose is the main source of fuel for most people and our body needs it to be able to perform daily activities.

When there isn’t a sufficient level of glucose available in the body, it will search for alternative sources of fuel – fat.

This occurs when a person is fasting, starving, or eating a low-carb, ketogenic diet.

So, when your body has no access to glucose, the body will burn fat and form ketones to be used as the fuel for the body and brain.

This process is known as ketosis.

Some people intentionally reduce their carbohydrate intake so that the body can create ketones and use them for energy. People also use ketogenesis to lower their blood pressure, improve cholesterol, help with epileptic seizures, and encourage weight loss.

It appears that our brain and body prefer using ketones and can run more efficiently when they use ketones instead of glucose.

How Does Ketosis Work?

When your liver starts breaking down fat your body will release glycerol and fatty acid molecules. This is where ketogenesis steps in; it breaks down the fatty acid even further to produce a ketone body called acetoacetate. Then, this ketone body is converted into two other types of ketone bodies:

  • Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) – your muscles convert acetoacetate into BHB since the brain prefers it as its fuel.
  • Acetone – body excretes it as waste and it is responsible for the smelly breath.

By regular intake of fat and protein, the ketogenic process will use ketosis to create ketone bodies for fuel and preserve our muscle tissue. If we do not intake enough protein and fats, your body will start burning muscle tissues to make the glucose that it needs.

In order for ketosis to work, you need to make sure you intake sufficient amount of fat and protein on a daily basis. If you want to maintain a proper ketogenic diet, you want to force your body into this metabolic state through the starvation of carbohydrates and not the starvation of calories.

What Is The Ketogenic Diet?

Based on all this new knowledge you have, you can conclude that the ketogenic diet is actually a low-carb and high-fat diet.

It involves reducing carbohydrate intake which will put your body in ketosis and replace the carbs with fat. Th ketogenic diet is very likely to reduce your levels of blood sugar and insulin and this can have numerous health benefits.

According to an increasing number of studies, ketogenic diet is a great tool for weight loss that will also reduce the risk factors for heart diseases, diabetes, epilepsy, stroke, and more.

It can take up to a week until your body enters ketosis. Once it does, it will start using the stored body fat and the fat you eat for energy instead of carbs.

What To Eat On A Ketogenic Diet?

Getting into ketosis

Before you start your ketogenic diet you will need to make your diet plan upfront. How fast you get into a ketogenic state depends on how careful you are with what you eat. The less carbohydrates you eat, the faster you will enter ketosis.

Your carbohydrates should be limited and come from vegetables, dairy, and nuts. You should avoid eating refined carbohydrates such as wheat, starch, or fruit. Some exceptions are berries, star fruit, and avocado which can be consumed in small amounts.

Also make sure that your diet is high in healthy fats. Dave Asprey talks a lot about healthy fats, such as fish oil, Omega’s, MCT oil (or coconut oil) avocado, etc.

Foods You Should Avoid:

  • Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
  • Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
  • Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
  • Tubers – potato, yams, etc.

Foods You Should Eat

  • Meats – fish, beef, lamb, poultry, chicken
  • Leafy Greens – such as spinach, kale
  • Above ground vegetables – such as broccoli and cauliflower
  • High Fat Dairy – hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter
  • Nuts and seeds – macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds
  • Berries – raspberries, blackberries, and other low-glycemic impact berries
  • Other fats – coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, and saturated fats

Ketogenic Diet And Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

When combined with intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet will do wonders in terms of losing weight.

Intermittent fasting does not mean restricting your calories. Instead, it means scheduling your meals so you can get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting only changes when you eat, not what you eat.

Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight and keep your muscle mass. It doesn’t involve cutting your calories. In fact, you will want to keep your calorie intake the same.

How does intermittent fasting work?

Your body has two states – the fed state and the fasted state.

When your body is in the fed state it is digesting and absorbing food. This state starts from the moment you eat and it lasts for up to five hours. It is very hard for your body to burn fat in this state.

After this state is over, your body enters the post-absorptive state in which it doesn’t process any food. This state lasts from 8 to 12 hours after your last meal and it is much easier for you to burn fat in this state.

Since it takes our body so long to enter this fasted state, it spends so little time burning calories. This is why many people start intermittent fasting and combine it with their ketogenic diet.

Intermittent fasting will put your body in a fat burning state – this is something you can’t achieve with a normal eating schedule. To understand this type of fasting, here is one example of intermittent fasting – you skip breakfast, eat around 1 p.m., then again around 8 p.m. This way, you will fast for 16 hours before your meal at 1 p.m. the next day.

Another rule-of-thumb would be to only eat in a 9-12 hour window throughout the day (depending on how strongly you would like to fast).

How Much Ketosis Is Enough?

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned Dave Asprey and his cyclical ketosis.

Dave found out that he has more willpower and energy when he switches to ketosis every now and then rather than being in this state constantly.

Besides using biohacking, here are some other tips from Dave Asprey to boost your willpower. Here is a video of his talk at A-Fest:

 

If you spend too much time on a ketogenic diet, you risk getting too high ketone production which can lead to a dangerous state called ketoacidosis.

Theoretically, you can stay on a permanent ketogenic diet and state but you risk experiencing some side effects.

To prevent any negative side effects of a ketogenic state, it would be smart to resupply your carbs and glucose levels at least once a week.


What do you think about bio-hacking and ketogenesis?

Would you ever give it a try?

Let us know your opinion in the comments below!

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