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The Ketogenic Diet

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The Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet (or keto diet) is a low carb, high fat diet. It can be beneficial for weight loss and has shown to have certain health benefits.

How does a ketogenic diet work?

When you are on a keto diet you restrict carbohydrates and protein and consume more fats. As a result, your body’s main source of energy becomes fat instead of glucose. When this happens, your body enters a state known as ketosis, which is the formation and elevation of ketones in the body. 

What is the optimal level of ketones?

It depends on your goal. According to Phinney and Volek (2012), “nutritional ketosis begins at molecular concentration levels of 0.5 mmol/L. That means that the minute you cross that 0.5 threshold, you’re “in ketosis”. From there, nutritional ketosis is considered “light” through 1.0 mmol/L (light is still good!), then becomes “optimal” in the 1.0 mmol/L through 3.0 mmol/L range”. However, your goal will determine the optimal level. In other words, your optimal level will differ depending on whether you want to lose weight or prevent illness.

If you are incorporating the keto diet into your lifestyle for weight loss, achieving “light nutritional ketosis,” or 0.5 mmol/L-1.0 mmol/L, is a good starting point. However, if you are aiming for specific health benefits such as epilepsy, cancer, or endocrine and metabolic disorders, ketone levels should be in the range of 3.0 mmol/L -5.0 mmol/L. It is important to remain realistic and safe when aiming for levels of ketosis. The orange and red zones are almost impossible to achieve and should not be attempted by anyone except those with type 1 diabetes. Always seek guidance from a medical professional before starting a new diet plan. 

Medical benefits of a ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is celebrated for its weight loss benefits. However, a keto diet may be beneficial for traumatic brain recovery, multiple sclerosis, and anti-ageing. 

According to a recent study, ketones “decrease oxidative stress, increase antioxidants, and scavenge free radicals.” However, although these processes are beneficial to the brain, the results were achieved in animal studies. What has nevertheless been proven in human studies is that a ketogenic diet is effective at reducing seizures.

On the other hand, patients who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and adopt a keto diet may see a multitude of benefits. UVA Today recently reported that a research study co-authored by UVA Health showed that “Patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis who adopted a high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet saw significant improvements in their MS – including reductions in neurologic disability, fatigue and depression and heightened overall quality of life.”4

The ketogenic diet additionally has a positive effect on ageing pathways. Ketone bodies are shown to improve mitochondrial function and biogenesis, with increased health-span, lifespan and cellular energy production. This stimulates Sirtuin genes, and particularly the Sirtuin genes that help the production of ATP by stimulating the mitochondria.

How to track your ketones

To achieve ketosis, your body burns fat for fuel. However, it can be difficult to determine whether your diet needs to be adjusted. For this reason, a blood ketone test can be beneficial. The FORA 6 Blood Ketone Test is a reliable and accurate way to measure the ketones in your body. The test strips are designed for people with diabetes or on a keto diet who prefer a self-testing option.

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