Ketosis, a natural physiological process

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Ketosis is a natural mechanism similar to fasting. Going into ketosis means removing foods containing carbohydrates, sugars, starches, etc. from your diet for a predefined time with your doctor, naturopath or dietitian as part of a personalized follow-up.

Foods contain several macronutrients that provide us with energy. These are proteins, fats and carbohydrates

What happens when you remove carbohydrates from your diet?

The pancreas (organ secreting insulin) no longer seeing the arrival of food sugar, will stop the secretion of insulin, or at least reduce it below 50%.

  • In the first 12 hours:

The body will draw on the last reserves of sugar present in the muscles and in the liver.

  • Between 12 and 24 hours:

No more fuel. The body will set up a first mechanism: the liver will draw the amino acids present in the muscle to transform them into “new” (or neo) sugar. This is called gluconeogenesis. This glucose (sugar) will therefore be used to supply vital organs (brain, heart, kidneys).

  • After 36 hours:

This is not enough. The body will therefore set up a second mechanism: the triglycerides of fat cells are released into the blood and will be transformed in the liver for 10% into “new” sugar or neo-glucose and 90% into ketone bodies. These ketone bodies will serve as a second fuel for vital organs (brain, heart, kidney, etc.).

Focus on ketone bodies:

Ketones have two amazing benefits for someone on a ketosis weight loss diet program:

An appetite suppressant or anorexogenic effect
A “booster” effect in particular on the brain (psychotonic)

If there is no protein intake in the normal amount, then, after a few days, the muscle will melt significantly to make sugar.

The advantage of protein intake is that it provides the liver with sufficient protein directly, which saves muscle mass. Because a ketosis without protein intake is to lose lean mass at the same time as fat mass.

With a sufficient protein intake, you lose fat by sparing your muscle mass without feeling hungry.

The interest of the ketogenic diet:

The ketogenic diet improves:

  • Epilepsy
  • Weight loss
  • Carbohydrate intolerance
  • Cardiovascular risk

It is recommended to do this once a year.

A ketogenic diet allows for rapid destocking and faster weight loss. Between -3 to -5 kg ​​per week.

Contraindications of the ketogenic diet:

However, as in all diets, there are a few precautions to take into account. It is therefore contraindicated to undertake a ketogenic diet in the event of:

  • Conditions which increase protein catabolism
  • Progressive heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Renal or hepatic impairment
  • Psychological disturbances
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • In children, adolescents or people over 70 (due to hyper catabolism)
  • Vital prognosis reserved in the medium term
  • Allergies to milk or egg proteins

Either way, never start a ketogenic diet alone! This dietary program must be decided with your doctor, your naturopath or your dietitian and must be established with medical monitoring.

Are there any side effects?

There are indeed side effects, however these effects are a sign that the ketogenic diet is going well, so they are normal.

  • Bad breath that results from the presence of a ketone body
  • Headache that can occur in 10% of people during the first 10 days of the diet
  • Menstrual disturbance, which occurs at the start of the fast due to the links between estrogen and fatty tissue. This is a good sign because it is a hormonal resynchronization process.
  • Constipation meaning that the intestines lack fiber. It is advisable to take a course of probiotics at the same time as the ketogenic diet to reduce the discomfort caused.
  • Orthostatic hypotension (nocturnal cramp), it is explained by a decrease in intravascular volume (volume of blood circulating in the veins) caused by a lack of sodium. In this case, it is necessary to adjust the sodium intake.
  • Muscular weakness. In this case, it suffices to adjust the potassium intake.

A little history :

It was in the USA in 1920 that the first work on very low calorie diets was born. Blum, began work on absolute fasting in 1959 but suffered a failure with convincing results and had to put an end to his work fairly quickly. It was then that Prof. Blackburn, a researcher and professor at Harvard University, began his work on fasting. It was in 1973 that Prof. Blackburn succeeded in establishing the body’s protein requirements to preserve muscle mass during a fast. His thesis in Biochemistry of Nutrition (Protein Sparing Modified Fast) highlights the benefits of protein fasting:

Loss of appetite
Protected muscle mass
Rapid mobilization of stored fat

In 1977, came the concept of chemical index in protein preparations. Since 1975, Dr JM Marineau (Quebec) has been developing Blackburn’s ideas and applying the principle of the protein diet on an outpatient basis, especially for the treatment of obesity. Since then, hundreds of works have been done around the world and millions of people have been treated with the method.

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