With the increasing popularity of low carb diets in recent years, the term ketones has gained the attention of many researchers and nutrition experts all over the world. Yet, not a lot of people are aware of what ketones really are and what they do in the body.
There is plenty of misinformation regarding the concept of ketones and if you’re on the ketogenic diet, it’s important that you are fully aware of ketones and their role in your diet.
What Are Ketones?
Also known as the ketone bodies, ketones are byproducts of the body after breaking down fat for energy, which occurs when your intake of carbohydrates is low. Dr Jockers, a functional nutritionist, says:
For our ancestors, eating three meals a day just wasn’t a thing. Instead they would hunt and forage for the foods they could find. When there wasn’t food, they wouldn’t eat. What this means is that sometimes they would go for days at a time with no food. To sustain life during times of scarcity, the body is thought to have developed the ability to utilize fat as an alternative fuel source.
Here is how it happens:
• When there is not enough glucose in your body, which is what the body uses for fuel and your glycogen levels have been depleted, your insulin and blood sugar will be lowered, and as a result, your body will look for an alternative source of fuel – fats.
• When the body starts to break down fats to be used for energy, ketones are produced and used as fuel for the brain and body, and this process is known as ketosis.
• People on the ketogenic diet intentionally reduce their consumption of carbohydrates in order to produce ketones to be used as energy.
A lot of people rely on the process of ketosis by following the ketogenic diet in order to lower their blood pressure, improve cholesterol level, reduce cravings, encourage weight loss and improve their energy levels.
Types of Ketone Bodies
There are technically three different types of ketone bodies:
• Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB)
• Acetoacetate (AcAc)
Both the beta-hydroxybutyric acid and acetoacetate are responsible in the transportation of energy from the liver to other tissues of the body. During ketogenesis, which takes place when the ketone bodies are produced as a result of the breakdown of fatty acids, the acetoacetate (AcAc) is produced. The Beta-hydroxybutyrate is formed out of the acetoacetate. On the other hand, acetone is the simplest and the least used ketone in the body, and is produced spontaneously as the side product of acetoacetate.
Ketone Level Warnings
It’s very important for those who have diabetes to be aware of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a process that makes the blood become acidic once the ketone level reaches an extremely high, dangerous level. This can happen if diabetics who are sick are not taking enough fluids.
For most people, there’s really no need to be concerned about the production of ketones since they are immediately used or eliminated from the body and are part of the process of burning fats that can lead to healthy weight loss.
Ketones can have lots of beneficial role in the many aspects of our life, especially in our overall health, weight loss, and energy efficiency. Understanding the details regarding ketones and how they fit in the scope of low carb diet and ketosis is the key to the success of your weight loss goals.