A large component of the carbohydrates we eat are sugars or are converted to sugars in our body. People are generally confused about what the word "Sugar" really means and assume that sugars from natural foods, like fruit, somehow behave differently in the body compared to something like table sugar (Sucrose). The word “natural sugars” causes misconception because we immediately assume that fruits are not a type of carbohydrate sugar that is bad for us, since they are “natural”, and so in turn they don’t contribute to weight gain. The truth is, the simple sugars in our diets (Glucose, Fructose and Sucrose) all have the same outcomes and all contribute to weight gain in one way or another.
Glucose and Sucrose generally behave in the same way and are used by both the brain and muscles. Excess of these is converted to Glycogen by both the liver and the muscles of the body. As a matter of fact, the type of sugar in fruit is called “fructose” and it is stored in the liver as glycogen. If fructose is not utilised immediately as energy, it is quickly converted to fat. Once fructose goes into liver glycogen stores, it can NOT be reused as energy for muscles or the brain and contributes directly to fat storage. In addition, people are also ignorant to the fact that milk contains a lot of sugar in the form of lactose which is eventually converted to glucose in the body. As a result, people are essentially eating a lot more carbohydrate sugars than they realise, which undoubtedly gets in the way of weight loss. So, what are some foods that contain carbohydrates or sugar?
Now that we know what carbohydrates are we can discuss why they make you fat.
If you are carrying belly fat, chances are you have a disease called Insulin resistance. After you eat a meal filled with carbohydrates or sugars, your blood sugar (glucose) level rises. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps remove glucose out of your bloodstream and into cells. In addition, Insulin is a fat storage hormone. When Insulin is working efficiently, it converts your glucose into energy and stores the remaining unused amount in your muscles, fat cells and liver. If you are Insulin resistant (most commonly caused by carrying around excess body fat), Insulin loses its efficiency and instead stores much of the extra unused glucose as FAT.
This is where it gets interesting, if you become insulin resistant, the body will try to produce much larger amounts to try and counteract that resistance. Remember, Insulin is a fat storage hormone, so the more the body secretes, the more fat you store. But at the same time, excess body fat increases Insulin resistance and acts as a barrier to its normal function, not allowing your body to feel the effect of Insulin. Therefore the body has no choice but to make even more Insulin, more Insulin stores more fat, more body fat causes the body to secrete more Insulin and we end up in a vicious cycle of inevitable weight gain.
To clarify this point further, imagine calling a removalist company with 10 workers just to move one couch. What would be more efficient is to only have one worker move that couch to save money. Similarly, this is what happens if you are Insulin resistant, your body throws a great amount of Insulin to control glucose levels, where if Insulin was more efficient, it would only secrete a small amount of it to do the same job and in turn reduce that Insulin dependant weight gain that we talked about previously. To further hammer this point home, if we compare a skinny person to an overweight person, the skinnier person will make much less Insulin to control rising glucose levels verses an overweight person.
Over time, if your Insulin levels remain high (hyperinsulinaemia) you will develop high levels of Insulin resistance, which may in turn lead to diabetes and other serious health problems.
Hyperinsulinaemia (a result of consistently high Insulin levels due to a high level of glucose consumed in the diet) can be associated with the following serious health conditions:
Yes, it can, the less Insulin is being required, the more healing occurs. Insulin needs “time” to heal to work efficiently.
When you reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase your fat on a Ketogenic diet, your blood glucose will drop and become more stable, hence your body will make less Insulin since it’s no longer required in the same quantities when carbohydrates were present. This begins the recovery process to become Insulin SENSITIVE rather than RESISTANT, and immediately the body starts to feel the effect of Insulin and the need for it in large amounts is no longer required. A small amount of Insulin suffices in comparison when you were Insulin resistant. The advantage of being Insulin SENSITIVE is that you store less FAT when you reintroduce carbohydrates back into your diet.
There are two ways to get into ketosis:
Ketones are made up of beta hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. Nutritional ketosis is measured by the amount of beta hydroxybutyrate found in the blood using a dual glucometer. Nutritional ketosis is in the range of 0.5 and 3 mmol/L, where optimum ketosis is between 1.5 and 3 mmol/L.
Nutritional ketosis, where we restrict our carbohydrate to a minimal level, and replace with dietary fat (ketogenic diet).
Starvational ketosis, where not eating for a few days automatically changes bodies’ fuel source to ketones for survival and energy.
There are many studies that suggest that the brain functions better on ketones rather than glucose once in ketosis. Our bodies in certain conditions will naturally be in ketosis. An unborn fetus for example will use up to 40% of its required energy from ketones. In fact, from our research, we found many pregnant and breast feeding women naturally in mild ketosis while eating a large amount of c carbohydrates daily.
So what are macro percentages on a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet usually initially consists of:
Note: At times these proportions may need to be altered based on the advise of our qualified ketotrainer and according to individual needs and goals.