When we metabolize fat for fuel – when we in short supply of glucose for fuel (thus the point of balancing blood sugar levels and reducing insulin shortages), the by products are fatty acids and ketones. The three parts of the ketone bodies are beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetone, and acetate. When we limit carbohydrates in our diet and consume more healthy fats (another blog on what fats to eat to come!) and moderate protein (remember protein can convert into glucose/sugars), then train our body to breakdown fat stores for fuel. BURN FAT not SUGAR, right?
Carbohydrates are broken down (metabolized) into forms of glucose for fuel but then we depend on glucose instead of fat for our main fuel source. NOT the goal for slowing down the aging process, optimizing health, and improving performance.
Ketones are produced in the liver from breaking down fat. The body uses the ketones for fuel just as it would for glucose- in the brain, in the muscles and the heart. The brain needs lots of energy as obviously we need it, as well as the heart, non-stop 24-7 for performance -or to live! The brain can run on glucose – or ketones.
How do we switch to burning fat?
As I said, first we need to work on our digestion system and balancing our nervous system. If you read my book “LIFE IS NOT A RACE” or my “The WHOLESTIC Method Manual” – you will be familiar about testing your heart rate variability and the role of the vagal nerve (vagal tone). We need to be in the parasympathetic nervous system, or called “rest and digest”, (PNS) to digest our food properly. The challenge – or rather the area of opportunity is for us is to improve our resiliency to switch from sympathetic, “run from a lion” or the “fight or flight”, (SNS). Most of us are sympathetic dominance- including kids, teens, and college students. The adrenals are constantly working (Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis specifically) and we are chronically stressed. As I said in my book, anything too much is toxic, anything too little leads to deficiencies. How much “stress” can you tolerate without overfilling your “beaker” and reaching your tipping point in life? Chronic anything is toxic and will lead to imbalances in your body systems…including your ability to digest fats and balance your blood sugar.
Every stress response is a blood sugar response.
So, you can eat more fat and eat low carbohydrate diet but still burn sugar. We want to be able to access fat cells for fuel and burn fat. When we breakdown ketones – we are in what they say is “ketosis”. Ketones help with improve focus, concentration, and clarity plus more benefits. I feel the focus is to become a fat burner over a sugar burner- so don’t worry about the ketosis part as it will come naturally. Focus on managing your blood sugar for now and you will quickly feel the benefits of burning fat and ketones.
How to become a fat burner machine?
- Manage stress levels.
- Reduce blood sugar levels.
- Eat in parasympathetic state (“rest and digest” system)
- Change your macronutrient ratios- carbs/proteins/fats to reduce insulin surges
- Track your carbohydrates, proteins, and fats on an app- try starting point of 50 grams of carbohydrates per day from colorful, organic leafy low-glycemic vegetables per day.
- Exercise daily with 2-3 interval (HIIT) training per week when appropriate (use heart rate monitor)
- Try adding guided meditation, breathing exercises, slow yin yoga or other relaxation exercises daily.
- Fasting -try not eating after your last meal of the day (not eating close to bedtime) and wait around 15 hours until your next meal the following day.
- Sleeping…solid 7-9 hours per night. You should be burning fat while you are sleeping- releasing melatonin and growth hormone while your body systems are repairing and detoxifying overnight- not digesting your food or raising the cortisol levels.
What are the benefits of being “keto” – besides the obvious burning fat and losing weight? When you limit carbohydrates, then you will be switching the button to breakdown and metabolize those fat cells that are available and waiting for you to access daily!
- Brain fuel- focus, concentration, and clarity
- Long lasting energy and steady supply of fuel
- Lowered appetite and reduced cravings for sugar
- Fuel for exercise- endurance
I would like to research more about ketosis for endurance exercise also consider ketosis for kids with ADHD and ADD as the health of our youth or our future are scaring me! Also more about the gut-brain connection and the micro-biome. So much to explore, learn and share!
More to come!
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
The WHOLESTIC Method