They certainly do look good. You were sick of dragging all that extra weight around, and were more than ready for all of the other benefits attributed to keto. After all, who could argue with heart health, better brain function, increased focus and more energy? Stop worrying, and have another serving of bacon and eggs. Extra bacon, please! It means the diet is working. The keto diet causes major changes in the way your body processes, uses and stores the food you eat.
Energy levels are a huge indicator of health and longevity, lack of which is a major reason people transition from a standard western diet to a ketogenic diet. Energy levels are key when it comes to making good choices, exercise, sleep, and work output, all of which are made much more difficult if you are suffering from low energy levels. During the beginning phase of a ketogenic diet, there is a period of adaptation that has to take place, where the body transitions from burning glucose as fuel to fatty acids and ketones. This adaptation period will differ on an individual basis, but it can take up to several weeks before energy and other markers are back to—and usually higher than—normal levels. During the adaptation period, your levels of fat oxidation will rise, and your levels of carbohydrate oxidation will fall; for this reason, it is not uncommon to experience fatigue and other symptoms of an energy shortage. Another notable adaptation seen at the beginning of a ketogenic diet is the change in glycogen levels throughout the body. After this point, the body restores and maintains its glycogen levels via gluconeogenesis where protein is metabolized into glucose. This change in glycogen levels is responsible for a loss of water and electrolytes, which are crucial to the daily functions of the body—their levels must be maintained to avoid feeling fatigued, sluggish, weak, and more. Because of this adaptation process, it is necessary to approach a ketogenic diet in an educated manner. Without holding the knowledge around what the adaptation phase is and how best to avoid the potential negatives that it can entail, it is easy to see how any negative experiences when starting a ketogenic diet could curtail its expectations of sustainability and thus its success. However, there are a couple of simple tips that can make the transitioning phase a bit easier.
Andrew Scott does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. After we eat, the body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar known as glucose, which it uses for energy. But the ketogenic diet is based on research from the s that found lowering the availability of carbohydrates made the body rely more on using other substances such as fat for energy. Any diet containing less than 20g per day of carbohydrate is deemed to be ketogenic. The production of ketones by the liver indicates that fat, instead of sugar, is being metabolised and that this fat is close to our entire source of energy. This is thought to correlate to weight loss but really correlates with an altered blood insulin profile. Whether this enhances weight loss compared to other diets is debatable, since withdrawal of carbohydrates results in losses in body water, exaggerating the appearance of weight loss.