[ Posted by Mr. Intensity @ www.dorianyates.net]
What exactly is Ketosis? The metabolic state of ketosis simply means that the quantity of ketone bodies in the blood have reached higher than normal levels. When the body is in a ketogenic state this means that lipid energy metabolism is intact. This means that the body will start breaking down your own body fat to fuel the body's normal, every day functions.
What's So Great About Being In Ketosis?
Establishing this metabolic state of ketosis even for a short period of time has many outstanding benefits.
The main benefit being that it increases the body's ability to utilize fats for fuel, which gets very lazy on a high carbohydrate diet. When on high carbohydrate diets the body can usually expect an energy source to keep entering the body. But in the state of ketosis the body has to become efficient at mobilizing fats as energy.
Another nifty thing about being in a state of ketosis is that if the body has no further use for ketones they can simply be excreted through urine as a waste product. This means that at times your body will be peeing out body fat! This is a novel theme because you body is very efficient at storing energy substrates for later use.
Ketosis has a protein sparing effect, assuming that you are consuming adequate quantities of protein and calories in the first place. Once in ketosis the body actually prefers ketones to glucose. Since the body has copious quanities of fat this means that there is no need to oxidize protein to generate glucose through gluconeogenesis.
Another benefit has to do with the low levels of insulin in the body, which causes greater lipolysis and free glycerol release compared to a normal diet when insulin is around 80-120. Insulin has a lipolysis blocking effect, which can inhibit the use of fatty acids as energy. Also when insulin is brought to low levels many beneficial hormones are released in the body such as growth hormone and other powerful growth factors.
Another small but very important benefit about the ketogenic diet is that when in the state of ketosis, ketones seem to blunt hunger in many people. I mean honestly, what is not better than being on a low calorie diet and not being hungry all the time like you usually are such as on a high carbohydrate diet. Since on the ketogenic diet you have to consume a lot of fat, which hold 9 calories, you are not getting much food volume. This makes not being hungry a very good thing when on the diet. When you add such thermogenics like the ECA stack and prescription appetite suppressants you won't even think about your next meal. It's kind of funny that when the Atkins' diet first came out one of the early criticisms was that the diet blunted hunger too much! What, is it mandatory to be hungry on a reduced calorie diet?
The last benefit has to do with the fact that a ketone body is an inefficient fuel source due to the fact that when the fatty acid is converted to a KB it contains 7 calories. This means that the normal pound of fat has less than 3500 calories.
Where Is The Scientific Data?
The state of ketosis is to the most part controlled by insulin, glucagon, and blood glucose levels. Insulin is one of the hormones that the pancreas secretes in the presence of carbohydrates. Insulin's purpose is to keep blood glucose levels in check by acting like a driver, pushing the glucose in the blood into cells. If insulin were not to be secreted blood glucose levels would get out of control and this would not be good for the body.
Glucagon on the other side of the spectrum is insulin's antagonistic hormone which is also secreted by the pancreas when insulin falls to quite low levels, this usually happens when a person skips meals, or does not consume adequate amounts of carbohydrates for an extended period of time. When this happens glucagon is secreted by the pancreas to break down stored glycogen in the liver into a more usable form, glucose. But what happens if this continues and liver glycogen runs out? This is where the metabolic state of ketosis comes in, because the pancreas can also start breaking down free fatty acids into a usable energy substrate, also known as ketones, or ketone bodies.