When talking about Ketogenic Diet it is always necessary to remember what is the origin of its name: Ketosis. In this article you are going to learn how the body normally produces energy and what is Ketosis, seeing also some of the characteristics of this metabolic state.
How Your Body Gets Energy
Now, let’s assume for a moment that the human body is a machine, an extraordinary machine!
We all know that a machine needs fuel in order to function.
The human body is designed to burn as the first fuel a substance called glucose.
In case there is not enough glucose available to meet the energy demand then the body will start burning stored fat to satisfy the demand.
In case you are confused about the word glucose.
Glucose is a substance that our body produces from carbohydrates that we eat, for example sugar and starchy food.
As mentioned before, the glucose is the preferred fuel in normal circumstances.
We can break down the normal process as follow:
- We eat sugar and carbs food (rice, pasta, bread, fruits, milk, honey, sugar)
- The body breaks down carbs and produces glucose
- Glucose is in our blood stream ready to be used
- Part of the glucose is stored in the muscles and liver
- The body burns glucose to generate energy for vital and extra functions (breath, heart beat, walk, move, think and so on)
- Glucose in excess is transformed in fat for medium/long term storage
It is brilliant to see how the human body is able to adapt to changes.
What Is Ketosis
Now that you know that your body has a primary fuel, the glucose, and that it can adapt in case this is missing, we can explain what is Ketosis.
We all have some stored fat somewhere in our body.
Depending on the individual the body fat can be focused in some spots or distributed.
The percentage of body fat also usually determines how “lean” someone looks.
Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body breaks down stored fat in order to produce energy.
More in details, if the body doesn’t have enough glucose available it will start breaking down fat and send it to the liver to have glucose produced from it.
This process is also called Ketogenesis, that means, creation of Ketones. Ketones are a by-product due to Ketosis.
The Ketogenic Diet is a nutrition regime that triggers Ketosis.
To explain in other words the mechanism is:
- The body has a secondary fuel stored in the form of fat
- In case there is not sufficient glucose to satisfy the demand the body will Enter in a metabolism state of Ketosis
- Stored fat is sent to the liver
- The liver breaks down fat and produces glucose from it
- The glucose is “burnt” to generate energy
- Ketones are produced as part of the Ketosis process
Once again we can see how magnificent the human body is.
In this article you learned what is Ketosis and some details about this mechanism.
To sum it up again, you know that the human body has a primary source of energy, Glucose, and a storage of energy in the form of Fat.
Glucose is normally produced as a consequence of eating sugars and carbs.
In case of a shortage of glucose the body will enter in a metabolism state of Ketosis, where it will break down stored fat to produce glucose and as a consequence, energy. Ketosis will create Ketones, a chemical substance, as part of the process.
Ketosis has advantages and disadvantages and it can be induced following a specific nutrition and fitness regime.