Ketosis is simply a state in which the body is primarily using fat, and fat-derived molecules called ketones, for fuel instead of glucose.
Our modern, industrialized, 21st century diet is predominately carbohydrate based, which leads to chronically elevated insulin and blood sugar levels. This process drives the accumulation of adipose (fat) tissue, and leads most people down a path toward diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and general metabolic derangement. Much of the rationale behind implementing a ketogenic diet, (which is a diet that induces a state of ketosis), is that it can help to reverse these pathological processes in most individuals.
To induce a state of ketosis, one must drastically decrease the amount of carbohydrates in one’s diet. By then increasing the percentage of fat one consumes, (in most cases amounting to 70-80 percent of total caloric intake), one is able to maintain this state for an indefinite amount of time, until carbohydrate consumption is once again increased above a certain threshold. Ketosis is a useful tool to have in our health and diet arsenal because it allows us to enter a state of enhanced fat burning, energy stability, and appetite control; it improves insulin sensitivity and metabolic flexibility; and helps to reverse much of the damage wrought by the glucose centered modern diet.
Although ketosis can require an initial adaption phase that some have dubbed “the keto flu”, the unpleasant effects of this transition, which are by no means experienced by everyone, can be eliminated through the use of exogenous ketone salts, medium chain triglyceride oil, or proper electrolyte intake.
Ketosis is a safe, effective, metabolic condition that enhances fat burning and also offers a host of potential performance, cognitive, health and longevity benefits. Although ketosis can be a very useful metabolic state, it is not necessary to live in it at all times. Some do, and report great benefits and quality of life. For the majority of the population, however, especially those who are simply looking for increased fat loss, general improvements to health and well being, and a greater awareness of their bodies, ketosis would better serve to be understood as health and performance tool.
The one of the ultimate desirable results for most people looking to improve health and/or performance, that is, much of what consists of the desired, achievable state of health, entails the realization of something called metabolic flexibility. Metabolic flexibility endows the individual with the ability to live, feel, and perform well, with varied fuel sources, in varied situations, at varied levels of stress and exertion. Ketosis is a valuable tool that helps many people progress toward the realization of this goal.