“My ketostick is showing purple, it means I am keto adapted right?”
“I am on keto for months and my urine strip is negative for the last couple of days. Am I no longer in ketosis”?
“I ate a cookie yesterday, today my ketostix is negative, I am no longer keto adapted?”
Do you identify yourself with any of those questions? I do come across all of them frequently in our facebook group and page. Which one of them is right? NONE. Yes, none of them is right.
Now you ask. What the heck? I have always heard that all of those would be correct!!! You are most probably confusing (like thousands do) ketosis and keto adaptation.
I am not a fan of long posts that go in and around a subject, making us need to pass it through a sieve to eliminate the junk and understand the important info, so, lets try to explain in a clear and concise way.
What are ketones?
Ketones are water soluble molecules derived from the breakdown of fatty acids in the liver, comprising three types: acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutirate and acetone. Ketones are converted into acetyl-CoA that is oxidized in your body for energy. In the brain, ketons are used to make acetyl-CoA into long chain fatty acids.
Ketones are what shifts your body from a glucose burner to a fat burner for energy when you move from a high carb to a keto diet, and you do not have glucose to burn for energy.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a shift from a glucose (carbohydrates) burning for energy to fat burning for energy. When you get into ketosis you start using fat for energy BUT in limited amounts. The enzymes used for breaking down fat are different form the ones used for breaking down glucose. When you enter ketosis you do not yet have enough enzymes to efficiently convert fat. That is the reason why your energy levels are low at the beginning to the keto diet and you feel tired and sluggish.Your body will produce ketones, but will not use them efficiently and they will be excreted through urine (acetoacetate)!
AHHHHHHHHH that is why urine strips show positive for ketones!!! You ARE in ketosis.
What is keto adaptation?
Keto adaptation is when your body is efficiently using ketones for energy and your metabolism is efficiently a fat burning metabolism. A keto adapted person, does no longer excrete ketones in urine as it is using them efficiently!!! Keto adaptation lasts from a few weeks to months and fat becomes your preferred fuel.
AHHHHHHHHH that is why my ketostix are negative suddenly, in spite of doing everything right and being strict for a month. Yes!!!!!! You are keto adapted
Hummm and how will I know if I am in ketosis if my urine is no longer excreting ketones?
You can use a blood monitor (measures BHA) or a breath monitor (measures acetone) to measure your ketone levels.
What does keto adaptation result in?
- Improved fuel delivery to the brain
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Muscle sparing
- Less lactate build up
- Decreased fatigue
- Mental clarity
- High energy
- Faster recovery time between exercise
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved defense system
And what happens when I eat carbs? Is there a difference if I have a cheat meal before keto adapted and after keto adapted?
Yes, there is.
When you are starting keto, when you have a cheat meal you are thrown out of ketosis. You have to restart the process, and the more you cheat the longer it takes to get to the adaptation stage.You will also gain water weight, and feel bad physically, the keto flu may return.
When you are already keto adapted, and you cheat, carbs will still be a preferred energy source over fat and while your body is still using carbs and processing them you will not burn fat. However, as you are fat adapted, when all glucose is used, you will get back into ketosis faster, as all enzymes as well as the metabolic changes your body need to burn fat are set up to burn fat for fuel .
Ahhhhhhhh so I can cheat right?
Why would you? (there is a post about cheating that explains why I chose not to)
If you feel all benefits from the keto diet in your health and weight loss, why would you want to do that to your body? Is it worth it?
Do more ketones mean more weight loss?
Absolutely not! High ketone levels does not necessarily mean more weight loss. The level of ketones shown in your blood will simply tell you how much energy to be used you are producing, not how much fat you are burning.
Keto is a great tool to lose weight as it will use your body fat for energy. That coupled with the less hunger you feel (keto is naturally appetite depriving) levels, you lead to eating less and using your stored fat for energy, burning that fat and consequently losing weight.