The human body generates energy by transforming glucose produced by breaking down carbohydrates. However, when glucose is lacking during periods of low food intake, diet, starvation, intense exercise or conditions like hypoglycemia, the body begins to break down other alternative sources like ketones to generate energy.
This post aims to give a general overview of exogenous ketones and explore some of their potential benefits.
Think of the body as a complex machine designed for the task of living. Like any other machine, how well it performs depends on how efficiently it can convert inputs into outputs. Altering these two factors can optimize performance. Nootropic supplements and ketogenic dieting are two of the best ways to do this, but instead of only using one or the other, the two strategies can be combined to achieve maximum human performance.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT Oil) have dramatically gained in popularity in Australia. MCTs are a subset of saturated fatty acids that, when used appropriately, have unique biological effects ranging from enhanced cognitive performance to accelerated weight loss. MCTs can be found in coconut and palm oil, dairy products, Bulletproof XCT oil and Bulletproof Brain Octane oil. Note that Bulletproof MCT oils are 100% derived from coconut oil. Some other brands may still source from palm oil.
Our modern lifestyles are slowly killing us: by overeating and being excessively sedentary, we might have brought upon ourselves an epidemic in metabolic diseases. Our body is not optimized for these modern ways of life and we can’t change that overnight, nor even in the course of a few generations. Evolution is slow.
Throughout evolution, the survival of humans may have greatly depended on the constraints of needing to acquire food. Food deprivation was most likely one of the biggest energetic and evolutionary challenges to our bodies - it is likely that many of our ancestors could only acquire food during daytime, having to fast for long hours; it is also likely that long periods of food scarcity were common. So, those who were able to endure in these conditions ended up being favoured by evolution.
The fact that our bodies store fat as a backup long-term, high-energy source, and that we can survive relying solely on it for a fair amount of time, is an indication of how human evolution prepared us (and maybe even optimized us) to go through periods of fasting.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat, adequate protein diet. This dietary pattern changes the way our body produces energy – its basic principle is to get your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis where carbohydrate stores are depleted and fat becomes the main energy source. The name ketosis comes from the molecules that the liver starts to produce from fat to be used as fuel - ketone bodies or ketones.
Ketone-fuelling has become a lifestyle approach of choice because it allows fast weight loss with no harm to physical or mental performance and resistance. In fact, an effective transition to ketosis may actually improve these outcomes.
On a regular or high-carbohydrate diet, our body is in a state optimized for the use of dietary carbohydrates. But in a continuous state of carbohydrate restriction, the body puts its plan B in motion, switching gears such as to become more efficient at using fat as the main energy source. Ketosis boosts the body's capacity to use fats as fuel.
I'm a Nutritionist and Ketogenic advocate, and my partner and I eat Keto six days per week but allow ourselves a carb day every weekend. We practice intermittent fasting and we weight train three to five times per week. We have both been in nutritional ketosis for six months now and it has supercharged our lives!
I've personally experienced a great improvement in body composition with a drop in body fat from 22% to 12%. Keto has given me increased mental clarity and focus, and it has brought with it a real sense of systemic calm. My blood sugar remains stable all day long and I no longer crave carbohydrates.
I’ve fasted before. I’ve water fasted. I’ve fat fasted. I’ve juice fasted. I once subsisted entirely on cold pressed vegetable juice and coconut water for 14 days.... and wanted to go longer.
So yes, I’ve fasted before. And these are some of the things I learnt.