Keto 101 - Terminology and Resources

It's my 3-month keto-versary! How am I doing? Well let's just say I cleared out my cupboards of all carby foods (beans, rice, bread crumbs, etc.) and gave it all away to friends. I thought I'd start my keto update with the basics before I go into my latest changes regarding blood tests, fasting, etc. 

Keto Terminology and Information

Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones.

Ketones are byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy that occurs when carbohydrate intake is low.

Fat adaptedWhen in a fat-adapted metabolic state the body actually prefers to metabolize saturated fats, does so easily and at much higher rates than are considered possible by conventional standards of sports physiology. So now, rather than accumulate in the body, saturated fats become the most potent energy source.

Glycogen is a multibranched polysaccharide of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage in humans, animals, fungi, and bacteria. It is the main storage form of glucose in the body.

Gluconeogenesis (GNG) is a metabolic pathway that results in the generation of glucose from certain non-carbohydrate carbon substrates. It's the using of glucose (sugars) for fuel.

Putting it all together

Your body needs fuel to create energy to survive. Without food, our body dies. The food we consume comes in three basic forms: carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. 

The two types of energy the body can use come from either burning easily accessible sugars (glucose) or fat. When you burn sugars, it's gluconeogenesis. A popular analogy is to use an example of a refrigerator and freezer. You have a bunch of food frozen in the freezer, but it's faster and easier to just reach into the refrigerator to grab food. Gluconeogenesis is reaching into the frig for easy food.

Ketosis is using fat for fuel instead of sugars, but your body stores/uses fat as reserves for an emergency, so it doesn't like to access the fat unless necessary. It is the food in the freezer, stored away for emergency or when there's nothing left to eat in the frig.

People who do the keto diet don't really eat carbs or sugars in order to empty 'the frig' of all easy food. The first few days/weeks your body burns through all the sugars it has available until it has no more and has to resort to fats for fuel instead. Keep in mind that too much protein can cause your body to turn some protein into sugars, so protein has to be limited as well. That's why most of the calories consumed by those on keto are from fat.

Once your body has successfully transitioned into fat burning mode (ketosis), and you can move pretty easily from gluconeogenesis to ketosis, you are fat adapted. The reason I say easily transition between the two is because your body always has some glucose to burn after every meal. The key is that it is limited so that you go back to fat burning quickly after.

Some signs that you are fat adapted:

  • You have more energy
  • You aren't hungry
  • You aren't always thinking about or craving carby foods
  • Better sleep
  • Improved endurance during exercise

Great keto resources I recommend:

Jimmy Moore: Both of these are by Jimmy Moore, who is one of the leaders of keto education. He was morbidly obese and lost his weight and became one of the first to really get into keto and the medical benefits. He has lots of information and works with many doctors.
Cholesterol Clarity - learn about the new science!
Keto Clarity
Podcasts: Keto TalkKeto Hacking MD, and Living la Vida Low Carb

Facebook groups:  There are many Facebook groups for keto that get really bogged down with repetitive questions since there are newbies every day. Still, Ketogenic Success is considered the best of all for keto education and help from certified Keto Coaches. It's sister group is Ketovangelist Kitchen, which is specifically about food/recipes.

Dr. Eric Berg is a chiropractor who is very knowledgable on the medical side of keto.
Siim Land is a guy who has been doing keto for many years and presents info in a fun way.
Thomas DeLauer is a fitness trainer who is also very knowledgable about keto. I think some of his videos are hard to follow when he gets too medically technical though.
Dr. Fung is the leading doctor in the science of fasting, which is a large part of keto.

Other than Jimmy Moore, I also listen to:
Heathful Pursuit - she is especially good regarding keto and women's health. She has many food allergies, so her cookbooks do not have dairy or eggs. She's also dealt with female health issues.
Perfect Keto - is actually a keto supplement company, but is considered the top one that almost all use. They just started a podcast.