So what is the difference between low carb and a ketogenic diet? Low carb is not a well defined term. Many, who are accustomed to eating 300-400g of carbs per day, may consider 150-200g as low carb. I personally feel that low carb means getting under 100g of carbs per day. To reach dietary ketosis however, one typically needs to get at least under 50g per day. Many reduce to 20-30g per day to maintain a ketogenic level.
What is Ketosis?
Dietary or nutritional ketosis takes place when the intake of carbohydrate level is lowered enough to induce the body to burn stored fat for fuel. This level is different for everyone. When this happens, your body becomes adapted to using fat for fuel. This adaptation period can last from several days to several weeks and occasionally carries some side effects, like feeling drained of energy, or even flu-like feelings. However, once passed, your body now has an amazing source of almost unlimited fuel. When one is a “sugar-burner” or relies on carbohydrates (glucose/sugar) as its primary fuel, high insulin levels typically prevent these ones from burning fat as fuel. But once becoming a “fat-burner”, one can burn not only fat, but any small amount of glucose that comes in as well. In truth, the muscles and liver can only store a few hundred grams of glucose. But the body, even in a lean person, has thousands of calories available from stored fat.
Once becoming fat adapted myself, my energy levels soared. I can go full steam 16 hours a day with almost unlimited energy. This was such a huge improvement in the quality of my life, as when I was a “sugar-burner”, I could hardly lift myself off the couch! Look at the illustration above. Sugar burners only have access to the small fuel tank seen at the bottom. Fat burners have access both to that small tank, as well as the huge stores of fat, represented by the big tanks.
Check in periodically as I continue to build this page to discuss the benefits of a ketogenic lifestyle. For now, check out these great resources…
Ketogenic Diet Resource HERE
Keto Adapted HERE
One of the most successfully recognized ketogenic diets, is Dr. Eric Westman’s “No Sugar, No Starch” or “page 4” diet. Dr. Westman is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke University, and Director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. He is a co-founder of Innovative Metabolic Solutions. His dietary approach has helped thousands to attain a healthy weight and reverse Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders. This diet provides SPECIFIC food lists for those needing very concise direction in following a ketogenic diet. Here are resources for his diet plan.