When you’re doing a keto diet, and really any other low carb diet, most of them eliminate sugars completely (if they don’t eliminate them, they cut them down to next to nothing). You can still enjoy a good portion of that sweet and savory goodness though. Don’t put yourself out there simply because of the lack of sugar. You just have to know what sweeteners are the best sweeteners for you to get and use. In this article, we’ll go into detail about four of the top sweeteners you can find on the market today, and how to use them for as part of your keto diet today.

Ketones are becoming more talked about with fitness and health related issues in the modern world. Ketones are a source of energy used by our bodies and are most commonly heard about recently when talking about the ketogenic diet. We will tell you more about what ketones are as well as the types of ketones and how they are used. We will also cover how they go with the ketogenic diet as well as ketone level testing and side effects.

Ketones

When carbohydrate consumption is lower, the body breaks down fat for energy and ketones are the byproduct. The process is a simple although many aren’t sure how it works. There are steps the body takes in the process of creating these ketones which are shown below.

When glucose is sufficient, the body will use it as its main energy source to fuel the body. When glucose and glycogen levels are lower the body’s blood sugar, and insulin levels drop, it causes the body to find another source of fuel to stay energized. When this happens the body will start to break down fat for its fuel.

The process of breaking down fat can happen when someone is fasting, after longer bouts of activity, when the body is starving, and when on a low carb or ketogenic diet.

Beta-oxidation is the process that happens when the body begins to break down fats for energy. The ketones are formed in order to have fuel for the body. This is process of using the ketones is called ketosis.

Ketosis is the main goal for those who are following a low carbohydrate diet; in our example, the ketogenic diet.  This is a great way for the body to feed off of stored fats as well, which is the ideal way to push the body to help when trying to lose weight.

Ketone Bodies

There are different kinds of ketone bodies. When it comes to ketones, there are three main types. The first type of ketone is acetoacetate, which is created from the breakdown of fatty acids. This is either changed into BHB or turned into another ketone – acetone. The second being BHB or beta-hydroxybutyrate which is formed from acetoacetate, making BHB actually a byproduct or waste that can actually be considered a ketone and is on the ketogenic diet. The third ketone is acetone this is the least used ketone and the simplest as it is more commonly a byproduct of acetoacetate than BHB. Acetone is usually not used by the body and is spilled into urine, blood, and sweat, which is how you can test for ketosis.

Using Ketones

Our ancestors supported their bodies from the use of ketones more often than not. There were not as many foods available then as there are today, so the body didn’t have high levels of glucose to break down as fuel.  Therefore, because food may have been scarce and hard to get. At times, the bodies of our ancestors were likely usually in the state of ketosis; using ketones for energy. This is still true today; our bodies can easily adapt to fuel themselves with ketones rather than glucose.

Our brains can use ketones for food which has a useful effect on mental health. Our bodies also benefit greatly, as they usually use the most recent food eaten or glycogen to breakdown as fuel when exercising or doing other physical activities. When in ketosis our bodies will use the ketones instead; which is a healthier way for the body to stay in shape.  

Ketone Testing

As we were talking about the different types of ketones we mentioned that acetone is commonly a waste product spilled into blood and urine. This is one of the products we test when testing ketone levels. Many on the ketogenic diet plan will test often to ensure they are in the state of ketosis and this is one of the beginning ways of testing.

Ketone levels range differently in all people depending on their caloric intakes and health. Ketones can be at a negative level, which is less than .6mmol, low levels are between.6 and 1.5mmol, and high ketone levels are usually between 1.6 and 3.0mmol anything above 3mmol is really high. Each of these different classifications of levels can also help with knowing the ranges of activity one can handle or should handle. Now that we know levels of ketones and what type they may be, we will look at the different types of testing available for ketones.

Urine testing is a urine strip which reads the levels of ketones and reports it by changing color. The strip is generally like a PH balance strip. The darker the color on the strip of the urine test the more ketones the body has to use. You can buy urine testing strips online or in pharmacies; they are easy to use. However, the downside to urine testing is that it does not give the exact level of ketones; it is just a way of seeing that there are ketones in the body for use.

Blood testing is using a glucose meter just like diabetics use. Prick the finger with a pen and press or drop blood onto a strip and the meter will give the levels. Some of these testers even have their own methods of pricking your fingertip. Be sure to read the labels when buying these types of testers, as the label should say it reads ketone levels. These tests can be expensive tools but will come in handy for testing regularly and getting actual levels in the long run.

Breath testing is used with ketonic breath meters, which test the acetone present in the breath. Remember, acetone spills into blood and urine which makes this testing possible. These tests are affordable and are reusable, but it isn’t the most reliable way of testing as mentioned earlier. Acetone for ketogenic diets shouldn’t be used for testing as you move into the diet more. The BHB testing of blood is most accurate in testing.

Diets and Ketones

When it comes to looking for levels of ketones, most people do so for the use of the ketogenic diet to ensure a state of ketosis. In order to follow the diet and ensure ketosis, the body must only consume between 20-50 grams of carbohydrates daily. This level of carbs depends on the amount you consume as well as macronutrients and micronutrients which can be calculated with a keto calculator or with the calculation formulas. In any case, helping the diet take its course requires a lot of eliminating of different foods needs to happen.  If your menu contains any of these listed they need to be cut.

  • Whole and processed grains
  • Candies and baked goods
  • Sugary drinks and fruit juice
  • Sugars
  • Fruits due to the amount of sugars
  • Starches like potatoes and pasta (contain carbs that turn to sugar)
  • Legumes and beans

You want the carbs you intake to be of a certain type. All these foods increase sugars and carbs that create sugar when broken down by the body.

Side effects of Ketones

For someone that is just beginning to use the ketogenic diet, there may be some side effects that are short term. These symptoms may last a couple weeks but will go away as your body becomes more adaptive to the new break down of fuels.  Side effects that may happen include feelings of weakness, headaches, mentally feeling foggy headed, fatigue and flu like symptoms. This is because your body is addicted to some things that will be cut out, as well as your body learning to use ketones as a source of fuel. When the fuel is being changed, the body may feel weak or even hungry.  Give it at least two weeks to get used to then try adjusting the diet if you are still having issues. Also be aware if you develop a rash known as a ketone rash. There are articles which can give you advice on how to treat, eliminate, and alleviate the irritation caused by this form of side effect as well.

Warning Levels

Diabetics should use more caution when following the ketogenic diet. Ketoacidosis is when blood levels become acidic due to very high levels of ketones. This happens with being sick, or not having the amount of fluid intake one should.

Ketoacidosis is not healthy and is not the type of ketones we want to be having in our tests. This is different than the nutritional ketosis which is safe on a ketogenic diet. For most there is no concern of how the ketones become formed as they are either used or eliminated. The difference between ketoacidosis and ketosis is simply the way the body responds to the increase of ketones.

There are signs of ketoacidosis to watch for, such as feeling thirsty more often than usual. You may feel you need to urinate more often if your body is going into ketoacidosis. You may vomit or feel weaker when having symptoms of ketoacidosis. Other more serious signs of ketoacidosis are shortness of breath, fruity smelling breath and confusion. These should be watched for as they are not usual signs. Although some of these are common signs when first starting a ketogenic diet, they are not the same as ketoacidosis which is a serious condition.  The difference is that your body will only feel this way for a short time with ketosis and symptoms will go away when following the ketogenic diet properly. With a diabetic who has entered into a state of ketoacidosis, these symptoms will not ease and will even get worse. This is because ketoacidosis is acids in the blood, as compared to ketones which would be present with ketosis. Ketoacidosis is occurs from just the acids from ketones due to not having adequate insulin available.

Ketoacidosis usually happens with type 1 diabetes. If you have any of these symptoms and are not a diabetic, you should consult with a doctor immediately. When beginning any diet, no matter if you are healthy or not, you should see your physician. A physician can help you determine what needs you may have that should be met by diets. They can do a screening to be sure that the diet you may choose is right for you. This is cruel with the ketogenic diet, as it may not be for some due to the scares of ketoacidosis with diabetics.

Track and record information for diets to ensure it is working properly for you. Do a lot of research on various types of diets. There is tons of information on ketones, ketosis and the ketogenic diet out there.

Ketones are very beneficial in many people for overall health, energy, and weight loss. Understanding how ketosis works, as well as the how the ketogenic diet is performed, will help in understanding how to do it properly. If you are diabetic, speak with your doctor or dietitian before starting the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet and use of ketones as fuel can benefit many people with mental health as well as physical health, but at first you may experience some mood swings.  Track your ketones by testing regularly as well as record as much as possible. Tracking and recording progress and resources is essential to any diet.

The Final Conclusion

Ketones as mentioned numerously are the main source and result of the ketogenic diet. With this extensive knowledge of what ketones actually are, as well as all of the other information you find related to ketones, and the ketogenic process known as ketosis, we can ensure that not only can you benefit and attain a level of ketosis, you will be able to completely be prepared. Remember that if you have any issues which involve insulin levels (such as diabetes for our main examples), and other related issues which can involve insulin levels or glucose management, then you need to consult a physician before you begin to try a ketogenic, or even a low-carb alternative diet. This isn’t the only diet out there, but there are many types of low carb diets that can help your body reach a natural state of ketosis. Be sure you pick the right diet plan for you, and be your own boss.

What are Ketones?
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