Common Downsides to the Ketogenic Diet
As you transition to a ketogenic diet, many changes are going to occur in your body. You are literally detoxing and you may experience low energy levels, extreme thirst, an increase in body temperature and acute cravings for bananas (and other high GI foods).
Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you are overhauling old eating patterns and adapting to a new way of nutritionally healing your body. All of these side effects are perfectly normal and easily remedied!
Low Energy Levels
So, let’s explore the downsides to the ketogenic diet. Your body has been trained to use carbohydrates (glucose) for energy and with a ketogenic diet, you are asking your body to switch from relying on glucose for fuel, to using ketones instead.
Even though being in ketosis is a far more natural metabolic state for humans, as we have only been mass-producing grains and carbohydrates for a few hundred years, it does take a few weeks or months to properly transition.
Prior to this, we survived on animal fat and proteins, wild leafy greens and the odd berry when fruit was in season, hence the paleo diet. The ketogenic is just a bit more restrictive than the paleo diet.
It will take a few weeks before you become ‘fat’ or ‘keto adapted’. This is when your liver smoothly converts fats into ketones and uses them as fuel, without any glucose requirements.
During the transitional stages, your cells will need to adjust to your new source of fuel which can sometimes cause you to feel low energy. Fear not, this low energy period is temporary and can be rectified by use of the supplements listed below.
Supplements to ease the ketogenic transition
L-Carnitine plays a vital role in fat metabolism as it combines with long chain fatty acids to form acylcarnitines (esters). These esters transport into the cell mitochondria for oxidation. Referred to as the ‘carnitine shuttle’, this process literally speeds up your ability to metabolise fat and derive instant energy from fat, i.e. you will become a fat burner more quickly and feel a resulting energy boost!
MCT Oils & MCT Powder
MCT oils and powders are extremely healthy fats (Medium Chain Triglycerides) that help catalyse ketosis and therefore, speed up your transition period.
They are essential supplements for a well formulated ketogenic diet and you only need about a teaspoon a day to keep you in fat burning mode.
The oil is immediately converted into ketones by the liver and then used by the brain and body for fuel. MCT Oil and Powders give you an immediate energy boost, both cognitively and physically. They increase your ketone levels and help you become a fat-burning machine. Keto8 C8 Oil is even higher quality than MCT Oil and is ten times less likely to be stored as body fat by the liver!
Exogenous Ketones are synthetic (beta hydroxybutyrate) ketones in powdered form. These are very much the ultimate cheat or bio hack to get your body into ketosis.
Just 30-60 minutes after consuming exogenous ketones, you will be in ketosis. Thus, having completely avoided any of the transnational pain or ‘Keto Flu’ that those practicing nutritional ketosis will experience in the first few weeks.
Athletes have begun to supplement with exogenous ketones to boost their workouts, so if you are feeling low energy, this is a great option. Find out more about fuelling your workouts with ketones here.
Exogenous ketones also allow you to experience ketosis without having to eat excessive amounts of fats. Stick to a carbohydrate restrictive ketogenic diet, or doing lots of fasting which is often a struggle to adhere to.
They are also popular for their nootropic effect as the ketones instantly fuel the brain, making you feel cognitively alert and energised.
Exogenous Ketones are also used to increase fat loss as they can be taken as meal replacements. They are incredibly effective weight loss supplements as you immediately transition to fat burning and they suppress the appetite.
Feeling thirsty and light headed?
Read this article on replenishing your electrolytes here.
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