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Ketosis: do I need it to burn the fat I eat?

by (517) Updated December 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM Created April 20, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Hello there,

I'm new to Paleo - I started a sort of 30 day challenge (which I do hope to maintain past the 30 days).

I've read the must-read books and blogs and I've almost become obsessed with it, talking about it to all my friends. The much I read, however, the more question I have on a more technical level.

Ketosis is one of the aspects. I've read Mark Sisson's post on how many carbs we should eat (I'm not strictly counting, though) and apparently I still have some carbs from fruits and veggies. But from what I've understand, ketosis only kicks in when carbs are really low.

So, my simple question would be: if I'm still having some carbs from veggies and fruit, can they be enough for me not to got into ketosis? And if I don't, how will my body use the extra fat I've been eating? Won't that be stored, making me fatter?

Or can the body still use the fat I eat as energy without going into ketosis?

Sorry if this is such a newbie question - I did searched around everywhere but couldn't find a specific answer.

Thanks a lot!

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39204 · April 20, 2011 at 6:44 PM

The fat you eat is largely dumped into fat cells for storage, but those cells are constantly releasing fat to lipoproteins to be transported around the body. If you match your starch intake to the amount of glycogen you consume, you don't really interfere with this process. If you sit around and eat massive amounts of carbs, it's not that the carbs are turned into fat necessarily, it's that your muscles stop burning fat and start burning carbs because the excess that has oversaturated your glycogen stores needs to be dealt with. The average American only ever depletes their liver glycogen while they sleep and then eats huge amounts of carbs with every meal so they never really get a chance to burn off fat. They then eat a fair amount of low quality fat on top of that that starts to pack into their fat cells. There are a lot of other factors at play, but those are the essential circumstances present for obesity.

You can safely eat about 130g of carbs on a sedentary day, and several hundred on a day that has a lot of high intensity exercise. Choose good sources such as potato, sweet potato and white rice.

I feel better and lose more fat when I eat a fair amount of quality starch and don't eat huge amounts of fat.

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5239 · April 21, 2011 at 2:06 AM

The answer to your question is, no. You do not need to be ketosis to burn fat. To use fat for fuel your body needs to be in a hormonal state to do so. On a really simple level this means insulin levels down, and leptin levels up. One way to achieve this is to eat a lowish carb diet (to be in ketosis you will need to eat a very low carb diet).

From personal experience, I have have never lost weight like I have while being in ketosis, it just melts off me. Furthermore, I find, when I don't need to lose any weight (I'm currently about 8%BF) I just feel great being in ketosis, my energy levels are super level, my mind is clear and fast. Best way I can describe it is my Zen. I eat two big meals a day, and I'm done. I find that I'm generally really productive when in ketosis.

That said I'm not in ketosis all the time, I might have a week in a week out.. not really planned it just depends on what I feel like eating really. I need to be reasonably strict on my carb intake to stay in ketosis, and if I can't be bothered I don't let it faze me.

So whether or not you're trying to lose weight or are just curious I think experimenting with ketosis is well worth it.

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1490 · April 20, 2011 at 7:15 PM

I've used Ketostix and often find myself either not in ketosis or barely in ketosis, and yet am losing weight. One explanation I've read is that, if you're exercising, your body might be burning the ketones before the excess ones dump over into your urine.

So, my opinion is to not pay attention to the little stix; just go by whether your body is being reshaped and your waistline is shrinking.

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25197 · April 20, 2011 at 7:03 PM

ketosis is really beneficial for several reasons but the main one is that ketosis by products negatively feedback in our livers and turn off gluconeogenesis. This inturn turns off glucose use and makes us use fat for energy. If your overweight this is why you need a paleo VLC diet. Once your fit you can really use either pathway depending upon what works best for your liver and thyroid and leptin levels. There are no axiomatic rules on it....but biologically the reason ketosis works is its effect on the liver and turning off all gluconeogenesis. Once it is turned off you put insulin levels in jail and you can not make fat. Infact you force every tissue to burn it. That is why your body sizes change so much with a paleo diet vs any other. So many people always mention why the scale does not move with my body comp......this is why. With a tincture more time your body comp will also dramatically improve as your hormonal status also self corrects.

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38 · December 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Forgot to mention if you have started training or training harder than normal the ketones will be burnt for fuel and not show in urine tests this is optimal :)

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38 · December 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

check this

Note: You can be in ketosis without showing urinary ketones, but they can be found in your bloodstream. This could happen if your urine is too diluted due to high water intake and shows a marginal number of ketones. As long as you keep your net carbs low, your body will enter ketosis. You may even not be showing any ketones at all. This happens when your body gets fully keto-adapted and uses fat for fuel. It’s not a bad thing and it doesn’t mean you will stop losing weigh

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0 · August 09, 2011 at 12:07 PM

I'm and a very low calorie diet , Dr. Bernstein diet , for 3 weeks now I have lost 11 pounds so far , but not burning Ketosis , the nurse at the clinic is very worried , should I be too???? thanks

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