“How’s your Energy on Keto?” I hear this question way too many times. In fact, energy on Keto diet brought a lot of attention and raised some controversial debates. The utilisation of energy throughout the ketogenic diet is a wide and deep subject. Nevertheless, I would like to dive into this ocean of energy on Keto questions and give as many answers as possible!
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think about energy, frequency and vibration”
A great mind like Tesla is confirming the importance of energy in our lives and in the universe around us. The same way, energy on Keto diet is not created and cannot be destroyed. It evolves from one form to another. When we talk about energy, we usually say “I don’t have much energy today” or “I can feel the energy in this room.” But what exactly is this energy? Where from do we get the energy that drives us? How do we use it? How do we get more energy? What controls our movements?
Albert Einstein, reveals that the total energy of an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by the square of the speed of light. This is the formula for atomic energy. You might recognise it through the equation: E = mc2. It has become the most significant and most recognisable mathematical and physical formula in the world. From this equation, it’s obvious that any change in the energy of an object causes a change in the mass of the object. This energy change can be expressed in many different forms, including mechanical, thermal, electromagnetic, chemical, electrical or nuclear.
Energy is all around us
The Sun, the lights in our home, the cell phones, they all transmit energy from one form to another. Although the solar energy that heats the Earth is quite different from carrying a weight for example. Energy under the first thermodynamic law cannot be created or destroyed. It only changes from one form to another. Naturally, It goes from one state to another. A clear understanding of energy systems makes the basis of the whole spectrum of sports science studies. Also, it essentially makes the basis of studies of all the effects that sports activity has on humans and their organism.
We all depend on energy
Where is this energy coming from for humans? Of course, from nutrition. Energy on Keto, in particular, comes from good fats! However, even after the consumption of food, a lot of chemical reactions take part until the cells become able to exploit the energy of food. In particular, the foods we consume consist mainly of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. The energy they supply is measured in calories:
•1 calorie is the energy which is required to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1°C
The main energy sources we derive from foods are fats and carbohydrates. In some cases, energy can also be used from proteins through gluconeogenesis. The cell uses energy from these biomolecules to synthesise the so-called energy factor ATP. This is a high energy chemical compound that is utilised by the cell to meet its energy needs and is called adenosine triphosphate.
Before I proceed on metabolic pathways and energy utilisation on Keto diet, I want to share an excellent article that covers everything you need to know about this brave-new approach to dieting. From boosting your health, promoting weight-loss to general performance in sports and everyday life. You can reed the article in this LINK
The metabolic pathway – Energy on Keto
Through metabolic pathways, our body will determine exactly how to utilise the macronutrients we consume through our nutrition as fuel. Of course, in all this, a vital moment when we consume our last meal plays the major role. It is really important to understand that the body will behave totally different when we are fasting and when we are fed. This is why you’ll notice that energy on Keto diet is widely available once you get fat-adopted.
The 3 macronutrients through the metabolic pathway
Fats are molecules synthesised of fatty acids and glycerol. Our body needs fats for energy, and many other functions because primarily fats are the basic components of each living cell. The body uses fat for hormonal synthesis and other processes which are needed for the human activity. In fact, fat is the slowest source of energy. Also, fat is the most energy-efficient form of food. As we know all that accumulative energy on Keto diet comes from it. One gram of fat contains 9 calories, while protein and carbs contain only 4 calories per 1 gram. The amount of energy is simply more than double! So, when fats are available as an energy source, they will be broken down into cellular mitochondria. This process is known as beta-oxidation.
Carbohydrates are found in the muscles and liver. In the body, they are converting into glycogen. Glycogen can be used to form ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) and in the liver can be converted to glucose, then further transported to the muscles by the blood. Intense training can empty the glycogen storage in the muscles and liver.
The same thing happens when we restrict their intake in nutrition. Humans tripled their intake of processed carbohydrates, sugar and starch in the past 20 years. This has led to obesity, diabetes and various autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, since all carbohydrates are converted into glucose, they are the only source of food for cancer cells. By reducing carbohydrate intake, one can activate the process of autodestruction of cancer cells. For more information on this, please see this link.
Proteins are made of amino acids, and they represent complex chains of different lengths and different combinations of amino acids. Also, they provide energy to the body for a longer period of time. Well, certainly longer than carbohydrates! Protein is used as a source of energy, especially in long-lasting activities when the primary sources of energy are consumed.
As with fats, proteins cannot provide energy on Keto diet at the same rate and speed as carbohydrates. This speed is determined by different factors. For example, if there are fewer energy sources available in larger quantities, the body will primarily consume them. Proteins can come in different form and with different digestion requirements. Easily digestible proteins come from fish, poultry lamb and goat dairy, while on the other hand, protein from beef and pork might require stronger stomach acid for better digestion.
Whoever monitors the availability of energy on Keto diet definitely came across the intermittent fasting. I think these two things are like interconnected rings. Not because you are forced to do IF! Moreover, because you are enjoying the health benefits by expanding your ability to go for hours without any food. That’s one of the advantages of utilising energy on Keto lifestyle.
It is a known fact that after three to four hours of our last meal, our blood glucose drops back to its normal baseline. Then the fasting state starts because the insulin gets declined and the pancreas starts secreting another hormone called glucagon. While glucagon is secreted it triggers fat acids to fuel the body with energy.
Now, fatty acids will be broken down through beta-oxidation in the mitochondria and will form Acetyl-CoA. Note here that Acetyl-CoA is not only a key factor but also plays a vital role in the process which creates the energy on Keto diet. Energy in is being created as molecules called adenosine triphosphates (ATP) in the cell mitochondria.
Burning body fat as energy on Keto fasting
Since there is no external fat through nutrition, the liver will continuously take the excess body fat and create more ketone bodies to fuel the body. Interestingly, in this case, we don’t have muscle tissue loss because ketones have a protein spare effect. On the other hand, carbohydrates are not lasting for a long period of time. The body will “attack” the muscle mass after the depletion of glycogen if you are not fat adapted.
Basically, because of ketones, the body will be able to survive and keep its muscle mass without consuming any food for a longer period of time.
Ketosis and starvation are not the same things
Unlike many opponents of Keto lifestyle think, ketosis and starvation are not the same metabolic states. The only thing that ketosis and starvation have in common is the absence of food. A body which is keto-adapted will run on ketones without any signal of hunger.
Since the body is efficient in burning fat as fuel, it will have the fat as the main source of energy on Keto. On the other hand, a body which runs on glucose will have enormous negative effects. The first thing that glucose-burner will experience is hunger. The insulin will bring down the blood sugar from the carb meal and in the most cases, they will have hypoglycaemia.
An alternative source of energy on Keto
Now, as time is passing for the carb eater, if there is no external source of glucose the body will search for another available source. In this case, this source will be the amino acids in our muscle tissue. The body will start losing precious muscle mass to start generating energy to keep the body functioning properly.
The carb verdict
We can conclude that carbohydrates are not essential for the body. Let’s admit it, we don’t need carbs to build muscles nor to keep our energy high. My personal perspective is that carbs have mainly negative effect on our bodies. The starvation mode in glucose running bodies proves that carbs are obsolete. On the other hand, energy on Keto is available throughout our body fat for a much longer period of time.