An Expert Answers The Most Important Questions About Ketosis & Fasting
We're willing to bet that you know at least one person who has tried the keto diet or sampled a keto-friendly baked good… That person could even be you! All-things-keto have taken the world by storm, and when you look at the benefits of ketosis, it's no wonder why. The metabolic state of ketosis now has a stake in the most popular wellness conversations—from immunity to brain function1 to longevity2.
It's one thing to know about the benefits of ketosis, and another to understand how it works. Despite its popularity, ketosis can still feel complex or out of reach. But Metabolic Switch, a ketone ester drink powder by Juvenescence, makes ketosis more accessible to everybody. Even on an off-day, Metabolic Switch provides an extra boost of ketones to help keep your body in ketosis (no matter what life throws at you). And because we know you still have a long list of keto questions, we've reached out to ketosis expert Brianna Stubbs to put answers at your fingertips!
mbg: Let's all get on the same page. How do you describe ketosis to someone who's never learned about it before?
Stubbs: Ketosis is a metabolic state where you have high levels of a fuel called ketones in your blood. Ketones can be naturally made in the body from fat but also consumed in special ketone-rich products. During ketosis, ketones have two functions in the body. Firstly, ketones act as a super-fuel for energy-hungry organs like the brain, the heart, and muscles. Secondly, ketones directly target processes in the body that affect how we age, like inflammatory processes, oxidative stress, and metabolism.
mbg: Metabolic Switch, by Juvenescence, is a ketone ester that helps our metabolism switch its fuel source from carbs and sugar to fats and ketones (i.e., ketosis). Can you elaborate more on what "metabolic switch" means?
Stubbs: Researchers coined the term "metabolic switch" to refer to the transition from using carbohydrates and glucose as major energy sources to fats and ketones. With natural ketone production resulting from the keto diet and fasting, this happens over a period of a few days. The stored carbohydrate in the body gets depleted, which leads to more release of fat and the conversion of fat to ketones. The body has then switched its main energy sources.
It is important to note that, despite the name, this isn't an on-off switch. Carbohydrates and fats are always being used as fuel, even when ketones are present, but the proportion changes depending on the context.
mbg: Now that we understand more about ketones, how can we actually get our body into ketosis?
Stubbs: To get into ketosis, you can trigger your own body to make ketones from fat and/or you can consume a ketone ester that provides the building blocks for ketones. You trigger natural ketone production by significantly restricting the amount of carbohydrates you can consume. The simplest way to do this is by safely fasting (not eating anything for an intermittent period of time), but you can also change your diet to only eat foods that are low in carbohydrate, high in fat, and moderate in protein (aka, the ketogenic diet).
Getting into ketosis like this is good for weight because the ketones come from your own fat stores, but it takes some time to get into ketosis this way. It is not healthy to fast for too long or too often, and you have to stick to the keto diet very strictly in order to stay in ketosis. This is where ketone esters come in. Ketone esters don't make ketones from your own fat, but they do get you into ketosis very quickly, which gives you the energy benefits and possibly some of the healthy-aging benefits of ketones.
mbg: What are the benefits of making Metabolic Switch a regular part of one's diet?
Stubbs: Metabolic Switch is an easy way to get ketones into your diet, without needing to make other dietary changes. Within fifteen minutes of drinking or consuming the product, you'd be able to measure ketones in your blood and see that you are in nutritional ketosis. Research has shown that nutritional ketosis provides sustained energy in the blood, supports healthy levels of sugar and fat in the blood, and might promote brain and heart function.
mbg: A lot of people think that on a keto diet, they can still eat as many cheeseburgers as they want… What do you think are the most common misunderstandings about ketosis?
Stubbs: The first misconception is that ketosis with ketone esters is "not real"—because it doesn't involve fat—but these products do effectively increase blood ketones, which, in turn, allows ketones to be used as energy in the body and maybe also to exert their effects on longevity pathways. The second misconception is related—many people think that ketosis is just about weight loss, when actually more and more scientific studies highlight other benefits of ketosis such as reducing oxidative stress.
mbg: Metabolic Switch makes it easy for us to get our daily boost of ketosis—even when carbs get in the way. Can you speak to the benefits of this?
Stubbs: There are many benefits of ketosis, some have been long known; others were more recently discovered by researchers. The most notable are:
1. Ketones are a super fuel providing sustained energy for the brain and heart.
2. Ketones support healthy blood sugar levels.
3. Ketones support immune function.
Devon Barrow is a Branded Content Editor at mindbodygreen. She received her degree from the University of Colorado. When she's away from her desk, Devon is teaching yoga, writing poetry, meditating, and traveling the world. She's based in Boulder, Colorado.
Devon's first book, Earth Women, is coming soon. To learn more, join the mailing list, and receive updates, head to www.devonbarrowwriting.com.