Nutritional ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which your body adapts to burning fat over carbohydrates as its primary fuel.
Metabolic processes are remarkably versatile in that they can use a variety of dietary energy substrates (carbohydrates, proteins, fats).
From a cultural history standpoint, humans have demonstrated the ability to subsist for generations on diets containing up to 80% fat (eg. ketogenic diets) on the one hand and 80% carbohydrates on the other.
Unlike carbohydrate consumption, fat consumption does not cause blood sugar spikes, making it a better source of fuel for people with insulin resistance.
Glucose, a type of sugar, is present in everyone’s bloodstream at all times. Carbohydrates are a major source of glucose, which provides energy to the body. Consuming carbohydrates increases blood sugar levels.
The pancreas produces insulin, which has many functions in the body. Insulin helps transport glucose from the bloodstream to the cells, where it can be used.
A rise in glucose levels and insulin levels happens when you eat carbohydrates. Glucose is mostly used as an energy source once it reaches the cells.
Our bodies have a large storage capacity for fat. Hence, we have a large amount of potential energy storage available for use as fuel during exercise; keep in mind that fat has an energy value of 9 kcal/g. Carbohydrates and proteins, by comparison, have an energy value of only 4 kcal/g.
In context, an average person has around 50,000 to 100,000 kcal stored as fat, which can equal around 120 hours of low-intensity endurance exercise, while our average carbohydrate energy stores equal around 90 minutes of low-intensity endurance exercise.
Running every day with an empty stomach (fat state) while burning over 4000 calories a day with an active lifestyle and exercise and doing a 10,000 cal activity (100km run) in one go while only consuming 1500cal of food. Several times doing 100hr fasts (5 days) with 0 calories while burning over 4,000 calories per day with an active lifestyle and exercise and many more over the years are few examples I can vouch for.
As our muscles prefer burning carbohydrates (glucose), because they are quickly metabolized and replenished during exercise. And of course, corporate companies have no money to tell you that water and salt are all you need for sustained energy once you adapt to nutritional ketosis. The advice given in sports nutrition refers to ways to increase our body’s glucose stores and how to eat enough carbohydrates to improve and prolong endurance exercises. Exercise, however, allows our muscles to burn both glucose and fat (fatty acids) for fuel.
As a result of the fat-adaptation theory, our need for a high carbohydrate diet may decrease if we can rewire our metabolism to burn fat instead of glucose during endurance exercise. However, this is something that takes practice and patience, which can take 12-16 weeks or even longer, and it’s easy to fall back into old habits.
High power output and a high level of exercise intensity typically limit the amount of fat oxidized by the muscle. In comparison to glucose oxidation, lipolysis (the breakdown of fat into fatty acids) does not match our energy demands as well. Our energy needs can be met by burning fat during low-intensity exercise (25% of VO2max), such as walking. When we exercise vigorously (up to 85% of VO2max), we are more likely to burn glucose to meet our energy needs.
What is the ideal nutrient mix for humans given this wide range of dietary options?
Ultimately, it differs for every individual based on their lifestyles, body types, gender, ages, and many other factors that can only be determined by education and experience.
Researchers have explored various methods of increasing muscular fatty acid oxidation. It helps to wake up every day in a state of ketosis, which usually occurs after 12-14 hours, and to avoid empty calories, processed sugars, and carbohydrates. Focusing on whole foods and complex carbohydrates is recommended.
Fat adaptation is another. On this ‘diet’, individuals eat meals high in fat and very low in carbohydrates. it negatively impacts exercise performance in the first few days due to the fact that there is less glucose to burn, plus no substitute fuel. As a result, fat adaptation increases how much fat we can burn during low-intensity exercise, and it reduces how much glucose we need to burn.
Keep in mind, however, that the more intense our exercise is, the more our muscles rely on glucose for fuel. Your exercise performance can suffer if you are fat-adapted, and the majority of your race time occurs at high intensities. In athletic performance, a sprint to the finish line or a surge during an uphill stage is often the difference between winning a gold or a silver medal – these are all high-intensity strategic events.
Our goal should be to increase our metabolic flexibility so we can switch between glucose and fat as needed. Consume enough food that is high in both macro and micronutrients that can be digested in two to three hours, twice or thrice a day, depending on your lifestyle.
Note: You need not eat fat to burn fat, there are enough fat reserves that can last you for months.
Ultimately each individual is unique and a one size fits all approach should never be adopted. Tailor-made techniques are the preferred dietary approach to enhance endurance performance.
Remember we eat to live, not live to eat.
don’t fall for the advertisement and traps the corporations set for us, just because its a popular choice doesn’t make it right. make your own choices
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