In this post, I am going to give you the “stupid-simple” run down of why keto works. I am going to use laymen’s terms as much as possible because there is an abundance of Dr’s and experts on You Tube that can give you a more medical/complicated run down….I am not that person! Understanding why this works will be fundamental to your success and it will help you explain to “naysayers” why you chose this way of life.
Our bodies tend to be lazy…they will opt for the easiest way to do just about anything. The body will also conserve calories and avoid having to work hard for any function that it performs on any given day. For example, just like our cars, the body needs fuel to run and the fuel it prefers is glucose/glycogen. Why? Because it doesn’t take much energy to absorb glucose. The process is pretty passive. In fact, your body loves glucose so much that it will store the stuff everywhere! Your bloodstream, your muscles. your liver and more. This glucose/glycogen comes from carbs and excess protein. It will never come from fat. When you eat a piece of bread or a cookie, it will be broken down and absorbed VERY quickly…within minutes. Not much work or energy required for your body to digest that. This is why you can sit and literally eat a whole box of cookies with little discomfort. Try to do that with steak, bacon, or cream cheese! It’s HARD to eat pounds of steak! Your body has to work hard to break that down!
Next, an understanding of insulin is important when it comes to why a ketogenic lifestyle works. Your body has to maintain a certain level of glusose in the bloodstream. If there is too much glucose in your bloodstream, your pancreas will release insulin to move the glucose out of your bloodstream and into your liver, muscles and fat cells. Picture the insulin as little delivery trucks parked in your pancreas. When you eat carbs or sugar, your blood sugar rises and your body signals the trucks to leave the pancreas, pick up all of the blood sugar and deliver it where it is needed. When there is more glucose floating around your bloodstream than the body can use, the delivery trucks (insulin) will deliver the extra sugar into your muscles, fat cells and liver. Therefore it is the INSULIN that signals your body to store fat. The American diet is so full of carbs (glucose), that there is always insulin surging through the body. In an effort to keep blood sugar levels normal, your pancreas will keep dumping insulin into your blood in order to gather the glucose out of your bloodstream and into your liver, muscles and other cells. The problem is that there is no room in the cells of your muscles and liver to store the glucose, so the trucks just drive around aimlessly because they cannot get in any of their delivery depots. This is what insulin resistance looks like. Insulin was never meant to be floating around your blood all of the time. It is designed to be released when you eat, deliver nutrients where needed, then return to the pancreas until the next meal. The keto lifestyle, because of the lack of carbs, will cause glucose, sugar and glycogen to be drained from your muscle cells, liver and bloodstream and allow those insulin trucks go back to the pancreas and park. After several weeks, your body will begin functioning normally again. Since your body no longer has an excess of carbs to use, it will learn how to break down fat and use the ketone bodies that are released. Congrats! You have switched your preferred fuel from glucose to Ketones!! In order to access ketones for energy, your body has to break down fat.
I hope this explanation helps aid in the understanding of how keto is able to work so well. All I know is that I am no longer at the mercy of the mood swings and sugar cravings and crashings that I used to have. I have never felt more in control of what I put in my mouth! Having steady blood sugar levels allow you to make good choices because you no longer get jittery and moody when you don’t eat. In fact, feeling so good has caused me to completely forget about eating at times. This alone is a victory!
Remember, I am not a Dr and I am not trying to cure or treat any disease or disorder. I’m just passing on what works for me and why.