First and foremost, one of the most important factors is to be discipline when following the ketogenic diet. This means heavily restricting your carbohydrate intake, while switching to high-fat foods and moderate proteins. The general rule of thumb when it comes to splitting your macros out should look something like this: 5% (carbs)/ 80% (fats)/ 15% (proteins). Although if you’re just starting out, I wouldn’t focus too heavily on macros but rather place more importance in restricting your carbohydrate intake to 20 grams or less. Depending on the individual, most keto diets will allow approximately 20g-70g of net carbs as part of your overall daily intake, but if you’re asking the extreme question of ‘how to get into ketosis in 24 hours?’ then let’s focus on the absolute limit. For a more detailed breakdown, please see my keto shopping list article.
Ketogenesis is the metabolism of fatty acids by β-oxidation. 4 This process gives acetyl CoA which then leads to β-hydroxy-β-methyglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) as seen below5. HMG-CoA converts into Acetoacetone which can switch back and forth to BHB. Acetoacetone to Acetone conversion is irreversible (on the left below). Acetoacetate and BHB (via acetoacetate) are used to produce energy when converted back into acetyl-CoA within a cell’s mitochondria whilst Acetone is excreted in the breath and urine.4
Ketoacidosis is driven by a lack of insulin in the body. Without insulin, blood sugar rises to high levels and stored fat streams from fat cells. This excess amount of fat metabolism results in the production of abnormal quantities of ketones. The combination of high blood sugar and high ketone levels can upset the normal acid/base balance in the blood and become dangerous. In order to reach a state of ketoacidosis, insulin levels must be so low that the regulation of blood sugar and fatty acid flow is impaired.
BHB isn’t just an energy source for the brain–it has other effects which promote brain health. BHB can trigger the release of chemicals called neurotrophins, which support neuron function and synapse formation. One of these neurotrophins is called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is a protein in the brain associated with cognitive enhancement, alleviation of depression and reduction of anxiety.10
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