Do you ever find yourself falling asleep at your desk?
Or craving a caffeine or sugar-hit “pick me up”?
Well, it’s highly likely that you’re addicted to sugar. You’ve probably been relying on glucose as your primary fuel source for so long that your body has forgotten how to access it’s far more efficient fuel – fat!
It’s what’s known as metabolic flexibility. It’s our body’s innate way of being able to adapt to times of both feast and famine. We simply wouldn’t have survived thousands of years ago if we weren’t able to store calories as body fat when food was abundant and subsequently tap into those stores when times were lean.
Our ability to break down fat stores as an energy source is what’s known as ketogenesis – it’s when we convert fat into a fatty acid in our liver and consequently into a ketone molecule. That ketone molecule can then pass via the bloodstream to our cells to produce energy. Without ketones, the human race would most likely be extinct!
Aside from the highly publicized Keto Diet benefit of weight loss, there’s so much more to the humble ketone. Health benefits include:
- Reduced sugar and carb-cravings
- Increased and sustained energy
- Increased brain function and reduced brain-fog
- Clearer skin
- Better sleep
- Muscle-sparing to help preserve muscle as we age
- Reduced insulin-resistance and subsequently, reversal of Type II Diabetes
- Reduced risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
So, how does knowing all this help you to stay alert and focused all day?
Brain cells are greedy! Even while resting, the brain consumes around 20% of our body’s energy. As soon as it runs low on fuel, it screams out for more energy by secreting the hormone ghrelin to make you feel hungry. Those “hunger pains” have you craving sugary food that can be quickly absorbed as glucose into the bloodstream to fuel the brain’s energy requirements. When the brain needs food, it needs it now! Ever felt “hangry” before? This is why.
How about if we could flip the switch and provide our brain with those super-charged ketones instead of relying solely on glucose?
It’s all possible with a few simple dietary and lifestyle changes:
- Remove Added Sugar:
- Cut back on sugar in your coffee/tea until you no longer add any;
- Replace soft drinks with water (drink at least 2L of water per day);
- Read food labels, choose products with no added sugar and check the Net Carbohydrate is less than 4g per serve.
- Eat More Greens:
- Replace bread, pasta, and rice with leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini;
- Opt for vegetables grown above-the-ground, avoid starchy below-the-ground vegetables like potato, yams, and pumpkin;
- Minimise fruit – fruit is high in fructose which quickly converts to glucose. Choose berries instead as they are low in fructose but high in vitamins & antioxidants.
- Enjoy Healthy Fats:
- Eat a wide variety of meat, fish, eggs;
- Add a generous dash of MCT or extra virgin olive oil to salads & soups;
- Cook with oils that have a high smoke-point, like coconut oil, butter & ghee;
- Add a side of avocado to your breakfast omelette;
- Fast Occasionally:
- Try intermittent fasting a couple of times each week;
- Ideally, eat your evening meal before 8 pm, then consume your first meal after 12pm the following day. This is the 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol and has many health benefits beyond just helping your body to deplete its glucose stores and start producing ketones.
- Take Exogenous Ketone Supplements:
- While making the above dietary changes, you may wish to supplement with exogenous ketones;
- Exogenous ketones come in a powder format that contains the same bioidentical ketone molecule that we make in our liver, and are consumed by mixing with water;
- Exogenous ketones are a great tool for providing a boost of energy, brain focus, and stopping cravings in their tracks, particularly as you transition to your new dietary habits.
Are you ready to start fueling your body & brain for peak performance? Feel free to reach out to me if you need help!
Want to know more?
What is Ketosis?
A Keto Guide for Beginners
The 5 Stages of Intermittent Fasting
How Exogenous Ketones Work
Purchase Exogenous Ketones
About the Author:
Kirsten Murphy is a longevity biohacker and keto coach. She grew up in Perth, Australia, and studied Sports Science in the early 90s when carb-loading for physical performance and low-fat-everything was all the rage. All her nutrition beliefs were turned on their head in 2009 when she started training at the local CrossFit gym and learnt about the Paleo Diet. Kirsten’s own personal transformation inspired her and husband Match to set up one of Australia’s first CrossFit gyms, Cooee CrossFit, in Perth in 2010. However, a health scare in 2016 led to her discovery of the Keto Diet and a major shift in lifestyle, work, and home for both of them. Kirsten and her hubby now live in Bali and travel the world educating others on how to optimise their health with the keto lifestyle.