The Dr. Ernst Guide to Ketosis

By Dr Ernst
January 20, 2022

If you’ve been in the office and were told that you either ARE or NEED TO BE in “ketosis,” this is for you. Our staff no doubt explained it to you, but here’s a quick article just to go into a bit more detail.

Ketosis is essentially a physical state in which your body burns energy stored in your fat cells INSTEAD of energy from sugar in your body. The reason it’s called ketosis is because the process of burning fat generates compounds called ketones as a by-product.

Ketones are organic compounds that your body can use as a source of energy when sugar is not present. Glucose, a sugar, is the body’s most common source of energy, but ketones take its place when little or no glucose is to be found.

As you can imagine, when sugar isn’t present and the body turns to ketones in the form of fat for energy, you lose weight. Therefore, ketosis is absolutely essential for weight loss, and weight loss is essential for detoxification as well as a good body/weight balance being crucial for general health.

How do I achieve ketosis?

Eliminate sugars, carbs and grains. This might as well read: eliminate sugars, sugars and sugars. These three types of food are all converted to sugar in your body. By replacing them with other foods (discussed below), your body will eventually have no choice but to enter into ketosis.

Combine this with moderate exercise. Exercise itself does not burn fat unless accompanied by a ketogenic diet. However, you do have to give your body a reason to need to burn some energy. Light jogging, frequent walks and regular physical activity of some kind should suffice. If your goal is to gain muscle mass or strengthen your cardiovascular system, more exercise will be required. But it is not the primary driver of weight loss.

What should I eat?

The AskDrErnst ketogenic diet consists of green vegetables, protein and good fats. Fats should be the majority of your diet and compose somewhere around 60 percent of what you eat. It is difficult to differentiate foods as many foods are composed of two or three of these categories, but based on common conceptions of these foods, we will split them up for simplicity.

A quick note on quality: it is possible to avoid sugar, carbs and grains and still eat an unhealthy diet. You might, for example, subsist on a diet of McDonald’s chicken nuggets and technically be on a ketogenic diet. Furthermore, eating too much protein actually causes your body to convert it into glucose. For the purpose of eliminating toxins, as well as for your general health (and many, many other reasons environmental, ethical, political or anything else), it is best to eat a varied diet of high-quality foods.

  • Vegetables: (organic when possible) asparagus, avocado, broccoli, celery, cucumber, garlic, green beans, lettuce, shallots, peas, spinach, kale, collards, mustard greens, romaine.
  •  Proteins: (Note, fatty proteins, particularly fish, can be counted as fats.)
    • Fish – Fatty fish are preferred, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. All fish should be wild-caught.Eggs – free-range and organic.
    • Red meat – must be grass-fed, and can include beef, veal, goat, lamb and venison.
    • Poultry – Free-range and organic chicken, turkey, duck, quail, pheasant, etc.
  • Fats: This can include directly eating, or using it as an ingredient in cooking. Beef tallow, butter, chicken fat, ghee, lard, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut butter, red palm oil, MCT oil, full-fat raw dairy like raw whole milk and raw cheese.

Weathering the transition

 Depending on what your primary diet has been, and for how long, switching to a ketogenic diet can be psychologically difficult. For some, the cells have become accustomed and adapted to a constant onslaught of sugar. Your goal is to become “keto-adapted.” This means your body becomes accustomed to, and efficient at, using ketones as a source of energy rather than fat.

You might experience: irritability, brain fog, fatigue, hunger pangs despite having eaten recently, a general sense that something is missing from your life. You might experience something completely different. Call your nutrition coach—that is what they are there for.

The discomfort is a good sign, actually. It means you are changing. And the reason you are here, the reason you are reading this is because you know you have to change. And rest assured, the joy and satisfaction that comes with successfully making the transition from sick to healthy, from tired to energetic, from medicated to free, is well worth any discomfort you may feel over the coming weeks.

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