Many diet fads have come and gone. However, one that continues to stick around is the Keto Diet. The reason for its longevity is that many have seen weight loss and brain-boosting results through ketosis. Ketosis is when your body draws on energy from your fat tissue. As you can imagine, this is beneficial for losing weight and starving out harmful stomach bacteria. In turn, your body creates ketones–natural energy sources that may improve your next workout.
So what exactly is ketosis? How can this metabolic process compliment our healthy gut diet plan? What role does intermittent fasting play in this whole ordeal? Let’s take a closer look at ketosis for gut health.
- 1 What is Ketosis?
- 2 What Are Ketones?
- 3 How Ketosis Can Help Gut Health
- 4 Ketosis and Autophagy
- 5 Gut Health Foods to Achieve Ketosis
- 6 Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis
- 7 Microbiome Testing and Ketosis
- 8 Resources
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic process. These are autonomous cycles that microorganisms go through to sustain life.
A metabolic process can be broken down into three distinct categories :
- Digestion of Food Into Energy
- Converting Energy Into Proteins, Lipids, and Carbs
- Eliminating Waste from Gut Biome
Ketosis is triggered by your body when it has run out of readily available energy. When this happens, your body turns to the adipose tissue surrounding your gut lining. The body draws on this stored energy, triggering a reaction in the liver.
Your liver secretes ketones into the bloodstream. When this happens, you have officially entered ketosis.
What Are Ketones?
Ketones are your body’s backup supply of energy. Our bodies have evolved to have a survival mechanism in case of starvation.
When we follow a healthy gut diet plan like the Ketogenic Diet, our meal plans are void of excess glucose and carbohydrates.
Therefore, our body instinctively looks elsewhere for energy sources. To achieve this, cells consume fat tissue that powers the body.
A byproduct of this feast is ketones. There are three molecules are at play here. They are two ketones (and one honorary ketone) that are pivotal to ketosis.
These ketones are:
- Acetoacetate (AcAc)
- Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB)
When fatty acids get broken down, the first ketone formed is AcAc. AcAc is the wing-acid of the ketones. Let’s take a look at how it chemically reacts with the other ketones in the gut biome.
Ketones: AcAc and BHB
AcAc converts to BHB. Due to its molecular structure, BHB is technically not a ketone. It eventually gets converted into Acetyl-CoA and then to Adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
ATP is where things get especially beneficial for those following a healthy gut diet plan. Science has dubbed ATP “molecular currency .”
When ATP enters the system, it provides energy that causes sensations such as
- Muscle Contraction
- Nerve Impulses
- Chemical Synthesis
Thanks to ATP, we not only get a burst of energy, but cravings often associated with entering ketosis tend to subside.
Ketones: AcAc and Acetone
The other major chemical reaction among ketones is when AcCc converts into acetone. Acetone is created spontaneously. However, it does provide a quick burst of energy.
With that being said, acetone is a rather small chain. Our gut biome disposes of it fast. Acetone gets eliminated through our breath, urine, sweat, and feces.
How Ketosis Can Help Gut Health
The primary principles of a Ketogenic Diet are much aligned with those of the Thryve Gut Health Program. We both want you to eliminate problematic foods that are causing bad stomach bacteria to fester.
The best way to achieve this is to limit your intake of:
The reason why the Thryve Gut Health Program discourages these two food groups is due to how they react with our gut biome.
Most carbohydrates we consume in the Standard American Diet (SAD) are void of nutrients. Instead, they are pumped with fillers such as gluten that will cause GI problems and harbor the growth of opportunistic intestinal flora.
In the same breath, refined sugars are also posing a great risk to our gut health. Refined sugars are stripped of nutritional value, leaving behind sticky substances that cause plaque build-ups in arteries. As a result, oxygenated blood cells have trouble making their way through the veins, causing GI problems and cardiovascular disease.
Since the SAD is chock full of carbs and sugars, we never draw on the energy stored in adipose tissue. Therefore, our body hoards extra nutrients in our fat that will never get burned off. This neglect leads to weight gain and a litany of gastrointestinal disorders.
By limiting carb and sugar intake through a Keto Diet, your body must turn elsewhere for energy. That is when it enters ketosis and begins to draw from your fat tissue. As a result, you starve out harmful stomach bacteria, burn fat, and improve gut health.
Ketosis and Autophagy
When your body enters ketosis, it triggers another beneficial phenomenon in the body–autophagy. Autophagy is your body’s internal recycling system. As your body gets signals that it’s starving, it almost turns cannibalistic.
Your cells will look for weaker cells that are littering the system. Once detected, the weaker cells are consumed. This cannabilistic quality benefits the system in two ways.
One, it provides energy to the stronger cell that is starting to get hungry.
Gut Health Foods to Achieve Ketosis
There are many ways to follow a Ketogenic Diet. General rule of thumb is that you eat:
- Considerable Amount of Healthy Fats – 60% – 70%
- Moderate to High Lean Protein – 30% to 40%
- Low Carbs – 5%
What you consume during these time periods is essential for making the most out of ketosis for gut health.
Let’s take a look at which Thryve Gut Health Program approved gut health foods you should eat when achieving ketosis.
Healthy Fats for Ketones
You want to make sure you are eating healthy fats that are rich in polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. These provide efficient energy and contain higher levels of HDL Cholesterol than LDL cholesterol. That makes these fats a more heart-conscious choice for those following a healthy gut diet plan.
Some of the healthiest fats for ketosis include:
- Coconut Oil
- Raw Cheese
- Organic, Free-Range Poultry
- Chia Seeds
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Nut Butters
- Hemp Oil
As you can tell, the best sources for healthy fats are to consume fruit oils, nuts, and seeds. They are prevalent in one of the most beneficial monounsaturated acids–oleic acid.
OLEIC ACID AND KETO DIET
Oleic acid is one of the primary monounsaturated fats found in olive oil. It is ideal for those entering ketosis because it promotes fat burning.
One study followed 30 women on an olive oil-enriched diet (PBOO). They compared to those who were following a low-fat diet (NCI).
Interestingly enough, results found,
“Twelve (80%) of the 15 women who started with the PBOO diet achieved a weight loss of > or = 5% compared to 4 (31%) of the 13 who started with the NCI diet (p < 0.01) .”– J Women’s Health
Who would have thought fat can help you lose fat? With all of this fat gone, the next step is to build muscle. To achieve this, you need lean protein.
Lean Protein for Ketones
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is very high in omega-6 fatty acids. These are harder for our body to break down, and may cause our system to clog up. That is why you should limit your intake of saturated fats when entering ketosis.
Research indicates our omega ratio should lean in favor of omega-3 fatty acids 3:1. One analysis had a grave statement to make on the number of Omega-6 fatty acids are doing on our gut biome.
The study stated,
“Western diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids compared with the diet on which human beings evolved and their genetic patterns were established. Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects. .”– Biomed Pharmacother
We must cut down on the red meat to rebuild gut flora and improve gastrointestinal distress. Instead, opt for these lean protein sources:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Lean Poultry
- Fermented Green Vegetables
You can still have red meat. Like sweets, they should be in moderation. When you do consume an omega-6 heavy meal, make sure you get enough fiber. That’s why it is essential you choose your carbs wisely.
Low Carbs for Ketones
At the end of the day, your body can’t do the work on its own. It needs a little help. That is why you need to consume the right carbohydrates for the 5% you eat following a Keto Diet.
Make sure you are eating complex carbs. They will act as food for beneficial stomach bacteria. Complex carbs are prebiotics, fibers that don’t get broken down during the digestion of food. Instead, probiotic bacteria eat these sugars so they can repopulate your gut biome with beneficial intestinal flora.
Low carb foods for ketosis include:
- Lean Protein
- Leafy Greens
- Select Fruit (Apple, Strawberries, Blueberries)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brazil Nuts
Just a handful nuts, a couple of berries, or a slice of watermelon will be enough to get your juices going…and ketones pumping!
Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis
The most effective (and cheapest) way to facilitate ketosis is to abstain from eating. Instead of counting carbs, you have nothing to count. An empty stomach allows for autophagy to happen more efficiently.
When fasting, your body isn’t bogged down with the digestion of food. For most of us, it’s far too busy with that task daily.
Therefore, its resources are better used in scoping out weak links that may become a breeding ground for free radicals and inflammation. It’s like putting out fires before they start!
Microbiome Testing and Ketosis
When you are in ketosis, it is essential to check your ketone levels. Otherwise, you run the risk of excess ketones living in your bloodstream. While not common for those following a Ketogenic Diet or intermittent fasting protocol, excess ketones may lead to a fatal condition known as ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is usually prompted by other factors, but to be proactive with your health, check your ketone level through:
- Breath Test – Most Affordable, Not Always Accurate Results
- Urine Strips – Middle Affordable, Somewhat Reliable Results
- Glucose Blood Test – Most Expensive, Most Accurate
If you are serious about making the most of your wellness regimen, you should look into improving your gut biome. That is why many who follow the Keto Diet are falling in love with the Thryve Gut Health Program.
We send you everything you need to test your gut health in your own home. Based on the results of your microbiome testing kit, we formulate personalized probiotics targeted for your gut biome. Knowing you are following a Keto Diet, we will tailor a healthy gut diet plan toward the stomach bacteria you already have.
In addition, we figure out which prebiotics will feed the probiotics in your gut health supplements best. That way you can get the benefits of ketosis while creating an open field for probiotic bacteria to colonize. Ketosis and gut health is a win-win for everyone in your microbiome!
 Antonio Blanco, Gustavo Blanco, Medical Biochemistry, Academic Press,
2017, Pages 275-281,ISBN 9780128035504, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-803550-4.00013-6.
 J R Knowles, Annual Review of Biochemistry 1980 49:1, 877-919, https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.bi.49.070180.004305
 Flynn, Mary M, and Steven E Reinert. “Comparing an Olive Oil-Enriched Diet to a Standard Lower-Fat Diet for Weight Loss in Breast Cancer Survivors: a Pilot Study.” Journal of Women’s Health (2002), U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20545561.
 Simopoulos, A P. “The Importance of the Ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids.” Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & Pharmacotherapie, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909.
 Collier R. (2013). Intermittent fasting: the science of going without. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne, 185(9), E363–E364. doi:10.1503/cmaj.109-4451
 Pinto, A., Bonucci, A., Maggi, E., Corsi, M., & Businaro, R. (2018). Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Ketogenic Diet: New Perspectives for Neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s Disease. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 7(5), 63. doi:10.3390/antiox7050063