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    What Are Ketones?

    Living a successful ketogenic or low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle is based on understanding the way ketones affect the body. 

    While ketones are always present in the blood, ketone production in the liver increases during periods of intense exercise or in the absence of blood sugar, which moves the body towards a state of ketosis.

    Typically, the body relies on a combination of glucose and fat for fuel sources. As a simple carbohydrate, glucose in the body results from eating foods like bread, dairy, and fruit. A ketogenic diet limits these foods to aid the body in entering a healthy, sustained state of ketosis.

    The purpose of ketones is to transport energy from the liver to the rest of the body, but did you know that there are different types of ketones? To help you live a successful keto or LCHF lifestyle, we’re breaking down the science behind types of ketones, how they affect the body and how to test for ketones.

    The Three Types of Ketones

    Thetypes of ketones are:

    • Acetoacetate (AcAc)
    • 3-beta-hydroxybutyrate (3HB or BHB)
    • Acetone

    As the body enters ketosis, the two primary ketone types are AcAc and 3HB/BHB. The third, acetone, is present in lower levels and often excreted through urine or breath.

    While each ketone has a role to play in ketosis, the most abundant is BHB. Due to its stability and presence in the blood, it may be a viable energy source when practicing a ketogenic lifestyle.

    How Ketones Work in the Body

    Ketones are created in the body as the result of fat burning. The process works like this:

    • The body burns fat as a primary fuel source through exercise, fasting, diet or a combination of all three.
    • As the body burns fat, it is broken down into fatty acids.
    • Fatty acids are converted into ketone bodies that then provide a continued energy source.
    • The cycle continues as the body uses the ketones created for fuel in place of glucose.

    Living a healthy ketogenic or LCHF lifestyle starts with this process of producing ketones naturally. By setting this foundation, the body is better prepared to receive keto supplements that may further support the body as it moves into ketosis.

    How to Test Your Ketone Levels

    Considering a ketogenic or LCHF lifestyle? It’s important to know how to test your ketone levels, as this will help you determine if your body is achieving a state of ketosis. It may also help you understand how a keto diet, supplements and exercise are affecting your body.

    To maintain ketosis, ketone levels need to remain high, particularly levels of BHB. While everyone may respond differently, generally, BHB levels between 1.4 to 3.0 mM are optimal for support of weight loss.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    The top three ways to test for different types of ketones are through:

    • Breath
    • Blood
    • Urine

    Breath tests are most effective for measuring acetone, which is present in the breath of an individual in ketosis.

    Blood tests are the best for measuring BHB levels. Considering the important role that BHB plays in a successful keto lifestyle, a simple blood test with a blood ketone meter, which uses a testing strip like a glucose meter, is likely to provide the best results.

    Urine tests are less expensive but aren’t as accurate as blood tests. Ketone bodies are mainly carried in the blood, which is why blood tests are the most effective if you want to get the best results.

    Potential Challenges Facing the Low-Carb Dieter

    If you’re considering a new diet or lifestyle change, it’s important to consult a medical professional to ensure that you’re making choices that align with your body. While a ketogenic or LCHF lifestyle may offer several benefits, there are some potential side effects to be aware of.

    For some people, the early stages of a keto diet may lead to headaches, fatigue, brain fog, cravings or a number of other issues. While none are life-threatening, it’s important to be aware that your body will take time to transition into this new lifestyle and you may experience some temporary symptoms.

    It's especially important to monitor ketone levels if you’re taking medications to control blood sugar; you may be subject to developing a rare condition called ketoacidosis (a different state than ketosis). It’s always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider before going on a keto diet, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.

    Depending on the type of keto diet you choose, it may be low in fiber. Adding more low-carb vegetables, like zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower, can help boost fiber levels without compromising ketosis.

    How to Increase Ketones Through Diet

    Ketones are produced naturally in the body even if you’re not on a keto diet. But to properly enter ketosis and maintain a ketogenic or LCHF lifestyle, it’s important to follow a few key dietary guidelines.

    Eat a High-Fat Diet

    It’s important to note that not all fats are healthy fats, so focus on the following types of foods:

    • Olive, avocado, and coconut oils
    • Grass-fed butter or ghee
    • Organic eggs, yolks and whites
    • Fatty fish like salmon and sardines
    • Nuts like macadamias and walnuts

    Not only do fats help to create different types of ketones in the body, but they help to suppress appetite and create a feeling of fullness for longer periods of time too.

    Watch Your Carb Intake

    While it’s commonly known that carbohydrate intake needs to be limited in a keto or LCHF lifestyle, what foods contain higher carb levels may be less familiar.

    Of course, you're aware that fruits, bread, pasta, and refined sugars contain high amounts of carbs­. However, there are vegetables that also need to be avoided to maintain optimal ketone levels:

    • Root vegetables like beets, potatoes and parsnips
    • Some squash like butternut and acorn
    • Caramelized onions

    It’s also a good idea to watch your intake of grains like corn as well as beans and legumes.

    Regardless of what foods you choose to eat, you want to watch the total grams of carbs you’re consuming. In general, it’s good to stay between 20 to 40 grams of carbs per day to sustain a healthy keto lifestyle.

    Eat Protein...But Not Too Much

    A common misconception for those not familiar with a keto diet is that you can eat endless protein. While protein is an important part of any diet, including keto, protein is limited to maximize ketone production and sustain ketone levels.

    Protein is important for maintaining muscle mass and supplying the body with amino acids. The amount of protein, just like carbs, will vary depending on the person and how much physical activity you’re getting.

    Regularly testing ketone levels may help with tailoring your diet to remain in the ideal ketosis range and achieve proper protein-to-fat-to-carbohydrate ratios.

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    **These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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