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Four New, Cutting-Edge Ways To Easily Shift Your Body Into Fat-Burning Mode & Ketosis.

Four years ago, I realized that I’d been duped.

I’d been lied to about carbohydrates.

Despite obtaining a graduate degree with advanced courses in human nutrition, biochemistry, microbiology and exercise physiology, a sports nutritionist certification, and plenty of time with my face stuffed in dietary research journals, I was simply doing things completely back-asswards when it came to fueling my body.

See, my physical performance on my “gold-standard” 50-60% carbohydrate intake was just fine. Performance wasn’t an issue. I was quite competitive and very fast in my triathlons, runs, swims, bike rides, and workouts.

But I also had bloating. Gas. Fermentation. Wildly fluctuating energy levels. Extra bits of fat around my belly and hips. Inflammation. All the warning signs of high blood glucose. All the signs that I was sacrificing health and longevity for performance…all the issues I talk about in gory detail in my book Beyond Training.

So I simply gave a finger to dyed-in-the-wool, orthodox sports nutrition advice that trickles down from companies like Gatorade, Powerbar and the US Government’s Food Pyramid. I took a deep, deep dive into a more ancestral, natural form of eating. I started eating more greens. More vegetables. More nutrient-dense plants.

And I combined those plants with oodles of healthy, natural fats like avocadoes, olive oil, coconut milk, seeds, nuts, fatty fish, grass-fed meats, and yes, even “weird” foods like bone broth, liver, sardines and many of these unorthodox meals and pantry foods.

I began eat the “cyclic” low-carbohydrate diet I outline in my book on low carbohydrate eating for athletes, meaning that I would save the majority of my carbohydrate intake for the very end of the day, and even then, I ate the clean stuff, like white rice, sweet potatoes, yams, quinoa, red wine and dark chocolate.

I even began to experiment with “ketosis”, a style of eating in which I incorporated strategies such as intermittent fasting, high amounts of coconut oil, complete avoidance of frequent snacking and grazing, and an even lower carbohydrate intake of less than 10% carbohydrates.

What is ketosis? Skip the next two paragraphs if you already know, but if not, give them a quick read.

Ketosis is a metabolic state where most of the body's energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis where blood glucose provides most of the energy. Ketosis is characterized by serum blood concentrations of ketone bodies over 0.5 millimolar with low and stable levels of insulin and blood glucose. However, with ketone supplementation (as you’ll learn about later in this article) ketosis can actually be induced even when there are high levels of blood glucose.

Keto-adaptation, AKA “becoming a fat burning machine”, occurs when you have shifted your metabolism to relying on fat-based sources, instead of glucose (sugar) sources, as your primary source of fuel. Your body increases fat oxidation, and breaks down fats into ketones to be used as the primary energy source. Depending on your current level of carbohydrate intake (takes longer if you’re pretty sugar addicted), this process can take two weeks to six months to fully train your body to, but once done, it’s done, and you have achieved fat-burning status that can stick with you for life.

Frankly, the results of my foray into ketosis and eventually keto-adaptation were astounding. I had the best Ironman triathlon season of my life and shocking levels of mental focus and physical ease, especially for races and workouts that lasted longer than two hours. Without experiencing muscle loss, hunger pangs or brain fog, I found I could go the entire day without eating, which was enormously helpful for business and personal productivity. My gas, bloating, fermentation and GI “issues” disappeared. My blood levels of inflammatory markers like HS-CRP and cytokines dropped to rock-bottom, while my levels of good cholesterol, vitamin D, and anti-inflammatory fatty acids skyrocketed.

I reported on many of these dietary strategies, and the physical and mental performance results that ensued in the following articles:

The Great Ketogenic Ironman Experiment – Can You Go Low-Carb And Be A Fast Endurance Athlete Without Destroying Your Body?

Combining Low Carb And Extreme Exercise – The Official Results Of The Great Ketogenic Ironman Experiment

The Official “Ask Me Anything About Ketosis & Ironman” Premium Podcast with Ben Greenfield

At the end of this entire transition, I had spent nearly three years eating a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet of 50-60% fat, 20-30% protein, 10-30% carbohydrate, and a final fourth year devoted to a full-blown “ketosis” approach of 70-90% fat, 20-30% protein, 5-10% carbohydrate.

And it all culminated with me stepping into Dr. Jeff Volek’s world famous laboratory at University of Connecitut to subject myself to extensive blood testing, chunks of muscle removed from my legs, fat sucked out of my butt-cheeks, urine, stool and gut microbiome testing, oxygen and carbon dioxide testing and countless hours of treadmill running to discover what a full twelve months of eating a ketotic diet had actually done to my body.

VO2 Max Test

You can read all the nitty-gritty details of that study in:

Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 1: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.

Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 2: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.
And you can now also check out the full study, which was just released a few weeks ago in the Journal of Metabolism at “Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners”. Here’s just a teaser from the abstract:

Background

Many successful ultra-endurance athletes have switched from a high-carbohydrate to a low-carbohydrate diet, but they have not previously been studied to determine the extent of metabolic adaptations.

 Methods

Twenty elite ultra-marathoners and ironman distance triathletes performed a maximal graded exercise test and a 180 min submaximal run at 64% VO2max on a treadmill to determine metabolic responses. One group habitually consumed a traditional high-carbohydrate (HC: n = 10, %carbohydrate:protein:fat = 59:14:25) diet, and the other a low-carbohydrate (LC; n = 10, 10:19:70) diet for an average of 20 months (range 9 to 36 months).

Results

Peak fat oxidation was 2.3-fold higher in the LC group (1.54 ± 0.18 vs 0.67 ± 0.14 g/min; P = 0.000) and it occurred at a higher percentage of VO2max (70.3 ± 6.3 vs 54.9 ± 7.8%; P = 0.000). Mean fat oxidation during submaximal exercise was 59% higher in the LC group (1.21 ± 0.02 vs 0.76 ± 0.11 g/min; P = 0.000) corresponding to a greater relative contribution of fat (88 ± 2 vs 56 ± 8%; P = 0.000). Despite these marked differences in fuel use between LC and HC athletes, there were no significant differences in resting muscle glycogen and the level of depletion after 180 min of running (−64% from pre-exercise) and 120 min of recovery (−36% from pre-exercise).

Conclusion

Compared to highly trained ultra-endurance athletes consuming an HC diet, long-term keto-adaptation results in extraordinarily high rates of fat oxidation, whereas muscle glycogen utilization and repletion patterns during and after a 3 hour run are similar.

Blood and Muscle Sample Extraction

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OK, so that’s all good. But wait.

What if you’re not an endurance athlete?

What if you have zero desire to run on a treadmill for an ungodly number of hours, or to do an Ironman, or a marathon, or – hell – even a 10K?

As I hint at in my article “Can You Build Muscle On A Low Carbohydrate Diet?”, in which I show how I helped my brother Zach become absolutely shredded on a diet very similar to mine, it turns out that this whole idea of ketosis isn’t just for endurance.

What are some other benefits of ketosis? The list is pretty exhaustive. Currently, research support the use of ketones for the following benefits:

  • Weight loss
  • Blood sugar balance and enhanced insulin sensitivity
  • Increase satiety, and decreased food cravings
  • Improved energy levels, oxygen capacity, motor performance & athletic performance
  • Enhanced blood flow through vasodilation
  • Migraine treatment
  • Neuroprotective benefits in seizure disorders; ADHD; Alzheimer ’s disease, memory and cognitive function; Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Autism and improved behavior and social impacts
  • Mood stabilization in bipolar disorder (type II)
  • Stroke prevention; cardiovascular disease; metabolic syndrome management; improved cholesterol levels
  • Inflammation management
  • Endurance enhancement

But ketosis is not all rainbows and unicorns. There is definitely a dark side to ketosis. For example, consider the following…

Dark Side To Ketosis #1: Triglycerides

Let’s say you decide you’re going to get into ketosis by eating boatloads of grass-fed butter, peanut butter, almond butter, animal meats, and oils, and you aren’t very selective in the quality of those fats.

That’s a definite shortcut to throwing your triglycerides through the roof.

And not only are high levels of circulating triglycerides a good way to get fat fast, but studies have consistently linked high triglyceride levels with heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. Fructose is one quick way to elevate triglycerides, but this really doesn’t seem to be an issue with high-fat, low-carbers.

However, vegetable oils and butter and animal fats and nuts and seeds can also significantly raise triglycerides. One big issue here is that if these oils and fats have been exposed to high amounts of temperature and processing, triglycerides are getting dumped into your body chock full of free radicals.

So if your high-fat diet includes a high amount of roasted seeds or roasted nuts, nut butters, heated oils such as heated coconut oil or heated extra virgin olive oil, barbecued meats or meats cooked at very high temperatures, then your triglyceride count is going to go up. You should have triglycerides that are less than 150mg/dL, and a triglyceride to HDL ratio that is no more than 4:1, and in most of the healthiest people I’ve worked with, triglycerides are under 100 and the triglyceride to HDL ratio is less than 2:1. If your ratio is whacked, your ketotic diet isn’t doing you any favors.

Dark Side To Ketosis #2: Inflammation

If you have high levels of cholesterol, which you probably do if you’re eating a high-fat, low-carb diet, then you need to be worried if your HS-CRP levels (a primary marker of inflammation) are above 1.0 mg/dL – even if you’re a hard charging athlete.

I like to see most people under 0.5 for CRP levels, and here’s why: a high amount of inflammation in your body is going to make the cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream more likely to become oxidized, generating a high amount of heart and connective tissue-damaging free radicals.

As a matter of fact, it’s more dangerous to have high levels of cholesterol and high levels of CRP than low levels of cholesterol and high levels of CRP – even if your high levels of cholesterol are “healthy”, big fluffy LDL particles, and not small, dense vLDL particles. In other words, no matter how many healthy fats you’re eating, these fats may actually come back to bite you if you’re creating high inflammation from too much exercise, not enough sleep, exposure to toxins and pollutants, or a high-stress lifestyle.

Dark Side To Ketosis #3: Cholesterol Damage

Free-ranging glucose molecules in your bloodstream can adhere to cholesterol particles and cause those particles to remain in the bloodstream for long periods of time, since your liver can’t properly process cholesterol when it has a glucose molecule attached to it.

The longer cholesterol circulates in your bloodstream, the higher the likelihood that it will dig its way into an endothelial wall and potentially contribute to atherosclerosis or plaque formation. This is why it’s so dangerous to eat a high-fat diet, but to also have your nightly dark chocolate bar, overdo it on the red wine, or have weekly “cheat days” with pizza, pasta, or sugar-laden ice cream.

So if you’re going to eat a high fat diet, then you need to ensure your fasted blood glucose levels are staying at around 70-90mg/dL, and your hemoglobin A1C (a 3 month “snapshot” of your glucose) is staying below 5.5. If not, your high fat diet could actually be significantly hurting you.

Dark Side To Ketosis #4: Thyroid Issues

Carbohydrates are necessary for the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone to active thyroid hormone, and if you’re on an extremely strict low carbohydrate diet, then you may actually be limiting this conversion. Your TSH is what tells your thyroid gland to “release more hormone,” so your TSH rises when your thyroid gland is underactive, or conversion of inactive to active thyroid hormone is inadequate. A high TSH means that the pituitary gland is releasing its hormone to try to get the thyroid to respond and produce more thyroid hormone. Because of inadequate carbohydrates, TSH will often elevate in a high-fat, low-carber – indicating potential for long-term thyroid and metabolic damage.

If I see a TSH above 2.0 or a trend towards higher values in someone who is testing repeatedly, I get worried – and prefer to see TSH at 0.5-2.0. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you begin to shove carbohydrates indiscriminately down the hatch. However, it means that your high-fat, low-carb diet should include thyroid supporting foods rich in iodine and selenium, such as sea vegetables and brazil nuts, and should also include carbohydrates timed properly, such as before, during or after workouts, when the carbohydrate is more likely to be utilized for energy and less likely to spike blood glucose levels.

It also means that if you’re a very active athlete or exercise enthusiast and you’re following “trickle-down” advice from the sedentary or less active ketosis experts to eat less than 40g of carbs per day, you’re making a big mistake when it comes to your hormonal balance, and you need to up your carbohydrate intake to 100-200g of carbs per day. You’d be surprised at how easy it is (if you’re a very active person) to stay in ketosis on this level of carbohydrate intake. Go ahead. Do Ketonix breath testing to prove me wrong. You can eat boatloads of carbohydrates at night and be back in ketosis within just two to three hours. When you combine that with the cutting-edge tricks you’re about to learn, you’ll find that you can toss hormonal issues out the window, get into ketosis, have your cake, and eat it too. Literally.

Dark Side To Ketosis #5: Social “Limitations”

Let’s face it: if you’re eating 70-90% fats, it can be very, very difficult to hang out with your friends at an Italian restaurant. Or to walk past a bakery. Or to find yourself surviving and having fun at a holiday party with fresh baked cookies, wine, chocolates, and cocktails.

In other words, I personally found that while following “strict ketosis”, things became eerily similar to the days in college when I was a competitive bodybuilder pursuing sub-3% body fat percentages. I simply wasn’t the most fun guy to hang out with in social situations due to my extreme dietary restrictions, the intense self-control became nearly exhausting, and when I traveled, I missed out on many culinary experiences, such as homemade ravioli in Rome, freshly baked crostinis in the Basque regions of Spain, and Korean rice bowls in Seoul.

As a matter of fact, what you’ve just read about is exactly why, after the study at University of Connecticut, I personally quit messing around with ketosis and returned to what I considered to be a more sane macronutrient intake of 50-60% fat, 20-30% protein, 10-30% carbohydrate.

OK, now don’t stop reading and walk away from this article because you don’t want to screw your triglyceride levels, jack up inflammation, oxidize your cholesterol, de-balance your hormones and be a complete bore at parties.

But surprisingly, every single one of the issues you just read about it can become a complete non-issue if you implement what you’re about to learn. And that’s exactly why I’ve returned to ketosis as my main diet.

That’s right: it turns out that if I could go back and do my year of strict ketosis again, I would do everything you’ve going to discover below. If I had done that, I would have avoided all the uncomfortable, unhealthy issues I experienced when I was eating a high-fat diet, and I would have gotten all the benefits with none of the harm. As a matter of fact, in the past 30 days, as I’ve begun a new journey into ketosis, I am now implementing the exact four methods you’re about to discover.

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But first, before we delve into the latest and greatest biohacks to help you painlessly get into ketosis and stay in ketosis…what exactly got me back into being interested in ketosis in the first place?

In a word: freediving.

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See, two years ago I released two podcasts that got me very enthralled with the concept of using both ketosis and freediving to become a better athlete, with a stronger nervous system and enhanced stress resilience:

Apparently, Dominic’s research seems to be suggesting the fact that diet-induced ketosis from a high-fat, low-carb intake, especially when combined with the use of nutrition supplements such as powdered ketones or MCT oil, can vastly reduce the need for the brain to use oxygen to burn glucose. This is because the brain can use up to around 75% of its fuel from ketones. So a ketone-fed or a fat-adapted brain can be better equipped to withstand low oxygen availability and potentially support longer breath-hold times. Dominic’s research also shows that in the presence of ketosis, the brain and body are able to resist the potential cell damage of long periods of time with low oxygen, also known as “hypoperfusion”.

As I learned in a University of Connecticut lab experiment I mentioned earlier in this article (gory details here), a high-fat, low-carb diet can teach and allow the muscles to tap into more fat for fuel, making your body crave less use of oxygen in the large muscles of the legs, arms or other areas that you’ve learned oxygen gets shunted away from when deep underwater.

A diet low in sugar and starch is also less acidic. This lowers carbon dioxide levels in the body, which could theoretically also increase breath hold time. This is because breath holding is normally terminated due to an urge to breathe that is mostly caused by increasing carbon dioxide levels.

Interestingly, most of the animals that regularly rely upon the mammalian diving reflex are marine mammals. Marine mammals, for the most part, live on almost exclusively fat and protein (e.g. fish) and yet are able to maintain a largely aerobic, (oxygen-based, metabolism – even while holding their breath.

Based on all this, along with advice from Dominic and information from previous podcast I’ve done with Dr. Peter Attia, the week prior to the epic freediving excursion that I outline in detail here, I began experimenting with all the strategies I'm about to outline below, and I was absolutely shocked.

What was I so shocked about?

I was shocked at how easy it was (using the new supplements and methods outlined below that have been developed since my initial foray into ketosis) to get into ketosis without extreme carbohydrate restriction, without excessive, diarrhea and “diaper-moment” inducing amounts of MCT and coconut oil, and without the inflammation, triglyceride and hormonal issues, or social discomfort I outline above. I was also able to achieve a much more immediate and deeper level of ketosis than I ever achieved in previous experiments sans these newer strategies you’re going to learn about.

Hooray for science.

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OK, hang with me here. We’re almost to the point where I reveal the four new methods I recommend to get you into ketosis fast.

But first, I want to explain exactly why you’ve been lied to about carbs. After all, you may still be wondering why you can’t just slam an energy gel, bar or sports drink and go do your workout or race.

After all, if you open any textbook on human performance, read any magazine article on workout nutrition or review any research produced by the world’s leading exercise and diet science institutes, and you’ll see the same two pieces of standard advice churned out with robotic-like repetition:

Standard Piece of Advice #1: Before any big workout days, eat seven to ten grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight daily for optimal performance. On any other days, eat five to seven grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.

So how many carbs is that? Let’s do the math. 7-10 g/kg of carbohydrates is about 3-4.5 g/lb. So in the 24 hours before a heavy workout day, a 150 pound male would be advised to eat roughly 450-675g of carbs. And that’s 1800-2700 calories of carbs per day – the equivalent of 38-56 slices of bread. Or 17-25 bowls of cereal. Pick your poison.

American-style-carbs-1024x745

And on any average day, even a non-workout day, you’d be advised to eat around 2-3 g/lb, or 300-450g of carbs. That’s 1200-1800 calories of carbs per day. So if you were eating a relatively typical 2500 calorie per day intake, you’d be looking at about 50-75% carbohydrate based diet.

Don’t believe me? Does 50-75% seem like too much to you? Sadly, this level of carbohydrate intake is status quo for the gold standard in athletes and exercise enthusiasts.

The Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) is widely considered one of the world’s top go-to resources for cutting-edge exercise and nutrition science advice – which is probably why Gatorade vending machines dot the campus here, and the majority of the kids seem to be walking around campus with a never-ending big gulp-sized cup full of sports drink.

Anyways, here’s an excerpt on recommend carb intake from GSSI’s Sport Science Exchange Journal. Note that they actually go as high as TWELVE grams in this particular article:

“Adequate dietary carbohydrate is critical to raise muscle glycogen to high levels in preparation for the next day’s endurance competition or hard training session. Accordingly, during the 24 h prior to a hard training session or endurance competition, athletes should consume 7-12 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. However, during the 24 h prior to a moderate or easy day of training, athletes need to consume only 5-7 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.”

Here’s another excerpt from a different GSSI article:

“Soccer players’ diets, especially in the days before hard training or competition, should include 8-10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight (3.5-4.5 g/lb). Cereals, fruits, vegetables, breads, and pastas are good sources of carbohydrates.”

Incidentally, a serving of Gatorade has about 25-35g of carbohydrates. Just sayin’.

OK, let’s move on to Standard Piece of Advice #2…

Standard Piece of Advice #2: Ensure that during exercise, you keep your blood glucose levels evaluated by consuming the majority of those carbohydrates are from fast-burning carb sources such as sugary drinks, gels, and bars during both prolonged activity (like a long run) and also intense activity (like weight training).

For example, from this GSSI article:

“The advice for prolonged endurance events (2.5 h or longer) is an intake of 90 g of multiple transportable carbohydrates per hour. This advice is not expressed relative to body mass because body size/mass appears to play no major role in exogenous carbohydrate oxidation.”

So what the heck does “multiple transportable carbohydrates” mean? In most cases, this refers to the standard two primary ingredients you’ll see featured in just about every sport drink and energy gel on the face of the planet: a mix of fructose and maltodextrin sugars.

From another GSSI article:

“Given that there is no known detriment to consumption of a high-carbohydrate diet (other than body weight gain due to water retention) and some research reports a benefit, it is recommended that all athletes consume a high-carbohydrate training diet, i.e., at least 60-70% of energy as carbohydrate (7-10 g/kg), and increase this to 65-85% for the few days before competition. Use of a carbohydrate supplement before and during exercise will likely improve performance of intermittent, high-intensity sprints.”

The “no known detriment to consumption of a high-carbohydrate diet” part of that statement above is very damn disturbing. You’ll learn why in just a moment.

However, at the risk of appearing to be on a completely biased anti-Gatorade rant, and to drive home the point that a relatively enormous intake of carbohydrates is recommended for performance, I’ll also point out this anecdote from the “Nutrition And Athletic Performance” position statement from the American College of Sports Medicine:

“For events longer than 60 minutes, consuming 0.7 g carbohydrates·kg-1 body weight·h-1 (approximately 30-60 g·h-1) has been shown unequivocally to extend endurance performance. Consuming carbohydrates during exercise is even more important in situations when athletes have not carbohydrate-loaded, not consumed pre-exercise meals, or restricted energy intake for weight loss. Carbohydrate intake should begin shortly after the onset of activity; [and continue] at 15- to 20-min intervals throughout the activity.”

And from the International Olympic Committee’s “Consensus Statement on Sports Nutrition” for longer exercise efforts:

“To achieve the relatively high rates of intake (up to 90 grams/hour) needed to optimize results in events lasting longer than three hours, athletes should practice consuming carbohydrates during training to develop an individual strategy, and should make use of sport foods and drinks containing carbohydrate combinations that will maximize absorption from the gut and minimize gastrointestinal disturbances.”

Are you getting the feeling that the Holy Grail of nutrition for athletes seems to be to protect carbohydrate stores at all times?

You’d be right with that feeling.

The general argument for carbohydrate consumption goes something like this:

Physical or mental fatigue during workouts (or while you’re sitting at your office) is caused by the low blood glucose that occurs as your carbohydrate fuel tank approaches empty (also known as the infamous “bonk”, which is awesomely demonstrated in this funniest running cartoon I’ve ever seen). Because it is generally (and sadly) accepted as orthodox knowledge that the human body can’t burn fat as a reliable fuel source – especially when you’re exercising for long periods of time or at high intensities – nearly every shred of nutrition science is simply looking for ways to somehow increase the size of your carbohydrate fuel tank and hack the body to allow it to store more carbs or absorb carbs more quickly.

Ironically, these efforts to encourage sky-high levels of carbohydrate intake are continued despite the fact that even the leanest of people naturally have tens of thousands of calories of readily accessible storage fat.

In fact, most folks have enough stored body fat to fuel aerobic activity for days and days without running out of energy. For example, a 150 pound dude at a hot, sexy and ripped at 8% body fat still carries 12 pounds of storage fat – which at 3500 calories per pound of fat can easily liberate 42,000 calories of useable fuel for exercise. You’ve got those same thousands of calories sitting around your waist, abs, hip, butt and thighs – just sitting there, waiting to be burnt.

Yet, it’s still standard advice to eat Wheaties for breakfast, guzzle Gatorade during a hard workout and to down a sugary Jamba Juice as you walk out of the gym. And this is the message being preached worldwide to kids and adults by exercise nutritionists and scientific bastions of diet research. We accept this as status quo.

Just think about it: when was the last time you ate a Powerbar before a workout? Had a big smoothie before you hit the gym? Finished up a workout and dumped some kind of powder into your blender (check the label and you’ll probably see maltodextrin and/or fructose as primary ingredients)?

Now, there is absolutely no arguing with the fact that high carbohydrate intake before, during and after a workout can certainly improve performance. So sure – there is at least some logic to the standard recommendation that you should consume a diet which provides high carbohydrate availability before and during exercise.

But while carbohydrates can help you have a better workout, go faster, or go longer, this only applies to acute, in-the-moment performance. Once you take a look (which you’re about to do) at the long-term effects of chronic high blood sugar levels, things change drastically. If the damage that you’re above to discover is worth it to you, then you are either mildly masochistic or you value performance much more than health.

Perhaps you fall into the category of Olympic athletes who would dope with damaging drugs, even if they knew it would kill them. However, if you desire a long, high-quality life, you don’t want to be a washed up ex-exerciser with diabetes, or you don’t want to experience joint, nerve and brain inflammation, damage and degradation, you may need to adjust your lens.

Your lens?

That’s right.

This all depends on the lens through which you view your body and value your health, and your own personal philosophy on performance vs. health.

So what is your lens? Are you chasing performance and a better body at all costs, or are you willing to entertain the idea of thinking outside the box and defying standard practice if it means that you can achieve the same or superior levels of performance, and a better body, but with superior long-term health implications?

Before we discover the answer to that question, let’s delve in and find out what happens if you actually listen to the standard advice to fuel your workouts with massive amounts of “healthy” carbohydrates.

The bullet points below will help you understand the risks of consuming carbohydrate levels like “7-10g/kg” (if you want more details and studies behind some of these points, read this excellent article from the Life Extension Foundation).

-Cancer: Numerous studies have found that the risk for cancer increases with high blood sugar, which makes sense, since cancer cells feed primarily on glucose. This includes cancers of the endometrium, pancreas, and colon and colorectal tumors. Tim Ferriss recently hosted a fantastic article by Peter Attia about this very issue, and how ketosis may indeed be a potential cancer cure.

-Cardiovascular Disease: High blood sugar has been shown to increase the risk for cardiovascular events, cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular mortality—while lower glucose levels result in lower cardiovascular risk. Coronary artery disease risk has been shown to be twice as high in patients with impaired glucose tolerance, compared with patients with more normal glucose tolerance. The risk for stroke increases as fasting glucose levels rise above 83 mg/dL. In fact, every 18 mg/dL increase beyond 83 results in a 27 percent greater risk of dying from stroke. Incidentally, glucose can “stick” to cholesterol particles and render these particles extremely dangerous from a heart health standpoint, which is why it’s all the more important to control blood sugar levels if you’re eating a “high-fat diet.”

-Cognitive Issues: High blood sugar results in cognitive impairment and dementia.

-Kidney Disease: Surges in blood sugar drive the production of fibrous kidney tissue and vascular complications in the kidneys, which can cause chronic kidney disease. There is a direct increase in chronic kidney disease as levels of hemoglobin A1c (a three-month “snapshot” of glucose control) rise.

-Pancreatic Dysfunction: The beta cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin to help control blood sugar become dysfunctional with high blood glucose, raising the risk for type 2 diabetes. Researchers have discovered that beta cell issues are detectable in people whose glucose levels spike two hours after eating, despite those levels staying within the range considered normal and safe by the medical establishment.

-Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina that can lead to blindness—and it is highly aggravated by high blood sugar.

-Nervous System Damage: It’s been shown that patients with neuropathy whose after-meal glucose readings were above the diabetic threshold sustained damage to their large nerve fibers. Even neuropathy patients whose glucose readings remained well within the normal range showed damage to their small nerve fibers. Studies have shown that within any blood sugar range, the higher the glucose, the greater the damage to nerve fibers.

I don’t know about you, but I find these risks pretty damn concerning. The fact is that I want to be around to play with my grandkids, and considering that my genetic testing with 23andMe has revealed that I have a higher-than-normal risk for type 2 diabetes, I doubt that shoving more gooey gels and sugary sports drinks into my pie hole is going to do my health any favors. So if I can achieve similar levels of performance and body composition with carbohydrate restriction, I’m all in.

But let’s say you have a hard time thinking 20 years ahead to your future health prospects.

Perhaps diabetes and joint degradation seem like a long way off to you, and it’s tough to get motivated by those vague concepts. You just want to rock your workouts, feel like a million bucks and look good naked – right now. In that case, there still a multitude of benefits to controlling blood sugar and lowering carbohydrate intake.

For example, a key component of safe and lasting fat loss is your capability to tap into your body’s own storage fat for energy. This access to fat cannot happen if your body is constantly drawing on carbohydrate reserves and blood glucose for energy. In the type of moderate- to high-carbohydrate diets you’ve learned are widely recommended by prevailing nutrition science, not only does the utilization of fat for energy become far less crucial (since you’re constantly dumping readily available sugar sources into your body), but your metabolism never becomes efficient at using fat. There is a growing body of evidence proving that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet results in faster and more permanent weight loss than a low-fat diet. Furthermore, appetite satiety and dietary satisfaction significantly improve with a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that includes moderate protein.

A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that people who do twice-a-day workouts, but defy standard nutrition recommendations by not eating for two hours after the first session (thus depleting carbohydrate stores with the first session) experienced a better ability to burn fat (with no loss in performance) compared with a group that trained only once a day and ate carbohydrates afterward.

Another study deprived participants of carbohydrates then subjected them to high-intensity interval training on a bicycle – and showed better fat burning and an increase in the enzymes responsible for fat metabolism, again with no loss of performance.

And biochemistry research shows that when carbohydrate stores are depleted by almost 50 percent (e.g. by doing a workout without eating carbohydrates), there is increased stimulus for enhanced enzyme activity in skeletal muscle – which is a good thing, since it means that you can more efficiently produce ATP energy from fat calories.

But the benefits of going low carb don’t stop at fat loss.

For example, in trained people and athletes who eat a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (not to be confused with a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet), a large amount of fat burning can take place at intensities well above 80 percent maximum oxygen utilization (VO2 max) – allowing for very-high-intensity or long efforts with low calorie intake and also allowing for use of fat fuel stores during long steady-state exercise, even at a relatively fast pace (so much for the “fat burning zone” giving you the best bang for your buck). With high-fat, low-carb intake, you can go hard and still burn tons of fat. In addition, this means that more carbohydrate stores will be available when you really need them, such as for an all-out, 100%, maximum effort.

You also get incredible gains in metabolic efficiency when you use fat as a primary source of fuel – especially when doing high-intensity interval training – with this one-two combo causing potent 3–5 percent decreases in the oxygen cost of exercise, which is extremely significant. Translated into real- world numbers, this increased fat utilization from carbohydrate restriction and high-intensity interval training would allow you to pedal a bicycle at a threshold of 315 watts, whereas a high-carbohydrate, aerobic-only program (the way most people train) would allow for only 300 watts. Talk to any cyclist and you’ll find out that an 15 extra watts of power is huge in a sport like cycling, and something most cyclists train years and years to achieve.

high-fat diet also trains your body to burn even more fat during exercise, even at high intensities. Fat is released faster and in greater amounts from your storage adipose tissue and transported more quickly into your muscles and mitochondria. Your muscles also store more energy as fat and use this fat-based fuel more efficiently and quickly. Even more interestingly, a high-fat diet can cause a shift in the gene expression that codes for specific proteins that increase fat metabolism – and create very similar adaptations to exercise itself. So the mere act of shifting primary fuel intake from carbohydrates to fat begins to make you more “fit”, even if you’re not exercising.

And guess what else?

This benefit surprised me when I first discovered it, but eating fewer carbohydrates during a workout can actually help you recover from workouts faster. The repair and recovery of skeletal muscle tissue is dependent on the “transcription” of certain components of your RNA. And a bout of endurance exercise combined with low muscle-carbohydrate stores can result in greater activation of this transcription. In other words, by training in a low-carbohydrate state, you train your body to recover faster.

But sadly, whether due to government subsidy of high carb foods like corn and grain, funding from big companies like Gatorade and Powerbar, our sugar-addicted Western palates, or the constant (unfounded) fear mongering about saturated fats and heart disease, the type of research that shows these fat-burning and performance benefits of carbohydrate restriction simply get shoved under the rug.

In addition, most studies that compare carbohydrate utilization with fat utilization fail to take into account the fact that full “fat adaptation” that allows you to gain all the benefits of using fat as a fuel actually takes time – often more than four weeks – and up to a couple years. But since most studies that compare fat and carbohydrate burning are short-term, you rarely see the benefits of this kind of fat adaptation actually fleshed out in research. Instead, the average research participant begins the study in a non-fat adapted state, gets either a high fat or high carb diet, then launches into exercise. But in an ideal study, that person would have followed either a high-fat or high-carb diet for many months before getting their fat burning capability investigated.

So the textbooks and the nutrition science recommendations stick to the standard two pieces of advice you learned about earlier, and continue to preach that to be a good exerciser, to get maximum performance and to optimize your workouts, you need to be a complete carbaholic.

But what if this wasn’t true?

What if we could prove that eating a low-carb, high-fat diet for a long time, becoming fat-adapted and even avoiding carbohydrates during the one time when we’re most encouraged to consume carbohydrates (during exercise)…

…could actually turn you into a fat-burning machine without losing a shred of performance capability or causing any metabolic damage?

Well, as you’ve learned, that has just been proven this year, and you can read all the details in the study that was just released a few weeks ago in the Journal of Metabolism at “Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners”.

So, let’s summarize what you’ve learned so far:

  1. I used to eat lots of carbohydrates. Then, for health reasons, I quit and shifted to a high-fat diet.
  1. Eventually, I began utilizing ketosis, and got even better results.
  1. But I experienced some significant logistical and health issues with ketosis, so I shifted back into a “non-ketotic” but still relatively low-carb diet, while continuing to avoid high carb intake due to the host of health issues you just learned about.
  1. Then recently, in my recent foray into freediving, I re-explored the newer, more cutting-edge ways to get into ketosis.
  1. Which brings us, drumroll please, into the four new cutting-edge ways to easily shift your body into fat burning and ketosis.

Let’s do this.

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Cutting-Edge Way To Get Into Ketosis #1: Powdered MCT’s + Exogenous Ketones In The Form Of “BHB Salts”

Supplementing with exogenous ketones allows you to experience deep ketosis and elevated blood ketone levels, without having to eat copious amounts of fats,  follow an excessively carbohydrate restrictive ketogenic diet, or doing a ton of fasting which, as you learned earlier, is often difficult or even damaging to adhere to.

To understand exogenous ketones, you should know that there are three types of ketones: beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetoacetate (ACA) and acetone, and all three are the normal by-products of fat breakdown by your body. In much the same way as glucose, ketones can be used by your tissues, especially your brain, diaphragm and heart and are actually a far more efficient fuel source than glucose.

BHB is the primary ketone your body can most efficiently use as fuel during exercise and at rest (especially when you’re keto-adapted), it is the most stable of the ketones, and it is actually found in nature in many foods including eggs and milk. A “BHB salt” is simply a compound that consists of sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), and the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate.

Before you consume a BHB salt, these individual components are held together by ionic bonds. However, when you consume a supplement containing a BHB salt, it is absorbed into the blood where it dissociates into free sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), and finally, the actual ketone. This means that consuming a product containing a BHB directly and immediately puts ketones into your blood, without the need for you to eat tons of fats or engage in carbohydrate restriction or fasting to generate the ketones.

Yes, that means that normally your body would only generate BHB after it metabolizes fats or is in a deep state of fasting or carbohydrate restriction, but you can bypass that entire process by simply ingesting a BHB salt, and thus get yourself into a deep state of ketosis in as little as ten minutes flat.

Then there’s medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s). Most dietary fat has to be converted into water soluble molecules that then need to enter the liver via your lymph system. Your liver then converts these molecules to fatty acids and ketone bodies. But unlike most other forms of dietary fats, MCT’s can enter your liver directly without having to go through your lymph system. This means that consuming MCT’s gives your body an opportunity to quickly produce ketone bodies.

The addition of MCT powder to ketones serves the purpose of maintaining endogenous production of ketone bodies by stimulating fatty acid oxidation in the liver, which then causes the production of even more ketone bodies. In this transcript from a podcast with Dr. Dom D’Agostino it is mentioned that MCT’s cross the blood-brain barrier straight to the brain. So not only are the ketones being used by the brain as an alternative fuel but so are MCT’s.

 

In this study by Dr. Dominic D’Agostino it is also mentioned that your blood brain barrier (BBB) “is relatively impermeable to most hydrophilic substances, such as ketone bodies. Therefore, the transport of ketones across the BBB is highly dependent on specific carrier-mediated facilitated transport by a family of proton-linked monocarboxylic acid transporters”. Basically, what this means is that MCT powder may act as a carrier to shuttle the ketone bodies across the BBB.

So…just imagine if you could inject your body with a one-two combo of BHB salts and MCT’s.

Enter a product called KETO//OS (Ketone Operating System) made by a company called Prüvit. KETO//OS is a ketone salt formula that has been researched, tested, and physician approved to provide elevated blood ketone levels to the body.

Keto OS
KETO//OS contains a specifically engineered ratio of ketone mineral salts blended with a high fiber based medium chain triglyceride (MCT) formulation, so you get a potent delivery of both exogenous ketones and medium chain triglycerides.  It is simply a powder that you mix with 8-10 oz of water. Within 15-30 minutes it puts your body into a full and deep state of ketosis.

Here’s what the nutrition label of this stuff looks like:

keto os-nutrition-facts

As you can see, it’s very clean – primarily BHB salts, MCT powder, and natural flavors along with stevia, in a caffeine-free or caffeinated version.

Now, there a few things you should know before you begin using KETO//OS. First, ketones naturally act as a diuretic, so you lose salt, potassium, calcium and magnesium, and it is generally encouraged to increase sodium intake with ketones. That’s why there is extra sodium added to KETO//OS. The combination of BHB with sodium also acts as a bit of a buffer to buffer natural ketone acidity.

Next, you should know that supplementing with KETO//OS (or following a ketogenic diet) can cause a slightly diuretic, water-losing effect, and can deplete your natural magnesium, potassium and sodium stores. This can be rectified by supplementing with a good electrolyte or increasing the sodium in your diet. This is another reason KETO//OS adds additional sodium to the formulation to counteract this sodium depletion.

Next, you need to ease yourself into this stuff. As I mentioned earlier, KETO//OS is blended with MCT’s, which can cause digestive distress if you’re not used to consuming them. This is due to the fact that your body has not yet adapted to the increased fats in your diet, and is less efficient at utilizing ketones as its fuel source. Once your body has adapted to MCT in the diet, the digestive distress will resolve.  But I recommend you start slowly with just about a half a serving a day, and over two weeks, build up to a full serving twice a day.

You can actually do more than two servings per day if you want, and you can experiment to see how many servings your body should handle. You should know that it would be very difficult to overdose on ketones. They are water soluble, so any excess ketones will be eliminated mainly via the urine.

Since originally publishing this article, I’ve been asked whether elevating blood ketones with exogenous sources could trigger a ketone-induced release of insulin that would theoretically reduce hepatic ketogenesis and perhaps slow fat mobilization. This makes sense since you are putting more energy into the system in general (from exogenous ketones), so there would be less need to draw off your own fat stores.

What actually happens is that when you deliver pure BHB (BHB ketone salts) along with MCT’s, there continues to be high rates of hepatic ketogenesis, but the liver production of ketones comes mostly from the MCT’s, not from your own fat stores.

However, at the same time, it should be noted that MCT’s gradually enhance the fat oxidation capacity of the liver and muscle, so this is turning you into a better fat burner overall if they continue to stay in ketosis.

What’s the takeaway message? If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t overdo the use of exogenous ketones (e.g. use 1-2 servings per day), commit to a long period of time spent in ketosis, and use MCT’s in addition to ketones.

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Cutting-Edge Way To Get Into Ketosis #2: KetoCaNa

KetoCaNa, which is made by Prototype Nutrition, is very similar to the KETO//OS I discuss above, but does not contain MCT’s. That’s really the primary difference. So if you don’t like MCT’s or if you want fewer calories in a powdered, exogenous ketone product, then you can add this one into your ketogenic protocol.

ks-ketocanaRather than containing sodium and potassium BHB salts, KetoCaNa contains sodium and calcium salts. Some folks find this sodium/calcium blend gets them into ketosis more quickly than a sodium/potassium blend, but I haven’t personally noticed a significant difference between the two in my Ketonix ketone breath testing.

Here’s what the KetoCaNa label looks like:

ketocana label

KetoCaNa contains 11.7 grams of the ketone body Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and consumption of KetoCaNa before exercise can result in significant decreases in oxygen demand and increases in physical performance, along with heightened mental acuity and cognitive performance.

Similar to the BHB salts and MCT’s from the KETO//OS I discuss above, powdered forms of ketones are excellent if you don’t want to completely eliminate carbohydrates or protein (which can be gluconeogenic when eaten in excess) or eat copious amounts of fats, but want to simultaneously maintain high levels of blood ketones. It may also be used to ease the transition into a ketogenic state, because it can help alleviate the fatigue and lethargy some  people experience while making the transition from a glucose metabolism (carb burning mode) to ketone metabolism (fat burning mode).

KetoCaNa is pretty dang easy to use: you just stir it into about eight ounces of cold water until dissolved for best results.

I’ll warn you: when you first start using BHB salts like KetoCaNa, it can cause some temporary GI upset until you get acclimated to use. For me, this manifested in just a little bit of gas and bloating that subsided after about one week of use. Additionally, you should know that this product contains salt, so it counts as part of your daily salt intake.

If you are already in ketosis and accustomed to high-fat, low-carb diets, you can take one heaping scoop in about eight ounces of water fifteen minutes prior to working out. It stays in your system and will provide your body with elevated ketone levels for about three hours. When taken as a pre-workout, KetoCaNa has also been shown to decrease the amount of oxygen consumed at a given power output.

If you are transitioning into a state of ketosis then you should use a loading phase with this stuff. For that, it is recommended that you take three servings per day for two to three days, and one of these servings should be ingested fifteen minutes pre-workout.

Again, to clarify, this is simply a “lower calorie” version of exogenous ketones since it doesn’t contain MCT’s. So if your stomach doesn’t do well with MCT’s or if you want to consume fewer calories, this may be a better option for you.

The good folks at Prototype Nutrition are offering a 10% discount on KetoCaNa. Just click here and use code “BG2015”.

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Cutting-Edge Way To Get Into Ketosis #3: C8 or C10 MCT Oils

You may already be familiar with the cognitive boosting properties of MCT oil if you’ve tried Bulletproof Coffee, the ketogenic coffee blend that involves mixing butter, some form of MCT oil or coconut oil, and some tasty additions like chocolate or cinnamon.

However, there’s plenty of confusion out there about all the different forms of MCT’s, and there’s an important difference between oils like coconut oil, XCT oil, MCT oil, and a newer addition to the MCT family called Brain Octane.

Take coconut oil for example. The coconut oil industry loves to market the idea that relatively inexpensive and abundant coconut oil is a great source of MCTs because it’s “62% MCT oil”, but the problem is that studies show you can’t get many useful ketogenic MCT’s from just eating coconut oil or even most brands of “MCT oil”, which are often is diluted with lauric acid, a cheap, hugely abundant part of coconut oil that is typically marketed as an MCT oil.

Now don’t get me wrong: coconut oil (in moderated amounts) can be good for you. Eating it provides cheap and abundant lauric acid, a useful oil that is sold as an MCT oil even though it does not act like an MCT in the body.

In the US especially, coconut oil and MCT oil manufacturers are legally allowed to claim that lauric acid is an MCT because chemists named it that way, even though it does not act like other true biological MCT oils. If you are relying on plain coconut oil or “MCT-labeled” oil to get enough useful MCTs, think again and check the label: odds are you’re getting very few of the potent, ketogenic shorter chain MCTs (also known as “C8” and “C10”), and instead getting mostly cheaper but ineffective lauric acid.

Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty science here, shall we? Heck, you’ve made it this far so we might as well.

Coconut oil marketers often say there are four kinds of MCT oils found in coconut oil: C6, C8, C10, and C12 (the numbers define the length of the carbon chains).

Even though chemists long ago decided to call all of these MCTs, biologists now understand that the cheapest and most common of the MCTs, C12 or lauric acid, is actually a “pseudo-MCT”.

This C12 Lauric acid is a great food source, but it behaves like an LCT (long chain triglyceride) and not an MCT when you consume it, which means you don’t get the fast ketone energy from C12 Lauric acid that you get from C8 or C10.

As a matter of fact, from a pure biology perspective, lauric acid should actually be considered a LCT, because unlike C8 and C10 forms of MCT, lauric acid gets processed by your liver. This matters because your body metabolizes MCT’s differently than LCT’s: unlike LCT’s, MCT’s get very quickly converted into ketone energy to fuel your brain and body instead of requiring a pit stop in the liver for processing.

How did this incorrect labeling of C12 Lauric acid happen? Chemists counted the number of carbon chains and arbitrarily decided what was medium. So lauric acid is a chemical MCT but it is not a true biological MCT because your body does not treat it as an MCT.

Since your body treats lauric acid differently from the get go, it deserves to be treated honestly on oil marketing labels too! Hopefully, chemists will eventually change the classification to be more accurate. So basically, coconut oil and MCT oils comprised of lauric acid are not really true MCT’s capable of getting you into ketosis fast.

So then, what is an MCT Oil?

Here’s the deal: there are several main types of fatty acid oils found in coconut oil, but only the three listed below behave in your body as true biological MCT’s. This means that they bypass the metabolic burden of processing in the liver so they quickly become ketone-based energy in your brain and muscles.

These true MCT’s are:

C6, Caproic Acid:

There’s not enough of it to matter in coconut oil, it tastes bad, and it often results in stomach/gastric upset, but it does get converted quickly into ketones. If your MCT oil brand of choice makes your throat burn or has a weird flavor, one reason may be that the distillation did not remove enough of the C6. There are other reasons this can happen too, discussed below.

C8, Caprylic Acid (the primary MCT found in Brain Octane):

C8 is the rarest MCT found in coconut oil, comprising about 6% of coconut oil. It has potent anti-microbial properties (way more potent than lauric acid) to help you maintain a healthy gut, and it is the fastest MCT to metabolize in the brain. (hence the name Brain Octane). Your liver does not need to process C8, and it only takes the steps for your body to turn it into ATP cellular energy (sugar takes 26 steps). You would need 18 tablespoons of coconut oil to get just one tablespoon of Brain Octane.Brain_Octanebrain octane label

C10, Capric Acid (the primary MCT found in XCT Oil):

This is the second shortest form of MCT, also rare and comprising about 8% of coconut oil. It is slower to turn into energy but less expensive than C8. XCT Oil is triple-distilled in a non-oxygen atmosphere with no solvents, and it contains C10 and C8, because these are the only two MCT oils that turn into ATP quickly without the liver. You would need 6 tablespoons of coconut oil to get one tablespoon of XCT oil.

xct oil

xct oil label

C12, Lauric Acid:

C12 is about 50+% of coconut oil, and it requires a pit stop in the liver rather than getting immediately converted into energy like the other MCT’s listed above. This is why it is more accurately described as an LCT, not an MCT like marketers claim. It raises cholesterol more than any other fatty acid. It is also commonly cited as having antimicrobial benefits, which is does – except the shorter chain MCT oils are more effective against candida yeast infections, and even gonorrhea and chlamydia.

C14 and above (LCT’s):

These are the widely recognized LCT’s, or long chain fatty acids in coconut oil, mostly saturated, including stearic acid (C18:0), oleic acid (C18:1), and linoleic acid (18:2). The exact percentage of each depends on region the coconut is grown, time of harvest, and other growing variables. They are good as a fuel source in your food, and have some of the tastiness of coconut oil, if your goal is getting into ketosis fast, you won’t benefit from eating a lot more of them compared to eating true medium chain fatty acids.

When it comes to any of these forms of MCT oil, purity matters too. Some folks get severe diarrhea and throat irritation from commercially available MCT oils, and this is usually an oil purity issue.

The reason purity matters is that C17 is a byproduct of most MCT oil production processes, and it, along with C6, is a major cause of throat burning and gut irritation. Most MCT’s on the market are manufactured via chemical and solvent based refining, which involves using chemicals like hexane and different enzymes and combustion chemicals, such as sodium methoxide. But ideally, you should get an MCT oil that is made using triple steam distillation in a non-oxygen atmosphere to avoid lipid oxidation and create a purer end-product.

So ultimately, if you want the most ketogenically favorable, non-gut irritating potent and pure, chemical-free extract of coconut oil,  you’ll benefit the most from the cognitive aspects of an ultra-distilled MCT like Brain Octane oil (pure C8) or XCT Oil (C8 and C10).

So which MCT to pick? Brain Octane (pure C8) provides the fastest rise in ketones and burns the cleanest, with minimal gut irritation. XCT oil is more affordable but works more slowly with less direct cognitive effects. The capric acid C10 in XCT Oil doesn’t break down into ketones as quickly as pure caprylic C8, but capric acid C10 is more affordable, so you can save money by going with the XCT oil. XCT oil still goes to brain energy, just not as quickly as Brain Octane. Both can be used for energy without processing by the liver, unlike many other fats and oils.

Ultimately, you should use Brain Octane Oil if you want the maximum cognitive benefit, fastest foray into ketosis and quickest digestion. Use XCT oil if you are looking to economize while getting a metabolic boost and a slower smaller cognitive effect.

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Cutting-Edge Way To Get Into Ketosis #4: Glycofuse

Yep. You heard me right.

Carbs can get you into fat burning mode.

Here’s how…

I'm constantly on the lookout for low-carb diet and ketosis friendly option that allow hard charging athletes, especially athletes who have glycolytic, high-intensity demands during sport, to get a “slow bleed” of carbohydrate into their body. For example, “UCAN Superstarch” is one such option, but, unfortunately, I've found that many athletes and exercise enthusiasts tend to get gastric distress or excessive fermentation from that slow-release starch.

So for awhile, I recommended the Thorne Glycofuse pea dextrin product as an alternative for folks who couldn’t stomach superstarch, but then Thorne discontinued it.

After that happened, I set out once again to find some kind of carbohydrate source that allows one to maintain elevated liver glycogen and muscle glycogen stores without getting all the blood-sugar level roller coaster rides or gut rot and fermentation that many typical sports nutrition carbohydrate sources such as fructose and maltodextrin can cause.

Enter Gaspari Nutrition’s “Glycofuse”.

Why Glycofuse? First, as you may already know, glycogen is what helps fuel your workouts and keep muscles volumized. There is no way around that.

And here’s the reality of the situation. Not all carbs are created equal. There’s a lot of cleverly labeled and modified maltodextrin on the market claiming to be some technical polysaccharide. Or, there’s plain old cornstarch relabeled as super-duper muscle engorging waxy maize. Most of these aren’t proven to do anything except deliver false hopes, high blood sugar, and gut issues – as opposed to having multiple clinical studies in real athletes to support what it is they’re claiming.

This is why Gaspari Nutrition chose highly branched cluster dextrin for what we consider to be the gold standard of recovery and performance drinks. This high molecular weight carbohydrate has a special helical structure, which gives it unique properties unlike many of the corn starches or polysaccharides out there. I'll be real with you and say this stuff isn’t cheap, but you certainly pay for what you get, and highly branched cluster dextrin is unlike any carb source I've found – especially if you want to control blood sugar levels and gut issues.

In addition to adding in precious electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, and calcium for supporting nerve impulses and muscle contraction, the Gaspari Nutrition R&D Team have also build their Osm Technology into this product. This “new way” of looking at carbohydrate drinks utilizes a proprietary method of tuning the electrolytes in solution with pure cyclic dextrin to get an optimal osmolality (mOsm). In a nutshell, this results in lower osmolality, and lower osmolality results in faster gastric clearance, and a clean, easy burn of your fuel.

To prove this point, they knew full well they had to have a lower osmolarity than their competition. So, Gaspari spent the money and had their competitors’ products tested at a 3rd party laboratory to see where they stood. With some fine tuning using Osm Technology, Glycofuse is proven to have outstanding osmolality compared to just about every product on the market, including the biggest brands out there.

When you order here, you get 1560g unflavored Glycofuse – 3.4 pound with zero nasty additives or artificial sweeteners, at only 100 calories per serving. Just pure, clean-burning highly branched cluster dextrin for that slow bleed of carbohydrates you need to support energy for a long workout or race, or for the glycogen replenishment you need after a tough day at the gym, without getting massive fluctuations in blood sugar. 

And if you are wanting to be on a purely high-fat, metabolically efficient, ketosis bandwagon now, you can still modify Gaspari's recommended method of using Glycofuse.

How?

Easy: use about half of the recommended serving of Glycofuse, and instead add one scoop of Catalyte electrolytes, one scoop of Aminos, and one serving of ketones and/or MCT’s in the form of Brain Octane, KetoCaNa or KETO//OS (pick your poison, it’s up to you). While any of these forms of ketones and/or MCT’s works for daily focus and short workouts, I found that for long workouts they aren’t very gut friendly unless you really spread out the dosage (e.g. one serving every three hours), so you’d only really use that stuff in something like, say, an Ironman triathlon or multi-day adventure race.

 

For any hard endurance efforts that take me longer than ninety minutes, I simply shake all this into a water bottle or flask for an hour’s worth of clean, slow-burning energy that gives:

  1. a slow-burning carbohydrate source;
  2. an electrolyte source;
  3. an amino acid source;
  4. an easily digested fat source that bypasses digestion and gets burnt directly as fuel.

In my opinion, this gives me the best of both worlds: just enough of a slow-bleed of carbohydrates to keep from bonking, enough electrolytes to keep my mineral levels topped off, enough amino acids to supply fuel for my brain and keep muscles from catabolizing, and enough fats to keep me in metabolically-efficient, fat-burning ketosis.

Of course, if your workout is less than ninety minutes, and you’ve had a decent pre-workout meal at some point in the past 2-3 hours, you don’t need to eat anything at all during a workout.

But let’s face it:

Some people race triathlons that definitely last longer than ninety minutes (Ironman, anybody)?

Some people do Spartan beasts or long Tough Mudders.

Some people go on two-plus hour bike rides.

Some people don’t have time before or after a workout to hunt down or prepare a proper pre or post-workout meal.

Some people run marathons.

You get the idea. There are definitely times when you do need a fuel like this. Just don’t think you need to use it if you’re headed to the gym for an easy thirty minute jaunt on the treadmill.

So there you have it. For the long stuff, I use Glycofuse. It burns clean. It keeps you in fat-burning mode. It doesn’t ferment in your gut or cause bloating. It tastes very nice, especially when you blend it with the stuff I recommended above.

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Summary

Woo.

I know that was a freaking boatload of information.

So bookmark this article and use it as a reference for your training, your daily productivity, and your competitions. Save it to your phone, your e-reader, your computer or wherever else you need it as a quick reference.

And, should your head still be spinning from the knowledge dump, here’s the summary of how to use these four new cutting-edge ways to easily shift your body into fat burning mode and ketosis.

  1. Use up to two servings of KETO//OS as a pre- or during-workout fuel for workouts, or for a snack throughout the day to keep you in ketosis. And yes, it can be mixed into smoothies or other drinks.
  1. Use up to three servings per day of KetoCaNa (10% discount code BG2015) a pre- or during-workout fuel for workouts, or for a snack throughout the day to keep you in ketosis, with the main difference between it and KETO//OS being that it is a different form of BHB salts and doesn’t contain MCT’s.
  1. If you’re serious about maximizing the benefits ketosis, then forego coconut oil, MCT liquid oil, olive oil, etc. and instead use Brain Octane as your oil of choice for recipes like bulletproof coffee, or in teas, salad dressings, or as a sushi or entrée flavor enhancer. For a slightly less expensive, but not quite as effective form of MCT, use XCT oil.
  1. For any long 90+ minute workouts or competitions for which glycogen depletion is a potential issue, use Glycofuse, but use half of the recommended serving of it, and add one scoop of Catalyte electrolytes, one scoop of Aminos, and one serving of medium chain triglycerides in the form of Brain Octane, KetoCaNa or KETO//OS (pick your poison, it’s up to you).

That’s it. You keep each of these options in your cupboard and you’ll have every weapon you need for easy fat-burning and ketosis, and each of these options will allow you to sustain high levels of blood ketones while still eating enough carbohydrates to avoid the metabolic damage that can occur from extreme carbohydrate restriction.

Our bodies were meant to burn ketones. We have a parallel system within us designed to use ketones as an energy source. Ketones are faster and more efficient than the way our bodies use glucose. Ketones give you 38% more energy than you can get from glucose. We as a society are following a deceptive food pyramid.

We’re operating in a high carb world where food is abundant and it is destroying our brains and bodies.

And that’s dumb.

Finally, exactly one week from now, I’m going to tell you why simply eating oodles of coconut oil to get yourself into ketosis could be a very, very bad idea indeed. Stay tuned for that post (you can click here to subscribe to my free newsletter and find out instantly when that article gets released).

And in the meantime, leave your questions, comments and feedback below!

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A Final Smattering of Research For You

In case your brain isn’t full yet, here are a few additional studies and resources you may enjoy:

The Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies website:

http://www.charliefoundation.org/

Ellen Davis’ Ketogenic Diet Resource website:

http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/

The Effects of Beta-Hydroxybutyrate on Cognition

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15123336

Dietary ketosis enhances memory in mild cognitive impairment

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21130529/

Increased plasma ketone bodies resulted in a corresponding reduction in cerebral metabolic rates of glucose:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23736643

Under conditions of ketosis, glucose consumption is decreased in the cortex and cerebellum:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19227486

Brain, Livin’ On Ketones – A Molecular Neuroscience Look At The Ketogenic Diet

http://www.neurorexia.com/2013/03/24/brain-livin-on-ketones-a-molecular-neuroscience-look-at-the-ketogenic-diet/

Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2367001/

Nutrition and Traumatic Brain Injury: Improving Acute and Subacute Health Outcomes in Military Personnel (2011)

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13121&page=140

Clinical review: Ketones and brain injury

http://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/cc10020

No impaired endurance performance when in ketosis:

http://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-1-2

Treatment of diabetes and diabetic complications with a ketogenic diet

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23680948

Insulin Sensitivity and Glucose Tolerance Are Altered by Maintenance on a Ketogenic Diet

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2903931/

Long-term ketogenic diet reduces blood glucose:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/

Ketogenic Diet Could Delay the Effects of Aging

http://www.medindia.net/news/ketogenic-diet-could-delay-the-effects-of-aging-111146-1.htm

Scientists see a Ketogenic Diet for Aging and Longevity

http://longevitycentresofamerica.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/scientists-see-potential-in-ketogenic-diet-for-aging-longevity/

Ketosis cleans our cells

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/ketones-and-ketosis/ketosis-cleans-our-cells/

Long-term ketogenic diet significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of the patients:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/

Cancer Cells Can’t Live Using Ketones As A Fuel

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/stop_cancer/ketogenic_diet.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/10/ketogenic-diet.aspx

Ketogenic Diet for Cancer – ClinicalTrial

http://coconutketones.blogspot.com/2013/01/ketogenic-diet-for-cancer-clinical-trial.html

Effects of a ketogenic diet on tumor metabolism and nutritional status in pediatric oncology patients: two case reports.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7790697

221 thoughts on “Four New, Cutting-Edge Ways To Easily Shift Your Body Into Fat-Burning Mode & Ketosis.

  1. Hi Ben,

    I’ve been Paleo for a long time (12+ years) but only started expirementing with low carb in the last few years (I could go no longer than 2-3 weeks before my mind and body would hit a wall that I couldn’t break through).

    However, reading your article “How to get into Ketosis” this Spring gave me the tips I needed to really up my fat game and make it into Ketosis!

    As I’m 2 months in, one side affect that I didn’t foresee is a massive depression. I’ve been successfully taking a supplement mix of 5-htp and l-tyrosine to keep the demons at bay for many years now and have not felt such a massive 180 in my mental health since hitting full on Ketosis.

    I’m on holiday in Europe this week and was feeling so crappy that I said fuck it and started eating some fruit and potatoes. Immediately my mood is feeling normal again.

    Reading the science on it, our brain is most readily able to absorb dopamine and serotonin right after an insulin spike . But without any sugar in my diet, I’m no longer getting the benefit from my supplements that my brain needs to survive!

    http://www.beyondmthfr.com/how-diet-influences-do…

    Any thoughts on how to remedy this? Will it just take my body a few more months to figure out a way to get the chemicals to my brain without the insulin ? Or will it never work itself out and I’ll need to have some carbs in my diet for this issue only?

    Btw – I’m loving Ketosis, I’ve lost 10lbs, my cravings are less, I’d Iove to stay at it but I need my mental health to be in order… thanks !!!

    Keep up the good research !

    ~Michael

  2. Hi Ben,

    What would your advice be to a high raw vegan who wants to try an HRV keto diet? The supps you recommended above look vegan, but aren’t the results based on those of omnis? Would they work the same way on vegans? Also I heard you mention in the recent Keto Summit that SE Asians need a little more carb and I happen to be one. I’m a petite 39-YO female and I’ve been raw for the past 11 years. I have been practicing intermittent fasting in the last 7 years and try to eat only twice a day. Up to how many grams of carbs can I consume to get into ketosis?

    Thank you!

  3. The only source for the claim of “fat adptation” taking YEARS is from Jack Kruse. Who is clearly not an athlete.

    Kevin Hall has shown RQ has shifted entirely to fat metabolism in 2-3 weeks. Theres fat adaption right there.

    There are no studies in which a low carb or keto diet had better performance compared to carb based diet. If anything performance is reduced, and perceived exertion increases.

    The reduction in PDH complex will also screw your ability to reach high intensity efforts.

    Also, low carb diets are not superior for fat loss.

    an increase in fat burning does not translate to performance increases. This has been shown in the research.

    For certain conditions the diet can be beneficial, for things such as “improved performance” there is no supporting evidence for these claims.

    See reviews by Louise Burke, John Hawley, Trent Stellingwerff and others.

    Even these ‘low carb runners’ who are touted as fat burning machines, use carbs during training when they want a superior performance. Kind of defeats the whole purpose.

  4. What about the mice studies on exogenous ketones that show no increase in blood ketone levels from ketone salts, but significant increases from ketone esters?

    1. I'm happy to take a look at those studies if you go ahead and include them here. I would suspect that the studies did not include an equivalent amount of ketones from the salt versus the esters…

  5. Great article. You actually answered my question as to the ratio of the 3 BHB salts which is quite helpful for me.

    For me, I had Keto O/S and found it quite good – my favorite was the chocolate swirl. But it was and is very expensive. Only 15-20 servings and would break the bank. So I turned to KetoCaNa and I’ve tried two flavours. Both of them were so salty that I almost threw up every time. Like flavoured sea water. Also only 15 serving per bottle.

    Then I turned to Ketond which is okay – Tigers Blood and Caramel Macchiato. What I like about Ketond is that it has a full 30 servings and is very transparent with it’s ingredients. It’s also the same price as Keto OS but you get 30 servings. But still, not the best taste.

    So in the end, I ordered 1kg of pure BHB Magnesium from a supplier in China and I will be developing my own Ketone product with 30 servings as a lower price than all the competitors, and with more Magnesium, and Calcium in it than Sodium so that it tastes the best and actually helps with weight loss (which Magnesium is proven to do at the right amount). What the companies don’t tell you is that actually Sodium BHB is the cheapest, then Calcium BHB and then Magnesium BHB to source so I would be interested in knowing if what you wrote is actually true or just an excuse to make the product cheaper. Probably a mix of both.

    So I have 2 questions Ben:

    1. If you had to split the 11.7g of BHB into Sodium, Ca, and Mg, what ratio would you do for the best health results and potential weight loss? The current products on the market are about an 80/12/8 split. I would think it should be the other way around.

    2. When I develop my own product and sell it, would you be up for sampling it and reviewing it on your website here? What flavours do you like/would recommend?

    I should have something available within the next 2-3 months.

    Would be curious to receive feedback on any of the above! And if anyone is interested in more info on my future Ketone product which will taste great, have 11.7g of BHB, 30 servings and priced lower than all the competitors, then message me on FB under Rhys Kabra, or email [email protected] for status updates on the upcoming new Brand of Ketone products! :)

  6. Hi Ben,

    I am trying to decide between your Endurance Pack and your suggested Glycofuse stack for long three plus hour bike rides and am trying to cut down my carbs so I can be Keto.

    What would you recommend.

    Regards,

    Garry Huculiak

  7. Thanks for all of the great info!! I have Hashimoto’s and would really like to try a high fat/low carb diet. You mentioned that this might not be a good option for people with thyroid issues. How do you recommend I modify my diet to lose weight taking into consideration the Hashimoto’s. I take Westhroid, a non-synthetic thyroid supplement to help with my sluggish thyroid. Thanks so much for any advice you can give me. :)

    1. Hi Melody,

      Check out the questions from Kim and Sankeet here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/02/270-natu…
      And also this podcast with Elle Russ: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2017/01/the-pale…

      And if you want to go into detail, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to https://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/product/ben-… and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  8. Hey Ben, thank you for a wonderful article, clear, detailed and eminently readable. Could I ask would you recommend taking Keto CaNa as well as MCT powder?

      1. Thanks Ben, awesome newsletter and website btw. Do you suggest follo ing daily recommended doses of both Keto CaNa and MCT powder or tweaking ratios? Thanks again, Ian

  9. Wow! I am blown away by this article! This is hands down the best and most thorough article I have read on ketosis. Thank you so much, Ben!

  10. Hi Ben:

    Will brain octane get me into ketosis fast when I’m not an endurance athlete and 54 years old? I do exercise regularly and I’m in decent shape.

  11. I will begin a medically supervised weight loss program on Tuesday, that is intended to put me into ketosis via a very low calorie, high protein diet of shakes for two meals per day and one (controlled) regular meal. The overview of the program says to expect up to 2 weeks of foggyness and crankiness while getting in to ketosis. Will taking KetoCaNa 3 times a day for two days in advance of starting the diet (and during the introduction to the diet) help move me more quickly through the foggy, cranky phase? And should I also be eating (a ketogenic diet) during those two days or only drinking the KetoCaNa? My thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this!

  12. Hi Ben, I have a question about being in ketosis. So from what I understand, a serving of Keto os will keep you in ketosis for about 4-6 hours or so……my question is doesn’t your body have to be in constant ketosis in order to really experience the benefits of using the fat as fuel? Also, if someone is not following the Keto diet, what happens to the glucose they are still consuming if they are supposedly using ketones for energy? Also, do you see any benefit from using Keto os vs. Brain Octane? I ask because there is a significant difference in price. Thank you so much!!

    1. You benefit from being in ketosis anytime you are in it, but it is better to use these ketones in addition to things like calorie restriction and intermittent fasting so you get all benefits…

      1. So you are saying that it would be much more beneficial to take the Keto os AND the brain octane? I plan on taking 1 serving a day of the Keto os, what would be your daily recommendation for taking Brain Octane also?

        Thank you!

        1. Ok great. Only one more question I promise lol…..do they need or should they be taken spaced apart, like one in the morning and one in afternoon?

          Thanks again!

  13. Do you have information on Keto for Strength athletes… Powerlifters/Weightlifters?

    Endurance is not my concern but getting stronger, building muscle is.

  14. Hi Ben –

    Thank you for taking the time to educate us all. I’m hoping you can help me out as I stumbled on your article researching Exogenous Ketones.

    I’ve been on and off of my Keto diet with the primary purpose of losing weight. I’m 30 years old, workout daily – I’m in decent shape but have some extra fat around the mid-section that I’d like to get rid of, I am hoping to lose ~20 pounds of fat. However, the problem is that I am an extremely picky eater with tremendous cravings for some of my favorite carb-heavy foods – I only eat a number of high-fat / low-carb foods that help me attain Ketosis, so cycling through them multiple times a week becomes excruciating. I find myself cheating on my diet every 2 – 3 weeks, which causes a 3 – 5 pound setback that takes me a few days to overcome and get back into ketosis.

    My question is – would exogenous ketones help keep me in ketosis during my cheat meals / weekends and off-set those setbacks? And if so, would you recommend them for someone in my situation?

  15. Hi Ben…first, I have learned so much from you, thank you! I’m interested in using exogenous ketone supplements and I have a question for you. I just read the transcript of an interview Dave Asprey did with Dr. Richard Veech (episode 299). He advises against them, and says they can even be harmful. I was disappointed to read this, and wanted to ask you about it, since I respect your opinion greatly….thank you.

    1. Hi Ben,
      Love your work. I was just wondering if the body needs to empty out its store of carbs before it enters ketosis, how will you then have the necessary carbs in you body when you’re close to 100% in a race? Thanks

  16. Great article, thanks for the info. My question would be this: Is there any benefit for weight loss by taking the Keto/OS and not making any dietary changes (eating standard American diet) In other words, will the Keto/OS help me to lose weight without going on a special diet? Do I have to work out in order to benefit (weight loss) from using this product?

    Thanks!

      1. I would really appreciate knowing how you come to this conclusion, what research shows this?

        I am concerned, because as you note in your update: your liver has no need to convert fat into ketones if you are ingesting them exogenously.

        I should therefore lose all the fat loss benefits of high activity, because the fat is not being metabolized as long as I give my body the “free” ketones it gets exogenously.

        Can you help me understand this apparent conundrum?

  17. Hi Ben,

    Rafael here.

    Firstly, thanks for always being AMAZING and providing us with such detailed and useful information. I don’t know what the world would be for people that are aiming to improve their quality of life and longevity. You’re a legend!!

    Do you see the need to mix brain octane and ketoforce or ketocana on a daily basis? For example, brain octane with my breakfast smoothie and ketoforce or ketocana before my workout later on the day? Is there any benefits or recommendations for using both? Or it would be a waste of money??

    Thanks in advance and once again congrats for all the amazing work your do!

    Regards,

    Rafael F.

  18. Hi Ben,

    Thank you for this article! Do you have any input on taking InstaKetones vs. Keto//OS? Just wondering if it is basically the same product… the price difference is extreme.

    I would really like your input on this. Thanks!

  19. Hey Ben,

    Thorne Research has decided to discontinue their Glycofuse product, right when I started using it! Current inventory is expected to run out in June or July. I contacted them to ask if it was being replaced with a new product and at this time they are not able to answer that question, and suggested checking back in with them in June/July. Short of stocking up on a case of it, do you have another recommended product that is as clean & functional as the Glycofuse? This recipe in the blog post above has been working great for me this last month. I’m bummed I’m already going to have to switch it up again!

  20. Ben I’d like to get

    Into nutritional ketosis with no exogenous ketones. What do you think is the best way to transition in? I eat a lower carb diet most of the time with mod fat and mod protein.

  21. OMG, this article was like reading a book that keeps you so enthralled that you can’t put it down!! It has so much useful information that I was constantly taking notes and following links. This article, alone, will be a great resource that I will refer to again and again. Thanks Ben!

  22. Thanks so much for the reply! One more question about the LivingFuel SuperGreens…I had very bad GI issues with VEGA Protein in 2011 when I tried it (quit after half a container), which scared me away from the vegetarian proteins with greens in them. Is this drastically different from VEGA? Or seeing that pea is the primary source of protein should I look towards something else? Thanks again!

  23. Hi Ben,

    I have attempted to become fat adapted a few times but always struggle when I try to introduce activity/mountain biking back into my life (a passion). I can lose weight just on diet alone but have struggled combining the diet with the exercise. I have two questions…

    1) I found your “recipe” above for fueling & plan on ordering it all shortly but I am curious if the exogenous ketones of Keto//OS or KetoCaNa are necessary in addition to the Catalyte, Aminos & carb fuel or can I just add an MCT like Brain Octain or simple powdered MCT’s to the Thorne products?

    2) I have a hard time eating real food soon after rides/workouts. I had used Hammer Recoverite (1scoop instead of suggest serving of 2 and add 1scoop whey isolate protein) in the past because I feel a significant difference the day after with less muscle fatigue. Then I read a previous posts on your opinion of post-workout supplementation ( https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/what-to-… ) and I realized the primary ingredient in Recoverite is maltodextrin. Since the 2013 article, has anything changed in your research that you might suggest I add PWO to aid in the muscle fatigue/recovery? (In other words, Is there anything more healthy I can take to replace the Recoverite or should the aminos/electrolytes/carbs/MCT’s from the recipe in this article be sufficient?) Thanks in advance, I appreciate all of your work!

  24. Ben,

    Thanks for this extensive article and resource.

    Context for my question below:

    I am new to Keto, but not new to a low carb diet. I just started a keto diet 8 days ago. My goals for being on the diet is a little body recomp (nothing major, a few pounds of fat loss), and moving to fat as primary fuel for endurance with a focus on trail ultra marathon races and training. Along with Keto I am doing heart rate training using MAF and OFM as a guide. supplemented with body weight and free weight strength training and some HITT.

    A couple of questions for you:

    1. If a set number ketones in the blood is an indicator that my body has transitioned to ketosis and not necessarily the cause (the cause being limited access to glycogen because of limited carb intake) then how does using exogenous ketones put me in ketosis as opposed to mimic being in ketosis (because when measuring blood ketones suddenly there are more because I put them there, I didn’t create them)?

    2. Tied to above – If using exogenous ketones does put me in ketosis, does that allow me to eat more carbs (and how much more) with out transitioning me towards glycogen use? Do ketones in the blood actually block my body from seeking glycogen as fuel?

    Thanks!

    Joseph

    1. They mimic ketosis, to answer your question in short. Best to get fat adapted and use ketones to get the best of both worlds and to enhance fat burning abilities. They will allow you to use glucose and fatty acids simultaneously, yes. Anyways, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to http://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/product/ben-g… and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  25. Hi Ben,

    First of all thank you for taking the time to read and answer this – I appreciate that you are consistent with answering peoples’ questions as I’m guessing you are a busy man.

    I just discovered your site and have been thoroughly enjoying many of the articles and appreciate that you get so in depth in your explanations. I’m in my late 40’s and, while not an extreme endurance athlete, I am moderately active with 18-20 mile rides 3x a week as well as some boxing and body weight resistance (push up, pull up, etc) mixed in. I’ve generally been paleo and stick to quality macros for the most part (grass fed meats/dairy, organic veg and oils) and zero supplements. I recently started following keto (after reading this article) about 10 days ago and things seem good thus far. I do, however, want to avoid any of the negative side effects you mention and also not lose any lean muscle. I’m currently about 174 lbs, 5’8″ and about 19% bodyfat – I’m taking in about 95g protein, 130g fat and <20g net carbs. I'm eating all quality – wild salmon, grass fed beef, pastured eggs, coconut oil, Brain Octane and Grass fed butter in coffee, sardines, etc. With a smattering of organic veg, but it seems real easy to bust through the carb barrier. *I'M ALSO TAKING KETOCANA PRE-WORKOUT* and I notice this is keeping me going throughout a ride or the gym.

    My questions in relation to your article are these:

    1) Are the methods about designed to get you into ketosis in lieu of a strict ketogenic diet? If I'm following strict keto then are those 4 additions moot? Is taking the ketocana overkill?

    2) I'm currently using Ketocana and in that section you state "Similar to the BHB salts and MCT’s from the KETO//OS I discuss above, powdered forms of ketones are excellent if you don’t want to completely eliminate carbohydrates or fat or eat copious amounts of fats, but want to simultaneously maintain high levels of blood ketones." – How would eating copious amounts of fat be a negative? Wouldn't that help contribute to a ketogenic state?

    3) In your listing of the "dark sides of ketosis" (I'm mainly concerned about the first 4) – are you meaning that your four supplementing methods prevent those because you don't need to follow a strict ketogenic diet when using them? OR if I'm following the diet, but using quality macros as I described am I avoiding those risk factors?

    4) FINALLY – which supplements would you say are most important to include in a ketogenic diet? Electrolytes? BCAA's? Fiber? HMB? Fish Oil? Creatine? Exos AM/PM? etc? and which brands are quality.

    Thank you again.

  26. Some questions for Ben or anyone-

    So far in my experiments I don’t find that “fake ketosis” induced via taking brain octane oil to get purple urine strips (while eating about 70 grams of total carbs/day) has the same satiating, craving-busting effects for me as “real ketosis” (eating under 50 grams of total carbs/day). In “fake ketosis” I still feel the need to eat something every 2-3 hours and constantly crave carbs. Does anyone else on a supplemental ketone diet experience this or are they able to eat less frequently?

    On a low carb or ketogenic diet my fasting blood sugar is 90-120. I think it may get higher the lower carb I go. Most internet sources say don’t worry about it, worry about your Ha1c. Is this insulin resistance? Anyone have better information? If I do a water fast my morning blood sugar will go down and down each day, til it reaches about 50 in 4 days. But as soon as I start eating it pops right back up.

    I have that thing on a “real” ketogenic diet where I wake up at 3 am with my mind/heart racing and can’t sleep. It happens the very first day I reduce my carbs and continues as long as my carbs are reduced (5 weeks is the longest I’ve been able to put up with this to see if I could fix it and stay ketogenic). Magnesium and/ or cal-mag before bed does not help. Is carb loading at night the only hope for fixing this? I already take great care with bluelight and EMF.

    I have never been able to fix the electrolyte loss symptoms I get on the ketogenic diet (heart palpitations, dry mouth, air hunger) by supplementing with electrolytes. Blogosphere says that is just the transition, but mine seem to only get worse over time. I’ve tried about 2 grams of extra potassium, 800 mg extra magnesium, and 3 grams extra salt (in addition to my already liberally salted foods) spread throughout the day. This did not help. Also does eating salt alone cause you to retain water and therefore retain the rest of the electrolytes without supplementing them?

    On the ketogenic diet I feel very shaky/anxious from when I wake up til about noon. Eating doesn’t really help. It could be electrolyte related but seems possibly more related to excess cortisol/adrenaline as noon is also when I start to crash and get tired on a more normal diet, and because those 3 am awakenings that worsen simultaneously in ketosis seem to also have to do with HPA axis stuff. Does this side effect potentially also have to do with my fasting blood sugar being elevated?

    My bloodwork did show up having elevated liver enzymes one time during ketosis, returned to normal on non-keto LCHF. Haven’t had them checked every time I’ve tried the diet. Googling shows some other people asking why that might happen, but no answers.

    I know, I know you’d think with all these side effects I’d just give up on ketosis! but I enjoy the mental clarity and I have a lot of food sensitivities and gut and yeast problems and don’t tolerate carbs well either so I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not craving what I can’t have constantly is LIFE CHANGING! (34 year old female with chronic fatigue, thin, hike for exercise).

  27. so a lot of the questions bounced around this but not clearly addressed it – i understand this simply as ketosis is the state that CREATES ketones. so if i am in ketosis i create ketones, but if take exogenous ketones i cant create ketosis – it only works one way.

    so doesn’t that mean then that taking exogenous ketones wont fat burn at all or do much of anything – because it doesn’t put my body in ketosis?

    you mention a few times that it does in fact biohack you into going into ketosis faster – but how? if i am eating carbs then it wont work, simple – right?

    and if i am IN ketosis and taking additional ketones how does that somehow make it better? I understand that if i am a real endurance athlete doing massive sessions and need more ketones fair enough, but i do crosssfit for an hour and then Im done. Im interested in the BEST way to fat burn like crazy and it seems like i need two things

    1 – get into ketosis genuinely with nutrition – obviously using brain octane oil etc to add more good fats

    2 – forget these additional ketones – cause they then get used first for energy and my body doesn’t burn its fat stores (which is what i want)

    what am i missing?

    1. The exogenous ketones can actually assist with shifting you into being better at burning fat, but it's still best to train your body how to be in ketosis via fasting and carbohydrate restriction, then use the ketones as an added bonus.

  28. Hi Ben great science & sound advice. May I share with the group? I’m 42, in australia, have been an alcoholic for 10 yrs. In April 2016 I gave up drinking & started living strictly ketogenic. In 3 months I dropped 25 kilos. I have cheated on weekends but I go through a fast of sorts on Mondays to get back into ketosis by Tues. I work afternoon / evenings so I wake at 10.30am take a pre workout drink with raspberry ketones & a splash of mct oil & all my vitamins as well. I then do weights for an hr then get ready to go to work. I take 2 800ml protein shakes consisting of 20 ml mct & 30grm amino enhanced protein. I work in warehousing so I walk anywhere between 10 km & 5 km a nite. I feel great all the time, thanks largely to your research & advice. If have any thoughts or opinions I’d love hear them.

    1. Ben,

      No offense brother, but this whole article is a big selling advertisement. The health benefits of a “low – carb, high – fat” diet are well known and proven. I directly blame nutritionists, like yourself, for the fact that ~70% of American is considered obese now, not fat, obese. And the fact that Heart Disease is the number 2 killer in America now, second only to cancer.

      If everyone wants to know the truth about low – carb diets, start to read research via Dr. Robert Atkins and Dr. Patrick Fratellone. Both amazing cardiologists.

      1. thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking halfway through reading this article!!! Very disappointing article to find. Anything written by Gary Taubes is awesome as well, if anyone would like some real information.

      2. Me to this is just a selling con. LC high fats is great.
        cancer cannot be in your body with ketones.
        I gave up reading in the end.

  29. What about just going to a ketogenic state the ‘natural’ way.
    The body goes through processes at very certain rates for very specific reasons.
    To me, short cutting these natural processes will stuff with something down the track.
    It’s so easy to get your body to a ketogenic state (17 hours).
    We just don’t like to do it for ‘aesthetic’ reasons, so everyone wants to develop a product to mess with natural processes.

  30. Ben, love your work! I recently purchased KetoCaNa as a kind of obscure birthday present for my triathlete husband. We’re both athletes and nutrition is essentially low carb high fat as per your awesome book “The Low Carb Athlete” with some targeted carbs around training.

    My question is, does the benefit to using KetoCaNa only extend to significant decreases in oxygen demand/ increases in physical performance/ heightened mental acuity/cognitive performance.? Of course, these are all great benefits, but if I were to use KetoCaNa as a pre-workout, is it going to impair my endogenous ketone production? I usually train fasted with a strong black coffee and L-Carnitine.

    Are exogenous ketones going to be dampening my own fat burning or enhancing/accelerating it?

    1. It will impair some endogenous ketone production, yes. This is why it's a fast "biohack" into ketosis without the need for heavy consumption of triglycerides OR fasting. Their presence, if taken by themselves without additional calories, will accelerate fat burning, yes.

      1. I don’t understand this response – you say that taking exogenous ketones “will impair some endogenous ketone production” and that it “will accelerate fat burning.” Which is it? Impair or accelerate?

  31. Ben, great article! I recently did my own ketosis experiment and didn’t catch the 100-200g advise until later than I should have, I’m guessing. Great results for 1-2 months but after 3 months I quit sleeping through the night and would wake after about 4 hours of rest each night. My guess is that the extra carbs at night coupled with iodine supplements should allow me to “have my cake and eat it too?” Any other suggestions on the sleep issue? I’ve gone back to High Fat/Low Carb, have improved sleep but I do miss nutritional ketosis and want to try again once my sleep is stable. Thank YOU!!!

    1. Yes, the carb backloading approach can definitely help. Honestly I have SO MANY ARTICLES here on the site about sleep. Just go ahead and use the search bar for sleep and you'll find a plethora of info. For targeted sleep advice, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to http://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/product/ben-g… and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.

  32. Hi Ben,

    So I was following a ketogenic plan for the past month in an effort to lose about 4-5% body fat and try to turn down the inflammation in my body to help with my hashimotos and psoriasis. I don’t eat meat, so it was ALOT of eggs (from the farmers market), primal mayo, wild caught salmon and cold smoked lox (vital choice), brain octane oil, coconut oil, avocado oil with VERY little carbs…like 85% fat, 10% protein and 5% TOTAL carbs. I was eating about 1100-1200cal per day and BELOW 18g TOTAL carbs…Couldn’t get above .6 in AM fasted blood ketones or below 80 fasted blood sugar. I do 90min of Ashtanga yoga (primary and half of second series) 5 days a week and 20-30min weight/HIIT style workouts about 3-4 days per week (Kettlebell, jump rope, plyometrics and free weights). I take Concentrac Trace Minerals along with my d3/k2, l-carnitine, l-glutamine, forskollei, green pastures butter/cod liver oil and probiotics. I have been at the Bulletproof Conference this weekend and I bought the new Bulletproof exogenous Ketones to try.

    I am feeling so frustrated as I feel “broken”…

    I was wondering if you have any advice? I really miss eating all of my green veggies I was eating before (kind of stopped to keep carbs down) and I REALLY want to reach my goal….

    Any thoughts or advice?

  33. Ben!

    Dom is my med school professor at UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA (USF) not UF! Just saying because UF is a rival school. :)

    Ben you’re the man

  34. Hi Ben, this is a great article – thanks for continually putting out very useful & cutting-edge information!

    Quick question – Any advice/recommendations on how to best use exogenous ketones to jump back into Ketosis if you’ve had a couple of cheat days with unrestricted carbs? (Assuming N=1 is fully fat-adapted/been in NK for over a month)

    1. It's pretty easy. Fast for 12 to 16 hours and then take a serving of key tones along with caffeine ideally and then exercise. The exercise can be easy and aerobic. After that, you can eat but try to keep calorie ratio at about 70 to 80% fat and continue with a serving of ketones every 3 to 4 hours.

  35. Hi Ben, great article. I have been a keto-adapted athlete for over 2 years, all through nutrition (65/25/10). I have recently discovered UCAN, KetoOS and MAP Aminos. So, here’s my question: If I am going out for a 4-hour ride, and I want to fuel myself just on these supplements and my body’s natural fat stores, how and in what order should I take them? If I take them all together, will the aminos in the KetoOS interfere with MAP Aminos? Or should I just make a mix of the UCAN and KetoOS in 10oz of water and use it to wash back my 6 MAP tablets, 15-mins before my ride? Thanks for your advice!

    1. You take them all together man. For example I will mix a slow release carbohydrate with a serving of ketones with a serving of medium chain triglycerides with a serving of amino's with a serving of electrolytes all in one bottle. It's like rocket fuel!

  36. Ben – I realized after I got off KetoOS – i started to feel very crappy and lightheaded almost everyday for about 3 weeks, even with adding about 50-100 grams of carbs. Then when I added KetoOS back the lightheadedness went away. What do you suggest I could or should do? to get out of this crappy feeling if I get off KetoOS?

  37. Could you tell me the difference between:

    Powdered sodium salt

    powdered calcium salt

    liquid sodium potassium salt mix

    I am of the understanding that these are the three forms of BHB. Is that true and if so, which is most beneficial?

  38. Thank you for posting this article. A lot of great info. As an athlete, I totally believe in and have experienced the benefits of bring in ketosis. Although the diet can be challenging, we have added the KetoOS to our lifestyle and have seen incredible results…along with tons of other athletes.

    Yes my wife and I promote the product because it undeniably works for people. It will work differently for different people as the body will know what to do with it once it enters their system. Check it out.

  39. Hi

    This article really bothers me in that if you do a few incorrect things with this diet, it will actually do more harm than a full carb diet. I have been in ketosis for a month or so but to what detriment? Based on the “ketosis darkside” list you highlighted, i could be doing any or all of these without realising. Could i share with you my meal plans and see if in your opinion they are beneficial and healthy or if im digging myself an early grave?

  40. Hi Ben,
    I’m not sure if I really understand the idea of exogenous Ketones putting ones body into a state of KETOSIS, in that their own fat cells will be burned for fuel. Won’t the body just use the exogenous ketones and energy and continue to use glucose sources as well? How does taking ketones, make the body burn it’s own fat stores? I always thought that one would have to be in a state of energy deprivation for the body to actually begin to use the TG in the fat cells to generate ATP. Please let me know what I’m missing…

    1. When you burn key tones as a funeral, whether they are from a supplement or whether they are the ones that your body makes, you do indeed become more efficient utilizing ketones. So that is one advantage. You are correct in that if you simply use these and you do not restrict carbohydrate intake then you're not going to get quite as much benefit. I am a fan of combining these with intermittent fasting, MCT oil, and a high-fat diet.

  41. Hi There –

    As a relative novice to Ketosis and the ketogenic diet, I have fallen short of my goals while on a three week stint in ketosis. I have a few questions –

    A) will including these supplements keep me in ketosis provided that I am generally following a ketogenic diet; and

    B) Can you describe further the impacts of running (just general running, not endurance athlete stuff) and other typical exercises for a busy individual? I stopped running and would like to start again doing max 3 mi/day and want to know if that is too intense of an exercise for the ketones to do their work. What about mild weights/plyometrics?

    Your articles are very in-depth, and I appreciate your time and effort.

    Thanks!

  42. Hi Ben: I found reading very interesting. A few important points of clarification, mostly on your “dark sides”:

    1) Ketones are manufactured from fat by the liver to feed the brain; not other cells. All other normal cells use the fat directly, except for red blood cells which can only use glucose.

    2) Triglyceride levels will be high after eating, but fasting triglyceride levels will be rock bottom because the body uses the fatty acids in circulation very efficiently. I eat 80% fat and my triglycerides are consistently (over the last 8 years) at 35-40 mg/dl. That’s expected, not unusual.

    3) Cholesterol levels usually go up with inflammation, because inflammation causes damage to the tissues, and cholesterol is manufactured and released in circulation to patch things up. So, again, eating high fat is the best way to drop inflammation; not increase it. My hsCRP are always below 0.1, and most of the time, below detection level. Oxidation of cholesterol causes inflammation; not the other way around. So, your point about inflammation is a non-issue.

    4) Once again, the HF diet does not lead to cholesterol damage. HF implies LC, and so one cannot be in ketosis and have high blood sugar. This is obvious. Therefore, glucose must be low, and if glucose is consistently low, then HbA1C will also be low, much lower than 5.5! So, here again this is a non-issue.

    5) Thyroid function is much more closely and tightly regulated by iodine of which everyone is deficient, and should therefore be supplementing with. Again, after a period of adjustment and correction of chronic deficiency during which TSH is high, T3 and T4 rise and stay high, while TSH goes down and stays low. Nothing to do with carbs.

    And what I’m writing has nothing to do with taking supplements to induce ketosis or whatever. I believe these things are covered in Volek & Phoney’s book The Art and Science of Low Carb Living, which I would have thought you to be very familiar with. The iodine stuff you can read about in Iodine, Why We Need, Why We Can’t Live Without It by Brownstein.

  43. Lots of good information in there. Thank you. I learned about this diet from Tim Ferriss and my investigation of it has led me to you.

    I have a couple of questions for you.

    I am not an athlete. I am a mid 30’s male with a sedentary lifestyle. I am 5’10” and 250lbs. I have mild hypertension, high triglycerides, and pre-diabetes. I have eaten whatever I want and as much as I want for years. I have recently started walking/jogging 3-4 times a week, taking fish oil, and eating significantly less carbs plus added fish and steak. Is this diet appropriate and safe for me?

    I feel like my biggest challenge isn’t the change in diet so much as being able to stick with the diet as I travel 3-4 days a week for work. I find it extremely frustrating to eat “right” being rushed through airports most of the week. I am now packing tuna packets and sardines in my bag. What can you suggest for staying on diet when traveling?

    Will this diet affect testosterone levels?

    Are raspberry ketones effective as a starter vs the keto//os? They seem to be less costly.

    With my high triglycerides is MCT oil appropriate?

    Thanks!

  44. I’ve been experimenting with MCT Oil Brain Octane. I have one questions. I’ve been eating about 20 – 25 gr. of carbs per day on a high fat, medium protein diet. I’m measuring ketones in the morning before taking the MCT and after. I’ve been taking btw. 1-2 tbsp of MCT Brain Octane with butter (Bulletproof coffee) – I measure again after 30 min., 1hr, 2 hrs. and don’t see a raise in my blood ketones. Anything I’m missing, would love to hear your thoughts, Ben. – Thx I’m measuring with Precision Xtra and Ketonix Red.

    1. Hey Sascha, Any progress on this? I’ve been scanning this page looking to find the length of time it may take for 2TB of Brain Octane to raise blood ketones. I have both of your devices — LMK, Cheers.

  45. Hi, this is super helpful!

    Having not been in ketosis before I can’t take the time out training to do it so close to an ironman in case it takes several weeks. (less than 12 weeks to go when I first started exploring the idea).

    I’m going to give this a try. What would you consume during an event if you go into ketosis?

    I presume that carb consumption would kick you out of it? Or if not would you just consume less carbs?

    Cheers (as us Brits say)

    Ned

  46. Hi Ben

    I realize this was partially addressed in other comments, but I’m still a bit unclear. What if you were to take this approach to elevate your ketone levels, but for the sake of argument you’re still eating a diet that includes glucose in your body. Does the body prioritize ketones over glucose?

    I intend on sticking to a low-carb scenario myself, but if I were to do this for some indefinite period of time and my daily carb intake is something like 50-150g per day (or, I cave one day and have a couple glasses of wine), will the body prefer to stay in ketosis with the presence of these exogenous ketones even in glucose is present?

    I hope that makes sense. I’m just curious about the diet compatibility and how far you can realistically wander off course with persistent use of these products.

    Or, am I completely misunderstanding the procedure? Apologies if that’s the case and this is a stupid question.

    Thanks for this extremely helpful article, btw. ;-)

  47. Thank you for all this information. Im starting doing Keto and this tips will help me improve. My question is, what oils can be used for cooking that won’t change their characteristics.

    Thank you…

  48. Awesome info. I’ve been LCHF moderate protein (about 1 g per lean lbs/mass) and 50-100g of carbs for about a year. I’d consume around 2500 cals. I’m active 4-5 days a week (60-90 min cycling sessions) I started using MCT/Butter coffee. It surpressd my appetite and I would only eat whole food at lunch/dinner…still LCHF, but since my appetite was lower I was only takin in about 1800 cals. After about 2 weeks I started to gain body fat. Do you think the reduced caloric intake is the culprit? Should I “force” myself to eat…maybe up the MCT intake to make up the difference?

    1. Keith this is a little too complex to go into over the blog – feel free to book a consult at greenfieldfitnesssystems.com and choose 20 or 60 mins and we'll get you scheduled.

  49. Uber awesome guide for endurance athletes nutrition. Sadly I can’t purchase EXOS from Spain (apparently).

    Anyway I came here searching for good quality MTCs.

    Do you know the exact ratio of C8 and C10 on the Bulletproof’s XCT oil? And what’s your opinion on using these during a “fasting” period in an intermittent fasting diet. I want to have some fuel prior to fasted training which doesn’t nerf the benefits of IF and I am very unsure about coconut oil being neutral during a fast (not breaking it).

  50. I’m brand new to the Keto scene. Just started the diet on tuesday. There are so many supplements listed here. Is there a place to start? Like only starting with a couple? What about blood testing, do you recommend it it and how often and should i even be testing in the first month. Any help is greatly appreciated. You have the most informative articles I’ve been able to find.

  51. Hi Ben

    Thanks for the great article. Absolutely brilliant.
    I have used UCAN for a while but I always struggled with the amount of powder I put in my drinks bottle. As many people commented already it does not mix well with water. I found that I need 2-3 scoops for 90 minutes.
    I have also tried the CARBFUEL. The instructions on the box say to use one scoop. That is a meager 40 calories. I have tried adding five scoops to my bottle but still feel it does fill me up and I feel hungry after 30 minutes again.
    What is your experience from a dosage point of view?

    1. let's say that you used two servings carbfuel. If you are truly fat adapted, and if you are also adding ketones, amino acids, and an oil such as brain octane, there is no reason you should be feeling hungry. I would suggest working on the fat adaptation process…

      1. thanks. So you are saying that carbfuel alone is not enough even if you are fat adapted? Why market a product that only works if you add in other products?

        1. I'm all about biohacking. Sure, Glycofuse may kinda sorta work all by itself but I find better results when I add aminos, catalytes, MCT oil and ketones. That's a really hard product for a company to produce in one bottle so you have to make the recipe yourself. It's not hard though.

          1. Agree. If I mix Glycofuse with Brain Octane in a sports bottle, would that mix well for long endurance events? I know you had some issues with the MCT oil in your drinks bottle during an Ironman event. Thanks for answering my questions.

  52. Hey Ben,

    After reading the article I shopped around and I noticed there are types of MCT oil that are derived from Palm Oil and are considerably less expensive. (http://prototypenutrition.com/keto8.html ) There is a litany of research that says that Palm Oil is on the same level a High Fructose Corn Syrup when it comes to your body. Is this true for MCT oil made from Palm Oil? Is Coconut derived superior to Palm Oil or a blend of the two?

  53. Ben: what are your thoughts on whether creatine supplementation is beneficial while in ketosis? I ask because to my understanding ketosis reduces water retention while creatine increases water retention. Seems like a potential conflict here. Thank you.

    1. I've had zero issues with using creatine during ketosis. There is no evidence that it cause any issues. Make sure you are on electrolytes or a good trace mineral compound either way.

      1. Thank you for the answer. Two follow up questions: (1) when in ketosis, what dosing regimen of creatine do you recommend? (2) is there a particular electrolyte supplement(s) you recommend? I’m taking bouillon to get sodium, but I don’t know what to take for potassium.

  54. Wow! Amazing article. I don’t read blogs regularly, but I’ll be reading more of yours. I am on day 11 of a fast to get me into ketosis; 7 days bone broth and now on day-4 water only. Intentions are weight loss (10# down, 15# more to go) and immunity improvement/gut help. Planning 9 days of whey water, fermented veggies and mad probiotics when the water days are done (day 14?). After this fast I want to stay fat adapted, start training again and get down to 8% body fat. I believe you have cut that journey significantly with this article. Thank you.

    My question is: Can i use the Brain Octane and MCT oil during the very low intake days I have planned (500-600 cal/day) ahead? How about on a straight water fast?

    Thanks again.

  55. Incredibly enlightening article Ben, thank you.

    Such a pity that the ketocana code has expired. Please share with us in case you renew it. Ketocana seems to be a very useful product for pre workout in ketosis.

    Please keep exploring and teaching us!

    Best!

  56. Fascinating stuff and I am quite curious how we know for certain one is actually in ketosis i.e. using ketones as primary fuel source BECAUSE we do know that glucose has a shorter metabolic pathway to burn and under most conditions, given the presence of glucose, that is what the body will default to which is why high fat and high sugar together in diet is so detrimental. So if we use one or more of the above “boosters” and show high levels of blood ketones but also highish levels of glucose (during initial transition) will be mostly burning ketones or still defaulting to glucose?

    Thank you and thanks for writing and posting the article!

  57. Hey Ben great article, I really loved the read,it was a mosnster. Do you have any write ups or good advice on combating the 4 dark sides of ketosis other than what is included in this article. Thank you

  58. Hi, I am a parent of son with epilepsy. On our last EEG we found out he is having 10 absence seizures per hour as well as bimonthly grandmal seizures . People have been using the ketogenic diet for seizure control for years. Our neurologist mentioned that seizure control is effected by blood insulin as well as ketones. I know the original Keto esters came from DR. D’Augustino’s work with Navy Seals who were having seizures due oxygen toxicity. The main reason we have not been using the Keto diet is lack of compliance and it so easy for kids to get out of ketosis. I am wondering if we could get seizure control with a zonish/adkins diet with keto os, brain octain supplementation. Even an educated guess would be appreciated. Thanks, Mike

  59. Awesome… I am a newbie to this i took the keto os for 2 months for weight loss and did well. It a bit pricey. I try hard to conform to lchf diet daily but see no change other than I crave sweets. In 5’7 270 and stuck! My highest weight was 390 had gastric band put in 10 years ago but its just keep me from consumption of large amounts at on time. Is there a more economical way to stay in ketosis? I wAnt more energy… In not an exercise person usually have no energy. In willing to try other ideas.

  60. HI Ben,

    I will use your mixture that you describe above, for first time running 18 miles(changing from UCAN to Glycofuse)will that last for 3 hour or should I take another dosage after couple hours.

    Thanks for all your help,

    ken,

  61. Hi Ben. Interesting article. Have you ever used ketostix (Bayer) to mesure ketone bodies in the urine? Can you tell me something about this type of mesurements? Thanks. Cheers.

  62. Ben

    I have order Glycofuse, Catalyte electrolytes, Aminos – BerrEXOS641Aminos, KETO//OS and will use this with runs over 1 1/2 hours, do I take anything or any this products rest of week.

    thanks for your help.

    Ken

    1. Ken, not 100% sure I understand your question but if you're asking if you should take any more supplements through out the week, it's hard to know without getting some blood testing done. If you want to go into detail, book a consult at greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/ben and choose 20 or 60 mins and we'll get you scheduled. If you want to know specifically about fueling for your runs, have a read through this: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/what-…

  63. Is there a benefit to using Nature-aminos when in ketosis? I am wondering if I could combine Keto//OS and Nature-aminos and when and how to do so. Can they be consumed simultaneously?

  64. Hi Ben,

    I have been taking Ucan 30 Minutes before run and take UCAN 1 Hour into run and 1 hour later. Also take BCAA powder in 8 ounce liquid during run. I have been doing HFAT and LCARB diet. Problem i slow down after 1 1/2 hour during my long run. I need your advice help fueling my run after 14 miles. This my first Marathon, I have run 7 Half Marathon around 1.58.

  65. Ben: you had previously recommended in one of your videos using SkinnyFat MCT/Olive Oil. Do the XCT and Brain Octane oils now supplant that prior recommendation? Thank you.

  66. Ben – curious about your thoughts on this. I went into ketosis (using LOTS of coconut oil) but it raised my cholesterol and doc was worried about my lp(a) level (17mg/dL on VAP) even though crp was 0.5, trigs 51 and a1c was 5.2. Advised a low fat diet. Have you seen this before with folks on a lchf/ketosis diet and is there anything to be concerned about? Off to read your coconut oil article. Thank you!

    1. lp(a) will by nature be elevated when LDL is elevated and in the absence of other risk factors like inflammation and high blood glucose, it's not super concerning in my opinion but I imust emphasize I am NOT a doc, so don't take this as medical advice. I can just tell you that it's rare for me to see high healthy LDL and low lp(a).

  67. This article is excellent and I’ve actually read it a few times just to make sure I’m absorbing as much as possible. With that said can we talk a bit about protein? Why does it seem like protein is taking a back seat? What about the athlete who needs to maintain and/or increase muscle mass. I don’t want to make any assumptions and with all the research I’ve done along with personal testing into Keto it just seems to me that protein and its benefits are not a discussion point in this diet. Why?

  68. Is there not a glaring contradiction between a) ketosis being our normal default state and very healthy for us, and b) but only if you do all these very specific things and time your carbs perfectly – a completely non ancestral way of living

    Does it not seem that our bodies jump out of ketosis at any moment they can?

    1. You can go into ketosis naturally just fine by not eating too much food, limiting carbs, eating healthy fats, etc. I'm just saying you can do it FASTER and more EFFICIENTLY by using these methods. Your body does NOT jump out of ketosis unless you're in the nonancestral position of carbs and calories being in excess.

  69. Hi,

    I ordered the single serving pouches of keto os. You suggested to build up tolerance by taking half servings. Will that still put me in ketosis and is product stable to make a whole serving drink half and drink he other half later.

    Thanks

  70. Ben,
    Thanks, I've been sick for a long time and am working with Chris Kresser so I'm good on that front. I was really just looking for general guidance. Maybe I will try working with you on performance when I get back to the point that my body/mind is working fairly well again!

    Thanks,

    Daniel

  71. Ben,
    Fantastic article!!

    My question is: what if I want to be in ketosis for all the reasons mentioned in the Life Extension article and because I don't feel a strong urge to eat in between meals when I go lower carb and if I up carb intake I get hungrier more frequently and get urges . . . BUT on the flip side, I don't seem to digest fat all that well(dairy in particular is a no-no) and constipation is an issue and starchy carbs seem to help with that. It's a bit of a catch-22.

    So can I use the brain octane oil(the others are too expensive for me) and then still eat my 100-200 grams of carbs/day of sweet potatoes/rice and just do lots of low intensity stuff? Do I have that right?

    Thanks,

    Daniel

    1. Sounds to me like you need to try digestive enzymes with a good lipase in them to help you digest fat. Your other assumptions are correct…just make sure high fat is more easily digested things like coconut milk, avocadoes, etc. vs., say dairy, cheese, etc.

      1. Ben,
        I've tried that before(enzymedica digest gold for example) but it didn't seem to help much. It seems from testing that I have some heavy metal stuff going on and there might have been a chronic mold exposure in the past that is still reeking havoc and I imagine that might be affecting this pretty heavily. I will definitely be sticking to the avocadoes and coconut and 100% dark chocolate because I can't tolerate dairy. The hard part is figuring out what is the bare minimum of starch to make my gut feel good and be regular and at the same time become fat adapted and get those increased cognition and longevity benefits!!

        Thanks,

        Daniel

  72. “Researchers have discovered that beta cell issues are detectable in people whose glucose levels spike two hours after eating, despite those levels staying within the range considered normal and safe by the medical establishment.”

    I don’t quite understand here, could someone help explain it to me? I know there’s a blood glucose number to shoot for for fasting, 1hr after eating and 2hrs after eating. Does that statement mean the numbers after eating aren’t usable?

  73. Wow! Such an informative article! A lot to take in! Loving that you mentioned the KETO//OS! I’ve actually lost 10 lbs in 3 weeks! Kinda cool. I haven’t heard of the other products but I’m excited the check them out! Also, the breath tool is new to me. Thank you! If anyone wants to checkout my testimonial with epilepsy, weight loss on the KETO//OS you can read it here: http://bit.ly/keto-os

    Thanks!

  74. Your article was quite informative and helpful.

    You said you saw Dr. Jeff Volek at UCONN. I am interested in ketosis to help me with my M.S. I still have questions related to M.S. and not so much as it effects on athletes. I do live in CT, but was unable to locate Dr. Volek at either the Storres or Farmington campus. Would you be able to give me either his e-mail address or telephone number so that I can contact him directly? Your help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  75. Long time reader, absolutely loved the article. What diet strategy would you recommend doing while trying these supplements? Would I still have to be low carb high fat, or would I be able to enjoy other foods like fruits and some grains? Thanks!

  76. Great article. Leading edge stuff !

    Is a standard LCHF diet recommended in addition to this supplementation, or are there adjustments that should be made in the diet?

    Thanks

  77. I'd like to know more about the body fat benefits from these. Even when I am in ketosis, I don't lose body fat and my energy never improves, although I did four months, so maybe that wasn't long enough?

  78. I started a ketogenic diet about 5 weeks ago and have experimented with KetoCaNa and KetoForce along with Now Foods MCT oil (which is made of caprylic and capric acid) in the hopes of easing the transition into ketosis. I don’t use it every day, but often before an aerobic based workout. I was wondering if taking these exogenous ketones at the beginning of a ketogenic diet helps you become keto adapted by up regulating the body’s handling of ketones. And conversely, does taking exogenous ketones down regulate or affect lypolysis since BHB is readily available? My main priority at this point is fat loss.

    1. I've seen no evidence that exogenous ketones enhance ketogenic adaptation but THEORETICALLY you would be upregulating receptors for ketones so POSSIBLY there is enhanced adaptation. Lipolysis is not shut down however. Your body will just have higher blood mmol of ketones.

  79. Hey ben,

    You state that many athletes and very active people could benefit from 100-200g of carbs a day, and be back in ketosis in a few hours. Any particulars on which kind of activities or say how long/many training sessions would benefit from this to balance hormones. I train mma 3-4 days a week and also do lots of hiit and strength training as well. Just trying to see if this is a situation where i would benefit from your suggestions. Thanks!

  80. Hi Ben,
    I’m missing one key-step in this whole process … I understand (vaguely) how to get into ketosis via diet, starvation, or supplementation. But, my confusion really is with the supplementation method (such as XCT Oil, for example). If I supplement with these to get into ketosis quicker, but haven’t significantly altered to a high-fat diet, won’t I just shift back into glucose-use as soon as I burn out the supplemented ketones?? like within minutes / hours?

    1. Triglycerides get converted to ketones very readily, whether you're fat adapted or not. However, if you're not fat adapted, your foray into ketosis will be more brief. So just stick to the diet and within 2 weeks, you'll begin to notice significant fat adaption.

  81. You need to do a “common man’s” version of a good ketogenic nutrition program or discussion. Great article, and I leaned a few things. Those Ketone Salts and other supplements can get pricey. I eat a very low carb and high fat diet and meander in and out of ketosis during the week. A pure ketogenic diet is so restrictive that meals it can get very repetitive during the week. I’d like to learn more about cooking with oils and how temperature effects their qualities. I can only handle eating so much raw food, and I love to cook my greens and other vegetables in bacon fat and coconut oil. It will be next May before I can get my blood work performed (insurance reasons) so until then I’ll need to be careful and hold back on those after supper dark chocolate excursions! Thanks!!

    1. I would like to know the answer to this question as well.

      Is the supplement just to shorten the time it takes your body to transition into ketosis and then you stop supplementation continuing with a high fat low carbohydrate diet?

      Thank you for spending your time writing such an in-depth article!

    2. Yes – if you havent somewhere else can you please expand on how the average person would use these supplements and what a general proper diet/ratios would be? I lift, I dance but I am not an athlete by any means.

  82. Hi Ben – Great article. I had trouble at the end figuring out if you were now eating high fat (60-80% of calories), or if you went back to something closer to 50% fat calories and higher carbs and are using exogenous ketones to get int ketosis when needed. Are you doing any carbs at night or a refeed, or just having higher carbs on most days? Thanks

    1. I am now at higher fat intake + ketones so I"m doing BOTH low carb and ketosis with the exception that I still do carb refeeds at night. But not at the level of 30% per day that i got up to after initially stopping ketosis the first time.

  83. Great article! As someone who just started a “ketogenic diet” two weeks ago, I am opting to hold off on using ketone supplements for the following reason. You state how “Keto-adaptation occurs when you have shifted your metabolism to relying on fat-based sources, instead of glucose (sugar) sources, as your primary source of fuel.” If the goal is to “switch” our body’s energy supply to ketones and one uses supplemental ketones, how do they really ever know if their body has successfully accomplished this goal if they are using supplemental ketones? Aren’t they getting a false sense of ketosis if their blood or breath tests show them above 0.5 millimolar through the use of the supplements? I understand that it may take me longer to reach ketosis naturally but I guess I see it was worth it to truly reap all of the benefits that you outline in your article.

    1. Ideally, you combine supplemental ketones with a relatively low carb diet, especially if metabolic efficeincy is important to you. HOWEVER, you can achieve most of the benefits of ketosis aside from the fat burning efficiency by using exogenous ketones. So it all depends on how lean you are, what's important to you from a performance vs. fat loss standpoint, etc.

  84. Ben, Best article I have read on Ketosis in a while. I am also an ironman athlete that has benefited from training and racing while fat adapted, but fell off the Wagon a little while back and have struggled to get back in Ketosis. Looking forward to trying this, just hope I can find this stuff in Oz as shipping costs from the States are criminal.

  85. see statement below re: harm

    That’s right: it turns out that if I could go back and do my year of strict ketosis again, I would do everything you’ve going to discover below. If I had done that, I would have avoided all the uncomfortable, unhealthy issues I experienced when I was eating a high-fat diet, and I would have gotten all the benefits with none of the harm.

    also dextrose=glucose. why throw yourself out of ketosis, even momentarily.

    how the products are extracted is not mentioned either. “pea starch” i’m betting, is hydrogenated. how are the MCT powders formulated? a solvent must be used to separate one from another.

  86. Great post. Just ordered me some Octaine oil. Buggar paying £80 ($130) for the ketocanna.

    I see a lot of people say that ketosis is great for insulin sensitivity. BUT, in my experience ketosis causes physiological insulin resistance whereby the muscles and liver are sparing glucose for the brain. Hence, glucose tolerance actually goes down during ketosis. As such, is it possible that post workout carbs could do a lot more damage than they would on a non-ketogenic diet? Or maybe, as Kiefer suggests, glucose uptake post workout is not moderated by insulin at all i.e. muscles soak up glucose regardless of their insulin sensitivity? Or maybe cyclical ketosis doesn’t allow liver glycogen to get low enough to trigger physiological insulin resistance?

    1. You could theoretically be correct about glucose tolerance decreasing BUT in a post-workout state especially, it is Glut4 transporters and not insulin that drives glucose into muscle tissue anyways, so in that scenario it's a moot point. Hence the benefits of cyclic ketosis.

  87. i REALLY take issue with your “eating coconut oil could be a very, very bad idea. ” i HATE fear mongering, especially when you leave your audience hanging. for this reason alone, i would not purchase your product.

    for the record – taking exogenous ketones would limit one’s body from tapping its own fats to burn, no?

    1. I think you should probably wait until the article comes out next week on coconut oil. I think you'll be quite shocked. And no, exogenous ketones don't shut down your ability to oxidize fat.

      1. Hi Ben, I know this is an old article but I do want to follow up on this question.

        You indicate that exogenous ketones do not shut down the ability, of your body, to oxidize fat. Is that to say it does not have an effect on your body at all? My specific question is… does my body oxidize less fat, when supplementing with exogenous ketones? I think you indicate in your article that it could. I would expect it to, in that if I supplement then my body would not “need” to oxidize the fat to provide the energy.

        That would make sense, but if your saying that your body oxidizes fat, at the same rate, regardless of the exogenous ketones… I’m not sure how that happens…

        Thanks, in advance, for your consideration..

  88. Ben,

    Sensational article. I am experimenting with a low carb diet, high fats and moderate protein. I am not keeping strict notes on what I eat but I cut out almost all fruit and I eat eggs, spinach, kale, chard, avacados, hard cheese, walnuts (raw organic) and grass fed meet and butter. I take about 25-30ml of Brain Octane straight a day. I take your probiotic and colostrum (I need to get more regular) and I consume bone broth four days a week. I am looking to live longer and be healthier during that long life. In the short term I want to be smarter and be able to handle stress better. I would also love to avoid cancer and drop a deuce every day. My question is: Is there a point of carb consumption where even combining it with exogenous ketones using your recommendations it would be less effective or cause negative outcomes? Could one consume all the cards and sugar one wanted and use the supplements and still be getting into ketosis and reaping the benefits?

    Great blog!! A great balance of deep dive with practical applications. Thank you very much!!!

  89. Hi Ben,

    Thank you for this article as it cleared up a bunch of stuff for me. I started trying to get into ketosis back in August and lost 20lbs in about 6 weeks. Then it all stopped but had another 20lbs I wanted to loose. I had a hard time staying in ketosis and gave up about a week ago with the holidays approaching. Anyways I glazed over all the technical and science facts as it makes my head spin and might of missed it but my only question is what is the food portion of the diet like? The drinks are the easy part, do you have a diet plan that is good for someone that hits the gym hard 4-5 days a week for and hour and half. 45 min weights and 30-45 min cardio? It’s what I struggle with most the food and what attracted me to a ketogenic diet in the first place is eating 1 or 2 meals a day and being satisfied.

  90. Hey Ben,

    Enjoyed this article as well as your other pieces on ketosis. Do you ever measure with a glucose/ketone blood monitor. If so, have you found an optimal mmol/L range for ketones?
    I've started to experiment with a blood monitor to test certain carbohydrate foods (and amount of carbs) and see how it impacts my ketone levels.

  91. I think there is a lot more to the story than ketosis or very low carb for everyone. In my own experience, high carb works much better. I tried very low carb for a long without really feeling amazing, I then switched back to high carb and quickly lost weight and leaned out. I still eat high carb and my strength is better and I'm even leaner now. I find it very difficult to overeat (I obviously eat very 'clean diet').

    I have full understanding for the people who find it useful but it might not be for everyone. There is also scientific studies to support this claim.

  92. Hi Ben! Very comprehensive article, well done! ;)

    Question: I have recently done my 23&me DNA test and have also put my info into AthletiGen. I’m curious about your thoughts about high fat/low carb diet in context of this info. My test says I am ‘2x more likely to loose weight on a low fat diet’, and that I have ‘normal sensitivity to weight gain due to saturated fat intake/and unsaturated fat intake’, & ‘likely to eat normal amounts of carbs’! All interesting but in the ketosis context, I took this to mean that eating high fat/low carb would not be of greatest benefit to me?! (I have tried getting into ketosis prior to all the new supps, for about 3 months, and I couldn’t get in to it (tested w/ blood finger prick) and didn’t feel great). Which leads me to wonder what Macro ratio would be best, as I’m also a endo-meso)!

    I’m curious your thoughts on this! I’ve currently been doing 40% carb/30% fat/30% protein.

    And would the supplements basically void any of the issues stated in my genetic test (it’s quite fascinating and I know it’s not set-in-stone!) :)

    Thank you again for everything you do and for so generously sharing your knowledge with us!

    Cheers!

    1. The DNA test does not necessarily take into account your goals (e.g. breathholding, Ironman, cognition, etc.) and if your goals would benefit from ketosis, then you may want to choose it as a dietary strategy even though it could indeed be true that for FAT LOSS a higher carb intake may suit you. So it all depends on your goals. Or you could just us the supplements like ketones AND eat more carbs and get "best of both worlds".

      1. Thanks Ben! I like the sound of getting the “best of both worlds”!

        I just bought KetoCaNa (thanks for the 10% off code) and Brain Octane for myself and hubby!

        Would it be possible to start on a low dose of the KetoCaNa and increase over 1-2 weeks instead of the: “use a loading phase with this stuff. For that, it is recommended that you take three servings per day for two to three days” to help eliminate the GI distress?

        Do you think EXTRA electrolyte assistance for my hubby would be needed while taking KetoCaNa, as he only has 1 kidney (he donated the other to his brother) – I’m a little concerned it may tax his 1 kidney a bit?! Maybe or maybe not? (I know you’re not a doctor :) Just curious on this one)! He is doing it mainly for fat loss assistance.

        And I am patiently awaiting your response to others questions about having to ‘continually take the ketones to reap the benefits forever and ever’ or does the body adjust and less supps will be needed over time?

        Again, thanks so much for everything! I’m a huge fan! :)

        Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/12/how-t…

  93. Ben,

    1) SO, are you recommending on a daily basis using both up to 2 servings of the Keto/OS (or up to 3 servings of KetoCaNa) combined with the Brain Octane on salads and in smoothies in very the same day for best effects?

    2) Are you saying that if you only used the Brain Octane on salads and smoothies and do not use either Keto/OS or KetoCaNa, that you would still have no problem getting into ketosis OR were you simply saying that you only need to choose one of the three when mixing up your workout drink for +90 minute efforts?

    Just trying to make sure I understand.

  94. Ben,

    Great article! I recently switched from gels to using a super starch (Generation U-Can) for 90+ minute training/races. I have had a noticeable performance increase without the stomach issues from all the sugar in the gels. Is this similar (but different) to EXOS Carb Fuel?

    1. Carb Fuel is different than UCan Superstarch. Similar to UCAN it is a slow bleed of carbs into your system. Unlike UCAN, some people find they get less fermentation/bloating/gas from Glycofuse…and there is a difference in taste, some people digest it better, etc.

  95. Ben. I do not read epidemiological studies anymore… Just biology. There are plenty of examples of traditional cultures consuming high carb (and high fat) without any of the health issues those studies in your article claim. So either high fat or high carb both work if done properly… AND in the right environment. Both are ancestral not just one of the two and have posit and negat because it has to do with the climate and environment around. I do not listen to anybody that pushes JUST one because they are ignoring the reality. I hope you join this "common sense" wagon.

    1. Sound advice! Given the current climate and environmental conditions in the western world, what are your thoughts on what may or may not work?

  96. Great info! A couple quick questions…

    What are some ways to get similar results without supplements?

    For a non-athlete what are your recommendations? I’d prefer to keep the number of supplements and complexity of the regimen simple.

    Thanks!

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