What are ketones?

Fasting to use ketones as a source of fuel..

Ketones are energy molecules created by liver from the breakdown of stored body fat. When we fast our blood sugar and insulin levels lower. This signals a response from our body to release stored fat so it can be used in place of sugar (from food) for energy. Ketogenic diets ( diets very high in fats and very Low on carbs) have become popular for the same reason. (However how many can sustain this super high fat diet with very low to no carbs to achieve this state is a topic for another time.)

While much of this release fat is burned for energy, some of it travels to the liver where it’s converted to ketones.

But let’s talk about how fasting helps with release of ketones?Does Intermittent fasting bring these same effects as ketogenic diets?

Ketones provide the brain with fuel during the time we fast. Turns out our bodies are adapted to starvation. Whenever , there is lack of food , we switch to fat burning. Time restricted eating is like cleaning up your house. When we are not eating is when burn the fat in our bodies , our cells clean up waste and debris , get rid of toxins etc. That’s when body switches to burning fat and some of it is broken down in the liver to be converted to ketones . So the answer is Yes!! Adopting a fasting lifestyle does trigger the body to use fat as fuel and therefore use ketones ( produced in liver) to fuel the brain.

Research has shown that ketones can cross the blood brain barrier and brain can thus have an energy source, when glucose is low. More research reports are coming out on how any form is fasting can super charge your mitochondria(tiny little powerhouse / factories inside your cell) This process is called ketogenesis, which has also helped patients (through adopting a fasted lifestyle) with metabolic diseases - like type 2 diabetes, high BP, obesity. Using fat as fuel through short periods of fast is essential to be a fat burner and being metabolically flexible . Start slow and ease into the fasting life. Do remember that just by compressing the eating window and still eating the processed/ high sugar diet will be counterproductive to all the fasting benefits. Eat unprocessed whole foods in the eating window.


Stay Healthy,

Swati