You can't get a fitness magazine or tune into a morning TV show without hearing a discussion of the ketogenic diet these days. You've probably heard that term so much you may be suffering from keto diet discussion fatigue.
It's seriously everywhere.
But what are ketones exactly? What do they do, what is their purpose, and why does it matter?
Let's dive into some of the nuts and bolts so you have a better understanding of what ketones are.
What Are Ketones?
Ketones are a chemical produced by the liver. Your body creates more of them when you don't have enough insulin in your blood to convert glucose to energy.
Just because you can't get the glucose you need for energy doesn't mean your body can just close up shop and send everyone home, an alternative fuel source is required.
That fuel source is ketones.
Your body will use stored fat, convert it into ketones (a type of acid), and send those ketones off into your bloodstream where your muscles and other tissues can use them for fuel.
Fuel For Famine Times
From an evolutionary perspective, ketones were a good back up source of energy for our ancestors.
Hunter gatherers often went through periods of feast and famine, and sweet foods containing sugar were often in short supply.
The evolutionary fail-over system is ketones.
How Ketones Help You Burn Fat
As mentioned before, in the absence of glucose, your body needs another fuel source to keep the ship sailing.
That fuel source is ketones and which is shunted into the bloodstream. In order to get these ketones, fat is converted by the liver.
If you spend an extended period of time in ketosis, your body will be turning over a good amount of fat.
Now You Know The Basics
This is a very simple explanation of ketones and their role in the body.
Hopefully you will feel a little more sure of yourself when this topic comes up (and you know it will!) in the future.