Getting to the Bottom of the Substrate Hierarchy

Keto Keto Keto! Everyone’s got an opinion. “Isn’t that for epilepsy?” 

“Yeah, I lost 30 lbs, but it’s too hard.”

“It’s not highly rated.”

And on and on. Here’s the thing; Keto isn’t a diet. Ketosis happens when you’ve used up all your other energy substrates. 

Here’s how it works. Our bodies have only four options for fuel. Alcohol, endogenous ketones like MCT oil (popular but overrated), carbs, and fat. These fuels are always and only burned in that order. 

Metabolizing alcohol is first priority because when we ingest it, our brain recognizes it as poison. Understandably we don’t want to store that. (Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a teetotaler for the rest of your life. I’m not.) Our body takes it straight to the liver where it’s converted to ethanol and pushed into the blood to be used immediately. 

Next comes ketone supplements. These pure substances require no digestion and will not be stored. That’s part of the reason you only want to use them in small doses. use only a couple of teaspoons, or you’ll be running to the bathroom faster than…. BTW you really don’t need them to get into ketosis. In fact they often give a false positive on a urine test strip. 

Ahh protein. We almost smile when we hear the word. We can always count on protein to be ok right? Not so fast. Major health experts like Dr Steven Gundry, Dr Joseph Mercola, and Dr David Perlmutter say we need to find the amount our bodies require for repair and lean mass, and stay right around that amount. More about that later. Protein can be stored but needs to be converted to carbohydrate first. 

Third and by far the most widely used are carbohydrates. They’re not evil, just very misunderstood. Our bodies can store them almost without limit and they’re always used before fat. Dr Nora Gedgaudas says carbs are like kindling. They burn quickly so we need to keep adding more to the fire. Most of us use primarily carbs for fuel so we need to eat every three to five hours during the day. The other thing about carbs is they notoriously trigger insulin. Too much insulin signaling over time is now causing worldwide health problems. Pretty much the reason I’m writing this book.

Then there’s my favorite, fat. Once your body gets used to using fat as it’s primary fuel, all kinds of fantastic thing start happening. The trick is, we have to use up all the above before we can reap all the benefits of a keto lifestyle. I’m here to tell you it’s absolutely worth it. 

Let me know what you think. I value your input!