Ketosis is another name for the "fat burning" process. When you start the Cambridge Diet, during the first one or two days your body uses glucose (a simple sugar stored by the body as the complex carbohydrate glycogen), for its main energy requirements. Once the body has used up its stored carbohydrate, it then switches to its other energy source - unwanted fat. A ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrate.
The body's stored fat is broken down into little fatty acid molecules called ketones and these circulate taking energy to all the tissues in the body. The Cambridge Diet has been carefully researched and formulated so that when used sole source it has just enough carbohydrate for immediate energy and none left over for storage and induces a mild ketosis. The smallest intake of additional carbohydrate can upset this fragile balance and cause carbohydrate to be stored along with water, causing a plateau.
The mild ketosis is an intrinsic part of the design of the sole source programme because it has significant benefits - it is the key to the comfort for the dieter:
- It reduces the feeling of hunger - removing the temptation to err!
- It induces a sense of well-being with good energy levels
Far from being harmful, ketosis is an important safety factor - the body gets all the energy it needs from the breakdown of its fats stores, thus protecting muscle tissue and vital organs
- Ketones are the products produced by your body when it burns fat. Your body excretes these ketones in the urine and when you breathe out. This is the reason why you can get bad breath and nasty taste in your mouth when on sole source.
The ketones circulate in the bloodstream. When they reach the brain they produce two really pleasant effects: you stop feeling hungry and gain a tremendous feeling of well-being. This helps you to stick to the diet.
The Cambridge Diet has been very carefully formulated to produce this mild, beneficial ketosis. This is possible because of the limited amount of carbohydrate in the diet. If you have any additional carbohydrate - skimmed milk in your tea or coffee, an apple or a slice of bread - you could break the ketosis. You will feel hungry (and may start to eat) and the feeling of well-being will disappear. You may also deposit glycogen which retains water, leading to a plateau.
What is the ketone test?
This is a simple urine test which indicates the presence of ketones. The mild ketosis induced by the Cambridge Diet ensures that sufficient ketones are produced to give adequate energy with some left over which are passed into the urine.
Two simple tests are available from the chemist - Ketostix and Ketur-Test. They are plastic strips with a felt tip. The tip will react and turn pink if ketones are present in the urine.
Most dieters achieve ketosis after three days on the sole source programme. If, after this time a test gives a negative reading (the top does not change colour), it is reasonable to assume that the dieter is deviating from sole source and taking in extra carbohydrate. On the other hand, a positive reading (the tip turns pink) can be very motivating for someone who is in a pre-menstrual plateau. It is tangible evidence that their body is indeed still burning off fat, even though the loss is not showing on the scales.
This is info I have on my sheet I give to new clients .... and i think it suggests it's the no carbs + VLCD.