Ke­to­sis is a meta­bolic state. It is where the body switches from us­ing glu­cose to us­ing ke­tones as a pri­mary en­ergy source. LO­RAINE THOM­SON talks with keto food en­tre­pre­neur Ben Pryor about eating fat to burn fat.

New Zealand Fitness - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Lor­raine Thom­son

The goal of the keto Diet is to in­duce the body into ke­to­sis. This is done by eating around 20g of carbs a day while con­sum­ing a high level of fat and a medium level of pro­tein.

“At first it seems rather con­tra­dic­tory – eating fat to burn fat. But re­ally you are teach­ing your body how to burn fat as fuel,” says 27-year-old Ben Pryor, who is the brains be­hind Ke­toPasta, a new prod­uct on the mar­ket and dis­trib­uted by Norse Fit­ness in Auck­land. “The more your body is forced to burn fat for en­ergy the more ef­fi­cient it be­comes at do­ing this.”

Ben be­lieves ke­to­sis, from an evo­lu­tion­ary per­spec­tive, is an ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity. A pre­his­toric hu­man run­ning low on car­bo­hy­drates would find it very dif­fi­cult to catch their next meal with­out an al­ter­na­tive en­ergy source. Hu­man­ity would likely have been wiped out long ago if we did not have the abil­ity to be phys­i­cally ac­tive and think clearly on an empty stom­ach.

In the mod­ern age, ke­to­sis serves a sim­i­lar pur­pose. Most peo­ple will fall into ke­to­sis af­ter eating lit­tle to no carbs over a 12-hour pe­riod, for ex­am­ple eating chicken and veg­eta­bles for din­ner and then hav­ing eggs for break­fast. In­stead of suf­fer­ing from star­va­tion the body makes the most of the fat you have con­sumed or stored by turn­ing it into en­ergy so you can sur­vive long enough to make it to lunch time!

In or­der to be in ke­to­sis in the con­text of the keto diet you need to eat an ul­tra low carb diet for three to seven days – the ac­tual time it takes to tran­si­tion into ke­to­sis varies be­tween in­di­vid­u­als.

One of the great things about the keto diet is that you can’t cheat.

“One sweet treat or even a cou­ple of slices of bread will stop you from get­ting to ke­to­sis and it will ruin all your hard work!

Once you have been in ke­to­sis for around four to six weeks you be­come “ke­toad­apted”. This means your body is now tuned to us­ing fat as an en­ergy source.

“The in­ter­est­ing thing I have found is that when you don’t eat carbs you no longer crave carbs, so re­main­ing in ke­to­sis gets eas­ier and eas­ier. Another com­monly cited side ef­fect of the keto diet is a lack of hunger. I ac­tu­ally have to tell my­self to eat as op­posed to just lis­ten­ing to my stom­ach!”

The mo­men­tum be­hind the Keto Diet is now build­ing over­seas.

“I think 2016 is likely to be the year where we re­ally see this catch­ing on as peo­ple are fur­ther ed­u­cated about the re­mark­ably pos­i­tive ef­fects it can have on your health.”

There has been a lot of work in the United States re­cently in the area of neu­ro­science and the abil­ity of ke­tones to ac­tively pro­tect the brain. “Per­son­ally I no­tice my fo­cus and pro­duc­tiv­ity is dra­mat­i­cally in­creased when in ke­to­sis – plus you don’t get that tired feel­ing af­ter a carb heavy lunch,” says Ben.

“The de­vel­op­ment of Ke­toPasta came about as a re­sult of the frus­tra­tion I faced try­ing to find low carb food. One of the hard­est things when try­ing to at­tain ke­to­sis is avoid­ing high carb foods that are con­sid­ered the norm in our so­ci­ety. We have toast with our break­fast in the morn­ing, bread in our sand­wiches and pota­toes with din­ner! All of these high carb foods will al­most im­me­di­ately kick you out of ke­to­sis.

Ke­toPasta ba­si­cally sub­sti­tutes wheat flour for flour made from kon­jac root. Kon­jac is an an­cient veg­etable, the root of which has been a di­etary sta­ple in Ja­pan for over 1500 years!

“We have also added or­ganic oat fi­bre to the pasta which gives our pasta the look, taste and tex­ture of reg­u­lar pasta. Even though kon­jac root is tech­ni­cally a car­bo­hy­drate, it is a car­bo­hy­drate our bod­ies can­not break down and use for en­ergy. There­fore kon­jac root flour is mainly fi­bre that acts as roughage in our sys­tem aid­ing in di­ges­tion and help­ing to make you feel full with just six calo­ries per serv­ing.”

Ben has a few new prod­ucts in the pipe­line – dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions of pasta, in­clud­ing a rice ver­sion, plus a low carb / high pro­tein bread mix.

Ben’s back­ground be­fore get­ting into the keto space, has been a mix of sci­ence and law.

“I grad­u­ated from Otago Univer­sity with a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Psy­chol­ogy and a Bach­e­lor of Laws. My ca­reer path seemed to be pre­de­ter­mined by my de­ci­sion to study law – some­thing I was never com­fort­able with. It seemed the of­fice life­style wasn’t for me, so I be­gan look­ing for a way out. I started a very ba­sic busi­ness im­port­ing elec­tron­ics and built that to the point where I no longer had to turn up to the of­fice and stare at my com­puter screen!

Ben learnt a lot from this busi­ness and started look­ing at cre­at­ing another busi­ness and some­thing he was pas­sion­ate about.

“I have al­ways had an in­ter­est in fit­ness so this seemed a good place to start. Af­ter a bit of re­search I stum­bled across the keto diet and the more I read, the more in­ter­ested in this diet I be­came. This diet re­ally stood out, as the ba­sis was ac­tu­ally backed by le­git­i­mate stud­ies.

“You look at the last big fad – pa­leo. This diet is sup­pos­edly what we use to eat as cave­men, but when you look back in time our guts have de­vel­oped through eating many and var­i­ous dif­fer­ent things. The pa­leo diet just takes di­etary tips from an ar­bi­trary time in our evo­lu­tion! The keto diet, on the other hand, ac­tu­ally changes the core en­ergy source our body uses to op­er­ate – this re­ally in­trigued me. The idea that you can train your body to burn fat re­serves is a pretty solid ba­sis for a diet in my opin­ion!

“So that is what led me to re­alise there are no de­cent carb al­ter­na­tives read­ily avail­able in New Zealand – hence the birth of Norse Fit­ness.

Ben hopes to build a range of prod­ucts that can help peo­ple to ob­tain their fit­ness goals. He hopes to grow Norse Fit­ness from the very hum­ble com­pany it is to­day to a re­source for de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on ke­to­sis and the keto diet and a on­estop-shop for a range of keto-friendly prod­ucts and sup­ple­ments.

Ben Pryor is the brains be­hind Ke­toPasta, a new prod­uct on the mar­ket, dis­trib­uted by Norse Fit­ness.

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