Energy deficit, low energy

When your energy intake is 800 kilocalories or less and/or your daily intake of carbohydrates falls below 60g, your body’s metabolism changes significantly.

Even though your daily intake of energy is less than 800 kilocalories, the actual intake of energy is much larger, because energy is gained by consuming the fat reserves of your body.

The beneficial changes are caused by an energy deficit and a state of ketosis caused partly by the release of the body’s own fat reserves.

The ketone bodies increase your feeling of fullness, among other things. This is one of the main reasons why following the VLCD programmes is relatively easy even though the energy intake falls below 800 kilocalories per day.

The ketone bodies save your muscle tissue during weight loss.

The muscle tissue consumes a large part of the daily energy, and this is why the muscle tissue should be maintained during the VLCD programme.

The ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate prevents muscle tissue from being broken down into energy during long VLCD programmes.

This mechanism of our bodies is ancient. People lived most of their developmental history the same way as other animals: when food was available, enough was eaten to store extra energy in the body for situations when food would not be available for a long time. 

Our bodies’ ability to store energy efficiently has helped to get us where we are now. This feature separates us from a large part of the animal kingdom.

Now this excellent feature has turned against us. Our bodies are used to temporary weight gain, but not chronic, at worst life-long, fat accumulation. 

There is actually a rather simple solution to change this with significant impact on the factors that affect our health and wellbeing. The change is reducing your eating to a minimum and draining your body’s own fat reserves of excess energy, as our ancient ancestors did. The difference is that today in Finland this is voluntary, whereas for our ancestors it was by necessity. 

This should serve as justification for the fact that our bodies know what to do when food intake is radically reduced. These processes have been recorded in our genes over time and still work fine. Let us give them the opportunity to activate some great mechanisms in us to let us benefit through the reduction of health risks. 

The body activates the release of fats

The fat reserves in the body are enough to meet your daily energy needs for periods of low-calorie intake of weeks or even months. The large-scale release of fats continues for as long as excess energy is available, if necessary.

Our bodies go through several changes when food intake is significantly reduced. The most visible sign is weight loss, and it happens because it activates the processes in your body that lowers your blood sugar level towards normal values. Blood cholesterol values are improved and inflammation values are also often lowered. The normalisation of these values reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular diseases. 

The changes occurring in a fasting state suggest the hunter-gatherers’ better ability to hunt and make long migrations. The feeling of hunger often fades and the amount of energy compounds such as fats and ketone bodies in the blood stream together with a normal blood sugar level guarantee ample energy for hunting and fighting. Studies show that the differentiation and production of nerve cells and their synapses are increased in this state. This could suggest a better ability to manage challenging situations. Increase in the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol and the growth hormone can also be viewed as responses to increased demand for energy, which was recurring for our ancestors. 

Us modern humans can also utilise and benefit from these changes that happen inside us when energy intake is lowered to the 800 daily kilocalories of the VLCD programme. The changes are different for each individual. Some people may feel remarkably energetic during the VLCD programme. Very often, the feeling of hunger fades and is replaced by the feeling of fullness. 

Let us make the most of these benefits with the VLCD programme. Join us!

Fats are converted into ketone bodies

During the VLCD programme, the amount of fat released from the body’s fat reserves is so high that the liver must convert it into ketone bodies that the body’s tissues learn to use efficiently as a source of energy during the first few days.

The fat reserves start to burn fast when energy intake falls under 800 kilocalories per day. The fats are transported to the liver to be used as an energy supply and to be converted into water-soluble ketone bodies.

These ketone bodies, acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate, function as energy sources to make up for the reduction in the intake of carbohydrates.

The benefit of these ketone bodies is that they are produced all the time during the VLCD programme. You do not need to fill up on them by eating fatty foods, but there are plenty of them in the blood even if we ate nothing the whole day. In other words, these bodies are released even during fasting, and in small amount during night fasting. They are also produced during intense exercise or sports.

Ketone bodies are energy compounds that are very familiar to modern humans but still poorly understood. It is a near-impossible idea that food, and especially sources of carbohydrates, would run out these days. The body also produces ketone bodies in diets where the intake of carbohydrates is significantly restricted, such as ketogenic and low-carb diets.

Ketone bodies, especially beta-hydroxybutyrate, have several effects on the body’s functions. They are suspected to increase the feeling of fullness, for example.

This way, the fat accumulated in the body is used as a source of energy and converted into other compounds and burned in the body to produce energy. Some of the energy is vented out as heat.