Ketogenic Amino Acids and Their Role in Atkins Diet
Ketogenic amino acids are one of two types of amino acids. The other type of amino acid is called glucogenic. The difference between these two refers to the way that the nutrient is metabolized in the body. Leucine and lysine are the two amino acids which are classified as completely ketogenic. Many amino acids share both properties and are glucogenic as well as ketogenic. Both leucine and lysine are included in the essential amino acids list. While glucogenic amino acids are converted into a form of sugar called glucose, ketogenic amino acids are metabolized into ketones. Ketones are used by the brain and body as an energy source if glucose is not available. The role that ketogenic amino acids play in the Atkins Diet is a weight loss booster.
The Atkins Diet is a low carb diet with moderate protein amounts and high in fats. When there are elevated levels of ketones in the body and a low amount of carbs, a condition called ketosis develops. The l-leucine benefits include the fact that this amino acid is completely ketogenic making it ideal for the Atkins Diet. When the body is in a state of ketosis, fatty acids and stored body fat are used as the primary sources of energy instead of carbohydrates and glucose. Ketogenic amino acids help encourage weight loss and can be found in many animal sources which are also high in protein. One of the top l-lysine benefits is that this amino acid is fully ketogenic and does not convert to glucose in the body.
When sugars and carbohydrates are in short supply and there is an abundance of ketogenic amino acids, then weight loss and a decrease in stored body fat will generally occur. Many physicians warn that this diet should not be followed without medical supervision. Excessive ketones, limited sugars and carbs for extended periods can cause serious medical problems in a small percentage of individuals. The L-tyrosine benefits do not include ketogenic properties because this amino acid is only converted into glucose in the body so it is not ideal for the Atkins Diet.