What Exactly Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when your body lacks sufficient carbohydrates to burn for energy. Rather than that, it burns fat and produces what are known as ketones, which it can use as fuel.
Ketosis is a term you’re likely to come across while searching for information on diabetes or weight loss. Is this a positive or negative development? That is dependent.
The Keto Diet and Ketosis
Ketosis is a popular low-carbohydrate diet. Along with aiding in fat loss, ketosis can help you feel less hungry. Additionally, it aids in muscle retention.
Ketosis usually occurs after three or four days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day in healthy individuals who do not have diabetes or are pregnant. This is equivalent to approximately three slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can also initiate ketosis through fasting.
A ketogenic or “keto” diet is high in fat and protein but low in carbohydrates.
The Health Benefits of Ketosis
Beyond weight loss, ketosis may have some advantages. Doctors may prescribe a ketogenic diet to children who have epilepsy to help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy may occasionally follow a modified Atkins diet.
According to some research, ketogenic diets may help reduce your risk of heart disease. Other studies demonstrate that specific carbohydrate-restricted diets benefit people who suffer from diseases such as:
- Syndrome metabolic
- Insulin sensitivity
- Diabetes type 2
Additionally, researchers are examining the effects of these diets on a variety of conditions, including:
- Ovarian polycystic syndrome (PCOS)
- Diseases of the nervous system such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease
Symptoms and Consequences of Ketosis
You may experience some discomfort during the first week of a ketogenic diet. While some refer to this as the “keto flu,” it is not a recognized medical condition. According to some physicians, this is a result of sugar and carbohydrate withdrawal. Alternatively, it could be due to changes in your gut bacteria or immune system response. You may experience temporary side effects such as the following:
- Fog of the mind
- Sleeping difficulties
- Cravings for sugar
- Muscle aches
- Breath that smells bad, also known as ketosis breath
Ketones can serve as a source of energy for the brain.
It is a common misconception that the brain cannot function properly without dietary carbohydrates.
It is true that glucose is preferred and that some brain cells can only function on glucose.
However, a significant portion of your brain can also use ketones for energy, such as when you are fasting or eating a low-carbohydrate diet.
Indeed, after three days of fasting, the brain obtains 25% of its energy from ketones. This figure increases to around 60% during prolonged starvation.
Additionally, your body can generate glucose for the brain during ketosis by utilizing protein or other molecules. This is referred to as gluconeogenesis.
Ketosis and gluconeogenesis are both capable of meeting the brain’s energy requirements perfectly well.
Ketosis is not synonymous with ketoacidosis.
People frequently make the mistake of conflating ketosis and ketoacidosis.
While ketosis is a normal metabolic state, ketoacidosis is a dangerous metabolic disorder that, if left untreated, can be fatal.
The bloodstream is flooded with extremely high levels of glucose (blood sugar) and ketones during ketoacidosis.
This results in the blood becoming acidic, which is extremely harmful.
The most common cause of ketoacidosis is uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. It is also possible for people with type 2 diabetes to develop this condition, though this is less common.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by recurrent seizures.
It is a very prevalent neurological disorder that affects approximately 70 million people worldwide.
The majority of people who have epilepsy take anti-seizure medications to help them manage their seizures. Approximately 30% of people, however, continue to have seizures despite using these medications.
The ketogenic diet was introduced in the early 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy in people who do not respond to drug treatment.
It has been used primarily in children, with some studies demonstrating benefits. Numerous children with epilepsy have experienced significant reductions in seizures and, in some cases, complete remission while following a ketogenic diet.
Weight loss effects
The ketogenic diet is a popular weight-loss strategy that is effective in the research.
According to some studies, ketogenic diets are more effective at weight loss than low-fat diets.
One study found that people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times as much weight as those on a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet.
Additionally, people on a ketogenic diet report feeling less hungry and more satisfied, which is attributed to ketosis. As a result, calorie counting is generally unnecessary on this diet.
While some people may find the ketogenic diet easy to follow, others may find it unsustainable.
According to some research, the keto diet may not be the most effective way to lose weight. According to the authors of a 2019 review, it was not more effective than other diets at assisting people in losing weight and may not have any specific benefits for people with metabolic disorders.
Additional health advantages of ketosis
Certain scientists have suggested that ketosis and ketogenic diets may have additional therapeutic effects, though this is not universally agreed upon.
Cardiovascular disease: Several older studies suggest that reducing carbohydrate intake to achieve ketosis may improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as blood triglycerides, total cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol. However, a 2019 review notes that individuals following an extremely low carbohydrate diet may miss out on heart-healthy foods like whole grains and pulses.
Type 2 diabetes: Dietary changes may improve insulin sensitivity and some risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including obesity.
Parkinson’s disease: A small study discovered that after 28 days on a ketogenic diet, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease improved.
Ketosis associated with any negative health consequences?
While a ketogenic diet may have health and weight-loss benefits, it may also cause some side effects.
Headache, fatigue, constipation, elevated cholesterol levels, and bad breath are all common short-term side effects, but they usually subside within a few days or weeks of beginning the diet.
Additionally, there is a possibility of developing kidney stones.
Some women have developed ketoacidosis while breastfeeding, possibly as a result of low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet.
Individuals who take blood sugar-lowering medications should consult a physician before beginning a ketogenic diet, as the diet may reduce the need for medication.
Occasionally, ketogenic diets are deficient in fiber. As a result, it’s prudent to consume a variety of high-fiber, low-carb vegetables.
The following tips can assist you in remaining healthy while in ketosis:
- Consume plenty of fluids, especially water.
- Consult your physician before beginning the diet and heed their advice.
- Maintain a close eye on your kidney function while on the diet.
- Seek assistance if you are concerned about negative consequences.
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that achieve through the consumption of ketones.
It has many potential health benefits, including the following:
- Loss of weight
- glucose levels in the blood.
- In epileptic children, seizures reduced.
However, adhering to a strict ketogenic diet can be challenging, and some negative side effects may occur. Furthermore, not all researchers agree that a ketogenic diet is the most effective method of weight loss.
Although ketosis is not for everyone, it can be beneficial for some individuals.