What is ketosis?
In typical circumstances, the human body uses glucose as its main source of energy. Glucose is naturally derived from break down of dietary carbohydrates, including:
- Sugar– such as fruits, milk, refined sugar
- Starchy foods– such as potato, bread etc.
The body breaks these down into a simpler form known as glycogen. Glycogen can either be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver and muscle tissues.
If there is not sufficient glucose accessible to meet energy requirements, the body will automatically implement an alternative strategy in order to meet those energy needs. Specifically, the body begins to break down fat molecules to produce glucose from triglycerides.
Ketones are a derivative of this process.
Ketones are acids that are produced in the blood and are flushed out through urine. In little amounts, they serve to signify that the body is breaking down fat, but elevated levels of ketones can also poison the body, leading to a state called ketoacidosis.
Ketosis describes the metabolic state of the body whereby the body converts fat molecules into energy, releasing ketones as a byproduct.
Fast facts on ketosis
- Ketosis happens when the body does not have an adequate amount of primary energy source, glucose.
- Ketosis is described as a condition where fat molecules are broken down to produce energy, which also creates ketones, a type of acid.
- As Ketone levels increases, the acidity of the blood also rises, leading to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can be life threatening.
- People with type 1 diabetes are more prone to develop ketoacidosis, for which emergency medical treatment may be required to avoid diabetic coma.
- Some people follow a ketogenic (low-carb, high-fat) diet to lose weight by forcing the body to go into ketosis.
Is ketosis healthy?
The ketogenic diet could have a beneficial effect on some serious health conditions such as:
- cardiovascular disease
- neurological diseases
- metabolic syndrome
It may also improve levels of good (HDL cholesterol) better than other diets available.
The ketogenic diet has also been successfully used under medical supervision to decrease seizures in children with epilepsy who were otherwise responding poorly to other forms of treatments.
Some people promote ketosis by following a diet commonly called as the ketogenic or low-carb diet. The aim of the ketogenic diet is to try and eliminate excessive fat by forcing the body to break down the fat storage for energy, rather than carbohydrates.
Ketosis is also frequently found in patients with diabetes, as the process can trigger if the body does not have sufficient insulin or is not using insulin properly.
Problems linked to intense levels of ketosis are more likely to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes patients.
Due to the fact that ketosis is highly efficient in breaking down fat stored within the body, ketogenic diets are becoming popular amongst dieticians these days.
Ketosis diets are also commonly known as:
- ketogenic diets
- keto diets
- low-carbohydrate diets
Learn More about Ketogenic Diet here.