You have probably come across the word ketosis a dozen times while researching an effective weight loss program or diabetes. But what is ketosis? Many still do not fully understand what this process is and how it affects the body.
If you are on a low-carb diet or do not take in any kinds of carbohydrates, your body will undergo a process called ketosis. It is the body’s natural process that occurs when your body doesn’t have an adequate amount of carbohydrates to burn and use as energy.
Instead of burning carbohydrates, it burns stored fats and as a result, it creates ketones. As fatty acids break down, their byproducts are called ketone bodies or simply ketones.
Apart from weight loss, ketosis can also happen to people with diabetes. If the body is using insulin improperly or there is not enough insulin in the body, ketosis may also occur. There are health problems like diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA that are associated with extreme ketosis. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop DKA than those with type 2 diabetes.
Ketosis and Keto Diet
Today, a lot of people apply the process of ketosis to their weight loss program. Those who are into a keto diet decrease their carbohydrate intake. The keto diet is normally high in fat and with fewer carbohydrates.
A person who takes in carbohydrates that is lower than 50 grams per day can usually achieve the ketosis state after 3 to 4 days. That is if that person is not pregnant or has no diabetes or other underlying health issues. There are different versions of nutrient proportioning that a person practices to achieve ketosis.
Some people start their keto diet by fasting while others start by eating a maximum of 3 slices of bread per day, while others replace their carbohydrates with eggs. The Keto diet is known to be high in fat. Some people follow a diet wherein 70% of their calories come from fat and the remaining 30% are divided into protein and carbohydrates. But it can also vary from one person to another.
Following a strict keto diet may result in short-term weight loss. This is because people who are into a keto diet feel less hungry even when consuming fewer calories. If your diet is high in protein and fat but has a very low carbohydrate intake then it is considered a keto or ketogenic diet.
Is a keto diet safe and healthy?
You may be wondering if it is safe to try the keto diet as part of your weight loss program. Many are a bit hesitant to try this since it’s a high-fat diet and we all know the effects of taking in too much fatty food.
However, there are lots of health benefits when you undergo a keto diet. Improving the levels of good cholesterol in the body compared to other moderate carbohydrate diets is just one of them.
Other Benefits of Ketosis
Aside from weight loss, it has a lot of health benefits too, especially in reducing the risk of developing some serious health problems. Some of which are the following:
• Heart disease
• Metabolic syndrome
• Type 2 diabetes
• Insulin resistance
Apart from reducing the chance of developing some diseases, the keto diet is known to help children with epilepsy decrease the number of seizures they experience. This is particularly true to those whose bodies do not respond well to other kinds of treatments.
Studies are also being conducted on the effects of keto diets on people with the following health issues:
• Lou Gehrig’s Disease
• Alzheimer’s Disease
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS
Side Effects of Ketosis
People who undergo a keto diet sometimes experience some side effects. Most people call it keto flu, although this is not considered a medical condition. The side effects are just temporary and do not last long. You may feel the side effects after a couple of days of starting in a keto diet.
Here are the common side effects to expect after being in a ketosis state:
• Brain fog
• Difficulty sleeping
• Ketosis breath or bad breath
• Cravings for sweets or sugar
• Sore Muscles
These are just temporary and are not serious. People who experience some of the side effects normally just increase their water intake to feel better.
There is a way to test your ketones to find out the level of ketosis that is going on in your body. This can be done by urine or blood sample. A test strip can be purchased in pharmacies or health and fitness stores to check your urine. Those who have diabetes can use their blood sugar meters and find out the level of ketones in the body.
If you are new to the keto diet and have no idea when and how to test your ketones level, you can always consult with your physician. It is important to be aware of how much ketosis is happening in your body because it can also be dangerous if you have high levels of ketones.
Those who want to increase their ketone levels take some supplements in the form of powders, pills, and oils. However, there is no sufficient research about these supplements to support their claims of being effective or safe. Before taking one be sure to check with your health provider first.
The process of ketosis is generally safe and has a lot of benefits especially to those who wish to lose weight. Aside from weight loss, people with health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease may benefit from adapting to the keto diet.
However, it is also important to check the levels of ketones in the body because high levels of ketones may also lead to serious health issues and complications. If you plan to start on a keto diet, it’s best to consult with your physician first especially if you have underlying health conditions or are breastfeeding. Limiting your calorie intake and fluids may result in a decrease in milk supply.