Ketosis is a natural metabolic process of your body.  When the body lacks enough glucose to convert into energy, it burns stored fats instead which also results in a build-up of acids called ketones.

Ketosis is a largely refereed weight control process in the present time. But it is not just about controlling weight. One of the major uses of ketosis is observed in treating people with diabetes, as the process can occur if the body does not have the required amount of insulin or is not able to insulin correctly.

One of the most common forms of diet in the present time is called the ketogenic or low-carb diet which aims at burning the unwanted fat by making the body to use fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates.

What is ketosis actually? How does it occur and is it healthy for your body or not? The present article tries to cover all the aspects related to ketosis. Read till end to know all the important aspects before you start with ketosis.

Understanding Ketosis

Ketosis is a normal metabolic state in which fat provides for most of the fuel for your body. The preferred fuel source for many cells in the body is glucose or blood sugar but when there is lack of glucose, your body shifts to use the stored fat.  As a result of burning of fat, ketones are released as a by-product of the process.

Glucose is obtained typically from dietary carbohydrates, including sources such as sugar like in fruits, milk or yogurt or from starchy foods such as bread and pasta.

Ketosis can take place with ketogenic diet which is a very low-carb diet. 

Other conditions which can result in ketosis in your body are during pregnancy, infancy, fasting and starvation.

About Ketogenic Diet

Ketosis diets are also known as ketogenic diets or keto diets or low-carbohydrate diets. It primarily involves having a particular type of food which can provide a balance of nearly 75% fat, 20% protein and 5 % carbs. However the proportions may differ and depend on the specific version of the diet a person follows.

Following a ketogenic diet essentially means omitting certain food items from your diet. This may include items such as grains, candy and sugary soft drinks and also cutting down on items such as legumes, potatoes and fruit.

Ketogenic diet has been linked to short-term weight loss. If you are interested in following ketogenic diet, it is best to check with your doctor or nutritionist first who may guide you for any allergies and the proportions.

Health Benefits of Ketosis – Is it Beneficial?

Other than weight loss, ketogenic diet is seen to be helpful in curing below issues:

  • Ketosis and Epilepsy – Epilepsy is a brain disorder which involves recurring seizures. Back in 1920s, the ketogenic diet was introduced as a treatment for epilepsy in people who couldn’t respond to drug treatment.

The results have been remarkable seen in children positive benefits. As a result of ketogenic diet, many epileptic children had reduced seizures while some had complete remission.

  • Controls Diabetes – Ketogenic diet is helpful to patients with type 2 diabetes because of its role in controlling blood sugar.

  • Other conditions where in ketogenic diet may have a healthful effect on serious health conditions are under study. These include conditions as metabolic syndrome, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, acne, cancer, polycystic ovary disease (PCOS) and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Differentiating Ketosis from Ketoacidosis

These are two different terms. Do not confuse with their similar spellings because they are two separate aspects.

Ketosis as you read above is part of normal metabolism; however ketoacidosis is a dangerous metabolic condition which can prove fatal if not treated.

In ketoacidosis, there are severely high levels of ketones in the bloodstream and in such a situation the blood becomes acidic, which can be dangerously harmful.

Ketoacidosis has mostly been associated in patients with uncontrolled type 1 diabetes and cases of severe alcohol abuse.

Potential Side Effects of Ketosis

While these may vary from an individual to another, there are some general side effects of ketosis or ketogenic diet.

  • Keto Flu – Keto flu is the reaction that your body shows when you just begin the keto diet. Since your body is not habituated to low carbs, it would take some time to adjust to the new state.

This initial phase is characterized with various symptoms like headache, weakness, and bad breath, irritability to constipation, leg cramps, dizziness, fatigue nausea and vomits.

However these symptoms are temporary and usually last a week or so.

  • Damage to Heart and Kidney – Since the ketogenic diet can lead to loss of major electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium due to increased urination, it makes your kidney prone to damage and also the imbalance in electrolyte may put you at the risk of cardiac arrhythmia.
  • Nutritional Impact

The keto diet restricts you from a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes which are generally thought as healthy and are suggested to be a part of daily diet. On one hand lack of such foods can lead to deficiency of fibre and certain vitamins, long term such deficiency can lead to significant human health impacts like bone loss and increased risk of chronic diseases.

Summary

Ketosis is a natural metabolic process of body. While it has a number of positive effects on your body, there can be few down sides too. Important to note is that ketosis is not for everyone. While it can help one in treating certain health conditions, the associated harmful effects should not be overlooked and is best followed under the guidance of an expert.