Ketosis is a state in which your body uses ketones (i.e., beta-hydroxybutyrate) for energy instead of glucose. It’s an extremely effective way to lose weight and get in shape, but it comes with some serious side effects. So before you start following any diet plan that includes ketosis as part of its regimen for weight loss, here’s what you need to know about this potentially dangerous condition:
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state. This means that your body uses ketones to burn fat, instead of glucose as a source of energy. As you lose weight, you are entering into ketosis at a faster rate due to the reduced amount of carbohydrates in your diet.
Ketosis has been used for centuries as an alternative treatment for epilepsy and other neurological disorders by doctors in India, China and Japan (1). In fact, some studies have shown that fasting can induce a state similar to ketosis (2). Fasting also reduces insulin levels which causes the body to use its own stored fat for energy instead (3).
How does Ketosis Work for Weight Loss?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body uses stored fat as its primary source of fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates. This happens when carbohydrate intake is restricted and the body doesn’t have enough glucose to fuel its energy needs.
When the body enters ketosis, it produces molecules called ketones, which are used as fuel by the body’s cells. These ketones are produced in the liver from fatty acids that are released from the body’s fat stores.
In terms of weight loss, ketosis works by reducing insulin levels and increasing fat burning. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and promotes fat storage. When carbohydrate intake is restricted and insulin levels drop, the body starts to burn stored fat for fuel instead of glucose.
In addition to reducing insulin levels and increasing fat burning, ketosis also increases satiety and reduces cravings. This is because the high-fat, moderate-protein diet that is typically followed during ketosis helps to keep hunger at bay and stabilize blood sugar levels, which can reduce cravings for sugary and high-carbohydrate foods.
Another way that ketosis works for weight loss is by increasing metabolic rate. Studies have shown that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet can increase metabolic rate, leading to more calories burned at rest.
Overall, ketosis works for weight loss by reducing insulin levels and increasing fat burning, increasing satiety and reducing cravings, and increasing metabolic rate. However, it is important to note that ketosis is not a magic solution for weight loss, and it still requires a calorie deficit to be effective. It is also important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a ketogenic diet.
Benefits of Ketosis for Weight Loss
Ketosis has been shown to have several benefits for weight loss. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Faster Weight Loss: When the body is in ketosis, it burns stored fat for fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates. This leads to faster weight loss, as the body is able to access its fat stores more easily.
- Improved Body Composition: In addition to weight loss, ketosis can also lead to improved body composition. Studies have shown that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet can lead to a reduction in body fat, especially abdominal fat.
- Reduced Hunger and Cravings: The high-fat, moderate-protein diet that is typically followed during ketosis can help to reduce hunger and cravings. This is because fat is more satiating than carbohydrates, and the diet helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, which can reduce cravings for sugary and high-carbohydrate foods.
- Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Ketosis can improve insulin sensitivity, which is the body’s ability to use insulin effectively to regulate blood sugar levels. This can lead to better blood sugar control and a reduced risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Increased Energy and Mental Clarity: Many people report increased energy and mental clarity when they are in ketosis. This may be due to the fact that the body is using fat for fuel instead of glucose, which can lead to a more stable energy level throughout the day.
Overall, the benefits of ketosis for weight loss are significant, but it is important to note that it is not a magic solution and still requires a calorie deficit to be effective. It is also important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a ketogenic diet.
Side effects of ketosis
Ketosis is generally considered safe for most people, but it can cause some side effects. Here are some of the most common side effects of ketosis:
- Keto Flu: When the body first enters ketosis, it may experience flu-like symptoms, including headache, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. These symptoms typically resolve within a few days to a week.
- Bad Breath: Ketosis can cause a fruity, acetone-like odor on the breath, which is commonly referred to as “keto breath.” This is caused by the breakdown of ketones in the body.
- Constipation: A low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet can be low in fiber, which can lead to constipation in some people. It is important to consume adequate fiber and stay hydrated to prevent constipation.
- Dehydration: The body releases water when it breaks down glycogen stores during ketosis, which can lead to dehydration. It is important to drink plenty of water and electrolytes to stay hydrated.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: A very restrictive ketogenic diet can be low in certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, folate, and potassium. It is important to consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and consider taking supplements if necessary.
- Kidney Stones: Ketosis can increase the risk of developing kidney stones in some people. It is important to stay hydrated and consume adequate calcium and magnesium to prevent kidney stones.
Who should avoid ketosis
People who should avoid ketosis include pregnant women, children and people with kidney problems. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help people stay healthy while they’re on a ketogenic diet.
Ketoacidosis is a potentially life-threatening complication of long-term starvation that occurs when the body’s ability to make glucose from fat runs out. The condition is typically triggered by fasting or inadequate nutrition, which leads to a buildup of ketones in the bloodstream.
Ketone bodies are produced when fatty acids are broken down in the liver. The body uses them as an alternative fuel source, but they can also be harmful if not used properly.
Precautions to take during ketosis
- Ketosis is not a diet.
- You should not try to do anything extreme or drastic when you begin your keto journey, especially if it’s your first time. Keto flu is real, and it can make you feel miserable for a few days before things get better. If you are feeling sick or tired after beginning ketosis, stop the diet immediately and come back to it when your symptoms have passed.
- Ketosis does not work as fast as some people think it does—in fact, some studies suggest that weight loss may even plateau at about 15% of initial weight lost after 6 months on a low-carbohydrate diet (though most people who lose 15% of their body weight will eventually regain all of this).
Ketosis is a great way to lose weight, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re considering starting keto-diet or want more information on how it works and its benefits, we highly recommend reading our article on the subject: Ketosis + Weight Loss: Is It The Best Solution For Your Fitness Goals?