There are several questions in our mind, the moment the term ‘ketosis’ is heard. We always wonder whether is it a natural process, & even if it is a natural process is it healthy & safe for our body. To have answers to all our queries we initially need to understand what exactly is ketosis? To understand ketosis initially we shall need to understand the mechanism leading to ketosis.
What Is The Mechanism Leading To Ketosis?
- Glucose is utilized as the primary form of energy by the body cells.
- Generally, glucose is derived from dietary carbohydrates such as sugar & starchy foods.
- The dietary carbohydrates are broken down by the body into simple sugars.
- Glucose is utilized either to fuel the body or is stored in the liver & muscles as glycogen.
- In case, there is an insufficient amount of glucose available to fulfill the energy demands then, the body fulfills the demand by breaking down the fat stores to provide glucose. This process is known as ketosis. The process of ketosis releases ketones in the body.
- Ketones are acids which are eliminated in urine.
- Ketones present in small amounts indicate that the body is breaking down fat, but increased levels of ketones may lead to a serious condition known as ketoacidosis, which can prove to be fatal. Hence, ketosis is safe & healthy but ketoacidosis can be fatal. It is important to differentiate between ketosis & ketoacidosis.
- For ketosis to take place there must be sufficient fat stores in the body to be utilized as energy.
- Ketosis is a normal metabolic process which can be caused by a low-carb diet or when fasting.
- Few people to facilitate weight loss encourage ketosis by adopting a diet known as ketogenic or keto diet or low-carb diet. The aim of this diet is to burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to break down the fat stores for energy, rather than carbohydrates.
- Ketosis can be induced when a low-carb diet is followed for more than 3 days. Induced ketosis is also known as nutritional ketosis.
How to Promote Ketosis?
There are several ways through which one can boost ketosis. Some of them are as follows:-
- Reduce consumption of carbs – When there is a reduction in carb intake then the glycogen stores are reduced which permits the release of fatty acids from fat stores in the body.
- Adopt fasting – Adopt intermittent fasting or fasting which can boost ketosis much quickly.
- Increase Physical Activity – Engaging in physical activity may accelerate ketone levels during carb restriction.
- Include coconut oil in the diet – Consuming coconut oil can help one promote ketosis. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides which are rapidly absorbed and converted into ketones by the liver.
- Maintain Adequate Protein Intake – Consumption of too little protein can lead to muscle mass loss while excessive protein intake can suppress production of ketone hence, adequate protein intake should be maintained to boost ketosis.
- Increase Healthy Fat Intake – Increased consumption of healthy fat can promote ketone levels.
How To Know If You’re In Ketosis?
Other than measuring the ketone levels in the urine, blood & breath it is possible to know that you are in ketosis through certain signs & symptoms. Some of the signs & symptoms observed during ketosis are as follows:-
- Loss of weight.
- Increased energy levels.
- Decreased appetite.
- Dry mouth.
- Increased thirst.
- Increased urination.
- Fruity smelling breath.
- Constipation or diarrhea.
How To Measure Ketosis?
Ketosis can be measured by testing ketones in the blood, urine or breath. It can be measured by either of the following ways:
- In this method, ketosis is measured in the urine.
- Utilizing urine strips to measure ketosis is the simplest & cheapest way.
- Urine strip indicates the presence of ketones by color.
- The urine test strip is dipped in a fresh urine specimen and the change in the color of the strip indicates the presence of ketones.
- Urine testing of ketones is less accurate as compared to the measurement of ketones in the blood.
- When the body is in ketosis, one’s breath may smell of acetone.
- Breath-ketone analyzers help in measuring ketosis through the breath.
- The level of breath acetone is measured with the help of breath-ketone analyzers.
- This method is more expensive as compared to urine strip test but is cheaper compared to blood-ketone meters.
- Breath-Ketone analyzers can be reused several times.
- Here, ketosis is measured in the blood.
- Use of blood-ketone meter displays the exact & current level of ketones in the blood.
- This method is the most exact way to measure ketosis level.
- The main disadvantage is blood-ketone meters are quite expensive.
Are There Any Benefits Of Ketosis?
Yes, ketosis is associated with several benefits. Some of them are as follows:-
- Increases mental & physical endurance.
- Reduces hunger, thereby facilitating effortless weight loss.
- Helps in rapid weight loss.
- Balances blood sugar.
- Lowers inflammation.
- Reduced intake of carbs can also help in reversing type 2 diabetes.
- Helps in controlling epilepsy even without any drug.
- Improves acne.
- Reverses polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Treats brain cancer.
- Reduces the attacks of migraine.
Does Ketosis Have Any Side Effects?
Ketosis is generally safe and is well tolerated by majority of the people. Though, some of the side effects experienced due to ketosis are as follows:-
- Muscle cramps.
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Heart palpitations
- Increased frequency of urination.
- Sugar cravings.
- Reduced strength.
- Sleep disturbances.
These side effects of ketosis experienced are generally relatively mild and transient. Majority of these side effects can be prevented by consuming adequate fluid & salt.
How Can Ketosis Be Treated Or Prevented?
Ketosis is triggered in individuals who fail to consume balanced diets & regular meals. Hence, it can be prevented or treated by consuming a balanced diet, which comprises of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Ketosis is a healthy & safe metabolic process though; it is not suitable for everyone. Ketosis does produce several positive benefits in certain people with fewer side-effects which are temporary and usually fade away within a few days or weeks. Dietary & lifestyle modifications help in minimizing these side-effects.