What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a term that is being used more often than not when referring to weight loss as well as diabetes. You may be wondering what it’s all about and whether it’s positive to be in ketosis or not?
It’s a very normal process that your body does to keep it going / working. It’s to do with the carbohydrates from food (glucose/sugar) that your body typically gets for your cells to burn giving you energy. If there are not enough carbohydrates for your body to burn, it will burn fat instead. As this metabolic process takes place ketones are produced at an increased rate.
The liver stores glucose, it releases it when it is required for energy. If your carbohydrate consumption has been very low for a couple of days your store of glucose are drained. Glucose can be made by the liver via amino acids from the protein you have consumed (gluconeogenesis). This is not enough to keep fuelling the brain, which is where ketosis steps in as a back-up source of energy.
If you eat a varied and healthy balanced diet your body will control the amount of fat that is burnt, and therefore ketones will not be overly produced. It’s only when you strip back the carbohydrates and calories that you are consuming that your body will shift to ketosis for its energy source. Diabetics who have not been diagnosed or not controlling the condition being in “ketosis” means there body is not using enough insulin.
Ketones need to be at a certain level in your blood for you to be classed as being in nutritional ketosis, this threshold is a minimum measurement of 0.5 mmol/L of BHB.
Ketosis can become dangerous when ketones build up, it’s important not to let your level get too high. If you don’t know how and when to test your ketones, talk to your doctor.
Ketosis and dieting
There are lots of different weight loss approaches, ketosis being one of them it has recently risen in popularity may be due to being in favour with certain celebrities. While assisting you in fat burning ketosis can reduce your appetite
and can help you maintain muscle, as protein for fuel is an important part of low carb eating.
If your wondering how to get into a state of ketosis it typically takes 3-4 days for healthy people (not suitable for people with diabetes or who are pregnant) eating under 50g of carbohydrates a day. For example;
- 50g carbs = Three potatoes
- 50g carbs = 2x medium sized apples
- 50g carbs = 2x cups pineapple
- 50g carbs = 2x medium sized banana
Fasting is another way of entering into a state of ketosis.
Are there benefits to being in nutritional ketosis?
If monitored correctly there are benefits related to being in nutritional ketosis:
- Evidence suggests that ketogenic diets curb appetite, and this is one of the things that people notice first once they are in ketosis.
- The point above in part explains why when people increase their protein and fat consumption while restricting their carb intake they usually eat less overall, leading to weight loss.
- Type 2 diabetics or pre diabetics can benefit from being in ketosis as it can help stabilise blood sugar levels and insulin response. This prolonged behaviour can put diabetes into remission, and reversing the condition, which can lead to not having to rely on diabetes medication.
- Due to the make-up of a ketogenic diet and the longevity of the fuel supply that ketosis provides it can potentially enhance your performance in sports and physical activities.