Ketosis is a natural process that takes place to support the body with energy once its usual source of energy runs out. It works to provide various health benefits, especially when speaking of weight loss. This article will introduce you to what this condition is, the ketosis symptoms, its causes, how it is achieved, and a lot of other details about it including diet programs and food options.
Ketosis: The Condition
What is ketosis in the first place? This is a metabolic state of the body where it needs to break down fat and produce acids known as ketones. This happens when there is a shortage of carbohydrates and glucose in the blood, which is the primary source of the body’s energy. The liver, once it has used up all the stored glucose from carbohydrates, start to metabolize the fatty acids to be the main source of energy. If the body wouldn’t do this, energy shortage would happen, resulting in a physical break down.
This condition can usually be caused by fasting or starvation but can also be caused by certain conditions such as alcoholism, diabetes, and low carbohydrate diet. Prolonged fasting or starvation can very well deplete the stored glucose in the body and can lead subsequently to the state of ketosis. This is one of the reasons why this state is also referred to as starvation ketosis.
Diabetes and alcoholism, on the other hand, have a lot of impact on the body’s normal metabolism. They can prevent the body from properly breaking down glucose, which will lead the body to use body fat for its source of energy. Lastly, low carbohydrate diets are designed particularly so that the body will be in the state of ketosis. If the body is in the ketosis mode, the dieter can shed excess or unwanted weight easily.
The body often sends signals to you to tell you whether you are in the ketosis state or not. Most people who are in a low carb diet usually feel the symptoms of ketosis after three or four days of being in the program. Ketosis symptoms include:
- tiredness or fatigue
- feeling of thirst all the time
- bad breath
- metallic taste in the mouth
- stomach ache
- sleep problems
- cold hands and feet
These signs of ketosis usually last up to a week just until the body becomes used to the burning of fat instead of glucose for energy. Once the body finds its balance, the symptoms will begin to go away. However, the absence of symptoms after a week does not mean ketosis is not happening anymore.
Dealing with the Symptoms of Ketosis
For some people, especially the dieters, ketosis is a good sign. However, the symptoms and side effects that come along with this condition are not at all pleasant. So if you find yourself having trouble with the symptoms caused by ketosis, you can ease the symptoms by trying the following:
- Snack regularly. The headache and other symptoms of ketosis can be eased out a little by a protein-rich snack. A piece of chicken as a snack can do a lot for you.
- Take important vitamins. If you are on a low carb diet, you usually limit your intake of fruits and vegetables. So to keep your body balanced and healthy, take vitamins and mineral supplements.
- Consider protein shakes. Protein shakes, especially those with amino acids, can help reduce the symptoms of ketosis as well as easing the transition period.
The state of ketosis can be easily detected with the onset of the symptoms associated with the condition. However, this can also be detected using ketosis test strips, which is available in the market specifically for this purpose.
The test strip is used in the urine to detect how high the concentration of ketones is. The higher the concentration is, the more purple the sticks will turn to be. With more ketones in the urine, this can only mean that the body is already in the state of ketosis.
The Ketosis Diet
A ketosis diet plan is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet plan, which is strictly followed until the state of ketosis is reached. This diet can be credited to several benefits to the health. For one, a ketogenic diet is popular for the treatment of epilepsy in children. It was developed in the early 1900s, which aimed to make the body burn fat for energy rather than glucose. According to studies, two in every three children who suffer from elipsy are helped by this change in diet.
Despite being high in fats, the ketosis diet can also help those who are suffering from obesity. The high protein present in this diet has natural appetite suppressant effects. Moreover, this diet has a good influence on those with type 1 and 2 diabetes. If a diabetic consumes less carbs, this means less blood sugar and less need for insulin. This promotes lower chances of complications such as diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy. Researches show that this diet can help completely reverse type 2 diabetes and may even reduce or eliminate the needs for medication.
Another important benefit to the health of the ketosis diet is its effects on cancer progression. Cancer tumors use glucose as their main fuel. In a study involving mice, this kind of diet has slowed down the growth of brain tumors by 25 to 65 percent. Other disease that may benefit from this kind of diet includes ADHD, Alzheimer’s, depression, heart disease, narcolepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.
Starting a Ketosis Diet
Getting into this diet program is not easy. You must first understand that this diet plan will bring changes in both your diet and lifestyle. Hence, careful planning and strategizing is essential. If you have a medical condition, it is best to consult a medical professional first to ensure this diet will not work against your condition. Moreover, take note that the ketosis diet is not advisable for everyone. If you are pregnant, alcoholic, or suffering from kidney or liver disease, you should not follow this kind of diet.
Once you are ready for this kind of diet, you must choose a diet program that will help you achieve ketosis. Programs with diet guidelines that can help you achieve this state include the following:
- Atkins Diet. This is a program that will require you of a diet that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and no sugars. It works under the principle of fueling the body with protein and fat and allowing the body to use excess body fat to maintain glucose levels. Foods that can be eaten on an Atkins diet include meats, poultry, seafood, salad vegetables, and cheese.
- Zone Diet. This program promotes consuming calories from protein, fat, and carbohydrates in a balanced ratio. It is neither a low carb diet nor a high carb one. It is simply a moderate diet. This kind of diet allows you to control the production of insulin in the body.
- Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet. This diet targets those people who are already addicted to carbs and help them get their eating under control. This works to control the fat-storing insulin in the body and also break the carb craving cycle. The list of foods allowed under this program includes low fat and low carb foods but without ignoring the fiber. Some of the foods that can be taken under this program are meat and poultry, eggs, dairy products, vegetables, and fish.
- Ideal Protein Diet. This diet limits carbohydrates and sugar intake to stop the body’s dysfunctional use of insulin because of excessive consumption of saturated fats, sugar, processed foods, and simple carbohydrates. The diet accomplishes this goal by promoting a diet of high protein, low fat, and low carbohydrates.
Whatever program you choose, make sure you follow the guidelines correctly. This is essential so as you can achieve the state of ketosis. To determine whether you are in the state already, you can evaluate your urine through test strips.
Ketogenic Food Guide
When you aim to achieve ketosis, you must watch the foods you eat. Check out this list of ketosis foods and make sure you follow it closely.
- 100% Safe Foods
- prime rib
- roast beef
- soy sauce
- heavy cream
- Minimal Carb Foods (limited quantities only)
- mustard greens
- green beans
- Brussels sprouts
- artichokes, onion
- Higher Carb Foods (very limited quantities)
- Foods to Avoid
- mixed drinks
- fruit juices
- battered foods
- non-diet soft drinks
Ketosis for Weight Loss
The state of ketosis can undoubtedly help one lose weight. With limited amounts of carbohydrates in the body, the body starts to use the stored fats to supply energy to the body. This fat burning can very well help in losing weight.
To achieve the best weight loss results through the ketosis weight loss program, it is a must for you to follow a strict diet program of cutting your carbs and packing up on proteins. To get into this state, you need to consume 100 grams or less of carbohydrates in a day. On the other hand, you must consume 150 grams of protein a day.
However, this strict diet plan is not enough. You have to do cardio routines such as aerobic activities for 45 to 70 minutes four times a week. You can also consider elliptical training, light intensity biking, swimming, and fast-paced walking. Moreover, you must go build some muscles to aid in losing more weight. Do exercises such as bench presses, shoulder presses, overhead tricep extensions, back rows, lunges, and bicep curls. Lastly, drink plenty of water. It is very important to do so because being in ketosis puts you in a higher tendency of being dehydrated.
Possible Dangers of Ketosis
Is ketosis dangerous? Actually, there are a lot of talks about whether ketosis is dangerous or not. The truth is ketosis is not much of a disadvantage granted that it is dealt with properly. However, if a ketosis diet is done for more than 14 days, problems can arise. This includes the following risks:
- Kidney problems. This is one of the serious risks associated with the wrong execution of a ketosis diet. When the body is in the state of ketosis, it deflects protein and releases nitrogen into the system. This results to a higher need for the kidneys to work so as to keep up with the excessive urinary water resulting from sodium loss. Plus, when the fat burns and the liver releases ketones, the kidneys are burdened even more. In the end, long term ketosis can put a lot of pressure to the kidneys, which can introduce a lot of problems in the future.
- High cholesterol. Most of the ketosis diet programs allow ample intake of foods that have high amounts of saturated fat such as cheese, organ meats, poultry fat, and red meat. However, this increases the cholesterol level significantly and can be a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.
- Digestive problems. Some ketosis diets are low in fiber, which increases chances of mild to severe constipation.
- Weight gain. It is possible that you are in ketosis but not losing weight. Actually, in a low carb diet, once you consume even one carb-rich food, your body will easily snap out of ketosis and experience weight gain instead of the other way around.
Share with us your experience regarding ketosis. How did you achieve the state and what benefits have you gained from it?