What is Ketosis? Is it Safe?

Ketosis and the ketogenic diet seem to pop up everywhere online, in stores, and in popular magazines, especially concerning diabetes. Many people have heard bits and pieces of what some medical professionals consider another fad diet, but ketosis is not a new concept. People have been using diets and programs to achieve ketosis since the early 1900s when its creator first applied the science to treating epileptic seizures successfully. Does that mean ketosis or a ketogenic diet is safe for everyone? Of course not. No diet or lifestyle is safe, successful, or useful for every person. However, this highly restrictive practice also makes it increasingly difficult for many to achieve without making serious changes to their lifestyle and food choices.

First, you need to grasp what ketosis is and isn’t, how its achieved and maintained long term, and understand why it’s become more mainstream in the past 10 years with so many similar low carb diets out there. Some will question why people would attempt such a restrictive lifestyle change in the first place. Reasons to try or adopt ketosis and its variations will vary among users, but most begin with their health conditions or weight concerns.

Need to Know Information

Scientifically speaking ketosis is a type of metabolic state the body can enter when severely restricting carbohydrates and consuming more fat and protein. Naturally, the human body burns a combination of fat and carbohydrates for fuel, and the body doesn’t produce ketones. Measuring ketones is the only way to know the body is in ketosis. Why Would Anyone Want to Enter Ketosis? There are several reasons:

  • Weight loss
  • Blood sugar control
  • Reverse type 2 diabetes
  • Lower heart disease risk
  • Treat epileptic seizures
  • Nervous system diseases, such as Alzheimer’s
  • Metabolic system disorders
  • Personal reasons and philosophies

Ketosis is safe for the body to achieve and maintain. Some people confuse it with ketoacidosis, which is a serious diabetic condition that requires immediate medical attention. Reaching ketosis is rewiring the body to burn stored fat since it’s depleted of carbohydrates. The moderate protein ensures muscle loss doesn’t occur.

Common Questions and Answers

Q: Is Ketosis is the same as a Low Carb Diet?

A: Yes and no. Entering ketosis requires a person to limit their carbohydrate intake, but the definition of low carb varies from diet to diet. In fact, some variations of ketogenic diets that carry the name keto don’t adhere to the strict carb reduction necessary to achieve ketosis, which can easily confuse people. Vegan and vegetarian keto diets are great examples; due to their higher protein needs and the plant based protein sources reaching true ketosis is near impossible.

Q: How Many Carbohydrates to Maintain Ketosis?

A: To maintain ketosis, the body should consume no more than 50 net carbohydrates a day. Other programs suggest 20-25g. However, some people can maintain with more while others will require less. Ketosis is more of a science than a diet. Each body is a laboratory. When a scientific study occurs, the lab setting can alter the results. The same applies to ketosis.

Q: What is a Net Carbohydrate?

A: When researching labels, people will see carbohydrates and fiber listed. A net carb subtracts the fiber grams from the total carbohydrate count. If a pizza has 20g carbohydrates per serving and 7g fiber, the net carb count would be 13g.

Q: How Long Before the Body Enters Ketosis?

A: Most people will enter ketosis after three of four days. Others might take longer or less time. Much depends on if a person consumes hidden carbohydrates, which commonly occurs in the beginning. Keep in mind that no one can snap their fingers and find themselves in ketosis. It requires hard work and staunch dedication to achieve and maintain ketosis.

Q: Who Should Avoid Ketosis?

A: Children, anyone with a history of kidney disease or complications, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, and anyone without a gallbladder shouldn’t attempt ketosis without the guidance of a doctor.

Q: Are Calories and Fat Counted in Ketosis?

A: Maintaining a food diary is a good practice no matter the diet or lifestyle. It allows people to see where they’ve gone wrong and make adjustments. Ketosis diets focus on macronutrient (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) ratios, so yes, to ensure macros are met, people count their fat. Some count calories, but mostly those also looking to lose weight.

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