Most diets designed to help people lose weight are based on scientific research and data. One clear example is a ketogenic diet, which is based on the principle of ketosis. The term ‘ketosis’ is usually associated with managing the symptoms of diabetes or with helping overweight individuals succeed in losing weight, but with much controversy surrounding this type of diet, is ketosis really good for you?
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic process that usually occurs in our bodies. When there are not enough carbohydrates in your body to burn, your cells will burn fat instead. This metabolic process is responsible for producing ketones. For a healthy person who is eating a balanced diet, the body can control the amount of fat burned, which means there is no need for your body to produce or use ketones.
In a ketogenic diet where a person usually cuts carbohydrate intake drastically, the body will automatically switch to ketosis to produce energy. The same happens when a person exercises for prolonged periods, or when a woman is pregnant. When ketones build up in the body, it can reach dangerous levels which may impact blood chemical balance or cause dehydration.
Low-carb diets: are they safe?
For many years now, the ketogenic diet has become quite popular because of its effectiveness in helping people lose a lot of weight. The principle of a ketogenic diet is to substitute carbohydrates with fat and protein so that the body is trained to burn fat for energy. A ketogenic diet is also quite useful in maintaining muscle mass as well as reducing the feeling of starvation while on a diet.
Some medical professionals put epileptic patients on a ketogenic diet to help reduce the occurrence of seizures and there is also some research conducted which suggest that a ketogenic diet may help lower a person’s risk of getting heart disease. Researchers are also currently studying if a low-carb diet will help with cancer, Parkinson’s, and PCOS.
Testing your body for ketones
If you are interested to know how much ketones or ketosis is going on in your body, you can have a test done to check your blood or urine for ketones. There are test kits available in drugstores. It is essential for diabetic patients to regularly test for ketones because high levels will be dangerous.
What happens when there are too many ketones on your body?
When ketosis goes too far, ketones building up in your blood will become acidic. Extreme ketosis is also known as ketoacidosis which may lead to coma or worse, death. This is what happens to a diabetic patient who lacks insulin. But ketoacidosis is not limited to persons with diabetes. It can also occur when a person is an alcoholic, starves, or has an overactive thyroid. In any case, if you are on a healthy ketogenic or low-carb diet, you need not be concerned about extreme ketosis. Nevertheless, contact your doctor right away if you experience any unusual symptoms such as difficulty breathing, tiredness or vomiting.