Saturday, November 30, 2013

What is Ketosis?

Just doing a quick internet search of What is Ketosis? This is the first thing that came up on google. 
noun: ketosis
  1. 1.
    a condition characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body, associated with abnormal fat metabolism and diabetes mellitus.
Now I must say I think this is entirely inaccurate. First of all, why is this being characterized as abnormal? Fat metabolism is a normal body process. I found this information on

Question: What is Ketosis?
Answer: A lot of people are confused by the term "ketosis." You may read that it is a "dangerous state" for the body, and it does sound abnormal to be "in ketosis." But ketosis merely means that our bodies are using fat for energy. Ketones (also called ketone bodies) are molecules generated during fat metabolism, whether from the fat in the guacamole you just ate or fat you were carrying around your middle. When our bodies are breaking down fat for energy, most of the it gets converted more or less directly to ATP. (Remember high school biology? This is the "energy molecule.") But ketones are also produced as part of the process.

When the body breaks down fat ketones are produced. This is not ketoacidosis, which is a dangerous accumulation of ketones that happens in a diabetic person. 
When I worked at The Children's Hospital, I worked with the Ketogenic diet. This diet was for epilepsy patients and the purpose was to reduce their seizures. To be in ketosis, the patients consumed adequate protein and then fat and carbohydrates in a 4:1 ratio. They were not on this to lose weight, so their calorie level was adequate to allow them to grow normally. 
This made me interested into looking into more about ketosis and any other possible benefits or risks. 
Here is a link to an interesting article about the ketogenic diet that explains conflicting studies performed on it.
I bring up the ketogenic diet, because when I was exploring the literature on intermittent fasting, I came across fat fasting. This is in the Atkins diet as a last resort for people who seem so resistant to fat loss as a way to put them into ketosis. The Atkins diet recommends eating cream cheese (1000 calories) through out the day in order to put the body into ketosis. (you can read about this here
This is mentioned in quite a few Paleo blogs I have come across as well. I have tried it a few times, never for more than a day, and I have to say that it did work. I lost weight that I did not gain back. I don't do this for fast weight loss because I don't like it. It's really hard. However, I think you can get into ketosis without fat fasting. Most sources I have come across say keep carbs under 20 grams a day.
What I have realized  really works for me is the Paleo diet, and staying away from high carbohydrate Paleo foods (honey, dates, almond flour, sweet potatoes) so that weight loss can be achieved. I don't know what my carb total is for the day but eating salads and vegetables and no grains, I assume it is pretty low.  Eating this way makes me feel better and more normal, not like someone on a diet. I think that feeling like I'm on a diet, makes me treat my eating habits as something temporary. As soon as this diet is over, I can have junk food again :( That makes me give up. With the Paleo diet I have eggs and fruit for breakfast, chicken and salad for lunch, lamb chops and asparagus for dinner and I lose weight. 
I think it's about finding what works for you. That means what allows you to stick with it and not give up. It's taken me about 2 years of research to commit to the Paleo diet, but once I did, I saw that it worked and it made me feel better and I'm not a slave of sugar anymore.

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