What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is the survival state your body enters when deprived of glucose for energy. The body relies on storing fats instead, and acids called ketones build up from the fats in the liver. You can force your body into this state by lowering your carbohydrate intake. This is called the ketogenic (low carb-high fat) diet. The purpose is to burn fat by using fat for energy instead of carbs. Furthermore, ketosis commonly appears in diabetics if they are not taking or producing enough insulin.
Carbohydrate create glucose, which is normally the body’s main source of energy. Foods that contain carbs are sugary and starchy in nature. Bread, pasta, fruit, potatoes, quinoa, and soda are all high in carbs. Your body breaks glucose down into sugar, which is either stored in your muscles or used for fuel.
How Do You Know if You’re in Ketosis?
When the body is running low on carbs to use for energy, it will begin to break down stored fats into fuel from triglycerides. This process produces a by-product, ketones. Ketones can be detected in the blood, and they leave the body through urine. There are ketone urine testing strips if you want to see if your body is burning fat opposed to carbs. However, being dehydrated can result in testing for a higher level of ketones than are actually in your blood. The alternative is also true; drinking too much water can cause the test to show lower levels of ketones. There are more accurate blood tests, but they are more expensive and require you to prick your finger. People that are in ketosis have also reported a change in their breath. “Fruity” and “Metallic” scents have been reported. When the ketone levels in the blood are abnormally high, the body can develop a condition called ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis essentially poisons the body. This is not a desirable state to be in, and it is dangerous. Ketoacidosis can develop extremely quickly, sometimes even within 24 hours. When an illness causes the body to work against its natural insulin, ketoacidosis can occur. It can also be brought on by stress, physical or emotional trauma, and drug abuse. People with type 1 diabetes are at high risk for developing ketoacidosis because of their lack of insulin.
- nausea and vomiting
- shortness of breath
- excessive thirst or dry mouth
- abdominal pain
- flushed skin
- fruity breath
- frequent urination
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