Ketosis has become a popular topic of discussion nowadays. People are curious about it to lose weight and improve health. Before we jump into the ‘more or less’ debate, let’s first understand what ketones are.
What are Ketones?
Ketones, also known as ketone bodies, are water-soluble molecules produced in our liver from fat when the body runs out of carbohydrates to use for energy. They are a natural byproduct of fat metabolism and are used as an alternative fuel source for the body and the brain. There are three types of ketones – acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body uses ketones as an alternative fuel source instead of glucose. This happens when the body’s carbohydrate intake is restricted, and it starts to break down stored fat for energy. Ketosis is a natural process that occurs during fasting, low-carb diets, and prolonged exercise.
Do You Want More Ketones?
The answer to this question depends on the purpose of achieving ketosis. If you are following a ketogenic diet for weight loss, then yes, you want more ketones. In this case, a state of higher ketosis is desirable as it indicates that your body is burning stored fat for energy instead of glucose.
How to Increase Ketones?
1. Follow a Strict Ketogenic Diet
A strict ketogenic diet contains 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates. Such a diet reduces the body’s glucose levels, and the liver starts producing ketones for energy. The stricter the diet, the higher the ketone levels.
2. Incorporate Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a way of cycling between periods of eating and fasting. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and increase ketone production. Intermittent fasting can range from 16 hours of fasting to 24 hours of fasting.
3. Consume Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
MCTs are medium length fatty acids that are rapidly absorbed by the liver and converted to ketones. Adding MCT oil or powder to your diet can increase ketone levels.
Do You Want Less Ketones?
If you have Type 1 diabetes, then a high level of ketones is dangerous and life-threatening. In this case, you want less ketones. High levels of ketones can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, which can cause coma or death. If you have any concerns or experience symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
How to Decrease Ketones?
1. Increase Carbohydrate Intake
If ketone levels are too high, increasing carbohydrate intake can help the body decrease ketone production. However, this is not recommended if you are following a ketogenic diet for weight loss.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water can help flush out excess ketones from the body.
3. Monitor Blood Glucose Levels
If you have Type 1 diabetes, monitor your blood glucose levels regularly to avoid diabetic ketoacidosis. If your blood glucose levels are high, it could indicate a potential problem with your insulin or medication.
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that occurs when the body does not have enough glucose for energy. Whether you want more or less ketones depends on your individual situation. If you are following a ketogenic diet for weight loss, then higher ketone levels are desirable. However, if you have Type 1 diabetes or experience symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. It is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new diet or exercise regimen.
- Can I achieve ketosis without following a ketogenic diet?
- Is being in ketosis safe?
- Can I lose weight without being in ketosis?
- What are the common symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis?
- Can I eat as much fat as I want on a ketogenic diet?
Yes, you can achieve ketosis through intermittent fasting or a low-carb diet. However, following a strict ketogenic diet is the most effective way to achieve high ketone levels.
Being in ketosis is safe for most people. However, if you have any health conditions, talk to your healthcare provider before following a ketogenic diet.
Yes, you can lose weight without being in ketosis. However, being in ketosis can help reduce appetite and increase fat burning, making weight loss easier and faster.
The common symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis are frequent urination, thirst, fatigue, dry or flushed skin, rapid breathing, fruity-scented breath, confusion, and abdominal pain.
No, it is essential to maintain a daily caloric deficit to lose weight. An excess of calories from fat can lead to weight gain.
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- Cox, P. J., Kirk, T., Ashmore, T., Willerton, K., Evans, R., Smith, A., … & Clarke, K. (2016). Nutritional ketosis alters fuel preference and thereby endurance performance in athletes. Cell metabolism, 24(2), 256-268.
- Nair, S., & Diehl, A. M. (2008). Uncovering the endocrine role of the liver in metabolism. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 5(8), 430-442.