Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses fat, rather than sugar, for energy. Your body shifts into ketosis when your blood sugar is low, and the glycogen in your muscles has been depleted. Typically, this happens when you eat a low carb diet or fast from food altogether for a prolonged period. Ketosis is usually heralded as a fast and effective way to lose body fat. Research suggests that ketosis may positively affect health in other ways, as well.
How Does Ketosis Work?
Normally, your body is powered by sugar from carbohydrates, a macronutrient. However, if you drastically limit your intake of carbs, your body will tap into its sugar reserves, called glycogen. Once those are used up, a process that takes about three days, your liver begins to metabolize fat. This process is known as ketogenesis, and it produces ketones. Ketones are byproducts of fat metabolism that your body can use as an alternative form of energy. One technical side note—some components of your body require a very small amount of sugar, but your body can produce that small amount of sugar by itself in a process called gluconeogenesis.
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For your body to shift into ketosis, you must consume almost no carbohydrates. There are a couple of ways to limit your carb intake. One is through various types of fasting; another is by following a ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet is high in fat (70-80% of your daily calorie intake), low in protein (15-20%), and very low in carbohydrates (5-10% with no more than 20-30 grams of carbs per day). There are different variations of the ketogenic diet, but, in general, it consists of low carb vegetables like leafy greens (not starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn) and healthy sources of fat and protein like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil. Depending on preference and dietary restrictions, some people consume eggs, meat, and fish.
How to Tell If You’re in Ketosis
The Keto Diet: The Com... Best Price: $15.34 Buy New $18.92 (as of 11:05 EDT - Details) A few telltale signs that your body is in ketosis include a rebound in energy and a lack of appetite. If you need a more definite answer, there are a couple of ways to determine if your body is in ketosis and to what degree. Urine test strips are the most common. They’re widely available and are color-coded to measure the presence of ketones in urine. Tests have also been developed to detect ketosis through exhaled breath.
Health Benefits of Ketosis and the Ketogenic Diet
There are many health benefits of following a ketogenic diet. Putting your body into a state of ketosis may help with neurological disorders and sensory disturbances, abnormal cell development, and even recovery from spinal cord injury. Most often, though, ketosis is praised for its beneficial effects on weight loss, blood sugar, and overall well-being.