The keto diet strategy is based on one key fact: the body will absorb a large amount of acetoacetate, acetone, β-hydroxybutyrate, and other ketones from a fat-rich diet. Our body will use such ketones as fuel.
Usually, the most critical component of our food is carbohydrates. Such carbs, in effect, break down into glucose, which is the primary source of energy for most cells in our body. But it happens that increased blood glucose levels also increase blood insulin levels, which can cause diabetes and weight gain.
The ketogenic diet is, therefore, influential and has gained popularity over the years. Such a diet helps the body obtain energy from lipids (commonly referred to as fats) rather than carbohydrates. It can help to reduce weight quickly, and it has also been shown to alleviate diabetes.
What is ketosis?
Consuming a diet full of fats initiates a cycle in the human body called ketosis in biochemical terms. Ketosis is the natural metabolic state of the body in which the fats make up the most significant energy supply.
These fats are broken down into ketones. Ketone bodies are acetone, acetoacetate (AcAc) and 3-beta-hydroxybutyrate (3HB). Such acidic chemicals are effective generators of cell energy and power. This method of obtaining energy is unconventional since it varies from the usual use of carbohydrates for energy.
A person can easily induce ketosis by eating a high-fat, low-carb diet (a norm of between 20 and 50 grams of carbohydrate per day). If we eat foods that have a minimum amount of carbs, the levels of sugar (and hence insulin) in the bloodstream go down, and the body starts burning fat and releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream.
Most of these fatty acids find their way to the liver, where they are oxidized and converted into ketones. Ketosis also happens on its own during fasting, malnutrition, childbirth, and childhood.
Apart from the rapid weight loss (as fat is burned), there are numerous benefits associated with the induction and maintenance of ketosis within the body. This led to a trend towards eating a ketogenic diet in the general population.
So, What are the qualities of ketosis?
- Contrarily to popular belief, ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy to brain cells.
- A ketogenic diet helps reduce seizures in epileptic patients, especially young children who do not respond to conventional treatment. The diet has clear benefits for epileptic children who are unable to get better with drug therapy.
- The ketogenic diet is also linked with the enhancement of cardiovascular function. Reducing the intake of carbs triggers ketosis, which reduces the risk of heart disease. HDL Cholesterol and atherosclerosis.
- Consumption of a fat-rich diet improves the condition of most diabetics, particularly those with type II diabetes. This increases insulin sensitivity and improves glycemic control. Evidence has even shown that taking the keto path when it comes to your dietary choices reduces your risk of diabetes, even if you don’t have it yet.
- Researchers have investigated the effects of the ketogenic diet on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients, and the findings are positive.
- The use of a ketogenic diet is also known to be a preventive alternative to cancer treatment. The theory that doctors say is that if one feeds on a lower amount of sugar, cancer cells can die and eventually fade away.
What are the symptoms of ketosis?
The ketogenic diet is a common and popular program for health enthusiasts. The main objective of the keto diet plan is to induce ketosis. But how can you be sure that you managed to cause ketosis after you started eating low-carb foods? Here’s how it is. Listed below are the signs that your body is in a ketosis state:
Rapid weight loss
The visible sign of ketosis is a rapid and significant decrease in body weight. When you’re on low carbs and total caloric intake is small, the body starts burning fat for energy. Yet you lose weight initially because the body releases the moisture inside the fat cells. As a result, the largest drop in body weight happens within the first few weeks of a keto diet. When you continue down this path, the weight loss is gradual and constant.
Thirst and dry mouth
One indication that your keto plan is working on is a rise in thirst.
You may feel more thirsty than usual as the water is released from your fat cells. People also complained about a dry mouth while on a keto diet. Dehydration may result from increased levels of ketones in the body.
Electrolyte imbalances may also occur at the same time, which may lead to complications.
In addition, dehydration can also cause an increased incidence of kidney stones. It has been shown in research conducted on athletes. While you’re on a keto diet, make sure you stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other beverages. It is also very important to contact your physician when signs of dehydration (persistent dark-colored urine and intense thirst) occur for a long time to come.
Muscle cramps and spasms
Muscle cramps are caused by electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. You feel a sudden, painful contraction and a hard lump of muscle tissue under your skin. This is most common in the thighs and can last for hours or days.
Electrolytes are responsible for the conduction of nerve impulses and the improper functioning of the skeletal muscles. If the ketogenic diet you adopt does not contain enough electrolytes (mainly sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium), the body can not conduct muscle activity efficiently.
You should take precautions and make sure that you get the required amount of electrolytes out of your ketogenic routine.
The most disturbing symptom of ketosis is bad breath, a complex scientific term for which halitosis is used. A lot of people who have achieved full ketosis report a bad breath as their ultimate sign.
The implication is that one of the ketones involved in ketosis has a fruity smell. The ketone is said to be acetone. It leaves the body through the urine and the oral respiratory tract (mouth). You may have bad breath most of the time after you wake up.
Having a foul smell coming from your mouth may have a negative effect on your social interactions. You can quickly solve this problem by chewing sugar-free gum and brushing your teeth multiple times during the day.
Elevated levels of ketones in the bloodstream
In contrast to ketones in your breath and urine, you would also have higher levels of ketones in your plasma. This correlates to the high-fat content of your diet which degrades to give ketones. The blood sugar levels are going down.
Fatigue and weakness
People who follow a keto plan report feeling extremely tired in the early days. This is called “keto flu” or “low carb flu.” This is because your body is still used to switch between carbs and fats.
Often, carbs tend to increase the level of energy. The fats do not provide the same burst of energy. But within weeks of your ketosis diet, you’d feel energized and revitalized instead of drained.
If you do not achieve rejuvenation within a month, it means that you are making a critical mistake in your diet plan.
Loss of appetite
Keto fans often report having a feeling of satiety despite eating low-calorie foods. This is due to the body’s use of fat stores to generate energy. Furthermore, the amount of Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) is dropping in the body. The person feels he’s complete because of the variations in his hunger hormones.
Some researchers also claim that ketones themselves inhibit the hunger-inducing functions of the brain. The bottom line is that if you find that your appetite is reduced despite having small portions of food, it is a clear sign that your body is in ketosis.
Increased brain function
Long-term followers of a keto diet report increased mental focus and cerebral function. This is because ketones are a powerful energy source for the brain cells and are even considered to be therapeutic for neurological illnesses such as Parkinson’s. Lower levels of blood glucose also reset your brain and reduce brain fog.
Who should not follow a keto diet?
If you have diabetes, be it type I or type II, you should consult your doctor before beginning a keto regimen. This diet may or may not be helpful to you, which is why you need medical supervision to experiment with it. If you’re diabetic, it’s not at all prudent to go keto.
However, if you don’t have a choice, it’s better to adopt a moderate keto diet rather than a rigid one. Always, make sure you check your blood sugar levels on a daily basis. In addition to blood glucose, you also need to keep an eye on the number of ketones in the bloodstream.
An increased number of ketones in the blood can contribute to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and may occur in rare cases. The acceptable blood ketone range is less than 0.6 mmol / L. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you track your ketone levels if your blood sugar reaches 240 mg / dL.
Patients of rare conditions such as muscular dystrophy
Many diseases may be exacerbated when you suddenly change the internal energy systems of the body. One such disease is muscular dystrophy and gallstones. If you have life-long medication for asthma or arthritis, keeping may further complicate and distress your internal systems.
Pregnant ladies especially those with gestational diabetes and nursing women
If you are a female you should not try to influence your metabolism towards ketosis. This is because, during gestation, the body’s bioenergetic system can spontaneously lead to ketosis. Therefore, better to avoid challenges by not following a keto diet.
Also considered to be inappropriate for nursing women or those suffering from gestational diabetes. It is not safe for a breast-feeding woman to switch to a keto diet, as it may affect the baby’s nutrition. It is advisable to drink enough water to prevent dehydration for good milk production.
People who suffer from an eating disorder
If you already have eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or pica, you can encounter additional problems by going keto. Eating disorders are abnormal eating habits that result from inherited factors or worries about body weight. These are serious mental disorders that must not be taken lightly. Therefore, consult your nutritionist before switching diets.