What is ketosis | What are ketones | What is a ketogenic diet | Is a ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss | Who should not try the ketogenic diet | Is a ketogenic diet safe for the long term.

The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, enough protein, and a low-fat diet. This diet forces your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates by shifting our metabolism to ketosis. 

This diet was popular in the 1920s and ’30s, it was developed to treat drug-resistant epilepsy. [1]

Although the ketogenic diet also is very effective in controlling diabetes and lowering, blood sugar levels, and reducing the weight.

Before knowing what is the ketogenic diet, you should know about ketosis and ketones after that you can understand better and easily what is the ketogenic diet?

What is ketosis?

what is ketosis. ketogenic diet

Ketosis is a natural metabolic state, in which the body uses ketones, produced by the burning of stored fat, as a primary energy source instead of glucose produced by the burning of carbs. [2] [3]

When there is not enough glucose, our body starts using an alternate source of energy. Our liver metabolizes fatty acids at a very high rate and converts them into ketones. And these ketones are released into the blood for use as energy. 

It takes typically 2-4 days to get into ketosis. Ketosis can also occur during fasting, pregnancy, and starvation. [4] [5] [6]

When you are in ketosis, it also shuts the hormone insulin. Insulin promotes the storage of fat. [7]

And the body starts burning stored fat readily.

Ketosis can occur only in the absence of glucose because our body prefers glucose as an energy source instead of ketones. 

Our body converts sugar into glucose or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. [8] [9

Ketones can only be formed when glycogen that converts into glucose, stores are emptied completely.

You will be in ketosis as long as there is a lack of glucose. [10] [11] [12] 

You will be out of ketosis whenever your body gets enough carbs. So make sure you always eat a diet that is high in fat and low in carbs.

Now I think you understood what is ketosis? For you to better understand, I will again define it in a line.

Ketosis is a process in which our body burns stored fat very effectively as a primary energy source instead of carbs.

If you are looking for ketosis and ketogenic, then chances are very high that you have been heard ketones or in the above paragraph. or where is ketosis, there are ketones too.

Before we jump to our question you should know what ketones?

What are ketones?

what are ketones

Ketones are acids, produced when our body burns for energy instead of carbs. 

Ketones can only produce when our body does not have enough glucose to produce energy then the body starts to burn stored fat as an alternate source of energy and byproducts ketone bodies produced. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17 

Two main ketones produced acetoacetate (AcAc) and 3-beta-hydroxybutyrate (3HB) while there is the third ketone called acetone which is least abundant. [18]

These ketones are always present in our blood, its level increases during fasting, starvation and during exercising for a long time. [19]

How are ketones produced?

  • Our body burns glucose and glycogen stores for energy.
  • When the body is on low carbs, then glucose and glycogen stores went out and our body starts to look for an alternate energy source of energy.
  • After that our body starts to burn stored fat and dietary fat for fuel
  • After the burning of fat ketones is produced.

How many ketones are normal in a ketogenic diet?

According to experts, if you are in ketogenic diet your blood ketones level should be between 0.5  mmol/L to 3.0 mmol/L. ketones level more than 3 mmol/L consider very high and need immediate medical treatment because there is the risk of developing ketoacidosis.

How to measure ketones level?

There are four 3 most common ways to measure ketones level

1. Breath testing

In this, you have to buy breath analyzer. These are easily available in the online store.

2. Urine ketone strips

In this, you gave to put drops of urine on strips and these are easy to use. just follow the instruction.

3. Blood ketone meter

This method is the most accurate and easy to use. It measures the ketone level in blood.

In simple words, ketones are similar to glucose, ketones produced after the burning of fat similar to glucose produced after the burning of carbs. Both are the source of energy for our body. 

Too many ketones in the blood can cause ketoacidosis similar to too much glucose level in our blood can cause diabetes.

Too many ketones in the blood can cause ketoacidosis similar to too much glucose level in our blood can cause diabetes.

This is the simplest way to understand what is ketones? Now you have an idea of what is ketones and how they are produced. 

Now it’s time to move on our major question what is the ketogenic diet. Believe me, if you have understood what is ketosis and ketones? The ketogenic diet will be very easy to understand.

What is a ketogenic diet?

what is a ketogenic diet,

A ketogenic diet is a very low carbs and high-fat diet. This diet forces your body to change its metabolic state to ketosis. [20]

When the body is in ketosis, our body burns fat more efficiently than ever. Stored fat turns into ketones in the liver and serves as an energy source to the whole body. [21]

In general, we can say that a ketogenic diet is a diet in which carb intake is replaced by fat intake.

How many carbs in a ketogenic diet?

Generally, you can eat 20g to 50g (5-10%) carbs in a ketogenic diet. But it depends upon the kind of diet you are following. In a Standard ketogenic diet, you can eat 50g (10%) carbs, in Cyclical ketogenic diet 50g (10%) carbs, in High-protein ketogenic diet 20g carbs, and in Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) also 50g but you can add additional 20g to 30g during an intense workout. Based on 2000 calories need a day.

How much protein in a ketogenic diet?

Generally, you can eat 50g-90g (10-20%) protein in the ketogenic diet. But if you are following a high protein ketogenic diet, you can eat up to 140g (35%) protein. This is calculated based on 2000 calories needs a day because according to USDA 1g of protein contains 4 calories.

Types of a ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is used to put the body into ketosis and it helps to stay in ketosis. There are several versions of the ketogenic diet. But these four are the most common.

  • The standard ketogenic diet (SKD) – is the most researched and most common diet. In this diet, you can eat 5% carbs, around 20% protein, and 75% fat.
  • The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) – is common among athletes, this diet is similar to SKT but this allows the individual to add additional carbs during an intensive workout.
  • The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) – involves a high carbs period during the period of the ketogenic diet. Generally, 5 days of a ketogenic diet are followed by 2 days of high carbs days.
  • The High-protein ketogenic diet (HPKD) – includes around 65% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs. 

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Is a ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss?

Yes, the ketogenic diet is very effective not only for weight loss but also for several diseases such as epilepsy, neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, etc.

But our main focus is on weight loss for which you are reading this article.

A ketogenic diet is also very effective for weight loss. [22]

 Although there is a need for more research to confirm the long term effectiveness of a ketogenic diet. 

Ketogenic diet effectively burns stored fat, which results in very fast weight loss.

But this diet is very difficult to follow for a long time. Because you to quit most of your favorite carbs and which is almost impossible to do for the rest of your life.

If you want to follow a ketogenic diet for weight loss, you can try other effective methods for weight loss without quitting your favorite carbs. But if you want to try something different you should try the ketogenic diet.

But you should know the ketogenic diet more effective for weight loss than a very low carbs diet. [23]

A ketogenic diet is very effective in losing weight in diabetic and no diabetic than a normal diet. [24]

But you will regain most of your lost weight after switching back to a normal diet.

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Is a ketogenic diet safe for the long term?

Yes, the ketogenic diet is safe for the long term. Although the studies are limited on a long term ketogenic diet. [25]

But it’s shown that found that a ketogenic diet is totally safe for the long term. 

Although there is some health on following a ketogenic diet for a long term such as nutrient deficiency, it can decrease the athlete’s performance, etc.

But if you are taking a supplement to maintain nutrient balance in your body. It will be fine.

Ketogenic can be effective in weight loss. It helps to lose weight very fast but this weight regain is also very fast. 

Research also shows that the ketogenic diet helps to improve blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. It also helps to reduce bad cholesterol and can prevent from a heart attack. Although there is no research analysis to confirm the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet in the long term.

But there is a strong recommendation that a ketogenic diet should be under the supervision of the medical supervisor if you are considering to follow a ketogenic diet for the long term.

Who should not try the ketogenic diet?

You should not try a ketogenic diet if you are at any stage of pregnancy, breastfeeding, anyone with an eating disorder or any other medical condition.

Keto genic diet is safe as we have discussed above, but you should always meet your doctor before starting the ketogenic diet if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, blood pressure problem, kidney problem.

This diet should be under the supervision of professional and your diet should be pre-design. So you can avoid any nutrient deficiency or any other side effects.


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