What is ketosis? The body always seeks out glucose (and its stored form, glycogen) for fuel. Limiting carbohydrates mean limiting the body’s favorite fuel — and so it must adapt.
The alternative solution is to burn stored fat instead. The metabolic shift from burning glucose to fat produces ketones. Ketones are important because while the body is burning fat for energy, the brain doesn’t have the ability to do this. Instead, the brain will fuel on ketones produced by the liver instead. Once the body fuels on fat and the brain fuels on ketones, you are in ketosis.
What is the ketogenic diet? The keto diet is one in which you drain your liver glycogen stores and force the body to find that alternative fuel. In addition to limiting carbohydrates to achieve this, protein content may also need to be reduced. That’s because protein actually has a small insulin-stimulating effect, which suppresses ketone creation.
I would say this is a good overview. Some of it is a little off the mark and Kristin Kirkpatrick doesn’t cover the part about how your body can make it’s own glucose through gluconeogenesis.
Gluconeogenesis – 24 hours to 2 days – The liver manufactures new glucose from amino acids in a process called “gluconeogenesis”. Literally, this is translated as “making new glucose”. In non-diabetic persons, glucose levels fall but stay within the normal range.
It’s a good introduction to keto and low carb lifestyles. I would suggest picking up some books though if you really want the details on a lifestyle that can have enormous health benefits for almost everyone.
Keto Breath is something I’ve never experienced (at least no one has told me that I offend). But I know many people do have problems with it especially when starting down the path of low carb and and the ketogenic diet. There is a product called Smart Mouth that may be able to help (not a sponsored post).
Elevated ketones — specifically, acetone — is the reason people following a ketogenic diet often experience bad breath. Acetone exits the body in two ways, urine and breath, and when the body achieves ketosis, it’s common to notice a change to the breath that’s different than ordinary bad breath. It may have a metallic taste as well as a fruity or otherwise strong, unpleasant odor; some describe it as being similar to nail polish remover, which makes sense given that acetone is one of the main ingredients in it.
Keto breath affects about 30 percent of people on the ketogenic diet according to one study, and is often noticed within a few days or maybe a week of starting your keto journey. While bad breath is never exactly welcome, there’s good news: Keto breath indicates you’ve entered ketosis — although, since not everyone experiences it, don’t rely on that as your only indication.
One could kill you and the other is the ideal metabolic state. That’s the long and short of it. Ketoacidosis, without treatment, can kill you while being in ketosis means that your body will turn to burning fat for fuel versus glucose in your blood.
If you’re new to the world of the ketogenic diet, you’ve probably heard the word ketosis thrown around, but might be unsure of what it actually what it means. You might’ve also heard of ketoacidosis – yes, it sounds similar, these are two very different things. While one is related to a trendy weight-loss method, the other is potentially fatal.
So now the Keto Diet has reached cult status! Why does everyone have to do this? If people want to eat this way and it’s working for them then leave them alone.
While some normal people might use keto judiciously to shed a few pounds fast, it also has a host of weirdly tribal followers. At the extreme end (#ketolife #yes2meat, #LCHF and the various keto and carnivore Reddit pages), it’s a magnet for angry, shirtless white men spouting ill-informed nutrition zealotry (I put it kindly).
Of course just because there are many nutters in the keto community doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid way of eating if it works for you and you take an informed opinion of the potential risks. But honestly? At the moment the hysteria isn’t supported by the evidence.
Personally, I’ve never experienced keto rash but I empathize with those that contract it. Rashes are never pleasant. The good news is that it supposedly is easily treated. The bad news is one of the treatments is to increase carbohydrates to move out of ketosis.
Keto rash is a rare form of dermatitis, or skin inflammation. It is an itchy and uncomfortable rash that develops on the upper body. A ketogenic diet is one possible cause of a keto rash. This diet is growing in popularity because ketosis offers a range of potential health benefits, including promoting weight loss.
As I’ve said before, I’ve been living the Intermittent Fasting and Keto Friendly lifestyle for over 2 decades and fell into this lifestyle quite by accident. It’s only recently that I learned that it’s the latest diet craze (hopefully not a fad). As such, I have never measured my blood sugar or ketone levels (never knew ketones existed until several years ago). In the creation of this blog and my Instagram account I have run across people that are actively measuring their blood glucose and ketone levels to make sure they are in Ketosis. So, I became curious about my own levels.
I had a theory that I slip into ketosis rather easily after consuming loads of carbohydrates and that’s what has allowed me to maintain a stable weight without watching what I eat. Keep in mind that I do not have a sweet tooth so I don’t normally eat cookies, candies, chocolates, cakes, and other sweet desserts. It’s not that I don’t like them when I’m eating them it’s just that I never crave them. I think that is a major contributing factor as to why I go back into ketosis easily… or so I theorize.
I decided to put it to the test by buying a glucose and ketone meter and testing myself daily from July 15th through August 6th. That’s 3 weeks of daily testing. Before July 15th I consumed carbohydrates in the form of white bread and it set me up to start out of ketosis and I thought that would be a good baseline. At the end I also consumed a slightly elevated level of carbohydrates in just the food I ate. No bread or pasta or sweets but just an over abundance of carbs in regular food.
On August 6th I went to NYC to attend my granddaughter’s 1st birthday. I was gone for 2 weeks and decided to just eat anything and not monitor my glucose or ketone levels until I return. Upon my return I would resume my standard daily diet that is mostly low carb and begin testing again to see how quickly I could get back into ketosis. While in NYC I ate everything. I had rice, popcorn, potato chips, donuts, soft drinks, cake, tacos, etc. In other words I consumed food with little thought. I simply enjoyed myself and my granddaughter’s birthday.
The chart below shows my Glucose Ketone Index (GKI), which is better explained here on keto-mojo.com. It starts on July 15th where I’m out of ketosis right after the weekend where I consumed bread. Then it shows my GKI throughout the rest of July and how quickly I went back into ketosis and stayed there until I left for NYC.
When I returned on August 19th I tested myself that evening after arriving home. I drove from NYC to Chicago and did not eat anything on the drive and only consumed black coffee. Obviously I was out of ketosis, as the ketones were too low to measure, but my blood sugar level was below 84 mg/dl so I think that shows I was already starting to turn the corner towards ketosis just by not eating anything all day long. For good measure, in the evening on the 19th, I had a couple slices of Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza and a salad as my only meal that day. I figured that would ensure my test was valid and keep me out of ketosis for at least the next day.
Yesterday, on August 20th, I tested my blood as normal in the middle of the day and my GKI was 16.48. Still out of ketosis. But, ketones in my blood had returned. The test showed 0.3 mmol/L and my glucose was 89 mg/dl. I resumed my normal eating patterns. I had my one meal, which was a decent sized salad with one hard boiled egg and half the chicken breast from a Costco rotisserie chicken, and a snack later that night of some salami slices, provolone cheese cubes, roasted almonds, and roasted peanuts.
Today, August 21st at around 1pm, I tested my levels and bam! Just as I theorized. I’m back in a moderate level of ketosis with a GKI of 4.03. My ketone level returned to 1.2 mmol/L and glucose remains below 90 at 87 mg/dl.
This confirms, in my mind, that because I’ve been living this way for so long that I’m well adapted to burn fat. That has allowed me to do things like eat the occasional carb meal or snack and then return to fat burning to get rid of what I just ate. It’s kept my weight stable for a long long time. Who knows how this applies to other people. Everyone has a different body chemistry and different metabolism.
Hopefully this post and experiment on myself helps someone to stay on the low-carb path so they can get to the weight they desire. Let me know if you have any questions I can answer!
I really don’t have much to say on this. What can I say?
We’ve all been there: a not-so-good odor coming from “down there.” And the truth is, vaginal odor can happen for a variety of reasons—from yeast infections to STDs—but lately, reports are coming in from keto dieters that they are experiencing a particularly unpleasant vaginal odor after being on the popular ketogenic diet. It’s been dubbed “keto crotch.”
My personal experience says that this type of lifestyle works. Limiting carbohydrates and not eating so much will keep your weight stable and keep you in a good position to be as healthy as you can be.
Denying yourself, however, is never a good thing. While I do live my life naturally eating fewer carbs I don’t totally abstain from them. I don’t want to. I’ll eat popcorn and drink a bottle of pop. I’ll have a slice of cake and eat a baguette. I just don’t do it every day and I don’t eat much every day.
Beyond all the hype, the chance that keto — a minimalist variation on the diet promoted by cardiologist Robert Atkins — can solve the obesity crisis is vanishingly slim. On average, low-carb diets look a lot like others when it comes to long-term weight loss: Most people can’t stick to them. There’s tremendous variation in how humans respond to nutritional and dietary tweaks, and let’s not forget that the promises keto boosters now make are reminiscent of the overhyped claims that fueled the recent gluten-free craze. But how do you explain results like Wortman’s? He expected that avoiding carbs would help manage his blood sugar in the very short term, not that his other diabetes-related symptoms — thirstiness, frequent urination, and blurred vision — would vanish. And he definitely didn’t anticipate that the diet would allow him to control the disease long-term, without any medication.
I’ve never tried any supplements of any kind because I’ve always found them unnecessary… for me. I can understand why some people might want to or might need to take supplements to get the results they want. It’s just never been something I’ve needed to explore.
Part of the reason I don’t need them is I find because I’ve been living this way for so long that I can get back into ketosis within a day even after I’ve consumed a lot of carbs over the course of a few days. My normal way of eating is what’s considered Intermittent Fasting so I believe once the glucose in my system has been used up my body goes straight back into ketosis and I can start buring any fat that may have accumulated.
There is still some good information here if you’re considering supplements.
The keto diet, which restricts carbohydrates and trains the body to burn fat as fuel instead, has gained attention for potential benefits like weight loss, increased focus and energy, and even as treatment to certain illnesses. And while the diet remains controversial among health professionals, marketers are eagerly stepping up to cash in on the interest with supplements billed to fill gaps in the diet and help dieters “get into ketosis,” or when the body is forced to switch its energy source from carbs to fat. Read more: The popular keto diet can help you shed weight, but it comes with some serious side effects INSIDER talked to a nutritionist and a keto follower to learn which products may be helpful for some people, which are simply expensive and unnecessary, and which may actually set people back in their goals.
I don’t think I ever experienced any of the so-called negative side effects of going into ketosis. Maybe it’s because my conversion to living this way was more gradual over the course of years. I wish I knew what I was doing a couple decades ago. Then I could have measured it all and had some concrete ideas. But, it just happened naturally for me.
Making the transition into ketosis can be daunting. During the first few days with limited carbs, keto dieters often report experiencing the “keto flu”: fatigue, muscle weakness, insomnia, and digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, dehydration, and brain fog. Another side effect can be bad breath, resulting from elevated ketone levels. Acetone, a ketone excreted from the body in your breath and urine, gives breath a slightly sweet smell. “If you can survive the one week of feeling lousy, most people who get through that don’t look back.” “If you can survive the one week of feeling lousy, most people who get through that don’t look back,” Dr. Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and founder of Keyto, a company manufacturing breathalyzers to monitor ketone levels, tells Inverse.