Ketosis, is it safe?

Many people (medical professionals included) have a wrong idea about “ketosis”. They confuse this with the pathological condition of “ketoacidosis”, which can be a life-threatening condition. Ketosis just refers to the state of metabolism the body is in when it is using fat for the primary energy source, this is how our ancestors survived during times of famine (we live off our fat reserves). It is perfectly normal and healthy.

We all do a little “ketosis” every night when we sleep. As we fast during the night, blood sugar drops. To maintain proper glucose homeostasis, the body does a couple of things:

  • The liver can release some glycogen which is converted to glucose
  • Some muscle can be catabolized, and glucose can be produced via gluconeogenesis
  • Fat cells can release some of their contents (triglycerides) and these can be metabolized in the liver to ketonic bodies (a high energy fuel source) and glucose.

We simply, through the diet, keep the dieter in the state where the body is using its stored energy (fat) for the primary fuel source. We give the MINIMUM adequate amount of high-quality protein only to spare the muscle (remember the body can break down muscle to get glucose and this is what happens in many other diets and is the main reason why deters typically yo-yo. When you lose muscle, your metabolism slows, and you are more likely to regain your weight.