What is Ketosis?

Last Updated on July 2, 2022 by Cheryl Moreo

ketosis and the keto diet

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What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a process that happens when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes things called ketones, which it can use for fuel.


The body typically gets its fuel from dietary carbohydrates, including foods like rice, bread, pasta, other grains, and fruit, sugars, and vegetables.

When carbohydrates, specifically starches, and sugars, enter the body, they are broken down into glucose and used by the body for energy. The hormone insulin then steps in to remove glucose from the bloodstream, and the body either uses it for energy or stores any unused.

Any glucose not immediately used as fuel will be sent to the liver and muscles to be stored as glycogen as a fuel reserve. Any unused glycogen in the muscles, such as through exercise or energy expenditure, turns to stored body fat.

For people with carb sensitivity or insulin resistance, it’s a grim outlook that can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes…

High carb diet = high glucose in the blood = high insulin = high amounts of body fat.

Lipolysis And Ketosis

An alternative source of fuel for the body is its own body fat, this process is triggered when the intake of carbs is limited, and their sources controlled, the body enters a state called lipolysis, the most efficient biochemical pathway to weight loss and a scientifically proven alternative to the body using or needing glucose for energy.

Lipolysis occurs as the body begins to burn the body’s own fat stores for energy instead of dietary carbohydrates and the by-products of this fat-burning process are ketones. So ketosis is the secondary process of lipolysis.

When you eliminate carbs, the body is forced to use its fat stores instead, which literally turns into a fat-burning machine. Likewise, ketones are the byproducts of ketosis and provide fuel for the body.

The only true exception to the body not needing glucose for fuel is ketones. Ketosis not only provides adequate energy for the cells within the body, but it also fuels the brain and other organs just as glucose from carbs does BUT, unlike what may occur during the use of glucose, ketosis does not store fat and actually allows the body to burn stored fat for fuel.

This is the reason that low-carb diets are so popular and have allowed thousands of people to lose weight and keep it off.

Low Carb Diets

There are cases where doctors will medically induce ketosis to intervene for various conditions, like epilepsy and diabetes. This involves a patient being placed on a low carb diet, such as the Ketogenic diet, to increase fat and protein intake to provide fuel for energy while reducing card intake.

WebMD explains that ketosis usually kicks in when net carb consumption is less than 50 grams per day.

The ketogenic diet and the Atkins diet are two of the most popular strict carb intake plans.

One of the greatest benefits of low-carb diets and using fat for fuel is that this eating greatly regulates the appetite, so there is no starvation or out-of-control hunger, and erratic cravings become a thing of the past. One of the reasons for this is that carbohydrates trigger blood sugar spikes that can wreak havoc on hunger and cravings.

A study by the Academic Department of Surgery, Consultation, and Training Center at the Faculty of Medicine located at Kuwait University put it to the test. They took 83 obese patients (39 men, 44 women) and, over 24 weeks, studied the results of a low-carb diet.

The subjects were given carbohydrates in the form of green vegetables and salad. As a result, the subject’s glucose levels, cholesterol levels, weight, and BMI numbers all fell in the end.

Low Carb Wins Over Low Fat

The ketogenic diet has been around for decades, and while the medical community has long believed that a diet high in fats would cause weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease, many studies and randomized trials have shown low carb to actually be more effective in not only the amount of weight loss but in reducing markers and risk factors for heart disease.

Several experts now advise that the public should be more mindful of their carb intake versus their fat intake since obesity rates in United States’ adults have increased during the same time that fat intake was decreased and carb intake increased.

The Keto Flu

The keto flu is a term used to describe flu-like symptoms associated with beginning the very low-carb ketogenic diet. Some people may experience keto flu when they begin a low-carb diet. While not everyone will fall prey to it, you should be aware of the symptoms: sleepiness and fatigue, brain fog, nausea, headaches, and upset stomach.

It doesn’t last long, and to be honest, most changes in the diet result in similar side effects, so it is to be expected.

How to Ease the Keto Flu

When I started the Keto Zone lifestyle, I used Dr. Colbert’s Keto Zone Diet book as my guide. It was recommended by my medical practitioner. For four months, I was followed by my doctor. He advised that I should be using the MCT oil/powder recommended by Dr. Colbert.

I credit the above for my not getting any of the keto flu symptoms. Dr. Colbert’s book states, “Usually, by increasing fats, including MCT oil, and lowering carbs and sometimes proteins, the body surges ahead past the flu-like symptoms.”

If you do experience keto flu, these are some of the recommended aids:

  • If you are light-headed (brain fog), increase your sodium by consuming broth, electrolytes, or increase your sea salt (Himalayan Salt).
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  • Water. Your body needs hydration. Dr. Colbert recommends 1 to 2 quarts of water a day.

The symptoms will likely disappear within a few days, and you will be on your way to ketosis success.

Read My Other Articles on the Keto Lifestyle

Ketone Breath Meter

My Keto Story

Keto Recipes

Keto Disclaimer

As most of you know, I am on a Doctor-monitored Keto Zone diet to try and improve my cognitive function. Surprisingly, I have been able to stay on the diet. Even though weight loss was not my main goal, I have lost almost thirty pounds. I do have more energy and am thinking a little clearer.

The information we provide at CherylMoreo.com does not replace consultation with a qualified medical professional. By interacting with this site, you agree to our disclaimer. 


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