When people use weight loss diet plans such as the ketogenic diets which promote the consumption of “high-fat” or “high-protein” foods while significantly reducing the amount of consumed carbohydrate, their bodies tend to produce abnormal amounts of ketone bodies.
Using Low Carb Diets For Weight Loss
Ketogenic diets like the popular Atkins Diet, believe that carbohydrates are the major cause of weight gain and thus are designed to restrict the amount of carbohydrate consumed in their diets. Using this underlying principle, ketogenic diets have been shown to actually achieve two very important weight loss goals which are: (a) they lead to reduced insulin production due to the resultant low blood sugar levels; and (b) they practically force the body to start breaking down its stored fat for energy. The combination of these two factors makes ketogenic diets very effective in causing rapid weight loss.
Carbohydrates are generally digested to yield glucose, which is considered to be the preferred energy source for body cells. Despite the fact that the body can break down muscle and fat cells to provide energy, it prefers to get it from low-glycemic index carbohydrate-containing foods. However, after certain hours of acute glucose deprivation as is generally induced by ketogenic diets by forcing the body to exhaust its glucose supply, the body finally has no other option but to turn to burning its stored body fat as its primary source of energy.
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Body Increases The Rate Of The Normal Process
At this stage the body essentially increases the rate of the normal process of lipolysis (fat burning) in order to meet up with its energy demands and this consequently forces the body into the secondary phase of lipolysis called ketosis. Ketosis is a state or condition in which the rate of formation of ketones, a by-product of the breakdown of “fat” into “fatty acids” by the liver, is greater than the ability of tissues to oxidize them.
Ketones are therefore acidic compounds produced from the incomplete breakdown of “fats” into “fatty acids” and “ketones” by the liver when there is insufficient carbohydrate intake. Under normal circumstances, ketone bodies are quickly oxidized to water and carbon dioxide. However, the state of ketosis causes an increased accumulation of ketone bodies in the bloodstream as well as in the urine as the body tries to excrete the excess amount from the bloodstream. The increased build up of ketones in the state of ketosis raises the body’s acidity levels forcing the body to attempt normalizing this by using up more water reserves from body cells to flush out the accumulated ketones.
Disconcerting Information About Of Ketones
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of disconcerting information about the state of the elevated buildup of ketones in the body. Therefore, it becomes important to note that apart from ketosis, another condition called ketoacidosis can also cause an increased production and accumulation of ketones in the bloodstream. Ketoacidosis (a.k.a. Diabetic Ketoacidosis – DKA) is a serious health condition of accumulated ketone bodies in the bloodstream in Type 1 diabetic persons which results from their inability to produce sufficient insulin and a counteracting increase in counter-regulatory hormones.
Insulin deficiency in a diabetic person leads to hyperglycemia (abnormal rise in blood sugar level). In hyperglycemia, there may be as much as four times the normal amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Normally, when there is an elevated increase in blood sugar levels, the excess is removed from the blood by the kidneys and excreted in the urine.
Hyperglycemia by itself is not lethal but the side effects can be life threatening. It generally leads to glycosuria (glucose in the urine), increased urination, and dehydration. However, it should be noted that the secretion of glucose in the urine is not necessarily an indication of diabetes as it may also appear in normal individuals immediately following a large meal.
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The continued excretion of glucose from the urine and the dehydration make the body to become starved of energy. To control and reduce the increased blood sugar level, the body may continue excreting glucose in the urine causing an even worse condition, Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia State (HHS), which has a mortality rate of about 15 percent in persons with this condition.
Conversely, the body may begin to break down triglycerides (stored body fat) which cause the release of ketones (the by-products of fat breakdown by the liver) into the urine and bloodstream. This is condition results in an increased accumulation of ketones in the bloodstream and is what is known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis – DKA. What actually makes ketoacidosis particular different from ketosis is that while there is an elevated amount of accumulated ketones in both conditions, the former interrelated increase in blood sugar levels. This condition poses a serious health risk in Type 1 diabetic patients and the most frequent cause of mortality.
As a note of caution, dieters using a ketogenic diet must ensure that they drink a lot of water due to the increased acidity level of the body. This helps to flush out the accumulated ketones and also to keep the body well hydrated.
Conclusively, while ketosis is caused by low blood sugar levels, ketoacidosis is however caused by increased blood sugar level. Obviously while ketone accumulation in the bloodstream and urine is present in both conditions, their causes are however poles apart. Only Type 1 diabetics need worry about ketoacidosis.