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-Ketosis is when your body turns to fat rather than carbohydrates for energy. Ketosis can occur during fasting, when you reduce the amount of carbs or calories in your diet, during pregnancy or after exercising for a long period of time. Many diets use ketosis as the means of burning fat while maintaining muscle – examples include the Atkins diet and other low-carb diets. This strategy can also lead to decreased hunger. How long does it take to kick your body into fat burning, ketosis mode? Roughly 3-4 days of consuming less than 50 carbs per day, the equivalent of 2 bananas. Benefits include weight loss, seizure prevention, cardiovascular health and type-2 diabetes help, to name a few.
How does it Work? When glucose is in short supply, your liver will break down fats into ketones, which are then used throughout your body for energy. Muscles and other tissues in your body use ketones rather than glucose for energy metabolism. In a healthy person, the production of ketones for energy is the body’s natural response to starvation, so this happens when dieting, overnight and during fasting.
Glucose or Ketones: Which is More Effective? Many brain diseases, such as epilepsy, are already being treated by the ketogenic diet. The mechanisms to why it helps the brain are still being studied, but there are some possible reasons that ketones seem to be a good energy source for the brain. One major Ketone, beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB, provides more energy per unit of oxygen than glucose, and thus may be even more efficient than glucose at providing energy to the brain. (3)
-The ketogenic diet has also been found to increase the number of mitochondria in brain cells. In a 2004 study on rats, one group was fed a ketogenic diet while the other was fed a normal diet. A positive impact was found on the gene expression for mitochondrial enzymes in the hippocampus, the memory and learning center of the brain. (4)
Ketosis and Body Water Composition: High fat and low carb diets are known to lead to fast weight loss. The fast weight loss is due to water weight being shed (5)
-When you decrease carbs, you decrease water storage in the body.
Who Can Benefit From Ketosis? If you are looking to shed some body fat, ketosis may be a good tool. This can go along with an exercise regimen as you maintain muscle while losing fat. Ketosis can also benefit those who need to boost brain power as energy may be utilized more effectively in the brain.
*Be careful because those with diabetes can get too high of a level of ketones in their blood, which is very dangerous. This occurs due to the low levels of insulin in the blood, which will signal the body to produce excess ketones that will build up in the blood, making the blood pH too low.
1. What is Ketosis?
2. Diabetes Education Online
3. The fat-fueled brain: unnatural or advantageous?
4. A cDNA microarray analysis of gene expression profiles in rat hippocampus following a ketogenic diet
5. Composition of Weight Loss During Short Term Weight Reduction