Ketosis is at the heart of the ketogenic diet, the ketogenic diet is based on ketosis. You hear it everywhere.
It is there, ubiquitous, on the Internet, in the media! But what is ketosis? How does it work; How do you know if you are ketosis or not?
This is what we will see in this article!
Ketosis is a metabolic condition characterized by an increase in the number of ketones in the body. The body’s energy sources are no longer derived from blood glucose, but from ketone bodies!
The body then burns fat for its energy, both dietary fat and body fat. That is why ketosis is used to lose weight, as part of the ketogenic diet.
So what is a ketone body?
When a person consumes less carbohydrates (for example, a ketogenic diet), the level of glucose in the blood decreases, which is self-evident.
Then insulin levels drop because insulin is the hormone that regulates blood glucose. The higher the glucose level, the higher the insulin and vice versa.
The drop in insulin will force the body to synthesize ketones and use them as a source of energy from the major organs, because there is no more glucose in the body.
This is called ketosis. Ketones are therefore a source of energy for the body.
Ketosis (ie the production of ketone bodies to provide energy to the body) will take place in two main parts of the body:
- In fat cells. Adipocytes (fat cells) each consist of a large drop of lipid (a fat reserve). When insulin is lowered, fat cells release fatty acids into the bloodstream, which are then taken up by the liver to produce ketones.
- The pancreas releases glucagon, a hormone that increases the concentration of glucose and fatty acids in the blood when insulin is very low.
- The liver then converts glycogen into glucose that is released into the blood.
Adipocytes are adipose tissue, which consists of white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue. It is made up of fat-saving cells.
White adipose tissue is the body’s main energy reserve, storing lipids and releasing them when needed. In their cytoplasm there is a large “drop” of lipids and the fat cells secrete leptin, the hormone that regulates satiety.
That’s why when you eat very few carbs, white fat fat cells secrete leptin, which will reduce your appetite faster and you will lose weight that way.
Brown adipose tissue is a heat reserve for the body.
Ketones are formed during ketogenesis when glycogen stores in the liver are empty.
Voluntary ketosis is also used as a medical intervention to treat various diseases such as epilepsy and certain types of diabetes.
There are two main sources of ketones:
- fatty acids in adipose tissue
- ketogenic amino acids
Most ketones are created during ketogenesis.
VS Ketosis: What are the differences?
Glycolysis and ketosis should not be confused.
During glycolysis, high levels of insulin cause the body to store fat and prevent the release of lipids from adipose tissue.
Increasing insulin feeds the cells with high blood sugar, passing from the blood to the cells. The remaining glucose is stored as fat.
While during ketosis, lipid stores are immediately released, consumed and burned by the body’s organs.
For this reason, ketosis is often seen as the body’s fat burning machine.
Ketosis VS Ketoacidosis: what differences (bis)?
You need to be careful to distinguish between ketosis and ketoacidosis. The difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis is the level of ketones in the blood.
Ketosis is an adaptation of the body to a low-carb environment, such as fasting or a ketogenic diet.
Ketoacidosis is a critical condition that requires serious medical intervention. Its most well-known form is diabetic ketoacidosis, where glucose and ketone levels rise sharply.
There are two main causes of ketoacidosis:
- Insulin deficiency in the case of diabetes (diabetic ketoacidosis)
- Excessive alcohol consumption causes complications in the liver and pancreas. (alcoholic ketoacidosis)
How do I know if I’m ketosis?
Recommended intake of a ketogenic diet is 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates. For a person with a daily intake of 2000 calories, this represents a maximum of 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
The average French person consumes between 150 and 200 grams of carbohydrates a day, which is 4 times more than the recommended amount.
However, if you have been on a ketogenic diet for some time, your body will allow you to relax.
Then you can get over 50 grams of carbs a day from time to time without greatly affecting your ketosis, as long as it doesn’t become the norm.
The body of a healthy person who eats a balanced ratio of nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) burns glucose for energy.
Glucose is found in foods rich in carbohydrates (bread, pasta, some fruits, seeds, soda, etc.).
These foods are used to provide energy to the body or to store energy in the form of glycogen in the muscles and liver.
When carbohydrates are reduced to a minimum, there is not enough glucose for the body. So he is looking for an alternative strategy to meet his energy needs and keep working well.
In healthy people, ketosis begins 3-4 days after consuming less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
But how do you know if you’re really ketosis? What are the signs that do not deceive?
1. The smell of your breath
Acetone is a by-product of ketones when fatty acids are used to produce energy in the liver and kidneys.
Releasing acetone will cause your breathing to change when you introduce ketosis.
It has a slightly fruity smell, similar to that of ripe apples.
If you experience this change in breathing in the first few days after changing your diet, it may mean that you are in ketosis.
2. Thirst more often and your mouth is dry
When a person goes on a ketogenic diet, their thirst usually increases.
As insulin levels drop after a ketogenic diet, the body begins to release excess sodium and water. So you need to drink more water and add salt to your dishes.
Also make sure you eat foods rich in electrolytes (potassium, calcium, chloride, magnesium, sodium) to compensate for the losses.
3. You have high levels of ketones in your urine
A more accurate way to find out if you are ketosis and use urine measuring tapes (such as those of the Ketostix brand).
These strips are inexpensive and allow you to quickly control your ketone levels.
If you are in ketosis, the film will change color.
You will also be given a color guide to find out your level of ketosis: a purple color means you have a lot of ketosis.
Keep in mind that the level of ketones in the urine does not always correspond to the level of clones in the blood. There are several reasons for this:
- The level of hydration can significantly affect the ketone levels in your urine. Dehydration can be false positive, while drinking water can be false negative.
Keep this in mind when conducting your tests and make sure you are usually hydrated so that you do not prejudge your tests.
4. You have high levels of ketones in your blood
A blood test is the most accurate way to find out if you are in a state of ketosis. The measurement of ketones in the blood is generally used for diabetics.
To measure your ketone levels, you need a blood ketone indicator and a kit that includes ketone test strips and a needle pen.
Ketone measuring tapes should not be confused with glucose measuring tapes.
The body is in ketosis when the ketone index in the blood shows a value between 0.5 mml / L and 3 mml / L (in milligrams per liter).
The best way to find out if you are ketosis is to measure your ketone levels in your blood using a meter.
The meter measures the level of ketones in your blood, calculating the amount of BHB in your blood, which is one of the main ketones.
5. You lose weight
The ketogenic diet, low in carbohydrates, is very effective in weight loss. The initial weight loss may occur in the first week.
While most of the time this weight loss is attributed to fat loss, it is actually a loss of water and carbohydrate consumption by the body looking for energy. .
6. Decreased appetite
Many people notice a decrease in their appetite by adopting the ketogenic diet from the first two weeks.
The main reason for this decrease is the increase in the level of the hormone that regulates satiety, leptin, as well as the decrease in the level of the hormone of hunger.
When carbohydrate intake is reduced, fat cells release lipids and hormones into the bloodstream. Among these hormones is leptin. (12).
Hunger is also reduced by high intake of protein and vegetables from the diet, which provides many nutrients and vitamins.
Ketones could also affect your brain to reduce your appetite.
7. You are more focused and have more energy
Some people complain of fatigue in the first few days after starting a ketogenic diet. This period is called “ketogenic flu” and lasts three to four days, it is common.
People on a long-term ketogenic diet are happier with more focus and more energy.
This “ketogenic flu” is caused by the fact that your body changes the fuel that produces energy, lipids instead of carbohydrates.
Thus, your body experiences a gradual stabilization of your blood sugar levels and can lead to migraines.
Ketones are able to produce much more energy per molecule than glucose.
Thus, ketones are a much more viable source of energy for the body and do not cause insulin spikes, unlike glucose.
You no longer eat so many carbs, so you have less of an effect on the roller coaster. And that’s great news for your brain!
8. You are often tired immediately after starting the diet
In the beginning, when you adopt the ketogenic diet, you may experience side effects such as fatigue and weakness. These are difficulties that some beginners face.
And often, these people stop eating before they reach full ketosis and reap all the benefits and many benefits.
These side effects are natural. Because your body is dependent on carbohydrates for the rest of its life, the change to a new lipid-based system must begin early. Like when you change the fuel in a car.
As you can imagine, this change is not happening at the same time
Generally, complete ketosis between 7 and 30 days after the start of the diet.
9. You notice a drop in your performance in the first few days
As mentioned earlier, carbohydrate removal can cause fatigue in the beginning. This fatigue includes an initial drop in athletic and mental performance.
This drop in performance is due to the reduction of glycogen stores in your muscles, which provides the main source of energy for any form of exercise.
After several weeks, many people report that their performance returns to normal.
In some very durable sports, a ketogenic diet can even be beneficial.
10. You have digestive problems.
A ketogenic diet changes the foods you are accustomed to eating.
When you start, it is not uncommon to experience digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea.
These problems will go away after the transition period, but it is important to know the foods that can cause these problems.
Also, make sure you eat lots of low-carb, high-fiber vegetables.
The most important thing is the difference in your dish. Consumption of a little variety of dishes increases the risk of gastrointestinal and digestive problems and leads to deficiencies.
One of the main problems that beginners face in the ketogenic diet is sleep.
Some people are insomniac for a few days at first, when they drastically reduce their carbohydrate intake.
Don’t worry, this is part of the so-called “ketogenic flu” phase, which gradually weakens.
People with sleep problems return to normal sleep by the second week.
If you have trouble sleeping during the period after your new diet, you have probably returned to ketosis.
Worried you’re not in ketosis?
If you do not have any of the 11 side effects listed above, you may be concerned that you may not be ketosis.
Don’t be: it’s not the end of the world if you’re not always in a frenzy!
The truth is, it’s important to focus on feeling good and losing weight.
Don’t worry if you have a blood ketone level of 4 mmol / L or 3.5 mmol / L.
If you have results and lose weight, then all is well!
I think a good diet is one that doesn’t care about numbers.
Just be aware of the proportions of the various nutrients you incorporate into your body (75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates).
How many times do we see people weighing their food in a systematic way to know exactly how many calories they are eating?
Don’t forget to have fun!
PS. Take a look at us 30-day keto recipe plan. It contains all the tools, information and recipes you need to succeed.
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