What is Ketosis?
Is ketosis life-threatening or dangerous? Many people get confused when they hear the word ketosis. Many written documents would say that ketosis puts the body at a dangerous state. This is the reason why most people conclude that being in ketosis is not normal.
Ketosis is merely referring to the body utilizing the fat for energy. Biology defines ketosis as a state of organism distinguished by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood. This is a result of a process called ketogenesis. Ketogenesis deals with the fatty acid breakdown resulting to production of ketone bodies. When the liver gets depleted of glycogen reserves, it produces ketone bodies such as acetoacetate and B-hydroxybutyrate that are used for energy.
What are ketones or ketone bodies? These are simply molecules produced during the fat metabolism. It can be acquired from anything that a person ate or simply from the fat already stored in the body. As the body breaks down fat for energy, most of the fats are converted to Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) which is also called the energy carriers in the body. However, produced in this fat breakdown process are also the ketone bodies.
The reality is that people eating less carbohydrate will likely produce more ketone bodies. This is because the body converts fat for energy. These ketones such as the acetoacetate and B-hydroxybutyrate are utilized for energy. Certain organs like the heart and liver prefer ketones instead of glucose. The brain is also known to utilize ketones partly for energy. However, there is one ketone type that is excreted out of the body, which is called the acetone. This ketone is flushed out of the body through urine and breath. Acetone gives that distinct breath odor sometimes called as ‘fruity breath’.
There is a simple test done to detect concentration levels of acetone in urine. A dipstick is used, the most common brand used is the Ketostix. This process of detecting acetone in the urine is called ketosis. If the dipstick turns purple it means acetone is present in the urine. The higher the concentration of the acetone, the more the dipstick gets purple.
A type of special diet known as the Atkins Diet, recommends people to keep an eye on their acetone levels. Atkins Diet uses it as an indication of fat burning. However, there are other types of diet known as the nonketogenic or low-carb diets. These diets maintain an eating habit of low carbohydrate. Diets of this type do not pay much attention to the presence of acetone in the urine.
Normally, ketosis is not really a bad condition. Studies show that ketosis is not preventing or not an indication that the body is not getting enough glucose. However, this is not really the case. It is because the body can get glucose by converting the proteins a person eats. However, there is a dangerous condition that should be avoided, Ketoacidosis. This condition is often confused with the normal ketosis. Ketoacidosis is different and it can develop to those people with type 1 diabetes. The body prevents the condition by producing insulin, but the danger with people with type 1 diabetes is that their body cannot produce insulin.