What is ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic process through which the body converts fat into energy. Ketosis is the physiological state in which the body takes its main source of energy from fats (food and / or adipose tissue) and derived metabolic products (ketone bodies).

The human body uses sugar as the essential source of energy, not the use of fats, which accumulate. Glucose is the easiest molecule that the body can transform and use for energy. So the body is prone to choosing sugar over any other source of energy.

When we say sugar, we mean all types of sweets that contain processed sugar, as well as natural sources of sugar (fruits, sweet vegetables, honey, maple syrup, etc.)

The principle behind diets like the Dukan diet and the Paleolithic diet, ketosis can lead to weight loss, but it can also bring health risks as it reduces the body’s main source of energy, which is exactly carbohydrates.

In the case of a diet without any type of sugar, the body no longer has glucose available to produce energy, and ketosis occurs when our liver metabolizes fatty acids (burns fat), in the absence of sugar, transforming the molecules into ketones.

These ketones are released into the blood, which is why the body uses them to ensure its optimal energy level. Our pancreas produces 2 antagonistic hormones: insulin and glucagon. Insulin is a storage hormone and through it, the amount of glucose in the blood is reduced when its level increases.

Insulin facilitates the penetration of glucose into cells, to use it for energy and to transform excess glucose and store it in adipose tissue.

Glucagon has the role of raising blood glucose levels, being a catabolic hormone, which facilitates the burning of fat. Glucagon converts complex molecules into simple molecules so that the body can use them as a source of energy.

When we stop giving the body sugar, our pancreas decreases the production of insulin and increases the production of glucagon, thus facilitating the burning of fat.

The human body is very intelligent and needs a short period of time to adjust to the new metabolic state and learn where it gets its energy from. You don’t need sugar or carbs, but it will burn ketones.

To induce the state of ketosis in the body, you must follow a diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in fat and protein.

Read: Complete guide to the Ketogenic Diet or KETO Diet ▶ (here)

How does ketosis work?

Ketosis is nothing more than a state where fat burning is at very high levels. This is due to the fact that the body is forced to obtain energy almost exclusively from ketone bodies, not from glucose, the body’s traditional source of fuel.

Ketone organs are energy molecules (like glucose) synthesized by the liver from our stores of fat or fatty acids obtained through food. Although it occurs naturally in the body, ketosis is pronounced in the absence of carbohydrates or in periods of prolonged rest.

It is ketosis that allows, for example, people to go for weeks without food. As glycogen stores (the way glucose is stored), muscles and liver are depleted within a day or two, burning fat allows metabolic processes to continue to occur even when the body remains 20 to 30 days without receiving a single external energy molecule.

The main factor behind the increase in insulin rates is carbohydrate consumption. The higher the nutrient intake, the greater the release of the hormone by the pancreas.

When you restrict carbohydrate intake or go through prolonged periods of rest, your insulin level remains low because there is no glucose in the circulation that requires cells to enter insulin.

Low insulin levels stimulate the liver to break down fatty acids stored in adipocytes (fat cells) to form ketone bodies, which will be used as a source of energy for the body.

This is it: ketosis allows you to burn fat without the need to use thermogenic supplements or turn to other dubious products.

How is ketosis measured?

Blood ketone meters

Urine test strips

Ketone breath analyzer

Benefits of ketosis

  • Burning old fat, which we carry in our body for years;
  • It has a constant level of fat burning, which determines a constant level of energy in the body throughout the day, without having ups and downs as in the case of sugar consumption;
  • Weight loss, since the regulation of hormones that cause the accumulation of fat also occurs;
  • The feeling of satiety and reduced appetite, which helps us listen to our body and realize what kind of hunger we have;
  • Regulation of blood sugar;
  • Mental clarity;
  • We give our pancreas a break after years of putting it to work;
  • Reduction of inflammation in the body, which causes most of the diseases that people face today.

Ketosis is one of the steps in our program, used to cleanse the body and burn old fats in which toxins accumulated over years are stored, as well as blocked emotions and trauma.

Our body must go through all 4 food seasons to benefit from healing, health, and energy.

Like I said, there are 4 seasons of food, but people spend their entire lives stuck in one season, and this is not one of burning fat.

With us you will learn exactly what each season looks like and which foods will make the body move from one food season to another, depending on each individual’s goal.

How to get into Ketosis?

To get into ketosis, you need to restrict your carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 20-30 grams per day (the exact amount may vary from person to person), and also pay attention to your protein intake.

To do your accounts:

  • 1 g of carbohydrates = 4 kcal;
  • 1 g Protein = 4 kcal;
  • 1 g of fat = 9 kcal.

Simply put, ketosis is a physiological state in which a large part of the body’s cells derives its main source of energy from fat and fat-derived metabolic products, such as ketone bodies.

Signs and symptoms that you are in ketosis

The best way to find out if you are in ketosis is to measure the concentration of ketone organisms in your circulation or urine.

While the first procedure can be performed using a small digital device, the quantification of ketone bodies in urine can be done using specific measuring bands.

Another much less accurate method of recognizing the state of ketosis involves analyzing some symptoms that may or may not be present at the same time. These are:

  • Bad breath; when people reach full ketosis. Most of the people to reduce or eliminate bad breath, they use chewing gum several times a day, they should know that this can increase the level of sugar in the blood and reduce the level of ketones.
  • Weight loss ; which can occur in the first week.
  • Increased ketones in the blood ; which can vary between 0.3 and 0.5 mmol / l. Accurate measurement can be done with these ketone meters.
  • Increased ketones in the urine ; Another technique to measure ketones in urine on a daily basis is with special indicator strips.
  • Appetite suppression
  • Increased focus and energy
  • Short-term fatigue
  • Digestive problems
  • Insomnia

During ketosis, some people may also experience a state of euphoria and increased mental alertness.

Aspects of the state of ketosis

Ketogenesis occurs in the body of healthy people when blood sugar falls below a certain threshold. The state of ketosis should not be confused with the state of ketoacidosis, which occurs in untreated people with type 1 diabetes, in which the body is unable to produce insulin that corrects / balances hyperglycemia and hyperketonemic effects.

Fats themselves cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, so they cannot be used as a metabolic substrate. The remaining 30-40% of the energy required for brain metabolism is largely satisfied by glucose through gluconeogenesis and not only.

Effects of ketosis

The high consumption of saturated fats of animal origin can also cause an increase in the levels of LDL, cholesterol that stimulates the formation of plaques on the walls of the arteries.

The low energy levels associated with ketosis can make it difficult to engage in regular physical activity. During a diet, prefer less intense exercises, such as walking, light bike rides, pilate, and stretching sessions.

What to eat in ketosis?

Check the foods allowed in the ketogenic diet to lose weight without risk to health;

Good fats

About 80% of the calories on the ketogenic diet are obtained from eating fat. But it is not just a fat, because saturated animal fats can increase levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and cause arterial blockage, increasing the risk of serious heart problems.

The ketogenic diet for weight loss using ketosis should include healthy fat sources such as olive oil, walnuts, avocado, omega-3s (found in tuna, salmon, sardines), and flaxseed oil.


Protein-rich foods will be essential to maintain satiety and prevent muscle loss during ketosis. Give preference to healthy sources of protein, such as tuna, salmon, chicken breast, and lean red meat.

In addition, excess protein also increases the level of insulin in the circulation, compromising the state of ketosis.

Dairy products

In general, the higher the fat content in milk, the lower its carbohydrate content. Cream cheese, for example, does not contain carbohydrates, while white cheese can contain up to 5 g of nutrient per 100 g serving.


Although carbohydrate consumption is quite restricted during ketosis, you should not forget to include vegetables in your menu to lose weight. Vegetables provide important nutrients for metabolism, and their absence from the diet can even prevent weight loss.

The thing to do is choose non-amylose vegetables, such as eggplant, artichokes, and zucchini, and avoid those with a higher carbohydrate content, such as peanuts, sweet potatoes, corn, and beans. for instance.

Leafy vegetables, such as spinach, thistle, mustard, kale, and other greens, can be eaten in large quantities because they are low in carbohydrates.

Some of the low carb fruits are strawberries, avocados, peaches, and watermelon.

What does it mean to reduce carbs in ketosis?

At the beginning of the diet, shortly after the decrease in carbohydrate intake, there is significant weight loss, but it is not due to the elimination of fats.

Low carbohydrate diets assume that the greater the formation of ketone bodies, the greater the use of fat stores.

So without carbohydrates there is no insulin, and without insulin there are more ketone bodies equating to more fat use. Result: weight loss.

When you stop eating carbohydrates, the body uses glycogen stores for energy, and this process promotes the release of water. This is due to the fact that when stored, glycogen (the body’s way of storing glucose) retains water and its mobilization eliminates the need for excess fluid in the muscles and liver.

Since each gram of glycogen binds to another four grams of water, you just need to understand that it is not difficult to lose 2 to 3 kg in the first few days of ketosis. As glycogen stores run out, however, this effect diminishes and this is the time when weight loss tends to be least.

For the process to occur, however, it is essential that your carbohydrate intake is as low as possible, as even small amounts of nutrients can stimulate insulin release.

The answer depends on individual to individual. An unwritten rule of thumb is to cut your carbs to about 50g a day and after a few days you should be in the state of ketosis. That denotes several aspects:

1. To reduce carbohydrates to approximately 50 gr. per day, you need to know exactly how many grams of carbohydrate are in each food you eat.

Example: a 100g apple (rarely apples that small) has about 14g of carbohydrates, of which about 3G is fiber (which should not affect blood sugar). So this little apple has a network of 11g of carbohydrates. So you can’t afford keto.

He mentioned that berries, for example, are low in carbohydrates, so it could have a strong place in the daily diet. Also to balance the diet and eat nutritious food, it can be said that greens and certain vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin, peppers, leaves, etc.) have reduced the consumption of carbohydrates in volume and should not be lacking in the keto diet.

2. You know exactly that you are in ketosis when you measure it accurately.

At the moment there are several methods to measure ketone bodies.

The easiest and most accessible would be through urine tests (such as Ketostix) that are also found in some pharmacies (and can be ordered online). Sometimes these tests can be imprecise, but I say that for beginners they are useful enough. There is a technical explanation that can be returned to in other posts.

An accurate method is through blood tests (all at home) with devices similar to the glucometer. Examples of brands would be: Accu Chek, CareSens (what do I use), etc. they test for beta-hydroxybutyric acid (a ketone body) in the blood.

Another method would be more through breath tests with a Ketonix type device, about which I do not know much, but I do know the creator of the product.

3. The above 2 points take a bit of effort, but I can say that you can get used to such precision in a few days.

So it’s more of a willpower game if you want a more accurate assessment of ketone levels in your blood, urine, or respiration on a weekly basis.

If you are losing weight on the ketogenic diet, then enjoy your diet without obsessing over your ketosis levels.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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