Day 2: What is Nutritional Ketosis?

These are the notes from last night’s video in the 28 Day Challenge.  You can join us in the 28 Day Challenge FaceBook Group here, get our FREE 28 Day Ketogenic Meal Plan here, and pick up our recipe and instructional books here.


What is Nutritional Ketosis?


Nutritional ketosis is when the body moves from using glucose as its primary fuel source to ketones.  As insulin levels fall, the body begins to break down triglycerides stored in fat cells into fatty acids that can be used for fuel.  As fatty acids are metabolized, they are converted into Acetyl-CoA and as Acetyl-CoA levels rise, the liver converts it into ketone bodies.


Different Types of Ketones


As ketone levels rise, the body and brain begin to use them for fuel instead of the dropping levels of glucose.  There are 2 main types of ketones; acetoacetate (AcAc) which shows up in the urine and Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) which shows up in the blood and breath.


It’s important to note that if you are using urine strips to measure ketosis, they are not as accurate as testing the blood or breath because the longer you are in ketosis, the more efficiently your body will use Acetoacetate.  This means there will be less “cast off” into the urine and over time the urine strips will show you with smaller and smaller levels of ketones but that might not be accurate.


You are in ketosis when ketone levels fall between .5 and 5 mM.  It should be noted that you don’t necessarily have to measure your ketone levels if there is a barrier to do so like cost.  Over time, you will be able to “feel” when you are in ketosis as you will have more energy and there is sometimes a difference in the way your breath smells due to the increase in BHB.


Ketosis is not Ketoacidosis


Sometimes people confuse ketosis and ketoacidosis.  Ketoacidosis is a state that only occurs in diabetics whose insulin and blood sugar levels are totally out of control.  If blood sugars rise to dangerous levels and no insulin is injected to bring those levels down, there is nothing to stop the process of bringing fat out of fat cells and converting them to ketones.  Ketone levels quickly rise to absurd levels north of 10 mM and damage to the kidneys and other internal organs quickly ensues.  If you are not a diabetic, you have absolutely nothing to worry about from ketoacidosis and if you are diabetic you also have very little to worry about on a ketogenic diet because you will not be eating anything that will cause a blood sugar spike.  If you are diabetic, it is important to you test your blood sugar regularly for at least the first month on a ketogenic diet to ensure you can keep your insulin levels within range as your body adjusts to the new blood sugar levels.

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