Ketosis, Keto Diet, Ketoacidosis… Keto Keto Keto, they are all so confusing. The names are similar but you shouldn’t confuse them. One is a metabolic state, one is a diet and the last is a dangerous condition. In this article you can learn more about them. Since there is a dangerous condition we want to know, Can The Keto Diet Cause Ketoacidosis?
What Is Ketosis?
We can define Ketosis as a natural metabolic state.
Glucose (sugar) is the preferred source of energy in normal circumstances.
The body will use it to get the energy to live and perform tasks.
If you cut enough carbohydrates from your diet, like it happens in a Keto Diet, your body will encounter a shortage of glucose.
Not having glucose to use, the body has to switch to another fuel, fat!
Ketosis is that metabolic process where the body uses fat as alternative fuel.
In Ketosis, the body transfers the fat consumed as food and stored in our body to the liver.
The liver converts this fat in Ketones. Muscles and other organs “burn” then Ketones for energy.
Ketosis can have some side effects during the period of adaptation. It also has several benefits though:
- Fat burning, the body burns stored fat, resulting in possible weight loss
- Better level of energy, Ketones are slow release fuel, providing more constant energy
- Reduced insulin level, due to the reduced consumption of carbs
- Mental clarity and focus
Ketosis can be achieved and maintained following specific macronutrients ratios.
What Is A Keto Diet?
A Keto Diet is a nutritional regimen that promotes Ketosis.
A Ketogenic Diet has specific macros of 70% fat, 25% proteins and 5% carbs.
These macros force the body to enter and maintain a state of Ketosis.
In other words, in a Keto Diet you cut the carbs and increase the the consumption of fat to be in Ketosis.
What Is Ketoacidosis?
Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition experience usually by people with type 1 diabetes and in some case by people with type 2 diabetes.
Ketoacidosis happens as a consequence of insufficient levels of insulin.
Insulin normally triggers the use of glucose (sugar) for energy or storage.
With an insufficient level of insulin glucose builds up in the blood stream and not used as energy.
In addition, there is an increase of Ketones production to satisfy the energy demand.
An excessive concentration of Ketones in this condition can cause the blood to turn acidic.
The metabolic state of Ketoacidosis can build up over hours or days and can have some of the following symptoms:
- Increased urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Mental confusion
- Abdominal pain
- Fruity or smelly breath
Ketoacidosis can be tested and treated.
Can The Keto Diet Cause Ketoacidosis?
We know that the Keto Diet promotes Ketosis.
We also understand that Ketoacidosis results from Ketosis and extreme levels of Ketones.
So can the Keto Diet cause Ketoacidosis?
A Keto Diet promotes good levels of Ketosis, not extreme.
There have been reported cases of people following a low carbs diet and suffering of Ketoacidosis.
These however, were very rare cases.
Ketoacidosis is often associated with people with diabetes because they have a limited ability of producing insulin.
A great difference in the Keto diet is that insulin is required in very low quantity because the consumption of carbs is very limited.
It is important to test your Ketones levels when following a Keto Diet for two reasons:
- Check that you are still in Ketosis, so you benefit from it
- Check that your Ketones levels are not too high, which can be dangerous.
Can the Keto Diet cause Ketoacidosis? It is hard to give a yes or no answer due to the lack of research of evidence.
What we can say is that a Keto Diet can help patients with diabetes due to the low consumption of carbs.
However, there have been some cases of non diabetic people experiencing Ketoacidosis after extended periods of Keto Diet.