Difference Between Nutritional Ketosis And Starvation Ketosis

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The Difference Between Ketosis And Ketoacidosis

When you hear these two terms it’s easy to see how they can be confused. The confusion also stems from the fact that the two are both metabolic processes involving the breakdown of fats in the body (plus they look and sound like similar words). The truth is ketosis and ketoacidosis are two completely different things. Ketosis and the Ketogenic Diet Ketosis is a normal metabolic process in which the body has a high fat-burning rate. It is a healthy and natural state your body enters when your body is running on fat rather than glucose1. The state of ketosis occurs when ketone levels are raised in the blood due to the conversion of fats into fatty acids and ketones. This happens when the body runs out of carbohydrates – usually because a person hasn’t eaten in a while, for example during fasts, or they eat a very low-carbohydrate diet – leaving little sugar to convert into glycogen. Without glycogen, the body breaks down fat cells for energy. A low-carb, high fat diet, also known as a ketogenic diet, is necessary to enter and stay in ketosis long-term. When you eat a low-carbohydrate diet, your body enters the metabolic state of ketosis within 2 days but it can vary from pers Continue reading >>

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  1. datums

    Unfortunately, biochemistry is not the kind of topic that can be easily researched online without formal training. There are a number of points you make that are incorrect. I keto myself, so don't think I am trying to attack your general position here.
    Starvation and the keto diet are actually nearly identical from a biochemical perspective. The key pathway is fat mobilization, where fatty acid chains are broken down two carbons at a time to produce energy. When this process starts to happen faster than your body can manage it, some of the chemical constituents of the process actually break down to become the ketones that can be detected in the urine and breath. In other words, ketones are a side effect, rather than a major player.
    The idea that a calorie deficit, ie starvation, is somehow bad, is incorrect. Anybody who is using diet and exercise to become more lean is doing the same thing. There is no magic method to lose weight without some form of starvation. The reason why the keto diet does not cause significant lean tissue loss is that the starvation involved is not sufficiently severe.
    An important point that you bring up is the idea that the keto diet stabilizes insulin levels. This is basically correct. Insulin signals cells to take up glucose from the blood, and also tells the liver to begin glycogenesis - the process of packing glucose into glycogen. High blood sugar triggers this. These effects are basically reversed by adrenaline, which tells the liver to start breaking glycogen down to make glucose.
    Part of the difficulty with this is that with a normal diet, blood sugar spikes after meals. This leads to cyclic variance in levels of glucose, insulin and adrenaline. As the cycle progresses toward the adrenaline end, you start to get cravings for foods that will once again spike your blood glucose.
    However, when you are relying on fat mobilization to make glucose, these spikes are greatly reduced. Fat mobilization is not efficient, and is not able to provide sudden bursts of glucose. It is more constant. This makes athletic activity much more difficult aswell.
    But this is the real reason why the keto diet works - it mitigates the cycle of spiking and lowering blood sugar, providing a more level and constant supply. This reduces the propensity for craving food.
    In essence, the keto diet is not unique in terms of the basic biochemistry of metabolism. It simply makes 'starvation' more tolerable, and easier to manage. For many of us, that is exactly what we need.
    Edit - swapped 'gluconeogenesis' with 'glycogenesis'.

  2. gogge

    Insulin signals cells to take up glucose from the blood, and also tells the liver to begin gluconeogenesis - the process of packing glucose into glycogen. High blood sugar triggers this. These effects are basically reversed by adrenaline, which tells the liver to start breaking glycogen down to make glucose.
    Insulin inhibits gluconeogenesis (creation of new glucose), you probably meant glycogenesis (conversion of glucose to glycogen)?

  3. datums

    You are right on that one. The word I was looking for was glycogenesis. It can be a little tricky to remember that between glycolysis, glucogenesis, and gluconeogenesis, one means glycogen synthesis, and the other two mean glycogen breakdown.

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