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Fat Metabolism Without Ketosis

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Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet. The aim of the diet is to try and burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is also commonly observed in patients with diabetes, as the process can occur if the body does not have enough insulin or is not using insulin correctly. Problems associated with extreme levels of ketosis are more likely to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes patients. Ketosis occurs when the body does not have sufficient access to its primary fuel source, glucose. Ketosis describes a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid. As ketone levels rise, the acidity of the blood also increases, leading to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can prove fatal. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ketoacidosis, for which emergency medical treatment is required to av Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. bookstorecowboy

    I have read a lot of posts and web sites about ketosis and about "weight loss," and I've read some books, as well. Based on what I've read, it seems that it would be impossible to "burn fat" (in the sense of burning body fat) without entering ketosis. If I have this right, the body burns energy supplies in these stages:
    1) alcohol (e.g. most of what is in beer)
    2) blood sugars (e.g. table sugar, most of the stuff grains break down into, fruit sugars, etc.)
    3) glycogen (stored in muscles)
    4) fat (fats that are eaten come first, followed by body fat)
    5) protein (comes last, after depletion of all other easily available stores of energy)
    It would seem logical, if this is right, that as long as your body has stores of alcohol, blood sugars, and glycogen, no body fat will be burned.
    So, to go on, if I have this right, then regardless of the kind of diet you are on, the only way to lose "weight" (in the sense of losing fat, which is the only kind of weight loss 99% of us are interested in) is to enter ketosis.
    Finally, if this is right, then any diet that promises "weight loss" (be it Ornish, the Paleo Diet, Atkins, or whatever) is promising that you will enter ketosis. If not, you will not actually "lose weight" in any sense you could desire. And it follows from this that any diet that works to any degree has no business warning people off ketosis, since it is going to occur.
    It also follows from this, in general although perhaps not in every situation, that the fewer carbs you eat, the more body fat you will burn (as long as you are in a calorie deficit).
    Is this right or wrong? Or right in some ways, but wrong in others?
    Thank you, list members...
    By the way, I bring this up in part because I have read quite a few critiques of Atkins, Paleo, and all "low carb diets," and every single one of them seems to screech about the supposed dangers of ketosis. I remember reading this back in the 1980s: "the one thing you don't want to do is enter ketosis, because then your body will be in starvation mode and will start hoarding ever single calorie," blah, blah, blah.

  2. ciep

    I don't know that I can provide a clear and/or complete answer to that question -- so I'll leave it to others. I would like to point out though that your body usually burns a mixture of fuels. So when both glucose and circulating fats are available (as they usually are) your body doesn't use the glucose exclusively (only moving on to the fats when no further glucose is available). Instead, it uses both simultaneously.
    I hope that helps. Basically, I guess I'm trying to say that you are always "burning fat". The key to weightloss is getting your body into a state where you're burning more of it than you're storing (on average). Reducing carbohydrates tends to help many people achieve this (and certainly an excess of carbs can make it difficult or even impossible), but I don't think ketosis necessarily required (depending on one's metabolism). In the past, I've successfully "cut up" with carbs in the 350g/day range.

  3. PokeyBug

    My ex-husband certainly lost fat without being in ketosis. He lost about 30 pounds on a low fat diet and exercise just before we met. He was miserable and hungry the entire time, but he thought CW was the only way to go. I somehow doubt he was in ketosis eating pasta every other night.

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