What Are Ketones?
With the gradual resurgence of low-carb diets in recent years, the word “ketones” is thrown around a lot. But many people aren’t really aware of the details. What are ketones, really? And what do they do in the body? There can be a lot of misinformation regarding the answers to these questions, so read on for a full overview of ketones and their role in a ketogenic diet. Ketones, also known as “ketone bodies,” are byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy that occurs when carbohydrate intake is low. Here’s how it works: When there isn’t a sufficient level of available glucose — which is what the body uses for its main source of fuel — and glycogen levels are depleted, blood sugar and insulin are lowered and the body looks for an alternative source of fuel: in this case, fat. This process can happen when a person fasting, after prolonged exercise, during starvation, or when eating a low-carb, ketogenic diet. And when the body begins breaking down fats for energy like this, a process known as beta-oxidation, ketones are formed for use as fuel for the body and brain. This is known as ketosis. People following a ketogenic diet specifically reduce their carbohydrate intake for this reason: to create ketones for energy. Many people use the benefits of ketosis — less reliance on carbs and more burning of fat — to possibly help lower blood pressure, reduce cravings, improve cholesterol, increase weight loss, improve energy, and more. TYPES OF KETONE BODIES So, what else about ketones do we need to know? To start, there are technically three types of ketone bodies: Acetoacetate (AcAc) Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB) Acetone Both acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate are responsible for transporting energy from the liver to other tissues in the body Continue reading >>
Ketosis, Ketones, And How It All Works
Ketosis is a process that the body does on an everyday basis, regardless of the number of carbs you eat. Your body adapts to what is put in it, processing different types of nutrients into the fuels that it needs. Proteins, fats, and carbs can all be processed for use. Eating a low carb, high fat diet just ramps up this process, which is a normal and safe chemical reaction. When you eat carbohydrate based foods or excess amounts of protein, your body will break this down into sugar – known as glucose. Why? Glucose is needed in the creation of ATP (an energy molecule), which is a fuel that is needed for the daily activities and maintenance inside our bodies. If you’ve ever used our keto calculator to determine your caloric needs, you will see that your body uses up quite a lot of calories. It’s true, our bodies use up much of the nutrients we intake just to maintain itself on a daily basis. If you eat enough food, there will likely be an excess of glucose that your body doesn’t need. There are two main things that happen to excess glucose if your body doesn’t need it: Glycogenesis. Excess glucose will be converted to glycogen and stored in your liver and muscles. Estimates show that only about half of your daily energy can be stored as glycogen. Lipogenesis. If there’s already enough glycogen in your muscles and liver, any extra glucose will be converted into fats and stored. So, what happens to you once your body has no more glucose or glycogen? Ketosis happens. When your body has no access to food, like when you are sleeping or when you are on a ketogenic diet, the body will burn fat and create molecules called ketones. We can thank our body’s ability to switch metabolic pathways for that. These ketones are created when the body breaks down fats, creating Continue reading >>
Excess ketones are dangerous for someone with diabetes... Low insulin, combined with relatively normal glucagon and epinephrine levels, causes fat to be released from fat cells, which then turns into ketones. Excess formation of ketones is dangerous and is a medical emergency In a person without diabetes, ketone production is the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. Blood sugar levels never get too high, because the production is regulated by just the right balance of insulin, glucagon and other hormones. However, in an individual with diabetes, dangerous and life-threatening levels of ketones can develop. What are ketones and why do I need to know about them? Ketones and ketoacids are alternative fuels for the body that are made when glucose is in short supply. They are made in the liver from the breakdown of fats. Ketones are formed when there is not enough sugar or glucose to supply the body’s fuel needs. This occurs overnight, and during dieting or fasting. During these periods, insulin levels are low, but glucagon and epinephrine levels are relatively normal. This combination of low insulin, and relatively normal glucagon and epinephrine levels causes fat to be released from the fat cells. The fats travel through the blood circulation to reach the liver where they are processed into ketone units. The ketone units then circulate back into the blood stream and are picked up by the muscle and other tissues to fuel your body’s metabolism. In a person without diabetes, ketone production is the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. Blood sugar levels never get too high, because the production is regulated by just the right balance of insulin, glucagon and other hormones. However, in an individual with diabetes, dangerous and life-threatening levels of ketone Continue reading >>
Ketones And Weight Loss
When you lose weight, your body gives off substances known as ketones. These ketones can be secreted in the urine and serve as an indicator you are losing weight -- in addition to the decreasing numbers on the scale. However, ketones' presence also can indicate a more harmful condition. Knowing how to tell the difference can help you experience healthy weight-loss results. Video of the Day Ketones are a substance the body produces as a byproduct of fat metabolism, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center. When you are trying to lose weight, your body will use glucose buildup in your fat stores in order to obtain energy from your food, resulting in weight loss. In addition to being produced while weight loss occurs, ketones also are a sign of diabetes. This is because ketones also are present when the body is not able to use insulin to break down sugars in your body. This occurrence can be dangerous to your health because the ketones can spill into the urine. Ketones produced by the body are often associated with following a low-carbohydrate diet, according to the Better Health Channel. This is because the body breaks down sugars stored in the muscles when you do not eat enough carbohydrates. While dieting in general results in the release of some ketones, those following low-carbohydrate diets are likely to release a higher number of ketones. If your physician performs a urine test and finds your ketones to be high, it’s important to notify him you are losing weight, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center. He may recommend an additional blood test to ensure your blood-glucose levels are not high — which can be a sign of diabetes. However, dieters with high ketone levels should not experience high blood-glucose levels. Those inside and outside the medical profession Continue reading >>
Tweet Ketosis is a state the body may find itself in either as a result of raised blood glucose levels or as a part of low carb dieting. Low levels of ketosis is perfectly normal. However, high levels of ketosis in the short term can be serious and the long term effects of regular moderate ketosis are only partially known at the moment. What is ketosis? Ketosis is a state the body goes into if it needs to break down body fat for energy. The state is marked by raised levels of ketones in the blood which can be used by the body as fuel. Ketones which are not used for fuel are excreted out of the body via the kidneys and the urine. Is ketosis the same as ketoacidosis? There is often confusion as to the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Ketosis is the state whereby the body is producing ketones. In ketosis, the level of ketones in the blood can be anything between normal to very high. Diabetic ketoacidosis, also known as DKA, only describes the state in which the level of ketones is either high or very high. In ketoacidosis, the amount of ketones in the blood is sufficient to turn the blood acidic, which is a dangerous medical state. When does ketosis occur? Ketosis will take place when the body needs energy and there is not sufficient glucose available for the body. This can typically happen when the body is lacking insulin and blood glucose levels become high. Other causes can be the result of being on a low carb diet. A low level of carbohydrate will lead to low levels of insulin, and therefore the body will produce ketones which do not rely on insulin to get into and fuel the body’s cells. A further cause of ketosis, less relevant to people with diabetes, is a result of excessive alcohol consumption. Is ketosis dangerous? The NHS describes ketosis as a pote Continue reading >>
Ketone bodies Acetone Acetoacetic acid (R)-beta-Hydroxybutyric acid Ketone bodies are three water-soluble molecules (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and their spontaneous breakdown product, acetone) that are produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low food intake (fasting), carbohydrate restrictive diets, starvation, prolonged intense exercise,, alcoholism or in untreated (or inadequately treated) type 1 diabetes mellitus. These ketone bodies are readily picked up by the extra-hepatic tissues, and converted into acetyl-CoA which then enters the citric acid cycle and is oxidized in the mitochondria for energy. In the brain, ketone bodies are also used to make acetyl-CoA into long-chain fatty acids. Ketone bodies are produced by the liver under the circumstances listed above (i.e. fasting, starving, low carbohydrate diets, prolonged exercise and untreated type 1 diabetes mellitus) as a result of intense gluconeogenesis, which is the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources (not including fatty acids). They are therefore always released into the blood by the liver together with newly produced glucose, after the liver glycogen stores have been depleted (these glycogen stores are depleted after only 24 hours of fasting). When two acetyl-CoA molecules lose their -CoAs, (or Co-enzyme A groups) they can form a (covalent) dimer called acetoacetate. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a reduced form of acetoacetate, in which the ketone group is converted into an alcohol (or hydroxyl) group (see illustration on the right). Both are 4-carbon molecules, that can readily be converted back into acetyl-CoA by most tissues of the body, with the notable exception of the liver. Acetone is the decarboxylated form of acetoacetate which cannot be converted Continue reading >>
What Are Ketones And Are They Healthy?
What Are Ketones and Are They Healthy? If you are up on your health news or follow anyone in the health field, you have likely heard the term ketogenic diet. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to adapt the body to utilize fat as its primary fuel source instead of sugar. The body does this by first converting fat into what are called ketones that the cells can then burn as fuel. It is at this point that I typically get asked, what are ketones? In this article, I am going to clear up any gaps, explain exactly how ketogenisis works, and why it can be so beneficial for the human body. Biological Role of Ketones For our ancestors, eating three meals a day just wasn’t a thing. Instead they would hunt and forage for the foods they could find. When there wasn’t food, they wouldn’t eat. What this means is that sometimes they would go for days at a time with no food. To sustain life during times of scarcity, the body is thought to have developed the ability to utilize fat as an alternative fuel source. In a traditional nutrition course, you would learn that sugar is the body’s primary fuel source while fat is a secondary fuel source. When sugar stores are burned up, the cells then convert to burning fat as an energy source. What we are finding out now is that fat can actually be a healthier and more sustainable source of energy. Our Society Is Full of Sugar Burners Modern day, we have an abundance of food that is available to us at all times. Most of us regularly eat three meals a day with intermittent snacking in between. This kind of frequent eating, along with an overemphasis on carb-rich and sugary foods, causes a reduced ability to burn fat. As these foods damage our bodies on a metabolic level, we actually lose the ability to produce ketones. This type of reliance on Continue reading >>
Urine Tests For Diabetes: Glucose Levels And Ketones
The human body primarily runs on glucose. When your body is low on glucose, or if you have diabetes and don’t have enough insulin to help your cells absorb the glucose, your body starts breaking down fats for energy. Ketones (chemically known as ketone bodies) are byproducts of the breakdown of fatty acids. The breakdown of fat for fuel and the creation of ketones is a normal process for everyone. In a person without diabetes, insulin, glucagon, and other hormones prevent ketone levels in the blood from getting too high. However, people with diabetes are at risk for ketone buildup in their blood. If left untreated, people with type 1 diabetes are at risk for developing a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). While rare, it’s possible for people with type 2 diabetes to experience DKA in certain circumstances as well. If you have diabetes, you need to be especially aware of the symptoms that having too many ketones in your body can cause. These include: If you don’t get treatment, the symptoms can progress to: a fruity breath odor stomach pain trouble breathing You should always seek immediate medical attention if your ketone levels are high. Testing your blood or urine to measure your ketone levels can all be done at home. At-home testing kits are available for both types of tests, although urine testing continues to be more common. Urine tests are available without a prescription at most drugstores, or you can buy them online. You should test your urine or blood for ketones when any of the following occurs: Your blood sugar is higher than 240 mg/dL. You feel sick or nauseated, regardless of your blood sugar reading. To perform a urine test, you urinate into a clean container and dip the test strip into the urine. For a child who isn’t potty-trained, a pa Continue reading >>
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What Is Ketosis?
"Ketosis" is a word you'll probably see when you're looking for information on diabetes or weight loss. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? That depends. Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones. If you're healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don't normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. It can also happen after exercising for a long time and during pregnancy. For people with uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a sign of not using enough insulin. Ketosis can become dangerous when ketones build up. High levels lead to dehydration and change the chemical balance of your blood. Ketosis is a popular weight loss strategy. Low-carb eating plans include the first part of the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet, which stress proteins for fueling your body. In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry. It also helps you maintain muscle. For healthy people who don't have diabetes and aren't pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That's about 3 slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can start ketosis by fasting, too. Doctors may put children who have epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, very low-carb and protein plan, because it might help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat modified Atkins diets. Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show sp Continue reading >>
What Are Ketones?
What are ketones and what causes them? Ketones are the result of the body burning fat for energy or fuel. For a person with diabetes, ketones are often the result of prolonged high blood sugar and insulin deficiency. Without the right amount of insulin, glucose starts to build up in the blood stream and doesn't enter the cells. The cells burn fat instead of glucose, and ketones form in the blood and spill into the urine. Some causes of high blood sugar are: Missing an insulin dose or skipping some oral medications. A disconnected or blocked insulin pump tube. Being sick with the flu. High levels of stress. Eating more carbohydrates than your medication covers. What are the signs that I should test for ketones? Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, frequent thirst, blurry vision, dry mouth, vomiting, and fatigue. There are several scenarios that should prompt a test for ketones. If your blood sugar is over 240 mg/dl for two tests in a row. When you are ill. When your blood sugar is over 240 mg/dl and you are planning on exercising. If you are pregnant, you should test for ketones each morning before breakfast and whenever blood sugars are elevated. How do I test for ketones? There are two ways to test for ketones - by testing your urine or your blood. Ketones appear first in the blood stream and are later present in the urine, so testing your blood for ketones is the best way to check for an early problem. To check urine for ketones, you must collect a urine sample or dip a ketone test strip into a fresh stream of urine. After waiting for the time suggested by the ketone strip manufacturer, you compare the color strip to the chart on the bottle. The darker the color, the higher the amount of ketones in the urine. At this time, there are just a few mete Continue reading >>
Ketone Testing: What You Need To Know
What are ketones? Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel. They are also produced when you lose weight or if there is not enough insulin to help your body use sugar for energy. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood. Since the body is unable to use glucose for energy, it breaks down fat instead. When this occurs, ketones form in the blood and spill into the urine. These ketones can make you very sick. How can I test for ketones? You can test to see if your body is making any ketones by doing a simple urine test. There are several products available for ketone testing and they can be purchased, without a prescription, at your pharmacy. The test result can be negative, or show small, moderate, or large quantities of ketones. When should I test for ketones? Anytime your blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl for two tests in a row. When you are ill. Often illness, infections, or injuries will cause sudden high blood glucose and this is an especially important time to check for ketones. When you are planning to exercise and the blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl. If you are pregnant, you should test for ketones each morning before breakfast and any time the blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl. If ketones are positive, what does this mean? There are situations when you might have ketones without the blood glucose being too high. Positive ketones are not a problem when blood glucose levels are within range and you are trying to lose weight. It is a problem if blood glucose levels are high and left untreated. Untreated high blood glucose with positive ketones can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). What should I do if the ketone test is positive? Call your diabetes educator or physician, as you may need additional Continue reading >>