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When Ketosis Is Dangerous

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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 health Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. Saraleesaralee

    Is it possible to stay on ketogenic diet for life-long?

    I have been on ketogenic diet for 2 weeks. It controls my blood sugar level really well. However I am not over weight. And I am worried about potential long term side effects of the diet. For example, high LDL level, steoporosis, auto immune disease, too much weight loss, vesicular stiffness. I was wondering if there is anyone in this forum has been on ketogenic diet for years? And do you experience any side effects from the diet?

  2. Aaron1963

    I've been on a strict ketogenic diet for 6 months, and was doing LCHF for much of the 5 months prior to that but didn't make any attempts at it being ketogenic so I may have been in and out of ketosis some during that period. I now have a blood ketone meter and remain in ketosis according to it.
    I did suffer excessive weight loss initially. I lost about 40kg (about 90 lbs.), and it ended up sending me from being very obese to being underweight. But I've always eaten very little protein, which I continued to do, plus I was doing intermittent fasting, sometimes not eating anything for days at a time. Once I stopped the intermittent fasting and concentrated on getting adequate protein, my weight went back up to my ideal weight and stabilized there. I've heard from several people that you really need to watch your protein when doing a ketogenic diet being it's easy for excess to hinder weight loss and/or increase your BG.
    I have had a few issues while doing a ketogenic diet, but not 100% sure which if any can be attributed to ketosis vs. some other factor. First off, as winter was approaching I got extremely cold all the time, especially my fingers and toes, but even my whole body was cold. I thought it might have been the caffeine I was getting as part of my ketogenic diet involves drinking lots of coffee with HWC, coconut oil, and butter. I switched to decaf and the problem pretty much went away, but I don't know if it was the caffeine, the ketosis, the massive weight loss (lack of body fat), something else, or a combination of factors.
    I've also had excessive itching and a rash. That's normal for me during the winter months, but this year it started a bit early, went longer, and was much worse than normal. I think it may very well have been my usual sensitivity to the cold dry weather, aggravated by toxins released during my rapid weight loss, and perhaps ketones being emitted through the skin. It's just recently started to clear up and the rash is gone and most of the itching.
    I got keto-breath for a week or two when I first concentrated on going keto. It was very noticeable, but disappeared after that and no issues anymore with my breath.
    This diet is very sustainable for me. I tried my whole adult life to diet to lose weight and was never successful. This time I wanted to lose weight, but my primary focus was controlling my BG, meaning reducing carbs down to a low-carb level, which caused me to gravitate naturally to a LCHF diet. For the first time I have no desire to go back to my old way of eating. I love this diet and it's completely satisfying. So I killed two birds with one stone - got my BG under control, down to non-diabetic levels, and got my weight down to ideal. Plus with the huge benefits (IMHO) of having my body use ketones rather than glucose, I'm totally sold on this way of eating for the rest of my life and have absolutely no worries about not being able to stick to my diet. I really have no strong urges for carbs anymore, and only end up going off the plan rarely due to social pressures or inadvertently eating hidden/unknown carbs.
    My LDL has gone up, but I've heard from others that usually it's benign large fluffy LDL that typically goes up when on a ketogenic diet. And my body is still adjusting. Also I've heard that LDL by itself is not a good measure of risk. So I'm not worried about it, but will keep an eye on things. I also have taken my ketogenic diet to an extreme, hitting a KR of 3.0 or higher almost everyday, and sometimes up to 4.0 or more. Not sure if eating much more fat than necessary for ketosis affected my LDL any or not. Initially my LDL dropped significantly as well as my trigs, but both increased at my last doctor's visit. I may try a more normal KR in the future while monitoring my blood ketones to verify I stay in ketosis and see if there's any difference in my BG, cholesterol, or other tests.
    I did also suffer from other typical symptoms during my keto adaptation phase. Most went away within about two weeks. But it's just been here at the 6-month mark where my BG numbers suddenly stabilized with very little change, and quite low, and overall I just feel absolutely fantastic. I feel like I'm bursting with energy and joined a gym and suddenly love running and working out whereas I hated them all my life.
    Well, I don't have years of experience with ketosis to report anything to you about that. Other than I've heard lots of other people with years of experience and not heard of anyone having any real side effects other than the things I've mentioned. However some people do find ketosis isn't for them and give up very soon. For those that feel it is working for them and stick with it, seems there's no significant side effects. But I'll let the others who've been in ketosis for longer than me speak for themselves.

  3. furball64801

    Hi and welcome to DD I know of a guy called no more carbs that was on it over 2 yrs. It is possible he is still on it, that chat site closed down but he was going strong on it.

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