Ketosis is the state when your body is being fueled almost exclusively by fat. Ketosis is a completely normal and natural state and it tends to take place during periods of fasting or intermittent fasting, or a strict diet which is low in carbohydrates.
There are many benefits associated with ketosis, including quick weight loss and improvements in overall health and performance. But, there are also risks and side effects to ketosis, especially in people who are diabetic or have other conditions, where ketosis can become very dangerous if it is not controlled and is done excessively.
During ketosis, small fuel molecules called ketones are used to give the body energy. These ketones are an alternate fuel from energy which are produced from fat and they are only used when blood glucose is low, i.e. during times of fasting or when few carbohydrates (our body’s main source of sugar) are being eaten.
#1: Benefits of Ketosis
There are many benefits to ketosis. In addition to almost effortless weight loss (during ketosis, fat is broken down and used for its ketones), it produces lots of extra energy which can improve both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Ketosis is something which is even practiced professionally in medicine and scientists are researching the effects of ketosis on brain cancer treatments amongst other things. Because getting into ketosis involves fasting or consuming few or no carbohydrates, it can help reverse type 2 diabetes.
#2: Potential Dangers & Side Effects
When you first start putting your body into ketosis by consuming less carbohydrates, it is normal to experience some of the common side effects. These side effects include everything you would expect to be associated with eating less and include headaches, lethargy and general irritability.
These side effects are generally minor and are nothing to worry about. Ketosis, again, is a normal state for the body and you are in no real danger by being in a ketonic state. If you drink plenty of fluids and keep your salt intake normal, you should have no problems beyond these very minor side effects.
If you are using ketosis to try and burn some excess fat, this is likely a question you have. There are examples of ketosis at either end of the spectrum, with studies showing that some historic Inuit tribes would be in a permanent state of ketosis whereas children with certain health conditions such as epilepsy remain in ketosis for many years.
It is recommended that those undergoing a ketonic diet don’t remain in ketosis for longer than three or four days and do consume carbohydrates at least once per week – the spike in carbohydrates can enable you to get some additional energy whilst still enjoying the benefits of being in a ketonic state.
Ketosis is a completely natural state for your body to be in; it is simply the case of consuming little-to-no carbohydrates in-order to burn fat. So long as you have no underlying health conditions, it is completely safe to practice ketosis for extended periods.