Gluconeogenesis and ketosis! What’s the difference? And what’s better?

Put an end to all confusions..

If you’ve heard about ‘Ketosis’ you might have had a chance to hear about ‘Gluconeogenesis’ too. People talking in complicated language, using hefty terms, stating scientific facts might not have been of any use to you. Some minutes of reading will today help you to understand the real story.

It is important to know both these terms to avoid the most common pitfalls of ketosis.

Let’s get started with the most simple question:

What is glucose?

Glucose is a simple sugar molecule that is produced in the body from the foods we eat and is utilised for energy by the brain cells and other arts of the body.

Excess of glucose which is not immediately used by th ebody, is stored in the form of glycogen, in the liver and muscles. So, glycogen is readily available form of glucose.

Do NOT  confuse glucose with, the ONLY or the PRIME source of energy for the body.

Ketones which are produced during ketosis, are an equally good source of energy for the body too. The fuel that the body may utilise to fulfil its energy needs, depends upon its availability.

What is Gluconeogenesis?

Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic process of making glucose, a necessary body fuel, from non-carbohydrate sources such as protein (amino acids), lactate from the muscles and the glycerol component of fatty acids.

KETOSIS recap:

Ketosis is a natural process by which the body helps us to survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. On a ketogenic diet your entire body switches its fuel source almost entirely on fat.

The Dilemma!

Gluconeogeensis and ketosis, both come into play when enough glucose is not available to fulfil the body’s needs. On cutting down the carbohydrate content or during starvation, the body may ressort to one or both of these mechanisms. But how and when? Which process supercedes the other? 

What you should know:

If the body is deprived of adequate carbohydrates, it will use the processes of gluconeogenesis (making of new glucose) and ketogenesis (making of ketones) to provide energy for vital functions.

The major source of raw materials for making new glucose will come from the amino acids in muscle protein.Whenever the body breaks down protein, the various amino acids are released.

Some of these amino acids are suitable for making glucose (glucogenic), some are suitable for making ketone bodies (ketogenic), and some can be used for either purpose.

As a result, low carb diets can become starvation diets and they can cause the body to cannibalize its own living tissue (muscle) when it is starved of a vital nutrient (carbohydrates).

Why should I care?

When we restrict carbohydrates, which are metabolised to form glucose then this happens:

  1. The stored glycogen is used up (by a process called glycogenolysis)
  2. Gluconeogenesis may start to provide the body with new glucose

We need to overcome ‘Gluconeogensis’ to enter into nutritional ketosis!

Eating adequate amount of protein, while on a Keto diet:

Gluconeogenesis is the reason behind urging you to eat sufficient protein.

People that are on extremely low calorie diets, occasionally have eating disorders, or are hungry begin losing muscle mass. That is because your body will start breaking down your lean muscle tissue to make glucose energy and regulate your blood sugar if it is not getting enough through dietary intake.

It’s quite significant on ANY way of eating to offer your body sufficient food in general, and protein particularly, so it does not have to use your lean muscle tissue to self-regulate.

You should also not become hypoglycemic (too low blood sugar) on a Ketogenic diet or any way of eating that substantially cuts carbohydrate intake is because your body naturally regulates your blood sugar, keeping it at maintenance levels, via gluconeogenesis.  

Enter into healthy ketosis: Lose fat not muscles! 

Gluconeogenesis is the metabolic pathway your body uses to turn non-glucose sources into glucose for energy — a life-saving pathway. But it also can keep you from losing fat, gaining muscle, and burning ketones. So, it is important that you enter  into ‘ketosis’ the right way.

Important takeaways:

  • Eat adequate amount of protein (nether to less, nor too much). To do this you need to know, what is the right amount of protein intake for you. Use keto calculator’/ macronutrient calculator to determine this, for your body type.
  • Take exogenous ketones to ease you rjourney into nutritional ketosis. 

Keep all dangers and complications at bay, using the right way to enter into ketosis. 

Editor’s note: – If you are interested in ketosis, and following ketogenic diet plans, we recommend two very useful resources – Perfect Keto, a natural supplement to get you into the state of Ketosis as quickly and effectively as possible, and The Essential Keto Cookbook, a great way to kickstart your Keto journey.


What is gluconeogenesis?