What is Ketosis? How does the keto diet work?

(Busting all myths about Ketosis)

Owing to the buzz, about KETOGENIC DIET which may lead you into a state of KETOSIS, you may also be intrigued to know what this is?

‘KETOSIS’ , A word, not so easy to understand, without a bit of digging!

Let’s make ourselves clear about what is it all about, and why all that hype.

Does it actually benefit us?

In the most simple terms we can say that, 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.

So, Ketone bodies are water soluble molecules that are produced in the body, when fatty acids are broken down in excess. The production of these compounds is known as ketogenesis.

It isn’t something unnatural. It happens to all of us when food intake is low, or in conditions of starvation.

This, amazing fact that our body burns fat to gain energy, when enough glucose is not available, has been used to propose the ketogenic diet plans! It is a well established fact, backed by scientific research.

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 journety.

The three ketone bodies produced are:

  • Acetone
  • Acetoacetate
  • BHA (beta hydroxy butyrate)

They are made in the liver from the breakdown of fats and have amazing benefits for your health, when produced in controlled amounts.

You might ask yourself,  Are they, a good source of fuel for the body?

 Ketone bodies have some amazing properties like:

  • Water soluble
  • Can be transported across the inner mitochondrial membrane, as well as the blood brain barrier and cell membranes
  • Source of fuel for brain, heart and muscles
  • Major energy source (75%) for brain during starvation.

Thus, they are provide the body with much needed energy. In fact, they are a better and cleaner fuel for the body.

 What happens inside the body, when you’re in a state of Ketosis?

A ketogenic diet, involves very high consumption of fats and proteins and very little to no carbs. This causes your body to switch to fat as the primary source of energy.

The fats travel through the blood circulation to reach the liver where they are processed into ketone  bodies. The ketone bodies 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.

The body uses fat stores for energy due to a lack of glucose from carbohydrates.

Keto meals are based around meats, poultry, fish, eggs, higher-fat dairy (like butter, cheese, and cream), healthy fats (like oils, nuts, seeds, and avocados), and vegetables that are low in carbohydrates (like green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, squash, peppers, etc.). All starchy vegetables, grains, fruits, dairy such as milk and yogurt, natural and refined sugars and sweeteners – or anything that would increase carb intake to above 5 percent of calories – should be avoided.

Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what we put into it – when we overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.

Optimum ketosis for weight loss ?

  • Below 5 mmol/L is not considered “ketosis”. At this level, you’re far away from maximum fat-burning.
  • Between 0.5-1.5 mmol/L is light nutritional ketosis. You’ll be getting a good effect on your weight, but not optimal.
  • Around 1.5 – 3 mmol/Lis what’s called optimal ketosis and is recommended for maximum weight loss.

How to test ketone levels?

Ketone levels in your body can be tested by one of the three ways

Energy levels!

You might think, will I feel low all the time? Will I have the optimum amount of energy to carry out my daily tasks?

Those of you who are  wondering about this, especially for training because there are no carbs,  you must know that a high amount of fat in the diet will make you feel quite full and the fat is a very good fuel source for your body.

Can the brain function without carbs?

It’s a common misconception that the brain needs carbs. The truth is that the brain happily burns carbs when you eat them. But if you don’t eat too many carbs, the brain is happy to burn ketones instead.

Your brain will work better in general when burning fat rather than glucose, as fat has been shown to be both neurotherapeutic and neuroprotective.

While fats are unable to cross the blood brain barrier, ketones, being water-soluble fats, can cross it and feed your brain. Many times, improved cognition and mental acuity are among the first things people notice when entering nutritional ketosis.

Is Ketosis healthy?

We should know that:

  • Mild ketosis is a natural phenomenon that occurs in humans during fasting and lactation.Ketosis has a significant influence on suppressing hunger. Thus, a ketogenic diet is a good regulator of the body’s calorie intake and mimics the effect of starvation in the body. (NCBI)
  • A period of low carbohydrate ketogenic diet may help to control hunger and may improve fat oxidative metabolism and therefore reduce body weight. (NCBI)

It brings about a myriad of health benefits like:

Weight Loss, Controlled blood sugar, Controlled blood pressure, Increased mental focus, Accelerated energy and normalized hunger, Fight Acne, Healthier skin , hair and nails, Enhanced mood, Better sleep etc.

The ketogenic diet could have a healthful effect on serious health conditions such as:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • metabolic syndrome

It may also improve levels of HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins, also known as “good” cholesterol) better than other moderate carbohydrate diets.

Electrolyte deficiency, and Ketosis: 

You must know, by switching to a ketogenic low-carb diet, you are essentially transitioning yourself from a water-retaining diet, to a water-flushing diet. There are a variety of reasons for this, including reduction of inflammation (water tends to be bound up in inflammation) and the depletion of glycogen stores (glycogen retains water) in your liver and muscles.

Since your body retains less water whilst on a ketogenic low-carb diet, lots of electrolytes will be flushed out of your system.

This is not necessarily, a dangerous condition, since it  can be mitigated by taking enough amount of water, electrolyte rich foods and drinks! The three main electrolytes being sodium, potassium and magnesium.

This imbalance of electrolytes causes mild symptoms like  fatigue, headaches, light-headedness, dizziness and muscle cramping – often known as ‘KETO FLU’. Do not be intimidated by a low-carb diet, since it is easy to counteract these problems by supplementing your diet with extra  vitamin, minerals and electrolyte sources.

Keto Flu:

Also known as the ‘carb flu,’ the keto flu is a natural reaction (almost like a feeling of withdrawal) your body undergoes when switching from burning glucose (sugar) as energy to burning fat instead. In fact, some people say the keto flu symptoms can actually feel similar to withdrawing from an addictive substance.

It happens because you suddenly remove carbohydrates from your diet.

For an average person, the keto flu lasts a week or less, and symptoms usually begin within the first day or two of removing carbs.

In extreme cases, the keto flu can last up to a month, but that’s uncommon.Being a little vigilant and cautious with your diet can easily help you navigate these symptoms with ease. A right approach to keto diet is necessary to do it!

You can manage ‘keto flu’ by:

  • Keeping yourself hydrated
  • Taking an electrolyte supplement
  • Eat more fat
  • Take exogenous ketones
  • Adequate sleep
  • Exercise that may suit you


The unnecessarily dreaded phenomenon, ketoacidosis! Let’s make it clear to you, what actually it is, and who is at risk to such a problem?

Ketosis and ketoacidosis are NOT the same thing.

Ketosis is a 100% natural state, under full control by the body. It can be caused by a low-carb diet or by a brief period of fasting.

Most people who eat a strict low-carb ketogenic diet never reach levels higher than 3 millimolar or so. But ketoacidosis occurs at levels of 10+, most commonly 15+.

Ketoacidosis is a condition where the levels of ketones in the body are abnormally high, poisoning the body. It is a serious and dangerous condition that can quickly develop, sometimes within the space of 24 hours.

There are several different potential triggers for ketoacidosis. It is most commonly caused by illnesses that lead to the production of higher levels of hormones that work against insulin.

High levels of ketones in the urine and high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) are signs of ketoacidosis and can be detected with kits in the home.

Early symptoms of ketoacidosis include:

  • abdominal pain
  • confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • dry or flushed skin
  • excessive thirst and dry mouth
  • fruity breath
  • frequent urination
  • nausea and vomiting
  • shortness of breath or rapid breathing

Ketosis generally isn’t dangerous. It’s usually related to a planned low-carbohydrate diet or a transient condition related to diet only! 

Must know!

In diabetic patients, ketosis can occur due to the body not having enough insulin to process the glucose in the body. The presence of ketones in the urine is an indicator that a patient’s diabetes is not being controlled correctly.

A ketogenic diet is recommended for individuals with type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM). With type 2 diabetes, the body still produces some insulin but is unable to properly use the insulin to transport glucose into cells for use as fuel.

Patients with diabetes who follow a ketogenic diet need to carefully monitor their ketone levels. A serious condition called ketoacidosis can occur if these levels get too high, and although it is most prevalent in individuals with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes can also develop ketoacidosis sometimes.

Overcoming, all delusions!

Managing your weight, or overcoming obesity with the right approach is of course a very important issue, in almost everyone’s life today. Owing to our sedentary lifestyles, we are facing a lot of health problems.

Do not be intimidated by weight management through ketosis!

Know that the key to victory is not only in will power. Find the right guidance, to and embrace ketosis with no doubts and fears in mind!

Studies show that nutritional ketosis has the potential of alleviating food cravings, blood sugar irregularities, mind fog, excess body weight, abnormal cell growth, psychological imbalances, infertility and more.”

In nutritional ketosis, you will undergo a metabolic switch, leading to much more than just weight loss, so that you achieve the state of health you’ve been searching for. 

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 journety.


  1. Health benefits of ketogenic diet (including Don d Agostino approach), 2. A sustainable way to lose weight with KETO DIET (focussing on diet), will separately cover other aspects.