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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is ketosis an effective way to lose weight?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 5


    Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    Ketosis occurs when your body is starved of nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and fats and often occurs around 2 days up to weeks of starvation. It can also result from a very low carbohydrate diet where your body is forced to break down muscle protein, then body fat (yes in that order) as a source of energy to fuel the brain, heart and muscle. Both of these processes can have unfavourable outcomes on the body including a reduction in metabolic rate which is bad if you want to burn more fat to lose weight!

    High levels of ketone bodies results in metabolic acidosis (ketoacidosis/ketosis) resulting in considerable quantities of ketones in the urine. This causes your bodies pH levels to become more acidic. To help counteract, the kidney’s produce large amounts of ammonia and bicarbonate and excrete ammonium ions to return the bloods pH to normal.

    Over time ketosis can lead to problems of the kidneys and possible kidney disease and is not recommended as an effective way to lose weight in my professional opinion. Going into ketosis can also put you at risk of developing Gout, a painful condition associated with accumulation of uric acid deposits (tophi) in the joints, mainly the big toe. The reason why this occurs is that ketones and uric acid compete for excretion in the kidney, so high levels of ketones will reduce the amount of uric acid excreted from the body. Also rapid weight loss if obese with metabolic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance can lead to an increase in fats in the blood which can lead to fatty liver disease or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

    For successful, sustainable, long-term weight loss I find that a consultation with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) is the best approach. Through a combination of physical activity, reduced portion sizes, education on general healthy eating using the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and a reduction in the amount of energy (kilojoules) taken in is the best approach. To find an APD near you head to

  • 4


    Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    A well-managed ketogenic diet can be a safe and effective method for weight loss (both short and long term) and various other health outcomes. I suggest you read ‘The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living’ by J.Volek and S.Phinney to help you understand the concepts, formulation and evidence for such diets (
    All the best on your weight loss journey. 

  • 2


    Dr Kenneth Wong

    Bariatric (Obesity) Surgeon, General Surgeon, Laparoscopic Surgeon

    Dr Ken Wong is a very experienced specialist surgeon focussing on keyhole surgery techniques for gallstones, bowel cancer, hernia and weight loss surgery. He graduated … View Profile

    Yes, ketosis - which means starving the body of various nutrients - can certainly help a person to lose weight. 

    However, it is not a healthy state for the body to be in and weight loss is not sustained in the long term.

    Prior to weight loss surgery, patients are often placed on a low calorie, low carbohydrate diet for several weeks. This creates a state of ketosis. This certainly helps people lose several kilograms and then after weight loss surgery, a normal diet is resumed. Due to the effects of surgery, the weight loss is maintained. However, in those patients who do not proceed on to weight loss surgery, the weight loss induced by the ketosis associated with the low calorie diet is often no maintained and weight is regained.

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