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 http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/find-an-apd/
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