What You Need To Know About Ketosis

Trendy diets come and go, but the ketogenic diet has stuck around. The diet involves going into a metabolic state, called ketosis, where your body uses fats and ketones as fuel instead of carbs, according to WebMD. Ketosis will occur after eating less than 50 grams of carbs for 3 or 4 days. For comparison, that's roughly equivalent to 3 slices of bread or 2 small bananas (via WebMD). When someone purposefully eats lots of fats and proteins and very few carbs, they have started the "keto" diet.

The "keto" diet has become incredibly popular. Even fast-food chains like Chipotle, Panera Bread, and In-N-Out (per Delish) have put ketogenic foods on the menu for those on the diet. More companies are selling pre-made meals that help you follow a low-carb lifestyle. Like many popular diets, there are several myths surrounding the "keto" diet, but many studies have shown benefits associated with being in ketosis.

The ketogenic diet might help you lose weight

The main reason why many people start the "keto" diet is to lose weight. In ketosis, the body primarily uses fat as fuel, leading to weight loss. In fact, a 2013 review of 13 studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggested that the ketogenic diet was more effective for weight loss than a standard low-fat diet. The participants who followed the ketogenic diet lost 2 more pounds, on average, than the people who stuck to a low-fat diet.

The ketogenic diet can be especially effective in older adults. A 2020 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism looked at 34 obese participants, both men and women who were 60- to 75-years-old, and put them on the ketogenic diet for 8 weeks. They lost 5 times as much body fat as the participants who followed a low-fat diet. In both studies, the participants saw other health benefits, including lowered blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels, a type of fat found in blood (per Healthline), as well as improved sensitivity to insulin.

The keto diet may help with diabetes

The main characteristics of diabetes are changes in metabolism, high blood sugar, and an inability to properly absorb insulin, according to Healthline. As previously mentioned, the ketogenic diet can help with lowering blood sugar and repairing impaired insulin function. Many studies have shown the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet for diabetics.

A 2005 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine indicated that the ketogenic diet can improve sensitivity to insulin by 75%. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research found that women with type-2 diabetes who followed the ketogenic diet for 90 days saw significant drops in their hemoglobin A1C, which represents average blood sugar levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Finally, a 2019 study published in Frontiers in Endocrinology had almost 350 participants with type-2 diabetes follow the ketogenic diet. On average, the participants lost 26 pounds over 2 years.

However, if you have diabetes and it is not under control, the increase in ketones can be dangerous, according to WebMD. High levels of ketones can affect your blood's chemical balance, potentially leading to coma or death. This buildup of acids in your blood is called diabetic ketoacidosis (per WebMD). People receiving enough insulin who correctly follow a low-carb diet should have no problems, but speak to your doctor before shifting your diet.