Ketosis is a natural metabolic process that happens when your body lacks enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Without access to carbs or glucose, your liver starts to burn fat, and the breakdown of fats into fatty acids results in the formation of molecules called ketone bodies. Ketone bodies can be used as fuel for the body.
Ketosis has numerous health benefits and is safe for most people, but it may have some negative effects especially in the beginning, although these effects are typically not serious.
What are the health benefits of ketosis?
Ketosis can have a few significant health benefits:
- Promotes weight loss: In the short term, ketosis can help you lose weight by reducing your body’s stores of glycogen, the storage form of glucose in muscles and liver, and water. In the long term, it can suppress your appetite and cause you to eat less. Ketogenic diets also consist of foods that cause you to feel full longer and reduce the level of hunger-stimulating hormones.
- Improves acne: Acne is often caused by hormonal imbalances, as well as diet and blood sugar. Eating a diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates can alter the balance of gut bacteria and cause spikes in blood sugar, both of which can adversely affect skin health. A low-carb ketogenic diet can therefore help you reduce acne symptoms.
- Kills cancer cells: For people with certain cancers, a ketogenic diet is a safe and suitable complementary treatment to use alongside chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This is because ketones cause more oxidative stress in cancer cells than in normal cells, causing them to die.
- Protects brain function: Ketones provide neuroprotective benefits, which means they can strengthen and protect your brain and nerve cells. Following a keto diet may help you prevent or manage conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Reduces epileptic seizures: Ketosis can reduce seizures in people with epilepsy, especially those who have not responded to other treatment methods. Many children with epilepsy have seen significant reductions in seizures while following a ketogenic diet, and some have experienced remission.
What are the negative effects of ketosis?
Ketosis may cause some negative symptoms, especially if you are just starting a keto diet. Effects are typically mild and may include:
- Keto flu: At the beginning of ketosis, you may experience a range of symptoms like headache and fever. This is often called the “keto flu” because symptoms resemble flu symptoms. This is due to the body getting accustomed to using fats instead of carbohydrates as energy.
- Bad breath: One of the more common side effects of ketosis is bad breath, often described as fruity and slightly sweet. It’s caused by acetone, a ketone that’s a byproduct of fat metabolism.
- Leg cramps: Leg cramps usually stem from dehydration and loss of minerals. This is because ketosis causes a reduction in water weight. Glycogen binds to water and gets flushed out when there’s a reduced intake of carbs. It’s one of the main reasons why people lose weight rapidly in the first week of a very low-carb diet.
- Digestive problems: Dietary changes can sometimes lead to digestive issues. This is also true for ketogenic diets. Constipation is a common side effect in the beginning, and is often due to not eating enough fiber and not drinking enough fluids.
You should not follow a keto diet if you have:
- Liver and kidney issues: The keto diet can cause stress on the kidneys and liver, and should therefore be avoided if you have abnormal kidney and liver functions.
- Heart issues: Many cardiologists do not advise the keto diet if you have heart issues because the long-term consumption of high-fat foods can cause damage to your heart.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Masood W, Annamaraju P, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
Top Is It Good for Your Body to Be in Ketosis? Related Articles
Heart Healthy Diet: 25 Foods You Should EatWhat foods are heart healthy? Learn what foods help protect your cardiovascular system from heart attack, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Plus, find easy meal recipes and menu ideas for more everyday heart benefit.
Are Shirataki Noodles Keto Friendly?Shirataki noodles are made from konjac yam, they are translucent noodles, and are high in glucomannan fiber. Shirataki is Japanese for “white waterfall,” which describes the lucid appearance of the noodles. Glucomannan fiber is a type of soluble fiber that comes from the root of the konjac plant.
Nutrition QuizEven if you think you're getting enough fruits and vegetables per day, how can you be sure? Take the Diet & Nutrition Quiz to learn more about eating right.
Signs You're Not Getting Enough ProteinAre you getting enough protein in your diet? Learn to spot the warning signs of protein deficiency, who is the most at risk, and when you need more protein.
Best Diet Tips SlideshowLearn to lose weight in a realistic way that works. Find healthy weight loss by eating right, sleeping more, understanding portion sizes. Learn how to set reasonable diet standards.
Ketogenic DietThese are low-carb diets -- the basic idea is to get most of your calories from protein and fat. There are some benefits, but you should be careful with them, especially if you have certain medical issues.
Metabolism QuizWould you know if there were something wrong with your metabolism? At what age does metabolism begin to slow? Take the mystery out of metabolism with this quiz!
The 10 Best Diet Plans For Weight LossDiet means a reduction in calorie intake. For the optimal management of overweight and obese patients, a combination of diet, exercise, and behavioral modifications may be helpful. Weight loss is directly related to the difference between the individual’s energy intake and energy expenditure.
Top 11 Signs You Are in KetosisKetosis is defined as a natural metabolic process that involves the production of energy from the breakdown of fat into ketone bodies. Signs that suggest you are in ketosis include fatigue, bad breath, dry mouth, weight loss, flu-like symptoms and decreased hunger and thirst.
What Are the 7 Things You Need for a Balanced Diet?There are seven essential factors for a balanced diet. They are carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water.
What Is the Number One Diet?As per recent survey and analysis, research has confirmed that Mediterranean diet is the number one diet. As per research, people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and are at low risk of cancer or cardiovascular ailments than other people.
Why Are Ketones Bad?Ketones, also called ketone bodies or keto acids, are a type of water-soluble compound produced from the fat breakdown in the body. Although ketones are a normal product of metabolism, they may be produced in excess in certain situations, such as diabetes.