Ketosis – how it helps you to lose weight

“Ketosis” is one of the main concepts when talking about low-carb diets. Since there are a lot of questions regarding Ketosis, I will try and explain the concept and its relation to weight loss a bit further.

When eating “normal” food, i.e food that contains lots of carbohydrates, the body converts these carbohydrates into glucose which gives the body energy. If you all but eliminate carbohydrates from your diet there will not be enough blood glucose for the body to function normally. However, the body has a smart back-up plan – it switches over to burn fat instead of carbs, a process called “ketosis”.

When in ketosis, fat is converted into “ketones”, particles used by the body as fuel instead of glucose (sugar). Ketosis is not as efficient as burning carbohydrates, which means that the metabolism will have to increase and you will use more calories than you normally do. The effect is most visible in the beginning of a low-carb diet before the body gets used to ketosis. Your will get warm and quickly lose weight. After a few months the body will have adapted to ketosis and your metabolism will decrease again, but it will still be higher then if the body had been running on carbohydrates.

Many believe that ketosis is dangerous since it’s not the “standard” way the body works, but in fact no harmful effects of ketosis have yet been proven. Eskimos, who don’t have access to grain and sugar, are in ketosis for many years without any known side-effects.

The increase of the metabolism caused by Ketosis is used in low-carb diets such as the Atkins diet. Most Low-GI diets also let you enter ketosis in the beginning before changing back to “normal” metabolism.

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