Written by Mel Gearing & Caitlin. Edited by Cindra Banks
KETOSIS is a word you have likely seen banded around in the health and wellness space of late, so what exactly is it?
The human body is normally a sugar-driven machine – the carbohydrates we eat get converted to sugars and our bodies use them for either energy or storage. When the body is being fed a healthy balanced diet, the body is likely working in this state and controlling how much fat it burns.
When one drastically reduces their kilojoule or carbohydrate intake, such as going on a high-fat-low-carbohydrate diet, the body must switch to using another form of energy in order to keep functioning. This new state is called ketosis and involves the burning of fat for energy.
Ketosis can also happen during pregnancy and after a long duration of exercise. Ketosis is often a common occurrence in people with diabetes and is a sign that the body isn't using enough insulin (this causes the fruity smelling ‘acetone’ breath).
The popularity of ketogenic diets has withstood throughout the years (remember the Atkins diet?) for their effective weight loss without calorie counting or restrictive eating. This way of eating has also been successfully used in a therapeutic setting to help control seizures in treatment resistant epilepsy and other conditions stemming from an altered functioning brain.
Be warned however, as ketosis can become dangerous in the long term for some people as high levels of ketones may cause dehydration and changes in the chemical balance of the blood.
I like to consider ketosis more for as a short-term, therapeutic treatment as opposed to an everyday diet. You can listen to my podcast here for more information on how ketosis works in the body and my thoughts around it!
There is a lot of hype around ketosis at the moment and it is easy to get caught up in it all, with keto powders and bars being released and high-profile wellness personalities promoting their benefits.
It is important to consult your health care professional before undertaking any kind of radical diet change especially if there is any underlying health conditions.