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What is Ketosis?

When someone tries to lose weight, he or she might choose to alter diet. One option includes Ketogenic diet or low-carb diet. This diet consists of large amounts of proteins and fats and reduced carbohydrate intake. Normally, our body gets energy from carbohydrates, but when carbohydrate source isn’t available, body starts to break down fats for energy. This reflects in altered metabolic process which can cause digestive problems. Ketogenic diet is associated with dehydration and constipation as well, especially in the beginning of such diet.

Ketones or ketone bodies are molecules generated when body starts to use fats for energy. They are toxic chemicals such as acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate. At first, produced ketones are eliminated from the body via urine and this way ketone level is regulated. Later on, ketones start to accumulate in the body which leads to ketosis, unhealthy metabolic state. Ketosis causes appetite loss. Person doesn’t feel the need for nutrition and thereby starts losing weight. This stimulates the person to continue with ketogenic diet.

What are the Side Effects of Ketosis?

Ketosis involves number of side effect, while the most common and popular one is lack of appetite. This leads to weight loss but on the other hand can cause various problems. Energy is usually on a very low level and the person becomes ill. Low energy is followed by headache, dizziness, sluggish mental state and even nausea and diarrhea. Vitality can also be affected since body needs more energy to use fats. Another side effect of ketosis can be bad breath. Distinct breath odor or sweet-smelling fruity acetone breath occurs because the body tries to eliminate excess acetone through lungs and because of changes in bacteria and enzymes from digestive system.

Ketosis might also induce blood vessels impairment because of increased level methylglyoxal substance. This eventually leads to kidney stones, osteoporosis, gout, heart palpitation, calcium deficiency, liver damage, and other problems.

 Ketosis can result in ketoacidosis life-threatening condition characteristic by highly acidic blood. Ketoacidosis can develop in person with type 1 diabetes. Initial symptoms of ketoacidosis are vomiting and confusion which later, if untreated, lead to coma or lethal outcome.

Side effects of ketosis are not necessarily severe provided that the person on diet is otherwise healthy. It is highly recommended not to start ketogenic diet if you are pregnant, alcohol-dependent or suffering from kidney or liver diseases. Health benefits of ketogenic diet can be seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and epileptic seizures (in children).

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