Ketosis Complete Guide: Meaning, Benefits, Diet, Side Effects

If you have come across the term Ketosis after researching the ketogenic diet on multiple websites but are still perplexed about what it actually means, you’ve come to the right place. 

From fasting and abstaining from high-caloric foods to exercising and working out rigorously, let’s face it, losing weight can be an extremely tedious and tiring task. 

Losing weight can be an exceptionally difficult and demotivating task especially when you are unable to see any visible results. 

Believe it or not, how difficult you might think losing weight can be, you can easily lose those couple of extra pounds with some tweaks in your daily living habits. 

The Ketogenic diet or the keto diet just like intermittent fasting or circadian rhythm fasting is among the most common and efficient ways of losing weight and staying fit. 

The Keto diet often triggers your body to reach the ketosis stage to effectively and rapidly lose weight. 

But what does the term ketosis actually mean and how does this term exactly help you in losing weight?

If you are someone who is willing to lose weight but does not know the right way to do it, then the ketogenic diet is yours to try. 

Here is a complete and comprehensive guide to ketosis to help you start your ketogenic diet on the right foot.

What is Ketosis?

The human body is a finely developed machine that encompasses mechanisms that help facilitate its smooth functions. 

Your metabolism is one such mechanism that helps extract and utilize energy from the foods you eat to help sustain your overall health.

Metabolism is a process where the foods and liquids you ingest are converted into energy to fuel the body. 

During the metabolic process, the calories you ingest from foods and beverages are mixed with oxygen to provide the body with the required energy. 

Believe it or not but your body goes through the metabolic process even when it is in the resting state. Ketosis is a metabolic state or a stage of fasting where your body begins to utilize the stored fats called glycogen as a sole source of fuel.

Ideally, the ketosis process occurs when the body does not have enough calorie content to fuel the body and instead uses fats as a source of energy instead of glucose. 

Ketosis occurs when there is a high concentration of ketones or beta-hydroxybutyrate in the bloodstream. 

It is generally triggered by indulging in a low-carb or low-caloric fasting plan where the body is forced to reach a stage of starvation and becomes deprived of glucose. 

The cells in the human body depend heavily on glucose as a source of energy. When there is a lack of glucose in the bloodstream to fuel the cells the levels of the hormone insulin begin to drop significantly, further leading the fatty acids to be released in the bloodstream. 

These fatty acids are then oxidized after being transported to the liver where they are then turned into ketones. 

These ketones, unlike fatty acids, are able to cross the brain-blood barrier and effectively act as a source of energy to fuel your body.

How Does Ketosis Process Help You Lose Weight? 

Ideally, when losing excess weight you need to determine how to effectively utilize stored fat cells called glycogen as a means of fueling your body instead of sugar fuel (glucose). 

Insulin contributes greatly to determine whether your body will utilize stored fats or sugars as a means of fuel and energy. 

If your insulin levels spike upon consuming foods that are rich in sugars and carbs your body will begin to use sugars as an immediate source of energy. 

However, by consuming foods that are lacking in terms of carbs and calories your body will begin to utilize the stored fats in the cells called glycogens as a source of fuel. 

Hence, the main goal of practicing the ketogenic diet is to burn all the glycogen stored in the fat cells until they are completely depleted and to utilize fats and proteins as a source of energy. 

This in turn leads to the production of ketones in the body, a compound that only occurs when the body begins to convert fat cells into fuel. 

The body later reaches the point of ketosis, where the sole and primary source of energy is fats, eventually leading to exponential weight loss. 

However, how sooner or later your body reaches the point of ketosis is based on variables like food ingestion, types of foods, methods of fasting, and eating windows.

What are the Benefits of Ketosis?

Believe it or not but the benefits of ketosis can go beyond just helping you lose a couple of extra pounds. 

Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body begins to use ketones as a sustainable means of providing energy to your body. 

There are several established and proven benefits of ketosis that might not only surprise you but also promote you to jump on a ketogenic diet:

Helps regulate blood sugar levels:

The ketosis process or the ketogenic diet has been known to provide the benefit of regulating blood sugar levels. 

According to research on Ketogenic Diet and its impact on metabolic processes, it was evident that indulging in a ketogenic diet can help prevent or even treat type 2 diabetes. 

People with type 2 prediabetes witnessed positive shifts in their blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity which eventually led to the discontinuation of their prediabetes medications.

Regulates Appetite:

The ketogenic diet utilizes the ketosis process to help you balance your insulin levels by indulging in a low-carb and high-caloric diet. 

According to a study, among the first changes, most people notice after practicing their ketogenic diet, is the sense of suppressed hunger. 

This is because the ketosis process leads to a decline in the production of a hormone called “ghrelin” or the hunger hormone, eventually making you feel less hungry throughout the day.

Facilitates weight loss:

A ketogenic diet or other diet plans that utilize the ketosis process are among the most efficient and natural ways of losing weight. 

According to research on the effects of dietary intervention on people with obesity, the ketosis process helps you naturally lose weight by regulating insulin levels, suppressing hunger, and metabolizing fat cells. 

Enhances Athletic Performance:

A study on acute national ketosis and its impacts on athletic performance indicated that the ketosis process can help sustain your energy levels and improve your exercise and training performance.

Manages Seizures:

According to this study which analyzed the short-term and long-term efficacy of the ketogenic diet, maintaining the ketosis process can help control epilepsy and seizures in both adults and children who are unable to respond to seizure medications.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The Keto diet also referred to as the Ketogenic Diet is a simple diet plan that utilizes the benefits and effects of the ketosis process. 

The ketogenic diet plan incorporates low-carb but high-calorie meal plans which include foods that are rich in fats, lower in terms of carbohydrates, and adequate in terms of proteins. 

In a Ketogenic Diet, instead of gaining energy from carbohydrates and getting energy from fats and proteins. 

The ketogenic diet promotes one to cut back on their consumption of carb-rich foods such as milk, pasta, white bread, or sweetened beverages as they are easily digested by the body. 

During a ketogenic diet, the body relies on the ketones that are produced in the liver in the form of stored fats. 

As your daily intake of carbs is less than 50 grams, the body begins to run out of quick fuel or energy (blood sugar) and begins to break down the fats and proteins, eventually leading to weight loss. 

This process of breakdown of fats and proteins in conjunction with weight loss is called ketosis and can take up to 3 to 4 days to reach. 

It is also important to note that the Ketogenic Diet is only meant for facilitating weight loss and should not be preferred as a purist of healthy eating habits.

What are the Side Effects of Ketosis?

With all the health benefits that come with practicing the ketogenic diet, this nutritional practice just like any other restrictive diet plan can have detrimental side effects. 

In fact, when maintaining a state of ketosis for a prolonged period of time many people tend to feel symptoms of “keto flu” which can be a direct side effect of sugar and carbohydrate withdrawals. 

Furthermore, the ketogenic diet or other diet plans that utilize the ketosis process can also lead to disruption in your gut microbiome. 

If you have experienced any of the following side effects or symptoms it is best to stop your ketogenic diet plan for a little while:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Disruption in the sleep cycle 
  • Constipation
  • Irritability
  • Sore muscles
  • Bad breath
  • Sugar craving
  • Stomachaches 
  • Cramps

How to Start Your Ketogenic Diet Correctly?

To avoid any form of side effects that may derail you from your new ketogenic diet plan, you can follow the four steps to optimum success that will help you sustain your ketosis state and lose excess weight:

Try Keto with Intermittent Fasting:

When trying out the ketogenic diet with the intermittent fasting diet plan can be an easy way of not only accelerating your weight loss process by also amplifying your overall health. 

Distributing your meal plans and eating schedules to 16 or 18 hours a day, can help you reach the ketosis state much faster. 

The best way to start your ketogenic diet is by skipping your breakfast or dinner as during these times many people tend to feel less hungry.

Incorporate Healthy Fats:

The key when practicing a ketogenic diet is to reduce your consumption of carbs but raise the consumption of calories. 

This is because unlike carbs, foods rich in healthy fats not only metabolize faster but also keep you feeling fuller for longer. 

Hence it is best to incorporate healthy fats like butter, avocados, coconut oil, and nuts can be a great way of staying fit and healthy as you begin to eliminate carbs.

Work out:

Working out is among the best ways of enhancing your immunity and facilitating your weight loss process. 

Believe it or not, exercising and working out when practicing the ketogenic diet can help you sustain your ketosis process.

Use coconut oil for cooking:

Healthy fats like coconut oil can be a great alternative to sugar or carb-rich foods during the ketogenic diet. 

This is because coconut oil is a form of MCT oil or a Medium Chain Triglyceride that can help boost the production of ketones in the liver.

Have about 20 grams of carbs a day:

Lastly, it is recommended to consume about 20 grams or fewer carbohydrates to achieve and remain in the nutritional ketosis state.