These terms often get confused, and a normal state of the body can be confused with a dangerous condition. So, what's the difference?
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication that occurs in type-1 diabetics when the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones. The condition develops when the body can't produce enough insulin. Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose), a source of energy for your muscles and other tissues, enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as fuel in an UNREGULATED manner. This process produces a build-up of acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated.
Ketosis however, is a normal process that happens when your body doesn't have enough carbs to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat in a REGULATED way and makes substances called ketones, which it can use for fuel.
Ketosis is a popular weight loss strategy, introducing a low carbohydrate diet to aid the bodies ability to use stored body fat as fuel and improving satiety. In addition, due to the increase in protein generally associated with an increase in healthy fat-based food and a decrease in carb based foods, it also helps you maintain muscle. Ketones are also known for their muscle sparing abilities!
For people who aren't living with type-1 diabetes, ketosis usually kicks in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Doctors have placed children who have epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, very low-carb and protein plan because it might help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy also sometimes eat modified ketogenic diets.
Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show specific very-low-carb diets help people with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes! Researchers are also studying the effects of these diets on cancer, poly-cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s.
If you are healthy and eating a whole nutritious balanced diet, your body can control how much fat it burns so dip into and out of ketosis as it needs. This is a term called metabolic flexibility – The ability of the body to use all of its available metabolic states.
In next weeks blog, we'll look at the signs of ketosis and how the it works.
In the meantime, feel free to contact me for any advice/guidance, and make sure you get your questions in for Friday's reader Q & A!