Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis

In the process of getting people to lose weight and fat dietary changes must be made.  The effectiveness of medical weight loss is unquestionable. 3-7bs of fat on average per week is consistent and measurable and has been demonstrated over and over again in our clinic, and in numerous facilities worldwide including 1500 facilities in Canada alone. The process requires a significant reduction in carbohydrates and because of this, the topic of ketosis invariably comes up. Furthermore, there are several misconceptions that must be cleared up about the differences between ketosis and ketoacidosis.

Most people consume carbohydrates in quantities that enable the glucose in the carbs to be converted to glycogen that is then used as energy to fuel the brain and body.  This process is the most common pathway for energy.  When carbohydrates are restricted, the body exhausts the glycogen found in the liver and in muscle tissue and the conversion to a different form of energy is required.  If this situation occurs in starvation and in the presence of inadequate protein, the body will convert muscle and protein to energy and literally “eat itself!” This may lead to weight loss but it is, of course, not recommended because muscle is a protein and so are other vital tissues like the heart, kidneys, eyes etc. Starvation diets can be incredibly dangerous because they do not protect these organs and can lead to very significant organ diseases.

Our medical weight loss program is very different in that although carbohydrates are restricted, we provide sufficient protein to protect the loss of muscle and organ proteins. The body goes through the shift from getting energy from carbohydrates to a new source, fat! This fat is usually readily abundant in people that need to lose weight and statistics show that most Americans are overweight and carry too much fat, so having a new source of energy is not a problem.

When we as humans get our energy from fat, the process of metabolizing this fat produces ketones.  Ketones are the byproduct of fat metabolism. In patients with a normal functioning pancreas, liver, and kidneys, they are excreted and do not build up in the body.  They are harmless and have been shown to have substantial benefit including blunted hunger and muscle sparing, as well as anti-cancer and anti-epileptic benefits.

In a type 1 diabetic, ketones are constantly produced.  The type one diabetic can, unfortunately have a problem when the levels of ketones exceed normal amounts and the result is ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is dangerous because it can lead to an excessive amount of ketones on organ and brain tissue and if unchecked, can be fatal.

The problem is that some have erroneously claimed that any levels of ketones in a normal, non type 1 diabetic can lead to ketoacidosis.  This could not be further from the truth.  Ketones in normal patients are simply excreted and no risk of ketoacidosis is possible.

Again, ketoacidosis is a process that only occurs in type 1 diabetics and only under certain situations, none of which would occur in persons following the protocol. Normal patients who wish to lose 3-7 lbs of weight and fat can safely use carbohydrate restriction and ketosis as a powerful vehicle to achieve the results they are seeking.  If you are interested in learning more about how medical weight loss is different from all of the other diet programs that are out there and why it is “the last diet you’ll ever need,” please call 970-686-9117 to attend one of our complimentary nutritional lectures, or schedule a complimentary consultation.

Dr. Jason W. Haas

Related Posts