Home General What Is Ketosis, What Are the Benefits, and Is It Safe? —

What Is Ketosis, What Are the Benefits, and Is It Safe? —

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body burns fat (lipids) for fuel instead of glucose (glucose is a simple sugar that is the main source of energy for the body). Ketosis occurs when the body is deprived of glucose, or when glucose levels in the blood are reduced.

There is a lot of confusion about ketosis these days, and for good reason. You probably know that it’s a state of low-carb dieting where your body burns fat instead of carbs and sugar for energy. But there are a lot of misconceptions about ketosis. We hear things like, “ketones make you fat” or “ketosis causes heart disease.” In fact, ketosis is a healthy, natural state of the body that can be used for weight loss and to reverse type 2 diabetes. But it is not a magic bullet, and we are still learning more about its potential benefits and side effects.

Ketosis happens when your body doesn’t need to use glucose, the simple sugar found in glucose supplements and starch. Glucose is the sugar our bodies use as an energy source. It’s stored in our muscles and liver, and then is used by the body as needed. When we do not eat food, our bodies turn to stored glucose for energy.. Read more about is it good for your body to be in ketosis and let us know what you think.

Is it true that the brain need carbohydrates?

Carbs are thought to be required for healthy brain function, however this is a long-held but incorrect notion. In fact, if you ask certain dietitians how much carbohydrates you should consume each day, they’ll likely tell you that you need at least 130 grams to keep your brain supplied with glucose.

This, however, is not the case. In fact, even if you don’t consume any carbohydrates, your brain will stay healthy and functioning.

Although your brain has high energy needs and requires some glucose, when you’re in ketosis, you have enough of ketones to provide a significant part of its sustenance. Even if you’re completely starved, your liver will always produce the tiny quantity of glucose your brain requires.

Because our hunter-gatherer forefathers had constant access to a fuel source: stored body fat, they were able to continue for extended periods of time without eating.

The state of ketosis has no negative impact on brain function. On the contrary, many individuals claim that while they’re in ketosis, they’re cognitively sharper.

Is it true that the brain need carbohydrates?

2. Ketosis’s Advantages

Ketones, particularly BHB, may help decrease inflammation and oxidative stress, which are thought to play a role in the development of many chronic illnesses, in addition to providing a sustainable energy source.

Being in nutritional ketosis has a number of well-established and prospective advantages.

Benefits that have been established:

  • Appetite regulation: When individuals are in ketosis, one of the first things they notice is that they aren’t as hungry. Ketosis, in fact, has been proven to decrease appetite in studies. Ghrelin, the so-called “hunger hormone,” has also been shown to be lower in studies.
  • Weight loss: When carbohydrates are restricted and as much fat and protein as needed to feel satisfied, many individuals naturally eat less. It’s no surprise that ketogenic diets have been proven to outperform conventional weight-loss regimens since they suppress hunger, lower insulin levels, and boost fat burning.
  • Diabetes and prediabetes reversal: Being in ketosis may help normalize blood sugar and insulin responsiveness in individuals with type 2 diabetic or prediabetes, possibly allowing them to stop taking diabetes medication.
  • Ketosis may offer an exceptionally long-lasting fuel source during prolonged activity in both high-level and recreational athletes, potentially improving athletic performance.
  • Maintaining ketosis with a traditional ketogenic diet or a less restrictive modified Atkins diet (MAD) has been shown to treat epilepsy in both children and adults who do not respond to anti-seizure medication.

Ketosis may also help people live longer, healthier lives, according to preliminary research, by reducing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches, reversing PCOS, possibly enhancing conventional brain cancer therapies, possibly slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and possibly helping people live longer, healthier lives. Although more high-quality study is required to validate these findings, most of the preliminary data is promising.

3. Ketoacidosis vs. nutritional ketosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis and nutritional ketosis are two distinct conditions. Although nutritional ketosis is healthy and harmless, ketoacidosis is a medical emergency.

Unfortunately, many healthcare providers don’t know the difference between the two.

When individuals with type 1 diabetes do not take insulin, they develop ketoacidosis. Blood sugar and ketones increase to dangerously high levels in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), disrupting the blood’s delicate acid-base balance.

BHB levels in nutritional ketosis are usually less than 5 mmol/L. People with diabetic ketoacidosis, on the other hand, often have BHB levels of 10 mmol/L or more, which is linked to their inability to generate insulin.

The quantity of ketones in the blood differs dramatically between ketosis and ketoacidosis, as seen in this graph:


Those with type 2 diabetes who use SGLT2 inhibitors like Invokana, Farxiga, or Jardiance may also be at risk of ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis may also occur in women who do not have diabetes during nursing.

Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is virtually impossible for most individuals who can produce insulin.


4. Guidelines for achieving ketosis

You may enter nutritional ketosis in a variety of methods that are both safe and effective.

  • Reduce net carb consumption to fewer than 20 grams per day: Although you may not need to be as rigorous as this, eating less than 20 grams of net carbohydrates per day practically ensures nutritional ketosis and is likely the only piece of advise you’ll need. How does 20 grams of carbohydrate look? To find out, use our visual guide, or just try our keto recipes and meal plans, which keep carbohydrates to under 20 grams per day.
  • Intermittent fasting may help you get into ketosis faster by allowing you to go for 16-18 hours without eating. This is simple to do by missing breakfast or supper, which on the appetite-suppressing keto diet may seem quite normal.
  • Don’t be afraid of fat: While cutting carbohydrates is the most important step, increasing fat calories may help you shift to fat burning with less hunger, particularly if you’re just starting started. To guarantee that you are burning your body fat reserves as you continue on your low-carb journey, progressively reduce your fat consumption. This isn’t to say you should follow a low-fat diet. It simply implies that you may not need to add extra fat when you don’t need the additional calories.
  • Cook with coconut oil: In addition to being a natural fat that can withstand high temperatures, coconut oil includes medium-chain fatty acids that may help with ketone synthesis and may have other advantages. While coconut oil is not required for weight reduction, it may be beneficial if you want to increase your ketones for other reasons.
  • If feasible, exercise: You may not have enough energy to participate in intense physical activity during the shift into ketosis. Going for a vigorous walk, on the other hand, may make it easier to enter ketosis.

More information on how to enter ketosis on a keto diet may be found here.

Supplements aren’t necessary.

You don’t need costly supplements like exogenous ketones or MCT oil, which aren’t on the list above (medium-chain triglycerides). These substances are unlikely to aid weight loss or illness reversal. At the very least, there isn’t any proof supporting it.


Ketone supplements have no effect on insulin or blood sugar levels, nor do they promote fat burning. It’s difficult to imagine they’d help with weight reduction or type 2 diabetes reversal in any way.

These ketone supplements may enhance mental and physical performance for a brief period of time. This possibility is likewise untested, to the best of our knowledge. They do increase blood ketones levels, which may last anywhere from one to several hours.

We’re not suggesting that you avoid purchasing these supplements. You may want to give them a go and see how they make you feel. However, you don’t require them to follow a keto diet or enter ketosis. Here’s how we put keto supplements to the test:

Exogenous ketone supplements: How effective are they?

5. The impact of protein on ketosis

Although obtaining enough protein in any diet is essential for avoiding muscle loss, there have been numerous concerns regarding how protein affects ketone levels.

Protein is broken down into separate amino acids during digestion, which causes insulin to be released. Although the quantity of insulin required to transport these amino acids into muscles is modest, when significant quantities of protein are eaten, the increase in insulin may decrease ketone generation.

As a result, ketogenic diets for epilepsy are low in both protein and carbohydrates, ensuring that ketone levels are maintained at all times.

Protein, on the other hand, seems to have a very individual impact on ketosis.

The scientific literature does not support the claim that eating too much protein makes blood sugar management worse for most people. Three studies, for example, found that consuming 30 percent of calories from protein improved glycemic control. Patients with type 2 diabetes who ate a 50g protein lunch showed no significant rise in blood glucose levels, according to another research.

When Bjarte Bakke of performed many n=1 tests to determine how much protein he could consume and still stay in ketosis, he discovered that maintaining net carb consumption below 20 grams per day was the most important factor, independent of protein intake.

If you want to remain in ketosis while still eating a lot of protein but are worried about side effects, you should perform your own n=1 tests to figure out what your particular protein threshold is. It’s possible that it’s higher than you realize.

More information on protein on a ketogenic diet may be found here.

6. What is the best way to go into ketosis?

On a ketogenic diet, there are several ways to go into ketosis, and various degrees of ketosis may be achieved. Although the phrase “optimal” ketosis is often used, it is not well defined. Targeting a ketone level over 1.5 mmol/L for treating seizures or Alzheimer’s disease, for example, may be beneficial, while the degree of elevation may not matter at all for reducing weight or improving blood sugar. This graph illustrates the point. The figures below are the results of blood ketone testing.


  • Ketosis isn’t defined as anything less than 0.5 mmol/l, but a result of 0.2 indicates that you’re near. You may not be in your fat-burning zone at this point.
  • Nutritional ketosis is defined as a blood sugar level of 0.5 to 3 mmol/l. You’ll probably notice a positive change in your weight and metabolic rate.
  • Some people consider 1.5–3 mmol/l to be “optimal” ketosis. The notion of optimum ketosis, on the other hand, is debatable, and it’s uncertain if it provides any significant advantages above the 0.5-1.5 range. Seizures may be an exception, as well as individuals seeking maximal mental and physical performance benefits.
  • Over 3 mmol/l is considered excessive. It is unlikely to provide better or worse outcomes than being in the 1.5–3 range. Higher levels may potentially indicate a lack of nutrition (known as “starvation ketosis”). Ketone levels above 3.0 mmol/L in individuals with type 1 diabetes may be caused by a significant shortage of insulin, necessitating immediate medical care.
  • Over 8–10 mmol/l: Getting to this level on a keto diet is usually difficult. It denotes that things isn’t right. Kind 1 diabetes is a type of diabetes in which the body, which is characterized by a significant shortage of insulin, is by far the most frequent cause. Feeling extremely ill with nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and disorientation are some of the symptoms. Ketoacidosis, the probable end consequence, is potentially deadly and requires urgent medical attention.

7. Signs that you’re in a state of ketosis

There are many indicators that you’re in ketosis, but the only objective method to confirm it is to measure your ketones. Here are a few of the most common:

  • A metallic taste in the tongue or a dry mouth.
  • Increased thirst and urine on a more regular basis.
  • Others may notice your “keto breath” or “fruity breath” more than you do. Find out more.
  • An initial feeling of exhaustion is followed by a surge in energy.
  • Appetite and food consumption decrease (one of the more pleasant side effects!).

Ketones are measured by using a ketone meter.

There are three methods for measuring ketones, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. See our complete guide on the best method to test ketones for a comprehensive comparison.


Continue reading for a condensed version. Please note that none of the brands listed here are affiliated with us.

  1. Strips of urine
  2. Ketone analyzers for breath
  3. Ketone meter for blood

Strips of urine


Urine strips are the most straightforward and cost-effective method of determining ketosis. For most newcomers to the keto diet, this is their first choice.

Dip the strip in your urine, and the color shift 15 seconds later will reveal the presence of ketones. You’ll know you’re in ketosis if the reading is high (dark purple hue).

Pro: Ketone strips are inexpensive and may be found in conventional pharmacies or on Amazon. A strong positive test indicates that you’re in ketosis with certainty.

Cons: Depending on how much fluid you consume, your results may vary. Drinking additional water dilutes the concentration of ketones in the urine, resulting in lesser ketones being identified on the strips. The strips do not provide an exact ketone level. Finally, and most crucially, urine strips may become unreliable as you grow more keto-adapted and your body reabsorbs ketones from your pee, even if you’re in ketosis.

This occurs when the body adapts to utilizing ketones, allowing them to remain in the bloodstream and be utilized as energy rather than being excreted in the urine. Despite having the same blood ketone levels, the kidneys excreted ketones at one-third the rate after three weeks in one research.

When you’ve been in ketosis for many weeks, the test may cease functioning, always returning a negative result.

Amazon has urine strips for sale.

2. Ketone analyzers for breath

Ketone analyzers based on breath are a straightforward method to test ketones. They are more costly than urine strips, costing $169 and more. They are, however, less expensive in the long term than blood-ketone meters since they may be used many times.


When used alone, these analyzers do not offer an exact ketone level, but rather a color code for the overall level.

You may also use the app to obtain a more precise ketone number by connecting the gadget to a computer or a smartphone (newer models). According to the manufacturer, the gadget has a good connection with blood ketones in the majority of cases, but not all.

Pro: Reusable and straightforward test.

Cons: Blood ketones may not always correspond properly. Not usually accurate, and in certain cases, may display numbers that are completely deceptive. If you recently ate a lot of carbohydrates, for example, the Ketonix may show misleadingly high readings. More costly than urine strips and a blood meter in the long run.

Ketonix is available for purchase.

Using breath-ketone analyzers in a video

3. Ketone meters in the blood


Ketone meters measure the precise amount of ketones in your blood at any given time. On a ketogenic diet, they are the gold standard and the most precise method to evaluate your ketosis status. They used to be very costly, but today they can be found for a lower price.

What if you aren’t in a state of ketosis?

If you’re following a keto diet but aren’t experiencing any signs or symptoms of ketosis, try the following strategies:

  • Keep track of your carbohydrate consumption. While we don’t advocate calorie monitoring or tracking, keeping note of your carb consumption may assist ensure you’re consuming fewer than 20 grams of carbohydrates. Cronometer, Senza, Carb management, and other internet sites or apps may be used.
  • Late in the morning or late in the afternoon, check your blood ketones. Ketone levels in the blood and urine fluctuate throughout the day and from person to person. After waking up, many individuals notice that their blood ketone levels are at their lowest. Test later, ideally a few hours after you’ve eaten. Even if you’re just in ketosis for a few hours a day, you’ll reap some advantages, as Dr. Steve Phinney explains in his talk: Achieving and Maintaining Nutritional Ketosis.
  • Make an effort to be patient. Although some individuals enter ketosis fast, it may take longer for others. People who are insulin resistant, however, seem to have a longer road ahead of them. Put in a month of regular keto diet and, if feasible, increase your physical activity. You should be in ketosis and reaping the advantages of ketosis within four weeks.


Which ketone meter is the finest on the market?

Guide You can test for ketones in your blood using a blood ketone meter. Here’s a rundown of the best choices.

8. Potential risks, concerns, and side effects

Headache, tiredness, lightheadedness, irritability, cramping, and constipation are common side symptoms that occur during the first few days of beginning a ketogenic diet. These symptoms are referred to as the “keto flu,” and they may be treated by controlling fluids and electrolytes, among other things. More information on the keto flu may be found here.

Is it safe to be in ketosis for everyone?

Ketosis is generally safe for most individuals and may offer a variety of health advantages, such as weight reduction and optimum blood sugar and insulin levels, to mention a few.

However, some people should only follow a ketogenic diet under medical supervision, while others should avoid it entirely.

During ketosis, the following conditions need medical care and monitoring:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Insulin or oral diabetic medicines are used to treat type 2 diabetes.
  • On medicine for high blood pressure
  • Ailment of the liver, heart, or kidneys
  • Gastric bypass surgery has a long history.
  • Pregnancy

Ketosis should be avoided in the following situations:

  • Women who are breast-feeding
  • Individuals with uncommon metabolic disorders, such as enzyme impairments that impair the body’s capacity to produce and utilize ketones or correctly digest fats, who are usually identified in infancy.


The keto flu, as well as other keto side effects and how to deal with them

Guide The keto flu may occur during the first few days of a keto diet. You may be fatigued, get a headache, or become easily irritated. Here’s everything you need to know about the keto flu and how to prevent it.

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The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is a low-carb, high-fat diet with the goal of entering a state of ketosis, which is characterized by the burning of fat (without any loss of muscle tissue) as a source of energy. While the diet is a popular way to lose weight and improve health, it’s not without its risks. As mentioned above, the diet appears to be most effective for losing weight; however, some adverse effects have been reported, including fatigue, headache, and kidney stones.. Read more about ketosis benefits and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is being in ketosis healthy?

Yes, ketosis is a healthy state.

Is ketosis safe and does it have side effects?

Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that occurs when the body burns fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates. It has been shown to have many benefits, including weight loss and improved athletic performance. However, there are some side effects associated with ketosis such as bad breath, fatigue, and dizziness.

What does ketosis do to your body?

Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body has high levels of ketones in the blood, which are produced when the body burns fat for energy instead of glucose.

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