What is KETOSIS?

May 5, 2016

I have many people ask me questions about proper nutrition - and I'm glad to answer them!  But, there is so much "information" out there about various ways to lose weight - which, by the way, should not be the sole measure of success with regards to fitness.  In general, weight loss will happen when you are exercising regularly and fueling correctly and we should measure our "success" in terms of body composition, strength, health, sleeping better, feeling better, increased energy, improved performance, etc.  I'll stop myself from going on a rant about our obsession with weight loss....So, back to the question about KETOSIS. 


What is it? The dictionary defines ketosis as: /kɪˈtəʊsɪs/noun1.(pathol) a high concentration of ketone bodies in the blood Also called acetonaemia.  If that means absolutely nothing to you, you're not alone.  Basically, a ketogenic diet is one that requires very low carbohydrates with high fat and protein which forces the body to use fat as fuel instead of carbohydrate and forces the body into a state of ketosis.  Now, we're all on the same page!




This type of diet was originally tested as way to treat individuals who experienced epileptic seizures and later as a treatment for obesity in the 1930's. Although the individuals in the study did experience rapid weight loss, their ability to maintain the very low calorie and low carb diet after the inpatient portion was not successful.


 In the mid 1960's research began to show the link between chronic disease and physical inactivity.  Also during that time, studies were done comparing the effects of a carbohydrate-containing, verses carbohydrate-restricted hypo-caloric diet on obese, sedentary subjects put on an exercise program.  The results showed that the weight loss and body composition changes were the SAME between the two groups, but what was different was that the subjects on the carbohydrate restricted diet showed a 50% decrease in endurance which correlated with a decrease in muscle glycogen. 


So, in conclusion, if you participate in regular strength training or cardiovascular training, or would like to gain muscle mass,  a carbohydrate restricted diet will DRAMATICALLY effect your performance.  In fact, consuming carbohydrate, which provides muscle glycogen (also called "energy"), spares the protein that you consume to use for building muscle.




I know this may still seem a little confusing, but I hope to encourage you to do your research on the various diets that are out there and always be wary of a diet that tells you an entire food group is "bad" or that you should cut out foods that are normally considered part of a healthy diet.  If you would like to get some more in-depth guidance on nutrition, sign up for nutrition coaching today!


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