Ketones

Glucose (a type of sugar) is the body’s main energy source.

What are Ketones?

Glucose (a type of sugar) is the body’s main energy source. When the body can’t use glucose for energy, it uses fat instead. When fats are broken down for energy, chemicals called ketones appear in the blood and urine. This is known as ketosis. When the body is in ketosis it is actively using fat stores as an energy source.

Ketosis can happen for one of two reasons:

  1. You do not have enough insulin in your blood.
  2. If there simply isn’t enough sugar available e.g. as a result of a low carbohydrate diet.

Using fat as an energy source is perfectly natural. For example, if you are fasting either by choice (on a diet) or you are stranded without food, the body needs to be able to use stored fat for energy. But the process is controlled by insulin.

Very Low Calorie Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD) offered here in Orsmond Clinics:

A Ketogenic diet primarily works by lowering insulin levels, producing ketones and increasing fat burning. It is an effective weight loss diet that is now well supported by scientific evidence. Ketogenic diets can improve metabolic health by improving insulin function, reducing inflammation and promoting fat loss all of which greatly reduce the risk of or improve existing obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Benefits of Ketosis:

  • Suppressed appetite.
  • Increased energy levels.
  • Improved glucose control.
  • Improved mood.
  • Rapid weight loss (10% weight reduction in approximately 40 days).

Ketones become a problem when you do not have enough insulin to control ketone production properly, such as with Type 1 diabetes. When too many ketones are produced too quickly they upset the delicate balance of the body’s chemistry and can lead to a problem called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is dangerous, but the good news is that you can usually stop it from developing.

Who is at risk from ketoacidosis?

  • People who use insulin: illness and sometimes stress can make ketone levels rise.
  • Young children with diabetes: sometimes it can be hard to tell if the symptoms of rising ketones are from other childhood illnesses.
  • Pregnant women with diabetes: high ketone levels can affect the unborn baby, so pregnant women with diabetes need to take care.
  • Insulin pump users: if an insulin pump fails blood glucose and ketone levels can rise very quickly.