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Is Ketosis Dangerous?

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Source: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. Volek, Jeff; Phinney, Stephen

The ketogenic diet is one of the safest and most beneficial diets on the planet. Yet, millions of people view it with distrust and feel like it’s dangerous and unhealthy.
Most often, they don’t understand the science behind the diet and are against it because of misconceptions that are currently prevailing as truth. To truly understand why ketosis is perfectly safe, you need to know how the ketogenic diet works.

What is ketosis?
When you go on a keto diet, most of the calories consumed will come from fat. When starting off, it’s recommended that you consume 70 to 75 percent of calories in the form of fat. Bacon, coconut oil, salmon, butter, ghee, etc. are highly recommended.
This alone makes many people panic because they’ve been led to believe that eating fatty foods is unhealthy and will raise their blood cholesterol levels. In reality, it’s not fatty foods that are the cause of the problem.
The real culprits are sugar, simple carbs and processed foods.
When you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re training your body to use ketones as a fuel source instead of glucose. Glucose is a ‘lower grade’ fuel that has several detrimental effects.

Why ketosis works
Ketones are a cleaner source of fuel and are produced when your body uses fat for fuel. This is why people who reach ketosis suddenly experience mental clarity and more energy.
It’s as if a brain fog has been lifted and they have abundant energy. There is often the worry that the body requires carbs to function optimally.
In reality, the 20 to 50 grams of carbs allowed in the keto diet is more than sufficient. The human body is more than capable of producing its own glucose by using the glycerol properties of fat.

Do we really need carbohydrates?
The human body does not require carbs to function optimally. While you may consume vegetables for the fiber and micro nutrients, you really do NOT need carbs like bread, rice, etc.
By weaning yourself off carbs and burning glucose for fuel, you’ll avoid many diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation, etc. There is no long-term danger to being on ketosis.
In fact, you’ll be healthier, leaner and have much more energy. You’ll be at a very low risk when it comes to getting diseases associated with glucose. In fact, studies have shown that cancer cells need glucose to thrive.
When your body is on the keto diet, the cancer cells are starved of glucose and either become dormant or just die. Ketosis is that powerful.

Will ketosis cause muscle loss?
Contrary to popular belief, ketosis does not cause muscle loss. In fact, it encourages it. When you’re in a ketogenic diet and combine it with intermittent fasting, your body produces more growth hormone.
If you’re engaging in resistance training, you will gain lean muscle. The body seldom burns off muscle for fuel. Only during periods of starvation when it has no choice will the body choose to catabolize its muscle.

But what about cholesterol?
Here’s the truth – your body produces most of its cholesterol. Yes, it does. Cholesterol is used by the body to protect the cells. The fat you eat in the keto diet doesn’t raise your cholesterol levels.
Inflammation does. When the cells in your body are inflamed, the body creates cholesterol to soothe and protect them. So what causes inflammation?
Sugar and processed foods. That’s what.
Now you can see that the real culprits are hiding in plain sight. Fats have gotten a bad rep, while carbs which are quickly converted to glucose are hailed as healthy.
Being in ketosis actually reduced your bad cholesterol levels.
And that leaves us with the last worry that so many people have… ketoacidosis.

The difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis
Ketosis is a state where the body burns ketones for fuel. Ketoacidosis on the other hand, is a situation where your body has high levels of sugar and ketones. This can be a life-threatening situation.
It usually only affects those who have type 1 diabetes because the body doesn’t produce insulin to manage the sugar in the blood. Most people who don’t suffer from type 1 diabetes will not face this problem.
To conclude, ketosis is safe and the keto diet can be maintained as a lifestyle choice. Most people who go the keto way swear by it and never look back. Do note that it’s best to speak to your doctor before embarking on any diet.

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