Welcome to the unabridged, down and dirty definition of: Ketosis.

So basically, it’s your body using your own fat reserves (those rolly polly pudgy rolls around our body) as energy.  The concept is derived from scenarios that existed thousands of years ago, with our paleolithic ancestors.  During the summer, eating calories and rich foods to build strength and muscle, and during the winter, relying more on the body’s own fat for survival (Think grizzly bears hibernating in the winter).  We are “tricking” the body into this state, except also allowing for protein intake to prevent the body from losing muscle mass as well.  So Ketosis has really been around for over 10,000 years, but was used for survival originally, not weight loss.

During winter months, the body switched from an insulin based program (using external calories) to a internal based program (using internal fat stores).  Ketosis is not an unhealthy thing, it happens to animals, and to people (before we had McDonald’s).

Now let’s look at some opinions of the ketogenic diets (Ideal Protein is considered ketogenic as Ketosis is the ideal state during phases 1 & 2)

So this article is well written, but ultimately leaves a lot to be desired.  It’s extremely vague comparing this diet directly to kidney malfunction and protein issues.

  • Some high-protein diets restrict carbohydrate intake so much that they can result in nutritional deficiencies or insufficient fiber, which can cause such health problems as constipation and diverticulitis, and may increase your risk for certain types of cancer.
  • High-protein diets often promote foods such as red meat and full-fat dairy products. Some experts believe a diet rich in these foods can increase your risk of heart disease.
  • A high-protein diet may cause or worsen liver or kidney problems because your body may already have trouble eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism.

Thank you Captain Obvious for this information.  Now back to the concept of ketosis.  The book Unbalanced Approach to Weight Loss by Trien Tran is actually a great source of information on the subject.  Allow me to hijack some information from the book (PDF available under the Resources/Handouts page).

What Happens During Ketosis?

When you follow the protein diet, your pancreas rests because there is no sugar for it to detect. As a result, it no longer secretes insulin (only a small amount of insulin is produced for vital functions). Consequently, the over-heated furnace cools down and resets. As long as the body is producing virtually no insulin, it is in a state of ketosis. It burns fat (and protein, if protein intake is inadequate) because it has no glucose for fuel.

• Ketosis is a physiological phenomenon. There is no active slimming ingredient; however, a natural physiological slimming response is triggered in the body.

The body, deprived of carbohydrates, will first burn its glucose reserves in the liver and muscles. That takes about twelve hours. As a matter of fact, that’s what happens every night – the period of the day when you go without food the longest and use up all of your available carbohydrates. Let’s suppose that your body has depleted its readily accessible carbohydrates and that it must burn fat to meet its energy needs. Luckily, there is a huge, almost unlimited supply of fat in theory. All you have to do is trigger the burning of those reserves. Any system that requires energy never uses up its reserves as long as it has fuel. The very purpose of fat is to store energy.


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