What is Ketosis and can it be harmful?
Nutritional Ketosis is a term coined to describe the normal physiological fat-burning process the body goes into when fasting or in a carb-restrictive state. The body will go into ketosis if the consumption of carbohydrates is kept very low. When the body burns fat, energy is released into all the cells of the body, including the brain. It can normally take a few days to a few weeks to get into ketosis. There are methods to measure ketones in blood, urine and breath, for those interested in tracking. Many people will go through a short Induction phase where they may feel a headache, lethargy, nausea, confusion, brain fog and irritability. This usually lasts between 2-5 days and is most often caused by dehydration and/or salt deficiency resulting from temporary increased urination.
It is necessary to stick to a strict LCHF diet below 20-50g of carbs per day in order to reach ketosis and stay in ketosis. More info on a Keto Diet here as well as recipes on this site.
Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis
There is a common misconception that Ketosis is the same as Ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis normally occurs in type 1 diabetics when the ketone concentrations are around ten times higher than in nutritional ketosis and their blood sugar is sky high. This occurs because type I diabetics, when not on the proper dose of insulin, can't control their blood sugar and burn fat-stores to produce the energy required. The result is a highly dangerous acidic state where there is an abnormally high amount of blood sugar as well as an abnormally high amount of ketones.
Nutritional ketosis achieved through LCHF/Fasting is perfectly safe with stable well-controlled blood sugars and ketone levels.
Who should not induce Nutritional Ketosis?
It is generally accepted by the LCHF Practitioner community that a very strict LCHF diet is safe and should be followed in order to reach and maintain a healthy state. As such it follows that ketosis is generally regarded as safe.
Pregnancy and Lactation: Should be monitored by an experienced health professional.
Type I Diabetes: Because of the risks mentioned above, it is recommended that Type I Diabetics learn to control their medication doses accordingly and are followed by an experienced practitioner.