If you’re on a low-carb diet to lose weight, then you’ve probably heard the term ketosis. Ketosis is at the center of most low-carb diet plans but many people don’t understand how—or why, it works.
WHAT IS KETOSIS?
In order for all the organs in your body to operate, you need calories. Calories are the fuel that keeps your body operational. Generally, all the food you consume in one day offers enough calories from carbs to keep your body functioning. When you cut carbs, you force your body to look to your fat stores for the energy it needs to live—and that stored fat burning is called ketosis.
WHY KETOSIS WORKS
To understand how ketosis changes your body, you need to understand how calories work both for and against you. Every activity you complete requires calories for fuel. So every time you walk, exercise, sit, work on your computer or sleep, your body is converting calories to energy to fuel the activity.
When you consume more calories than your various daily activities burn, you end up with extra calories that your body stores in your fat cells. If every day, you consume enough calories to fuel all your activities and you never end up with a calorie deficit, then you will never tap into and burn that stored fat— and you will never lose weight. Likewise, if every day you eat a lot of carbs, which are very simple for your body to burn, you are discouraging it from going into your fat cells and burning all that stored fat.
While any calorie deficit will lead to weight loss eventually, by limiting your carbs and forcing your body into ketosis, you remove one of the easiest and first-used sources of calories: carbohydrates. You force your body to aggressively reach into your stored calories and start burning off fat at a supercharged level. Even better, ketosis can prevent feelings of hunger and because it requires a diet that’s high in protein, it can ensure you keep your muscles—something that you don’t want to lose when you’re transforming your body.
KETOSIS IS SAFE WHEN MONITORED
When you force your body into ketosis, it will produce ketones as part of the fat-burning process. Ketones are acids and when they build up, it can change your blood’s chemical balance and can become toxic. To monitor this, you can conduct urine tests— but you should consult your doctor about the most effective way to monitor and manage your ketones.