Ketosis – Facts, Fat loss and Fraud
What is ketosis?
When we test positive for the ketones in urine or breath; we are in ketosis.
You can be in 'ketosis' for the following reasons;
- You are burning stored body fat to make ketones and excreting.
- You are burning dietary fats you just ate to make ketones and excreting.
- You are supplementing exogenous ketones and excreting.
What is a ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet is a diet strategy, whereby you manipulate ratios between carbohydrate, protein, and fat to force the body to make ketones out of your stored body fat and/or ingested dietary fats.
It is important to understand your personal goal to tailor the right type of ketogenic diet (there are many) and supporting supplements to help achieve your personal health goal.
The ketogenic diet for fat loss is very different from the ketogenic diet for brain function and seizure control:
- Ketogenic diets for fat loss require the removal of other fuels that may compete with body fat as a fuel supply i.e. carbohydrate, excessive dietary fat, excessive dietary protein, and exogenous ketones. So it is low carb: Protein adequate: fat adequate and no exogenous ketones as an alternative fuel supply to body fat. The ketones measured in urine are made from your stored body fat.
- The ketogenic diet for brainpower is focused on high levels of ketones to be available as a source of fuel. In this instance, the diet is carb adequate: protein adequate: HIGH fat and exogenous ketones are supplemented to be used as a source of fuel for the brain.
What is a ketogenic supplement?
A ketogenic supplement works on the natural body processes to stimulate the generation of ketones forms burning fat.
What is 'ketosis' from a 'Ketone Supplement'
Ketosis through exogenous ketone supplementation has nothing to do with ketogenic diets or fat loss. Therefore, ingested ketones act like another fuel again on top of the carbohydrate, protein, fat you consume.
Much like alcohol, it is not classified as a carb, protein or fat but is used as a source of energy to compete with the other fuels. It is used as an alternative biofuel to give energy to muscle and brain and it will compete with stored body fat as a source of fuel and ketones.
Exogenous ketones were originally made because it is very hard to stay in ketosis with a ketogenic diet, especially in children. As such, exogenous ketones were used in epileptic children when they wanted to break the diet for specific occasions. This helped prevent seizures when the carbs were ingested.
Measuring Ketones -
How the ketones get into your urine or breath will determine what type of ketogenic diet you are using and what type of results to expect.
Burning off your stored body fat to make ketones will help fat loss as well as muscle and brain performance.
Burning the dietary fat you just ate to make ketones will help brain and muscle performance but not help fat loss.
Urinating out the ketones you just drank will help brain and muscle performance but not help fat loss.
Please note that a ketogenic diet makes ketones from your stored body fat NOT from supplementing ketones. DO NOT confuse ketosis from a ketogenic diet with ketosis from exogenous ketone supplements.
- Monitoring for compliance with a ketogenic diet: what is the best time of day to test for urinary ketosis? Paul Urbain and Hartmut Bertz Nutr Metab (Lond). 2016; 13: 77. Published online 2016 Nov 4. doi:
- Blood Ketones: Measurement, Interpretation, Limitations, and Utility in the Management of Diabetic Ketoacidosis. Rev Diabet Stud. 2016 Winter; 13(4): 217–225. Published online 2017 Feb 10. doi:
- Measuring breath acetone for monitoring fat loss: Review. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Dec; 23(12): 2327–2334. Published online 2015 Nov 2. doi:
- On the Metabolism of Exogenous Ketones in Humans Brianna J. Stubbs,1 Pete J. Cox,1 Rhys D. Evans,1 Peter Santer,1 Jack J. Miller,1,2 Olivia K. Faull,1Snapper Magor-Elliott,1 Satoshi Hiyama,3 Matthew Stirling,4 and Kieran Clarke1,* Front Physiol. 2017; 8: 848. Published online 2017 Oct 30. doi:
- The use of nutritional supplements to induce ketosis and reduce symptoms associated with keto-induction: a narrative review. Cliff J. d C. Harvey, Grant M. Schofield, and Micalla Williden PeerJ. 2018; 6: e4488. Published online 2018 Mar 16. doi: