26 September 2010

Ketones and the Atkins diet

The way the Atkins Diet or any low-carb diet for weight loss works is by limiting the presence of glucose so as to encourage fatty acids to be converted by the liver into ketone bodies.

When ketone bodies accumulate in the blood, they lower the pH of the blood. This is a state called ketosis, which is basically when glucose use for energy is slowed down and fatty acid use for energy is sped up. If too many ketone bodies build up, however, then hyperketonemia results and possibly dangerous ketoacidosis.

After a good night's sleep, it's known that the fasting state will increase amount of ketone bodies a little, because of depleted glycogen stores. But after 2 days ketone bodies can rise 140-fold.

In early starvation, the muscle will use ketone bodies, but then changes to use of fatty acids so that the ketone bodies can be used for the brain. Prolonged starvation causes ketones to become the dominant fuel for the brain, to spare amino acids and loss of muscle.

The dramatic rise of use of fatty acids in ketosis will lead to dramatic weight loss as demonstrated by the Atkins diet. Plus, the satiety resulting from eating high contents of fat and protein may also reduce food intake overall.

But as shown recently, the Atkins diet or a diet high in animal foods, may result in increased risk of all-cause mortality. So, try eco-Atkins?

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