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Benign Ketosis: Be Aware Of This While On A Low Carb Diet For Weight Loss

Primary ketosis is a condition caused by a low carbohydrate diet, where the body burns fat as the main source of fuel instead of using carbohydrates, which are usually stored in the muscle as a substance known as glycogen. It is called benign ketosis because it is a safe and healthy condition, not ketosis experienced by diabetics, who are not benign.

When the body burns fat, it produces a side product called ketones. Ketones are released from the body through the urine and through the lungs. Ketones are the reason why one of the most documented side effects of the Atkins diet is that it can make a person's breath smell weird - ketones have a sweet, almost pear-like smell, which is sometimes found on the breath (it's not a nasty odor such as "general odor", but it can be powerful - sugar-free sugars or minty mouth fluids that generally cover it).

Some levels of benign ketosis need to occur for low carbohydrate nutrition to function, as it indicates that the body is losing fat. It will usually be induced within the first three days after a low carb diet, as by now the body will use the remaining glycogen reserves and switch to fat burning instead.

Testing for the presence of ketones is a great way to see if Atkins (or another low-carb diet) has come into effect, and to what extent do you have ketosis.

The ketosis testing technique, often called Ketostix, is available from most pharmacies. They are often used by diabetics to check for the type of harmless ketosis that can cope with their condition. If you are on a low carb diet, it can be a great help to buy a wooden test pack to help you see when you get into ketosis, and how often ketosis occurs. The sticks are cheap to buy, and usually come in packs of 120. You can buy Ketostix over the counter.

To test for ketones, urinate easily on one of the test sticks (just like doing a pregnancy test). If ketosis does not happen, nothing will happen, but if it does, the wood will change in color from pale pink, showing the presence of ketone effects, to very dark purple, indicating deep ketosis. There is a chart on the Ketostix pack to show you the different colors and quantities of ketones it represents (though keep in mind the packaging is designed for diabetics, it will tell you that the darker the strip will be, the more dangerous it is - as your ketosis is the kind of benign, actually darker, the better your diet works).

You may like to experiment with the test at different times, and you will find that after exercise, the stems become darker, as the fat is burned, producing ketones, while you are working.


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