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Old 01-31-2008, 07:24 AM   #1
David Mathews
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Default Is ketosis necessary?

When I started eating paleo/low carb I was under the impression that you would need to get into ketosis to burn fat for the production of glucose in the liver thus slowly depleting fat stores. However, from reading some of Robb's writings,Dr.Eades,Gary Taubes and some others it appears that just eating low carb/high fat and keeping the insulin in check will afford the fat burning advantage without necessarily going into ketosis. Am I on the right track?
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:40 AM   #2
Mike ODonnell
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Yes I would say insulin control is the biggest factor fat loss. Ketosis is not neccessary for fat loss, as the Zone is hardly low carb by ketosis standards, but people lose fat and gain muscle. (Mainly because of insulin control and low cal intake)
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:19 PM   #3
Sam Cannons
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How do you know when you have gone from low carb to ketosis ?
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:34 PM   #4
Mike ODonnell
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How do you know when you have gone from low carb to ketosis ?
Get some ketosis sticks and pee on them and see what color it is. I believe you have to go below 40-30g a day for a week or so to get there.
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:50 PM   #5
Jordan Glasser
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How do you know when you have gone from low carb to ketosis ?
This is needs to be confirmed by an expert, but.....when I am super low carb, I develop bad breath, and my urine smells more then usual. I relate those two signs as being in ketosis.
Again, completely subjective, I'm not sure if there is science to back it up.

Anyone?
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Old 02-01-2008, 03:05 PM   #6
Garrett Smith
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Jordan,
Those are pretty reliable signs, however subjective.
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:34 AM   #7
Ari Kestler
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Originally Posted by Jordan Glasser View Post
This is needs to be confirmed by an expert, but.....when I am super low carb, I develop bad breath, and my urine smells more then usual. I relate those two signs as being in ketosis.
Again, completely subjective, I'm not sure if there is science to back it up.

Anyone?
Is your breath slightly fruity? We learned that diabetics, in extreme stages of ketosis, have a faint fruity smell on their breath from literally blowing off the low molecular weight ketones with every breath...pretty cool...I suspect a similar thing happens with all of us when we go low carb but without the disastrous results associated with diabetic ketoacidosis (namely death).
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:47 AM   #8
Jordan Glasser
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Is your breath slightly fruity? We learned that diabetics, in extreme stages of ketosis, have a faint fruity smell on their breath from literally blowing off the low molecular weight ketones with every breath...pretty cool...I suspect a similar thing happens with all of us when we go low carb but without the disastrous results associated with diabetic ketoacidosis (namely death).
I can't say that it's fruity. It's bad breath that you just can't shake....
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:14 PM   #9
Stuart Mather
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Originally Posted by David Mathews View Post
When I started eating paleo/low carb I was under the impression that you would need to get into ketosis to burn fat for the production of glucose in the liver thus slowly depleting fat stores. However, from reading some of Robb's writings,Dr.Eades,Gary Taubes and some others it appears that just eating low carb/high fat and keeping the insulin in check will afford the fat burning advantage without necessarily going into ketosis. Am I on the right track?
David, you can lose fat and preserve muscle without even restricting carbohydrate if you are in energy deficit (ie a calorie deficit), let alone being in ketosis. The success of organizations like Weightwatchers are testament to that. Nevertheless it is neither a very easy (constant hunger) method for all but a lucky few, and a very unhealthy one if you are human (this species is simply not metabolically designed to get more than a small proportion of energy needs from carbohydrate).

Also, producing and using very many ketones is only a fill in mechanism for supplying bodily energy needs when carbohydrate is restricted. Traditionally living Inuit are only ever in mild ketosis (remember, even high carbers are in some degree of ketosis when they wake up after their normal sleeping fast) their entire lives and yet they eat practically no carbohydrate. The longer you spend low carbing the better you become at using free fatty acids without the liver having to make ketones to supply energy needs. Some ketones will always be produced for tissues that cannot use FFA's directly (eg. CNS), and AFAIK heart muscle actually prefers ketones to FFA's.

The other thing is that peeing on Ketostix is a completely unreliable way of determining whether you are producing a lot of ketones. After all, if they are all being used, none will show up in your urine.

How long does it take for the body to become fully fat adapted (i.e. to be able to use FFA's almost exclusively in preference to ketones)? I've no idea, but at least a year of restricting carbohydrate 24/7. PWO carbs will guarantee that you never become fully fat adapted and be doomed to fruity breath forever. You can replenish glycogen from intramuscular triaglycerol without any carbs whatsoever anyway, it just takes a bit longer. The research to determine whether that process can ever be as efficient as doing it with glucose has not yet been done. There aren't that many really long term low carbers around. And even fewer traditionally living Inuit, more's the pity. My personal guess is that it won't, but the other metabolic damage carbs do make the decision of which glycogen replenishing mechanism to try to encourage a no brainer IMHO.

Stuart.
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