Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, but when you cut your carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day, your body goes into a state called “nutritional ketosis.” In this state, your body’s insulin levels decrease, and it begins to produce ketone bodies from stored fat, which can be used as an alternative source of energy. This process is called ketogenesis.
Ketone bodies are safe and can easily be used by your heart, muscles, and brain. They also provide more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) than glucose, which means your body can produce energy even when you’re not consuming many calories.
Ketone bodies can be synthesized in the body through a process called gluconeogenesis, which produces glucose from lactic acid, glycerol, and certain amino acids. When glucose availability drops, ketone bodies replace it as the primary source of energy.
Overall, nutritional ketosis is safe and can even help decrease free radical damage and enhance antioxidant capacity. It’s important to note, however, that this is different from ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition that occurs when ketone bodies are produced in extremely high concentrations.
Factors that affect ketone body production include your resting basal metabolic rate (BMR), body mass index (BMI), and body fat percentage. While nutritional ketosis is safe and can be beneficial for some, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet.