Ketosis vs. ketoacidosis

People often confuse ketosis and ketoacidosis.

While ketosis is a normal part of your metabolism, ketoacidosis is a dangerous metabolic condition that can be fatal if left untreated.

In ketoacidosis, the bloodstream is flooded with extremely high levels of glucose and ketones. This makes the blood acidic, which is life threatening.

Ketoacidosis is most often associated with uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. It can also occur in those with type 2 diabetes or severe alcohol abuse.

Symptoms of ketoacidosis include but are not limited to:

  • excessive thirst or dry mouth
  • frequent urination
  • hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar
  • high levels of ketones in the blood (>3 mmol/L)
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • difficulty breathing

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

SUMMARYKetosis is a natural metabolic state caused by consuming a very low carb diet, while ketoacidosis is a life threatening medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

The bottom line

Ketosis is a metabolic state that you can achieve by following a ketogenic diet.

Possible benefits of ketosis include weight loss, improved blood sugar management, and reduced seizures in children with epilepsy.

However, following a strict ketogenic diet to induce ketosis can be difficult and lead to unwanted short-term side effects like headaches, stomach upset, dehydration, and bad breath.

Long-term side effects may include kidney stones, increased LDL (bad) cholesterol, and nutrient deficiencies.

While the ketogenic diet can be enjoyable and beneficial for some people, it may not be for others. Therefore, speak with a healthcare professional before trying it.

Just one thing

Try this today: If you’re interested in trying the ketogenic diet, schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian or other healthcare professional who can help you weigh the pros and cons to determine whether it’s right for you.

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