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Ketosis

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Updated November 21, 2006

Definition:

Ketosis is a natural process that occurs when fats are converted into energy by the body -- usually when there is not enough glucose (carbohydrates) to provide for the body's energy needs. Instead, the fat is broken down into energy, and "ketone bodies" are the molecular by-products of this metabolic process.

Ketosis may occur during fasting, after an extended period of exercise, or when a high-fat/low carb diet is followed. It can also happen during an illness when nausea and/or vomiting make it difficult to keep food down.

Ketosis in and of itself is not a harmful process and occurs among diabetics and non-diabetics.

However, when ketone levels become excessively high, a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis, aka DKA, can occur.

Examples:
Ketosis can happen during exercise if not enough carbohydrates are taken in to support the body's need for energy.

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