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Kidney Diseases

Effects of ketosis

01/29/2004

Question:

what are the effects of a person who is not diebetic but is in ketosis - like the people that are on the Adkins diet. Short term and long term effects on the body. thank you.

Answer:

This question has been forwarded by Obesity/Weight Management: The term ketosis refers to the accumulation of ketone bodies in the blood. They accumulate when a person is fasting. A healthy adult usually fasts for about 6 to 8 hours while asleep at night. During this time the blood ketones are going up. They are becoming “ketotic”. This is not harmful, but a natural reaction. One result is that they feel hungry. When they eat the blood ketones go down. This is the effect of insulin, which is increased in the blood when the blood glucose level goes down. We use up glucose when we are not eating. Continuing fasting for another 12-24 hours will see the blood ketones go higher and this may cause some symptoms, which we do not like. They include light-headedness, tremors especially in the hands, and increased excretion of urine. This latter sign can lead to dehydration and a decrease in arterial blood pressure. In a normal individual a drop in blood pressure is not a desirable effect. The long-range effects are to exaggerate those listed above. If carried on for too long starvation can have various serious effects. We have all seen pictures of starving children and adults on the news reports almost everyday. There are a number of articles that discus, in more detail, the pros and cons of the Atkins`s Diet. I have listed a few of them that I have reviewed. Here they are: A Golay, C Eigenheer, Y Morel, P Kujawski, T Lehmann, N de Tonnac. “Weight loss with low or high carbohydrate diet?” International Journal of Obesity (1996) 20, 1067-1072. Skov, Toubro, Ronn, Holm, Astrup. “Randomized trial on protein vs. carbohydrate in ad libitum fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity.” International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 23(5):528-536, May, 1999. Whitehead, McNeill, Smith. “The effect of protein intake on 24-h energy expenditure during energy restriction.” International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 20(8): 727-732, Aug, 1996. I hope this is helpful to you. 

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Response by:

Philip W Hall, 3rd, MD Philip W Hall, 3rd, MD
Formerly, Professor Emeritus of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University