Help on ketosis

(Ivy) #1

I am eating less than 20 gr carbs a day. I experienced dark mood and difficulty thinking when I was in deep ketosis. I think that threw me curve ball, and I wanted to ask: Is there anything [ even blood testing ] that I can consider to help me deal with being in deep ketosis–or do I wait this out and it gets easier over time? Do I just try to avoid deep ketosis as there are no benefits, and If I experience it again, just add a tiny tiny bit of carbs to get out of it? Or what, I dont know.

I read that others experience the altered state of mind, too. Am I supposed to avoid being in deep ketosis because of it, or what? I think its really interesting. One person mentioned get a CGM, but im not sure what that is/if I can get it. I am able to add on to my blood test taken today, later, possibly, so any blood tests you recommend may come into play.

I have even read more on that I should AVOID deep keosis. Is this true? I dont want ketoacidosis. Not sure if that is possible. I read that deep ketosis is for Type 1 diabetics.:

“What is deep ketosis? What are the benefits of deep ketosis?”

Deep ketosis is an attempt to push you into ketoacidosis.

It’s a BAD idea. It is ONLY done by people utterly ignorant of low carb science.

Even though our bodies only reach ketoacidosis if our pancreas fails catastrophically and completely stops producing insulin, only an ignorant person ever tries to force the issue.

The idea is that since ketosis means burning fat, burning more fat must be better. It ignores the risk of ketoacidosis.

The newbie idea is that since lowering carb intake switches ketosis on, further lowering carb intake should throttle the amount of ketosis. That simply isn’t how the biochemistry works. That’s like pouring more and more gasoline into a gas tank thinking that will make the car go faster. It’s the glucagon not insulin that pulls fat from storage. Glucagon is controlled by dietary fat not by dietary carbs.

There are no benefits whatsoever.

So is all that true?

The Levers of Power (What to Measure, What to Control) to avoid stalling/stalls
(Gregory - You can teach an old dog new tricks.) #2

Limiting carbs forces your metabolism to use ketones for energy, providing you are eating foods that support ketosis and are otherwise nutritious and healthful.

That’s about it…

How long have you been limiting carbs? Have you heard of Keto Flu?

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #3

There two types of ketoacidosis - that caused by T1D, in folks who don’t have a functioning pancreas; and, that caused in chronic alcoholics by consuming nothing but alcohol for ‘signficant’ periods of time. Eating a ketogenic diet does not cause ketoacidosis.

‘Deep Ketosis™’ is a meaningless phrase in my opinion. You’re either in ketosis by keeping your carbs low or you’re not. Barring the two conditions I mentioned above, exactly how many ketones are floating around in your blood at any moment doesn’t really tell you anything particularly useful other than your liver is synthesizing ketones. It does not tell you how efficiently your metabolism is synthesizing ketones from fat nor how efficiently your muscles and organs are utilizing them. Folks who bother to measure their blood ketones frequently report wide variations in amounts of ketones over very short periods of time. I have used a Ketonix to measure ketones (acetone) in my breath and also have recorded wide fluctuations over short time spans. Ketones are part of a dynamic system. If you’re not happy with a measurement just wait half an hour and try again. Some folks draw erroneous conclusions from measuring ketones once a day.

For your information, your brain can use both ketones and glucose for energy. Ketones are much more efficient brain fuel than glucose - more energy per unit and less waste to get rid of. Many folks report increased ‘clarity’, thinking and waking awareness after adopting a ketogenic diet.

Your ‘dark moods’ and ‘difficulty thinking’ are not characteristic of ketosis. Maybe they’re something that elevated glucose and glycosis were masking and now that you’ve stripped away that mask they’ve become noticeable. That’s not for me to diagnose.

(Butter Withaspoon) #4

The following idea is false/misleading/unhelpful:
“Dark mood and difficulty thinking = deep ketosis”

Think of it this way:
When a well adapted person is in deep ketosis their brain is using much more ketones and since this is a preferred fuel for the brain the person experiences clarity of thought, mental energy, and serenity. Blood always contains glucose so the brain can use some glucose as well, especially because this well adapted person has not damaged their brain glucose metabolism (they don’t have insulin resistance of the brain).

A person who is not yet adapted or who has a lot of metabolic damage from over consuming carbs:
Has not yet adapted to using ketones well, so ketones float in blood in high levels and spill out in the urine. Brain is used to mainly glucose so when you restrict it is unstable and uncomfortable (dark mood), and lots of ups and downs.
Mood would improve if you ate some carbs, but this slows the process of adaptation. Doesn’t mean you can’t, but just make the choice you want.

Short version: that dark mood is a starving brain who hasn’t adapted yet screaming Why you not give me donuts?!?!
Lots of ketones, deep ketosis has so many benefits. Absolutely not causing you problems, but healing! Unless you are Type 1 diabetic, in which case it’s a medical emergency and orders of magnitude higher ketones. Low carb does not cause T1D

(Old Baconian) #5

“Fat adaptation” refers to the muscle cells, which, when adapted, prefer to metabolise fatty acids over ketone bodies and glucose.

While I presume, though I may be wrong, that brain cells could and would metabolise fatty acids, if they could get them, most fatty acids are too large to cross the blood-brain barrier, so the question of fat adaptation doesn’t apply to the brain. In any case, ketogenesis begins as soon as serum glucose and insulin drop below the threshold, which takes at most a day or two, whereas fat-adaptation in the muscles takes weeks.

I suspect that the brain, being so hungry for fuel, will metabolise whatever it can get, so it shifts to ketones whenever they are available. As I understand it, the shift from glucose metabolism to ketone metabolism is facilitated by the drop in insulin on a low-carb diet, insulin being essential to the use of glucose by the brain.

George Cahill, during his study of fasting research subjects, used a hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp to drive down their serum glucose to levels that in normal people would cause coma or death. They were fine, because the ketones produced as a result of fasting took over feeding their brains, if they weren’t already doing so.


Hi Ivy, I can’t speak to being in ‘deep ketosis’.

However, I can speak to what you might ask your doctor to consider in your blood tests if you are having dark moods and trouble thinking clearly. I would consider checking vitamin, mineral and hormone levels. For me (this is some years ago now), I had a combination of low folate, low Vit B, low Vit D, low iron, and extremely low testosterone levels - all of these contributed to my anxiety and depression, and were vastly improved through a healthy low-carb/low-sugar diet, plenty of sunshine, starting a basic program of strength training, and mild supplementation.

My own 2 cents is that it’s crucial to remember that KETO is not a panacea for everything that challenges you. You could be doing Keto completely perfectly, and still feel worried and find flaws in everything you are doing. (That is just the nature of some brains). I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but your posts express a lot of anxiety - perhaps you could speak to your doctor about this when you get your blood tests? What about sharing with them that you are very worried about your diet and eating on a day-to-day basis (note: highly dependent on whether you have an open-minded and compassionate doctor)?

Good luck and be safe and well.

(Ivy) #7

Since 9/9 with improper carbs the first week, and 2 cheat meals by accident from improper research and the other just was effect of deep ketosis and confused in my opinion
wouldn like that to happen again

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #8

I like the image, Hallie!

However, realistically, I think the evidence suggests we have big brains because our ancestors started to feed them lots of ketones from about 3 1/2 million years ago when our family of primates became apex predators. Feeding our brains glucose in more than miniscule amounts could not have occurred prior to the Holocene so-called ‘agricultural revolution’ when our more recent ancestors domesticated and selectively bred plants to give us lots of glucose. I think the natural food for our brains is ketones. Glucose (and donuts) are just brain junk food.

(Gregory - You can teach an old dog new tricks.) #9

Actually, the brain ‘prefers/requires’ glucose for fuel.

However, our liver does a great job of producing the glucose the brain needs in the absence of dietary glucose.

Consider that human milk contains about 7% carbohydrate ( lactose) because the infant liver is not producing the glucose we need.
And wouldn’t you know it; about the time infants are being weaned, the liver is running full tilt, providing necessary glucose, and most humans become lactose intolerant…

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #10

Background: 3 1/2 million years of human evolution during which fat and meat - not carbohydrates - were the primary energy source. Most human brain cells contain mitochondria which are necessary to extract energy from fat sources. The human brain also has a ‘blood/brain barrier’ that allows only small molecules to pass through. Ketones (and some other interesting molecules other than glucose) can pass through this barrier readily. Gluconeogenesis generates glucose for cells that don’t have mitochondria. There are not a lot of such cells, so gluconeogenesis has evolved to produce only small amounts of glucose - not run everything on it. Human babies grow from a single cell to an organism composed of multiple millions while in ketosis. They remain in ketosis at and immediately after birth. It has only been in the last 10K years, after the beginning of the Holocene and the extinction of Pleistocene Mega Fauna that plants (and glucose) have become a significant food source for humans.

My conclusion: yes, we can extract energy from a variety of sources when necessary. But we’re humans because of fat, meat and ketones - not carbohydrates and glucose.

This is interesting:

PS: The brain also makes its own ketones. I’d call that evidence of ‘preference’. It does not make glucose.

(Ivy) #11

I got those above test done --they came out fine / nothing wrong / too low.

This has to do with suspecting the deep ketosis as part of why I ‘cheat mealed’ once or twice during my first weeks on keto, so I was wondering if anyone else has experienced something like it. Surely others have reached deep ketosis. Is deep ketosis a ‘keto flu’ thing?

(Ivy) #12

Have you experienced deep ketosis?

You didn’t respond yet to the first half of the post.

(Ivy) #13

How high fat do you think is enough/too low/too much? +/or kcals? not yet fat adapted
age 32
bmi 22
body fat % 21/22/23/24%
Calculated BMR 1400

(Ivy) #14

Is it possible I have a thyroid issue if I am gaining body fat trying to get fat adapted?

(Gregory - You can teach an old dog new tricks.) #15

How would I know if I was experiencing " deep ketosis " ?

High enough to satisfy my energy needs…

(Ivy) #16

Thank you for this

(Ivy) #17

Meaning Im kinda taking a risk to be ‘yelled at’ if I go into deep ketosis again, which is likely to occur more on carnivore?

WHats everyones opinion on of there are benefits of deep ketosis?

(Old Baconian) #18

What do you mean by the term “deep ketosis”? I don’t understand it, and I get the feeling others don’t, either. I can think of several possible meanings of the term, so it would help to have a clearer idea of what you mean when you use it.

(Eric) #19

Personally I don’t think anyone is “yelling” at you. If anything, it is frustration at your overall focus on the minutiae and wanting someone to give you hard numbers for calories, ratios etc and ignoring the advice being given. The responses for the most part are consistent. 20g of carbs or less, a moderate amount of protein and fat added to help feel satiated. It seems that despite this being repeated over and over that you seem to be ignoring that guidance and are looking for quick fixes or hacks to get “fat adapted” faster which takes time. Also something that has been stated repeatedly.

I never worried about what my “state” of ketosis was, I just watched my carbs. My ratios varied day to day but my carbs were within a range. Sometimes the pee sticks were purple other times they were not. As @PaulL just indicated, that your term “deep ketosis” is unclear. Perhaps it is time to just relax and worry about keeping your carbs 20g or less. Ultimately it is your body, listen to it. If you feel full, don’t eat more just to hit a specific calorie goal. If you feel hungry, eat more while watching your carbs. Don’t worry about fasting unless it feels right. Keep in mind that fasting is not required. Some people like it, others don’t. From everything you have said so far, it sounds like you do not have any pressing health concerns, do not have that much excess fat and do not want to lose muscle. Maybe it is time to trust to process and see how it goes before worrying about how to “fix it”. You haven’t even gone a month yet and seem to worry over every detail or whether you are doing it right. No one here can tell you what is right for you, only what worked for them as an example to help you find what is right for you. All I can say in closing is trust your body, trust the process, keep your carbs 20g or less and KCKO

(Ivy) #20

Im not sure, as Im so new to keto .

I do not understand it either.

I am getting contrasting info:
Fact 1 - I was in deep ketosis if my keto meter was correct, and had alot of the signs of mood change, maybe more, of deep ketosis, VERY early on, and obviously did not apply to fact 2.
Fact 2 - “Water-only fasting forces the body to transition into deep ketosis, generally within 1-3 days depending on how ‘fat-adapted’ a patient is”

That’s only one definition I found, though. I didn’t know this wasnt an expanded word in keto actually. I am guessing its simply from a multitude of factors that brought my ketosis into that zone and could have been a combination of them. Thats my guess of what deep ketosis is, aside from it being for cancer, or close to it. I know people disagree if there are benefits to it, an other do not. Its for cancer. GKI specifies whether you are in it, < or equal to 1.