Ketosis versus Ketoacidosis

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2016-02-09 21:40:49 -0600
Started 2016-02-09 08:03:02 -0600

Our language is amazing sometimes and the change of a letter can make all the difference in what a word means. Throw in some medical terminology and it is easy to see why we get confused.

Being a fan of a low carb lifestyle, the term ketosis comes up a lot and I have to admit, when I first heard it I was afraid of it. It had keto in it and that is the root of a very scary part of diabetes. But ignorance is not always bliss and taking time to educate myself has been a great plus for me.

Basically the lack of insulin is what can cause ketoacidosis putting our body in starvation mode because all the energy the body is producing in either ketones or glucose cannot get into the cells. This is why it is most common in type 1 diabetics. On a ketone strip, anything above 20 should be considered life threatening and ketoacidosis.

Ketosis is normal and it's our body's back up plan. Of course glucose is the preferred energy, it's easy to burn. But when glucose is limited, the body can make enough out of the foods we eat to make the glucose exclusive parts of our body happy, while burning fat for energy for those that are happy with that. On a ketone strip it should be between 0.2-3.0 to be considered ketone adapted or in ketosis. Obviously a very different animal.

So here are a variety of links to help you understand the difference.

Great Chart:

When done right, it can be a great tool in our diabetes management.

23 replies

Caroltoo 2016-02-09 15:25:03 -0600 Report

Thank you. This is clear and helpful. I first encountered the use of Ketones in coconut oil when I read an article about a study at John's Hopkins which was using coconut oil (well, actually the MCTs in coconut oil) as a treatment for Alzheimer's.

At that point my hubby was 12 years into Alzheimer's and fading fast. I had taken him to a geriatric psychiatrist who was deeply concerned and gave him some medications he did not tolerate. After three months, our return visit showed he had vast improvement. She examined him and sat down with me and said: I was really worried about him, but he has changed tremendously and It's not what I've done, so what are you doing? I swallowed hard and said, I'm giving him 10-1,000 mg capsules of coconut oil a day. She was amazed and said: you are the third person who has shared with me about coconut oil this month and the others were improving also! Side note: Wayne lived another two years. He knew and acknowledge me regularly during that two years and died knowing who I was, something frequently missing from the departure scenarios of Alzheimer's patients.

Shortly afterwards, I began using it myself because of the connection between diabetes and Alzheimer's…seemed logical, if it helped one it would help the other since Alzheimer's is sometimes called the third form of Diabetes. Yes, we know there are many more … just quoting that section of the literature. It's all about giving the brain another source of food for brain cells. I have now discovered I love the flavor and use it in the liquid form, as the oi,l for all my stir fried dishes and most of my other cooking; I also use a tablespoon or more in my morning coffee. It is just sweet enough to take the edge off the brew.

sugarfreebarb 2016-02-09 11:07:21 -0600 Report

If one more holier than thou know it all "I have been diabetic for 20 years so I automatically know more than you" person tries to explain how dangerous ketosis is to me I am going to scream, I wish I could imprint these articles in their heads. They probably wouldnt fit because they are full with false information, but I can dare to dream.

GabbyPA 2016-02-09 11:11:11 -0600 Report

I am sorry you feel that way. The discussion came up in another post and the the lack of information defining the difference was evident. So I wanted to share. I didn't mean to come across as a know it all in any way. I am just learning about this and making it clear in my own mind as well.

What is it that you know that is so different that can enlighten us.

sugarfreebarb 2016-02-09 11:16:13 -0600 Report

NOOOOOO, I didnt mean that towards you. You actually know the difference. I was speaking of those who try to tell me I shouldnt be eating a keto diet, because it will trigger ketoacidosis. They are everywhere. Under every rock, behind every street sign. They drive me insane. I am sick of dealing with them already, and I have only been diabetic three mos.

GabbyPA 2016-02-09 11:29:00 -0600 Report

Oh, okay...I get it. Yes, I get that same thing. It is maddening. That is one of the reasons I dug a little more so that I could offer them a "not my opinion, but fact" rebuttal.

Kalisiin 2016-02-09 11:19:08 -0600 Report

Indeed. My own dietician was freaking out over this…wanting me to have more carbs, and not being very keen on my fasting.

I have since brought her around, since you can't argue with results. But I do carry glucose tabs with me on fasting days now…more to shut her up than anything else, I have never had to take one.

Luis65 2016-02-09 08:58:36 -0600 Report

Thanks for this explanation. I was confused as well. We raise and breed high producing dairy goats. Ketosis is one of the scary things that occurs in the last 2 months of gestation as the developing kids draw down the glucose stores of the doe. The 1st symptom is she goes off her feed. We would have to act quickly by drenching her with polypropylene glycol. This is very fast acting and she begins to feel her oats as well as eating them. You must keep the dosing up until kidding and let me tell you she fights it.

That was all I knew of Ketosis and ketoacidosis and the characteristic odor. I knew that it was a condition experienced by diabetics but I wasn't aware of the dangers of ketoacidosis until finding this site.

GabbyPA 2016-02-09 09:13:02 -0600 Report

Yeah, when members share their stories about being in the hospital with is scary stuff. So caution is always prudent.

Interesting about the goats. It seems like almost a self destruct mechanism. It seems strange that she won't eat. Does it happen to all of them or just some?

Luis65 2016-02-09 11:45:46 -0600 Report

Just some. Another thing that often happens with it is milk fever, a sudden decrease of calcium in the blood to supply the babies new bones. Same symptoms so generally treat for both. Can't wait for a vet. You keep the stuff on hand like glucose for a dangerous low.

The goats and dairy cows as well are not beasts as nature intended. We humans have been selectively breeding for increased production for centuries.

GabbyPA 2016-02-09 12:50:18 -0600 Report

You have a weird link in here that doesn't go to a page. Was that a mistake?

You are right, everything we do is to make it produce more, be bigger, etc. Someday we may figure out there is a good way to propagate and there is a greedy for health of the living being we are helping, and the other for the pockets with disregard. I think it all starts with good intentions, but gets wildly out of control very quickly.

Luis65 2016-02-09 14:25:22 -0600 Report

I edited to correct that an a couple of bits of bad writing. I don't know how that got it. Must've been an unintentional paste.

WASHED OUT 2016-02-09 08:27:04 -0600 Report

I got you to thinking the other day. Great post !

GabbyPA 2016-02-09 08:34:48 -0600 Report

Yep, I knew they were different, but was not really able to confidently articulate it. So I did a little rooting around to find some different takes on it so everyone could be stratified that its' not just a LCHF way of thinking.

WASHED OUT 2016-02-09 09:23:37 -0600 Report

It is just the process and how the body works. Big names scare people unless the understand them. Great discussion topic and good post. We need to air these details for our group to understand and think about. When we all have a mutual interest in what is wrong causing our disease, it also provides better control options.

Kalisiin 2016-02-09 11:24:35 -0600 Report

Medical terminology is often misunderstood by people who don't deal with it every day. One of my personal favorites…and it has nothing to do with diabetes…is this:

ilium - a bone in the pelvis
ileum - a part of the small intestine

They are pronounced exactly the same and spelled one letter different.

Now "ketosis" and "ketoacidosis" are misunderstood…all one does is toss "acid" into the middle of "ketosis" to get "ketoacidosis."

Problem is, a lot of people who SHOULD know better…don't seem to!

WASHED OUT 2016-02-09 14:52:21 -0600 Report

Yes it is the chemical reaction that mixes with ketones that make this get dangerous. Ketosis is a normal fat burning process it is the byproduct from that process that can build and cause the danger. It can become toxic.

GabbyPA 2016-02-09 10:08:20 -0600 Report

If you go way back in the older discussions you can see how I have progressed and tried all kinds of different things through the years based on what I knew at the time. It is a never ending learning curve.

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