Keto DietKetosis

Let's Talk About Ketosis

This chemical reaction in your body is at the heart of the keto diet. We asked our health and nutrition experts for a more detailed look at what it is, and how it works.

    Our Pro PanelKetosis

    We went to some of the nation's top experts in the keto diet to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Lisa Sasson, R.D.

    Lisa Sasson, R.D.Associate Dean for Global Affairs and Experiential Learning; Clinical Professor of Nutrition and Food Studies

    New York University
    New York, NY
    William S. Yancy, Jr., M.D.

    William S. Yancy, Jr., M.D.Director; Associate Professor of Medicine

    Duke University Diet and Fitness Center; Duke University School of Medicine
    Durham, NC
    Elisabetta Politi, R.D.

    Elisabetta Politi, R.D.Nutrition Director

    Duke University Diet and Fitness Center
    Durham, NC

    Frequently Asked QuestionsKetosis

    What’s the difference between the keto diet and ketosis?

    The keto diet refers to a way of eating that requires people to derive about 70% or more of their daily calories from fat, while cutting way back on the amount of carbs they eat. This style of eating results in ketosis, a metabolic state where the body burns fat (in the form of ketones), not sugar, for fuel.

    Does ketosis cause side effects?

    Yes. The cluster of side effects from ketosis is known as the “keto flu.” Despite its name, however, there is no fever or infection associated with it. Symptoms of fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbance, nausea, and foggy thinking are common with the keto flu. Fortunately, it usually disappears on its own within a week of starting the diet.

    Is ketosis good for my health?

    Sometimes, yes. For instance, in people with type 2 diabetes, ketosis may lead to an improvement in blood sugar levels, making them less dependent on insulin medication. And some research suggests that people with Alzheimer’s may experience neuroprotective aspects of the ketones produced as part of a keto diet.

    Is ketosis dangerous?

    No. Ketosis simply refers to the process of burning ketones—which are converted from fat—for fuel. However, ketoacidosis—a condition where there is an unsafe high level of ketones present—is the leading cause of death in people under the age of 24 who have type 1 diabetes. If you have type 1 diabetes, the keto diet is probably not advisable.

    Tula Karras

    Tula Karras

    Tula Karras is an award-winning journalist, editor, and content creator who specializes in health, nutrition, and profile writing.