Ketosis vs. Diabetic Ketoacidosis


You have probably heard of the dangers of a low carb diet by now. You don’t need to google far to be warned of it’s complications. One critic to the low carb diet, is the dangers of diabetic ketoacidosis. Unfortunately many sources mistake ketosis for ketoacidosis. These two terms are erroneously intermixed. Ketosis is the bodies ability to effectively metabolize fat into ketones to be used as fuel by the working cells. While in diabetic ketoacidosis, insulin fails to reach working cells inhibiting glucose from entering. This diabetic then enters into starvation and as tries to break down ketones for fuel. This diabetic has no insulin however to allow the ketones to enter the cell. The ketones build up causing an extremely acidic environment where proteins denature and ultimately death ensues. This amount of ketone production is not possible for those with functioning pancreatic cells and insulin responses. Even the slightest insulin response will cause a halt to lowering acidity levels.

Let’s look at some graphs provide by Dr. Attia of Eating Academy.

This graph shows the advantage of ketosis when glucose stores are unavailable. The ketone, B -hydroxybutyrate, is able to compensate for the lack of glucose as glucose eventually stabilizes. (For more information on this study click here)

Our brains are built to be fueled by glucose and ketones and nothing else. And because the typical human can only store 24 hours worth of glucose, ketones allow a spare reserve when glucose isn’t available. Where do these ketones come from? Ketones are produced by the liver from fat (and some proteins) and allow our brains to function in the absence of glucose. When ketones are released the pancreas is signaled to release insulin to encourage ketone and glucose uptake by working cells. In ketoacidosis however there is no insulin released and so ketones continue to build up in the blood stream. The insulin feedback loop is broken so the cells believe they are starving and continuously break down more fat/protein with no cell uptake.

Here is a visual for the ketoacidosis feedback loop:


Attia, Peter, M.D. “Blog – The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D.” The Eating Academy, 26 Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

“The Difference between Ketosis & Ketoacidosis?” Diabetes Daily RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

O’neille, Michael. “Ketosis: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt | KetopiaKetopia.” Ketopia. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.


Over-eating and under moving? Is it really that simple?

With obesity rates creeping yearly, the nation’s health and workforce is in crucial danger. Why has this problem been recognized for decades but not remedied. Could it be laziness, lack of caring, or just misinformation? Most people have been warned of the dangers of a low-carbohydrate diet and it’s extreme restrictiveness. What are the claims behind a low-carbohydrate diet? Why is a low calorie diet not enough? Why do some people seem to struggle with weight while others don’t? And most importantly, what does the research indicate?

Is the problem of obesity caused by over-eating and under-moving? Conventional wisdom tells us yes but the answer is not so simple. I believe the obesity problem is not an issue of fat intake but of glucose overdose. It is no new discovery that adipose tissue is an organ that actively functions and contributes to hormone secretions. Overweight people have excess adipose tissue which secretes insulin at an elevated rate due to insulin resistance. Being overweight is more than just an accumulation of fat but rather it is a growth disorder. It is an excess accumulation or growth of adipose tissue. This tissue alters the way we metabolize fat. Instead of mobilizing fat for fuel, the obese person stores it which only enhances the problem. Not only does this storage of fat increase stress on the cardiovascular system but it is actively contributing to the problem of insulin resistance and over-eating. Insulin is the most important hormone that influences fat cells to store more fat instead of utilize it. This is where a low-glycemic and low carbohydrate diet comes in. The goal of low carbohydrate diet is to minimize the amount of insulin secreted to minimize fat storage. Your body begins to utilize fats and proteins as its main source for fuel.

The bottom line is that an epidemic this fatal and widespread cannot just be ignorantly prescribed a one-size-fits-all diet or prescription. Every individual is different and just because Sam can lose weight by means of exercise only does not mean that Sue will have the same success.


Attia, Peter, M.D. “Blog – The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D.” The Eating Academy, 2 Dec. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

Attia, Peter, M.D. “Blog – The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D.” The Eating Academy, 26 Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

LatinWorks. Ads of the World. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.


Does a high-fat diet contribute to heart disease?

Since the dawn of the 70’s, fats have become branded as a sort of evil villian among macronutrients. Many reknown and reliable nutritional sources (such as AHA and CDC) blamed an elevated fat intake for the rise in cardiovascular disease. They believed that dietary fat consumption could increase LDL levels thereby leading to a higher risk for artheriosclerosis. Along with this theory came a recommendation to boycott most fats for a healthy heart. However, since the rise of low-fat diets, our obesity rates have done the same! Here are some graphs I pulled from a Brittish nutrition journal and the National Center for Health Statistics.

The Obesity Epidemic in The USA Started at Almost The Exact Same Time The Low-Fat Dietary Guidelines Were Published

Source: National Center for Health Statistics (US). Health, United States, 2008: With Special Feature on the Health of Young Adults. Hyattsville (MD): National Center for Health Statistics (US); 2009 Mar. Chartbook.

Obesity Epedemic Increased as Butter and Lard Were Replaced With Vegetable Oils and Trans Fats

Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. The American Diet. 2012.

With the rise of low fat diets, the high carb diet nightmare began. Not only sending obesity rates soaring but also encouraging higher triglyceride levels. Higher triglyceride levels promote a higher risk for heart disease. So in essence, the very thing that low-fat diets try to prevent is the thing they cause… heart disease.

Shockingly, there has been absolutely no correlation between saturated fat intake and heart disease. This myth began after a poorly conducted and very biased study [Gunnars]. New research now shows that it is actually high sugar intake and high processed food consumption that does the most harm. In fact, the Journal of American College of Cardiology states that “Dietary cholesterol has an important effect on the cholesterol level in the blood of chickens and rabbits, but many controlled experiments have shown that dietary cholesterol has a limited effect in humans. Adding cholesterol to a cholesterol-free diet raises the blood level in humans, but when added to an unrestricted diet, it has a minimal effect.” It also goes on to say that low-fat, high-carb diets play a major role in the obesity epidemic.

So to summarize, now you can fry your bacon and eat it too!


1. USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Nutrition Insights: Insight 5: Is Total Fat Consumption Really Decreasing? In; 1998.

2. “Fats and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad, In with the Good.” The Nutrition Source. Harvard: School of Public Health, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

3. Gunnars, Kris. “Modern Nutrition Policy Is Based on Lies and Bad Science.” Authority Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

4. Weinberg, Sylvan Lee, MD. “Disease-heart Hypothesis: A Critique.” Journal of American College of Cardiology. JACC, Mar. 2004. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.