Understanding the Long Term Effects of Ketosis and Keto Diet

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Ketosis is a proven weight-loss method. Various studies have attributed many health benefits to ketosis, such as brain protection, improved blood pressure, among other health benefits.

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body’s ketone level increases. The process happens when your body utilizes the stored fats in the form of ketones rather than glucose.

We are going to look at the long-term benefits of ketosis in this article. We will look at the positive and negative impacts.

keto food

How long can one stay in ketosis?

Many people stay on ketosis in a short period when they are on a keto diet. Staying on ketosis in the long-term increases blood ketone levels to an optimal range (0.5-3.0 mm). To achieve this, carbohydrate consumption has to be reduced to less than 50 grams per day.

In reality, most people keep exiting and re-entering ketosis. Possible reasons for this include; people revert to their eating habits. The other case is that people increase their carbohydrate intake when on social gatherings or vacations.

Health benefits of long-term ketosis 


Several studies have shown that ketosis helps in controlling the progression of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. The condition comes back when you do not maintain a long-term behavior change. Ketosis is not a cure but helps in regulating the conditions.

Here are positive effects of a long term keto diet;

Reduced body weight

Excessive weight gain (obesity) is attributed to various health conditions such as cancer, high blood sugar, stroke, and other risky diseases. People try working out and reducing calorie intake to lower their weight. These methods often fail in the long-term.

A study, 2004 on the long-term effects of ketosis showed than within 6 months, patients weight reduced remarkably. Nutritional ketosis mimics the effects of starvation and regulates calorie intake hence contributing to weight loss.

 Another study in 2013 proved that ketosis maintains the secretion of cholecystokinin (CCK). This is a peptide hormone in the gastrointestinal system that makes you feel full, thus lowering your appetite.

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Improved glycemic control(HbA1c)

HbA1c stands for glycated hemoglobin, which is the average blood glucose level in 3 months. Diabetic people need to check their glucose levels often.

Reducing carbohydrate consumption to 30-50 grams per day results in a significant fall in HbA1c over 6 months, as shown in the 2018 study. Nutritional ketosis reduces HBA1c and increases sensitivity to insulin.

Protects your brain

Ketones serve as the alternative fuel to your brain when the glucose level is low. It is crucial, especially with the brain glucose hypometabolism is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ketones also serve as the main fuel and substrate for brain lipid synthesis for developing infants. Natural ketosis helps in brain protection. Ketone bodies are anti-seizure agents. They block seizures at the synaptic level.

Parkinson’s disease model in animals, when infused with ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate, shows partial protection against the toxic effects of MPTP.


Risks associated with ketosis

Long-term risks for keto dieters are associated with those who consume poorly formulated diets. Here are some common effects;

Micronutrient deficiencies

In the early stages of ketosis, you will experience diuresis (constant urge to urinate). Diuresis happens because the kidneys filter ketone bodies as anions (negatively charged particles), increasing distal sodium (a positively charged particle) delivery to the lumen. This results in sodium deficiency.

Cutting down consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, vegetables will also cause a deficiency in vitamin A, E, C and B, zinc, magnesium, and Potassium. The micronutrients are useful in metabolism. They act as cofactors and coenzymes, while some have antioxidant properties such as Vitamins A and E.


Processed keto foods increase the risk of health problems

Most keto-diet is whole and unprocessed. Constant intake of low-carb, high-fat that may have extra calories, hidden sugars, flavoring agents, emulsifiers, and hydrogenated oils may cause serious health problems.

Processed meats, salami, hot dogs may contain nitrate and nitrite, which are carcinogenic compounds.


Nutritional ketosis has many health benefits when a person maintains optimal ketone levels. Following a well-formulated diet will help you achieve the goals of keto-diet.

Key takeaways

  • One can stay in ketosis as long as they need. The restrictive behavior of ketosis often causes people to dip in and out of ketosis.
  • Long-term ketosis results in brain protection, significant weight loss, and proper blood glucose, among other health benefits.
  • If you are not careful with ketosis, it may result in micronutrient deficiencies.


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