“The Truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it”
Gen. Norman H. Schwarzkopf
Surely you’ve all heard of Ketone Bodies. Ketone bodies are manufactured by the Liver when too much protein is being used for energy.
The dangers associated with ketone production are simple. Ketones are toxic to brain and central nervous system function. If ketone presence is in large enough quantities for prolonged periods, in extreme cases death can occur. Ketosis & Keto-Acidosis are terms used to describe the condition.
Let’s explore the biological processes involved in the production of ketone bodies. When there is an absence of sufficient glucose in the bloodstream the liver will release enzymes that attack amino acids in the blood and ultimately convert them into the usable energy glucose. There is a resulting toxin ammonia that the liver must degrade to urea toxin for excretion.
This process is taxing to the liver. In the event there is still not enough energy for required activities, the liver triggers the release of various additional cannibalistic enzymes and hormones that indiscriminately attack blood and body proteins especially ‘unused’ muscles (muscles that are not functioning with some degree of intensity on a regular basis.) As the energy shortage continues beyond this point the liver begins to produce and release keto-acids that clump together in the form of ketone bodies. The circumstances that result in this serious condition are generally starvation accompanied by extreme overexertion.
This is a condition that often-times occurs to fanatics seeking weight loss by any means possible. Depending on the severity and duration of the exaggerated negative energy balance (usually self-imposed), symptoms will present themselves as indicators of the growing problem. Some of these symptoms include dizziness, forgetfulness, unclear thinking, difficulty concentrating, blackouts.
It is suggested that if an individual is dieting and training to extreme that they purchase ‘keto-stix’, an over-the-counter strip that measures keto-acids in the urine, and test themselves regularly. If one tests positive for keto-acids in the urine, add some carbohydrates and/or reduce activity levels somewhat and take the self-test regularly until the strip no longer shows positive for keto-acids then stay at this level of diet and training as you know now it is optimal.
Generally speaking, there are 4 different occurrences in the body that lead to the liver’s production of ketones-extremely high protein intake, a serious negative energy balance from overtraining, extremely low calorie dieting, the body’s inability to process available carbohydrates for energy (diabetes). In any event, there is significant stress on the liver, and if prolonged can cause liver damage. As a general rule, whenever protein intake is high, calories are extremely low, and/or overexertion are concerns, drink plenty of fluids all the time to help remove the toxic bi-products earlier mentioned.
Of all the causes of ketone production over-ingestion of protein is least significant, except during starvation dieting. If a caloric intake is extremely low (to a starvation level below BMR), and chiefly comprised of proteins-buy a bottle of keto-stix. If the above dietary conditions exist and you are training like a mad man, buy two!
In all seriousness though, don’t let this scare you too much. There are plenty of good reasons to increase your protein intake.
1) High protein intake speeds metabolism by virtue of accelerated liver function as well as the additional energy expended converting amino acids into usable energy which means weight loss.
2) Because amino acid conversion is a gradual process, the resulting glucose energy remains in the bloodstream longer helping to regulate bloodsugar levels.
3) Increased protein intake can help guard against muscle tissue loss in all cases.
This comment to diabetics… while we are not in the business of making dietary recommendations to ‘controlled’ populations, it is true that protein food selections made by the diabetics are generally good ones as blood sugar rises much slower and amino acid energy sources are more readily available causing fewer problems juggling bloodsugar levels.
In summary, this is not an editorial advertisement for Keto-Stix, as we seriously recommend not starving and overtraining to the point of risking liver damage.
Always remember that health benefits of proper diet and exercise by far outweighs the benefits of rapid weight loss, especially when it comes at the expense of ones health.