What is the Ketogenic Diet, Ketones, and Ketosis?

May 27, 2020

What is the Ketogenic Diet, Ketones, and Ketosis?

Before I go in depth on how I adopted the ketogenic lifestyle. I believe that understanding the science behind ketogenic, ketones, and ketosis is of priority.


Let’s begin with the basics. The ketogenic diet is described as a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet. Consuming a ratio of nutrition such as these aids in the production of ketones. Ketones are chemicals produced by the liver as a response to the lack of insulin to turn sugar into an energy source. Another term used for sugar would be glucose, which is consumed through carbohydrates. If glucose is not the body’s primary energy source, then what is? As we limit the carbohydrate intake, fat becomes our energy source, and in return the liver then produces ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are sent out into the bloodstream to feed our muscles and tissues. When there is a presence of ketone body production then we are in the state of ketosis (Gupta et al. 2017).


When carbohydrates are consumed with a “standard American diet” they break down into glucose. Glucose is known as the quickest energy source. This is done through the process of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Adenosine triphosphate is a type of organic compound that helps with the energy process among cells, muscle contractions, nerve impulses, and chemical synthesis (Rajendran et al. 2016). When there is an excessive amount of glucose in the body, it becomes stored as glycogen, and becomes known as glycogenesis. When glycogen becomes stored, fat accumulates, and becomes Lipogenesis. Glycogenesis and lipogenesis do not occur for an individual that is in ketosis. We will discuss ketones and testing for ketones in future posts. 

How Energy Is Created Within the Body

The ketogenic diet is said to be a positive health benefit to those with specific health conditions such as: diabetes, obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hyperinsulinism, fatty liver, neurologic disorders, epilepsy, depression, and many more. Negative side effects seen with the ketogenic diet consist of a disruption of lipid metabolism, hepatic steatosis, hypoproteinemia, deficiency in minerals, or Kidney Stones (Gupta et al. 2017). Just as a side note, I personally do not have any pre-existing health conditions other than my prior knee surgeries that I had mentioned in a previous post. Prior to starting keto, I had a blood panel done to have a baseline check. The blood work included a thyroid stimulating hormone, fasted lipid panel, glucose, and a complete blood count. All of my results were within normal range. My plan was to get blood work rechecked after a year of being in keto. With COVID-19 going on I will keep my distance from any hospital or doctor’s office building until things subside.

So, You May Be Wondering, Why Did I Switch to a Ketogenic Lifestyle?

To be able to have a true “talk” with one’s self can be grueling. It is easy to lie and give yourself every excuse in the book as to why we behave the way we do. Luckily, I was able to have that face-to-face conversation with myself to refocus after several months of being low. I needed to ask myself what my reason in life was, my purpose, and my goals for the future. I was at a point where I absolutely hated life. Quitting my dream job, on the Labor and Delivery Unit, as well as, moving to Pittsburgh, shook me hard. I was in a depressed state, which led to poor habits. I was unhealthily eating and drinking, sleeping or staying in bed most days, and I had completely given up on working out. I put myself in a position of feeling like there was no way out. By the end of 2018, I weighed one-hundred and sixty-nine pounds at only five feet tall.

Kim Dautrich before and after keto picture
CrossFit was first introduced to me over the summer of 2018, and I absolutely loved the experience. In February 2019 Bob and I moved into the farm. Soon after moving, I found a CrossFit gym close to our farm that was promoting a free month for non-members. Those workouts literally kicked my ass, and I knew that was something I needed back in my life. I also had a Peloton Bike that I began to incorporate into my cardio regimen. Besides using the Peloton Bike at home, I began walking around our property. I was eager to again find my love and passion for working out. My goal was to create a new me. I was determined to find something that I could do long-term and not just as a “diet.” Before our move, I had a non-stop crazy schedule. I had challenged myself with going between work, school, home life, and just grinding hard. Now I was determined to take on a new challenge that I never thought I would be able to accomplish, and for me that was the Ketogenic Lifestyle.
At this time, I weigh one-hundred and thirty-four pounds. I have seen a drastic change within a 12-15-month time frame. However, it was not just the weight that changed; it was my entire life that once again flipped upside down. The person I am today would crush the old Kim. I am damn proud and confident in the woman that I have become since this journey, and for me that is what I am most thankful for!  
Seeing the good during hard times is not always simple. The opportunities that are much larger and harder than we anticipate will provide us with the chance to redefine who we are as human beings. Try your best to find the good in everything you do!

I am strictly addressing the ketogenic diet as a weight loss or lifestyle change. I am not speaking for those with any pre-existing medical conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, or autoimmune diseases. Although I am a health professional; I am not a registered dietician, fitness instructor, or your personal health care provider.

Gupta, L., Khandelwal, D., Kalra, S., Gupta, P., Dutta, D., & Aggarwal, S. 2017. “Ketogenic diet in endocrine disorders: Current perspectives.” Journal of postgraduate medicine https://doi.org/10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_16_17

Rajendran, M., Dane, E., Conley, J., & Tantama, M. 2016. “Imaging Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).” The Biological bulletin https://doi.org/10.1086/689592