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    Low-Carb diets, How they work: Three important funtions of ketone bodies

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Wednesday, October 13, 2010 6:07 am Email this article
    Low-carbohydrate diets cause the body to release fat from fat cells which are converted to ketone bodies. These ketone bodies have three important functions according to a recent paper about low-carbohydrate diets.

    Ketone bodies are thought to:

    1. Help maintain brain function by providing energy.
    2. Contribute to inhibition of muscle-protein breakdown.
    3. Have an appetite-reducintg effect and decrease hunger sensations.

    Ketone bodies are chemicals that the body makes when there is not enough insulin in the blood and it must break down fat for its energy.

    The body can also rid itself of one type of ketone, called acetone, through the lungs. This may cause bad breath, giving the breath a fruity odor.


    Acheson K. Carbohydrate and weight control: where do we stand? Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004 Jul, 7(4):485-92.

    Articles on the same subject can be found here:


    On Nov 16, 2008 at 3:24 am Itsme wrote:

    . . . . .

    I know this is a very old post, but I just wanted to add something about low-carb diets. I've been on a low-carb diet for the last 8 1/2 years, so I've had a chance to learn quite a bit about them.

    Ketones are most important at the beginning of a low-carb diet. If you measure your ketones, you will find that after you are on a low-carb diet for a while, your ketone levels will drop a lot even though you are still being strict. You might wonder if it's working as well as when you first started.

    What happens is that your body develops the enzymes, etc. to be able to better burn free fatty acids directly, instead of having to burn ketones. That way, when you liver breaks down a triglyceride to get the carbon skeleton, more of the the FFAs can be burned directly by the body instead of your body needing to convert them to ketones. Of course your body still needs some sugar and some ketones, so as triglycerides are broken to get the carbon skeleton, some of the FFAs get broken down into ketones, and some are directly burned. Of course the brain needs either sugar or ketones to function and does not adapt to FFAs as fuel.

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