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When Does the Liver Produce Ketoacids?

Ketoacid production during high- and low-carb diets


When we are on a typical high-carbohydrate diet
  1. On a typical high-carbohydrate diet (such as the Standard American Diet-SAD), our body uses solely the ingested sugar as fuel.
  2. As a result of the continual availability of sugar in our high-carb diet, our body gets conditioned to expect the sugar to keep on entering our system as the primary energy.
  3. With time, our body becomes increasingly lethargic to mobilize fats as energy.
  4. As long as we continue feeding our body with high-carb foods and sugar keeps on entering our system, the liver does not produce ketoacids.



KETO Food-PyramidWhen we are on a low-carb/high-fat diet …
  1. In contrast, during a typical low-carb/high-fat diet regimen (such as ketogenic diet), we consume with every meal only a measured low amount of carbs from green leafy vegetables and select dairy products.
  2. Sugar, bread, grains, beans, starches, gluten, sweeteners, beverages, processed foods, most high fructose fruits, and alcoholic drinks are entirely eliminated from our diet.
  3. The purpose of avoiding the above listed foods is to intentionally starve our body of sugar.
  4. In this state, by design glucose is in short supply; the liver switches to breaking down the ingested and stored fats as alternative energy source.


Does the liver produce ketoacids all the time?

The liver produces a traceable small amount of ketoacids from ingested fats at all times. These are consumed by the brain rapidly. However, this state is not ketosis due to the availability of sugar (glucose) as our primary fuel.

The liver reverts to steady ketoacid production from stored body fat and ingested dietary fat, only if there is a “continuous” shortage of sugar in our diet (glucose from breakdown of carbs and added sugar).

The liver does not shift from sugar energy metabolism to lipid energy metabolism as long as our diet is based on a constant supply of carbohydrates and added sugars.



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