What Do Nail Polish Remover and Fat Burning Have In Common?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/25/2024

When starting out on the keto diet, many people are surprised to find that once they have entered fat-burning mode, their body may produce acetone.

Learn about how ketosis affects the body, how the transition happens, and what benefits you can gain from adopting the ketogenic diet.

Understanding Ketosis and Its Benefits

Ketosis, a metabolic state where your body uses fat for fuel instead of glucose, can offer some surprising health benefits. The switch from burning sugar to ketones not only aids in weight loss but also provides energy when food is scarce.

The Metabolic Shift to Ketosis

You must drastically lower your carb intake to begin transitioning into ketosis. When carbs are low, insulin levels drop, causing the liver to turn fatty acids into ketones, an alternate source of fuel that the brain prefers.

So if you've been feeling foggy-headed on a standard diet, ketosis might be just what the doctor ordered.

Health Benefits of Ketosis

Apart from helping you shed those stubborn pounds by efficiently burning stored fat, there's more good news about being in a ketogenic state. It's known to reduce inflammation and stabilize blood sugars, too.

Studies show that people following a keto diet often report fewer hunger pangs, making sticking with their eating plan easier.

Ketosis illustration

The Role of Ketones in Fat Burning

Our bodies are like complex machines, and ketones serve as high-octane fuel. They're created during fat-burning, powering us up when carbs aren't around.

Different Types of Ketones

β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetoacetate (AcAc), and acetone are the three ketones generated during ketosis. Each plays a unique role in our body's metabolic processes. BHB is the most abundant, acting as the primary energy carrier.

Meanwhile, AcAc gets converted into either BHB or acetone based on what your body needs. But don't confuse this with nail polish remover even though they share an ingredient.

How Ketones Fuel the Body

Ketosis flips our metabolism from burning glucose to burning fat for fuel. This allows those ketones to aid your transition.

Using ketones for energy can allow for faster brain function and more energy throughout your day.

The Misconception About Acetone Consumption

There's a dangerous misconception out there. Some believe consuming nail polish remover, which contains acetone, can help them achieve ketosis. But this is far from the truth.

The Danger of Acetone Consumption

It's not just wrong to consume nail polish remover; and it's fatal. It might seem like an easy way to kickstart your body into fat-burning mode, but it’s highly toxic and has nothing to do with achieving natural ketosis.

Ingesting acetone can be dangerous, potentially causing severe gastric irritation and harm to mucous membranes.

Natural ketones produced by your body during fat burning are non-toxic, while the ones in acetone are hazardous. The keto diet involves inducing our bodies into producing these healthy ketones—not ingesting harmful substances.

If you have ingested any acetone, it is critical to seek professional medical care right away.

The Transitional Symptoms of Ketosis

You may experience some variations as your body utilizes fat for energy. These initial signs are often called the transitional symptoms of ketosis.

Recognizing Ketosis Symptoms

The most common sign is a unique breath odor. This could remind you of nail polish or fruit. It's not your typical morning breath but something more potent and unusual.

This odd smell comes from an increase in acetone, a direct by-product of the spontaneous decomposition of acetoacetic acid. Thankfully this is only a short-term issue.

The Evolution of Ketosis Symptoms

In the early stages, your body doesn't use all produced ketones efficiently; thus, they get excreted through urine and even breath, leading to that peculiar smell.

The scent will fade away as your system gets better at utilizing these energy sources entirely. Patience is critical when transitioning into a ketogenic state.

Strategies to Enter Ketosis Faster

If you're looking to get into ketosis quicker, here are some proven strategies. First, cut back on carbs. Reducing carbohydrate intake is the most efficient way to reach ketosis quickly.

Besides reducing carbs, boosting your physical activity level can help deplete your body's glucose reserves, turning it towards burning fat for energy faster.

In addition, coconut oil can be beneficial as it contains fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs get sent directly to your liver and used immediately for energy or converted into ketones.

Fasting: Your Secret Weapon

Another effective strategy is fasting. Fasting helps because it drops insulin levels and depletes glycogen stores faster than just diet alone.

This could be an intermittent fast where you eat all meals within an 8-hour window each day or try a fat fast where around 80-90% of calories come from fats for a few days a week.

Mindful Protein Consumption

Last but not least, watch how much protein you’re eating. Too much protein gets turned into glucose by our bodies through the gluconeogenesis process - so too much steak could kick you out of keto.

Diabetes illustration

Fat Burning and Diabetes

Fat-burning foods can play a significant role in managing diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes. Incorporating such foods into the diet can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

For instance, foods rich in soluble fiber, like legumes, can slow down the absorption of sugar, preventing sharp spikes in blood glucose.

Additionally, sources of healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts, can aid in weight management, as excess body fat is often associated with insulin resistance.

Furthermore, certain spices like cinnamon and turmeric have been studied for their potential to enhance insulin sensitivity and contribute to better blood sugar control.

While fat-burning foods can benefit individuals with diabetes, it's crucial to maintain a proper diet and consult a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to create a personalized nutrition plan tailored to specific needs and preferences.


Embarking on the keto diet journey unveils a fascinating metabolic shift as your body enters ketosis, utilizing fat for fuel and producing ketones.

Transitioning into ketosis may bring about temporary symptoms, including a distinctive breath odor, but with patience and the right strategies, such as reducing carb intake, increasing physical activity, and incorporating healthy fats, you can optimize the transition.

While the keto diet offers promising health benefits, it's crucial to approach it safely, with a focus on natural ketosis induction and mindful dietary choices. Always consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance and support on your journey toward improved health and well-being.


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