Does Ketone-IQ® get turned into carbs?

In metabolism, ketones are not converted to carbohydrates. Read on for more technical details.

Metabolism is highly complex, and there are many factors that impact fuel use, such as uptake into tissues, enzyme activity, and end-product inhibition (i.e. the Randle Cycle). There are also big differences between all of the tissues in the body.

Ketone metabolism evolved to provide a simple and rapidly metabolized fuel source to help conserve carbs and protein. This means that, when present, ketones are used in preference to other fuels and inhibit the use of other energy sources.

There are very few steps involved in ketone breakdown compared to the processes for fat (beta-oxidation) and glucose (glycolysis). Additionally, there is no hormonal or transport regulation of ketones into the cell or mitochondria. One study found that ketone uptake is related to the availability of ketones in the blood, and not hindered by transporters or other regulatory mechanisms. When we metabolize fats or glucose, uptake will reach a limit and begin to slow down naturally.

Ketones can only be converted to acetyl CoA (ACoA) inside the mitochondria. ACoA has only 2 carbons. Each turn of the mitochondrial Krebs Cycle releases two carbons as CO2.

There is no mitochondrial pathway in mammals that can produce glucose from a 2-carbon donor like fat or ketones. As a result, ketones cannot be converted into carbohydrates.

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