Starvation ketosis and “priority” of brain fuels

“Priority” is a funny concept the fields of nutrition, metabolism, etc. For the brain, it is said to be glucose. It’ll use ketones when glucose is low and ketones are really high, like during starvation, but otherwise it’s just glucose. Why is this? One of my mentors had some great insights…

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“It seems that the loss of some energy as ketones in the urine is the price we pay to provide the brain with a suitable fuel. But there are a number of unanswered questions about brain fuel use. Why does the brain not use free fatty acids? The usual answer given is that they are not transported across the blood-brain barrier fast enough to be used as a major fuel and this is probably true. However, why did the brain not develop a suitable transport system, or localized store of glycogen for that matter.”


Textbook: Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition

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calories proper