Ketosis, diets and human spontaneous combustion

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My report of Brian J. Ford’s work on this seems to have generated quite a bit of traffic – including some people on ‘keto’ diets ridiculing what they seem to think is a suggestion they are in danger of bursting into flames.

Ford’s original article in The Microscope is now available for public reading (warning, it contains some grisly pictures). So I’d suggest doing that. But I hope the journal won’t mind if I quote his final two paragraphs:

For the very first time we have a plausible model for spontaneous human combustion, which offers a natural metabolic explanation for this well-docu- mented phenomenon. The model experiments match the descriptions of cases involving people. What are the practical implications? First — and this is important — do not accuse youngsters of solvent abuse, just because they have acetone on their breath. They are more likely to be unwell, or on a fat-free diet. Second, if you are suffering ketosis, it might be wise to avoid wearing synthetic fibers with the likelihood of static sparks. Is there a reasonable chance of dying from SHC? That can’t be right — the reported episodes have been extremely rare so it is far too unusual to cause anyone serious concern.

On the other hand, if you’re susceptible to ketosis, now might be the perfect time to give up smoking.