Ketosis is a metabolic process that starts in your body when there are not enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes things called ketones, which it can use for fuel. In this blog you will learn about 10 most important symptoms and signs that indicates ketosis.
Ketosis is reached when blood ketone levels are around 0.5 mmol/ L. An easy way of checking this at home is by using a ketone meter.
A cluster of changes takes place when you first start with keto diet. This can cause a lot of confusion to keto diet beginners.
Keep in mind, that these sign and symptoms are just clues and will not clearly tell you if you are in ketosis or not. The ideal way to confirm if you are in ketosis is by testing your blood with a blood ketone meter.
Here is your guide on 10 symptoms and signs of ketosis, that will help you answer the question “Am I in ketosis?”
Symptoms and Signs of Ketosis
1. Increased Urination is an early indicator of Ketosis
Carbohydrate restricted diet and ketones both acts as natural diuretics. Keto diet beginners may experience frequent washroom visits as your body’s insulin levels decrease and more water is excreted in the form of urine. After a couple of days, the bathroom trips may continue as you start to produce more ketones.
Increased urination is a reliable sign that you will enter ketosis as long as you keep up with keto diet.
2. Altered Bowel Activity
Keto diet beginners may experience one of these two different bowel movement issues.
- Diarrhea. Both restricting your carb consumption and burning ketones for fuel can change how much water your body holds onto and excretes. The combination of limiting carbs and being in ketosis can indirectly lead to more water loss through your intestines which leads to diarrhea.
- Constipation. You may go days without going to the bathroom due to the changes in mineral levels, hydration status, and fiber intake that are common with keto dieting. A simple solution may be to add low carb vegetables to each meal, drink plenty of water, and/or supplement with extra fiber, sodium, potassium, and magnesium if needed.
For those of you who are constipated or experience diarrhea during the first week of keto, this may be an indicator that you are in ketosis or on track to being in ketosis. If you only have one of these digestive issues without any other signs or symptoms in this article, then your issues are more so related to a lack of fiber, minerals, and/or water and not to increasing ketone levels.
3. Dry Mouth and Increased Thirst Suggest Ketosis
Carbs restricted diet with increased ketone production causes increased loss of water from the body. If you are not drinking enough water while on keto diet plan, you will experience dry mouth and increased thirst. These are alarming signs of dehydration.
If you do not drink plenty of water and keep ignoring these symptoms then you will become dehydrated and experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms.
The ideal recommendation is to drink at least 3-5 litres of water daily while you are in ketosis.
4. Suppressed Hunger Sensation
The ketogenic diet composition is such that, it keeps you full most of the time. This helps in consumption of fewer calories. In many ways the keto diet is the perfect recipe for weight loss — it focuses on highly satiating whole foods like meat, fish, cheese, and low carb vegetables.
Once you are in ketosis, you are more likely to feel energized for longer periods of time between meals. You may even end up skipping a meal without realizing it because your body is having no problem with fueling itself on ketones, fat, and the sugar produced by gluconeogenesis.
It will take hours and hours before you start to feel hungry again. You will also notice a reduction in your meal size than before.
This change in appetite can be caused by many reasons (i.e., eating more fiber and protein), but being in ketosis plays a major role in reducing hunger as well. When you are in ketosis, your body will be using more efficient energy sources than sugar (i.e., fat and ketones).
5. Keto Breath/Bad Breath indicates ongoing Ketosis
While you are on the way of getting into ketosis, acetone is formed inside the body. It is excreted from the body via urine and through breath. This is why many keto dieters will have bad breath or “keto breath” that will sometimes smell sharp and pungent like overripe fruit or nail polish remover.
Fortunately, the bad breath won’t last forever. As your body gets better at producing and using ketones, it will create much less acetone. In other words, if you stick with the keto diet, the smell of your breath will return to normal.
Keep in mind, however, that having bad breath does not mean you are in ketosis. Keto breath is simply an indicator that you will soon be in ketosis if you continue doing what you are doing.
6. Short-Term Fatigue
Keto diet beginners may experience short term fatigue and an initial decline in physical performance. This is one of the keto conundrums that can occur during your first week of keto dieting.
The good news is that this short-term fatigue indicates that your body is on the path to ketosis. As your body adapts to carb restriction and ketone burning, you will experience a sustained energy and clarity that you may have never experienced before keto dieting.
To recover from this initial fatigue, make sure you stay hydrated and consume electrolytes.
7. Lack Of Sleep
Insomnia or lack of sleep may be experienced when you are first adapting to keto dieting. You may find that you are struggling to fall asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and/or not getting a full nights rest.
This happens because there is a surge in the levels of stress hormones before your body adapts to keto diet properly. However your sleep will return to normal (and might even get better) as your body becomes adapted.
8. Weight Loss
Although ketosis is not necessary for weight loss to occur, losing weight rapidly while restricting carbs is still a good sign that you are on the path to ketosis. While you are on the ketogenic diet, you will typically lose a couple of pounds of water weight along with some fat in the first week. This shows you that your insulin levels are dropping significantly, setting your body up for ketone production.
As long as you stick with your keto diet, you will probably enter ketosis by the end of the week while your body fat decreases at a slow and steady rate. If you want to learn more about how you can optimize your weight loss on the ketogenic diet, read through this article.
9. Improved Energy Levels and Focus
Once your body starts burning more ketones for fuel, you will need less and less sugar and your energy levels will be more stable throughout the day. This may manifest itself as a newfound capacity to focus for extended periods of time or the ability to make it through the day with an afternoon coffee or nap.
However, to experience this newfound mental clarity and endurance, our bodies need to start producing ketones consistently first. For some, this may take a couple of days of keto eating, while others may not get into ketosis until a week to a week and a half has passed. Once the liver starts pumping out ketones regularly, it may take another couple of weeks to months before you have reached your full ketone burning potential.
In simple words, initially when you begin keto diet, you may feel exhausted. But once you start producing ketones, the mental and physical fogginess will fade away and more energy and mental clarity clicks in.
10. Your Ketone Tracking Method Says So
Although the signs of ketosis we have explored so far just gives you an accurate answer to the question, “Am I going to be in ketosis?”
For example, if you experience a couple of these symptoms, then you are almost certainly going to be in ketosis or are in ketosis.
However, confirmation of ketosis can be made by using one of these three methods instead:
- Urine Strips. This will answer the question “Am I in ketosis?” but will not provide an accurate measure of blood ketones.
- Breath Ketone Meters. These are much more accurate than the urine strips, but can sometimes vary in accuracy. Cheaper than blood testing strips in the long-run.
- Blood Ketone Meter. The most accurate and reliable method to measure ketone levels is ketone strips. But the down side is these are expensive.
Most people will be in a state of light ketosis within two to three days of starting keto diet. This is a good time to test your progress by using any of the methods listed above.
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