If you’re following a ketogenic diet and hitting your macronutrient targets, but you’re not sure if you’ve reached ketosis, read on. When your body starts using fat for energy instead of carbs, you’ve officially made the switch to burning fat for energy.
How to Put Your Body into Ketosis
Dietary ketosis can be achieved in two ways:
- Fasting for an extended period of time
- Cutting your carb intake
However, starvation isn’t a long-term solution. Carbohydrate restriction is still the best way to lose weight.
By shifting your macro balance toward high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate, a keto diet plan is designed to induce ketosis. Instead of relying on carbohydrates for energy, you can utilize the abundance of fat provided by this diet.
The Keto Flu
Getting into ketosis often requires a transition period in which your body shifts to using ketones as its primary source of energy. And the “keto flu” is a common term for these unpleasant side effects.
A person may experience ketosis symptoms without actually being in ketosis, but this does not necessarily mean that the body is re-prioritizing the way it processes food for energy.
When your body begins producing enough ketones to supply your muscles and organs with primary fuel, you’ve entered ketosis. When keto flu subsides it’s common for this to occur, which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on individual circumstances.
Which of the following symptoms indicates that your body has switched to burning fat as its primary fuel source? Some of the signs and symptoms of ketosis are beneficial, while others aren’t.
1. Keto Breath
Acetone, a byproduct of increased ketone body production, is exhaled and gives off a fruity scent. Ketones may be taking control if you notice this subtle shift.
Brush your teeth throughout the day or try sugar-free mints and gum if the smell bothers you.
2. Decreased Appetite
You may be in ketosis if you notice a decrease in hunger between meals and a decrease in cravings.
Fat is thought to provide a more consistent supply of energy than carbohydrates, despite the fact that the mechanism underlying this phenomenon is still being investigated. Keto foods are also filling and ketosis may reduce hunger hormones, making it easier to eat less.
3. Increased Focus
While the “keto flu” may cause a temporary loss of mental clarity and focus when starting a ketogenic diet, the process of entering ketosis itself may actually help you regain your mental clarity and focus.
Research into ketosis and brain health is in its infancy, but you may notice that your memory and mood improve while on a keto diet.
4. Better Workouts
For endurance athletes, fat is a desirable source of long-lasting energy; therefore, being able to metabolize fat more efficiently can aid in certain types of exercise.” Studies have shown that ketosis may help athletes recover more quickly and have more energy.
It’s possible that you’ve become more fat adapted if you’re finding more energy in the gym.
5. Frequent Urination
Glycogen depletion dehydrates muscles because it removes water from them as it is used up. When you’re in ketosis, your kidneys tend to expel more water.
In addition, increasing fluid intake when beginning a keto diet is frequently advised to help counteract dehydration. All of this together can make you feel like you’re constantly running to the bathroom.
6. Rapid Weight Loss
There is still no substitute for calorie restriction for fat loss, but changes in body water weight can occur early in low carb diets due to fluid losses.
Water weight loss may be to blame if you suddenly feel less bloated or slimmer.
For some people, a shift to a low-carbohydrate diet may necessitate a complete overhaul of their diet. If you were used to eating a lot of sugary foods before starting the keto diet, you may also be losing a lot of weight and fat as well as water.
7. Ketones in Your Urine or Breath
Ultimately, the best way to tell if you’re in ketosis or not is to measure your ketone levels.
Both blood and urine ketone test strips are commercially available. However, these tests only look at AcAc (not BHB) levels and can’t tell you exactly how many ketones you have in your blood.
When combined with the other signs and symptoms listed above, they are a reliable indicator of whether or not you are in ketosis.
Weight loss on the ketogenic diet can be achieved with a goal of 0.5 to 3 mM. In fact, going over 3mM isn’t considered beneficial, and these higher levels can represent a starvation state for some people.
Diabetics are more likely to experience ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition in which blood ketones exceed 10 mM.
Ketone levels are shown in the chart, but they can vary widely depending on a variety of factors.
If you don’t have access to a professional blood test, using ketone strips is the most convenient and cost-effective method for most people. Ketosis can cause a wide range of symptoms and have different effects on different people.
Consider how your diet affects you on the inside. You’re on the right path if you’re feeling energized and keeping an eye on your calorie intake. The converse is also true: If you can’t seem to shake the keto flu or are finding that a ketogenic diet isn’t delivering on its promises, it may not be the best choice for you.