Chances are you’ve heard of the keto diet, right? It’s a popular and effective way to lose weight and improve your overall health. The whole point of the keto diet is to get your body in a state of ketosis (more on what that means below). And, if you’re following the keto diet, you might be wondering how to tell if your body is in ketosis. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the common signs and symptoms of a body in ketosis so you can be sure that your keto diet is actually working and helping you to achieve your health goals.
Ketosis is typically reached when blood ketone levels are around 0.5 mmol/ L. How do you enter ketosis? Typically, it comes from mostly eliminating carbohydrates from your diet – i.e. – a ketogenic or “keto” diet. It depends on the person how long it takes to reach a state of ketosis, but it can be anywhere from a day to a week. Generally, the body won’t enter ketosis if there are enough carbohydrates available from the diet or stored glycogen to provide your cells with energy. The keto diet is popular for many reasons due to its many health benefits such as fat loss, better cognitive function, higher insulin sensitivity, reduced hunger and more.
Below, we reveal some of the common signs and symptoms you are effectively following the keto diet and your body is in a sustained period of ketosis.
Have you noticed your breath is a little more odorous than normal? When your body is in a state of ketosis, elevated ketone levels can cause not only your pee to smell, but cause your breath to smell too due to higher levels of acetone. While not the best for your social life, bad breath is often a positive sign your keto diet is working. And bad breath is an easy fix – just keep some sugar-free gum on-hand at all times.
Increased tiredness and fatigue are common yet short-term side effects when your body first starts transitioning into a state of ketosis. When you start drastically reducing your carb intake, your body produces less insulin and starts using up its glycogen stores. When this happens, your body excretes more water with the glycogen, so oftentimes your tiredness is actually caused by dehydration. That’s why when on the keto diet you need to be making sure you’re always hydrated. You can add some Himalayan salt to your water to make the most out of your H20 consumption because it’ll help balance your electrolytes.
You might also fight you have decreased energy and can’t train at your usual capacity. Decreased performance is another common but also short-term side effect when you first start a keto diet. Due to the lack of carb consumption, your body is trying to figure out where to get its energy from to power through workouts (which is usually glucose). Eventually, once your body realises there is no glucose to use as energy it’ll search for energy elsewhere, which is when it will reach for ketones as its fuel source. Once this happens, you might find you have more energy than ever before.
You’re Not as Hungry
Finding yourself not as hungry as usual? Ketosis could be the cause. There are two hormones that influence our hunger and appetite – ghrelin and cholecystokinin (CCK). When your keto levels are elevated, both these hormones are reduced, which means you often end up feeling less hungry and more satisfied between meals.
On the flip side, you might also find you have increased digestive issues. This is because a keto diet focuses on high fat, protein and low carbs, This change in diet can cause either diarrhea or constipation in some people. That’s why during the first stage of starting a keto diet it might be a good idea to take digestive enzymes with your meals to aid in the digestion of fat, which can also help with diarrhea issues. If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and find you’re constipated, make sure you’re getting enough veggies and fiber in your diet. Again, these symptoms should clear up once your body gets used to the new way of eating.
Muscle Cramps & Spasms
Another uncomfortable ketosis symptom is muscle cramps and spasms. When you restrict carbs, your body produces less insulin. And, with less insulin in your body, your kidneys release more sodium, which can throw your other essential electrolytes out of balance. The outcome? Increased muscle cramping. This is another reason to add some Himalayan salt to your water to help balance your electrolytes and reduce any muscle cramps and spasms.
More Ketones in Your Blood
Finally, a really simple and scientific way to test if your body is in a state of ketosis is by testing your ketones using a blood ketone meter. You’re in ketosis when your blood ketone levels are at 0.5mmol/L or more. There are a range of keto testing kits on Amazon for you to choose from:
|Abbot Freestyle Optimum Neo||Blood||$||Amazon|
|Just Fitter Ketone Test Strips||Blood||$||Amazon|
Only two Breath Analysers have been approved by the US FDA which are listed above.
Urinalysis work well in the early stage of a keto diet, but over time they become unreliable.