The Ketogenic diet is an amazing and popular way to burn fat and lose weight. But for keto diet to work, your body should get its energy by burning fats for fuel. And for that to happen, you need to get your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is the stage when your body starts producing and using ketones as a source of energy. Which means your body has started the transformation from a sugar burner to a fat burner.
When your body becomes a fat burner, all that unwanted fat starts to disappear and something amazing start to happen with your body (weight loss). Ketosis plays a very crucial part in this.
But, the problem is despite following the best guidelines, it’s not easy to get into ketosis. It takes a little bit of time and there are many things you can do to get into ketosis. But, how to know when you’re in ketosis?
Here are some signs and symptoms that will help you determine if you’re in ketosis or not.
11 Most Common Ketosis Symptoms
When your body is in ketosis, a range of changes are happening inside your body which makes your body show some signs and symptoms. If your body is in ketosis, you are more than likely to experience some of these signs.
Now, these symptoms don’t guarantee that you’re in ketosis, but they are a good indicator.
And having more than a couple of these ketosis symptoms indicates a pretty solid chance that you’re into ketosis. So, here are the ketosis symptoms that will help you find out if you’re actually in ketosis.
1. Weight Loss
Weight loss is one of the most obvious signs that indicate your body is switching to ketosis. Research suggests that you are likely to experience fast weight loss in the initial week of switching to a low carb diet like the ketogenic diet.
Now, weight loss can happen for a multitude of reasons but if you are following a strict keto diet it’s safe to attribute this weight loss to ketosis.
An important point to note here is that this initial weight loss is primarily the water weight stored in your body and little to no fat. Once water store is over, ketosis kicks in and you will start to see fat loss from your body.
2. Reduced Appetite and Hunger
When you are on the keto diet, a lot of changes happen in your body and one of them is reduced appetite and hunger. You will find that you eat only what is necessary and don’t get as hungry as you used to be.
Fats are more filling and contain double the calories of both protein and carbs which makes them highly satiating. On top of that our body digests fats much slower than simple carbs making us feel full for longer.
Since the main foods eaten in the keto diet are healthy fats and protein, you can go for much longer without feeling hungry. This leads to decreased caloric intake and ultimately weight loss.
So, if you feel full and don’t need to eat as often as before, there is a high chance you are in ketosis.
When your body flushes a lot of water out of the system, it’s normal to feel thirstier than usual. Unfortunately, this loss of water can also lead to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes leading to electrolyte imbalance.
This loss of water causes dry mouth and thirst!
Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking the recommended water intake. Electrolytes imbalance and dehydration are the major causes of keto flu.
Adding Himalayan pink salt to your meals helps redress the balance as it contains potassium, magnesium, and calcium along with sodium.
4. Bad Breath
One of the most common side effect but a noticeable sign of ketosis is bad breath. It’s no fun having bad breath even after brushing the teeth.
When your body is in ketosis, it burns fat to produce ketones, mainly
- Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB)
These compounds are processed as part of ketosis to generate energy, acetone being a by-product of the other two elements. This increased level of acetone is responsible for bad breath as your body can get rid of acetone only by breath and urine. So expect your pee to smell a bit too.
Acetone is used in nail polish remover if that gives you an idea about how it smells like. And a dry mouth from thirst adds to the problem. Luckily, things get better after some time of being on the diet.
Staying well hydrated, flossing, mouthwash, and regular brushing can help in masking bad breath and keep breath fresh. Keep a pack of sugar-free gum or breath-freshener handy if you are worried about keto breath appearing in the middle of the day.
5. Fatigue and Weakness
One of the most challenging ketosis symptoms is fatigue. Apparently, it is one of the biggest issues for new dieters and a well-known side-effect of the keto diet.
This is also a well-known reason for people to drop out of the keto diet before they get into ketosis and reap its many benefits. But, initial fatigue and weakness are completely natural as starting a keto diet is a big change for your body.
But, change doesn’t happen overnight and since your body is used to feed on carbs for energy, it won’t start burning fat immediately and needs some transition time to adjust. This short adjustment period is when you feel fatigue and weakness.
To combat weakness and reduce fatigue during this period, you should stay hydrated and replace all the electrolytes you are losing. Try to get 2,000–4,000 mg of sodium, 1,000 mg of potassium and 300 mg of magnesium per day either by supplements or by foods you eat.
6. Decreased Performance
This can be an effect of fatigue and other symptoms above and is a symptom you are most likely to notice if you’ve been working out.
Your body gets most energy during the workout from the breakdown of carbs and sugar stored in muscles. The removal of carbs and sugar from the diet removes the major source of energy.
This is just because your body is going through changes. This state of decreased performance will subside as your body gets adapted to the very little carbs it’s consuming.
However, this does not mean you cannot exercise on the keto diet.
7. Toilet Troubles
Since the ketogenic diet involves a complete overhaul of the types of food we eat, your digestive system is bound to react. Nothing too scary, but your normal toilet routine might not remain the same in those early days.
By toilet troubles, I mean issues such as constipation and diarrhea are common side-effects in the beginning. However, there are some lucky ones as well who just carry on as if nothing ever happened…
But don’t worry, if you are not among the lucky ones there is a solution to every problem.
If you are among the people who can go for days without going to the bathroom, then constipation is the issue. A simple solution for this is to stay hydrated and add more fiber and low carb vegetables in your diet.
Nothing to say about diarrhea, as sometimes the water your body is losing just needs to get out now. Again, fiber-rich food is a necessity here or you can also take a fiber supplement for a faster transition.
The important thing is to eat a balanced diet with diverse food containing both green vegetables and fats, don’t just focus on fats. These conditions are short-term and usually subside as your body adjusts to the keto diet.
To help plan your diet, you may want to check out our keto diet food list.
Simply put, insomnia is lack of sleep. This is most likely because your body is going through a lot of changes and also due to digestive issues and electrolyte imbalances.
But, this will subside quickly and you will see improved sleep quality as a benefit of being on a keto diet once you pass this phase.
9. Headaches and Dizziness
Headaches and Dizziness are also a common symptom while switching to a ketogenic diet majorly due to changes in the body. Ketosis headaches generally last from 1 day to 1 week. Just like other symptoms, it subsides once your body is adapted.
Headaches occur majorly because of the lack of carbohydrates especially sugar. Plus, due to the loss of water from the body, your body is prone to dehydration and losing electrolytes like magnesium and potassium. This loss of electrolytes causes dizziness.
Dizziness can also happen if you’re not eating enough. This habit is common among keto dieters because being in ketosis suppresses your appetite as mentioned before. You can prevent this by eating a balanced diet and giving your body all requisite nutrients.
So, eating a balanced diet containing both healthy fats and low carb vegetables is important to provide your body with all the essential nutrients.
10. Increased Mental Focus and Energy
Here comes the best symptom and one from which everyone can benefit from. Once you have transitioned to ketosis, you will benefit with increased mental focus and endless energy.
Carbs are a quick source of energy and get depleted fast but ketones provide a steady and sustainable supply of energy and are more efficient compared to carbs.
This increased energy makes the brain to stay focused for a longer time. Eliminating carbs also help in stabilizing blood sugar levels which further helps in improving focus and brain health.
11. Increased Ketone Levels
This is pretty obvious if your body is in ketosis, you definitely will have more ketones than normal. One of the most reliable methods to know if you in ketosis is to check your ketone levels scientifically.
But, don’t let the word scientifically scare you it’s actually pretty easy to measure ketone levels yourself at home. By far, the best thing about measuring ketone levels is you can check when you reach optimal ketosis.
A cheaper but less accurate way is to use ketone test strips. These strips are also a bit harder to read but are a cheaper starting investment to know how you’re doing.
The Bottom Line
People in ketosis experience varied symptoms and these are some of the common ones faced by almost everyone.
But, the fact is every person’s body is different and will face different side effects during the initial stages of ketosis. So, it’s best not to compare too much with others as ultimately your own body chemistry decides when you will enter ketosis.
But one thing is sure, if you are following the ketogenic diet and stay consistent, you will be in ketosis sooner or later.
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