The Top 10 Signs You Are in Ketosis
The health benefits of the ketogenic diet have been spreading like wildfire, and it seems like everyone and their mom is loving it. But starting a keto diet can be daunting; how do you get into ketosis, and how will you know when you’re there? If you feel like you’re driving without a map, we have some helpful signs you can use to reach your destination. The first sign is the welcome sign; ketosis. What is it?
Ketosis is a metabolic state where you don’t have enough sugar for fuel and turns to stored fat to produce ketones instead. This happens when you restrict carbohydrates or when your calorie intake greatly decreases. Once you’re in ketosis, you can expect to feel more energized, more focused, and gain a sense of wellness.
Now you understand where you’re going, it’s time to find out what changes you will go through to get there. We’re going to share some tips on what to look for as signs you are in ketosis and how to resolve any of the common side effects when transitioning.
The keto flu is a common experience for many people first starting a keto diet. Symptoms of keto flu include brain fog, fatigue, migraines, dizziness, irritability and a decrease in physical performance. This happens due to the lack of glucose in your metabolism, and since your body has not yet produced enough ketones to sustain you, you will feel tired if you do not replenish your electrolyte sources.
Electrolytes are salts that you lose in sweat and urine; and especially when transitioning into ketosis. If you start to experience keto flu, simply increase your salt, electrolytes, and take an exogenous ketone to boost your energy and produce more ketones. This phase usually passes in the first week of your keto diet and is followed by an n increase in focus and energy. This is a great indication you’re in ketosis, so hang in there.
Another excellent sign that may indicate you are in ketosis is appetite suppression. The most likely explanation for this strange side effect is that your ghrelin level drops. Ghrelin, or the “hunger hormone,” actually decreases while you are on a ketogenic diet, and many people will lose their hunger or cravings.
This is the opposite of what happens when you are on a non-ketogenic diet because when you start losing weight on such diets, your body will start sensing starvation, thus increasing ghrelin production. Who knew that being on a diet can actually make you less hungry?
Weight loss is probably the reason most people start the ketogenic diet, but it does not always have to mean that you are in ketosis. The majority of people experience a significant weight loss in the first week of the diet, but this does not mean that your body has started burning fat yet as a fuel source. It simply means you are dropping the water weight that carbs hold onto. But don’t feel discouraged.
Dropping water weight is a significant sign you are in or near ketosis; and, once the water weight dissipates, you will continue to burn fat and keep up that momentum. We call this shed “carb bloat” because you will soon see for yourself what carbs make your body look like. In keto, your body becomes a lean, mean fat-burning machine and looks aesthetically stronger.
This sign actually goes hand-in-hand with weight loss. Once your body starts releasing all the water held back in fat cells, you will have to urinate more often. Another explanation for this is that your insulin levels decrease when you are in ketosis, making you release more sodium and water as a result. This is actually one of the most reliable signs that you have entered ketosis, and it passes quickly. For many people, this is a noticeable increase in urination that passes once you are in ketosis and have shed the carb bloat.
When you start a ketogenic diet, your body starts excreting a lot of water from your metabolism. The only natural course of events is that you will start feeling a significant increase in thirst and, sometimes, have dry mouth. You will also be losing a lot of electrolytes due to the lower intake of potassium, sodium, and magnesium. This causes a drop in the amount of fluid in your organism.
This is yet another general sign your body is in ketosis, and it is perfectly normal, and once some of the other signs pass, this one will, too. Keep in mind that if you feel uncomfortable with losing electrolytes, you can either start adding some salt in your meals, or get a healthy supplement to counterbalance the electrolytes your body started releasing.
An uncommon but strong sign you are in ketosis is keto breathe, or bad breathe. This happens when transitioning, and the body is ineffective at ketones for energy. Well, all those ketones have to go somewhere. In the early stages of ketosis, usually the first week or so, you may notice acetones, a ketone body, leaving your mouth or body odor. So don’t worry, that fruity smell you have is actually a general sign that you are in ketosis and that you are losing weight, and won’t last forever. To get rid of it sooner simply increase your carbs a small amount.
Due to the many changes that happen in your metabolism once you start your keto diet, it is also possible to experience a lack of sleep when you’re just starting. This happens because the sudden carb restriction often causes elevation of hormonal responses in your body. However, like many of the other signs that you are in ketosis, this also passes in a rather short period of time. What’s more, once this period passes, your sleep cycle will either go back to normal or get better with time. And, over the long-term, many people with insomnia report it becomes possible to sleep soundly.
Once you’re in ketosis, you’ll experience a surge in energy. Your body is producing enough ketones to keep you going, resulting in an improvement in your focus and energy levels. Once your brain has sufficient levels of ketones to burn out, you will experience a sudden burst of energy, allowing you to go about your day with more focus than ever before. Increased energy is definitely, along with weight loss, everyone’s favorite sign that they are in ketosis. This can vary from person to person, but expect to get this rush within a few hours or days of being in ketosis.
These are some of the most reliable indicators that show you are in ketosis. For most people, the undesirable symptoms can be easily resolved using the tips above or resolve themselves in about a week or so. Just make sure your meals are well-balanced, low in carbs and high in fat (most people underestimate their fat). You can also use natural supplements like exogenous ketones or a ketogenic meal replacement to assist in transitioning; we love Konscious Keto as they have a nutritionally clean and keto-specific formula.