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10 Distinct Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis

ketosis symptoms

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10 Distinct Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis


Among the various available diets nowadays, the ketogenic diet is surely a popular and effective one. Based on a low-carb and high-fat food consumption, this diet increases your blood ketone levels.

Those ketones are responsible for acting as a fuel source for your cells and they are also, capable of producing most of the health benefits of this diet.

When you are on ketosis, the body undergoes a series of changes, like an insulin reduction and an increased breakdown of fats.

After this fact, your liver will start to produce high amounts of ketones in order to supply your brain with the necessary energy. It is often difficult to realize if you are truly in ketosis or not.

Here I present 10 distinct signs and symptoms of ketosis, some of which are positive, whereas others are negative.

1.Foul breath

A common sign of ketosis is by far the appearance of bad breath.

That is a side effect and it is also, observed in other types of diets, including the Atkins diet, as well. Some people may even have some fruity smell when they reach full ketosis.

The increased levels of ketones are responsible for this side effect. Acetone, a popular ketone is the main compound that typically exits the body via breath or urine .

Although foul breath is not ideal for your social life, it is still a sign that you are actually on ketosis. Some people tend to try and cope with that problem by brushing their teeth regularly or by using some sugar-free gums.

When you use such gums or sugar-free drinks, don’t forget to check the label for the existence of any carbs. Carbs can easily reduce ketone levels in your body or increase your blood sugar levels.

Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis

Summary: Acetone is mainly responsible for the fruity breath that appears when you are on ketosis because it is expelled partly via your breath.


2.Loss of weight

weight loss

Like low-carb diets, a ketogenic diet is really effective for weight loss

When you follow a ketogenic plan, you will experience short-term and long-term loss of weight. That has been proved by many studies

Short-term loss of weight may appear within the first week. That’s not actually weight loss, but it is caused due to the depletion of water and stored fats

After this step, if you stick to the diet and you continue to consume a specific amount of calories, you will start losing body fat.

Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis

Summary: Quick loss of weight occurs when you follow a ketogenic diet and restrict carbohydrates from your diet.

3.High levels of ketones in your breath or urine

A breath analyzer is an alternative method of measuring blood ketone levels.

The analyzer measures acetone which is among the three main ketones in your bloodstream during ketosis.

That will help you understand your body’s ketone levels since there is normally a loss of more acetone when you are in ketosis . This method is less accurate than the previous one.

Another method is to measure the levels of ketones in your urine with the use of indicator strips. These strips are quite cheap and easy to use and they can be used daily. However, they are not that reliable.

Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis

Summary: You can measure your blood ketone levels with urine indicator strips or a breath analyzer but they are not so reliable methods.

4. High blood ketones levels

An undeniable sign of a ketogenic diet includes the increased levels of blood ketones, along with reduced blood sugar levels.

When you stick to a keto diet, you will soon start to burn those ketones, along with fat in order to fuel your body with energy.

The most accurate and trustworthy way of measuring ketosis is to measure the levels of ketones in your blood using a specifically designed meter.

The meter actually measures the levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate in your blood that’s considered a primary ketone in your blood.

According to experts on the issue of ketosis, blood ketones levels between 0.5-3.0 mmol/L are an undeniable sign of ketosis.

Although that’s the most trustworthy method, it requires a small amount of blood to be gathered by pinpricking your finger.

Furthermore, test kits can be a bit expensive. That’s the reason why most patients will perform the test once a week or every other week. If you wish to test your blood ketones levels, then Amazon has some nice available meters.

Summary: Testing of blood ketone levels with a meter is the most reliable way that you are in ketosis.

5. Reduction of the feeling of hunger

When you follow a ketogenic diet, you will normally have your appetite suppressed.

The reasons behind this fact are not fully understood and they are still being explored.

It has been suggested, however, that this reduction of the feeling of hunger occurs due to the elevated intake of vegetables and proteins, accompanied by changes to your hunger hormones .

The high levels of ketones may also, be partly responsible for reducing appetite (Trusted Source 13).

Summary: Following a ketogenic diet can reduce your appetite and suppress your hunger. If you feel that you are not hungry a lot or that you are full easily, then you are probably in ketosis.

6.Heightened focus and elevated energy

When you start a low-carb diet you may feel tired, sick or fogged at first. This medical condition is known as the ”keto flu” or the ”low carb flu”. In the long run, however, a ketogenic diet will result in heightened focus and energy.

When you start a ketogenic diet, you force your body to use fats instead of carbs as a fuel source. When you are fully into ketosis, your brain starts to burn ketones instead of glucose. This change may take some days to a few weeks to start working.

Ketones are a great source of energy. Besides, they have been tested to treat conditions, like concussion and memory loss .

That’s the reason why a long-term sign of ketosis is increased clarity and brain focus .

When you stop consuming carbs, you can control your blood sugar levels, as well. This can increase your focus and brain function even more.

Summary: A long-term consequence of a ketogenic diet is improved brain function and higher levels of energy that are associated with increased levels of blood ketones and stable levels of sugars.

7.Temporary Sense of Fatigue

When you take up a ketogenic diet, you may feel weak and tired.

That common side effect is the main reason why a lot of people quit their diet before they get into ketosis. However, you should be aware of the fact that those side effects are natural.

After so many years that your body was used to follow a heavy-carb diet, it must now switch to a totally opposite system.

This switch doesn’t occur immediately. It typically requires 7-30 days. In order to reduce the feelings of fatigue and weakness, you may need to take some electrolytes.

Those compounds are often decreased due to your body’s quick reduction of water along with the elimination of foods that are full in added salt. If you purchase electrolyte supplements, try to receive 300 mg of magnesium, 1,000 mg of potassium and around 3,000 mg of sodium daily.

Summary: Although you may suffer from fatigue and weakness when you start a ketogenic diet, your body will soon get over it and become adapted to using fats and ketones as an energy source.

8.Temporary Decrease in Exercise Performance

As mentioned previously, a ketogenic diet can result in weakness and tiredness at first. That also includes a decrease in the ability to exercise at first.

The reduced glycogen stores in your muscles that are actually the most effective energy source for every type of exercise is the main cause for this decreased ability.

After a few weeks, most ketogenic followers claim that their performance returns to normal. In some specific types of high endurance sports, a ketogenic diet may even be of some benefit.

Another benefit is that the ability to burn fat during a high-intensity exercise is also, increased considerably.

A popular study proved that athletes undertaking a ketogenic diet burnt about 230% more fat compared to those who didn’t follow the diet .

Although it is not really possible for a ketogenic diet to maximize your performance if you are an elite athlete, it should still be beneficial for recreational sports and general exercising

Summary: Temporary decrease in exercise performance may occur but it will improve again after your body becomes adapted to the new situation.

9.Problems with digestion

Since a ketogenic diet includes a great change in the type of food you consume, digestion problems, including diarrhea and constipation may occur at first.

Some of these symptoms should typically disappear after the transition period, but you should focus on different foods that may cause digestive problems.

You should also, consume a lot of healthy low-carb vegetables, that are low in carbs and full of fibers. You should never follow a diet that lacks diversity.

That may increase the danger of having digestive problems along with nutrient deficiencies.

If you wish to improve your diet, check those 15 foods you should consume on a ketogenic diet.

Summary: When you first switch to a ketogenic diet, you may undergo some digestive issues, including diarrhea and constipation.

10.Lack of sleep

When you first turn to a ketogenic diet, you may suffer from a lack of sleep.

Many people claim insomnia or several wake-ups during the night when they get into a ketogenic diet.

After some weeks, however, the whole situation is improved considerably. And that’s not all. Many followers of the ketogenic diet claim that they sleep better after they become adjusted to it.

Summary: Insomnia and lack of quality sleep are common signs when you get into ketosis at first, but it usually gets better after some weeks.

Final Conclusion

There are some distinct signs and symptoms that can help you understand if you are in full ketosis or not. If you stick to all the rules of a ketogenic diet, you should be in some type of ketosis.

For a more trustworthy and accurate assessment, measure your blood level ketones or the ketones in your breath or urine weekly.

However, if you lose some weight, you feel good and happy with your ketogenic diet results and you feel healthier overall, you should not become obsessed with your ketone levels.

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