11 Aug Ketosis Symptoms
10 Signs and Symptoms That You’re in Ketosis
On a ketogenic diet, your glucose levels fall, lipase (pancreatic enzyme) releases stored triglycerides, fatty acids travel to the liver and your liver produces ketones. Ketones are a source of energy, when the body utilizes fat stores for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Ketogenic diets are becoming increasingly popular for weight loss and energy and consist of low-carbs, no processed foods, and high fats. This change in diet provides a new fuel source for your cells, which causes your body to undergo biological adaptations such as reduced insulin and increased fat breakdown. When this happens, your liver starts producing large amounts of ketones to supply energy for your brain. However, it can often be hard to know whether you’re “in ketosis” or not.
Here are 10 common signs and symptoms of ketosis:
1. Bad Breath
You may experience stinky breath once you reach full ketosis. In the process, you may actually report a fruity smell but a weird taste when you first begin to produce ketones. This is caused by elevated ketone levels. The specific culprit is acetone, a ketone that exits the body in your urine and breath.
While this side effect may be less than ideal for your social life, it can be a positive sign for your diet. If you’re using gum or other alternatives like sugar-free drinks, check the label for carbs and artificial sweeteners. These may raise your blood sugar levels and reduce ketone levels. The bad breath usually goes away after about a month and is not a permanent symptom. Trying chewing Xylitol gum to freshen your breath!
- 2. Weight Loss
Ketogenic diets, along with other low-carb diets, are highly effective for losing weight. Specifically, your body is burning fat rather than muscle or carbs. As dozens of weight loss studies have shown, you will likely experience both short- and long-term weight loss when switching to a ketogenic diet.
- 3. Increased Ketones in the Blood
One of the hallmarks of a ketogenic diet is a reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels and an increase in ketones. The most reliable and accurate method of measuring ketosis is to measure your blood ketone levels using a specialized meter. It measures your ketone levels by calculating the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in your blood. This is one of the primary ketones present in the bloodstream. Nutritional ketosis is defined as blood ketones ranging from 0.5–3.0 mmol/L according to some experts. You’ll get the most accurate measurement of ketones through a blood test. However, the main downside is that it requires a small pinprick to draw blood from the finger. A test kit also costs around $30–$40.
4. Increased Ketones in the Breath or Urine
Another way to measure blood ketone levels is a breath analyzer. It monitors acetone, one of the three main ketones present in your blood during ketosis. These also measure ketone excretion through the urine and can be a quick and cheap method to assess your ketone levels daily. These tests may be less reliable because frequent urination or the dilution of fluids may cause the urine strip to read negative. You should always store the strips in a cool, dry place to ensure that the chemical on the end of the strip will work. At Prolean Wellness, we use the urine strips weekly in order to test for ketosis.
5. Appetite Suppression
Many people report decreased hunger when adhering to a ketogenic diet. This may be becuase ketone production increases leptin hormone, which helps you know when you’re full. Nonetheless, the diet itself which includes increased protein and vegetable intake, along with alterations to your body’s hunger hormones. The ketones themselves may also affect the brain to reduce appetite.
- 6. Increased Focus and Energy
At first, ketogenic dieters may report brain fog, tiredness and feeling sick when first starting a very low-carb diet. This is termed the “low carb flu” or “keto flu” which lasts for about a week. However, you will begin experiencing better focus and energy in the long-term. Many people find that their memory and concentration actually improves when they are in ketosis. When you start a low-carb diet, your body must adapt to burning more fat for fuel, instead of carbs. When you get into ketosis, a large part of the brain starts burning ketones instead of glucose. It can take a few days or weeks for this to start working properly. Ketones are an extremely potent fuel source for the brain. They have even been tested in a medical setting to treat brain diseases and conditions such as concussion and memory loss. Eliminating carbs coming from simple sugars can also help control and stabilize blood sugar levels. This may further increase focus and clarity.
7. Short-Term Fatigue
The initial switch to a ketogenic diet can be one of the biggest issues for new dieters, because the change in diet (especially going from high to low carbs) can cause tiredness and weakness. As you might expect, this switch does not occur overnight. It normally requires 7–30 days before you are in full ketosis. It takes 6 days to produce ketones . To reduce fatigue during this switch, you may want to take electrolyte supplements. This will replenish what is lost because of the rapid reduction in your body’s water content and the elimination of processed foods that may contain added salt. Minerals such as sulfur may be helpful in this process from losing sodium. When adding these supplements, try to obtain 1,000 mg of potassium and at least 500 mg of magnesium per day. Consult with your doctor and nutritionist to see what is best for you.
- 8. Variance in Exercise Performance
As discussed above, removing carbs can lead to general tiredness at first. This includes an initial decrease in exercise performance and physical endurance. This decrease is primarily caused by the reduction in your muscles’ glycogen stores, which provide the main and most efficient fuel source for all forms of high-intensity exercise. After several weeks, many ketogenic dieters state that their performance returns to normal. In certain types of ultra-endurance sports and events, a ketogenic diet could actually be beneficial once your body adapts to the change in energy source (carbs to fat). Another benefit is an increased ability to burn more fat during exercise.
- 9. Digestive Issues
A ketogenic diet generally involves a major change in the types of foods you eat. Digestive issues such as constipation, lump in the stomach and even diarrhea are common side effects in the beginning. Most of these issues should subside after the transition period, but it may be important to be mindful of different foods that may be causing digestive issues. Be sure to eat plenty of non-starchy low glycemic vegetables.
- 10. Insomnia
When starting the diet, you may experience insomnia or waking up at night when you first reduce carbs drastically. However, this usually improves in a matter of weeks. Many long-term ketogenic dieters claim to sleep better now that they have eliminated processed carbs and sugar.
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