If you’ve been trying to lose weight, you may have heard about ketosis or a ketogenic diet. Ketosis is a metabolic process which occurs when you don’t consume enough carbohydrates from food to help your cells burn energy. Since your body needs to keep working, it produces ketones. Ketogenic diets emphasize consuming proteins to fuel your body. Being in ketosis helps you to burn fat, feel less hungry and maintain muscle. The process typically starts after three or four days of using less than 50 grams of carbohydrates. In addition to reducing carbohydrates, you can amplify your results by taking supplements. See KetoLogic for more on this.
You may be wondering how you will actually know when you are in ketosis. Let’s look at some of the signs.
More Ketones in the Blood
Your blood sugar levels will decrease and your ketones will increase. You can buy a testing kit which requires you to prick your finger and test your levels. The test measures your ketones by recording the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate contained in your blood. This is the most accurate way of determining if you’re in ketosis.
Bad breath is often a negative sign but if you’re aiming for full ketosis, a fruity smell can indicate you’ve reached it. Acetone, one type of ketone, exists the body through your breath and urine and that causes the smell. You don’t need to fear social situations, though. You can use sugar-free gum or brush your teeth more often to reduce this symptom. Be sure to use only carbohydrate-free items to improve your breath.
You will likely experience weight loss in both the short and long term. During the first week, you may rapidly drop quite a few pounds but you should note that this isn’t fat loss. Your body is simply making use of stored carbs and water. If you stick with the diet and continue burning more calories than you consume, you will steadily lose more weight.
Many people find they get hungry less often when they are on a ketogenic diet. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why this occurs. However, it has been suggested that the increased vegetable and protein intake may be responsible along with a change in your body’s hormones which control hunger. Your brain may also be affected by the ketones themselves.
You may experience either diarrhea or constipation when you begin to change what you eat. The symptoms should subside but you need to pay attention to if any of the new foods you’ve introduced are causing problems. Ensure you’re still eating a wide range of foods so you get all the nutrients and fiber you need.
You may feel weak and fatigued when you first change your diet. Your body needs time to adapt to the change from a diet which was heavy in carbs. It may take between a week and a month for your body to fully adapt to running on fat and ketones. Many people quit the diet during this period and never fully experience its effects. However, you can try using electrolyte supplements to get you through this time.
Insomnia followed by better sleep
Many people who switch to a ketogenic find they can’t fall asleep or they awaken frequently during the night. This may last for a few weeks. The good news is that many people who change their diet say their sleep becomes more restful once they have adapted.
It can be a big adjustment when you’re seeking to reach ketosis. However, if you know the signs to expect, the experience can be less jolting. Many of the symptoms pass over time so keep your end goal in mind.