Common Sign and Symptoms That Indicate You’re in Ketosis

Health & Nutrition ,

Common Sign and Symptoms That Indicate You’re in Ketosis

The best way to attain your health and wellness goals is by changing your diet. Low-carb diets have proved to be great in helping dieters attain their weight loss as well as other wellness goals. The keto diet is one of the popular low-carb diets and this article explores some of the sign and symptoms of ketosis that are associated with using this low-carb diet.

What’s Ketosis?

This is a normal metabolic process that occurs when the body uses fat as its main source of energy instead of glucose. the burning up of fat cells results in a build-up of acids within the body i.e. ketones. Ketosis is normally achieved by eating a low-carb diet that’s rich in healthy fats-the keto diet.

Being Aware of Your Ketosis

The body will naturally go into a state of ketosis as a response mechanism to carbohydrate shortage. Ketosis causes an increase in the number of blood ketones or ketone bodies. There are several ways which can help you to be aware if your body is in ketosis. The ketogenic diet has a wide array of symptoms which can be positive and negative. Besides that, they can be physical and mental.

Some of the negative symptoms that you may experience are diarrhea, constipation, and bad breath. However, they are usually temporary and they can be countered by implementing effective mechanisms. The positive effects that you may experience include less brain fog, suppressed appetite, and improved mental clarity.

What Are the Physical Signs That You’re In Ketosis?

The symptoms of ketosis are usually subjective. They result in different effects based on genetics, the amount of carbs restricted from your diet, the amount of electrolytes you have lost, and also the severity of your dehydration.  The positive physical symptoms are usually associated with a high number of blood ketones. Because it takes several weeks for the number of ketones to significantly increase, this means that you dieters will first experience the negative side effects before getting to experience the positive impact. Some of the physical signs of ketosis are:

Keto Flu

Keto flu is actually a collection of symptoms which dieters experience once the body enters into ketosis.  The new dietary change causes the body to create a response mechanism for the reduced carb intake. As a result, you will end up experiencing keto flu symptoms such as:

  • Tiredness and fatigue

These are short-term symptoms which are caused by the restricted carbohydrate intake. After months or years of your body running on a carb-dependent fuel system, it’s now being forced to adapt to a new source of fuel. Weakness and fatigue are caused by loss of electrolytes which occur during the transition phase.

  • Dizziness and Headaches

They occur as a result of the low carb intake, especially low amounts of sugar. Dizziness and headaches may last for one day but can extend up to two weeks. The low carb intake leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, thereby interfering with homeostasis.

  • Stomach Cramps

This is a common symptom of the keto flu. One part of the body that normally feels the impact of dietary changes is the digestive system. Switching to the keto diet disrupts the normal functioning of the digestive system, resulting in stomach upsets. However, you can counter this physical symptom by making a gradual transition into the keto diet and drinking lots of water as well as other fluids.

The Ketosis Breath aka Dragon Breath

This is actually one of the first physical symptoms that you will experience if you are using a low-carb diet.  Ketosis breath is also known as halitosis and it’s characterized by a fruity smell that has some resemblance to acetone. The dragon breath is a side effect of the increased ketone levels. When there is an increase in acetone production, the body will try to eliminate the excess amounts via urine and breath. Although the dragon breath may make you feel uncomfortable especially if you are always in a social setting, it lasts only for a few days. You can manage it by drinking lots of water, thoroughly brushing several times per day, and using a sugar-free mint.

Increased Thirst and Dry Mouth

For your body to attain ketosis, you will notice that you are experiencing frequent urination. This is caused by rapid burning of the glycogen stores which are found in the liver and muscles. The process usually releases lots of water which are then flushed out of the system as urine. Increased urine production means that your body cells will lose water and as a result end up dehydrated.

Increased thirst and dry mouth are common symptoms of dehydration. However, the severity of these physical symptoms can be managed by drinking lots of water in addition to other fluids.

Appetite Suppression and Reduced Food Cravings

Despite eating fewer carbs and calories, most people who have used the keto diet have reported a subjective feeling of satiety. Note that ketosis leads to increased production of ketones which then have a direct impact on the production of ghrelin, a hunger hormone. As a result, the dieter will end up with a suppressed appetite. On the other hand, eating high amounts of healthy fats also helps to reduce food cravings.

Muscle Cramps and Spams

Electrolyte imbalance and loss of water from the body cells can cause muscle cramps. Electrolytes are composed of minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium which are important for enhancing bone strength and preserving lean muscle mass. If they are flushed out of the body, then the dieter is at a higher risk of suffering from muscle spasms and cramps. The imbalance causes a disruption in the electrical messages that are responsible for controlling muscle contractions and spasms.

Weight Loss

Foods which have high amounts of carbs are the main cause of weight gain and obesity. Cutting your carb intake means that you will end up losing a significant amount of weight. Studies show that a keto diet can result in both long-term and short-term weight loss. Dieters usually experience faster weight loss during the first few weeks. Even after the initial drop in weight, you can continue to lose ore body fat as long as you continue to use a calorie-restricted diet.

Other Considerations

Although the physical symptoms play a crucial role in helping dieters determine if they are in ketosis, it’s also important to get accurate results by doing specific tests. If you don’t want to misinterpret the ketosis symptoms you can:

  • Blood ketone monitor testing or
  • Urine ketone strips

How Long Does It Take To Get Into Ketosis

Once you introduce low-carb foods into your diet, then your body should attain ketosis within 2-3 days. However, some people may need to wait longer i.e. up to 7 days. If you want to attain ketosis faster within a short period of time, then you need to engage in activities which promote quick and better use of the stored glycogen.

You can try a fat fast for a few days where you eat foods which have high amounts of healthy fats. This will speed up the rate at which your body produces ketones. After that, you need to eliminate refined carbs, especially sugar, from your diet. Apart from that, you can exercise on an empty stomach or try to do the water fast where you drink more water. All these three options will accelerate the rate at which your body will enter ketosis. But how does the body enter ketosis, well below is what you need to know.

  • Glycogen Depletion

This is the first step that occurs when you decide to cut out carbs from your meals. The amount of blood glucose in your body will drop significantly.  This will force your body to turn to the glycogen stores which are stored in the liver as glucose. This is a response mechanism for the drop in blood sugar.

  • Fat Breakdown

Your low intake of carbohydrate will cause a drop-down in insulin. The low amounts of blood insulin will trigger the breakdown of the fatty acids. The breakdown of fats leads helps to deplete the fat cells in the body as they are used as the main source of fuel.

  • Ketone Production

After a couple of days, the depletion of glucose in the liver forces this organ to start to produce ketones. Note that the increased production of ketones is supposed to meet the body’s energy demands. Dieters should be aware that the brain is also dependent on the fuel influx, so it will also be using the ketones which are produced by the liver.

Final Thoughts

Ketosis is a state that is characterized by various subjective symptoms. However, most of them are easy to identify. The above-mentioned signs are some of the most common and they are often experienced by people who are on low-carb diets such as the keto diet.

Sources

  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323544.php
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
  • https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-ketogenic-diet.h20-1592202.html?intcmp=Highlights4_KetoDiet_01082019
  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketogenic-diet-is-the-ultimate-low-carb-diet-good-for-you-2017072712089

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