Normally, a ketogenic diet is aimed at improving your overall health and help you lose weight. It’s a low-carb (five to 10 percent carbs), high-fat (70-75 percent fats) diet that switches your body’s dependence on carbohydrates as the source of energy to burning fat for fuel. This process (metabolization of fats), increases the level of blood ketones produced by the liver. The more carbs you restrict and the more fats you consume, the greater the number of ketones are produced. These compounds provide the cells with a new form of fuel and are responsible for the positive health benefits that you’ll experience. However, most people don’t know whether the keto diet is working or not, and that’s why knowing if you’re in ketosis is important.
7 Signs to Know if You’re in Ketosis
Dry Mouth and Increased Thirst
Your body usually undergoes many biological adaptations that may change the way you feel. One of the changes is an increase in your thirst. During this period, your body exhausts excess glycogen and you’ll find yourself urinating pretty often. What happens is that keto diet decreases your insulin levels, and as a result, your body expels excess sodium and water. This causes dry mouth and increased thirst. To counter the rapid water loss, it’s advisable to drink plenty of water to prevent the risk of dehydration and kidney stones.
In the initial stages of a ketogenic diet, you’re likely to experience short-term fatigue and weakness. This is to be expected as your body had adapted to a carb-heavy diet before you decided to switch. Most people give up because of this whereas a few more days into the keto diet could have started making major impacts on their health. Nutrition experts recommend that you avoid strenuous activities during the first few weeks until your body gets used to burning fat as the new source of fuel. This feeling may last for two weeks after which you should begin to feel a new energy boost.
3. Bad Breath
Perhaps the most noticeable feature is bad breath. Ketosis breaks down fat to create energy for your cells. By-products are released as a result and acetone happens to be one of them. If you’re not familiar with acetone, then it’s similar to the one found in nail polish remover. Since waste removal is now enhanced, the by-products are eliminated via sweat, urine, and breath. Understandably, this may affect your social life but it’s only short-lived. To take care of the bad breath, chew on sugar-free gums or brush your teeth more often.
4. Digestive Issues
Making such drastic changes is bound to rattle your digestive system. Keto diet means a complete overhaul of what you were used to eating. It will take some time for your digestive system to adapt. Some of the side effects to expect include:
- Constipation: reducing the consumption of fiber-rich carbs like oatmeal will affect bowel movement. In addition, carbs are usually converted into glycogen, which contains high water content, as a source of energy. Fewer carbs mean less water in your system, hence constipation.
- Diarrhea: you’ve just upped your fats intake, something that your body wasn’t used to. This will cause stomach issues that, luckily, will come to pass. What you can do is increase your intake of low-carb veggies, such as asparagus, broccoli, and kale.
5. Muscles Cramps
If you start experiencing muscles cramps, then you know that you’re in ketosis. Your electrolyte and mineral balance suffer when you lower carbs in your diet. This indicates a drop in sodium, potassium, and magnesium in your body. These three minerals help to prevent cramping and may explain the pain in your muscles. You’re advised to increase your intake of nuts, seeds, fatty fish, avocado and leafy greens to regain the electrolyte and mineral balance.
6. Sleep Issues
Trouble sleeping? The transition into a keto diet is the most probable cause. The thing is, carbs contain sugars, which are physiologically addictive. Cutting out the sugar source interferes with your sleep, and insomnia kicks in. The carb restriction also increases the release of stress hormones, which are known to disrupt sleep. As a result, you are likely to wake up at odd hours or struggle to fall asleep. But don’t panic. This will go away as soon as ketone production increases.
7. Weight Loss
Weight loss is one of the effects of a ketogenic diet. During the first weeks, rapid weight loss is due to water and carbs being used up. If you stick to this diet, you’ll continue to lose the excess body fat in a steady manner.
Other Ways to Know if You’re in Ketosis
The methods above may differ from one person to another depending on how your body responds to the diet changes. For more reliable data, you can apply the ketone measurements methods below:
- Urine testing – this involves buying urine strips that turn in color depending on the level of ketones detected in your pee.
- Breathing test – this technique measures the acetone level in your breath.
- Blood testing – this is the most effective way to measure the ketones in your blood. You can do this at home using test strips or ketone meter or you can go to a lab to get your blood measured for ketone level.
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