ketosis symptoms feature image

The 4 Ketosis Symptoms You Should Be Looking For

Ketosis is the condition in which your body begins burning fat instead of carbs for its energy source.

The benefits of ketosis range widely, but some of the best include:

  • fat loss
  • increased endurance
  • less cravings
  • shredded physique
  • neurological optimization

But how do you know when you’re in ketosis? Are there symptoms that you’re in ketosis? Is there a way to “feel” like you’re in ketosis?

Obviously the best way to see if you’re in ketosis is to test you breath, blood, or urine. However, we’ve constructed the following list to help you detect the signs that you’ve transitioned into ketosis and turned your body into a fat burning machine!

If you’ve been on the Ketogenic Diet for at least a week, run through this list of ketosis symptoms, and see if they fit what you’re experiencing!

1. Ketosis Breath

ketosis breath for ketosis symptoms

A popular report from many low-carb and keto dieters is that their breath is less than desirable. The smell has been compared to fingernail polish remover, which is believed to come from the presence of acetone. Acetone is, of course, a ketone body, and is also found in many brands of nail-polish remover.

2. Keto Flu

After a life full of ingesting large portions of carbs for energy, dropping carbs and moving into ketosis can often result in ketosis symptoms known collectively as the “keto flu.”

It’s not unheard to feel light-headed, fatigued, or anemic when your body runs out of carb stores and begins turning to fat for its fuel source.

You might feel irritable, or short-tempered; this is your body’s natural reaction to having sugar removed. Much like an addict in rehab, when you cut out mass amounts of processed sugars, you turn into a bit of a monster.

Ketosis symptoms also include nausea, or stomach aches. These can be caused by your stomach reacting poorly to the increased amount of fat being ingested. Your body doesn’t burn through fats like it does carbs, so understandably, this more dense form of energy can cause apprehension in your gut

There’s no definitive timeline on when the keto flu could befall you, either. It could happen three days in or two weeks in; each person’s genetic makeup (and their previous dietary habits) dictate how and when these ketosis symptoms set in.

3. Dry mouth/Increased Thirst

thirsty from ketosis sypmtoms

Ketosis often causes increased urination. This diuretic effect is due in part to your glycogen stores being emptied. Also known as “water weight,” one gram of glycogen necessitates around 3 to 4 grams of water in storage. This mass exodus of surplus fluids (aka pee) can cause dry mouth, and increased sensations of thirst.

Once your body enters ketosis, you don’t tap your insulin reservoirs as much, which allows your body to release more fluids than it is used to releasing. Thirst and dry mouth are a nuisance, but they’re a good sign that you’re heading in the right direction metabolically!

Stay thirsty, my friends. Just kidding, make sure you hydrate your ass off.

4. After the bad, comes the good!

So we’ve listed all of the bad news. Now it’s time to get to the amazing characteristics of ketosis symptoms!

One commonly reported ketosis symptom is less of an appetite. Because you’re eating a more dense form of energy, your appetite is satiated, causing less frequent hunger sensations. This means that the days of snacking will become a distant memory.

You can begin to focus on making your meals count, instead of grazing on unhealthy food due to never being “full!”

You’ll also notice that you’re no longer “uncomfortably full” when you leave the table. The lack of gluten in the ketogenic allows you to leave the table without that bloated feeling, because the protein you’re ingesting will satiate your appetite before you arrive at stretchy-pants-ville.

You’ll also have a different disposition after coming out of the initial “I hate the world I think I’m dying phase.” The mental fog will begin to lift, and you’ll approach your days with a different feeling of energy. Long term energy.

Other considerations for ketosis symptoms:

  • Testing:
    • If you think you’re showing signs of ketosis, and you want to be certain of your feelings – test!
    • As we’ve covered in a previous post, ketone testing is readily available to anyone willing to purchase a testing kit and prick some blood (or pee on a stick)!

Testing isn’t only highly suggested, it’s a must. Ketosis symptoms can often be misconstrued, or misinterpreted; testing eliminates all doubt about where you are metabolically.

You’re declaring something when you start the Ketogenic Diet: a new beginning. You are taking control of your health, and your life.

But you don’t just revolt against a life of carb munching without experiencing some challenges along the way! Ketosis symptoms are just a temporary part of the journey.
We would encourage you to use this list as a helpful guide when you believe you’ve entered ketosis.

Look for the symptoms we listed above, and if you have a suspicion that you might be in ketosis, test your theory!

Now get out there and burn some of that newly found clean energy!

Get the Guide

The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet Starter Guide
Sign up for exclusive email updates and we'll send you "The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet Starter Guide".

Leave a Comment:

c king says July 2, 2017

iv never been in ketosis and I always have diareah and feel lethargic all the time .been on this about 3 months

    Sean says December 15, 2017

    Then you’re doing it wrong

Leah says September 2, 2017

I was in ketosis without even knowing it! Well I suspected I might be after several days of low carb, so I got some ketostix, peed on one, and viola! Dark purple. Very cool. I can have actually more carbs than I thought and stay in ketosis. I test every day now. The night before last I had a generous amount of mixed nuts for a snack, probably a couple of ounces, and I never got out of ketosis. But I read that it is different for different people; some people can have more carbs than others and still stay in ketosis.

Melissa says October 13, 2017

I’ve been doing this almost a week and I am testing very positive for ketones (dark color on strip). I have noticed in the mornings especially I get really hot and sweaty. I am 47 so it may be a hot flash too. But I was wondering if that was common with ketosis. Thanks.

    Imotox says October 22, 2017

    I did read that somewhere. But horomones are horomones and should be tested by your Dr anyhow. I know the ones we need to be concerned about would be those that assure healthy Liver and Kidneys which work overtime. .

Imotox says October 22, 2017

I read on another site that the urine test strips can measure only the excreted Ketones of energy your body does not utilize, therefore one may be burning more fat than this test can determine. A low read may only mean you are burning fuel rather than expelling it. As for me, 6 inches lost before two weeks of this diet. I am just in it three weeks now. My test strips only just begun to read moderate shedding today. :). This way of eating is in no way starvation!

Rachel says November 6, 2017

If your breath smells like acetone, that’s actually a sign you could be going into ketoacidosis. It’s rare for someone who is not diabetic to go into this, but it CAN happen, especially if you’re ill or breastfeeding.

    Brad says March 1, 2018

    A simple Google search can tell you that you’re wrong! Both ketosis and ketoacidosis will cause acetone/fruity breath. Ketosis and ketoacidosis are not the same thing, one is controlled one is not. Also, alcoholism and starvation also cause ketoacidosis and can cause acetone/fruity breath and just like diabetic ketoacidosis can cause coma and death.

Brenda says December 31, 2017

How long does it take for the extreme dry mouth to go away, I’m drinking 8-9 glasses of water a day and after a week still having extremely dry mouth

    John says January 4, 2018

    8-9 gasses of water is around what you should be drinking anyway. 2-3 liters is almost a minimum. Remember when your rehydrating that you need to get electralytes too. I like the propel single packets. They have art. sweeteners but I haven’t found them to affect me personally. As long as I’m getting electralytes I don’t seem to get dry mouth.

km says February 18, 2018

I’ve been at this for 6 weeks; am doing intermittent fasting, using MCT oil 2x daily, taking keto supplement and following recommended macros and I cannot for the life of me get to the last 2 darkest colors on the test strip. I’ve read and followed everything religiously and the ONLY thing I can come up with, is that possibly I’m eating too much protein… What are you guys eating to stay low carb without getting too much protein? I can’t come up with many things other than meat…

    Bacon says March 3, 2018

    Hi Km, for my protein i usually have 2 or 3 slices of bacon for breakfast and 2 or 2 eggs. Lunch i have 210g tin of salmon and dinner i eat around 4 chicken wings or pork belly with the crackle or make a mince beef burger pattie and cover it in cheese and sour cream i eat my greens with every meal also covered in butter or fat from the meat

Josh says May 26, 2018

You don’t want to get to the last two darkest colors. Those mean you aren’t ingesting enough carbs. The middle two are the sweet spot for nutritional ketosis and will mean you’re in the right spot.

Cathy says June 18, 2018

Can you gain weight taking Exogenous Ketones? I feel good when just eating keto, but not sure I get into ketosis. Still waiting to start losing weight, but at least feeling better overall. Was thinking adding exogenous ketones would help kickstart the weight loss.

cc says July 10, 2018

I have been doing keto for two weeks now and I have not lost a pound. I have been tracking everything I eat and my macros are perfect. I have been exercising at least three times a week as well. I have been taking exogenous ketones the past four days, but I cannot seem to lose weight (or inches). I have been nauseous and my ketone strips show moderate to large. Any insight or recommendations as to why I am not losing weight?

Add Your Reply