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
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
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:
- 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!
About the Author Nate Arnold
I started this website because it was hard to find trustworthy, evidence-based information about the ketogenic diet. Information that was published and peer reviewed by respected scientific journals. After years of research, I'm sure you'll achieve great results in a healthy way following my advice. I do my best to translate scientific research jargon into plain English. Remember, it's always a good idea to consult a doctor before starting a new diet!