So I’m Doing The Keto Diet But How Do I Know If I’m In Ketosis?
With the keto diet craze these days, many people are wondering how do you know if you’re really in ketosis or not? It’s an important thing to know since you need to be in ketosis for the diet to really work and to gain access to the benefits of keto.
So How Can You Know If Your Low Carb Diet Efforts Are Actually Working?
First let’s cover the basics, if you’re already familiar with keto and ketosis, feel free to skip down to the sections on testing and verifying that you’re in ketosis.
Note: If you are a diabetic, pregnant or have other health-related issues going on please discuss the keto diet with your doctor first.
What Is Keto?
The most basic way to think of the keto diet is low carb. That is the main aspect of keto, keeping your carbs low is the goal.
To dig a little deeper into what keto is, it’s a diet that will help your body change primary fuel sources. Naturally, your body uses carbohydrates for fuel, by going on a keto diet, you are restricting carbs.
By restricting carbs to no more than 50g per day generally, your body will be forced to find a new primary fuel source. This fuel source will be fats since you’re restricting carbohydrate intake, you will be increasing fats in their place.
- Low Carb – Generally 50g or 5% carbs per day
- High Fat – Typically Around 75% fat
- Protein – 20%
There are also other variations that favor higher protein ratios but in all keto diets, carbs are kept to a minimum or else you won’t reach ketosis.
What Is Ketosis?
Check out our Keto Shopping List to get ideas for your next grocery trip!
Ketosis is actually a common and natural metabolic process. Your cells need fuel, you’ve restricted carbohydrates or glucose so your body uses fat as fuel. This process of using fat as fuel for your body is called ketosis.
- Fats Instead Of Carbohydrates or Glucose Are Used For Energy
- Ketones (An Acid) Are Produced From The Ketosis Process
- Forces Your Body To Use Fat Stores When In A Calorie Deficit
- Can Lead To Acid Build Up Called Ketoacidosis
- Diabetics Are Most Likely To See Negative Side Effects, Some Serious Ones As Well
It’s common for ketosis to happen in diabetics as well, although it’s generally a sign that they do not have enough insulin or they are not properly using the insulin. Also, diabetics are likely to see negative side effects or issues from doing keto. This is why it’s important to discuss the diet with your doctor before starting it, this way they can monitor your levels and health.
What Are The Benefits Of Keto?
1. Weight Loss
Keto diets can be very effective for weight loss. This is because it takes much work to convert fat to energy/fuel than it does to convert carb to energy.
2. Reduce Hunger
Going along with weight loss, since your body will be producing ketones you have another added benefit. Ketones actually suppress the hunger hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin is what tells you to be hungry, by suppressing this you also suppress your appetite, reducing food cravings.
3. Heart Health
Keto diets have been shown to increase good cholesterol (HDL) . This is keeping in mind that you should be eating plenty of healthy fats likes those from nuts, fish and avocados for example.
4. Prevent and Reduce Acne
There has been much research into the causes of acne and one of those is gut health. By eating too much processed and refined sugars or carbohydrates, acne can be an issue. While on keto you will be cutting those out and the studies show that by doing so, acne can be reduced .
In addition to these benefits, keto can in some cases prevent certain types of cancers and slow the growth of some cancers as well. There are many more benefits to keto and ketone production that I encourage to read further about if you’re interested in those topics.
How To Know If You’re In Ketosis
So you’ve started or are considering starting a keto or low-carb diet but how do you know it’s being effective? There are many signs and symptoms of being in ketosis, which is what you want. So here are some things to look out for that will help indicate that you’re actually in ketosis.
What Are Symptoms Of Ketosis?
1. Keto Breath – Bad Breath
Eww! Disgusting! Who Wants to have bad breath, also known as Keto Breath? Well, it’s a common side effect of keto and low carb diets. When you start producing more ketones, which is an acid, this acid can come out in your breath .
2. Losing Weight
If you’re doing keto it’s important to also be in a calorie deficit. This means taking in fewer calories than what your body needs burns in a day. If you don’t know how many calories you need, be sure to check out our partner site, What The Macro, to take advantage of the simple to use calorie and macro calculator there.
If you’re noticing weight loss though, this could also be an indicator that you’re in ketosis.
3. Ketone Blood Levels
By far the most sure-fire way to know that you’re in ketosis is by checking your ketone blood levels. Maybe not the most pleasant or easiest method but it’s the most accurate. Amazon actually has a wide range of testing strips and kits available for this purpose.
4. Decrease In Appetite
As I discussed earlier, ghrelin is suppressed when you’re producing a high amount of ketones. So if you’re in ketosis you should notice a drop in your appetite as well.
5. Keto Flu
The Keto Flu is real! Some people experience very mild or no symptoms at all, while for others it’s much worse. A recent study done on the topic revealed that the following symptoms are common . This is mainly due to the major change and transition that your body is going through by converting fuel sources from carbs to fats.
- Headaches (Ensure that you’re getting adequate minerals such as salt)
- Constipation (Take a fiber supplement to assist with this)
- Feeling Tired
- Ability to concentrate is reduced
- Sore Muscles
- Sugar Cravings (Your body is used to eating carbs and it wants them back)
6. Increased Energy and Focus
Once you get past the initial stages and your body has switched over to burning fat. Many keto followers report that their energy increases along with their drive and focus.
How To Test If You’re In Ketosis
By far the most accurate way to go is with blood testing kits. These can be found in many drug stores and Amazon also has a large selection of keto testing kits available as well. I would suggest going with these tests for the most accurate reading.
Final Thoughts On Keto and Ketosis
No doubt that the keto diet is a great choice for weight loss if you’re a generally healthy individual. If you have any health issues be sure to discuss it with your doctor first, some of the side effects can be deadly for some.
There are many ways to know if you’re in ketosis but to really know for sure, there is nothing better than the blood testing kits. This is the most accurate way because it is testing the ketone levels in your blood. Just judging by the symptoms can be unreliable due to many other factors such as reduced calorie intake.