The whole idea of the Keto diet is to get your body into ketosis - a metabolic state where you're burning fat for energy.
The signs of ketosis are important for you to know.
We get this question a lot. " How do I know I am on the right track with Keto?"
The transition from being a carb burner to being a fat burner can be a little unpleasant if you are starting from being a carb-aholic, but fear not. With a little planning the unpleasantness will be minimal, temporary and darn well worth it.
You may not experience all of these symptoms, but it is very likely that you will see at least a couple of them.
Then you can get to enjoying all the Benefits of the Keto Lifestyle
1. You Might Lose Weight Really Fast
I know this is the selling point of any diet plan - this might even be the reason that you're on the Keto band wagon.
The weight loss that indicates the beginning of ketosis is normally really fast, but don't hop up and down and run outside to make snow angels just yet.
It's true, some people experience the loss of ten pounds or more in the first week after getting into Ketosis and that feels pretty good - I personally dropped 13 pounds in the first week!
This weight is primarily water, and to be healthy you are going to have to eat salt and drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and replace lost electrolytes.
2. You Develop Bad Breath
As Brenna is fond of saying, you will never be so happy about bad breath.
If you are just starting or restarting Keto it is a good idea have a pack of gum with you because it can come-on pretty fast.
In the first day or so of Ketosis, your fat cells are going to start letting go of triglycerides and your liver is going do it's best make it all into ketones.
The extra ketones - the ones you don't use for energy - will be expelled from your body.
The ketone that is expelled in your breath is acetone.
Your breath will smell like fingernail polish remover and farts to put it as delicately .
Don't worry, it's temporary and with a little time your body will balance your energy needs and Ketone production. Your breath will return to normal.
3. You Might Experience Short Term Fatigue
If you are a normal carb burning sort, and especially if this is your first try with Keto, your body is going take some time to get used to the new energy source.
Your muscles, organs and especially your brain are not used to ketones for fuel. They are going to think they're starving a little. They aren't of course - but it is gong to take them some time to get used to the new fuel.
During the transition you will feel a little tired and groggy - that's normal and it will pass.
4. You Have Increased Energy and Focus
I know it seems odd that I should tell you that you will have fatigue. And now in the next breath I say you are going to experience increased energy and focus. Let me explain.
Once you hit ketosis, it is very likely that your electrolytes and hormones are going to be out of kilter. While your body struggles to adjust you are going to experience some fatigue.
But once you adjust and become "Keto adapted" your energy will increase and level off. You will stay at the higher energy level all the time.
The consistent higher energy level without the spikes and crashes will increase your ability to focus.
5. You Have Increased Ketones
When you stop burning carbs for energy, you will start burning ketones.
The short version of how this works is that your fat cells will release the fat into the blood stream. Your liver is going to change that fat into ketones and then release those ketones back into the bloodstream where they will be distributed throughout your body for your cells to use for energy.
This obviously means that there are going to be more ketones in your blood.
The ketones that are produced but not used for energy will be excreted either in urine or in your breath.
They make testers for this. A blood test is the only really accurate test. If you really want to prick your finger to be sure here is a tester you can get.
They also urine tests if you want to pee on a strip and see what color you get.
They even make a breathalyzer.
Now for a little honesty, for most of you these are not worth the money. If you are going to buy one check out the links because we chose these the ones with the best features and best prices. Don't spend a lot of dough on these.
The urine tests are the cheapest, but they are not accurate because if you are drinking enough water you will dilute your pee so much that it won't work.
The breathalyzer is the most expensive and also not too accurate.
The most accurate is the blood test, but paying money to prick your finger and find out something that you probably already know doesn't really sound like a good investment.
The one time that I would recommend a ketone test is if you are sure that you are keeping to a Keto diet and you're not experiencing any of the other ten signs of ketosis on the list.
6. You Get Thirsty (or thirstier)
Among the signs of ketosis that you may not expect is that you going to be thirsty, and you may even experience a little dry mouth.
Don't worry, this is a good thing and all you have to do is drink some water and probably eat some salt.
7. You Don't Get So Hungry
Of all the signs of ketosis, this one is my favorite. And, the best thing about it is that it is not temporary.
As long as you stay Keto, hunger pangs could be a thing of the past.
The reason for this is a complicated interplay of hormones, insulin, ghrelin and leptin but an extremely oversimplified version of "why" is that carbs trigger cravings/hunger.
When most of the calories you eat come from fat and protein you don't get hungry as often.
This is really great if you also would like to painlessly move into Intermittent Fasting, and really get healthy.
8. You Might Have Digestive Problems
Of all of the signs of ketosis this is the one that I like least. And not just because no one really likes to talk about poop that much.
When you make major changes to your diet like cutting out carbs, you might have some issues with number two.
Constipation: In the beginning I got really constipated because I didn't eat any where near enough fiber and salt. This can also be the result of eating too much protein.
Diarrhea: The other side of the poop coin. For some people changing to Keto can cause diarrhea because their digestive tract is not ready to absorb all the fat and will need some time to adjust.
9. Short Term, Your Performance Might Decrease
As I said above, for most of you removing carbs from your diet is going take adjustment.
When you get to the end of the carbs stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen your gears might grind a little before you really start burning ketones.
So, maybe for the first day or so, you muscles will be switching from glycogen (carbs) to ketones (fat).
Especially if you do high intensity workouts you may feel tired and you won't recover as fast.
10. Muscle Cramps & Spasms
As I said above you will get thirsty as a result of excreting water and electrolytes.
Another sign of ketosis that will follow from the dehydration and salt loss is muscle cramps and spasms.
This will be temporary if you eat some salt and drink enough water.
Have something Keto and salty and a tall glass of water. It will make you feel better.
11. You Experience Insomnia and/or Other Sleep Disturbances.
Humans are creatures of habit and we like things to stay the same.
When everything remains the same we can relax and we sleep well.
When there are big changes like switching from burning carbs to burning fat we tense up and we don't sleep well.
It will pass usually within a week or so.
When you have a hard time sleeping, remember that is a sign of ketosis.
Don't fight it, breath deeply and slowly. Be as still and relaxed as you can and it will pass.
Once you get through this stage, you will sleep better and deeper than you did before.
The Bottom Line on Signs of Ketosis
There are some signs of ketosis that are unpleasant - to say the least. Don't let that discourage you.
They can be minimized with planning and maybe some supplements.
But you shouldn't spend a bunch of money on those until you know which issues you'll have. Follow the link above and read about Keto Supplements before you drop any cold hard cash on those.
Also check out the 9 Essential Groceries that you need to start the Keto Diet.
Many Keto Bloggers have big 'ole long lists of Keto Friendly groceries. Including us...you can see ours right here.
We are in no way suggesting that you need to buy all of that stuff. It's just there as a guide and some encouragement...to show you how many foods are actually "Keto Friendly". I am sick to death of people saying that Keto is too "restrictive". It's not.
But My best advice if you are new to Keto is to take a look at some recipes that you want to try before buying everything on a Keto Friendly list.
All of the annoying signs of ketosis are temporary.
I have been following a Keto low carb high fat lifestyle for two years, and I will tell you right now that it is worth it. I am healthier than ever and you can be too.