How to recognize the signs of ketosis?
If you’ve ever looked for a way to regulate your diet, you’ve probably come across the keto diet—a high-
fat, moderate-protein, low-carb eating plan that can help you lose weight. Also, you probably already
know that the goal of the diet is to achieve ketosis, a state where your body switches to burning fat
instead of its typical source of energy, carbohydrates. This is because your body gets fueled by glucose,
which it receives from carbohydrate-rich foods such as flour, grains, vegetables and fruits. But when you
drastically reduce your carb intake with the keto diet, your body starts to feed on stored fat instead. The
name of the diet comes from ketones, acids that are created when your liver uses fat as energy source.
These ketones then return to the bloodstream and are used for energy.
But how do you know when you’ve reached this fat-burning regimen? Fortunately, there are some
common signs of ketosis to look out for. These signs tend to appear within two weeks of your body
entering ketosis, but if you’re following the diet properly, they shouldn’t last long.
Once your body adjusts to its new fat-burning state, the signs should disappear. If any of them persist
for more than three weeks, it could be an indication that you’re eating too many carbs and going in and
out of ketosis:
You have bad breath
Ketosis may be good for your waistline, but it can be bad for your social life. In ketosis, your body
creates byproducts while breaking down fat to use for energy. One of these byproducts is acetone, the
same acetone found in nail polish remover. This waste is eliminated through urine, sweat and breath,
says dietician Melanie Bomer of Lenox Hill Hospital. “It’s described as a fruity scent, but not in a good
way,” adds Bomer. Until the smell disappears, the expert advises brushing your teeth frequently and
sipping mint tea without sugar.
You often feel tired
As your body adjusts to the new low-carb regimen, you’re likely to feel tired. Bomer recommends
avoiding strenuous activity in the first few weeks of the diet until your body gets used to burning fat.
After two weeks, you should start feeling more energetic and have no problem continuing or starting
Cramps are more frequent
Cutting back on carbs can lead to electrolyte and mineral imbalances, meaning you could get deficiency
in potassium, sodium, and magnesium, Bomer says. All three nutrients help prevent cramps, so without
them you can feel pain. While many keto fanatics get excited about eating foods like cheese and bacon,
it’s very important to eat nuts, seeds, avocados, leafy greens, and oily fish to ensure you get enough
Problems with bowel movements
The keto diet is known to cause constipation for two reasons. First, you don’t consume high-fiber foods
like oatmeal, which contain carbohydrates. Second, carbohydrates are converted into glycogen, which
has a high water content, so that they can be used as energy; when you don’t eat carbohydrates, the amount of water in your system decreases, making it harder to pass a bowel movement. The best way
to combat this is to maximize the carbohydrates you consume. “You should be getting carbohydrates
from non-starchy vegetables and fiber-rich foods,” says Bomer. Cauliflower, broccoli and leafy greens
are great choices. “If you’re going to commit to this, you have to commit completely,” says Bomer,
adding “keep your carbs between 20 and 30 grams a day.”
Mood swings, irritability and hunger are symptoms that are not unique to the keto diet. Any low-carb
diet will make you feel cranky because your brain also uses glucose to perform many functions.
Depriving the brain of glucose at the expense of the body results in mood changes.