- Ketosis is a condition in which your body uses fats, rather than carbohydrates, as fuel.
- It is not always clear whether or not you have acetosis, but some symptoms may indicate that you are.
- Some tests may give you a better idea if you are in ketosis.
- Visit the INSIDER homepage for more stories.
The goal of the keto diet is to get ketosis, or that glorified mode whereby your body burns fat, rather than carbs, to give you energy. But if you think you are in ketosis when you are not, or if you are not when you are, you may not achieve your goals.
Fortunately for those determined to follow the plan (which many health experts advise against), there may be some signals that you have entered the ketosis. There are also tools you can use to determine if you are in ketosis or not.
Here, dietitians explain what to look for if your goal is ketosis.
You have bad breath
During ketosis, you will pee on ketones, or the chemicals your liver makes in fat to fuel your muscles and other tissues, according to WebMD. You can also smell ketones on your breath, said dietitian Penny Scholl, who maintained a weight loss of 120 pounds on a low carb diet.
Scholl explained that your breath may have a perceptible fruity odor, while others suggest that his breath smells like a solvent.
You have to go to the bathroom more
When you start restricting carbohydrates, your kidneys stop retaining salt to excrete it, Scholl said. When this happens, people notice that they go to the bathroom more often to pee.
Read more: 10 of the biggest drawbacks of the keto diet
You do not have a lot of energy
The body does not immediately switch from using glucose to ketones as fuel, explained Scholl. During your transition, you will probably feel slow.
You have the impression of having the flu
"Keto flu" describes symptoms such as headaches, irritability, difficulty sleeping and weakness, said Scholl. This is partly due to the fact that the body has opted for a new source of energy, she explained, and partly to the loss of sodium and other electrolytes due to frequent urination.
Often, these symptoms can be alleviated by staying hydrated and replacing the electrolytes by adding a little salt to your food, she said. The symptoms should also lessen over time, said Pam Nisevich Bede, a registered dietitian based in Ohio. "Research shows that most people can develop ketosis in less than a week after making changes to their diet, but a full keto diet adjustment usually takes between three and five weeks, provided they are adhered to. scrupulously the rules, "she said.
You are not very hungry
Many people realize that they are not as hungry for the keto diet as before, Scholl said. "This would be due to the removal of hunger-related hormones, such as ghrelin," which stimulates appetite, she explained.
You are constipated
"Cutting vital fiber sources in grains and fruits can disrupt your body's digestion and microbiome," said Monica Auslander Moreno, Miami-based licensed dietitian. Constipation is one of the results, although you may also suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies and possibly put you at risk for certain diseases.
You have trouble sleeping
"Acetosis can cause sleep disturbances" because the body is physically in a state of starvation, which disrupts sleep, said Auslander Moreno. Without a lot of carbohydrates, the body can experience declines in certain hormones that promote sleep, although in the long run, the keto diet can improve sleep, according to a previous story of INIDER.
A keto stick (or a glucometer or a breathalyzer) tells you that you are in ketosis.
"One of the best ways to determine if you have ketosis is to use keto sticks," Scholl said. There is usually a color key included on the bottle of keto sticks, which will tell you the level of ketones in your urine. If you excrete ketones, then you are probably in ketosis.
For an even more accurate test, ask your doctor to take a blood sample to test for ketone levels in the serum, suggests New York-based dietitian Abigail Rapaport. You can also buy a glucometer specifically designed to test ketones. However, keep in mind that these tests are more invasive than urine sticks because you have to prick your finger, said Rapaport.
A breathalyzer that monitors acetone, a by-product of ketosis, is another option to consider, Rapaport said. However, breathalyzers may not be as accurate as ketone dosimeters and they tend to be more expensive than ketone-based urine test strips, she said.