Existing in a continued state of ketosis can be an effective health strategy that allows you to become your best and most extraordinary self.
But getting there, and staying there, isn’t always easy.
For those new to the keto lifestyle, recognizing when your body is in ketosis can be a challenge. This article will help you understand what ketosis is and how to know when you have achieved it.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state that happens when the body burns primarily fat instead of glucose (i.e., when sugar) for energy. The Standard American Diet ensures that we typically get our energy from glucose, which comes from carbohydrate foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains—as well as processed sugar.
But we can also get energy from ketones, which can be created in the liver from fats when glucose isn’t readily available (i.e., when we restrict carbohydrate intake or adhere to a fast). When our bodies are running on ketones instead of glucose, we are said to be in a state of ketosis.
Is it Healthy to be in Ketosis?
While diabetic ketoacidosis can be a life-threatening problem—as fat is broken down at a very rapid rate—this is not an expected scenario for the otherwise healthy non-diabetic individual. For many people, going into ketosis can have health benefits, such as weight loss, a natural energy boost, appetite suppression, improved concentration, and improved brain health.
Ketosis can cause weight loss due to natural appetite suppression, which reduces caloric intake and creates an energy deficit. Additionally, when restricting carbohydrates with the goal of creating ketones, more fat can be oxidized or “burned,” and this typically results in less body fat—including belly fat, which can be dangerous for your health. Ketosis is also associated with reduced inflammation, which can be health-enhancing.
Consider that the human body is capable of existing in a state of ketosis. After all, there is no such thing as an “essential” carbohydrate. Our ancient ancestors did not have quick access to food throughout the day. Instead, they would often eat once a day and spend most of their lives in a state of mild ketosis.
How to Get into Ketosis
Entering ketosis takes a bit of time. If you restrict your carb intake to 20-50 grams a day, you may reach ketosis in 2-4 days. But depending on your metabolism and physical activity, it may take longer.
Here are some ways to get into ketosis:
- Limit carbs – The fewer carbohydrates you consume, the less glucose you’ll produce, and the more ketones your body will create.
- Exercise – Physical activity helps you reduce your glycogen stores faster. Just make sure not to overdo it.
- Fast – Intermittent fasting is where you fast for a specific period while reserving an “eating window” where you can eat however you like. For example, a 16-8 diet is where you fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8 hours.
- Take exogenous ketones – Exogenous ketones may help you reach a mild state of ketosis without going on a full keto diet. For better results, try to take one that uses ketone esters, like Tecton, as they’re nature-identical and safe to consume at relatively high dosages. Exogenous ketones may also help you get into ketosis from the keto diet without experiencing the keto flu, which we will discuss in a moment.
Signs You’re in Ketosis
As you look to implement these changes to unlock your inner extraordinary self, how can you tell if you’re in ketosis? While there are blood and urine tests available to measure your ketones, your body also produces a series of signs indicating that you have reached ketosis.
A fruity or unpleasant smell in your breath is a good sign you’re in ketosis. Ketones leave the body in two ways: through urine or breath. Acetone, a type of ketone, is likely the main cause of your bad breath. However, it’s nothing that a little breath mint or sugar-free gum can’t fix.
When you first cut carbs, you may notice a significant drop in pounds. That initial drop is typically due to your body getting rid of water weight. Afterward, you’ll still see a decline in weight, but at a much more stable and consistent rate—which is likely a result of increased fat loss.
Thirst, dry mouth
Remember, when you restrict carbohydrates, your body stores of sugar will be reduced, and this will be accompanied by a reduction in water storage—leading to a lowering in body weight. So naturally, you may feel slightly dehydrated and have an imbalance in electrolyte levels. The reduction of fluid in your body causes your increased thirst and dry mouth. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids during fasting and when you are restricting carbohydrates to avoid dehydration.
You might feel worse before you feel better when you are trying to tell if you’re in ketosis. As your body is adjusting to ketosis, you may go through something known as the “keto-flu.” Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include cravings, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, muscle cramps, or nausea, according to Dr. Christina Tarantola, PharmD, CHC, CHT. Drinking Tecton may help to reduce or even eliminate these symptoms and make getting into and remaining in ketosis a much more pleasant experience.
Increased concentration and focus
On a normal high-carb diet, your blood sugar levels can fluctuate, which can cause energy crashes during the day. However, on a ketogenic diet, blood sugar is much more stable, which can help you sustain an even flow of energy and improve your mental clarity. In addition, ketones spark mitochondrial performance, which can increase focus and brain performance.
Changes in sleep
An unfortunate way to tell if you’re in ketosis is disrupted sleep. When first changing your diet and reducing your carb intake, you may experience insomnia and restlessness during your sleep. It’s normal for those in the beginning of ketosis as you’re reducing your carbohydrate stores, but that will disappear the longer you stick to a ketogenic diet. However, there’s some good news. Because Tecton does not contain caffeine, it can help you feel energized during the day without impacting your sleep at night.
Digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea are your body’s way of responding to the new changes in your diet. To help address your upset stomach, drink plenty of fluids, eat vegetables, and consume more fiber. You might also consider the addition of a probiotic to aid in supporting gut health.
One of the hallmark signs to tell if you’re in ketosis is a raise in ketone levels. As you’re switching fuel sources, you may find more and more ketones in your blood, breath, and even urine. While there are tests for your breath and urine, the most accurate way of measuring ketosis is by looking at your blood with a specialized test. You can often find these tests in your local pharmacy or online. In general, a measurement of .5 – 3 mg/dL is considered an elevated level of ketones, signaling ketosis.
Decrease in appetite
Ketosis has been associated with a decrease in appetite, which may be related to the lowering of ghrelin levels, which is the hormone that says you need to eat. So, in essence, ketones are a natural source of appetite suppression.
Ketosis is safe and healthy for most people – both as a short- and long-term health solution. Although, as with any dietary plan, it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before starting on a carbohydrate-restricted diet with the goal of entering ketosis.
The signs listed above can help you tell you’re in ketosis. People who attempt to get into nutritional ketosis through the keto diet may experience some side effects—most notably the “keto flu.” Drinking Tecton may help mitigate some of the unpleasant symptoms associated with this keto flu and help you achieve ketosis faster and more comfortably than with diet alone.