The idea behind restricting your carb intake on the ketogenic diet is to reach a state of ketosis where your body, having used all its glucose stores, begins burning fat for energy.
Certain signs reveal the body’s switch from glucose use to ketones for fuel. Here are 10 common signs and symptoms of ketosis, both positive and negative.
You might experience this when a ketone body called acetone escapes through your breath. It causes your breath to smell sweet or fruity, similar to nail polish. You will be glad to know that this is not a permanent change; it usually goes away after some time on the diet.
2. Weight Loss
The whole point of it! Ketogenic diets are highly effective for weight loss, and you can start to notice the kilograms fall off in as little as a week. After the initial rapid drop in water weight, you should continue to lose body fat consistently as long as you stick to the diet.
3. Increased ketone bodies in your urine
Ketone bodies are molecules created by the natural process of burning body fat for fuel. One of the varieties of ketones generated — acetone — cannot be used by the body and is excreted as waste, mostly in the urine and the breath. Conveniently, this makes it very simple to measure whether or not you are in ketosis.
By using acetone breath analyzers and urine indicator strips such as the one below, you can instantly check your ketone levels.
Many people experience a marked reduction in hunger while in ketosis. This may possibly be caused by an increased ability of the body to be fueled by its fat stores, along with alterations to your body’s hunger hormones thereby decreasing your desire to eat. The ketones themselves may also affect the brain to reduce appetite.
5. Increased Focus and Energy
People transitioning from sugar-burning to fat-burning mode often initially experience side effects. This is referred to as the keto flu, since symptoms are similar to those of the flu: fatigue, nausea, headaches, cramps, etc. However, after a few days of the flu, many people experience a clear increase in energy levels.
Ketosis results in a steady flow of fuel (ketones) to the brain. Eliminating carbs can also help control and stabilize blood sugar levels. This often results in the experience of increased focus and improved brain function and concentration.
6. Short-term fatigue and decreased performance
As I mentioned earlier, the initial change to a ketogenic diet has some side effects which include weakness and fatigue. This fatigue can also lead to decrease in general performance, but you will be pleased to know that it doesn’t last long. You just need to focus on the long term benefits of the diet and stick to it. The feeling of fatigue is primarily caused by the reduction in your muscles’ glycogen stores, which provide the main and most efficient fuel source for all forms of high-intensity exercise. However, there tends to be an improvement again after the initial adaptation phase is over.
I would love to hear what you think, and if you have experienced any other symptoms – please feel free to share in the comments section below!