The ketogenic diet, also known as “keto,” is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, and moderate-protein diet. The end goal of this dietary approach is to make your body rely on its fat stores for fuel instead of carbohydrates.

When this happens, you reach a natural metabolic state called ketosis.

A person on keto consumes who consumes 2,000 calories a day limits his carbohydrates to 20-50 grams. When he eats fat, he needs to make sure that fat comes from healthy, natural sources.

Many people have been captivated by the keto diet because of its benefits. Back in the 1920s, keto was used to treat epileptic children. Keto is also being practiced by people who want to lose weight, lower blood sugar in diabetic individuals, and help manage polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

If you just started keto, you would probably ask, “How can I tell that I’m actually in ketosis?” In this guide, we’re going to discuss how you can achieve ketosis and enumerate eight signs and symptoms.

How to Achieve Ketosis

Getting into ketosis can be done by drastically reducing carbohydrates. Stay away from carb and sugar-laden foods like cookies, baked goodies, starchy vegetables, grains, and most fruits.

On a keto diet, it’s important to know your individualized nutrient ratios and follow them. The simplest way to do it is to rely on a keto calculator. It’s fast and convenient, and results depend on your physique, activity levels, and goals.

Aside from following your keto macros, be sure to incorporate physical activity. Working out depletes your glycogen stores faster. Some people also take MCT oil and exogenous ketones to lower blood glucose and increase their ketone levels.

8 Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis

1. Increased ketones in the blood
If you want an objective way to test for ketosis, test for blood ketone levels using a ketone meter and strips.

You can simply do this procedure at home. While some people dislike this method because they have to draw blood, it’s the most accurate way of testing.

Some people find that their blood ketone levels fluctuate throughout the day. Consider testing at different times -- in the morning, during midday, and at night.

2. Increased ketones in the breath
Breath testing is a more comfortable alternative to blood testing. However, it’s less accurate. Ketones in the blood are different from ketones in the urine.

When fat breaks down, ketone bodies are released. B-hydroxybutyrate concentration rises in the blood while acetone concentration increases in the breath.

Individuals who don’t follow a keto diet have a breath acetone concentration (BrAce) ranging from 0.5 to 2.0 ppm. On keto, BrAce can reach 40 ppm. Epileptic children who are being treated with a keto diet have a reading of up to 360 ppm.

3. Increased ketones in the urine
The third method is urine testing. Urine testing is a more common approach. When your blood ketone levels rise, more ketones get excreted in the urine as well. The ketone that is detected in urine is acetoacetate.

All you need are ketone strips. Take one strip, dip it into a cup of a urine sample, and remove it. The reading will show within fifteen seconds. Note for a color change and refer to the chart featured on the container.

4. Bad breath
The first few days following a keto diet, you will notice that your breath smells fruity. Some people compare the smell to that of acetone. Bad breath happens because certain chemicals are released in your mouth as fat is being broken down.

Don’t worry because bad breath doesn’t last long. When your body adapts to keto, your bad breath goes away. However, if it bothers you now, you can follow simple strategies to get rid of it.

One strategy is to drink more water. Another is to chew sugar-free gum. Peppermint or spearmint flavor effectively masks bad breath.

5. Weight loss
Celebrities and fitness enthusiasts turn to the ketogenic diet to lose fat. While eliminating most sugary and carb-rich foods in your diet is tough, it helps cure your cravings.

One study that involved obese individuals demonstrated that a low-carbohydrate diet lowered their cravings for sweets and high-fat fast foods. When your system learns that fat can be an alternative source to fuel and relies on it, the cravings dissipate.

Furthermore, eating foods with healthy fats and protein promotes satiety. The result is that your hunger decreases.

6. Feelings of exhaustion
Yes, following a keto diet can make you feel sick and tired. Exhaustion happens only at the beginning. The reason behind this tiredness is that your body craves carbohydrates for fuel.

Your body undergoes stress. It also excretes more minerals like sodium and potassium in the urine. It’s vital that you drink more water and supplement with vitamins and minerals. Also, make sure that you get enough sleep. Avoid strenuous exercises.

7. Frequent urination
Noticed that you’re peeing more than usual? An increase in urination is another tell-tale sign of ketosis. Withdrawing from carbohydrates shrinks your glycogen stores.

Your body gets rid of water weight at the start of your keto journey. If you felt bloated on a high-carb diet, this bloating goes away. Eventually, it’ll hit a plateau when your glycogen stores are greatly reduced.

Keep in mind that frequent urination may lead to dehydration. You also lose electrolytes. Supplement with micronutrients like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Don’t forget to drink more water especially on warmer days and during exercise.

8. Constipation or diarrhea
Gastrointestinal issues are another sign that the ketogenic diet is working. Remember that keto is a dietary change. Because you’re cutting out many foods in your diet and welcoming more fat, it’s normal to expect diarrhea or constipation.

Like all other signs and symptoms, digestive problems do not persist. If you experience diarrhea, drink more water. Eat fermented foods rich in probiotics. Examples are kombucha, kimchi, and full-fat plain yogurt.

To deal with constipation, increase your consumption of fiber. Choose foods that are high in soluble fiber such as broccoli, avocados, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds. Boost your water intake as well.

Pay attention to these eight signs and symptoms as they indicate that the keto diet is working. Your body goes through a period of transition for about 4-6 weeks, which explains why you feel discomfort at the beginning. Please don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you have an existing medical condition and want to try the diet.

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