There are so many people who have turned to low-carb diets that are rich in healthy fats i.e. keto diet, to attain their weight loss goals. A diet such as this usually leads to a state that’s known as ketosis which results in the depletion of blood sugar levels. So, what is ketosis and what are its benefits? Well, this article gives an overview of all aspects of ketosis and how you can know if your body has reached this state.

What Is Ketosis?

This is a normal type of metabolic process which the body goes through when there is inadequate glucose content in the body. It’s a state which the body is forced to use fat cells instead of glucose for energy. Ketosis usually results in an increase of ketones in the bloodstream.

Ketosis Symptoms

The Ketogenic diet is one of the most popular programs for weight loss and health improvement. The high-fat and low-carb diet normally raise the levels of blood ketones when it’s used correctly. Ketones provide the body with an alternative source of fuel. Normally, it forces the body to undergo various biological changes that include an increase in the breakdown of fat and a decrease in insulin. But how do you know that your body has attained ketosis? Well, outlined below are some of the common symptoms.

Weight Loss

This is one of the major signs that you have reached ketosis. People who are in this state normally end up losing a significant amount of weight naturally and within a short period of time. Ketosis forces the body to release excess water that’s held in fat cells.

Loss of Appetite

When you reduce your carb intake, what usually happens most of the time is that you will end with the loss of appetite. Although you will still end up getting hungry, it won’t be too often. You will only be eating when it’s necessary and in small portions. Ketosis usually suppresses the functions of the hunger hormones, leading to reduced food cravings.

Increased Energy & Focus

One thing that people whose bodies have attained ketosis is that they end up with increased energy levels and improved focus. You won’t experience an energy crash because ketosis enhances the production of natural energy. You will end up with a better focus because your brain will have adequate fuel supply.

Short-Term Fatigue

This is one of the main signs that your body has achieved ketosis is fatigue that lasts for a short period of time. This is because the body is transitioning from using glucose as its main sources of fuel to ketones which facilitate the metabolism of fat. However, once you have attained full ketosis, you will end up experiencing an increase in energy production. To reduce this effect, take supplements to replace the lost electrolytes.

Change in Bowel Movements

Ketosis changes your toilet routine. It leads to constipation which means that you might go for days before passing out stool. To combat this, add more magnesium and fiber to your diet. Diarrhea is usually caused by excess metabolism of fat but you can use a fiber supplement to ease it. Note that there are some lucky people who don’t experience a change in bowel movements.

Bad Breath

An increase in the number of ketones leads to an increase in acetone production. Acetone causes the breath to have a bad fruity smell which may negatively impact your social life. If you experience bad breath, ensure that you brush your tongue and teeth several times daily and chew gum mint to refresh your breath.

Increase in Ketone Production

Just like its name suggests, ketosis increases the production of ketones. You can check the number of ketones in your blood by using a ketogenic meter which calculates the level of beta-hydroxybutyrate salt that is in your blood. A ketone range of 0.5 mmol/L to 3.0mmol/L means that you are in ketosis.

How Long Does It Take To Get Into Ketosis

This usually depends on the diet or supplement that you are using. If you are taking a keto diet that limits your carb intake, then you can reach ketosis in two or three days. However, some people may have to wait for up to seven days. You can use a keto supplement such as ketosis pills to attain this take within 45 minutes to one hour.

How Does Ketosis Work

Most people know that ketosis is only effective if you starve yourself. They end up counting calories and depriving their bodies of all the essential nutrients that are needed for healthy growth of the body tissues. Both supplements and keto diet for ketosis work in the same way and the only difference is the onset time. Supplements tend to work faster compared to a keto diet.

What is ketosis

1st Stage: Glycogen Depletion Phase

This is the main stage that kick-starts ketosis. Glycogen is used as the source of energy. During this time, there are hormonal changes in the body that leads to increased fat burning and gluconeogenesis. Note that at this stage the production of ketones hasn’t started yet.

2nd Stage: Gluconeogenic Phase

The glycogen content has been fully depleted and the process of gluconeogenesis begins. The body starts to produce ketones but at very low amounts. A person may end up noticing changes in the way their breath smells. Additionally, there may be an increase in urine production because of an increase in acetones found in blood.

3rd Stage: The Keto Phase

The body ends up using ketone and fat as its main source of energy. The amount of protein that’s broken down for energy reduces and the body is now in ketosis. Each person has a different type of body composition hence they will get in ketosis at different rates. Note that these are the three basic stages to ketosis. It doesn’t matter if you are on a low-carb diet alone or using ketosis pills and shakes, you will have to go through all the three stages.

Ketosis Side Effects

Ketosis is one of the many metabolic processes that occur in the body. It helps the body to burn more fat once you deprive it of enough carbs. The body cells end up burning more fat in order to produce sufficient energy. However, this state isn’t all beneficial, it may result in the following side effects:

Keto Flu

It’s one of the well-known side effects of ketosis. The keto flu makes the body weak and it normally occurs at the onset of using a ketogenic diet. Some of its symptoms include a runny nose, headaches, fatigue, and nausea.

Increased Sugar Cravings

Carbs are foods which usually have sugar high sugar content. At the beginning and even during ketosis, the body normally has low blood sugar levels and you may end up with intense sugar cravings. Although this may challenge your willpower, you need to avoid foods with processed sugars.

Drowsiness or Dizziness

You might have hypoglycemia i.e. Low blood sugar levels but your body hasn’t fully attained ketosis. This means that the low blood sugar may cause dizziness and drowsiness because of low energy in the body. The incorrect cortisol response as well the dysregulation of the blood pressure may make you feel drowsy or dizzy when you try to stand up.

Reduced Physical Performance

Ketosis is a state which forces the body to utilize a new source of fuel rather than what it uses naturally. The brain, as well as the muscles, usually have large amounts of mitochondria that are responsible for energy production. Ketosis forces the mitochondria to utilize ketones instead of glucose as a source of energy. Because of the new changes, you may end up noticing a big drop in physical strength. This is because the body is still transitioning and adapting to new changes.

Sleeplessness

Ketosis increases the effects of cortisol which reduces the effects of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. Interfering with the functions of melatonin means that you will end up experiencing insomnia and or sleeplessness. Lack of adequate sleep ends up affecting all other areas of your life.

Frequent Urination

Ketosis causes an imbalance of minerals/electrolytes. When someone takes a diet with low amounts of carbs, the body ends up secreting more sodium, which pulls a lot of water into the urinary tract. Although the frequent urination can be annoying, it’s also a positive sign that your body is adapting well to the keto diet.

Constipation

An imbalance in minerals/electrolytes causes dehydration which leads to constipation. The change in the stool’s consistency means that you may find it very hard to pass stool because the body cells are dehydrated.

The Bottom Line

Ketosis provides a healthier and effective way of improving your health and promoting weight loss. Its. However, people should be aware that this state is not the same as starvation. If you are using a ketogenic diet, you are still allowed to eat carbs but in low amounts, unlike starvation where you have to forego taking food. You also need to take moderates amounts of protein as well as healthy fats. Overall, ketosis allows the body to function effectively, both mentally and physically.

References 

  • https://thrivestrive.com/ketosis-signs/
  • https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2018/08/411526/ketogenic-diet-gains-popularity-scientists-research-what-we-do-and-dont-know
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
  • https://www.dietvsdisease.org/3-reasons-paleo-is-dead-and-the-ketogenic-diet-is-the-future-of-weight-loss-fads-in-2018/