The Ketogenic Diet is a popular low carb, high fat diet that raises blood ketone levels and puts you into what’s called ketosis. These ketones provide a new fuel source for your cells and cause the most unique benefits of this diet. However, it can be often hard to tell if you’re in ketosis or not, so here are some of the most common signs. Number one, bad breath. It’s actually a really common side effect once you reach full ketosis. The bad breath is caused by elevated ketone levels.
The specific culprit is acetone which is a ketone that exits the body in your urine and breath. Many ketogenic dieters brush their teeth several times per day, or use sugar free gum to solve the issue. It also goes away after some time on the diet. It’s not a permanent thing. Number two, weight loss. You’ll likely experience both short and long term weight loss when switching to a ketogenic diet. Fast weight loss can occur during the first week and while some people believe is to be fat loss, it is primarily stored carbs and water being used up. After the initial rapid dropping water weight you should be able to continue to consistently lose weight as long as you adhere to the diet properly and that you’re in a calorie deficit.
Number three, increased ketones in the blood. The most reliable and accurate method of measuring ketosis is to look at your blood ketone levels which can be done using a specialized device.This is one of the primary ketones present in the bloodstream. Now, according to some experts on the ketogenic diet, nutritional ketosis is defined as blood ketones ranging from to 3 mmols per liter. The main down side of this is that it requires a small pin prick each time to draw some blood from your finger and also the test kits cost about $30 to $40 and an additional $5 each time you test. For this reason most people will just perform one test per week or even once every two weeks.
Number four, increased ketones in the breath or urine. Another way to measure your blood ketone levels is with a breath analyzer. It monitors acetone, one of the three main ketones present in your blood during ketosis. It’s been shown to be fairly accurate, but less accurate than the blood monitor method. Another option is to measure ketone excretion through your urine using special indicator strips. However, they are not considered very reliable. Number five, appetite suppression. Many people report decreased hunger when following the ketogenic diet.
The reasons why this happens is still being investigated, whereby it’s been suggested hunger reduction may be due to alterations to your body’s hunger hormones like Ghrelin. The ketones themselves may also effect the brain to reduce appetite. Number six, Insomnia. One big issue for the ketogenic dieters is insomnia or waking up during the night which is more common when you first start the diet. It usually improves after a few weeks and many long term ketogenic dieters claim that they now sleep better than they ever have previously before doing the diet. Ultimately, if you’re following the guidelines of the ketogenic diet and you stay consistent then you should be in some form of ketosis.
If you want a more accurate assessment, then monitor your ketone levels in your blood or breath or urine on a weekly basis.