Many people have found unprecedented success in hitting their health goals after taking on the keto diet. But what is the secret? Why is the keto diet so successful for so many people? The answer lies in one term: ketosis. The keto diet is based around transforming the way your body creates fuel for itself. Typically your body gathers its energy from carbs and sugar from your diet. For the keto diet you’re specifically looking to remove both of those things from your diet, almost entirely. This depletes your stored glucose (also known as glycogen) and your blood sugar and insulin levels will begin to decrease (awesome for diabetics!). Your body will naturally start to look for an alternate source of fuel to power you through your everyday life. This is where you can turn your body into a fat-burning machine by adopting the keto diet. With no fuel from carbs or sugars, your body will turn to its fat deposits (ketones) to fuel itself, or a process known as ketosis. In ketosis you’re re-training your body to find other, more valuable sources of energy to fuel you through your day, while also burning fat in your body like you never have before. This often leads to very quick and effective weight loss to help you hit those new goals. But how do I know when my body has reached ketosis?
People will typically enter ketosis when they restrict carbohydrates or eat little to no calories (fasting). Depending on the person, their lifestyle, and the severity of their calorie and carb restriction, it can take anywhere from a day to a week and a half for someone to enter sustained ketosis. Most of the time it is difficult to tell if you are actually burning your fats/ketones for fuel. The many changes that take place while you are first starting the keto diet can cause a lot of confusion as to what is really going on inside your body. Here are some of the most telling signs your body is in ketosis:
Weight loss: The most popular sign people receive in their early keto days is rapid weight loss. Obviously other factors can contribute to weight loss, but if you’re being strict with your ketogenic diet then you can more than likely attribute this ketosis symptom to the diet. You will start to see the weight drop off consistently when you push your body to be in constant ketosis. Eventually, you may hit a plateau with the amount of weight loss, where you need to adjust your macros accordingly, but that won’t happen for some time. When you switch to a low carb intake you usually experience significant weight loss in the initial week. It’s important to note that this initial weight loss is more than likely not fat. It is that water weight that was being held by the fat cells in your body. When the fat cells hold onto the water, they can’t flow through your body and be used as energy so instead, your body will continue to store them. Once you’re able to get rid of that water weight the fat will start to fall off. Any weight loss you see at this point will be fat.
Lack of appetite: Hard to believe cutting carbs and sugars from your diet would make you less hungry, but it’s very real! The keto diet focuses on consuming highly satiating, natural foods that get you full, and keep you full. You’ll notice it will take you much longer between meals to start feeling hungry again, which can stop a lot of your dangerous “snack times” throughout your day. No more starving just an hour after lunch time
Dry mouth and thirsty: The combination of heavy carb restriction and increased ketone production may cause some early issues for you. This process will cause your body to lose water at a rapid rate, much more than it’s used to. If you are not drinking enough water during this process, you will typically have constant dry mouth and increased thirst. This is a good sign that you are on track to ketosis, but as you notice these signs, make sure you increase your water intake. It’s important to stay hydrated and drink your water daily to avoid this, or you may become dehydrated and experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms.
“Keto Breath”: As your body begins to get used to its ketone production, you can expect much more acetone to form in your body. Since it can’t be used as fuel by our cells, we excrete it from the body in our breath and urine. This is why many keto dieters will have bad breath or “keto breath” that will sometimes smell a bit funky. Fortunately, the bad breath won’t last forever. As your body gets better at producing and using ketones, it will create much less acetone. Maybe keep a pack of gum/mints with you in your first couple of weeks on keto, you might need them!
Increased energy and clarity: Once you train your body to start burning more ketones for fuel, your body will need less and less sugar/carbs and your energy levels will be higher and more stable throughout the day. You may find these newer energy levels turn into a newfound capacity to focus for extended periods of time (perfect for work!). You’ll begin to have the ability to make it through your long days without an afternoon coffee or needing a nap. The efficiency of burning ketones and fat for fuel will be a saving grace for many of us who struggle to make it through the work-week.
Keto Pee Strips: if you experience a couple of these symptoms, then you are almost certainly going to be in ketosis or are already in ketosis. However, for those of you who want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt if you are in ketosis or not, try using ketone pee strips. Although these strips wont notify you of your exact blood ketone level, it will let you know with certainty if you are in ketosis.
Everyone is going to react differently during the early stages of a ketogenic diet. Getting into the ketosis phase may take some time and people will experience different side effects, but don't be discouraged! You will hit your goals!
Many people are deterred very early from the keto diet as they are not a fan of the foods they have to sacrifice. But don't get scared off! Here at PBH we’ve made it possible for you to enjoy all your favorite best-tasting desserts that you thought you’d have to give up! You don’t have to search endlessly for a dessert substitute when PBH can deliver gluten-free and dairy-free cookies, gluten free and dairy free donuts, gluten free and dairy free brownies, and more gluten free and dairy free goodies right to your doorstep!