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Ten Signs and Symptoms That You Are in Ketosis

Ten Signs and Symptoms That You Are in Ketosis

A ketogenic diet involves a low or extremely minimal intake of carbohydrates that forces the body to burn fat as a source of energy instead. People initially believed it could cure epilepsy in children.

The usual source of energy that the body uses is glucose which is from carbohydrates. When the body has low carbohydrate content, the liver converts fats into ketone bodies and fatty acids. 

Gluconeogenesis is a process by which the body produces glucose from non-carbohydrate sources. 

The process commonly happens during fasting or starvation. It leads to the production of ketone bodies. Ketone bodies can serve as a replacement for glucose as a source of energy for the brain. Ketone bodies include acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone.

During fasting or starvation, the glucose level in the blood depletes quickly, forcing the body to convert fats into fatty acids and glycogen into glucose. The fatty acids can be used as a source of fuel by your muscles and other tissues.

Ketogenic diets are now a common option for weight loss and healthy living. It is vital to keep an eye out for ketosis during your weight loss journey. This article talks about ketosis and ten signs and symptoms that you’re in ketosis. They might help you recognize some dangers while in ketosis. 

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is due to elevated ketone bodies in the blood from the breakdown of fats. It is a metabolic state that occurs when your body does not have enough carbohydrates for energy, so it burns fat instead.

Achieving ketosis may help to speed up the process of weight loss. It is also beneficial to blood pressure while providing a great source of energy. Change in one’s diet is a major cause of ketosis.

Diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) is a severe diabetic complication that arises from too many ketones. It occurs when the insulin in the body is not enough. 

Excess ketones also cause the blood to be acidic.

Some of the signs of DKA include frequent urination, dry skin & mouth, thirst, and fatigue.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms That You’re In Ketosis?

We have established that excess ketone level in the body leads to ketosis. While ketosis might be good for burning fat and serving as a source of weight loss, it might not be recommended for everyone depending on individual health conditions. How do you know if you are in ketosis?

A keto urine test or a blood sugar test is one of the easiest ways to know your ketone level. Generally, ketosis occurs about 3-4 days after drastic changes to your intake of carbohydrates.

Below are ten signs and symptoms that show that you are in ketosis.

1. Elevated Ketone Levels

Ketosis occurs when the body has more ketones and reduced blood glucose. An individual experiencing nutritional ketosis will have blood ketone levels of  0.5 – 3 millimoles per liter. There are various methods of measuring ketone levels. You can measure ketone level by breathing into a breathalyzer.

A urine test is another common method. It involves dipping an indicator strip into the urine. You then observe the color change. The ketone level determines the level of color change. 

The most reliable method, however, is doing a blood test. There are also some special home testing kits you can use to check your ketone levels at home. You can buy them online. 

2. Headaches

Many studies show that headaches are recurring symptoms that you are in ketosis. Due to a switch in the usual energy source, the body is forced to adjust. This causes an electrolyte imbalance in the body. Dehydration may also cause headaches.

There is no particular timeframe for the headaches. They may last from a day to even up to a week.

Interestingly, some findings also say ketogenic diets are a potential treatment for migraines and cluster headaches.

3. Weight Loss

Another sign that you are in ketosis is weight loss. When your body is forced to burn fat as a fuel source, the fat reserves in the body get easily used up. This leads to weight loss. 

Ketosis causes some water loss. Hence, most of the initial weight loss is water weight. A long-term ketogenic diet is an effective process for weight loss.

4. Change in Sleep Pattern

Switching to a ketogenic diet may cause a shift in your sleeping pattern. You might experience difficulty trying to fall asleep or randomly waking up during the night. With time, your body adjusts, and this symptom goes away.

In the long term, a keto diet might improve sleep. This happens through the reduction of adenosine activity. Adenosine builds up during the day and keeps you alert. Its reduction helps your body relax and sleep better. 

5. Weakness and Exhaustion

One sign that indicates that you are in the early stages of ketosis is exhaustion. You always feel tired and generally weak due to a change in the body’s source of fuel. Carbohydrates are a quick energy source. Replacing them with fat makes energy burst in the body to be a slow process.

You might encounter weakness and exhaustion only in the first few weeks. The body tends to adjust and eventually maintains a balance in energy levels. If you experience an extended period of tiredness while on the keto diet, you should contact your physician.

6. Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasm is the involuntary contraction of a muscle. It occurs during ketosis. A change in diet may cause a deficit in nutrients/ electrolytes such as potassium or magnesium, leading to muscle spasms. They are usually temporary but could be pretty painful.

You should imbibe a balanced diet containing the proper amounts of electrolytes to avoid muscle cramps or spasms.

7. Thirst

Loss of water weight from ketosis leads to thirst from dehydration. Increased levels of ketones in the body can also cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. The two symptoms may lead to serious health complications. Signs of dehydration may include dizziness, dry mouth, and lethargy.

8. Bad Breath

Bad breath is a common symptom of ketosis. Acetone is a form of ketone that leaves the body majorly through the breath (as well as urine). It is responsible for the fruity smell experienced during ketosis.

Frequently brushing or using sugar-free chewing gum may help to mask the smell experienced during ketosis.

9. Mental Clarity and Focus

Research has shown that people who follow the long-term ketogenic diet plan have better concentration and focus. Other studies suggest that the ketogenic diet may improve cognitive function as well as providing neuroprotective effects.

10. Stomach Cramps 

When you switch to the ketogenic diet, it increases the risk of stomach complaints. You may experience constipation at the beginning of the ketogenic diet. It will help if you increase water and fluid intake to avoid stomach upset. Eat more fiber-rich foods to prevent constipation.

Experiencing these symptoms show depletion in your carbohydrate reserves, and ketosis has started by using fat as a source of fuel. Monitoring your ketone levels in the urine, blood, or breath can also indicate whether or not you are in ketosis.

Signs and Symptoms That You Are Not In Ketosis

Ketosis does not start immediately after you begin your keto journey. Your body takes a few days to adjust to healthy fat as the primary source of fuel. Some factors that affect how quickly you enter ketosis include genetics, sleep, carbs, fat intake, eating schedule, and level of physical activities. 

Some of these factors are beyond your control. Therefore, you cannot control when your body enters ketosis. However, if you experience one or more of the following, you are not yet in ketosis. 

1. Low or Unstable Energy

When your body adjusts to fat as its energy source, you experience unstable energy throughout the day. When your energy feels low or inconsistent, you are most likely not experiencing ketosis yet. 

If you are religiously following the diet and feel low in energy after a few weeks, consult your doctor and seek medical advice.

2. Low Ketone Levels

Your ketone levels constitute a significant indicator as to whether or not you are experiencing ketosis or not. Decreased ketone levels either in the blood or urine indicate that you are not yet in ketosis.

3. Unstable Blood Sugar Levels

Another sign that you are not experiencing ketosis yet is an imbalance in your blood sugar levels. If you feel lightheaded or weak, it’s most likely your blood sugar giving you signals.

4. Continuous Craving for Carbs/Sugar

The increased cravings for sugar or carbohydrates are a significant indicator that ketosis has not been reached yet. Your body is probably finding it difficult to adjust to the absence of carbs as its energy source.

5. High Hunger Levels

During ketosis, you experience lesser cravings, and you achieve satiety easily. If your hunger levels are elevated all the time, you probably have not entered ketosis yet.

6. Keto Flu

Experiencing the keto flu, including nausea and dizziness signifies that you are not yet in ketosis. The keto flu symptoms range from dizziness and thirst to weakness. It’s your body trying to adjust to the ketogenic diet.

It is important to note that different people enter ketosis at different times. Our bodies are different. You must give yourself enough time and stick to your biological clock. Be faithful to yourself and cut the carbs while increasing your healthy fat intake.

How Do You Test Your Ketone Levels?

You can test how well ketosis is going on in the body by testing the level of ketones either in the blood or in the urine.

Test the Urine

You can use test strips to check ketone levels in the urine. They contain chemicals that cause color changes as they react with ketones. Pee on the strip. It can indicate your ketone level by comparing it to a color chart. Ketonuria is a condition characterized by ketones being present in the urine.

Test the Breath

The breath test is usually for testing the ketone known as acetone, which is the simplest ketone. A ketone breath meter is used to detect levels of acetone present in the breath.

Test the Blood

Blood testing is the standard test for checking the ketone level in the body. The blood test is used for detecting a ketone called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) present in the blood. Generally, if the ketone results come back between 0.5 millimole/liter (mmol/L) and 3.0 mmol/L BHB, it indicates a maintained ketogenic lifestyle.

Treatment for high ketone levels include:

  • Insulin administration helps in lowering ketones.
  • Replacement of electrolyte lost.
  • Rehydration with Intravenous (IV) fluids.


This article has shown you ten signs and symptoms that indicate whether or not you are in ketosis. Our body system varies from person to person, so you should find a balance that works for you. A ketogenic diet has many health benefits. However, it may not be healthy for all individuals, so it is important to consult your physician for health and nutritional advice that will work best for you.