Look For These Signs of Ketosis to Know When Your Body is Keto Adapted
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Ketosis is a powerful way to optimize health, energy, and weight loss, but the signs of ketosis can be tricky to pinpoint… until now.
Am I in ketosis yet?
Are you eating low carb and looking for keto signs and ways to know you’re in ketosis? They may not always be easy to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The ketogenic diet allows the body to switch fuel sources from burning sugar (glucose) to burning fat (ketones), but outside of measuring ketones, there are other signals that ketosis is happening within your body.
There are several tools available on the market to measure actual levels of ketones; however, keep in mind that your body will let you know for free! Ketosis is not the end-all-be-all goal… instead, reach for the energizing health benefits that come from living a fat-fueled life.
The physical signs of ketosis:
Short-term signs of ketosis include:
- Rapid weight loss
- Bad breath
- Sweet-smelling urine
- Increased urination
- Decreased physical performance
- Digestive issues
Starting off can be not so great but no worries, not everyone experiences the keto flu. These symptoms are typically only experienced when first starting the keto diet and usually subside within days. Feeling your absolute best is right around the corner! If you need help combatting the keto flu, check out this article about how to dodge the symptoms.
Long-term signs of ketosis include:
- Increased energy and mental clarity
- Weight loss (if this is your goal)
- Decreased appetite and cravings
- Increased physical performance
This is when the magic is happening! These symptoms are typically experienced once keto-adapted (when the body has adjusted to using fat for fuel).
What if I’m not seeing any physical benefits of ketosis?
For some, the physical benefits are not so obvious and the lack of signs of ketosis is often related to too many hidden carbs or excess protein sneaking into the diet. If diet adjustments fail to work, here is a breakdown of ways to measure if one is actually in ketosis.
First off, the body produces three types of ketones all of which can be measured to indicate if one is in ketosis:
- Acetoacetate (urine)
- Beta-hydroxybutyrate (blood)
- Acetone (breath)
The most common tools used to measure ketosis include:
Urine Ketone Sticks:
Measures excess ketones not being used for fuel and helps answer the question “Am I in ketosis?”. This is a great tool to use in the very beginning stages of starting the keto diet, but results will fade away once the body has adapted to fueling off of fat. Urine ketone sticks measure acetoacetate.
If you haven’t experienced any signs of ketosis, this is the easiest, most affordable method to check for ketones.
- Pros: Cheap, easy, painless.
- Cons: Least accurate and reliable over time; results are affected by hydration
- Recommended brands: Ketostix, Perfect Keto, Nurse Hatty, QTEST
Blood Ketone Meter:
The “Gold Standard” of measuring ketones. Blood ketones are what the body and brain use for fuel when your cells don’t have enough glucose available to them. Keto Mojo is a favorite brand amongst our Hip2Keto team and has proven to be extremely effective. Blood keto meters measure beta-hydroxybutyrate.
- Pros: Most accurate and reliable way to measure; can measure blood glucose as well.
- Cons: Strips are expensive; although relatively painless, it requires pricking your finger for a drop of blood.
- Recommended brands: Keto-Mojo Blood Ketone and Glucose Testing Meter Kit; Kiss My Keto Meter Kit, KetoCoach Keto Meter Starter Kit
Breath Ketone Meter:
These are more reliable than the urine strips but can sometimes vary in accuracy, and may not be quite as accurate as blood ketone meters. Note that due to the body’s natural process of waking, cortisol is increased in the mornings and can cause blood sugar to naturally elevate, which will result in lower ketone readings during that time of day. Don’t worry, this is normal and you will find ketones gradually increase later in the day. Breath ketone meters measure acetone levels.
- Pros: Easy, painless, reusable; one-time investment
- Cons: Expensive up front, but may be cheaper in the long run
- Recommended brand: KetoScan
Do I need to measure ketones?
Absolutely not! Being healthy and feeling amazing is the goal, not the level of ketosis. If you are meeting your personal goals and experiencing all the energizing benefits of living fat-fueled, then who cares about the colors and numbers?
However, many people do find that measuring can help indicate if they need to adjust their diet and/or lifestyle, especially when starting out or if the signs of ketosis are lacking.
The takeaway of looking for keto signs:
Your body has the ability to tell you the signs of ketosis… try listening first! If you find yourself struggling to meet your personal goals, measuring ketones may be helpful to determine progress towards living fat-fueled.
Remember the ultimate goal is experiencing the awesome health benefits of living keto, not the level of ketosis. As always, we recommend you work with your healthcare provider on your keto journey.