A popular trend in the nutrition world, the keto diet is designed to induce a metabolic state known as ketosis. When this is achieved, the body begins to produce a high quantity of ketones to use as an energy source. As the body starts burning fat instead of sugar, practitioners enjoy a number of benefits, including weight loss.
In order for the body to enter ketosis, various conditions need to be met. If carbohydrates or glycogen are available, the body will use them instead of fat for energy. For this reason, restricting carbs and sugar is a key aspect of achieving ketosis. But how do you know when you’ve reached your goal and begun to burn stored fat?
Here are seven signs that you have achieved ketosis and can expect to start dropping pounds.
Not feeling as hungry of late? That might be because your body has entered ketosis. By drastically cutting the amount of carbs in your diet, you alter the way your body and digestive system function. If you consume a lot of carbs, your brain may start to ignore the hormones your body releases that tell you you’re full and it’s time to stop eating. By filling up on healthy fats and proteins rather than carbs, you enable your brain to pay attention to this hormone again. While you’ll still want to eat when necessary, you likely won’t feel the same extreme hunger pangs or let yourself eat to the point of feeling ill.
Who wouldn’t like to be able to concentrate better and achieve more throughout the day? One of the most pleasant aspects of achieving ketosis is enjoying superior energy and focus. This benefit is especially desirable for those who often struggle to concentrate when starting a new diet. After all, hunger can make it harder to think clearly and focus on daily activities. With ketosis, dieters no longer experience that afternoon crash. Moreover, the supply of ketones you’re now producing provides invaluable brain fuel. So you might just see your performance at work or school improving, as well.
Keto practitioners enjoy improved focus, but before that happens, they may suffer short-term fatigue. This state results from the body adjusting to the lack of carbs it’s accustomed to using for fuel. So, if you’re feeling weak or tired, it might be a sign that your body is entering ketosis. The important thing is to push past this momentary setback until your body has adjusted, and you can enjoy the many benefits of this eating strategy. Consider taking vitamins and electrolyte supplements during the few days or weeks it takes for your body to get used to the new normal.
As your body adjusts to burning fat rather than sugar, it’s only natural that you’d suffer some digestive upset. While a few lucky keto practitioners experience little to no change in digestive habits, many suffer from constipation or diarrhea during the early days of dieting. Consider taking a fiber supplement to help regulate your digestive tract until these unpleasant symptoms have passed.
One of the most common signs you have entered ketosis is also one of the most desirable results of this dietary strategy: you start losing weight. It’s important to note that keto tends to come with both short-term and long-term weight loss. While many practitioners lose a significant amount of weight in the first week or so of ketosis, this drop in pounds likely results from the body using up stored carbs and water rather than burning fat. However, if you continue to follow a diet high in healthy fats and proteins, you can expect to lose body fat, as well. According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, following a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet results in greater weight loss than following a low-fat diet over the long term.
Having trouble falling asleep at night? Struggling to stay asleep until morning? The problem might be that you’ve entered ketosis. While keto-induced insomnia doesn’t usually last, it can be a struggle during the early days of this dietary practice. The good news is that following a keto diet tends to result in improved sleep over the long term. So drink some chamomile tea before bed, and before long you’ll be enjoying many peaceful nights of rest.
This is one side effect of keto that no one likes to talk about. And, fortunately, it doesn’t last for very long. During the early days of ketosis, you might notice that your breath is less than minty-fresh. This problem stems from the body needing to rid itself of the extra ketones it can’t use yet and usually resolves in a few weeks. In the meantime, brush and floss a little more often and think about infusing your water or tea with fresh mint leaves for added protection.