Unless you’re not into nutrition, you’ve probably by now heard of the high-fat low carb eating plan known as the keto diet.
In today’s post, we’ll take a closer look at what actually happens to your body when you on the ketogenic diet.
So, if you’re thinking about getting on the keto path, then you’re in the right place.
What’s The Ketogenic?
The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, and very low-carb eating plan that preaches limiting carbohydrates intake to 10 to 30 grams per day.
In general, the keto diet is about 70 to 80 percent fat, 15 to 25 percent protein, and 5 to 10 percent carbohydrates.
The primary goal of keeping carbs low is to achieve a metabolic state known as ketosis, where the body switches into burning fat as fuel instead of glycogen.
6 Telling Signs and Symptoms That You’re in Ketosis
Once your body enters ketosis, you’ll more than likely experience a range of symptoms.
Here is what you need to know about these telling signs.
Note—if you don’t know the basic tenets of the ketogenic diet, then I strongly recommend checking my previous post here.
1. Reduced Insulin Levels
When you eat carb-rich foods, your insulin levels spike.
But, since you’ll be drastically cracking down on carbs, you’ll limit these spikes.
And science backs this up.
According to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, diabetic subjects on a low-carb diet for two weeks not only normalized their glucose levels but also reduced average blood sugar by 30 mg/dl.
In other words, the ketogenic diet is a fantastic way to help regulate blood sugar levels.
2. Experiencing the Keto Flu
This is what I hated the most about the keto diet during the first few days.
In essence, the keto flu is a range of symptoms experienced the first week or so as your body begins to make the transition from burning fat instead of glycogen.
Also known as “induction flu,” the keto flu mimics the signs of an actual flu.
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of concentration
- Brain fog or confusion
- Trouble falling—or staying—asleep.
Just don’t worry. These symptoms usually resolve within a few days—and often up to a week— once your body has adjusted. Think of it as a type of carbohydrate withdrawal syndrome.
To ease the keto flu, drink plenty of water, increase your dietary fat intake, and consider opting for a sugar-free electrolyte drink.
3. You’re Less Hungry
A lot happens when you leave the carbohydrates world behind—and one of these strange occurrences is a diminished appetite.
In fact, most people can go for long stretches of time without feeling hungry once they’re keto adapted.
That’s why the practice of intermittent fasting is pretty common among established Keto’ers.
The ketogenic diet reduces appetite for a number of reasons. But if I’d to boil it down to one thing it’s the following.
On the keto diet, you’ll be, mainly, consuming lots of healthy fats, lean proteins, and fibrous vegetables. These are the most satiating nutrients that affect appetite hormones, taming your desire to eat.
Because of this, you’ll almost never feel hungry nor the need for grazing or snacking throughout the day, especially on calorie-rich foods or sweets.
4. Your Breath Might Smell
Another strange effect of ketosis is that your breath may smell sweet like nail polish remover.
Why it’s the case?
One of the ketone bodies released in the liver (and expelled via the breath) is acetone, which is a chemical used in the production of nail polish remover and some paint thinners.
Because of the same reason, some people may notice a slightly metallic, or even fruity, taste in their mouth. That’s acetone leaving its signature in our breath and saliva
To mask this symptom, chew sugar-free gum.
5. You Have Digestive issues
Getting on the ketogenic path requires a drastic change in the types of food you eat.
As you limit carb intake, you’re also removing a lot of fiber, such as fruit, grains, legume, and cereals, which may result in constipation.
On top of that, revving up fat intake may cause diarrhea.
That’s why digestive issues, such as constipation and diarrhea, are like rites of passage for keto initiates.
As we have seen before, most of these issues should subside, after the transition period, but to ease your digestive issues, consider:
- Adding keto-friendly high-fiber foods.
- Consuming plenty of fiber from non-starchy, low-carb, vegetables.
- Getting enough salt or magnesium.
- Drinking plenty of water.
- Cutting on dairy and nut.
6. Short-Term Fatigue
As already discussed, removing carbs can trigger a lot of changes in your body. This includes an initial drop in athletic performance and power.
Beside the keto flu, the decrease in athletic output was another hassle I had to deal with when I made the switch to keto eating.
Here is what to expect:
During the first few weeks—not days—you’re going to feel as though you have less energy than you usually do when working out.
This is especially the case when doing high impact cardio sports, such as running.
This is also one of the main reasons beginners quite the diet before they’re fully keto-adapted.
Why is that?
The initial drop in performance is caused by the reduction in muscles’ glycogen stores, which is the primary and most efficient energy source for all forms of high-intensity training.
The good news is, after a few weeks—not days—most keto dieters report that their performance returns to normal.
On average, it may require 10 to 30 days before you’re in full ketosis. Complete keto-adaptation can take up to three months.
To reduce fatigue and get over this initial hump, you may want to take electrolytes supplements to help replace those lost in droves.
As a rough guideline, aim for 3000 to 4000 mg of sodium, 1000 mg of potassium, and no more than 300 mg of magnesium per day.
The common thread in the above symptoms is that once your body makes the full transition, most—often all of—the symptoms should subside.
How long will that take depends on your particular case, genes, diet habits, activity levels, and age.
Just keep in mind that these symptoms do not affect everyone, so if you’re still hesitant about giving keto a shot, just try it and see for yourself.