What is ketosis? Being in ketosis is truly a magical thing. Ketosis happens when your body starts producing ketone bodies instead of utilizing carbohydrates as energy. Both can be used as energy sources, but I find that converting to a fat-burner over a carbohydrate-burner to be most favorable.
Signs of being in ketosis
There are a few signs that could suggest you're in ketosis:
- a metallic taste in mouth
- strong smelling urine
- random bursts of happiness (it's weird, but it's true!)
- decreased appetite
How to get into ketosis
The best way to get into ketosis is to immediately drop all major carb sources in your diet and focus on high-quality fats. Some find that going extremely low carb for a couple days will jumpstart ketone production and ultimately reaching a state of ketosis.
Initially when you first remove a majority of carbohydrates from your diet, most people experience signs of lethargy and flu-like symptoms. This is what people consider the "low carb flu."
The low carb flu could last anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. It's important to stay extremely hydrated on a ketogenic diet, so much make sure you're getting enough water and electrolytes. If you're one of the lucky ones, you won't experience any low carb flu symptoms at all.
Carbohydrate tolerance varies from person to person to maintain a ketogenic state. Some report that they can eat up to 80 grams and still be in ketosis. A safe spot for most people seems to be between 20-30 grams.
Benefits of being in ketosis
You will find it hard to believe that an array of benefits can be obtained from following a ketogenic diet, but the proof is in the research! Some of these include:
- Effortless weight loss
- Awesome blood sugar regulation
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced inflammation
- Appetite control (I sometimes forget to eat when I'm in ketosis...)
- Proven therapies for brain-related disorders (depression, epilepsy, alzheimers)
- Feelings of euphoria and increased energy
- You can eat all of the butter, bacon and (bunless) burgers you can possibly want!
Ways to test for ketosis
Keto Urine sticks - These are strips that you urinate on and they give you a reading of excess ketones. These can be a good and affordable tool for detecting whether or not your body is producing ketones, but the readings only indiciate excess and not actual ketone levels.
You can pick these up at your local pharmacy or you can order these on Amazon.
Blood Testing - Testing the blood for ketones is the most accurate method of detecting ketosis. Much like a diabetic, you prick your finger and put a drop of blood on the strip and run it through the machine. In the reading, you want to have a goal of nutritional ketosis (often defined as between .5 and 3 mmol/L). The concern with blood testing is price. The strips used to test for ketones are generally $2-5/each US and they can definietely add up.
Ketone Breathalyzer - This method is relatively new, but it is a very welcoming method. The Ketone Breathalyzer is a device you blow into, much like an alcoholic breathalyzer that looks for acetone in the breath. This is generally an indication of the body producing ketones. While the initial cost is pricy (~$120 US), the breathalyzer can be used thousands of times. The results have been found to be extremely comparable to the keto meters.
Should anybody NOT be in ketosis?
If you are a type 1 or insulin-dependent diabetic, you should be wary of a ketogenic diet. This could create a problem called ketoacidosis which is actually harmful to the body.