Wondering how do you know when your body is in ketosis? I think you’ll agree with me that not knowing if your body is in Ketosis is one of the most frustrating aspects of the ketogenic diet. I struggled with wondering whether or not that slice of cake that I couldn’t resist knocked me out of ketosis. But once I knew what signs and symptoms to look for, I could easily tell if I was in Ketosis.
When starting a ketogenic diet your body undergoes several biological adaptations such as a decrease in the level of insulin and a higher rate of fat breakdown. You will experience many symptoms leading up to being in actual nutritional ketosis.
In today’s post, I will share with you 13 indicators that you are in ketosis, how to get through the keto flu and into ketosis the right way and show you how to monitor your blood ketone levels.
So let’s get straight to some indications that you’re in ketosis.
13 Signs That You’re In Ketosis:
- Hunger goes down
- No more crashes
- Sleeping better
- Inflammation goes down
- Constipation goes away.
- Your thyroid symptoms will regulate
- Men’s testosterone will spike
- Women’s estrogen dominance cools off, your skin issues and hot flashes subside
- You have energy all day
- You see the skin repair
- Your moodiness, anxiety, and depression go down
- Your OCD starts getting better
- You see the results in the gym because your less catabolic, and your insulin and glucose becomes regulated
That’s how you know. It’s way more than just seeing the scale go down. Do a DEXA scan if you really want to know your body fat %. Besides monitoring for these indicators of ketosis you should also use a blood glucose and ketone meter.
Are Blood Glucose & Ketone Meters Accurate?
Even with the glucometers, there are a lot of false readings. They can be inaccurate. What you should do is test your glucose every morning, fasted on an empty stomach. Track that along with your energy levels and appetite. The numbers will correlate if it’s accurate.
A glucometer is an amazing tool. A dual glucometer, like the KETO-MOJO Blood Ketone and Glucose Testing Meter Kit, monitors both glucose and ketones. Now, this is still not 100% accurate but it’s pretty darn close to what’s symbolic of your blood glucose and ketones. You want your blood glucose under 80 or 4.4 mmol/L to indicate ketosis as long as you’re not hypoglycemic, and you want your ketones to be over 1mmol/L. The real sweet spot is 1.8 to 3.0 mmol/L. Once your ketones get too high they start spilling over the glass, and what spills over becomes unusable. So when you start getting ketones at 4 or 5 mmol/L you start feeling tired and you don’t sleep well. So track your ketone readings and compare it to your energy levels and your appetite.
How to Use a Blood Glucose & Ketone Meter to Test for Ketosis
You should not only measure your ketones but you should measure your blood glucose to get a more precise reading. You have to get the KETO-MOJO Blood Ketone and Glucose Testing Meter Kit, it’s the most credible glucometer and it comes with Keto strips and Glucose Strips. You want to use both to measure your ketones and glucose.
How you measure your blood ketones is you have to prick your finger like a diabetic. These machines were designed for people who were a diabetic. There are glucometers that just measure glucose but now we have dual glucometers for people who have a type 1 diabetes who don’t want to go too high on their ketones because they can develop acid ketones. We don’t want that.
We got the lancet device that holds the lancets with a really tiny needle. You prick your finger to draw a tiny amount of blood. Then you put the blood on the strip, one for ketones and one for glucose. You only have to prick yourself one time to measure both.
If you don’t want to prick yourself every day and also save yourself from having to buy new lancets and test strips you can use a breathalyzer, like the Ketonix Breath Ketone Level Analyzer. I prefer the actual blood glucose and ketone meters because you can measure both ketones and glucose levels.
Glucose around 85 is normal for a person who is a carb burner, anything below 100. People who are carb burners if they go below 70 they can go into a coma from your blood glucose being too low. But when you’re in ketosis your body starts to use units of fat. So then we would want our glucose to down-regulate so our ketones would be up. You always want a blood glucose number to be between 50-76. We always want low glucose and high ketones. You also don’t want your ketones too high or glucose too low.
The range for ketones for almost everybody is between 0.5 to 6 mmol/L. Your ketones will drop if you have some kind of inflammation in the body. Most people don’t go higher than 6, some people go up to 6.7.
But the sweet spot is between 1.8 to 2.5 or 3. That’s when you know your brain is starting to use more dietary fat as its primary source of fuel. Your body can use glucose and ketones at the same time, but that’s not when you’re in a highly adapted keto state. If you’re still using both glucose and ketones as fuel and not yet adapted, you want your glucose to be around 85 in the morning fasted on an empty stomach.
If you have high glucose and you have high ketones that means you’re not highly adapted. That means you’re just starting to cross over to keto land and the brain is just starting to burn ketones.
Symptoms of the Keto Flu
When getting into ketosis you may have signs of being in ketosis but you aren’t keto-adapted yet. For example, one of the things you see when you start using ketones is the lack of appetite, but just because you’re not hungry doesn’t mean you’re highly adapted.
First, you must go through the keto flu phase, which may include:
- muscle cramps
- dry eyes
- heart palpitations from low potassium
- low blood pressure from not enough water and sodium
- some people become hypoglycemic. They become shakey and exhausted
- your breath smells fruity or metallic
- you have bad B.O.
- you have an insulinogenic response
- your hair starts falling out
- your sex drive drops.
That’s the keto flu.
Switching to a ketogenic diet can be an issue in the beginning stages since it may involve some feelings of weakness & fatigue. Many people quit the diet prior to getting into complete ketosis when energy levels return at an even higher level. But this is expected since the switch does not occur overnight. In case you need to reduce this fatigue, you can consider consuming electrolyte supplements.
Ketogenic diets involve a big shift in the kind of foods which you consume. Issues such as constipation & diarrhea are common during the early stages of the ketogenic diet. However, the issues will quickly go away. Though one should be cautious about the foods that cause digestive issues.
Surviving the Keto Flu and Keto Adapting
The more that you try to do things the wrong way, such as eating cheese and nuts, staying up late, not eating enough fat, eating only 1200 calories, counting your calories, over-exercising, using sugar alcohols or almond flour, you’re compromising your adaptation. You’re compromising your ability to cross that bridge over to ketosis-land, to actually reap the benefits of your keto-adaptation.
The problem is there are false positives and crazy misunderstandings of what it is to keto-adapt. Being keto-adapted doesn’t mean the weight is going to come off. Weight loss comes when you are highly adapted or in nutritional ketosis. Not that you’re just making ketones but that those ketones are viable. You can have perfect glucometer numbers and still be wasting ketones – you’re making them but you’re wasting them. You can have adrenal deficiencies, which means your adrenal glands are not producing enough hormones, and that’s why you crash in the afternoon, that’s why you’re tired in the norming and why you’re wired at night.
Getting Into Ketosis the Hard But Right Way
First, do all of the required work. Take out all the allergenic food, pay attention to see if you have any histamine response, see if you’re bloated on any foods, see if you have loose stool. See if MCT oil or coconut oil is making you have loose stool. See if your gull bladder reacts to all of that fat. Because you can have gallbladder issues and not even know it if you don’t have enough protein or are a vegetarian or are a vegan. You can have low stomach acid and not know it and are not able to digest certain fatty meats.
What To Do Before You Can Keto-Adapt
- Get your digestive system working
- Get your gut bacteria in control
- Pay attention to your sleep
- Start diaphragmatic-breathing
- Start meditating
- Quit all of your stimulants,
- Make sure you’re really high in your fat
- Make sure you’re moderate to low in protein
- You’re eating carbs coming from cruciferous vegetables, like, arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and collard greens
- Stop eating all these awful recipes on the internet that are not keto.
Then you can start regulating your blood sugar and insulin because if your blood sugar is high you’re not going to adapt. Your body is going back to that primary source of fuel that it has known its whole existence. It’s not the human primary source of fuel but it’s what your body has become used to using. We’re trying to switch over to using ketones instead.
People are thinking that they are going to lose weight and they’re not even adapted yet. This is not Atkins or Paleo, this something higher level. This is to get your body into a state of ketosis so you can be more anabolic (building) rather than catabolic (breaking down).
You will know that your body is in ketosis when you have done everything that it takes to get into ketosis. To be disciplined, to be strict. This is not for the faint of heart, it’s for strong people, not people who want to do something 60%. Because that’s the result you’re going to get. If you lose 20 pounds in a month, that is water and muscle and a tiny bit of fat, but that is not ketogenesis.
The Difference Between Being in Ketosis and Being Keto-Adapted
Just because you have the energy or lost weight on a scale is not the final indication that you’re highly adapted. This takes time. Yes you can make ketones and you might use some for a period, intermittent fasting might drop your glucose and raise your ketones for a short time until the adrenals start to freak out.
Using a Journal to Track if Your Body in Ketosis
So how do you know if you’re adapting? Using a glucometer is an amazing tool but really the best one is a notebook. Because you’re journaling everything, tracking what spikes and what drops. You have to know the difference between hypoglycemia and being keto-adapted.
Your glucose should be between 69 to 80 but if it’s in the range doesn’t mean anything. It has to be that way all day long – post-workout, morning and night. Write down your symptoms, your energy levels, your appetite and sleep quality. You can’t rely on just the glucometer because you can have a leaky gut or you could be losing ketones via the urine through some type of inflammation you’re not aware of.
This stuff is complicated, it’s not as easy as the internet makes it sound like. You read “go fry some cream cheese and you’re in ketosis.” No, that’s not going to work. Why no cheese? Because of the casein? Anything you’re unsure of clean out everything then slowly bring potential allergenic foods back in but track how you feel.
You want to do it right because you don’t want to lose muscle as you’re trying to lean out because that’s catabolic. That means your systems have a strain on them, which is why you have to know your energy level fluctuations throughout the entire day.
Comparing your blood glucose levels to any crashes or when you’re tired or when you feel great. You will learn through experience when you are in ketosis.
I hope I have helped clear up any confusion about how do you know when your body is in ketosis, what the signs are and what it takes to actually get there and be sure to see my number 1 recommended Keto Diet Meal Plan here.