“Ketosis” is the star actor in the ketosis diet and recent weight loss plans, and refers to the process whereby your body starts to burn your stored fat due to a lack of carbohydrates for energy.
There are tests out there to say if your body has entered the ketosis state but how will you understand if you’re in ketosis without testing? Let’s find out.
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the main energy source of your body becomes ketone bodies. You don’t need any ketosis pill or “magical ketosis food” to start ketosis because it’s a natural process.
Usually, your cells use glucose as a fuel. But when you don’t have enough glucose in your body, your insulin level drops and fatty acids from stored fats are released into your blood. Fatty acids are too big to cross the blood-brain barrier, and thus they are transformed into small particles called ketones or ketone bodies in the liver to produce an alternative energy source that can reach every cell in your body.
When does ketosis start when fasting?
Ketosis typically starts when fasting for an extended period of time, typically around 12 to 48 hours after the last meal. Generally speaking, it takes about 18 hours while fasting to enter the ketosis state.
When you enter the fasting window, your body breaks the carbohydrates down into glucose, which is the primary source of energy for your cells. However, during fasting or very low-carbohydrate diets, your body depletes its stored glucose reserves, known as glycogen.
Once your glycogen stores are depleted, your body needs an alternative fuel source. In the absence of carbohydrates, your liver starts converting fatty acids into molecules called ketones through a process known as ketogenesis. Ketones can be used by your body and brain as an alternative fuel source to glucose. This metabolic state, where your body primarily relies on ketones for energy, is called ketosis.
The time it takes to enter ketosis can vary from person to person and depends on factors such as individual metabolism, activity levels, and the amount of glycogen stored in the body.
It generally takes several hours to a couple of days of fasting or significantly reducing carbohydrate intake to enter ketosis. Regular exercise can help deplete glycogen stores faster and facilitate the transition into ketosis.
What are the ketosis signs?
Some common signs you are in ketosis include:
- Weight loss: Ketosis often leads to weight loss due to the increased breakdown of stored fat for energy.
- Decreased appetite: Many people experience a decrease in appetite while in ketosis, which can contribute to weight loss.
- Increased energy and mental clarity: Once your body adapts to using ketones as a primary fuel source, you may notice increased energy levels and improved mental focus.
- Ketone breath or metallic taste: Some individuals report having a distinct fruity odor on their breath or a metallic taste in their mouth while in ketosis. This is a result of increased ketone production.
- Increased urination: In the initial stages of ketosis, you may notice an increase in urination as your body flushes out excess ketones.
- Dry mouth and increased thirst: Ketosis can cause a dry mouth sensation and increased thirst, leading to more frequent water consumption.
All of these symptoms are the signs you’re in ketosis without testing. It’s important to note that these signs are not universal, and individuals may experience ketosis differently.
You can also read your ketone levels to understand whether you’re in the fat-burning zone or not. A few methods to test your ketones are:
- Blood: The most reliable method, blood ketone testing requires a blood ketone meter. It basically measures the level of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), the main type of ketone body in your body. If you have a reading of over 0.5 mmol/L BHB, it means that you have achieved ketosis.
- Urine: Urine ketone testing only works in the initial stages and measures levels of acetoacetate. When you’re newly in ketosis, you aren’t completely able to use ketones as fuel so the kidneys excrete ketones as waste products. Over time, your body becomes better at using ketones for energy. So urine ketone testing is the proper way to assess your ketosis state in the early phase. A reading of over 15 mg/dL acetoacetate is a sign that you’re on the right track.
- Breath: Breath ketone testing is not a popular way to test ketone levels. You need a breath ketone analyzer for this test, which mainly measures the breakdown product of the ketone body, acetone. If you’re reading anything over 2 ppm acetone, just keep doing what you’re doing.
These tests can be done at home. You can buy ketone test kits from drugstores or online platforms.
Does ketosis work? Is it really beneficial?
Ketosis has several health benefits, including weight loss, balancing blood sugar, and improving brain health.
- Weight loss: Looking for an effective weight loss strategy? Turn your body into a ketosis machine. Ketosis is all about burning your stored fat, so it promotes weight loss while preserving muscle mass. Many studies show that activating ketosis boosts losing weight. (1),(2),(3)
- Blood sugar balance: Balanced blood sugar means that you have less insulin resistance, which is related to various chronic diseases. The good news is that you can improve how sensitive you are to insulin by making clever choices. Putting your body into ketosis is one of the best ways to regulate your blood sugar and improve your insulin sensitivity, meaning you can welcome long-standing health benefits. (4)
- Brain health: Ketones have neuroprotective properties; they provide energy to your brain, reduce neuroinflammation, and lower the stress on your brain cells. As you age, you will be less likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s through maintaining a high level of ketones, in other terms, ketosis. (5) Autophagy of the old and damaged cells is also important to protect you from neurodegenerative disorders.
How do I get into ketosis?
Simply put, you must have consumed all your stored glycogen to enter the ketosis phase. Once your glycogen level is depleted, your body starts breaking down fat and generating ketones to get energy.
If you prefer to enter the ketosis state by practicing intermittent fasting, you can get your personal schedule by getting Fasting Kompanion and keep your fasting on track.
No food offers a golden ticket for entering ketosis. However, by including certain foods in your daily meals, you can easily adapt to a ketosis diet and benefit from the perks of ketosis more quickly:
- Chicken thighs (skin on)
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, lettuce)
Foods to avoid during a ketosis diet
Avoiding or limiting some foods is key to achieving the metabolic state of ketosis:
- Baked goods, grains, pasta, or any type of refined carbs
- Honey and any form of sugar
- Starchy vegetables (potatoes, carrots, corn)
- High-sugar fruits (bananas, figs, etc)
Ketosis is totally a natural physiological state that brings you fat burning, a clear mind, and balanced blood sugar. You can do intermittent fasting, follow the ketosis diet, and exercise to put your body in the ketosis state.
There are blood, urine, and breath tests to see if you have entered ketosis. However, weight loss, decreased appetite, bad breath, metallic taste, increased urination, and dry mouth are the signs that you’re in ketosis without testing.
If you have a special diet or a health issue, we strongly recommend you talk to your doctor before introducing ketosis practices into your life.
Last Updated on July 20, 2023