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How do I know if I am in ketosis?

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

woman who's doubting, don't knowing what to do

If you're trying to lose weight, chances are you've heard of ketosis. But what is it exactly? And how do you know if you are in ketosis?

We speak of ketosis when the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. When your body is in ketosis, it makes ketone bodies, a type of fat that is broken down into energy. It's not the same as starving! Your body needs fat to survive, so it adapts to using it as a fuel source when it doesn't get carbs from food.

In ketosis, you will feel more energized, more focused and more relaxed. You'll have more energy for your workouts and more energy for the rest of your life.

You will feel less hungry and less tired. You will have less cravings for sweets and starches.

And you will lose weight! But not just any type of weight: your body will first burn the fat in your belly. Then it will start burning fat around your waist.

Your skin will be more beautiful and your hair will be shinier. Your nails will grow faster and stronger than ever!

Your mood will be more stable and you will have more patience with others.

Your digestion will improve so much that it may even help you with constipation or diarrhea that has been bothering you for years!

women with a happy IG tract

Are you in ketosis?

It is not always easy to know if one is in ketosis. Here are some signs and symptoms that may indicate that you are in ketosis.

women using a blood ketone monitor to see her ketone level

Ketone Monitors: These are small devices that measure the presence of ketones in your blood. They usually feature a test strip on one side and a lancet on the other. You prick your finger with the lancet, then place a drop of blood on the test strip.

If your blood contains more than 0.5 mg/dL of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), you are most likely in ketosis!

It is a very precise way to control your level of ketosis, but the consumables are relatively expensive in terms of the budget.

ketone urine test strips

Urine Test Strips: These are strips that can be used to test ketone levels in urine samples. They are color-coded so it's easy to tell if you're producing ketones or not. The darker the color of the strip, the more it indicates a high ketone level in the urine. This is a simple and economical way to control your ketosis. However, after the first month, it loses its effectiveness as the body learns to use ketones more and releases them less in the urine. The strips will show a lighter color while you are well and truly in ketosis.

...Other symptoms that indicate you are on the right track

- Having a metallic taste in your mouth: This is one of the most reliable signs of being in ketosis, as it occurs when your body starts burning fat during instead of glucose to produce energy. In this case, acids called ketone bodies build up in your body, causing a metallic taste in your mouth when they come into contact with oxygenated foods.

- Constipation or Diarrhea

- Fast weight loss

- Urinate frequently

- Appetite suppression

- Short-term fatigue and renewed energy

- Possible insomnia

What is the optimal blood ketone level on a ketogenic diet?

graphic of optimal level of ketosis

As part of a ketogenic diet, the level of ketones in the blood is an important factor.The optimal level is between 0.5 and 3 mmol/L, which is generally achieved after about three days of a ketogenic diet.

If you are below 0.5mmol/L, you may be unknowingly consuming a little too much carbohydrate, which is preventing you from burning your fat properly. Throughout your coaching I will teach you how to control the amount of carbohydrates that your body tolerates, don't worry :) . For the initiation coaching formula, it's here.

The rare case of ketoacidosis (above 10mmol/L)

Ketoacidosis (red in the graph above) is rare: it affects only about 1 in 1,000 people with type 1 diabetes and about 10% of people with type 2 diabetes who do not take insulin. People at risk for ketoacidosis are those whose diabetes is not controlled, who take too much insulin or other medicines that cause low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), who consume alcohol excessively or who regularly engage in intense physical exercise without eating enough to replenish their glycogen stores.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of ketoacidosis are: feeling sick (nausea), vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, and difficulty breathing (dyspnea). Your urine may turn dark and you may feel constantly thirsty as you lose water due to dehydration caused by diarrhea or vomiting.

If you suffer from these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.

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