4 Signs Of Ketosis That Mean The Diet Is Changing Your Body, According To Experts
Anytime you consciously decide to change your eating habits, it’s probably because you’re anticipating some kind of result. Whether you're looking to feel more energized throughout the day or simply improve your overall health, if you’re just getting started on a new diet, you’re probably hungry, hangry, and impatiently waiting for something to change. For example, when you switch from carb-oh-yes to carb-oh-no on the keto diet, the physiological goal is to have your body reach ketosis, aka the point where it’s breaking down fats instead of carbs for energy. Luckily, the signs of ketosis are pretty obvious, so you’ll likely know right away when the diet is working its ~magic~ on you.
In reality, though, there’s nothing that magical about the keto diet — it’s more scientific than anything else. What is magical is how you’ve been able to resist fluffy slices of Italian bread dipped in Nona’s homemade marinara sauce over a bed of linguine. But, long story short, just in case you’re reading this with a blank face and wondering why in the world anyone would say buh-bye to Saturday morning bagel sandwiches and avo toast Tuesdays, the keto diet is just another way of eating that involves consuming significantly fewer carbs and more healthy fats. In doing this, your body is forced to readjust and break down stored fats to keep you energized, as opposed to the glucose sugars in carbs it’s been relying on for years.
If that sounds like a major change to you, that’s because it is. But unlike most fad diets that can take forever to make an actual difference in your health, Dr. Charles Passler, founder of Pure Change, says your body is probably going to respond to the keto diet pretty quickly because, TBH, it really doesn’t have a choice. Your body had a responsibility to burn glucose for energy, and now that that’s gone, it needs to find an entirely different source of fuel to burn ASAP, and that’s a two-part process: acknowledging that it now needs to rely on fats for fuel, and then teaching itself how to burn those fats properly in order to get the job done.
According to Passler, if, all of a sudden, you’re eating less than 20 grams of carbs per day, it’s going to take your body all of two days to go into ketosis — which, in my opinion at least, sounds pretty quick. “Your body can only store glucose in the form of glycogen, a substance stored as carbohydrates, in a two-day supply,” he tells Elite Daily over email. In other words, the less glucose you’re consuming, the less your body has to work with, and the faster it needs to come up with a backup plan — and that, my friends, is when ketosis begins. Of course, every body is different, and not everyone goes anti-carb ASAP, so this is ultimately going to depend on how quickly you're making the transition.
But obviously you're not a doctor (or maybe you are; in that case, ignore me), and you probably don't have any sort of device that allows you to check in or communicate with your insides to ask about its ketosis status. Therefore, you need to know the tell-tale signs of ketosis to look out for. That way, when it does happen, you'll know for sure that saying no to carbs was actually worth it (is it ever really worth it? I digress).
Ketosis Might Make Your Breath Smell, So Stock Up On Mints
Thinking of going keto? Make sure you're brushing your teeth at least twice a day, gargling mouth wash, flossing, whatever you have to do to keep your breath smelling minty fresh, because according to Passler, ketosis could make your breath smell pretty rank. "When the intake of carbs is limited, your body will start to release ketone acetone through your breath," he tells Elite Daily.
So basically, in order to successfully reach ketosis, you'll need to eat less carbs, and pop more breath mints. But as for what, exactly, you can expect your breath to smell like, Jessica Rosen, a certified holistic health coach and founder of Raw Generation, tells Elite Daily it's going to be kind of "fruity" as a result of "the presence of acetone, a type of ketone." OK, so that doesn't sound horrible, but it doesn't sound particularly good either.
You Might Feel Really Exhausted After A Workout
Some people transition into the keto diet completely unscathed and feel amazing right off the bat. Others, Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, tells Elite Daily, have a harder time adjusting. And if you're an athlete or frequent gym-goer, this might reflect during and after your workouts.
"Feeling weaker during workouts and not recovering well," Axe says, are both tell-tale signs that your body is working hard in its transition, so you might want to give it the rest it deserves for a little while. Instead of lifting heavy in the weight room or sprinting on the treadmill, go easy on yourself with light stretches, yoga, or take a few days off to recover in between sessions.
Or, You Might Feel Super Energized As Soon As You Reach Ketosis
For some people, experiencing ketosis is like riding the struggle bus at first, and the mere thought of working out or engaging in any physical activity makes them feel tired. For others, though, hitting ketosis is the energy boost they never even knew they needed. "Since more fuel is going to the brain during a ketogenic diet, you will gain overall energy and concentration," Passler tells Elite Daily.
Not only is your body being put to work, but your brain is reeling and ready to go. So if you're feeling good, don't hesitate to dive headfirst into a new assignment from your boss, or to try a new, challenging hobby. Take advantage of that mental clarity, and get used to feeling on the up-and-up more often than not.
Ketosis Can Make You Lose Your Appetite — And Your Bowels
Eventually your body is going to adapt to ketosis, accept the fact that you've officially broken up with bread (I'm not crying, you're crying), and all those carb-y, sugary cravings will subside. You'll eat what you eat, and your appetite won't be as ravenous.
Sounds great, right? Well, there's a slight catch. "Since the ketogenic diet can cause rapid changes to your body and it is unfamiliar to its usual process, it will also lead to digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea," Passler tells Elite Daily. So while your body is still adjusting, it might be in your best interest to know where the nearest bathroom is at all times.