How Do You Know If You Are In Ketosis?
It wasn’t easy for me to get into ketosis when I first started experimenting with a keto diet a few years ago. It took some time – more time than I expected – and I had to be fairly diligent with eating enough fat, while going low enough in carbs. But I had to be careful to not cut carbs too much that I missed out on all of the benefits of fiber. When I finally hit my sweet spot with my diet, my body naturally used ketones with ease.
Since the release of my second book, High Fiber Keto, I’ve been flooded with questions about my high fiber approach to keto. One of the most common questions that I get is “how do I know if I am in ketosis?” But before I get to that, let’s back up and cover some basics.
The keto (short for ketogenic) diet is a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet that allows the metabolism of the body to shift from primarily burning sugar as fuel to burning fat. This metabolic shift in which the body makes ketones from fat and then uses the ketones as energy, and this is known as the state of ketosis.
Ketosis has the ability to decrease insulin resistance and increase metabolic flexibility to the point that it is a helpful diet for not only weight loss but a host of chronic conditions from Alzheimer’s to diabetes (1, 2).
Although the most definitive way to know if you are in ketosis is by testing blood ketone levels, the body will give other clues – if you know what you are looking for.
So, how do you know if you are in ketosis? Here are some common signs that may suggest that you have reached a state ketosis through observation:
- You can go at least four to five hours between meals without feeling shaky, lightheaded or weak.
- You don’t have “keto flu” symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea or irritability.
- Your energy levels are consistent and steady throughout the day.
- You can comfortably complete fasted workouts.
- You notice a decrease in overall hunger.
- You notice an increase in energy and mental focus.
If you can check these boxes, you are likely in ketosis. I’d suggest checking your blood ketones to confirm that your physical symptoms do, indeed, correlate with the ketogenic state.
Signs That You Are Not In Ketosis
On the other hand, if you are eating a keto diet or following my 22-Day High Fiber Keto plan that’s outlined in my book and aren’t seeing these changes in how you feel, you may not have reached the state of ketosis yet.
Here are some signs that you are not in ketosis:
- You experience increased or continued cravings, especially for sugar or carbs.
- You notice hunger levels are high.
- Your energy is low or unstable.
- Your blood sugar crashes between meals – you might feel shaky, lightheaded or weak.
- You experience some of the symptoms of the “keto flu” including fatigue, headaches, nausea or irritability. (Note: Keto flu symptoms can mean that you need more electrolytes.)
- When you test your blood ketones, they are less than 0.5 mmol/L.
- You’ve only been following a keto diet for a few days or weeks.
The body undergoes a huge metabolic transition when it shifts from using carbohydrates from food for fuel to using fat (including your own body fat) as the primary source. This transition takes a lot of energy and can take some time. Although some people can get into ketosis in a matter of a couple weeks, I’ve found that for some it can take longer than expected – three to six weeks is not uncommon.
Stay tuned for more information this week on how to test for ketosis, why you may not be in ketosis, and what to do to fix it. I can’t wait to dive deeper into this topic with you!
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