With all the new people finding, changing and transitioning to a low carb diet, I thought it was time to put together a keto FAQ about all the common questions that are asked when someone is starting. I don't go too deep into the answers, but I tried to give a direct answer.
If you have any other questions that you would like to be added, modified or unsure, feel free to leave a comment below so you can fully explain or make changes to the answers on this page.
If you need faster response you can post your query on this Subreddit. Check their keto reddit FAQ thread
My best wishes and for all the new people there are good luck and a happy diet!
Many people are afraid to start a ketosis diet because they think it is dangerous. However, this is not true. Getting your body into a state of ketosis is only dangerous for a small percentage of the population (diabetics and ketoacidosis).
For the average individual, there are symptoms and side effects, but nothing that would classify the ketosis diet as dangerous. One major concern many people cite is that reduced glucose levels will not allow your body to function properly.
However, our body is able to convert protein into glucose when needed. In addition, the production of ketone bodies as the primary source of energy makes glucose levels insignificant.
Please consult your physician if you feel as though you do have an issue that might make a ketosis diet negatively affect your body. We do not propose you start a ketosis diet without consulting a physician, but from research, there is no danger from following a keto diet for the average individual.
Before beginning a ketogenic diet plan, most individuals have concerns regarding the symptoms of ketosis. Most people associate unique dieting methods with nausea, lack of energy and a multitude of other adverse effects. Well, some of those symptoms are true for a ketogenic diet plan as well, but the symptoms will go away after about a week.
After that point, your body will be adjusted to metabolizing fat as the primary energy source and the symptoms of ketosis should begin to fade. However, you should still be able to recognize the symptoms of ketosis before you begin your diet. This way, you can monitor your progress and adjust your daily carbohydrate intake until you are able to enter ketosis with ease.
So, read through the top 3 ketosis symptoms below and make sure to keep an eye out for them after you begin your ketogenic diet plan.
Ketosis Symptoms 1: Fatigue
The first ketosis symptom that will appear is fatigue and lack of energy. As your liver glycogen stores begin to deplete, your body will go into famine mode and you will experience a lack of energy. However, your body does have other metabolic pathways and will begin to activate them once you have lowered your carbs for an extended time period. Once your body has gone through this metabolic shift, your energy levels will go back to normal.
Ketosis Symptom 2: Weight Loss
Even though it is not a symptom, weight loss is the next by-product of following a ketogenic diet plan. During the first week, the lack of carbs will cause you to lose a lot of water and see a quick decrease in body weight. Don’t get too excited though, the weight loss will begin to slow after the first week as your body begins to hold less water.
Ketosis Symptom 3: Ketosis Breath
One of the final symptoms of ketosis is ketosis breath. Once you get closer to ketosis, ketone bodies will be released into your bloodstream.
Acetone is a byproduct of ketone bodies being metabolized as energy. The acetone in your body will cause your breath to give off a fruity odor that some people find repulsive. Another thing you should also keep an eye out for is an acetone smell in your urine. This is almost a definite symptom of your body entering ketosis!
As with any diet, you will experience a short adjustment time during the first week. But, being able to recognize the symptoms of ketosis is an important part of learning the limits of your body and finding an optimal fat burning keto diet plan! So, don’t hesitate because of a few temporary symptoms. If you can fight through it, you won’t ever regret it!
Knowing whether you are in or out of ketosis can be a very difficult, yet important, task. Especially since efficient weight loss on a low carb diet is dependent on the fact that you are able to limit your carbs enough to force your body into ketosis.
Well, make sure to look for the following signs of ketosis. These symptoms will allow you to evaluate your progress based on the appearance, or lack, of these signs.
For example, if you do experience these signs, just keep doing what you are doing! If you have not experienced these signs of ketosis, then you know you need to reduce your daily carb intake even further.
Obviously, the first and most important sign of ketosis is weight loss. Once in ketosis, you should see rapid weight loss over the next few days until your carb-up phase. If you are not losing weight, you should reevaluate your diet and see if you are not properly counting your carbs.
If that’s not it, you may want to consider lowering your carb intake a little further. However, if you are already below 50 grams of carbs a day, you should make very small jumps down until you get into ketosis.
Keto breath is one of the most common signs of entering ketosis. You may begin to notice that your breath has an acetone smell and taste to it. This is due to the ketone bodies in your body being released. For more information please refer to the article “Keto Breath”
Another sign of ketosis is always being thirsty, but not due to dehydration. If you are following a keto diet plan, drinking a gallon of water a day and still have a dry mouth making you feel thirsty, you are most likely in ketosis.
Some people report that another sign of ketosis is mood swings and a lower emotional state. I personally have never experienced this sign of ketosis, but it should still be on your list of things to look for. If you do experience this sign, you may want to strongly consider an alternative dieting method in order to lose weight.
Another common sign of ketosis is fatigue and exhaustion. Most people can’t initially handle the complete lack of carbs in their diet. It does take a while for your body to adjust, but soon you will be able to dip into ketosis with no change in energy levels. This is due to your body's ability to adapt to environmental changes and become more efficient at metabolizing fat in place of carbohydrates.
When starting a keto diet plan, you should always make sure to know the signs of ketosis and keep an eye out for them. This is the only way, except for ketostix, to know that your body has entered ketosis. Plus, since everyone is different, the ability to recognize these signs will allow you to refine your diet until you are at your optimal state.
One of the most common “side effects” of a low carb diet is bad breath, also referred to as ketosis breath or keto breath in the health and fitness community. Even though most people would rather avoid bad breath, ketosis breath is actually a great sign when following a low carb diet! And don’t worry; there are ways to minimize the effects of ketosis breath without having to sacrifice talking to people for the sake of losing weight.
In essence, ketosis breath is a byproduct of the body entering into a state of ketosis. By following a low carb diet and depleting your liver glycogen stores, you force your body to metabolize fatty acids as an alternative energy source. Once this occurs, your body begins to release ketone bodies. One ketone body, in particular, acetoacetate, is a volatile compound that is decarboxylated into acetone, the molecule responsible for the odor and is expelled from the body through the breath and urine
So, even though you may not want your breath to smell, it’s actually a good sign! You can use ketosis breath as a loud and clear signal from your body that you have entered ketosis and are now a fat-burning machine!
But wait! Even though it’s a sign that we are doing a good job of sticking to our low carb diets, no one really wants to have keto breath all day, every day. Well, just follow a few of the tips below and you can easily mask ketosis breath and its effects.
Ketosis Breath Tips:
Ketosis Breath Tip 1: Drink Water
A dry mouth can exacerbate the effects of ketosis breath. Make sure to drink close to a gallon of water every day.
Ketosis Breath Tip 2: Gum and Mints
Use sugar-free gum and mints. But be careful! You don’t want to go over on your carbs for the day because you chewed gum.
Ketosis Breath TIp 3: Hidden Mouthwash
Keep a travel-sized mouthwash container in your car or desk at work and forget about it. This can be a lifesaver if you ever forget, or run out of, gum and don’t have the time to get some.
Ketosis vs ketoacidosis is one of the biggest misconceptions in the world of health and fitness. In fact, many people hear about ketoacidosis and instantaneously become fearful of starting a ketosis diet.
(Image source: https://peterattiamd.com/is-ketosis-dangerous/ )
Well, you should stop worrying. Those two terms are commonly confused with each other, but there is a HUGE difference. Ketosis is a normal metabolic pathway while ketoacidosis is a dangerous medical condition that is only of concern to those with Type I diabetes.
Ketosis, in essence, is a metabolic pathway that is initiated when the body is deprived of carbohydrates. The ketosis pathway then will begin to metabolize proteins and fats for energy since all liver glycogen stores have been depleted. As a byproduct of lipolysis, the body will begin to produce ketones that can be used by the body as energy. For more information on Ketosis, please read What is Ketosis?.
Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a state in which there are extremely high levels of ketones in the blood which causes the blood pH level to become dangerously acidic. This usually only occurs in diabetic individuals, since their bodies either have no insulin or doesn’t respond to insulin.
For the average individual looking to lose a few pounds, ketosis vs ketoacidosis should not be on your mind. Going into ketoacidosis is not a real threat. Only those that have been diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic should be concerned with the possibility of ketoacidosis. If you do have any concerns though, you should consult your family physician or dietician.