Weight Loss

What Is Ketosis And What Are The Symptoms?

What Is Ketosis And What Are The Symptoms?

What you should know about ketosis

Ketosis is a state of metabolism whereby your body uses fat rather than carbohydrates as its main fuel source. In other words, ketosis occurs when insufficient amounts of glucose are consumed to meet the body’s needs and it turns to burning fat to make up for any deficit. This energy source is known as ketones.

What are ketones? 

Ketone bodies are a by-product of the body burning fat stores for energy rather than glucose, think of them as exhaust fumes from when fuel is burned. To encourage ketones, the amount of insulin in your bloodstream must be low. The lower your insulin, the higher your ketone production.

Even the brain can run on fat via ketone bodies!

How do I know if ketones are present?

You can test for ketones using strips you dip in your urine or you can buy a blood ketone testing meter. These are available from pharmacies or online chemists. If you’re diabetic you should have a ketone testing meter which you can get from your GP or diabetic nurse.

Ketosis and Diabetes

A ketogenic diet can help you lose excess fat, which is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Studies have found that a ketogenic promoting diet can improve insulin sensitivity by a whopping 75%

So, what’s ketoacidosis? 

Less common in type 2 diabetes, but dangerous for type 1 diabetics with consistently high blood glucose levels, ketones can develop into a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This happens when there is a severe lack of insulin and the body cannot use glucose for energy. The body then starts to break-down fat and body tissue as an alternative energy source. Ketones are the by-product of this process. While a certain level of ketones can be safe in non-diabetics – they can build up to a high level they cause the body to become acidic – hence the name, ‘acidosis’.

To make it even easier and give you an informative breakdown of what you need to know, we’ve separated this guide into four simple sections:

  1. Ketosis and weight loss
  2. What are the symptoms of ketosis?
  3. Ketosis Myths busted
  4. Is ketosis good or bad? 5 key facts

5:2 Diet

1. Ketosis and weight loss

What’s Total Solution and is it for me? 

Following a VLCD diet like Total Solution has been proven to improve glycemic control in dieters more than by calorie restriction alone and are good building blocks for long-term sustainable weight loss.

2. What are the symptoms of Ketosis?

The shift into ketosis can mean some mild temporary side effects for some people such as a headache, which passes after a couple of days. Symptoms are relatively easy to spot. Ketosis requires willpower, and any of you that have been through ketosis already will understand that this diet gives you a dose of tough love!

Ketosis can stimulate:

  • Feelings of hunger
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness, lethargy
  • Bad breath, or ‘ketosis breath’
  • A metallic or salty taste in the mouth

These symptoms are the telling results of the presence of a ketone called acetone, which is excreted both in the urine and the mouth as your body turns to fat stores for energy.

The good news? Although the first few days can feel very difficult, if you power through the headaches, the hunger will start to wane, leaving you feeling lighter on the scales and more filled with energy. In fact, many people at this stage describe it as offering them a whole new lease of life!

Q: How do I know if I’m in ketosis?

You’ll know you’re in ketosis if you have a positive ketone test, people often comment on other signs such as a metallic taste in your mouth and a reduced sense of hunger. Some people go into ketosis quite quickly, after a day or so of carbohydrate restriction.

Q: How long does it take to get into ketosis?

It usually takes between 3 and 5 days for your body to enter ketosis, but it really depends on how quickly the muscle glycogen in your body depletes. When this happens your body begins to use fat as its main energy source, inducing weight loss.

Q: Can citric acid affect ketosis?

There is some scientific evidence that citric acid may affect ketosis in some individuals. This is why we ask customers to avoid things like diet coke which contain it in order to get optimum results while following Total Solution.

Diet Ketosis

3. Ketosis Myths Busted

Myth 1 | Ketosis is dangerous

This is not true. Ketosis is a normal adaptive metabolic state where levels of ketones stay relatively low and are tightly controlled.

Myth 2 | Ketosis is the same as ketoacidosis

No these are very different. This type of diet leads to a mild dietary ketosis. Ketoacidosis is a serious condition which can be found in uncontrolled diabetics, alcoholics and those suffering from severe starvation. In ketosis levels stay tightly controlled whereas in ketoacidosis they rise in an uncontrolled fashion to dangerous levels.

Myth 3 | There’s a magic number when it comes to carb levels for ketosis

Afraid not. Some people are more sensitive than others to carbohydrate and need lower amounts in order to get ketones. Other people will have detectable ketones on 80g of carb per day or more.

Myth 4 | The darker the ketone stick the better

Untrue. A very dark result means you are probably dehydrated which isn’t a good thing. You will still be getting all the benefits of ketosis if your stick is lighter in colour. If your ketones become too high you can run the risk of becoming really unwell and more likely to become constipated. Check out the ketone guide below.

4. Is Ketosis Good or Bad?

Being in ketosis even for a short period of time has great benefits…

1 | Use fat for fuel

Ketosis is the body’s ability to use fats for fuel. Your body can get extremely lazy on a high-carb diet and you’re likely to put on weight if you’re not exercising enough to burn off those carbs!

2 | Keep lean

If you’re getting enough protein and fibre in your diet, ketosis has a protein-sparing effect so it will burn fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. All of our Exante meals pack a protein punch and are full of fibre and all the essential nutrients to keep you feeling fuller for longer!

3 | Zero hunger pangs

A very important benefit of ketosis promoting diets – like our Total Solution – is that the presence of ketones, along with healthy protein intake, can act as an appetite suppressant. A high-carb diet, on the other hand, can actually increase hunger levels because high-sugar intake can spike blood glucose levels which can lead to hunger cravings.

4 | Get through the fog

As with most things, there are a few downsides to ketogenic diets. Luckily, most are temporary and our Total Solution can counteract most of them with our specially formulated meals.

During the first few weeks, the body will go through a metabolic shift as it gets accustomed to the new process. This can bring on a small amount of brain fog, tiredness, and even dehydration. Drinking lots of water should be a priority, particularly before, during, and after exercise! Once the body gets used to ketones as its main fuel source, you will have more energy and vigour than before!

5 | Prevent ketoacidosis in diabetics

On our Total Solution, we encourage a ‘break’ every 4th week whereby calorific intake is increased. This allows the body to recover from the effects of ketones and helps you to lose weight in a healthy, balanced and sustainable way.

6 | Get started with Exante

For more advice and motivational tips follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

 



Amanda Ashman

Amanda Ashman

Writer and expert


BENEFITS OF EXANTE'S VLCD BENEFITS OF EXANTE'S VLCD Find out more about the latest BBC Crash Diet Experiment >