Ketosis is a metabolic process or state that the body is said to be in when it uses fat and ketones as its main fuel source instead of glucose. The process of ketosis takes place when the fats breakdown into useful energy in the same way as carbohydrates breakdown to produce glucose to fuel the body. To reach the state of ketosis, the blood ketone levels should be less than .5 millimolar/L.
In the state of ketosis, the body is using the alternate fuel source to feed the brain. Due to little or no intake of carbohydrates, glucose stored in the liver becomes depleted and stops meeting the constant fuel supply needed by the brain. This is where ketones step in and the fats in the body start breaking down. Even when the body is not in the state of ketosis, the liver produces ketones in the body, though in small amounts that can’t fuel the body.
There are three ketone bodies that are produced in the body when in ketosis: beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetoacetate, and acetone.
The state of ketosis is more than just a change in the metabolic process of the body. An individual may experience Keto flu when they start the keto diet.
Keto flu is the term used to describe the changes in the body an individual experiences when they first enter the state of ketosis. Since the body is changing its main source of fuel, the Keto flu is unavoidable. The symptoms are somewhat withdrawal-like as the body is in a transition period. The intensity of the symptoms varies from person to person.
Levels of Ketosis
a. Short-Term Headaches
The keto flu headache is one of the most common symptoms that people face when the body is in transition. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance cause headaches as a result of low sugar consumption. The headaches may last up to one week. If the headache persists, one must see a doctor. In the long run, the ketosis state is a potential treatment for cluster headaches and even migraines.
b. Fatigue and Tiredness
During the initial ketosis state, individuals feel weaker and more tired than usual. The body experiences fatigue as it relies on fats instead of carbs. However, this symptom lasts for a short period only. In the long run, ketosis makes people active and more energized
c. Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps and spasms are caused due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as well. Disruption in the passage of electrical signals between the cells causes muscles to contract. To avoid such imbalances, individuals should ensure they are taking sufficient electrolytes from food sources such as those rich in calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
d. Stomach Complaints
Any sort of dietary changes are bound to increase the risk of stomach and digestive troubles. These issues may be short-term until the body gets used to fats being the main source of fuel. To reduce these symptoms, individuals must eat non-starchy vegetables, stay hydrated, and take foods rich in fiber. e
Loss of water and dehydration may cause individuals to feel thirstier than usual. This is a common symptom for which it is advised to drink plenty of water and fluids. If dehydration persists, it can raise the risk of kidney stones.
An individual must know the signs of the state of ketosis:
a. Increased Ketones
The state of ketosis is determined by the increased number of ketones in the blood. This can be tested by a urine sample or breath test. However, the most efficient and reliable way to check the level of ketones in the body is through a blood report.
Ketone testing kits are available in the market or can be done by a doctor. Blood ketone levels of an individual in ketosis are between 0.5 and 3 millimoles/L.
b. Weight Loss
An individual who is in the state of ketosis will start losing body weight as they take lower carbohydrates, which boosts weight loss. The weight loss may start appearing as one of the early signs of ketosis.
c. Bad Breath
One of the most common signs of ketosis is bad breath. Ketones are released from the body through the breath and urine, which is why an individual may notice a stench in their breath. You can’t do much about this except chew gums or use mouth fresheners.
d. Changes in Sleep
Ketosis may also disrupt the sleeping habits of an individual. These changes may be lack of sleep, difficulty falling asleep, waking in the middle of the night, or restless sleep.