Ketosis and Ketones: How to Know If You’re in Ketosis

31.03.2020 |

Episode #4 of the course The Ketogenic diet beginners guide by Theo Brenner-Roach


Hey, welcome back.

Today, we’re going to explore how to know if you’re in ketosis or not.

The whole point of the ketogenic diet is to induce and then maintain a state of ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic state where fat becomes your primary source for fuel in the absence of glucose.

When this happens, your liver begins turning fat into ketones, which become your primary energy source. Your body can get these ketones in two ways:

1. Internal: Your body can make ketones itself when you fast or if you remove carbohydrates from your diet.

2. External: You can take a ketone supplement to boost your ketone levels. These are called “exogenous ketones” (more on this later).

The amount of time it takes to reach a state of ketosis varies from person to person, based on factors like carb intake and current glycogen stores (26, 27, 28).

Generally speaking, most people can expect to reach ketosis in two to four days. However, it can take as long as 14 days. Ketones are measured in terms of millimole per liter in your blood, and there are three stages:

• regular dieting with carbs: 0-0.4 mmol/L

• the ketogenic diet: 0.5-7 mmol/L

• diabetic ketoacidosis: 15-25 mmol/L

When you’re in ketosis, you’ll be somewhere in that second range, depending on your diet, if you’re fasting, whether you’re taking exogenous ketones, and how long you’ve been in ketosis.

What is ketoacidosis?

Ketoacidosis is when the body produces too many ketones, which then cannot be used and make your bloodstream too acidic.

It’s a dangerous state to be in, but it’s only a concern for a small number of people. In particular, diabetics are at risk for developing ketoacidosis and should consult a doctor before starting a ketogenic diet.

There are four ways to tell if you’re in ketosis or not:

1. Urine strips: inexpensive and convenient, but not always that accurate

2. Blood strips: effective at measuring ketosis, but expensive and inconvenient because you need to take a small blood sample every time you test

3. Breath meters: supposedly fairly accurate but also quite expensive, with many bits of equipment, and having bad reviews

4. Physical symptoms: good indicators that you’re on the right track and are free and reliable

The physical symptoms that you want to look for are:

• increased urination

• dry mouth

• bad breath

• reduced hunger

• increased energy levels

The more physical symptoms you experience at the same time, the more likely you are to be in ketosis. You could also combine checking physical symptoms with inexpensive urine strips for a more accurate idea of your level of ketosis.

Ultimately, if you’re losing weight, then it doesn’t really matter whether you’re actually in ketosis or not. After all, if your goal is to improve how you look and feel, then weight loss can do that.

Try not to panic too much about your exact levels of ketones. Just track your progress, diet carefully, and stay the course.

Tomorrow, we’re going to look at the keto flu, what it is, and how to manage it.

See you then.


Recommended book

Fat for Fuel: A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy by Joseph Mercola


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