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Navigating Ketosis: 10 Signs and Symptoms That You're in Ketosis

Navigating Ketosis: 10 Signs and Symptoms That You're in Ketosis

Navigating Ketosis: 10 Signs and Symptoms That You're in Ketosis

The ultimate goal of the keto diet is to achieve and maintain ketosis. This is the metabolic state where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs.

If you have taken on the challenge and excitement of following a keto diet, you might be eager to know if your efforts are paying off. "Am I actually in ketosis?"

You can always find out using ketone test strips or blood ketone meters. However, if you're curious about what signs to look out for as evidence, here are 10 signs and symptoms of being in ketosis.

From weight loss to enhanced mental focus, your body undergoes remarkable transformations when transitioning to ketosis.  Recognizing these signs offers the much-needed reassurance and motivation to stay on track with your ketogenic journey.

Read on to learn how you can tell if you're in ketosis without testing

1. Rapid Weight Loss

What makes many people jump on the keto bandwagon is the quick weight loss it offers. Of course, there are numerous other health benefits as well. But the most enticing one is the rapid weight loss at the beginning of the journey.  

When carbs are restricted, there is a reduction in water retention. As your body enters a state of ketosis, it switches from relying on glucose for energy to burning stored body fat. This metabolic shift combined with the water loss results in significant weight loss in the initial phase of your keto journey.

While the rate of weight loss may slow down after this, you will continue to lose weight if you stay on track with your diet. Another positive indication of successful fat metabolism is improvements in your body composition. Rather than focusing on the weighing scale, note how much better your clothes fit or how loose they’ve become.

Read more: The Best Low-Carb Vegetables for Weight Loss

2. Decreased Appetite

When you cut carbs from your diet, you may experience some hunger or carb cravings as your body adapts to using fat for energy. Once there are enough ketones circulating in your system, these cravings tend to subside. 

High-carbohydrate diets are associated with spikes and crashes in blood glucose levels. When your body relies on fat for fuel, your blood sugar levels tend to be more stable. This contributes to reduced feelings of hunger and fewer cravings for sugary or high-carbohydrate foods.

The hormone ghrelin signals your brain that you're hungry. Elevated ketone levels can help regulate these hunger hormones and decrease your desire to eat, even when you're in a calorie deficit.

3. Improved Leptin Sensitivity

Leptin is another hormone that regulates hunger and satiety. It signals to your brain that there are sufficient energy reserves, so no more food is needed. This results in suppressed appetite and increased energy expenditure. 

Now, leptin resistance is a condition where the body becomes less responsive to the hormone's signals. This can make it very difficult to lose weight, especially if you are on a high-carb diet. Your leptin sensitivity may improve once you reduce your carb intake and achieve ketosis. This can help better control your appetite and food intake.

Read more: Top 15 Healthy Keto Fats

4. Enhanced Satiety

Another sign of ketosis lies in just how full and satisfied you feel after your meals. The choice of foods on a keto diet includes healthy fats, protein-rich foods, and nutrient-dense keto staples such as leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Dietary fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and even avocados are highly satiating. Fats offer 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for carbs. Fats also take much longer to digest, thus keeping you feeling full and satisfied after your meals. This not only helps prevent overeating, you also tend to snack less between meals.

Protein-rich foods such as eggs and fatty fish also play a key role in appetite regulation. They promote fullness and reduce your urge to eat anything else for a while.

Nuts, seeds, leafy greens, as well as, the large variety of keto-friendly vegetables and fruits offer you plenty of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. you're less likely to experience cravings for empty-calorie foods once your body receives the nutrients it needs.

5. Increased Energy Levels

Once you achieve ketosis, you may experience a boost in your energy and mental clarity. 

However, be prepared for some weakness and fatigue as your body switches from being a carb burner to a fat-burning machine. This transition may take some time and many people tend to give up before they achieve ketosis. Once you adapt to this metabolic state, your energy levels will be more stable throughout the day.

The mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells, responsible for producing the energy you need. Ketones can boost mitochondrial function contributing to sustained energy levels (1). This also enhances your overall metabolic health.

Read more: The 9 Best Nuts For Keto & 3 That Can Kick You Out Of Keto

6. Reduced Blood Sugar Fluctuations

Improved blood sugar control is a positive indication of ketosis. This helps better manage metabolic health conditions.

The standard meals high in carbs can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate throughout the day. For an hour or so after a high-carb meal, your glucose levels spike up and you feel quite energetic. But then, your system is flooded with insulin to bring down the glucose levels and then you tend to feel sluggish. Low in carbs, but rich in fats and protein, the keto diet keeps your blood sugar levels relatively stable, helping avoid the spikes and crashes associated with high glycemic foods.

This is particularly beneficial for those with diabetes or insulin resistance. Improved blood sugar control supports better overall health. This also helps reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications such as cardiovascular disease and kidney damage. 

Read more: 10 Health Benefits of Keto Diet

7. Improved Physical Performance and Endurance

Once you are in ketosis and fat-adapted, you will see a significant improvement in your physical performance and endurance levels. 

Your sugar levels would have stabilized and there would be less reliance on glucose or glycogen stores for energy. Glycogen is the stored form of glucose, mainly found in your muscle cells. 

Your body has now learned to better utilize dietary fats and your stored body fat for energy. This can help reduce fatigue, improve recovery times, and enhance your capacity for prolonged exertion. Thus the enhanced fat utilization for energy boosts your endurance, strength, and overall physical performance. 

Read more: Keto Diet Food List: 20 Foods You Can Eat on Keto

8. Improved Mental Focus

Under normal circumstances, glucose is the primary energy source for the brain. During ketosis, ketones serve as an alternative fuel source. Many people report increased mental alertness and enhanced cognitive functions when they are in ketosis. There is a notable reduction in brain fog or mental sluggishness.

Both oxidative stress and inflammation play significant roles in cognitive decline and various neurological disorders. The anti-inflammatory effects of ketogenic diets help reduce Inflammation in the brain (2).

Compared to glucose, ketones offer a more stable and efficient source of energy for the brain, resulting in improved cognitive functions, memory, and focus. The boost you get in mental clarity can result in sharper thinking and improved problem-solving skills.

Read more: 15 Best Low-Carb Fruits For Keto

9. Skin Changes

When you enter ketosis, you may notice some skin changes. While some people experience the joy of improved skin tone and reduction in acne, others may develop rashes or skin irritations. 

Changes in sweat composition or allergic reactions to ketone bodies may be the reason behind such ‘keto rashes’. Changes in hydration levels or alterations in skin lipid metabolism may cause dry skin. Once your body adapts to ketosis, these skin irritations usually subside.

The reduction in acne breakouts during ketosis may be attributed to the improvement in blood sugar and insulin levels on the low-carb diet. This supports the hormones involved in skin health and reduces inflammation. Additionally, the consumption of nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants improves overall skin health and contributes to a clearer complexion.

Read more: Keto Diet Side Effects and How to Minimize Them

10. Keto Breath

A funny sign of being in ketosis is that your breath may smell like nail polish. Keto breath is often described as fruity, sweet, or resembling the smell of nail polish (which contains acetone).  

Acetone is one of the ketone bodies produced as a byproduct when the body breaks down fat for energy. Keto breath is usually experienced during the early stages of the ketogenic diet. It is generally temporary and harmless. 

To minimize keto breath, you can chew sugar-free gum or mint leaves to mask the odor. Make sure to practice good oral hygiene. This includes regular brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. You should also stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Read more: How to Use Keto Strips to Measure Ketosis


You may experience many physical, mental, and emotional changes as you continue on your keto journey. Some of these changes can be annoying or even scary such as keto breath or keto rashes. Thankfully there are numerous positive changes too.

The positive signs that you are in ketosis include rapid weight loss, decreased appetite, increased energy levels, and improved mental clarity. These are indicators that your body is successfully adapting to the ketogenic diet.

By paying attention to these signs, you can track your progress, and make necessary adjustments as needed. Understanding and embracing such changes will enable you to stay committed to your goals and enjoy the transformative effects of ketosis.