Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis – How to Tell If Your Keto Diet is Effective?

One of the reasons why people go for the Keto diet is to lose their body weight. Besides, this low-carb, high-fat diet also works by improving your general health. The diet achieves this through inducing ketosis to burn more body fat for energy.

But how would you know that your body is switching to Ketosis? Sometimes it will be difficult to tell if you are actually burning Ketones for energy. The transitional changes that take place on your initial stage of the Keto diet can cause a lot of confusion as to what is really going on inside your body.Fortunately, we have collected a list of symptoms that will serve as a primer to help make “how to tell if your Keto diet is effective?” much easier for you to answer.

Psychological Symptoms

Reduced hunger and appetite suppression

One of the most common signs you might observe when on Ketosis is a decreased hunger. People on this diet feel fully satisfied due to higher consumption of satisfying foods; healthy protein and quality fat. This makes you feel energized for more extended periods between meals since, your body is having no problem with fueling itself.

Some of the reasons that the Keto diet makes you want to eat less include:

  • Higher fat intake; fat contains double the calories of both protein and carbs which makes it a highly satisfying diet. The body also digests fat slower than other nutrients which contribute to lowering your appetite.
  • Increased Ketones; being on Ketosis boosts the level of Ketones in your body. This helps to suppress your hunger hormone levels (ghrelin).
  • Reduced blood sugar; change in circulating blood glucose can also affect your hunger hormones. A drastic increase and decrease in blood glucose cause damage to these hormones. During Ketosis, blood glucose becomes stable which helps you to gain more control over your hunger levels.

Noticeable weight loss

One of the primary goals for the Keto diet is to help you lose some weight, especially for those who aim to reduce weight. Rapid weight loss in the first week can, therefore, be a sure sign your body is switching to Ketosis.

During the initial stage of Ketosis, your body sheds stored carbs and excess water. After the initial rapid drop in water weight, you will continue to lose weight, but less drastically so long as you can stick with the low-carb aspects of this diet and keep your body in a caloric deficit.

Your body will then start to burn up excess body fat, and you will find yourself slimming down but in a safe manner - meaning you will initially see a rapid drop in your body weight.

Mental Symptoms

Increased mental focus and energy

One of the benefits of the Keto diet is to increase mental focus and concentration. When on Ketosis, there is an increase production of Ketones from stored body fat. This helps to provide the brain with a steady, sustainable supply of energy (because carbs are depleted) thereby improving cognitive performance.

Major Ketone bodies like Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is more efficient than glucose and can subjectively improve your mental performance, clarity and reduce the chances of brain fog. Plus, it stimulates the production of new mitochondria - the energy factories in our cells hence, increasing your overall energy throughout the day.

General Symptoms

When it comes to negative signs of Ketosis, it’s important to note that these are short-term symptoms which can last for about a week or even less. However, you need to understand that our bodies are different and they react in different ways.

Therefore, people may experience these symptoms on a different time-frame with different impact. Some of the negative signs include:

Increased Ketones

Ideally, if you are in Ketosis, your body is producing more ketones such as acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and acetone, BHB being produced in plenty. Areas you will experience increased Ketosis include:


Increased Ketones in urine during the first few days of going Keto is the most reliable sign of ketosis. Increasing your fat intake can help you reduce the level of Ketones in your urine so that you become Keto-adapted (fewer ketones are needed for keto-adaptation).


Having boosted blood level of Ketones is another potential sign of Ketosis. However, this level will drop on its own once you become Keto-adapted since your body will start utilizing fat to fuel your brain and muscles.


During Ketosis, you will experience Ketone breath. The reason for this is because your body is producing more acetone which exits your body through your breath and urine. This can eventually result in bad breath.

How to Measure Ketones Level

Most people will realize their Ketones level within three or five days while on a Keto diet. But how would you tell that there are Ketones in your blood, urine or breath? If you want to measure the level of Ketones try using one of these methods:

  • Urine Stick; this will help you know if you are in ketosis, however, this method will not provide an accurate measure of blood ketones level.
  • Breath Ketone Meter; this method is much more accurate than the use of urine strip, but can sometimes vary in accuracy.
  • Blood Ketone Meter; this is the most accurate keto measuring method available to the public except that the strips are extremely expensive.
  • Breath Analyzer; this method is fairly accurate, though less accurate than the Blood Ketone Meter. It works by monitoring acetone presence in your breath.

It is important to know that, since your body shows some signs of Ketones within the first few days of a Ketogenic diet, you will need to measure Ketones level during the initial stage of the diet. Because as you continue dieting, your body will start using ketones more effectively hence, fewer Ketones will end up being detected in your system.

Digestive issues

Making any dietary changes can raise the risk of digestive complaints while your body tries to adapt to the new diet. This may also be the case when you switch to Ketogenic diet. This diet generally involves a major change in the types of foods you eat. As the body adapts to it, some people will not experience any change at all. However, for unlucky ones, their body may react in one of the following ways:

  • Constipation; during Ketosis, there will be a dramatic change in both mineral levels, fiber intake and hydration status. Therefore, constipation is a sign that your body is adjusting to higher fat intake.
  • Diarrhea; restricting your carb intake along with burning Ketones for energy can change the balance of water level in your body. This can ultimately lead to more water loss through your intestines which leads to diarrhea.
  • Stomach problems; switching to a Ketogenic diet can raise the risk of stomach upset due to a drastic change in the type of foods you eat. To reduce the risk of experiencing stomach complaints, it is advisable to drink plenty of water and consider taking a probiotic supplement to encourage a healthy gut.

Keto Flu

Some of the symptoms of the Keto flu you might experience when you first start on Keto diet include:

Short-term Fatigue And Weakness

Besides experiencing increased energy during Ketosis, short-term fatigue and weakness is also another important sign of Ketosis. When you switch to the Keto diet, your body will have to completely transition over.  

During this transition, the body is constantly looking for glucose as fuel. However, when it fails to get it due to reduced carbs intake, it is not quite ready yet to produce enough Ketones to sustain you hence feeling low on energy.

Increased Thirst And Dry Mouth

Increased thirst and dry mouth are one of the most common signs of Ketosis. At the initial stage of the Keto diet, you will be excreting a lot of water due to a restriction of carbs intake along with Ketones production. Equally, you will be losing a lot of electrolytes (like sodium, potassium, and magnesium) along with the water. This leaves you with dry mouth and increased thirst.

Bad Breath

While the Keto diet comes with lots of benefits, the diet could also be bad for your social life at its initial stage as it causes bad breath. While on Keto, your body breaks down fat to use for fuel hence, creating some byproducts such as acetone which is eliminated through urine, sweat or breath.

Fortunately, the bad breath won’t last forever. As your body gets better at producing and using Ketone bodies, it will create much less acetone returning the smell of your breath to normal.

Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep (insomnia) can also be experienced when still adapting to the Keto diet. You may have challenges to fall asleep and even finding yourself constantly waking up in the middle of the night or not getting a satisfied nights rest.

This is due to the restriction of carbs which can cause stress hormones to rise before Ketone production is boosted. This can disrupt your normal sleep cycle and make it more difficult to sleep.

Develop Cramps

Consumption of low carbs can lead to a deficiency in potassium, sodium and magnesium which are key minerals in helping to keep away cramps. Meaning, if your body is not well balanced with these minerals, you may be exposed to some pain due to cramping. Since Keto diet is low on carbs, experiencing cramps is also a good sign that you have entered Ketosis.


Ketosis comes with both positive and negative signs that you might encounter when on the diet.

While most of these signs might come as a side effect which can last during the initial stage of Ketosis, they also have a long-term benefit that you will need to wait for a few weeks to experience. These signs simply mean that your diet is working.

Therefore, understanding them can help you to determine whether the diet will work for you or not. They are also helpful as they can help you to monitor your Ketosis.