Ketone bodies come in three different types, which are acetoacetate, acetone, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (also known as BHB). Each of these three chemicals can get tested. While BHB isn't a ketone, it certainly acts like one as cells use it in the bloodstream as an energy source, whereas acetone and acetoacetate are released through the breath and urine, respectively.
If you do not personally have any equipment to test or measure these, you can use a handful of signs to determine whether or not you are in a state of ketosis. They don't carry the level of precision necessary to figure out what level you're at, but they can be an excellent gauge if you do not have any means of doing accurate testing. If you have previously been tested definitively, then consider these five signs as roundabout ways of knowing you have gotten back into a state of ketosis.
Your brain is always using up substantial volumes of energy. When you go through a phase of eating carbs, you will have constant energy swings, which means there will also be swings in your mental performance. When in the state of ketosis, your brain will be using ketones rapidly as its fuel. Ketosis is a decidedly different mental state, and when you happen to be in it, you're going to notice it. One of the most significant benefits of changing your lifestyle to the ketogenic meal plan is how much more energy you're likely to enjoy.
The reason for this is that it stabilizes your blood sugar, meaning you don't go through spikes and crashes with your glucose, so you avoid the fatigue and lethargy that comes with it. Instead, you're going to have more steady energy throughout the day. You will have a clearer mind since you are now free of carb-induced brain fog, which is one of the many advantages keto diet has for your brain's wellness. What your brain can do when carbs are restricted is indeed amazing.
Roughly two hours after you eat carbs, your body isn't going to have an immediate source of available energy produced by your cellular mitochondria. It is a point where your energy gets lower or even crashes. If you're in a state of ketosis, your body can operate off of your body fat, and that is practically an endless source of energy. It can prevent those unpleasant energy crashes.
If your ketone levels are steady, your energy during the day is going to follow suit. You are also going to have a much clearer mind since the brain fog that carbs tend to induce won't be a factor anymore. Following a keto diet can provide your brain quite a few benefits. Just limiting carbs in your diet can do wonders for your mind.
Increased Thirst, Dry Tissues
When you switch over to a diet based on ketosis, your body will start using up any excess glycogen available. You'll also begin urinating more frequently. If you don't add in electrolytes or salt, then you might get quite thirsty, given the potential dehydration.
Lower hydration levels can result in short-term dryness of tissues. If your ketogenic diet results in chronic tissue dryness, then you probably are not eating enough. You can't blame your ketones, but you are at a serious risk of hurting your thyroid.
How Your Mouth Feels, Not Your Breath
In terms of ketones, you might have read that fruity-smelling breath is a positive indicator of ketosis. Unfortunately, this isn't accurate as it's more likely to imply ketoacidosis, which isn't the same as nutritional ketosis. When nutritional ketosis is taking place, the acetone levels in your breath shouldn't be significant enough to be detected by the smell.
When you first wake up each day, ketosis should leave a familiar but rather distinct feeling in your mouth. It will almost feel like a film. This dryness taking place in your mouth is likely a bit unpleasant. However, take comfort in the fact that such symptoms typically only last a few days.
When your body gets accustomed to using ketones, you'll start using your fat stores that are broken down into ketones for energy. That gives your body a steady supply of usable energy. Once this occurs, then your body isn't going to crave food quite the way it did when it still relied on stores of carbohydrates.
If you no longer have nearly as many hunger pangs over the day as before, that might be a strong indication of being in a state of ketosis. You're probably already in ketosis if you suddenly realize that you didn't eat anything for the last 12 hours. Also, if you don't eat and are still enjoying boundless energy without hunger, that's probably ketosis, too.
If you enjoy a cheat meal or accidentally overdo it with carbs, you might fall out of ketosis with noticeable side effects. Putting on a few pounds is a frequent occurrence when this happens. Keep in mind that this is mostly water weight because the glycogen stores of your liver and muscles get refilled with glycogen that loves binding to water.
Avoid switching back and forth between ketosis and glucose-burning, especially early on, since it will make the process of adapting not as fun. Remember to never be too hard on yourself if you fall out of ketosis. Get back on the wagon, and enjoy what the diet does for you.