7 Ketosis Symptoms and How to Fight Them

Many people follow a ketogenic diet, or keto diet, because of the numerous weight loss and other health benefits associated with it. That being said, many people jump in without really understanding the way their body may react to such a drastic change to their diet. Most of these ketosis symptoms are typically unpleasant, but people that follow a keto diet are willing to deal with them because the pros outweigh the cons.

In order for the keto diet to be effective you’ll need to make sure you reach the metabolic state called “ketosis”. There are products that help you test ketone levels to determine if you’re in a state of ketosis, but if you don’t have access to a test kit the symptoms below can be another indicator.

Here are some key ketosis symptoms and how to fight them:

  • Bad Breath
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue (Short-Term)
  • Increased Energy Levels
  • Trouble Using the Bathroom
  • Appetite Suppression
  • Weight Loss

New to keto dieting? Start by checking out our 5 keto diet basics.

Ketosis Symptom #1: Bad Breath

If you’ve done any research into the keto diet and what exactly happens to your body when you go into ketosis, chances are you’ve heard horror stories about the impact it can have on your breath. While this isn’t enough to push people away from living a ketogenic lifestyle, it’s certainly something you’ll want to be conscious of. Of all of the symptoms of ketosis this is the one that could be the most unpleasant for the people around you.

Believe it or not this symptom is the byproduct of acetone, a ketone body that you’ve probably heard of before. It’s commonly found in cleaners, nail polish removers, baby wipes and a ton of other household items.

Fortunately for you (and everyone around you!) this ketosis symptom tends to subside after a couple of weeks.

How to treat this symptom:

  • There are keto-friendly gums that can help throughout the day. We recommend keeping it with you – you never know when you’ll need it
  • Give your teeth an extra brush or two. I’ve never liked brushing my teeth in a public restroom at work or school but for some of you it may be a lesser evil when compared to the inconvenience of dealing with bad breath.

Ketosis Symptom #2: Insomnia

Another ketosis symptom is trouble sleeping. This is another symptom that tends to get better over time, but when you’re first starting to follow a ketogenic diet you can expect sleep to be a bit harder to come by. You may have trouble falling asleep or wake up more frequently.

It’s especially important to be mindful of when you’re taking caffeine or any medications that also negatively impact your ability to sleep. Quit taking them as early as you can in the day so your body has time to metabolize them before bedtime.

How to treat this symptom:

  • Go light on the caffeine. I know, I know – some of you die hard coffee drinkers immediately stopped reading after that sentence.
  • Get in bed a bit earlier. Starting to wind down even 30 minutes earlier can help combat the restlessness you might experience when you’re first starting a keto diet.

Ketosis Symptom #3: Fatigue (Short-Term)

ketosis symptoms can include fatigueAs with most restrictive diets, one major ketosis symptom is fatigue. Night after night of having trouble resting can really take its toll on you. Fortunately, this unpleasant symptom tends to be short-lived and turns into a noticeable increase in energy levels (see ketosis symptom 4).

How to treat this symptom:

  • While you’ll also want to go light on caffeine and plan to get in bed a bit earlier, it’s also a good idea to plan accordingly when you first start a ketogenic diet. You may want to build in more time for relaxation and recovery throughout the week and not expect to be able to give your workouts (or life) 110% like you normally would.

Ketosis Symptom #4: Increased Energy Levels

So far if you’re reading this list, none of the symptoms have been pleasant. Don’t worry! It’s not all bad.

Another (pleasant) symptom of ketosis is an increase in energy levels. If you can survive the initial battle with fatigue and stick to your guns, you’ll notice that following a keto diet can actually give you an energy boost.

Ketosis Symptom #5: Changes in Bathroom Usage

This ketosis symptom will definitely be more unpleasant for some more than others. While not everyone experiences changes in how their body digests food, you’re more than likely going to experience either:

a) Constipation – Not that you keep a journal tracking how frequently you use the bathroom, but you may notice you don’t need to go as frequently after you make changes to your diet. This isn’t pleasant, but it also certainly beats the other symptom…

b) Diarrhea – This is going to frighten a lot of people, but hey it’s better to know now when you can plan accordingly as opposed to finding out the hard way.

How to treat this symptom:

  • Fortunately there are plenty of options over to help fight either symptom that can be bought over the counter. It also doesn’t hurt to talk to your doctor and get their input. If you’re worried, they may be able to give you something a bit stronger.
  • This isn’t possible for many people, but if you can spend more time at home throughout the day you’ll at least be fighting this battle without having to deal with all of the anxiety that comes with dealing with bathroom issues in public.

Ketosis Symptom #6: Appetite Suppression

For many people, ketosis means they don’t have the same appetite they previously had. This likely won’t be the case when you’re first starting out, but as time goes on you’ll likely notice that less food makes you feel more full and you don’t have the cravings you once had. This is especially true for those who aren’t used to following a restrictive diet.

While loss of appetite isn’t necessarily a negative symptom of ketosis it’s important to make sure you’re still eating enough to keep your body running properly. Too few calories will send your body into “starvation mode” and amongst other health issues stall your weight loss by hurting your metabolism.

How to treat this symptom:

  • Keep a food journal. It sounds weird to recommend that you keep a food journal to ensure you’re eating enough, but it’s a good way to track what you’re putting into your body. Especially if you’re busy, it’s easy to simply forget that you haven’t eaten very much.
  • Grab a keto-friendly meal replacement shake. Keto meal replacement shakes are an easy way to get the calories you need, stay compliant with your keto diet, and are pretty easy to down even when you aren’t feeling very hungry.

Ketosis Symptom #7: Weight Loss

The big one – the ketosis symptom most of us are actually hoping for. As your body enters ketosis you should notice weight loss. It’s not uncommon for people to notice a dramatic weight loss over the first few weeks and then a more steady, gradual weight loss after.

Don’t be discouraged if weight loss isn’t happening as quickly as you’d like or seems to stall at times. The best way to see the results you want is to stick with it and push through the plateaus that you’re bound to experience.

How to treat this symptom:

  • Regularly weighing in is a good way to keep track of your progress and keep an eye on how your body is reacting to the keto diet. If you don’t feel that you’re losing weight or are losing weight too quickly, you’ll want to talk to your doctor or nutritionist about any adjustments you may need to make.

Ketosis Symptoms: Final Thoughts

The better prepared you are to deal with these ketosis symptoms the more likely it is you’ll stay compliant with your keto diet and reap the benefits. More than anything it’s important to always pay attention to your body and talk to your doctor if you start to feel uneasy about the changes you’re experiencing.