The keto diet is easily one of the most popular weight-loss eating plans out there to date, and celebs have been raving about it for years. ICYMI, the keto diet is very high in fat and low in carbs. The goal is to get yourself into a state called ketosis, where you start burning fat instead of carbs for energy.
That requires eating less than 30 to 40 grams of carbs a day, explains Alissa Rumsey, RD, the owner of the Rumsey Education and Training Collective. “When you only eat a very limited amount of carbs, your body breaks down fatty acids from your fat stores and forms ketones, which are released into the bloodstream by the liver,” she explains. Technically speaking, ketosis occurs when your blood ketone levels are higher than normal.
But is it safe for your body to be in ketosis? Well, it’s complicated. Your body can use fat for fuel instead of glucose from carbs, but as the saying goes: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And in this case, the body can be in ketosis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what’s superior, says Carrie Dennett, RD, the owner of Nutrition by Carrie.
If you’re going into ketosis, you want to stay there. Going back and forth can prolong side effects, negate any benefits, and could be harmful for some people, Dennett notes. It takes the body about three to four days to start burning fat for fuel, but the full transition takes roughly a week. So try not to get tempted by the idea of taking the occasional keto break.
Besides getting a blood test, there are ways to find out if you’ve reached your goal. To know if you’re in ketosis, look for these symptoms you besides weight loss.
Meet the experts: Carrie Dennett, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and journalist who has been reporting on ketogenic diets for five years.
Alissa Rumsey, RD, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. She is also the author of Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace With Food and Transform Your Life.
1. You have bad breath.
It’s unfortunate but true: One of the major signs of ketosis is stinky breath. When you’re in this state, your body breaks down fat and proteins for energy, creating byproducts that have to be…