How to Tell if You are in Ketosis Without Strips

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how to tell if you are in ketosis without strips

If you are following a keto diet, how can you know if you are in ketosis without using strips? Normally, you would use the strips to measure your blood ketone levels. But, if you don’t want to use the strips, you need to find other ways to know if you truly are in ketosis so you can start losing weight, and keep it off.

You need to know when you are entering ketosis, and staying in ketosis. Today we are going to give you the information you need to get the most out of the keto diet. Let’s get started.

Start with an Overnight Fast

If you do an overnight fast, you will already be in mild ketosis. The liver glycogen stores are pretty much gone, and the body begins to produce ketones very quickly.

But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your body is going to use the ketones with efficiency. If you are not completely adapted to this type of diet, your brain and muscles won’t know what to do with those ketones, and the body won’t be able to use them properly.

When Ketosis Starts

Once the blood ketone levels are higher than 0.5mMol, nutritional ketosis can start happening. Normally, you would use urine strips such as Ketostix or keto breath analyzers that will let you know if you are in ketosis.

What you should be striving for is a ketosis range between 0.5mMol and 3 mMol. Once you get above 10mMol, you are in the state of ketoacidosis, but this can be extremely difficult to achieve. This is usually what you will see when someone who is diabetic or has an excessive alcohol consumption.

Problems Measuring Ketones

There are some problems that come with measuring ketones. First, if you have elevated ketone levels, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are actually in ketosis.

Another problem is the fact that urine strips can be costly, and if you are taking many measurements daily that cost can really start to add up.

But, luckily there is another way to measure ketones without having to spend a lot of money. Then, once you are able to monitor ketones and you know you are finally in that state of ketosis, your body will start using those ketones properly, and you will find yourself losing weight.

Unfortunately, having a high level of ketones doesn’t always mean that you will be in ketosis. In fact, you might even find that it is just the opposite.

One of the biggest problems with ketones is if you are not putting them to good use, you aren’t going to get proper results using the urine strips, so you will be wasting your money.

What you really need to know about are your blood sugar levels. Ketones and glucose are fuel sources, but they are very different from one another. When one is high, the other must be lowered in order for the ketones to do you any good.

For instance, if you have high blood sugar levels, fat isn’t used for body fuel, you aren’t in ketosis, and you won’t be losing any weight.

Adapting to Ketosis

You can use the strips if you want, but there are other ways to tell if you are in ketosis. As your body adapts to this type of diet, you will see many telltale signs that you are indeed in ketosis.

Sometimes, all you really need is your own intuition to let you know if you are in ketosis, simply by listening to what your body is telling you. The trick is to know how to listen, and knowing what to listen for. Let’s take a look at the things you will notice during adaptation.

Weight Loss from Water Loss

One of the first things you will likely notice when you go on a keto diet is that you won’t be retaining nearly as much fluid. Liquids allow carbohydrate molecules to bind together, and it is stored in the muscles.

Once carbs are restricted, a lot of that water weight will disappear. You may not be losing fat, but you will be well on your way because excess sugar is being flushed from the body.

Thirst

Once you are no longer retaining fluids, you will likely find yourself becoming thirstier than normal. Plus, your body needs the water, and it can help you to lose weight because you will feel fuller. The more water you drink, the less will be stored in the body.

Once your body is flushed, you may feel a bit dehydrated, and you will need to increase your water intake.

Bad Breath

One of the most common symptoms of ketosis, and one of the most annoying, is bad breath. Once stored carbohydrates are gone, your body starts using more fat for fuel. This leads to lipolysis, or the burning of fatty acids (Krebs cycle).

A ketone known as acetone is created, and it is excreted in the form of bad breath rather than energy. You will start to notice a fruity or acidic smell, or even a somewhat rotten odor. This will also cause a metallic taste in your mouth.

Smelly Urine

This is another symptom of ketosis caused by acetone being excreted. This is a relatively strong odor, and you may also have the same odor from your sweat.

You will also find yourself urinating more because you are flushing out so much water, so it is important to keep yourself well hydrated.

​​​​​​​​​Headaches and Fatigue

You will likely experience what is known as the keto flu. This is going to cause headaches and fatigue, because your body isn’t quite sure how to burn fat as fuel, so you will end up feeling tired. This can also lead to headaches, cravings for sugar, muscle fatigue, and lethargy.

All of these side effects will go away once the fat is adapted and your body is burning it as fuel instead of storing it. Don’t let them affect your decision to try a keto diet. It takes a bit of time, but it’s worth it in the long run.

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