Ketogenic diets, or “keto” for short, have become increasingly popular in recent years. This style of eating is designed to put your body in a state of nutritional ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This shift can bring about various benefits, such as weight loss, improved blood sugar control and increased energy levels.
The keto diet works by forcing your body to burn fat for fuel instead of glucose. When you consume carbohydrates, your body converts them into glucose, which is used as fuel for energy. However, when you limit carbohydrates, your body has to find another source of fuel. In the absence of glucose, your body starts to break down stored fat into ketones, which are then used for energy. Some studies even suggest that the brain may actually function better on ketones than on glucose.
Ketones provide a more stable source of energy than glucose, which can help improve cognitive function and reduce brain fog. Additionally, the keto diet has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain, which can help protect against cognitive decline.
As your body transitions to a state of ketosis, you may experience muscle and joint pain. This is because your body is breaking down glycogen, which is stored in your muscles, to use as fuel. This process can lead to temporary discomfort and inflammation in the muscles and joints.
Shifting from burning carbs to fat can also impact your mood. Many people report feeling irritable, moody, or even depressed during the transition period. This is due to fluctuations in hormone levels and changes in neurotransmitter activity.
Your body is used to using carbohydrates as its primary fuel source, and it takes time for your body to adapt to using fat instead. During this period, you may feel more tired than usual, and you may find it harder to complete your regular daily activities. However, this fatigue should improve as your body adjusts to burning fat for energy.
Headaches are often caused by dehydration, which can occur when your body is flushing out excess ketones. It’s important to stay hydrated during this period to avoid headaches and other symptoms.
Intense Food/Sugar Cravings
Many people experience intense food or sugar cravings during the transition to a fat-burning state. To manage these cravings, try eating small, frequent meals that are high in fat and protein.
Some people may experience feelings of anxiety. This is due to changes in hormone levels and neurotransmitter activity. To manage anxiety, try practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga.
The temporary “keto flu” includes headaches, muscle aches, nausea and fatigue.
To manage brain fog, try getting enough rest, staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet.
Some people may experience skin flare-ups or acne during the transition period due to changes in hormone levels. You can manage them with a proper skincare routine.
You may also experience gut issues such as constipation, diarrhea, or bloating due to changes in the types of foods you’re eating. A high-fiber diet and staying hydrated will help.
While the transition to a fat-burning state can come with temporary side effects, you can manage them with proper nutrition, hydration and electrolyte supplementation. As with any dietary change, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting the keto diet, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking medications.
Overall, the keto diet can be a powerful tool for improving health and wellness, especially for those looking to lose weight, regulate blood sugar or improve cognitive function. Please note that the keto diet can be different for women. By understanding the signs that your body is shifting from burning carbs to fat, you can make the most of this dietary approach and achieve your health goals.
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“Curious about Ketosis? Here’s the Nitty-Gritty on the Keto Diet.” Mindbodygreen, https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-is-the-keto-diet-how-do-you-do-it#mbg-4BGuCQGtn.
Ketogenic Diet – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/.
“These Signs Can Tell You the Keto Diet Is Working for You without a Blood Test.” Women’s Health, 10 Oct. 2022, https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/a19642999/signs-of-ketosis-and-ketosis-symptoms/.
“Impact of ketosis on appetite regulation-a review.” Deemer, Sarah E et al. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.) vol. 77 (2020): 1-11