Ketosis symptoms, dangers and side effects | What to expect on Ketosis and Keto Diet?

(What are the dangers of keto diet? ketosis side effects)

Every diet has a set of challenges as we all know. Are you dreading about the dangers of going on a keto diet?

Getting the right information will, will help you make a better decision for yourself as you might have been deluded by many people who might have shared their experiences with you..

Lets find out the truth, keeping in mind that everyone’s body reacts uniquely or differently to biological changes.

KETOSIS, in the most simple terms  is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body.

How do I know I am in ketosis?

Getting into a state of ketosis requires a little work and adjustment, but you will find it a lot easier than many diets in the long term since the menu is likely to include foods you like. Start by restricting your carbohydrates, hitting your macros daily, and incorporating MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) to your diet–olive oil, organic butter, organic milk, and palm kernel oil.

This type of fat causes your body to start producing more ketones.

You should reach ketosis within two or three days.

Initial symptoms and keto adaptation phase comes in with a bit of challenges.

Dominic Agostino says: The worst part is the initial drop in energy that you’ll experience while your body is still craving carbs, but, according to him two to three weeks is all you need to adapt.

A number of initial symptoms will give you a clear indication of being in ‘KETOSIS’!

Brain fog:

It isn’t a condition for which you might need medication. It typically alludes. To feeling a little fatigued in the brain, such that your brain is not functioning at its full potential! You might have a little difficulty in concentrating and recalling things.

This happens in the initial days of starting a keto diet since your body is glucose starved and is using up stored glycogen stores and transitioning to utilising fat for energy. On recovering from the initial days, about a week, when your body becomes ‘Keto Adapted’ will make you enhance in focus and mental clarity since ketones are a very good source of energy for the brain.


Yet another unpleasant symptom is feeling dizzy, or hazy. Initial days of keto adaptation may make you feel sick. It can cause headache too. This is because you have suddenly cut down your calories dramatically and the body needs time to switch to a new source of energy.


This is something that is very obvious and very easy to understand. Your source of energy till now was glucose. It came from grains, starchy vegetables and sugary fruits. Now when you cut all of them down and move to a high protein and fat diet, you will lose on that instant energy that you used to get, initially.

In the absence of glucose you are bound to feel lethargic and fatigued.

This is also an initial symptom and should be warded off as your baody adapts nad the production of ketones starts.

It is a problem only when you are on a keto diet since long and still do not feel energetic, at that time you need to see whether your meal contains enough fat or not. Or is adequately balanced to suit the keto regimen.

For evading symptoms of lethargy, and be in a healthy state of nutritional ketosis, use a good supplement that takes care of you energy levels.

Ketosis breath:

One of the outcomes of cutting carbohydrates in our bodies is that we begin to use more fat for energy. This procedure creates molecules known as “ketones.” 1 type of ketone, known as acetone, will be excreted both in the urine along with the breath. The description of the odour varies, but it’s often referred to as “fruity” or like the smell of apples that are “past their prime” (not fresh or nearing to being rotten).

Keto-breath usually doesn’t last forever. It diminishes down after a few weeks or at the most a few months.

You can mask your breath using mouth freshners, if its unbearable.

These symptoms may tell you, without even testing ketone levels that you’re in ketosis.The more accurate way of knowing whether you’re in ketosis or not, is to test ketone levels!

How long do I stay high?

Excess of glucose which is not immediately used by the body, is stored in the form of glycogen, in the liver and muscles. So, glycogen is readily available form of glucose.To enter into ketosis, first the body will utilise the stored glycogen.

Within 2, 3 days of moving on a low carb diet, the glycogen stores in the liver are being used up.

Then the body switches to fat burning mode and production of ketones.

So, you will experience low energy initially, and then you will slowly regain energy and activeness within a week of becoming ‘keto adapted’.


MCTs are a clean, fast-acting energy source for the body and brain, so you can experience:

  • Sustained higher energy levels, without crashes
  • Sharper focus
  • Enhanced weight loss
  • Decreased inflammation

These initial symptoms which can well be managed may let you know, that you are in ketosis. Moving a little further, we will discuss some side effects that can occur on not following the ‘Keto diet ‘ correctly.

They are:

Abdominal discomfort:

If you’ve found people discussing about share or severe stomach pain or discomfort, and never known the answer. You don’t need to be too worried since the underlying reason is not a serious one.

It happens only due to less of water in your in your body!

  • During your keto adaptation phase and even after that you need to take care of hydrating yourself to an optimal level because: It will help to retain the most needed electrolytes in your system.
    • Include more fat, so that ample of ketone bodes are produced and you don’t feel low on energy.uscle tissue is made up of over 70% water and it is very important to cellular activity, so you should make sure you consume plenty of water throughout the day. The more protein you eat in your diet, the more water you will need to help clear the waste products such as ammonia and urea.More over, a calorie restricted diet will produce less glucose triggering low insulin. This leads to hormonal signals via the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system, signalling your kidneys to excrete MORE water and retain LESS.


    • Take care to include, fiber supplements, and products like psyllium husk to maintain a clear system, since constipation can be a reson for abdominal discomfort too.

Muscle cramps:

Muscle cramps, especially in the legs, are a common symptom for many while adopting a very low  Carb diet. It occurs during the adaptation period, but sometimes they can continue for longer.

When you first go on a low-to-no carb diet, you lose a lot of excess fluid from your cells. As this fluid gets flushed out from your body, it carries electrolytes with it. Electrolytes like potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium all play important roles in muscle function.

Take care to include which contain them, leafy greens, meat and of course supplements will help.

Constipation/digestive problems:

Reduction of dietary fiber intake may lead to constipation, it is a very well known fact. Let us turn towards a keto diet, what is it composed of ?

Including fiber and improving your water intake will relieve you of this problem. Irregular bowel movements can owe to constipation.

Coconut oil or use of MCT oil can serve as laxatives apart from having other multiple benefits. So, you can include them in your diet, to be at ease.

Frequent urination:

During Ketosis, your body is burning up the additional glycogen (stored sugar) in your liver and muscles. Using up glycogen releases a good deal of water. As your carbohydrate intake and glycogen stores fall, your kidneys will begin dumping this extra water.

Additionally, as your blood glucose levels fall, your kidneys begin excreting excessive sodium, which will also cause more frequent urination. This happens in the initiation.

But you should take care of keeping yourself hydrated, and maintaining enough amounts of electrolytes in your diet, or use supplements to overcome it, if this issue persists.


Becoming keto adapted means your body is can now easily converting fats you’re eating into ketones. In the beginning, the body may not be well equipped to convert.

We all have fat hydrolysing enzymes, but their amount  drastically increases when keto adapted.

Nausea can also be caused by the lack of fat converting enzymes. When you start a low carb diet,  (going from almost no fat a day to eating all the fat they can get their hands on) the body takes time to adjust. Some fats which are left undigested or difficulty in digesting them may be a reason for nausea.

Being low on energy, may also cause you to feel nauseated. Manage your diet in the right manner and feel best.

The study would be incomplete if we do not explore the rare side effects too! Actually they are rare to ‘nutritional ketosis’ but can happen if uncontrolled ketosis goes on..

Uncommon side effects!


The unnecessarily dreaded phenomenon, ketoacidosis! Let’s make it clear to you, what actually it is, and who is at risk to such a problem?

Ketosis and ketoacidosis are NOT the same thing.

Ketosis is a 100% natural state, under full control by the body. It can be caused by a low-carb diet or by a brief period of fasting.

Most people who eat a strict low-carb ketogenic diet never reach levels higher than 3 millimolar or so. But ketoacidosis occurs at levels of 10+, most commonly 15+.

Ketoacidosis is a condition where the levels of ketones in the body are abnormally high, poisoning the body. It is a serious and dangerous condition that can quickly develop, sometimes within the space of 24 hours.

There are several different potential triggers for ketoacidosis. It is most commonly caused by illnesses that lead to the production of higher levels of hormones that work against insulin.

High levels of ketones in the urine and high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) are signs of ketoacidosis and can be detected with kits in the home.

Ketosis generally isn’t dangerous. It’s usually related to a planned low-carbohydrate diet or a transient condition related to diet only!

Must know!

In diabetic patients, ketosis can occur due to the body not having enough insulin to process the glucose in the body. The presence of ketones in the urine is an indicator that a patient’s diabetes is not being controlled correctly.

A ketogenic diet is recommended for individuals with type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM). With type 2 diabetes, the body still produces some insulin but is unable to properly use the insulin to transport glucose into cells for use as fuel.

Patients with diabetes who follow a ketogenic diet need to carefully monitor their ketone levels. A serious condition called ketoacidosis can occur if these levels get too high, and although it is most prevalent in individuals with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes can also develop ketoacidosis sometimes.

Kidney stones:

Kidney stones develop when a hard mass of crystals develops from the urinary tract.The cause of kidney stones is not known, but a few folks appear to be more prone to developing them than others, so there can be a hereditary tendency behind it.

When the body to shifts into a fat-burning state called ketosis, the production of ketones that results can alter the composition of urine to a certain extent, and sometimes increase the risk of kidney stones.

Lets see what a diet that is high in animal protein and low in carbs can do to make you susceptible to developing kidney stones:

Consumption of high amount of animal protein:

  • increases urinary calcium loss

2)   decreases urinary pH (more acidic)

3)   decreases urinary citrate levels

4)   increases urinary urate

On the other hand, reduced carbohydrates reduces urinary calcium.

Most importantly calcium and uric acid when increased in amounts can crystallise to develop stones.

What you must take care is to drink enough water, to flush out wastes from your system, and ket not any sort of accumulation take place. Balance your  protein intake with generous green vegetable intake, magnesium and potassium supplementation too.

NOTE: In the end what most dietitians and nutritionists have concluded is that, those who are hereditary prone to kidney stones fall in the most susceptible group, on a low carb diet. Others may not be in same position of risk. However there are many ways by which this risk can be mitigated.


The final answer, to the question that is KETOSIS dangerous, is NO!

IF nutritional ketosis is used for weight loss, in the right and proper manner, it will not cause you harm.

The benefits of a ketogenic diet, far outweighs the side effects. As we have already seen that the side effects are very manageable. You cannot call this diet ‘dangerous’ in any manner. But, yes it should be followed with care and proper knowledge about it and guidance should be taken.

Editor’s note: – If you are interested in ketosis, and following ketogenic diet plans, we recommend two very useful resources – Perfect Keto, a natural supplement to get you into the state of Ketosis as quickly and effectively as possible, and The Essential Keto Cookbook, a great way to kickstart your Keto journey.