If you’ve hopped on the keto bandwagon, you’re probably on the lookout for signs of ketosis, the state your body enters naturally when in starvation mode or, more tolerably, on a super low-carb diet. It may sound a little freaky, but here’s why it can be a good thing when your body goes into ketosis if you’re fueling yourself with lots of healthy fats on the side.

When we eat a balanced diet, our bodies break down carbohydrates into glucose as our preferred source of fuel. But when we’re stingy on the carbs (or on food, in general), our body tries to find another comparable source to get its energy fix. This is where ketones come into play. When we don’t feed our cells glucose, our blood sugar levels plummet, and our liver gets flooded with fat. Our liver then transforms this fat into a glucose-substitute called ketone bodies that our cells can then use as high-quality energy.

While that’s all clearly happening internally, a lot of people can detect when they’re in ketosis just by the smell of their breath. And guys, it ain’t great (like, no amount of brushing or flossing is gonna help). Basically, since one of the by-products of ketosis—acetone—can’t be used by the body, it’s excreted through our breath, sweat, and urine.

A more accurate test, however, is to use ketone detection strips. These strips should come with an easy-to-follow color guide for detecting specific levels of ketones in the urine. You can usually expect them to change from a neutral beige to a shade of red in a positive ketosis test.

But remember, ketosis should only be the goal if you’re going hard on the fats. Not sure where to start? Try some of these killer keto recipes when you’re looking for a meal that’s not just a sh*t ton of avocado in a bowl.

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