- 1 How to get into ketosis
- 2 How long does it take to get into ketosis?
- 3 How to get into ketosis
- 4 3-Ways to test for ketosis
- 5 Signs and symptoms of ketosis
- 6 How to get back into ketosis after cheating
- 7 Why your body is not in ketosis
- 8 Final thoughts on how to get into ketosis
- 9 What to do if you want to get into ketosis
How to get into ketosis
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which your body burns fat for energy rather than glucose. If you’re a newbie to the world of ketosis, then you’re probably wondering, isn’t that what’s normally happens?
You would think so but not really, your body normally uses glucose as the main source of energy.
This is it’s preferred way of getting energy as it’s easier to break down carbohydrates into simple sugars such as glucose. So if you want to get into ketosis, your body has to deplete its glucose stores first.
Because your body needs the energy to survive, the body then turns to the second-best thing which is stored fats for energy This is how you get into ketosis.
In this article, we are going to focus on the simple steps you can do to help your burn get into this state.
In addition, we will also discuss what you can expect and how long it will take to get into ketosis.
How long does it take to get into ketosis?
It should take you about 48 – 72 hours that’s about 2- 4 days if you’re strictly limiting your carbs to 20 – 50grams only.
Yes, that’s how much time your body needs to use up your glucose stores. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just about cutting carbs and you’re good to go. This process can be influenced by a few things such as;
Your diet before ketosis
How was your diet before attempting to enter ketosis? if you were eating high carb meals most of the time before. Your body is going to need a bit more time to use up the stored glycogen.
In comparison, someone who was eating mostly low-carb might find it very easy to enter ketosis when they get started
If you’re like me who is an endomorph with a snail-like metabolism, you know just how hard it can be to burn off extra carbs. In this case, your metabolism might help you or slow you down.
This is why some people can get into ketosis in as fast as 2 days while others need a week to get there. So now that you exactly what to expect, how do you get into ketosis?
How to get into ketosis
1. Limit your carbs
Limiting the number of carbs you eat is the single most important thing you can do when you want to get into ketosis first. In a state of ketosis, your body burns fat for energy.
This can only be achieved if you drastically reduce the number of carbohydrates you eat.
You want to aim to eat about 20- 50grams of carbs daily. While some people can get into ketosis first while eating 50-grams. For some people, the only way to do it is by only eating 20-grams of carbs.
So the number you choose is a very personalized decision and you have to test it out and see what works best for you depending on factors such as your metabolism.
But you should definitely not be eating more than 50grams of carbs daily if you want to maintain ketosis.
2. Intermittent fasting
Even though often overlooked, fasting is another powerful way to kickstart ketosis. Intermittent fasting involves going without food for a given period of time.
The most popular form being the 16:8 fasting approach whereby you don’t eat anything for 16-hours.
It’s definitely not as hard as it sounds, `it’s as simple as skipping breakfast or dinner to meet the 16-hour requirement. In fact, fasting has often been used to kickstart ketosis for kids with epilepsy as shown in this study.
Another fasting option to kickstart ketosis is what is known as fat fasting. This mostly used by those who want the benefits of fasting without the struggle of not eating food.
As the name suggests, a fat fast includes limiting your daily calories to 1000- 1200 calories the majority of which should be healthy fats. We’re talking about 80- 90% of your total daily calories.
There is no denying that exercise and weight loss go hand in hand. When you exercise, you’re helping your body use up those extra glycogen stores.
This can very helpful when you want to get into ketosis faster. Besides, this study proved that it’s even better to exercise when you’re in a fasted state.
4. Eat the right amount of healthy fats
Even though your primary focus might be on cutting carbs. it’s also important to remember what to eat and how much you should eat.
The ketogenic diet recommends that 60 – 80% of your calories should be from healthy fats. Don’t take that to mean that you can eat just about any fats, you definitely want to focus on the good type of healthy fats.
Consider fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, and oils such as coconut oil.
5. Eat the right amount of protein
Another important food group you should focus on is high-protein foods. Low-carb diets such as ketogenic diet recommend that you get about 20% of your daily calories from protein to maintain ketosis.
Protein is an essential macronutrient especially for weight loss as it helps preserve muscle loss. In addition, it also prevents your metabolism from slow-downing a common side effect of losing weight.
However, you should be careful not to overeat proteins as it can kick you out for ketosis. Your body will turn the excess amino acids into glucose, a situation you definitely want to avoid.
6. Use MCT oil
MCT which stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, a form of fat compounds mostly found in coconut oil, palm oil, and dairy.
What makes MCT’s so unique fo ketosis is that unlike other healthy fats that move slowly through the digestive system. MCTs are digested very fast and quickly absorbed to be used as an instant energy source.
Because it’s used as an instant source of energy your body doesn’t need to store fat and this also keeps you in ketosis for longer.
7. Test for ketosis
When you want to achieve ketosis, work with facts and not assumptions. Testing for ketones in your body is a great way to know what’s working for you and where you can improve.
Here are a few ways you can do it.
3-Ways to test for ketosis
Testing is one of the best ways to know if your body is truly in a state of ketosis or not. This is because when your body is burning fat, it produces chemical compounds known as ketones.
These ketones can be detected in your blood, urine, and breath. This is what helps you understand just how your body is responding to ketosis.
However, the gold standard is to test using a blood meter as it gives the most accurate results.
1. Testing with blood
Just like a diabetic glucose test, the ketone blood test is done using a blood ketone meter. This device checks for the number of ketones present in your blood.
It does this by detecting beta-hydroxybutyrate, one of the most active forms of ketones present in your blood. The blood test is the most accurate test you can do to test for ketosis.
However, the blood strips can be very expensive when used long-term.
2. Testing with urine
Another way to test for ketosis is by using urine strips. This is whereby a strip is dipped in a urine sample and turns color depending on the number of ketones present.
You then compare the color on the strip to that on the package. This will help you determine if you have highly concentrated ketones or no ketones present.
With this test, the darker the color on the strip, the more ketones present.
However, this is often not the best method to test for ketosis. The ketones present in the urine are those that your body excreted as excess. So what you’re in fact measuring is the number of excess ketones.
This will also vary significantly as your body adapts to ketosis and is better adapted to using up fat while at the beginning you might be excreting a lot of excess ketones as your body is not used to burning fat for energy.
3. Testing with breath
When you’re testing for ketosis using breath, you’re testing for a ketone body known as acetone. To do this test, you need a breath meter than will flash a color to show if you’re in ketosis or not.
However, the breath test can also be compromised by outside factors such as what you eat, physical activity that raises your breathing levels.
It’s important to keep these in mind as you use this breath test.
If you prefer not to invest in these testing methods, you can also check for ketosis by observing your body changes. As your body gets used to burning fat for energy, you might experience several signs and symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of ketosis
1. Weight loss
One of the many reasons, many people get into ketosis with a ketogenic diet is for almost instant weight loss results. Most of the time this is because of water weight.
This occurs as you restrict your carbs supply, glycogen stores which tend to retain a lot of water are also getting depleted and hence resulting in a noticeable loss in water weight
This water weight loss occurs within the first few days or weeks is a good sign that you’re body is indeed in ketosis. However, you can expect to start losing fat in a few week’s time.
2. Dry mouth
Feeling extra thirsty or experiencing dry mouth is also another sign of ketosis.
This is because your body is losing some of it’s stored water. In addition, as your body is getting used to being in fat-burning mode, you have very high levels of ketones present in your body that use dehydration.
This not-so-good combination is what might make your mouth extra dry as your body adjusts to ketosis.
You may experience a pounding headache as your body struggles to adapt to ketosis. This may be due to dehydration, sugar withdrawal or electrolyte imbalance.
If your diet was very high in added sugar. Now that you’ve cut out sugar, your body is struggling to adapt. However, this will typically last for 1 day or 1-week
4. Fatigue and weakness
Expect to feel weaker than usual as your body begins to burn fat for energy. This is mostly because of dehydration
Your body is losing water fast and this may leave you feeling weaker. In addition, your body is used to getting its energy from carbohydrates that are quick and easy to break down, unlike fats.
However, this should clear up in a few weeks.
5. Digestive issues
Making any big change in what you eat and how much you eat is guaranteed to result in an upset stomach as your body adjusts.
To maintain ketosis, you’re probably eating a lot of healthy fats and your stomach will need time to adapt to this. You can expect some constipation, diarrhea, or both as your body gets into ketosis.
6. Bad breath
If you’re getting somewhat fruity or metallic smell to your breath, you have what is known as the keto breath.
This happens when you’re body starts burning fat for energy rather than glucose. Ketones are a byproduct of this process and your body is producing` much more than it needs.
The excess of which can be detected on your breath and in your urine. There isn’t much you can do to stop this but it should resolve on its own once your body fully adapts.
7. Improved focus
One of the many health benefits of ketosis is the positive effect it has on brain function.
It has been shown to improve mental clarity, concentration, and focus. This was proven in this study done in 2012 that showed that epileptic children had better attention and alertness while in ketosis.
However, don’t expect to experience this immediately, most people experience better mental focus after a few weeks in.
8. ketones present in your blood
Perhaps the surest sign you can get that your body is in ketosis is with a blood ketone test.
You can get the test professionally done at a doctor’s office or you can get at home kit and do the test yourself. Your levels should be at 0.5 millimeters per liter of blood or higher. With 3.0 millimeters showing optimal ketosis
How to get back into ketosis after cheating
First thing first, are you really out of ketosis? Just because you had a cheat meal doesn’t mean you’re out of ketosis. What you need to do is test your ketone levels, for accurate results use a blood test.
You’ve tested and you’re out of ketosis, now what?
1. Intermittent fasting
Fasting is a great way to use up your glycogen stores. When you’re intermittent fasting, you stay without eating for a prolonged period of time to use up those glycogen stores fast.
You can start with a 24-hr fast immediately after your cheat meal.
2. Fat fasting
With this method, you still get the benefits of fasting without the struggle.
The goal here is to burn those glycogen stores and weight loss exercises are perfect for this. You can opt for high-intensity interval exercises or weight training exercises.
However the goal is not to overtrain, you don’t want to stress your body. You just want to do a little bit extra of what you normally do, if that’s making your exercise longer of making it more intense.
So if you don’t lift weights, this is not the time to start.
3. Cut your carbs to about 20-grams daily.
We know that cutting carbs is very good for ketosis. You can use this same method to get back into ketosis after your cheat meal.
However, if you have been eating daily net carbs while subtracting the fiber, now is the time to switch to total carbs. Aim to have 20-grams total carbs with fiber included.
This will really help you get back much faster.
You don’t have to choose just one thing, you can combine all these to get back into ketosis or just take it slow and let your body adapt. Don’t overdo anything as it will cause more harm than good.
Why your body is not in ketosis
If you’re done everything right and you’ve done your blood test and your results say you’re not in ketosis. Here a few mistakes you’re likely making;
You’re not tracking your carbs
When it comes to ketosis, it’s better to track and record than assume. Most of us tend to underestimate just how much you’re actually eating. Especially when you’re doing it from memory.
The first thing is to track and write down just how much you’re eating, no guesses.
Most times you will find that you’re eating more carbs than you’re actually supposed to eat and this is keeping you out of ketosis. Track your carbs, eat the right amount and test again after 1-week or 10-days
You’re eating too much protein
Yes, you do love your shrimp and steak but there is a reason why protein should only account for 20% of your total calories. Eating too many protein foods can result in your body turning amino acids into glucose.
A situation that will definitely kick you out of ketosis.
Final thoughts on how to get into ketosis
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. There are many reasons why you would want to do this, the most popular being as a way to lose weight or improve health.
You need to make certain lifestyle changes to be able to get your body into ketosis and maintain. Changes such as limiting carbs, eating enough healthy fats, fasting, and eating enough protein foods have proven to be most effective.
These methods have been shown to able to get you into ketosis in as fast as 2 – 4 days.