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Not sure how to get in and remain in ketosis? Learn the steps you need to take to achieve a successful keto lifestyle.
The ketogenic diet has gained mainstream popularity in recent years as more people learn about the benefits of ketosis in terms of health and weight loss. Nonetheless, the way ketosis functions and how to get into ketosis in the first place is still some mystery.
Below you will learn how to get into ketosis, and how to sustain a metabolic state of fat-burning.
What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis happens when your body’s main fuel source, carbohydrates, has little to no exposure. This begins to break down and instead burn fat stores for energy in the absence of carbohydrates.
Once the body is in ketosis, you break down fats and build ketone bodies— or ketones — for energy use. Being in a ketosis condition can have many health benefits, including:
- Curbed hunger and weight loss
- Improved blood sugar and insulin levels
- Better mental clarity and improved energy levels
- Less chance of inflammation
- Reducing risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease
- Decreased insulin resistance and the prevention of type 2 diabetes
How to Get Into Ketosis
The keto diet’s goal is to enter a metabolic fat-burning state known as ketosis. If you’re trying the keto diet for the first time, follow these steps to help you get ketosis.
A quick note about transitioning into a ketogenic state: you may experience a few negative side effects known as keto flu the first time you try to enter ketosis. Such signs may include lethargy, brain fog, headaches, and other short-term symptoms that should vanish within a week or so.
- Limit your carb intake
- Increase the amount of fat you eat
- Incease phyiscal activity
- Intermitting fasting
Step 1: Limit your carb intake
On the keto diet, the carbohydrate intake will have to be drastically reduced. Approximately 5-10% of your daily calories come from carbs on keto. That’s about 30-50 grams of carbs a day, a fraction you’d see in a standard American diet.
In keto, most of these carbohydrates may come from foods rich in vitamins, keto-friendly, including leafy green vegetables and low-sugar fruits.
Step 2: Increase the amount of fat intake
One of the most common mistakes people make is to underestimate how much fat they will need when starting the keto diet. Other low-carb diets such as Atkins advocate a low-carb strategy combined with a high intake of protein.
Keto, on the other hand, is a high-fat diet with moderate protein consumption to maintain muscle mass. About 70-80% of your calories need to come from fat on a keto meal plan to boost ketone development. Select fat sources such as MCT oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, avocado oil, nuts, and seeds.
Read more about how much fat you should eat on keto
Coconut oil can help you get into ketosis. This contains fats called triglycerides of the medium chain (MCTs).
In comparison to most fats, MCTs are easily absorbed and taken directly to the liver where they can be used for energy immediately or converted into ketones.
It has been suggested that consuming coconut oil may be one of the best ways in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorders to increase ketone levels. Although coconut oil contains four types of MCTs, 50% of its fat is derived from the form known as lauric acid.
Some research suggests that fat sources with a higher lauric acid percentage may result in a more sustained ketosis level. This is because it is more slowly metabolized than other MCTs.
Interestingly, some studies have found that a high-MCT diet that contains 20 percent of calories from carbs creates effects similar to the traditional ketogenic diet that offers less than 5 percent of carbohydrate calories When adding coconut oil to your diet, it is a good idea to do so slowly to reduce digestive side effects such as stomach cramping or diarrhea. (Source, Source, Source).
Start with one teaspoon a day and work over the course of a week up to two to three tablespoons a day. In your local grocery store, you can find coconut oil or buy it online. You can also purchase BulletProof MCT Oil:
Step 3: Increase Your Physical Activity Level
The body uses glycogen stores (or stored glucose) for energy while you are exercising. Many athletes have been following nutritionists’ advice on “carbo loading” for decades, consuming plenty of high-carb foods before workouts or competition. Unless you avoid eating carbohydrates before you hit the gym, however, you can experience ketosis after exercise.
One study found that exercise improves the rate at which ketones are released at low blood ketone levels. However, if blood ketones are already high, they do not increase with exercise and can actually decrease for a short period of time.
Furthermore, it has been shown that working out in a fasted state increases ketone levels
Step 4: Try Intermittent Fasting
Human beings have been able to go without food for prolonged periods in history. People entered a ketogenic state during those times.
You should experiment with intermittent fasting in order to replicate this evolutionary process. New research shows that fasts that last more than 12 hours or prolonged periods of a low-calorie diet can help turn the metabolic switch, placing you in a state of fat-burning.
This includes eating roughly 1,000 calories per day, of which 85–90 percent are fat. A combination of low calorie and very high intake of fat will help you easily achieve ketosis.
A study conducted in 1965 reported substantial fat loss in patients with overweight rapidly following a meal. Some scholars, however, have pointed out that these findings seem to be highly exaggerated (30Trusted Source).
Because a fat fast is so low in protein and calories, it should be practiced to avoid an unnecessary loss of muscle mass for a period of three to five days. For more than a few days, it may also be hard to stick to.
Take a look at this guide on intermittent fasting for more information.
How to Maintain Ketosis
Keto is not supposed to be a short-term diet — it is intended to be a lifestyle. And part of any healthy lifestyle makes room for real-life situations like parties, special events, traveling, and holidays.
You may not be able to maintain a ketogenic state 100 percent of the time if you are traveling, visiting your family for the holidays, or having a few drinks at a happy hour. But if you follow the tips below, you will most of the time be able to sustain a fat-burning state and get back into ketosis after a few too many carbs.
Calculate Your Macros on a Keto Diet
Recall the rule of golden ketosis: low carb, ample protein, high fat.
The exact amounts of carbs, proteins, and fats that differ per person, so you’ll have to experiment to find out what works best for you.
This typically results in about 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs for a regular ketogenic diet.
Use the keto macro calculator to find your specific macros on keto to get a more accurate estimate of your individual maco targets (accounting for your body weight, BMI, and physical activity level). That way, you’ll know the exact grams you can eat of total carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Track Your Carbs to Stay in Ketosis
Carb intake should be kept very low (and high intake of fat) so that the natural fat-burning capabilities of your body are used. If you’re not diligent in finding the carbohydrate count that’s right for your body, you’re never going to get ketosis.
By figuring out your total daily calorie intake, the best way to determine the exact net carb count that’s right for you. Also, the keto macro calculator can be used for this.
Test Your Ketone Levels
What’s great about ketosis is that it’s a measurable metabolism state, not just a diet. Simply test your ketone levels to really know if you are in ketosis.
Three ketone bodies are present: acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Your ketone levels are tested in three ways:
- Urine testing: Not the most accurate method.
- Blood testing: the most accurate and the most expensive way to test your ketone levels.
- Breath testing: This is the least accurate method.
Depending on the level of ketones present, ketone urine strips are dipped into urine and turn different shades of pink or purple. Higher ketone levels are reflected in a darker color.
Strips of ketone urine are easy to use and fairly cheap. While being questioned about their accuracy in long-term usage, they will initially provide evidence that you are in ketosis.
A recent study found that a ketogenic diet appears to be strongest in the early morning and after dinner.
Use one or more of these methods to check ketones will help you determine if any modifications are needed to get into ketosis.
You can learn about measuring your ketone levels here.
A Well-Rounded Approach on How to Get Into Ketosis
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet in which you try to enter the ketosis-known metabolic state. You may experience a number of health benefits once you are in ketosis, including weight loss, increased levels of insulin and blood sugar, decreased inflammation, and increased mental clarity.p>
Knowing how to get into ketosis includes eating plenty of fat while maintaining an extremely low carb count. You can try intermittent fasting, ramp up your exercise routine, or supplement if nutritional ketosis is not enough.
Make sure to check your ketone levels periodically to see if you are maintaining ketosis effectively. If you aren’t, just check your eating habits, make a few changes to your diet, and then try again.
Reaching and sustaining ketosis does not occur overnight, but you will be able to enjoy a balanced keto lifestyle with patience, tenacity, and solid knowledge.