If you are following or thinking about joining the ketogenic diet, then you may want to do some research first. As with all diets you need to understand different aspects of it; such as what is ketosis, how many days to get into ketosis, etc. All this will help you to better understand and properly follow it.
If you are doing the diet to lose weight, then good for you; however, you may gain some additional benefits such as increased levels of HDL or good cholesterol and reduced blood sugar, etc. Which is why this diet is one of the mos popular low carb diets.
When adopting this lifestyle, it means you will be shifting your body to a state of ketosis. However is not always clear why some people find that it takes them much longer to enter ketosis than others. Also, a lot of people, find it hard to enter it at all.
What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body converts fat into molecules called ketones. Once your body is in such state, ketones become the main sources of energy for the body and brain. It then means, changing your body’s main fuel source; from glucose (blood sugar) to ketones.
A person who is not on a diet, beaks down carbs into sugar molecules, such as glucose, so they can travel across the bloodstream and be used for energy. But, if you start to cut your carbs drastically, your body will run out of sugar molecules and will be forced to use ketones as fuel.
This occurs in exchange for low carbs and insulin levels, in other words your body won’t be grabbing energy from carbs anymore. Reason why the keto diet is known as the low-carb, high fat diet; because you increase your fat consumption and limit carbs.
Being in ketosis will lead you to loose weight and other health benefits. Many studies have found that ketogenic diets lead to much greater weight loss than low-fat diets.
Another highlight is that people tend to feel less hungry and more full on a ketogenic diet, which is attributed to ketosis. For this reason, it is generally not necessary to count calories on this diet.
Something really cool about ketosis, is that ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain in the absence of glucose. Meaning that when the brain isn’t getting enough glucose, it can use ketones for energy.
How Many Days To Get Into Ketosis
Alright, so you are set on starting the diet and are wondering, how many days it will take you to get into ketosis and start reaping benefits such as lasting, sustained energy, enhanced cognition, improved focus, and of course weight loss!
This obviously will require an adjustment in your eating habits. Most likely you won’t be eating much grains, candy and sugary soft drinks. Other food items you’ll have to cut back include legumes, potatoes and fruit.
If you keep this way of eating for about 2 to 4 days, it should theoretically put you in ketosis. That is as a general rule, however, there is people that it takes them up to a week, or a bit longer. Experts believe it takes between one and ten days to get into ketosis.
This is the time it takes your body to deplete its glycogen, which is glucose in its storage form.
What you need to be clear is that in order to reach this state is that, you need to keep your carbs intake pretty low. Sometimes the trick is done by eating fewer than 50 grams per day and sometimes as little as 20 grams per day.
Since there is no exact formula, it’s safe to say, it varies from person to person.
Some factors that can affect how long it takes to enter ketosis include:
- Daily carb intake
- Daily fat and protein intake
Common sense indicates that a person who generally consumes a high carb diet before starting a keto diet may take longer to enter ketosis; than those who generally eat a low to moderate carb diet.
How To Get Into Ketosis FAST!
If you want to get into ketosis quickly, there are a few things you can do, however it all comes down to keeping your carbs down.
You daily calorie intake should not exceed 5% of carbs, 70% healthy fats and 25% of protein.
With the following tips, you’ll surely get there faster.
- Very low carbohydrate intake is key: Keep your carbohydrates under 20gram per day and you will get into ketosis fast. The very essence of ketosis is making your body produce ketons, this will not occur if your carbs intake is preventing you from producing them.
- Consume cruciferous vegetables: All of your carbohydrates should come from green leafy, cruciferous vegetables.
- Protein should also be watched: Keep protein to 25% maximum. Remember, not eating too much protein is essential for ketosis.
- Focus on high quality fats: At least 70% of your calories from healthy fats, such as nuts, nut butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, avocados, meats, eggs, and fatty fish like salmon.
- Stay away from milk, low fat dairy and eating out: Ditch all milk and low-fat dairy and replace it with other sources. Eating out also makes it harder to track your carbs.
- Exercise: Exercise helps burn off glycogen and speeds up your metabolism getting you into ketosis faster.
- Try intermittent fasting: Fasting may help your body shift its fuel source from carbs to fat while maintaining its energy balance.
- Use natural sugar substitutes: If you are eating sugar you obviously won’t get into ketosis. So, if you must, use natural sweeteners such as Stevia.
- Keep an eye for hidden carbs: Be cautious not to overlook sauces and dressings which are high in carbs.
- Use keto suplements: Consuming exogenous ketones will give you an almost instant boost in blood ketone levels.
What Are The Signs To Know You Are In Ketosis
It can be tricky to know if you are in ketosis or not. The most effective way to know if you have reach ketosis is by testing your ketone levels. To do this you will need a ketone meter.
At the end, this will also help you to adjust your diet accordingly.
There are also a number of sings or symptoms if you will, that let you know you are in ketosis. This sings are not always on the positive spectrum.
- Fatigue. At the beginning, you may suffer from tiredness and low energy. This is only short-term and it will pass once your body becomes adapted to running on fat and ketones.
- Insomnia. Poor sleep is a common sing during the initial stages of ketosis. After a few weeks it will improve.
- Bad breath. A fruity smell is common once full ketosis is reached, this is due to acetone, a ketone that exits the body in your urine and breath.
- Digestive problems. Due to the major change is the types of food, people often experience constipation and diarrhea as side effects in the beginning.
- Boost in focus and energy. Long-term ketogenic dieters often report increased focus and energy after going through the adaptation period.
- Decrease in hunger. Experts think due to an increased protein and vegetable intake, along with alterations to your body’s hunger hormones, your appetite is suppressed while in ketosis.
- Weight loss. Fast weight loss during the first week is also a common sign. Though this is mostly water weight, you should continue to lose body fat as long as you continue with the diet.
Health Benefits Of Ketosis
The ketogenic diet brings numerous benefits including cardiovascular benefits as well as the coveted weight loss.
Among the benefits of the ketogenic diet we can list:
- Research shows that ketosis lowers bad LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol.
- Ketosis decreases a person’s risk of heart disease
- Research has shown that ketosis improves insulin resistance.
- It was originally used to control epileptic seizures. It is still used today for those resistant to seizure medication.
- Ketosis results in fat loss because it helps turn your body from burning carbs as fuel to burning fat.
- Ketosis has cognitive benefits, improving mood, focus and general well being.
Ketosis Strips- Are They Effective?
There is another method to know if you’re in ketosis, by way of Keto strips. These are thin strips of paper that have an indicator in them.
The indicator in these strips changes color when in contact with a person’s urine; indicating ketone bodies which tell you when you’re in ketosis.
Unfortunately, Keto strips don’t have very good reviews as many people find them to be very inaccurate stating that the strips don’t indicate that they’re in ketosis, even when they are.
This is mainly because strips are limited to detect one type of acid and a lot of other factors can affect how light ketone bodies become in urine. Factors such as the amount of water that you should be drinking can have a great impact on them.
So, if you think you are doing everything ok but ketosis strips are only showing trace elements, you should not worry too much.
Getting Back Into Ketosis After A Cheat Day
Sorry to break it down to you but after a cheat day, most likely, you have been kicked out of the ketosis exclusive club.
A club you worked so hard to get admittance and now after falling into temptation, you’ve been banned. Good news is, is juts temporarily and you can always ‘re-pay’ your entrance back in.
Your recovery back into ketosis will depend on how much and what you ate, how adept you are with the diet and your metabolism.
It’s definitely hard to say when you’ll be getting back to ketosis, however you’re most likely to get back in the saddle if:
- You’ve been in ketosis for four or more weeks before your cheat meal.
- You got into ketosis easily when you first started.
- You exercise regularly.
- You didn’t go too overboard with your cheat.
- If you begin intermittent fasting.
Bottom line, if you cheated don’t panic. You’ll be able to get into ketosis within a couple of days after you go back on the diet again.
Furthermore, sign up for our Get Healthy Stay Healthy Newsletter and automatically receive our latest & greatest delivered right to your inbox! Follow Get Healthy Stay Healthy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the newest articles, recipes and meal plans!
We love to hear from you so if you make a Get Healthy Stay Healthy recipe or know about any other snacks or tips we left out, so make sure you take a picture and share it on Instagram with @ketosidedishes.