For those who are on the ketogenic diet, you may be researching how you can reach that state of ketosis. Reaching that final state can be difficult, and it can seem intimidating.
Our top tips will make the journey less frightening and help you reach your goals of ketosis.
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How Long Does It Take to Get into Ketosis?
The amount of time it takes to reach ketosis depends on the kind of Ketogenic diet you are using and how your body responds to the ketogenic diet.
On average, ketosis can be reached in 2 to 7 days. It can take slightly longer to reach ketosis for those who only slightly reduce the amount of carbohydrates eaten in a day. Remember, this is a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Tips on How to Get into Ketosis
While ketosis occurs naturally on a ketogenic diet within a week, here are a few tips to help you reach ketosis effectively. Some of these tips may also help you reach ketosis in less than a week.
1. Significantly Reduce the Carbs You Eat
Eating a low amount of carbs is crucial to reach ketosis and implementing a ketogenic diet successfully.
The ketogenic diet aims explicitly to reduce glucose in the body. Once it does, the body uses ketones for energy and food. That means the keto diet demands fat-rich foods, along with some protein.
Instead of getting fuel from carbohydrates, you are directing your body to get fuel from the fats you consume.
The standard keto diet asks that 5-10 percent of your daily caloric intake come from carbohydrates. If you are looking to reach ketosis within a week, you should try to stay around this carbohydrate allowance.
If you feel as though your body can handle 5 percent, then you may reach ketosis in less than a week.
2. Track Carbohydrates to Avoid Sneaky Carbs
While you may think you have significantly reduced your carb intake, many foods we consume have carbs that we don’t think about. It is a good idea to research everything you consume to track where carbohydrates may be sneaking into your diet.
For instance, “sugar-free” drinks and some alcohols can increase blood sugar and incite insulin. Sweeteners like Splenda, Agave, and Sorbitol counter ketosis by giving the body glucose to use as fuel.
Seasonings and sauces can also be tricky. Chili powder, garlic pounder, paprika, and oregano can have up to 6 grams of carbohydrates in them. Watch out for the sauces you dip your meats into. Those can be full of carbs as well.
3. Exercise More Often
It is no secret that the body first uses its stored glucose when you exercise. Most of this energy comes from and is restored when you eat carbohydrates.
However, if you are eating low amounts of carbs, then the body beings to move to alternative sources of energy. The liver will make ketones, which the body will then use as fuel during your exercise.
The more you exercise, along with lower consumption of carbs, then the more ketones your body makes.
Your body will then begin to slowly adjust to the ketones and start its move to ketosis.
4. Take Supplements and Oils
Different supplements, such as exogenous ketones, can assist you in your ketogenic goals. Not only can some keto supplements increase the number of ketones in your body, but they can also provide nutrients that you may not be getting within the ketogenic diet.
A top-rated supplement is exogenous ketones. These ketones are produced within the body, and their job is to help fuel the body. The supplements aim to increase the ketones in the blood.
MCT can be found in butter and coconut oils. The body quickly takes these fats and broken down for fuel.
As a good rule of thumb, you should start with about one single teaspoon of MCTs per day. Once you become accustomed to it, then you can increase your intake to a couple of tablespoons per week.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also rich in fat, which fits within the confines of a ketogenic diet. Fish oils have EPA and DHA, which are both fatty acids. These acids target inflammation and have been proven to reduce the risk of diseases, especially mental deterioration.
Supplements that contain beta-alanine can also help, especially if you find yourself tiring during exercise. Beta-alanine is an amino acid that can help with fatigue and increase endurance during exercise.
5. Keep Eating Your Protein
Most ketogenic diets allow for moderate amounts of protein. The standard ketogenic diet always for 15-20 percent of your daily caloric intake come from protein. Numerous foods are permitted under the keto diet.
The keto diet allows you to eat chicken, pork, lamb, beef, and many different kinds of fish.
Eating protein on keto helps you feel full, meaning you are less hungry and less likely to snack. It also provides your body with the protein needed to help retain your muscles. The meat within the ketogenic diet also provides you with the nutrients you need.
Your meats should be providing you with the fats you need. For instance, fish can offer your omegas, and some beef will also give you healthy fat.
Protein shouldn’t be left out in the ketogenic diet. Eating meat for essential nutrients and fats can help you stay satisfied and reach ketosis.
6. Reduce Snacking (Know Why You Are Eating)
Just as the previous tip mentioned, try to reduce your snacking. Perhaps more importantly, know why it is you want to snack.
Often, we find ourselves snacking because we are bored, the food is readily available to us, or we do it socially. First, ask yourself if you are snacking because you genuinely are hungry? If not, then try not to eat the snack.
Most snacks you can find readily available to you, either in the workplace or out in the world, are not within the demands of the ketogenic diet. Ketosis may be hard to reach at first only because it is not a very quick and mobile diet.
Most snacks are designed to spike glucose quickly to give the body energy, which is not in line with the ketogenic diet.
If you do need a snack, you may have to carry one with you that is keto-friendly.
To reach ketosis, it is essential that you notice when you need a snack and to keep one with you that follows the ketogenic diet you are following.
Doing so will help you reach ketosis within those 2-7 days.
7. Plan Ahead & Ask for Accommodations
Many individuals believe that the ketogenic diet does not fit with a social, outgoing lifestyle. Will you be able to find food at a keto-friendly restaurant? What if only a part of the meal is not keto-friendly?
First and foremost, many foods can be found that are keto-friendly. Think about all the meats available to you within the ketogenic diet! You can look for these on the menu.
You can also ask for special orders or accommodations. Maybe you know a great burger place. Instead of asking for the burger on the bun, you can ask for the burger on a bed of lettuce. Instead of extra sauces, you can ask for avocado (which goes great with burgers).
The keto diet permits dairy. You can get cheese on that burger. If you are going out for breakfast, you can get eggs and pork.
Knowing what you can eat is a significant first step. Once you know what you can eat, look for that on the menu. If you find something that almost works, don’t be afraid to ask for accommodations or variations.
Most restaurants are willing to change the standard menu to fit the needs of a customer. It never hurts to ask
8. Try Fasting
Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body burns fat instead of carbohydrates and glucose. The body can naturally go into this state during times of fasting.
The body can go into ketosis when you are sleeping since you are not eating for several hours and may not have enough glucose to fuel it for the night.
Some individuals find that they can reach ketosis by merely fasting for several hours. Some find that starting the ketogenic diet is more manageable after a short period of fasting.
Short-term fasting could put the body in a state of ketosis.
Others may try a kind of fasting that mirrors fasting: this is called “fat fasting.” Instead of fasting entirely, these individuals eat around 1000 calories per day. Of those calories, about 85 percent of it comes from fat.
While both these kinds of fasting can help reach ketosis, you should be very careful when doing it. It can make some feel light-headed or pass out.
It can cause the body to eat muscle mass, and it can provoke individuals who already have eating disorders.
Fasting can help reach ketosis but be sure to observe yourself. As a rule of thumb, only implement fasting techniques for up to 5 days.
9. Keep Tracking Your Ketones
The ketones in your body can be measured during your ketogenic diet. The types of ketones in the body can be measured through blood, urine, and breath.
The ketone called acetone is the one found in your mouth. Individuals in ketosis often say that their breath smells fruity. The increase in acetone causes this smell. There are also meters on the market that will measure your breathing.
These breath meters are slightly more accurate than urine tests, and they are inexpensive.
Urine strips are available to measure acetoacetate, the ketone found in your urine. These strips are relatively cheap, and they offer a quick measurement. Ketones in urine should be measured in the morning, as that is when ketones are at their highest levels.
Urine strips help know when you have reached ketosis, but they are less helpful when trying to figure out the exact levels or fluctuations in your ketones. Therefore, these strips are useful to confirm ketosis. Other methods should be used when tracking ketones.
The ultimate way to track or measure ketones is through the blood. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is the ketone found in your blood. There are meters available where you place the blood on a strip and place the strip in the meter.
This kind of tracking device is expensive. Unlike the urine strips, it is more accurate in indicating the levels of ketones in your body. Therefore, you should think about the kind of tracking you want to do.
If you want to know when you are in ketosis, the urine strips are a good option. If you are serious about maintaining ketosis, the more expensive blood meter may be an option for you.
Keeping track of your ketones or your state of ketosis can help you adjust your diet and work towards reaching that state of ketosis.
10. Hold Yourself Accountable
Like any diet or lifestyle change, it only works if you hold yourself accountable for what you do and what you need to do.
Understandably, the ketogenic diet can be challenging to start and maintain. It is your job, and your responsibility alone, to stay motivated and keep track of your body and your food. If you feel like snacking, make a healthy choice for yourself that stays within the diet.
On the other hand, understand that you are human. There may be a day where you slip up. That is okay. Take it as a lesson in learning and use it to grow and do better afterward.
If you hold yourself accountable, remain patient with yourself, and keep track of your progress, you will surely reach ketosis. It may not be within a week, but that means you are being responsible with your body and reaching ketosis in a way that is healthy to your own body.
How to Know if You Are in Ketosis
There are several ways to know if you are in ketosis. As mentioned above, there are three distinct kinds of tests you can do that measure your levels of ketones. The urine test, breath test, and blood test can help you monitor ketosis.
If your breath begins to smell fruity, that means you are either in ketosis or beginning to approach a state of ketosis.
If you experience weight loss, then your body is demonstrating a state of ketosis. Alongside this, your body may experience digestive issues and increased urination. These are all signs that your body is beginning to move towards a state of ketosis.
You may experience dry mouth or excessive thirst. This is because you are no longer retaining water, so your body wants more.
These are several physical indications that your body is reaching ketosis; however, the best measurement comes from the breath, urine, or blood meters readily available on the market.
Reading Your Body & Reaching Ketosis
Reaching ketosis may seem complicated, but once you begin to track your progress, become knowledgeable about what is in your food, and prepare yourself for the journey, then reaching ketosis will become less frightening.
These tips should help you reach ketosis and keep on track with your ketogenic diet. Keep in mind that it can take up to a week to reach ketosis; however, this does not mean your body has to reach that state within a week.
Some bodies may take longer, and others may reach ketosis in a shorter period. The key here is to observe your body and reach ketosis in a way that is healthy to YOU.
Just because it takes you a little longer to reach ketosis does not mean you are failing. It means you are making decisions that are right for your own body.
Remain accountable to yourself, stay focused, and you will reach your goals