Are you wondering how to get into ketosis fast? Is there a simple solution to put your body into fat-burning mode quicker? We look at the keto diet and determine if there is a way to get yourself into ketosis faster.
First, let’s look at what ketosis is, and then we’ll look at possible ways to speed up the process.
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What is Ketosis?
As most people know, keto is short for ketosis. Ketosis is a state in the body in which your liver converts fat into ketone bodies in the absence of blood sugar.
This occurs naturally as a part of a low-carb diet. It’s part of your body adapting to the lack of carbohydrates and using ketones to fuel your brain and body. The state of ketosis can occur when restricting carbs but also during fasting or starvation.
Ketosis, or the keto diet, is a popular weight-loss strategy. It helps you burn fat quicker due to the state of ketosis, but it also has been noted to make people less hungry for longer periods.
Most people on a low-carb diet eat less than 50g of carbohydrates daily. Many keto dieters limit this to 20-30g of net carbs per day to stay in ketosis and, therefore, in a fat-burning state. Find the exact needs of your body by using the keto calculator.
So how long does it take to get into ketosis?
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein diet. This is an important mixture of macronutrients designed to cause dietary ketosis. You want to watch the number of carbs you consume, but you also want to get more of your calories from fat than from protein. Protein can be converted to blood glucose at a higher rate than fat can. Therefore, eating too much protein can kick you out of ketosis.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of ketosis before we talk about getting into ketosis fast.
The Health Benefits of Ketosis
As most people know, ketosis is a very beneficial state for weight loss, but it has some other benefits. Keto diets have been tested and shown to cause improvements in children with epilepsy to help prevent seizures. Here is a keto seizure food list.
The diet is also known to help with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
This is because it lowers blood sugar. High blood sugar triggers these conditions. It may even lower your risk of heart disease. This seems counter to the point since we’ve been told that fat consumption leads to heart disease.
The main reason people use keto diets is the great weight loss that can be achieved. However, there is also an improved mental state. Ketones can help with cognition in the brain.
This is because ketones can pass the brain-blood barrier and fuel the brain. Many people have a greater sense of concentration and memory and feel sharper when in ketosis.
How Do I Know I’m in Ketosis
We go into this in more detail in our article about how long it takes to get into ketosis. There are several signs of ketosis. The most common one is called the “keto flu.” This occurs when you are just starting to get keto-adapted. It almost seems like you have a cold or flu. You may experience hot flashes, sweating, headache, and other symptoms of being sick. This is just the body trying to adapt to a new environment.
Other signs of ketosis include a metallic taste in the mouth, bad-smelling breath, thirst, lack of appetite, and extreme weight loss. The only way to tell if you are in ketosis is to measure the ketone levels in your blood or urine. You can do this with a ketone test or meter.
How Long Does it Take to Get Into Ketosis?
You are probably wondering how long it takes to get into ketosis in the first place. Well, it depends on your body. As a rule of thumb, I would say a week or a little more.
You know you’re in ketosis by the level of ketones in your blood.
This level gradually increases as you go on longer and longer with low carbohydrate consumption. If your body handles ketones exceptionally well, you may even reach ketosis in as little as four days.
How To Get Into Ketosis Fast: 8 Tips
Now that you have a rough idea of what ketosis is and how long it may take you to reach that state, you’re probably looking for ways to speed up the process. Below are a few tips you can use to help you reach ketosis as fast as possible. Of course, everybody is different—so try these different strategies and figure out what works best for you.
1. Significantly Reducing The Carbohydrate Intake
If you look up any keto diet, you’ll find that it’s a low-carb diet. That’s because ketogenesis only begins when the carbohydrate level in your body is low. Your body prefers to use glucose in your food as a primary fuel. When that is low, your liver begins releasing the glucose that it has stored in the form of glycogen.
After spending a few days with lower carbohydrate intake, even your glycogen stores will be low. That’s when ketosis will start because your liver will start turning fat stores in your body into ketones for energy.
Of course, there is no set number of days or degree of carbohydrate restriction required for your body to start ketosis. Individual variations such as genetics, environment, and even exercise routines can impact how low your carb intake should be. I suggest going as low as 30g of carbs per day and then start changing your fat and protein intake.
2. Include Coconut Oil In Your Diet
Several studies have shown that consuming coconut oil can help you achieve and maintain ketosis. This is because coconut oil has a high level of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These are a type of fats that are more readily absorbed by the liver and can be used as a source of fuel. That means your body will release ketones into the bloodstream even before it starts using stored fats as a fuel source.
Another thing about coconut oil is that over half of its MCTs contain lauric acid. Studies show that lauric acid-containing fats induce sustained ketosis for longer periods. In other words, you get a prolonged period of ketosis if you consume coconut oil.
3. Get Moving: Increase Physical Activity
Since the only way to release ketone bodies into your bloodstream is by using fats as a fuel source, you need to burn more fuel. While it’s true that we are all burning fuel even as we sleep, physical activity requires more calories.
In other words, by increasing your physical activity, you can encourage the liver to start attacking your stored fat and any ingested fats.
4. Increase Your Healthy Fat Intake
Contrary to old-school teachings, fats are not all bad. The latest research has shown that some fats have many potential health benefits. The most successful ketogenic diets are not only low in carbs, but they generally add more healthy fats.
Your body turns fats into ketones, so increasing healthy fats in your diet will help release more ketones into your bloodstream. As such, you’ll be able to reach ketosis faster.
Here are a few healthy (and delicious) fats that you may want to consider adding to your diet:
- Avocado oil
- Wild caught salmon
- Nuts (walnuts, almonds)
- Flax seed oil
- Chia seeds (ground)
- Flax seeds (ground)
It’s best to include natural sources of these fats in your diet, which is preferable to using supplements or processed foods that contain these healthy fats in them. Many processed foods are marketed as ketogenic but may include unwanted additional ingredients.
5. Testing Ketone Levels
If you’re wondering how long it takes to reach ketosis, you may want to consider testing your ketone levels periodically. This will allow you to adjust your diet accordingly. It’s a good idea to monitor your food intake and compare adjustments to your diet and how they reflect on your ketone levels.
Luckily, it only takes a few lab tests to test ketone levels. I’d recommend testing daily at first to ensure that your body has reached ketosis. Once you’ve achieved that state, you may want to test once a week to check if you’re still maintaining ketosis. Here are the three types of ketones and how you should be testing for them:
- Acetone is measured using a ketone breathalyzer because it shows in your breath. This is obviously the easier method because you can buy your own breathalyzer and conduct the test at home.
- Acetoacetate can be detected in your urine, so you’ll need to provide a fresh sample to a lab.
- Beta-hydroxybutyrate levels can be measured in a lab from a blood sample.
6. Try A Short Fast
The best way to get into ketosis is to try fasting. Many people associate intermittent fasting with ketogenic diets because they work hand in hand to increase fat loss. If you’ve ever skipped dinner or had a late breakfast, you might have noticed your breath smelling a little different. This is probably because you’ve gone into mild ketosis during that short fast.
If you’re more intentional with your fasting, you can achieve ketosis much faster. Consider starting with a 16:8 intermittent fast and working your way up to a 20:4 fast.
That means you don’t consume any calories (in food or drink) for 16 hours, and then you have an 8-hour window to eat and drink. Don’t forget to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
For some people, fasting feels too difficult. You may want to try a fat fast—this is a ketogenic diet whereby you consume mainly fats on a low-calorie diet. So, for around 1100 calories, you’d consume around 80% of those calories in fats.
Do not try to go on a fat fast for more than 5 days—it’s only meant to be used as a temporary boost to get you into ketosis quickly. Fat fasts are not sustainable because this type of diet doesn’t provide enough protein, vitamins, or minerals for a healthy body.
7. Adequate Protein Intake
On that note, if you want to get into ketosis fast, you might find yourself dropping your protein intake too low. Although you’ll need to increase fat consumption instead of proteins in your diet, it’s crucial that you don’t push it. If you aren’t consuming enough proteins, you run the risk of damaging your liver, kidneys, or even parts of your brain.
Not all the cells in your body can use ketones as fuel, which is what happens when you reach ketosis. Maintaining a sufficient protein intake level ensures that those cells get enough energy. Your liver uses amino acids from proteins in the process of releasing glucose to your bloodstream as fuel for cells that cannot process ketones.
Another reason protein is important is to maintain muscle mass. Most people’s goal when losing weight is to shed the fat and keep their muscles. This is only possible if you are eating enough proteins. Here’s a simple formula to calculate how much that is:
Protein intake = ideal body weight in pounds multiplied by 0.55 (or 0.77)
8. Consume More MCT Oil
As mentioned earlier, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT Oil) have been scientifically proven to as the fastest way to get into ketosis. Even if you aren’t on the ideal ketogenic diet for your body, you will probably find that adding MCT oil to your diet will help speed up the process.
You can find supplements labeled as MCT oil in most health food stores nowadays. Check to see if the supplement contains lauric acid before you make a purchase. You may also want to ensure that it doesn’t contain unhealthy fats such as palm oil. Note that while MCT oil supplements can help you achieve ketosis faster, you shouldn’t take more than the recommended dose.
Even with the normal dosage, many people find that consuming MCT oils can induce some unwanted side effects. This includes loose stools or even diarrhea. It’s best to introduce MCTs slowly into your diet and monitor any side effects you may feel. Always consult with a doctor before consuming any dietary supplements.
If you want to get into ketosis fast, you’ll need to change your lifestyle drastically. While it’s a good idea to start slow, the tips mentioned above are great for speeding up your journey towards ketosis. It’s best not to try all these tactics at once, so you can monitor changes and figure out which approach is the best fit for your body.