Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body converts fat stores into compounds called ketones and uses them as a main fuel for energy. It is a normal metabolic process that can provide health and fitness benefits if done correctly.
It is a natural process that the body undergoes when food is scarce; this is the reason why it’s possible to survive without eating for several days. Optimal ketosis can be achieved just by approaching your nutrition in a different light.
Normally, your body produces insulin and glucose when you eat carbohydrates. Your body is accustomed to using glucose for energy, and insulin to distribute glucose around the body through the blood stream. Fats, on the other hand, go unneeded and therefore, are stored.
This is where going on a ketogenic diet can help you. A keto diet involves consuming a very low-carb, high fat diet with moderate protein intake. When you restrict your body’s carbohydrate intake, your body goes into ketosis after some time.
Fats in the liver are broken down producing ketones to replace your body’s need of glucose for fuel. You can read all about the effects of a keto diet in The Keto Beginning.
Here are some guidelines on how to get into ketosis fast.
Limit your carbohydrate intake
This is by far one of the most important factors in any diet that you will come by, including the ketogenic diet. Reducing your intake of carbs will also reduce your body’s glycogen stores and insulin production.
This will push your body to release fatty acids from fat stores which will be converted to ketones. Induced ketosis can be achieved when you limit your carb intake to 20 grams per day or less.
Maintain an adequate protein intake
Limit your protein consumption to moderate levels, about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is also vital since too much intake of protein can actually lead to lower levels of ketosis.
However, you should also keep in mind that inappropriately cutting back on protein can actually be bad for your health. Adequate protein intake will help maintain enough muscle mass when carbs are low.
Protein also supplies the liver with amino acids that can be used to make “new glucose” for cells and organs in your body that cannot use ketones as fuel (i.e. red blood cells, portions of the brain and kidneys).
Include coconut oil in your diet
Coconut oil has fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are rapidly absorbed and directed to the liver, which can immediately be converted to ketones. You can start with one teaspoon of coconut oil and work your way up to three tablespoons daily to minimize digestive side effects like stomach cramps and diarrhea.
A majority of your meals should be high in healthy fat
Keep in mind that on a ketogenic diet, fat is now the main energy source of your body. Choose foods high in fat, but low in carbohydrates. Good fats such as olive oil, tallow, butter, and lard are some of the recommended items that you should include in your diet.
However, if weight loss is your goal, make sure that you also count calories to avoid stalling in your weight loss. You can try the recipes from the Keto Beginning for paleo-friendly, low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein recipe ideas. The collection of recipes it offers are not only easy to prepare but also tasty and nutritious.
Hydrate your body with plenty of water
Being on a ketogenic diet has a diuretic effect. Keep yourself well-hydrated by drinking lots of water, about a gallon or more per day. Water also regulates many bodily functions, plus it can also help in curbing your hunger levels.
When you have fewer insulin spikes during the day, your body tends to lose weight more effectively. Constant snacking can lead to weight stalls over time.
Increase your physical activity
Normally, when you exercise, you also deplete your body’s glycogen stores which become replenished when you eat carbohydrates. When you restrict your carb intake, plus exercise, your body’s glycogen stores are constantly low. This will push your liver to increase its production of ketones as the alternate fuel source.
Fasting is also a great tool to consistently boost your ketone production during the day. A technique called fat fast is commonly used by people who are metabolically resistant to weight loss and those needing a breakthrough from a two-week plateau or longer.
You consume between 1,000 to 1,200 calories in a day, divided into 4 to 5 meals, with 90% of the calories coming from fat alone. While fat fasting, your body undergoes lipolysis where it converts triglycerides into glycerol and fatty acids for the liver to use.
This method of fasting lasts for 2-4 days and should not be more than 5 days. Remember, this should not be done unless you are not experiencing a significant weight loss plateau or metabolic resistance
For more ideas on how to get into ketosis fast, The Keto Beginning is a great program to start with.
Whether you’re new to dieting or switching from another diet, this program will provide you with tons of information on how to attain your health and fitness goals through nutritional ketosis.
It provides 17 chapters of everything you need to know about ketosis and how you can get into and maintain this lifestyle to be able to reap the benefits.
How to know if your body has reached optimal ketosis
When your body reaches ketone levels around 1.5-3 mmol/L, this is called optimal ketosis. This level is recommended for maximum mental and physical performance gains. At these levels, your body becomes a fat-burning machine, further increasing weight loss.
Physical symptoms of ketosis that say you’re on the right track are:
- Dry mouth and increased thirst. If your water intake is less and the electrolytes you’re getting are not enough, you may feel a dry mouth. One to two cups of broth can help relieve this symptom and also increase your fluid intake
- Increased urination. Ketosis has a natural diuretic effect and can make your bathroom visits more often. Acetoacetate, a ketone body, can also end up in your urine which makes it possible for you to use urine test strips to check for ketosis
- Keto breath. If your breath smells unusually “fruity” like that of a nail polish remover, this is also a sign that your body is undergoing ketosis. Acetone, a ketone body, can escape through your sweat or your breath which is responsible for the smell.