Ketosis is a metabolic process which offers a few health benefits. During this process, the body turns fat into ketones and starts using them as key source of energy. It has been scientifically shown that diets which promote ketosis are beneficial for weight loss, mainly because of their appetite-suppressing properties.
Additionally, many studies suggest that ketosis may help with neurological disorders, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions.
7 Effective Tips To Get Into Ketosis
1. Minimize Your Carb Consumption
When it comes to achieving ketosis, eating a diet low in carbs is the most important factor. The cells normally use glucose as their main source of fuel. But, most cells are capable of using other fuel sources, including ketones, known as ketone bodies.
In case of low carb intake, the glucose stores as well as the insulin levels are significantly reduced, allowing the fatty acids to be released from fat stores. The liver then turns some of these fats into ketone bodies acetone, beta-hydroxynutyrate, and acetoacetate, all of which can be used as fuel by the brain.
The level of carb restriction to get into ketosis is individualized. Some people need to limit net carbs to 20 grams daily while some may get into ketosis by eating twice this amount.
In a 1-week study, overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes who limited carb intake to 21 or fewer grams daily experienced daily urinary ketone excretion levels which were 27 times higher than their baseline levels.
2. Include Coconut Oil in Your Diet
Coconut oil, which is packed with medium-chain triglycerides, may also help achieve ketosis. These fats are rapidly absorbed and taken to the liver, where they can be turned into ketones or used for energy right away.
Nearly 50 percent of its fat comes from lauric acid, which has been found to produce a more sustained level of ketosis. This is so because it is metabolized better when compared to other MCTs. It is worth mentioning that MCTs have been used to induce ketosis in epileptic children, without drastic restriction of carbs as the ketogenic diet which is far stricter.
When adding coconut oil, it is recommended to do it gradually in order to minimize side effects like diarrhea and stomach cramping. Start with a teaspoon daily and gradually work your way to two tablespoons a day.
3. Ramp up Your Physical Activity
Mounting evidence suggests that being in ketosis is extremely beneficial for certain types of athletic performance, such as endurance exercise.
Moreover, being more physically active helps achieve ketosis as exercising depletes the body of its glucose/ glycogen stores.
But, if carb intake is significantly restricted, glycogen stores remain low. Consequently, the liver boosts its production of ketones, which can be used as fuel for the muscles.
According to a certain study, at low blood ketone concentrations, exercise notably increases the rate at which the production of ketones takes place. However, in case of already increased ketones, they don’t rise with exercise.
According to a study involving 9 older women who exercised before or after a meal, their ketone levels were 137-314% when they exercised before a meal when compared to when they exercised after a meal.
Note that even though exercise boosts ketone production, it may take up to a month for the body to adjust to using ketones as fuel. The physical performance may be reduced in the meantime.
4. Increase Your Healthy Fat Intake
High intake of healthy fat can increase ketone levels and thus help achieve ketosis. A diet low in carbs not only minimizes carbs, but supplies the body with fat at the same time.
Metabolic health, ketogenic diets, and exercise typically provide 60-80 percent of calories from fat. The ketogenic diet used by epileptic patients is even higher, with nearly 85-90 percent of calories from fat.
On the other hand, high fat intake doesn’t necessarily increase ketone levels. According to a 3-week study which involved 11 healthy people and looked at the effects of fasting with different amount of fat intake, ketone levels were shown to be similar in people consuming 79 percent or 90 percent of calories from fat.
Aim at choosing high-quality sources, such as coconut oil, butter, lard, tallow, avocado oil, and olive oil.
5. Try a Short Fast or a Fat Fast
Going without eating for a few hours is yet another way to achieve ketosis. Many epileptic children are fasted for 24-48 hours prior starting a ketogenic diet, in order to get into ketosis quickly.
Another way to induce ketosis is by intermittent fasting, a dietary approach which involves regular short-term fasts.
‘Fat fasting’, a ketone-boosting approach is also very popular these days. It mimics the effects of fasting and is based on eating about 1,000 calories daily, 85-90 percent of which come from fat. The combination of high fat intake and low calorie intake helps get into ketosis very quickly.
Since fat is naturally low in calories and protein, it shouldn’t be followed for more than three to five days in order to prevent loss of muscle mass.
6. Maintain Adequate Protein Intake
Getting into ketosis requires an appropriate protein intake. The classic ketogenic diet which is used in epilepsy patients may be beneficial for cancer patients too, as it may minimize tumor growth.
- First and foremost, consume enough protein to provide the liver with amino acids needef for the production of new glucose. During this process, the liver produces glucose for the few cells and organs in the body but cannot use ketones as fuel.
- Secondly, make sure the protein intake is high enough to keep muscle mass in case of low carb intake, particularly during weight loss. Even though weight loss results in both loss of fat and muscle, eating adequate amounts of protein on a low-carb ketogenic diet may help maintain muscle mass.
It has been scientifically shown that both preservation of muscle mass and physical performance is optimized when protein intake is in the range of 0.55-0.77 grams per pound (1.2-1.7 per kilogram) of lean mass.
7. Test Ketone Levels and Adjust Your Diet As Needed
Getting into ketosis as well as maintaining a state of ketosis is individualized, meaning that you need to test your ketone levels regularly to see whether you are on the right tract.
The three types of ketones- acetoacetate, acetone, and beta-hydroxybutyrate, can be measure in the urine, breath, and the blood.
- Acetoacetate is measured in the urine. Ketone urine strips are dipped into the urine and turn a few shades of pink or purple, depending on the ketone level. Darker color means higher ketone levels. According to a recent study, these levels are the highest in the morning and right after a dinner on ketogenic diet.
- Acetone is found in the breath and many studies have shown that testing acetone breath is a good and reliable means of monitoring ketosis in people on a ketogenic diet. To measure you acetone levels, you need a ketonix meter. After breathing into the meter, the color of the flashes shows whether you are in ketosis or not.
- Finally, to measure the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate, you will need a blood ketone meter. It works similarly to a glucose meter; a small drop is put on the strip that is inserted into the meter.