What is ketosis, one might ask? Well, it is a metabolic process that can provide us with quite a few health benefits.
During the process of ketosis, what our body does is convert fat into compounds called ketones and start to use them as the main energy source.
Many studies have proven that diets that bring about ketosis are quite helpful for lowering the number on the scale. This is partly due to their effects which naturally suppress one’s appetite.
Having said that, if one is to achieve a state of ketosis, one should realize that some planning is in order. After all, it’s a bit more complicated than avoiding carbs.
That’s why we’ve taken the liberty of providing people with 7 tips that we hope they’ll find helpful for achieving ketosis.
1. Minimize the Consumption of Carbs
The first and foremost thing one needs to do to achieve ketosis, is, to eat a low-carb diet.
As we may already be aware, our cells normally use glucose (sugar) as the main energy source for our bodies. But did we know our cells could use other sources of fuel as well? This means fatty acids (including ketones, which are similarly called ketone bodies).
Our bodies store sugar in our muscles and our liver in the form of glycogen.
And when one’s intake of carbs is very low, then there’s a reduction in glycogen stores. Subsequently, one’s insulin levels decline as well. The natural result of this is the release of one’s fatty acids from the body’s fat stores.
So, what is the precise level of carb restriction? Hard to say, since it is rather an individual thing. Some people can achieve ketosis only after they’ve limited their net carbs to 20 g per day.
Others, on the other hand, can achieve the same with double that amount, or even more.
After this period is over, one can slowly start reintroducing small amounts of carbs to their daily meals, but make sure to maintain their state of ketosis.
Indeed, many studies have shown that this is the ideal amount of carbs one should limit themselves to make sure they reach ketosis, which in turn lowers their sugar levels, makes weight loss much easier, and even reduces any risk factors for heart disease.
But beware, anyone using this diet for therapeutic purposes should consult with a medical professional first.
2. Including Coconut Oil in One’s Diet
And unlike most other fats, one’s liver rapidly takes MTCs in, which means their rapid absorption. Once in the liver, they can serve as energy or convert into ketones.
Many experts have even claimed that one of the most efficient ways to enter ketosis is to consume coconut oil. That way they are increasing their ketone levels even more! This goes particularly for those with disorders of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s.
But that’s not all. 50% of the fat in coconut oil comes from lauric acid. Research states that eating fats that have a higher lauric acid percentage also has a higher chance of producing ketosis on a more sustained level.
The reason for this is that it metabolizes much more gradually when compared to other fats. Further information states that in the case of epileptic children, MTCs have successfully been able to induce a state of ketosis.
And the best part, unlike the classic keto diet, it didn’t need such a strict restriction of carbs. Just make sure that, when we start integrating this magnificent oil into our daily routine, start slowly and with smaller amounts.
This is so our stomach can accustom itself to it and avoid any side effects such as diarrhea or stomach cramps. Over one week, we can start with just one teaspoon and work our way up to two or even three!
3. Get More Active!
Quite a few studies have served to prove that, when one is in a state of ketosis, their physical performance and even endurance are improved. This is great news, and not just for professional athletes either.
Becoming more active can aid us in reaching ketosis in the first place!
When exercising, it’s normal that one depletes their glycogen stores. Which then are usually replenished with carbs. These carbs are broken down easily and stored as sugar, something we wish to avoid.
So, if we exercise but keep our carb intake very low, our glycogen stores also remain low. The response of our liver is to increase ketone production. This, as we already explained, is what our muscles (and body in general) can use as fuel.
Other studies prove that when one works out while in a fasting state, the ketone levels drive up even more!
Just keep in mind one thing: although we can increase the production of ketones using exercise, it may take a while for our body to fully adapt. Meaning it needs time to warm up to the idea of using fatty acids and ketones as its main fuels.
How long? It varies from person to person but should take no more than 1-4 weeks. And during this period, some have experienced reduced physical performance.
But don’t worry, this is only temporary. It’s a sign that our body is adjusting to these new and positive changes.
4. An Increase in Healthy Fats
Another way to help ourselves in reaching ketosis is to eat plenty of healthy fats. This serves to boost one’s ketone levels.
Low-carb intake is just ‘one side of the coin’ when it comes to the keto diet. The other side is a high intake of healthy fats. As much as 60-80% of calories come from fats in this diet!
And the classic one, the one used by those with epilepsy, goes even higher: 85–90%!
Still, an extremely high intake of fats does not have to mean increased ketone levels either. And since fats make up such a major part of this specific diet, it’s of crucial importance to go for high-quality fat sources.
These can be avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, lard, tallow, and butter. There are also quite a several foods high in fat but low in carbs. Only a few examples include cheese, dark chocolate, whole eggs, avocados, chia seeds, nuts, full-fat yogurt, and fatty fish.
But keep in mind that, if our goal is to lose some weight, consuming too many foods that are high in calories may stall our progress. Moderation is key to everything.
5. Fat Fasting or Short Fasting
And yet another method for achieving ketosis is to not eat for several hours at a time. Most individuals enter a state of mild ketosis between dinnertime and breakfast.
Children who happen to have epilepsy are usually put on a fast which can last for 24-48 hours before starting the ketogenic diet. The point of this is so that they can enter ketosis as soon as possible and reduce their seizures more quickly.
One may also induce ketosis through intermittent fasting. This is a dietary approach that involves short-term fasts regularly. Another approach that boosts ketones and encourages ketosis is the so-called ‘fat fasting’.
It’s all about consuming no more than 1000 calories a day. And as much as 85 to 90% of those calories need to come from healthy fats. This ideal combination of high-fat intake and low-calorie intake can quicken the time we need to reach ketosis.
But take heed: such a diet should be followed for no more than 3-5 days at a time. This is so one doesn’t lose significant muscle mass, as this diet is very low in both calories and protein. Most individuals find it hard to stick to this diet for more than a few days, anyway.
This is their body at work, signaling them to stop after a while. One should always listen to their body and inner systems. Medical News Today are some ideas and tips concerning this fat fasting that we may find useful.
6. Maintain Our Protein Intake
And adequate (not excessive!) protein intake is just what our body needs to naturally enter a state of ketosis. The classic ketogenic diet advises restriction of both protein and carbs to achieve the best results.
The first reason for this is that one’s liver needs a fair supply of amino acids (which come from our consumption of protein). It then uses these amino acids to make new glucose, officially called gluconeogenesis.
Isn’t that a bad thing? Well, no. There is a certain amount of organs and cells in our body that cannot obtain their fuel from ketones. And so they need the liver to produce the glucose for them.
Such include portions of one’s brain and kidneys, as well as our red blood cells.
The second reason is that our intake of protein needs to be sufficiently high to maintain our muscle mass since our carb intake is already low. This goes, particularly for weight loss.
And although, typically, during any weight loss process one loses both fat and muscle mass, at least this way, when one consumes proper amounts of protein on a low-carb keto diet, they can still preserve their muscle mass.
How much is sufficient but not too much? According to some studies, that would be about 0.55–0.77 g per pound (or, in the metric system, 1.2–1.7 g per kilo).
Many studies have proven that a low-carb, sufficient-protein keto diet is ideal for maintaining one’s state of ketosis.
Just remember: too little protein equals loss of muscle mass, while too much equals a suppression in one’s ketone production. So, try and maintain our protein intake as best we can each day.
7. Test Ketone Levels and Adjust Diet Properly
As we already mentioned and as many other things when it comes to the field of nutrition, proper maintenance of one’s state of ketosis can be quite an individualized matter.
That’s why it’s a good idea to test the ketone levels and make sure we are on the right track. The three ketone types we also named earlier, can test through our urine, breath, or blood.
Another method is through blood (this measures our amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate), though this has a setback – the strips we need are rather expensive.
The urine strips, on the other hand, the ones which measure our acetoacetate, are usually cheap and fairly easy to obtain. According to a study recently conducted, these urinary ketones are at their highest in the morning and after dinner, while on a keto diet.
We can use any or all of these methods to make sure we are maintaining a state of ketosis, or whether we need to make certain adjustments to induce it. We sincerely hope this information was useful, dear readers. Stay healthy!