The ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight, improve mental cognition, balance hormones and treat various diseases like diabetes and epilepsy.
When you enter a state of ketosis, your body switches from using glucose to using mainly ketones for fuel. This has several health benefits, including:
- Healthy fat loss
- Reduced hunger and cravings while staying full longer
- Reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease, type II diabetes and even cancer
- Higher energy levels
- Fewer blood sugar spikes
- Overall better well-being
Follow these steps to get into ketosis faster:
1. Drastically Cut Carbs
The general carb limit for the keto diet is around 30 grams per day. If you’re an athlete, this may increase to 100 grams.
When starting a low carb diet like Atkins or keto, some people find comfort in cutting out carbs gradually. However, if you want to get into ketosis fast, drastically reducing your carb intake is necessary. Track your carbohydrate intake during this time, not letting any hidden carbs slip under the radar.
Going low carb is easier than you think, even when eating out or travelling. Perfect Keto founder Dr Anthony Gustin often makes special requests at restaurants to make his meals low carb, like this porchetta and egg sandwich without the sandwich.
2. Increase High-Quality Fats
Healthy fats make up a large component of any keto meal plan. If you’re new to keto, it may take time to transition to this way of eating. Make sure your fat intake accounts for 70-80% of your total calories.
This will help your body transition to using fat as its primary fuel source, although if your goal is to lose weight, it’s preferred to decrease your fat intake slightly to allow your cells to burn fat stores instead of dietary fat.
Consume these healthy fats to get into ketosis quickly:
- Oils like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil powder, avocado oil or macadamia nut oil
- Fatty meats, egg yolks, butter or ghee
- Keto nuts and nut butter
- Plant fats like avocados, olives or coconut butter
3. Take Exogenous Ketones
Exogenous ketones are supplements to help you get into ketosis faster. The most effective exogenous ketones are those made with beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB ketones). BHB is the most abundant ketone in the body, making up to 78% of total ketone bodies in the blood. It’s also a more efficient fuel source than glucose.
Taking exogenous ketones helps your body get into ketosis faster (sometimes in as little as 24 hours). It would help if you still ate a low carb, ketogenic diet, but supplementation can decrease the amount of time it takes and decrease unpleasant side effects.
Try Intermittent FastingFasting is often used in conjunction with keto. It poses several health benefits, including improved concentration, faster weight loss, and reduced blood sugar levels. It has also been associated with decreasing symptoms of various diseases. When used with a ketogenic diet, it can help you get into ketosis faster and aids weight and fat loss.
If the thought of intermittent fasting intimidates you, try these other two approaches:
- Fat fasting involves eating low-calorie (usually around 1,000 calories), with roughly 85-90% of those calories coming from fat, for a few days.
- Fast mimicking mimics the effects of fasting within a short time frame. You still eat high-fat foods during this brief period.
5. Exercise More
Exercise helps deplete the body of glycogen stores (stored glucose). When glycogen reserves are low and not being refilled with carbohydrates, the body turns to burn fat for energy. Therefore, increasing your exercise intensity can help you enter ketosis faster.
6. Take MCT Oil
More than coconut oil, butter, or any other fat, MCT oil can boost your blood ketone levels significantly. Taken together with exogenous ketones, it can help you enter nutritional ketosis in hours.
MCT oil can do this because the medium-chain triglycerides are quickly metabolized and used for energy by your cells, unlike long-chain fatty acids, which take longer to be broken down.
7. Keep Protein Up
Going keto doesn’t mean you have to reduce protein drastically. You don’t.
Eating enough protein is crucial for feeling your best on keto. It provides many of the nutrients you need to be healthy, helps satisfy you, and helps prevent muscle breakdown.
Going into keto focusing only on fats sets you up for failure because you can start experiencing negative side effects from the lack of nutrients that adequate protein provides.
You should be consuming at least 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass as a rule of thumb.
Plus, high-quality proteins like grass-fed beef also provide healthy fats.
If you’re finding it tough to get enough protein, try whey protein or collagen protein to help keep you fuller longer and provide the building blocks for growth and repair.
8. Find Keto Staples
Finding keto-friendly foods and easy recipes is key to sticking to and enjoying your keto diet. The easiest way to fall off the wagon on keto is not to have safe keto options around when you’re hungry and need energy. So here’s what you can do:
- Go shopping for keto-approved foods
- Find easy keto-friendly recipes
- Choose healthier on-the-go keto snacks
9. Watch Your Snacks
More challenging than being keto at home is to stay keto on the go. It can be almost impossible to find keto-friendly foods when you’re at work, on the road, or at the airport.
Having the right portable snacks with you can make the difference between staying on track to becoming keto-adapted or falling off the wagon.
Some of the best keto snacks include:
- Keto Bars
- Keto Nut Butter
- Low-Sugar Beef Jerky
- Nuts and seeds
10. Make Healthy Swaps When Eating Out
Making healthy swaps is easier than you think when you’re eating out. You don’t have to throw away your efforts because you’re having lunch with a friend.
Most restaurants can accommodate requests such as:
- Burger without a bun
- Salad without dressing (dressing is often loaded with carbs)
- Tacos without tortillas
- Unsweetened beverages
If you start your keto diet following these 10 tips, you’ll have an easier time transitioning to fat adaptation.
How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis?
You cannot simply jump into ketosis in 24 hours. Your body has been burning sugar for fuel your entire life. It will need time to adapt to burning ketones for fuel.
So how long does it take to get into ketosis? This transition could take anywhere from 48 hours to one week. The length of time will vary depending upon your activity level, lifestyle, body type, and carbohydrate intake. There are several ways you can speed up this process, like intermittent fasting, drastically decreasing your carb intake and supplementation.
Remember: Once you get into ketosis, there is no guarantee you will remain in ketosis. If you eat a carb-laden meal, practice carb cycling, or increase your carb intake for athletic performance, your body may start burning glucose. To get back into a fat-burning state, follow the same methods you did to get into ketosis initially.
3 Additional Tips For Transitioning Into Keto
When your body enters ketosis for the first time, it’s switching its preferred fuel source. This transition can cause flu-like side effects in some people, including fatigue, headaches, dizziness, sugar cravings, brain fog and stomach trouble. This is often called the “keto flu.”
Supplementing with exogenous ketones can help negate these unwanted symptoms. When supplements aren’t enough, try these tips:
1. Stay Hydrated
Many people experience a flush of water weight when they switch from eating a standard, high carb diet to keto. Therefore, it’s important to stay hydrated. Plus, hunger is often confused with dehydration. Avoid this by drinking water often, especially when you experience cravings or hunger.
2. Take Electrolytes To Avoid The Keto Flu
Alongside drinking more water, it’s important to take electrolytes to help make up for the loss of fluids and replenish all the electrolytes being flushed out.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Proper sleep is important for hormone function and the repair of the body. Not getting enough sleep is tough on the adrenals and blood sugar regulation. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you struggle with quality sleep, create an environment conducive to rest. This could be keeping your room cooler, turning off all electronic devices one to two hours before bedtime or using a sleep mask.
How To Know If You’re In Ketosis
If your goal is to get into ketosis as fast as possible, you must test your ketone levels. Why? Testing helps you recognize what foods or habits kick you out of ketosis.
There are three primary methods to test your ketone levels:
- Urine testing: While this is one of the most affordable methods, it’s also inaccurate. Unused ketones leave the body through the urine — meaning you are essentially measuring unused, unburned ketones.
- Breath testing: This is a far more accurate method than urine testing, but still not the best. This measures the amount of acetone (another ketone body) when you should try to measure the amount of BHB.
- Blood testing: This is the most highly recommended, most accurate way to test your ketone levels. With a small prick of a finger, you can measure the level of BHB ketones in the blood.
The 1 Reason Why You’re Not in Ketosis Yet
If you tried all of the above methods and still haven’t entered ketosis, excess carbs are the most common underlying cause.
Carbs can creep up in your daily diet and prevent you from or knock you out of ketosis — and this tends to be the most common reason new keto-ers feel they’re doing everything right and still not enter ketosis.
Hidden carbs can from:
- Restaurant meals. For example, most sauces have sugar in them.
- “Healthy” snacks. Even low carb snacks have cheap ingredients and syrups that raise your blood sugar and kick you out of ketosis.
- Too many nuts. Nuts are a perfect keto snack, but some are higher in carbs than others. Eating handfuls of nuts without measuring can take you over your car limit.
If you test your ketone levels regularly, follow the 10 steps outlined above, supplement when necessary and keep an eye on your carb intake, you’ll no longer wonder how long it takes to get into ketosis. You’ll be in it, burning fat and energetically reaching your health goals.