Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that offers several health benefits.
During ketosis, your body turns fats into compounds called ketones and starts to utilize them as your prime cause of energy. Studies show that diets that promote ketosis are highly beneficial for weight loss, in part because they have an appetite-suppressing effect.
Recent studies suggest that ketosis may also help with type 2 diabetes, neurological disorders, and other medical conditions. However, achieving the state of ketosis requires some work and planning. It’s not as easy as cutting carbs.
Here are four effective tips for entering ketosis:
Minimize carbohydrate consumption
Eating a very low-carb diet is the most important factor in achieving ketosis.
Cells typically use glucose or sugar as their primary fuel source. However, most cells can also use other fuel sources. This includes ketones, also known as ketone bodies, as well as fatty acids. Your body stores glucose in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen.
Very low intakes of carbohydrates reduce glycogen accumulation and lower levels of the hormone insulin. This releases fatty acids from the body’s fat depot.
The liver converts some of these fatty acids into the ketone bodies acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. These ketones can be used as fuel in parts of the brain.
The levels of carbohydrate restriction required to induce ketosis are somewhat individualized. Some people need to limit their net carbs (total carbs-fiber) to 20 grams per day, while others can achieve ketosis by eating more than twice this amount.
For this reason, the Atkins diet stipulates that carbohydrates be limited to 20 grams or less per day for two weeks to ensure the attainment of ketosis.
After this, small amounts of carbohydrates can be gradually added back to the diet as long as the ketosis is maintained.
A one-week study found that overweight people with type 2 diabetes limited their intake of carbohydrates to 21 grams or less per day, and their urinary ketone body excretion levels were 27 times higher than their baseline levels daily.
In another study, adults with type 2 diabetes were allowed 20-50 grams of digestible carbohydrates per day, depending on the number of grams that could maintain blood ketone body levels within a target range of 0.5-3.0 mmol/L. it was done.
These carbohydrate and ketone ranges are recommended for those who want to go into ketosis to promote weight loss, control blood sugar levels, and reduce risk factors for heart disease.
In contrast, therapeutic ketone diets used as epilepsy or experimental cancer treatments often limit carbohydrates to less than 5% of calories or less than 15 grams per day to further raise ketone levels.
However, if you use a diet for therapeutic purposes, do so only under the supervision of a health care professional.
Include coconut oil in your diet
Eating coconut oil makes you more susceptible to ketosis. Contains fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). Unlike most fats, MCTs are rapidly absorbed and transported directly to the liver for immediate use as energy or conversion to ketones. In fact, it has been suggested that taking coconut oil may be one of the best ways to increase ketone levels in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorders.
Coconut oil contains four types of MCT, but 50% of the fat is from the type known as lauric acid.
In fact, some studies have found that a high MCT diet containing 20% of calories from carbohydrates produces a similar effect to the classic ketone diet, which provides less than 5% of calories from carbohydrates. ..
When adding coconut oil to your diet, we recommend adding it slowly to minimize digestive side effects such as stomach cramps and diarrhea.
Start with 1 teaspoon daily and work 2 to 3 tablespoons daily for a week. You can find coconut oil at your local grocery store or buy it online.
Strengthen physical activity
Numerous studies have found that being ketosis can be beneficial for some athletic abilities, including endurance exercise.
Also, being further active can support you get into ketosis. Exercise depletes the body of glycogen stores. Normally, these are supplemented by eating carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose and converted to glycogen.
However, minimizing carbohydrate intake results in low glycogen storage. In response, the liver increases the production of ketones. It can be used as an alternative fuel source for muscle.
One study found that exercise increases the rate of formation of ketone bodies at low blood ketone levels. However, if blood ketone bodies are already elevated, they may not be elevated by exercise and may actually fall in the short term.
In a small study, nine elderly women exercised before and after a meal. Their blood ketone levels were 137-314% higher when exercising before a meal than when exercising after a meal. Exercise increases ketone production, but keep in mind that your body may take 1 to 4 weeks to adapt to the use of ketones and fatty acids as the primary fuels. During this time, physical performance may be temporarily degraded.
4. Increase healthy fat intake
Ingesting plenty of healthy fats will help raise the levels of ketone bodies and reach ketosis.
Indeed, a very low-carb ketone diet not only minimizes carbohydrates but is also high in fat. Ketogenic diets for weight loss, metabolic health, and exercise performance typically provide 60-80% of the calories from fat.
The classic ketogenic diet used for epilepsy is even more fat, usually, 85-90% of calories are fat. However, extremely high fat intake does not necessarily translate into higher ketone levels.
A 3-week study of 11 healthy people compared the effects of fasting on various fat intakes and respiratory ketone body levels. Overall, we found that people who consumed 79% or 90% of their calories from fat had similar ketone levels.
In addition, fat accounts for a very large proportion of the ketogenic diet, so choosing a high-quality source is important.
Good fats include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, and lard. In addition, there are many healthy, high-fat foods that are very low in carbohydrates.
However, if your goal is to lose weight, it is important to make sure you don’t have too many total calories, as this can cause you to lose weight.
5. Try Shortfast or Fatfast
Another way to get into ketosis is to go without eating for hours. In fact, many people have mild ketosis between dinner and breakfast.
Children with epilepsy may fast for 24-48 hours before starting a ketogenic diet. This is done to get into ketosis quickly, which can reduce seizures faster. Diet, including intermittent fasting and regular short-term fasting, can also induce ketosis.
In addition, “fat fasting” is another ketone-promoting approach that mimics the effects of fasting. It consumes about 1,000 calories per day, 85-90% of which comes from fat. This combination of low calorie and very high fat intake helps to achieve ketosis quickly.
A 1965 study reported a significant fat loss in overweight patients who tracked fasted fat. However, other researchers have pointed out that these results seem very exaggerated.
Fat fast has very low protein and calories and should be taken for up to 3-5 days to prevent excessive loss of muscle mass. Also, it can be difficult to comply for more than two days.
7. Test your ketone levels and adjust your diet as needed
Like many of the nutrition, the achievement and maintenance of the state of ketosis are highly individualized.
Therefore, it is helpful to test your ketone levels to make sure you are achieving your goals. Three ketones (acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate) can be measured in breath, blood, or urine. Acetone can be found in your breath, and studies have confirmed that testing breath levels of acetone are a reliable way to monitor ketosis in people on a ketogenic diet.
Ketonix meters measure acetone in exhaled breath. After taking a breath into the meter, the color will flash to show if you are in ketosis and how high your level is.
Ketones can also be measured with a blood ketone meter. Similar to how a glucose meter works, a small amount of blood is placed on the strip inserted into the meter. It measures the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate in the blood and has been found to be a valid indicator of ketosis levels. The problem of measuring blood ketones is that the strips are very costly.
Finally, the ketone measured in urine is acetoacetate. Ketone urine strips are soaked in urine and come in various shades of pink or purple depending on the level of ketones present. The darker the color, the higher the level of ketones.
Ketone urine strips are easy to use and fairly cheap. Accuracy in long-term use has been questioned, but it must first be confirmed that it is ketosis.
Recent studies have found that urinary ketone bodies tend to be highest in the early morning and after dinner on a ketogenic diet.
Testing ketones using one or more of these methods can help determine if adjustments are needed to become ketosis.