One of the most difficult parts about a ketogenic diet is always wondering if you're in ketosis. This is especially the case if you're just starting your diet. Specifically, you may want to know how long it takes to enter the state of ketosis.
Unfortunately, the answer is rather complex. And that's because there are a lot of factors that come into play such as your activity level, the number of carbs that you're eating, as well as your eating schedule.
In most cases, the body will start to produce ketones within a couple of days of starting the keto diet. However, just because your body is producing ketones doesn't necessarily mean that you're keto-adapted.
Let's take a moment to discuss the science behind ketosis and how long it takes to get into it. But first, what is ketosis, what are its benefits, and what are the signs that you're in it?
What Is Ketosis?
The body needs energy and the carbs that you eat provides your body with this fuel. However, if you don't consume enough carbs then your body starts to burn fat in order to get the energy that it needs. This switch from using carbs as energy to using fat as energy is referred to as ketosis.
What Are The Benefits?
While ketosis is most known for its ability to help with weight loss, there are several other awesome benefits. For instance, those who enter into a state of ketosis often experience an increase in energy.
Ketosis helps to alleviate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It protects against type 2 diabetes and gets rid of inflammation. Research shows that it's a great treatment for cancer and liver ailments.
Ketosis has the ability to make you sleep soundly. It makes the brain sharper and you also experience fewer food cravings.
Signs You're In Ketosis
Now that you have a better idea of what ketosis is as well as it's benefits, it's important that you recognize the signs that you're in this state. Here are a few of the most common.
How Long Does It Take To Enter Ketosis?
In many cases, people judge the success of their diet by whether or not they've officially entered into the state of ketosis. And this leaves many to wonder how long it actually takes to enter this state. Unfortunately, there's no hard and fast rule as no two people are exactly the same.
Some individuals can eat a large number of carbs while still enjoying all of the benefits of ketosis. However, there are those who must eat according to a strict regimen in order to see these benefits. This means that results can vary from person to person.
Typically, if you're eating a diet that includes 20-50 grams of carbs each day, you can expect to enter into ketosis within 2–4 days. However, there's also a chance that it could take several weeks.
Factors That Affect How Long It Takes To Get Into Ketosis
If you're interested in getting into ketosis, it's important to remember that there are several things that can cause a delay in your progress. In most instances, your delay may be caused by a simple miscalculation of carbs. You may be eating too many and this will prevent your body from creating ketones.
There's also a chance that you may not be consuming enough fat. Most people should consume a minimum of 83–125 grams of fat each day.
Individuals who have trouble getting into ketosis may also be consuming too much protein. Too much protein can be converted into sugar and the sugar--a process that is referred to as gluconeogenesis. This will stop the production of ketones.
Other factors that can impede your progress are lack of sleep and stress. There's also a chance that you may not be getting enough physical activity. Exercise is essential for ridding your body of carbs.
3 Ways To Measure If You’re In Ketosis
Luckily, there are several methods that you can use to determine if you're in a state of ketosis. Specifically, they all involve measuring your level of ketones.
1. Blood Test
One of the most accurate ways to measure your level of ketones is through blood testing. This can be done in a lab or at home with the help of a blood ketone meter. Blood tests measure your beta-hydroxybutyrate, a ketone body that is also referred to as BHB.
2. Breath Test
Another great way to measure your level of ketosis is through your breath. Breath tests typically check for the ketone body, acetone. While breath testing isn't as accurate as blood testing, studies have shown that the breath can have a direct correlation to your BHB levels.
3. Urine Test
Perhaps the easiest way to measure your state of ketosis is with the help of urinary test strips. These strips are best used immediately after dinner or early in the morning.
How to Enter Ketosis Faster
Would you like to get into a state of ketosis faster? In most cases, this can be done by eating a clean, ketogenic diet which includes mostly whole foods. However, there are other tips that can help to accelerate the process.
1. Be Careful With Your Carbs
The biggest factor in any ketogenic diet is carb restriction. When you consume fewer carbs, your blood sugar levels remain low. And this means that your insulin levels are lower so your cells will start to burn fat and create ketones.
Those who are more active can typically eat more carbs and remain in ketosis. However, if you want to make sure that you get into a state of ketosis quickly, you should consume no more than 20 grams each day.
It's important that you track your carbs carefully--specifically, you need to be on the lookout for the hidden carbs. Pay attention to those in salad dressings, yogurts, sauces, and pasta. Your most vulnerable times are when you're eating at restaurants or traveling.
2. Eat More Fat
If you would like to get into ketosis faster, then you could always trade out your carbs for fat. A lot of people consider fat to be the enemy, but it actually includes a ton of benefits.
For instance, it can help to build cell membranes. It helps you to absorb important vitamins such as K, D, and A. Fat also reduces cravings and helps with ketone production.
The key is to eat healthy fats. Fill up on foods like coconut oil, heavy cream, goat cheese, fatty fish, olive oil, and nut butter.
3. Intermittent Fasting
The benefit of fasting is that it forces your body to find an alternative energy source. Since carbs are depleted whenever you're active, it will turn to your fat. Your body will burn fatty acids to give you the energy that you need.
This tends to happen regardless of the number of carbs that you consume. However, if you're interested in getting into ketosis fast, you should combine intermittent fasting with a ketogenic diet. When you fast intermittently, you break from eating at regular intervals.
4. MCT Oil
Medium-chain triglyceride, also known as MCT, is excellent ketogenic food. This oil travels to the liver and converts to ketones.
Research has shown that just 20 grams of MCTs have the ability to boost ketone levels. Not only that, but it can also improve mental performance.
5. Get More Exercise
Another important part of entering ketosis is getting more exercise. There are many studies that show how athletic performance is great for getting into a state of ketosis. Specifically, it's a good idea to do some form of endurance training.
Whenever you exercise, it depletes the body of glycogen stores. In most instances, these stores are replenished the next time you consume carbs, which are then broken down and converted to glycogen. However, if you minimize the number of carbs you eat your stores will remain low and your liver will increase ketone production.
Types of Diets That Lead to Ketosis
There are several ways to get into ketosis--from fasting to cutting the carbs. Let's take a brief look at a few types of diets that are known for their ability to put your body into ketosis.
Ketosis can be extremely beneficial. Not only does it aid in weight loss, but it can also help to reduce acne, improve the function of your brain, improve heart health, and prevent disease. However, it's important to keep in mind that there's no rule in regards to how long it takes to get into ketosis.
While in many cases an individual can expect to get into ketosis within 2-4 days, this varies from person to person. There are a number of factors that will affect how quickly you reach this state. Luckily, there are ways to speed up the process. We love keto-friendly protein bars to help you eat keto even when you're out and about!