How Long To Enter Ketosis? Top Tips To Get Into Ketosis Faster!
A lot of people ask me “Ian, how long does it take to get into ketosis”?
Well, there is no simple answer to this. Everyone is different. There are so many factors which determine how fast you will get into ketosis. So, i’ll break it down here for you.
Hi, my name is Ian and I’ve been practising the ketogenic diet for a number of years now and have never felt better.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I try and give you the best information from my own experiences and will only recommend things that I have personally experienced.
So, How Long To Enter Ketosis then?
Firstly, the ketogenic diet is not something that you can just do on and off if you want to see the real benefits. Also, the transition between the body using carbohydrates for energy to the body using fats for energy is not a simple or easy process.
Yes, once you have made the transition, it’s easier to get back into ketosis if you have eaten carbs but, it still takes time. It’s not an instant thing.
Basically, it can take usually between 2 – 7 days depending on your body type, how active you are, and what you have been eating. For the complete transition to being fat adapted it could take up to 6 weeks depending on how healthy you were initially.
So, what factors do you need to be aware of?
Cut your carbs! This is the most important factor when getting into ketosis. Without cutting your carbs to minimal levels the question won’t be “how long does it take to get into ketosis” but “Why the hell can’t I get into ketosis”?
Carbs! Carbs! Carbs! I won’t lie, this is by far the toughest part of getting into ketosis. We all love carbs. Hell, I love carbs.
Usually your cells use glucose or sugars as their main fuel source. Your body stores this glucose in the liver and muscles as glycogen. However, when your carb intake is very low, your glycogen stores are greatly reduced, your insulin levels also reduce and your body looks to other fuel sources for energy – Fat!
The level of carbohydrate restriction needs to be able to induce ketosis in the body. Typically, this is limited to 20 grams a day (minus fibre). Some people can achieve ketosis with higher amounts but, if you are just starting out, then 20 grams max is the way to go.
MCT’s (Medium-Chain Triglycerides)
MCT’s are fats but, unlike the majority of fats, MCT’s are rapidly absorbed and go directly to the liver where they can be used straight away for energy or converted to ketones.
Coconut Oil contains four different types of MCT’s and is an ideal way to get this into your body. 50% of the MCT’s are from the kind know as lauric acid. Lauric acid has been shown in some studies that it may produce a more sustained level of ketosis.
Start by taking a teaspoon a day to let your body get used to it building it up to three tablespoons a day. If you take to much too early you could suffer with stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
Basically, when you exercise, you deplete your body of stored glycogen so, once this has gone, your body looks for an alternate fuel source.
Normally, glycogen is replenished by eating more carbs but, if you don’t eat more carbs then the liver increases its production of ketones which can be used as the alternate fuel source.
Once your body successfully switches to fat and not carbs as the primary source of fuel, you will have virtually limitless energy. The feeling is awesome. You exercise like you normally would, you get tired and out of breath but, you still seem to have all this energy which just keeps going and going.
It’s a really weird feeling as you know you are tired but, you don’t have this lack of energy and you just keep going and going like the energizer bunny.
Eat more healthy fats
With the reduction of carbs to a bare minimum the body still needs fuelling with a food source and as your body will be burning fats you will need to increase your fat a lot.
However, not all fats are equal. You need to start eating healthy fats. Some good healthy fates include avocado’s, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, butter and lard to name a few.
However, one thing to bare in mind is 1 gram of carbs is 4 calories whereas 1 gram of fat is 9 calories. This helps you feel fuller for longer as it’s double the calories but, if you are trying to lose a significant amount of weight then you need to monitor your fat intake to make sure that you are not eating too much or your body will end up not burning off enough of the fat you ate and not touching your stored bodyfat.
Aim for a minimum of 60% calories from fat. This may seem like a lot but, with a severe reduction in carbs, you will need much more fat.
When you don’t eat for a long period of time, your body burns off its stored glycogen and then turns to fat for burning. So, by having periods of no food i.e. intermittent fasting your body will periodically go into ketosis.
The period between Dinner in the evening and Breakfast in the morning is usually a time when we go into mild ketosis.
If you skip breakfast and don’t eat until lunch then you will spend even longer in ketosis. I have previously written a post about intermittent fasting and the different variations so, you might want to check it out.
Maintain a reasonable protein intake
If you want to achieve ketosis then you still need to eat some protein to fuel the parts of the body which can’t use ketones for fuel i.e. red blood cells and certain parts of the kidneys and brain.
The protein supplies the liver with amino acids which can be used for gluconeogenesis which means that it makes new glucose. The liver then provides this glucose to those parts of the body.
Also, protein is still required to maintain muscle mass when carbs have been restricted so much especially during weight loss as you don’t want the body breaking down muscle to use for fuel.
Drink enough Water
The one thing that a lot of people forget is to drink enough water. This is true anyway whether you are doing the ketogenic diet or not. Most people don’t drink enough water. A minimum of 3 litres is a good idea to keep you hydrated.
During the switch from carb burning to fat burning, you may need even more as you tend to expel more water as you transition. You can also lose vital body salts so, a little bit of salt in the water helps.
How will you know when you are in ketosis?
So, after all this you will need to know if you are actually in ketosis. The only accurate way is to test yourself for ketones. Now there are several different methods from urine strips to glucose meters to ketone breath meters. They all have their pro’s and cons.
By far the most accurate and the one which I have myself and recommend is the Glucose Meter. It’s very easy to use and there are instructional videos online for it. It works by taking a sample of your blood and analyzing it. It’s similar I guess to testing your blood sugar if you suffer from diabetes.
For more information and to buy The Keto Mojo Glucose Tester, click here.
Possible side effects of being in ketosis
The seven most common symptoms are –
In most cases maintaining enough fluids and salt will minimize these issues.
So, How Long To Enter Ketosis?
As you have seen, it is different for everyone. You can’t just suddenly get into ketosis. There are so many factors involved.
I find it easier to get into ketosis now than when I first tried it because, my body know what to do so, if for some reason I have a few too many carbs which knocks me out of ketosis then it’s relatively easy for me to get back into it.