Table of Contents
- Pathway To Ketosis: How To Make Your Body Produce Ketones
- 1. Sitting In A Controlled Environment
- 2. Minimizing Carb Consumption
- 3. Eating Enough Fat
- 4. Taking Adequate Protein
- 5. Including Coconut Oil In Diet
- 6. Adding Exercise To Stay Active
- 7. Intermittent / Fat Fasting
- 8. Adequate Sleeping
The intention behind embracing keto diet is getting into ketosis state that provides us with numerous health benefits. Ketosis is a metabolic procedure, during which our body turn fat into a new compound called ketones. Our body uses this ketones as the primary source of energy.
However, it is easier said than accomplishing a state of ketosis. It needs some planning and work in order to reach that state. It would be an understatement if we say cutting curbs is the only way to ketosis.
Pathway To Ketosis: How To Make Your Body Produce Ketones
On the other hand, we cannot achieve ketosis overnight. Our body will need some time to adjust to the transition period – from burning sugar to burning ketones for fuel. Following tips may help us get into ketosis:
1. Sitting In A Controlled Environment
When we prepare ourselves to get into the groove of keto diet, the first thing that we need to do is to get ourselves in a controlled environment. Experts recommend that staying at home for the first one or two week can help the cause. Barring ourselves from extensive travel is also helpful. Simply because, our body has started going through a process which is blood sugar balancing. As a consequence, during this period, we may encounter some change in our hunger and thirst and sometimes we may feel a bit low.
2. Minimizing Carb Consumption
The key to attaining ketosis is depends on low-carb diet intake. Generally, in keto diet limit for carbs consumption is about 20-30 grams per day. However, in order to initiate ketosis, desired carb control is somewhat subject to individual’s activities. For instance, for a regular guy 20 grams of carbs is recommended, however, this carb intake may extend to 100 grams for an athlete and still s/he can reach ketosis.
A study that was conducted on weighty people with diabetes complications and the length of the study was one week. During the course of the study, these people were fed with 21 or less grams of carbs per day. Later, the study found that ketone emission level in their urine is 25 folds more than that of starting point.
3. Eating Enough Fat
The other thing we have to make sure during the first week is that we have to keep fat higher in our dietary and protein on the lower side. Though it might be difficult but expert recommend us to consider a three to one fat to protein ratio meaning three grams of fat have to be consumed against one grams of protein. This may sound a lot of fat. However, during the first week, we have to go to that extreme to boost our body to utilize fat and help accelerate the ketosis process faster.
However, experts don’t find any strong correlation between too much fat consumption and achieving ketosis level faster. A study conducted comprising 13 people for three weeks. The aim of the study was just to make a comparison on the impact fasting make with different amount of fat consumption. All the subjects were gone through their breath test. Here, it is worth note that, breath is a great indicator of ketone levels in our body. The result that came to the fore was that those who generate 80 – 85% of calories from fat, their ketone levels were shown to be similar.
Furthermore, it is imperative to select high quality fat sources as it holds the large chunk of keto diet. Plant and animal are great sources of hale & hearty fats. Choosing a variety of good fats from both these sources could help achieve our ketosis state.
If our aim to shift to keto diet is getting our bodies into shape, then we have to be careful in consuming calories, because consumption of excessive calories can halt the weight loss process.
4. Taking Adequate Protein
A balanced – sufficient but not unnecessary – protein intake is necessary to get into ketosis. We have a notion that slashing protein in diet can accelerate the ketone production process. This is a bad perception and is not a healthy practice.
However, this idea came to our mind from the experiment initially conducted on epilepsy patients with classic ketogenic diet. Standard keto diet put a restriction on both carbs and protein consumption to maximize ketone levels.
Adequate protein consumption is imperative for the following reasons:
First, now a days experts suggest for sufficient protein intake. As this protein supply amino acids to our liver and later our liver uses those acids to produce gluconeogenesis – a process of glucose regeneration.
Some of our body’s few cells and organs – such as red blood cells and part of the kidneys and brain – can’t use ketones as fuel. In the gluconeogenesis process, our liver provides glucose to those cells and organs of our body.
Secondly, when we adopt keto diet, gradually we started to lose weight. As weight loss is the result of losing both muscle and fat. Since, we have reduced carb intake, protein intake has to be sufficient enough to preserve our muscle mass. But do not push your limit for better health. It will result in keto diarrhea and the adverse effect will hamper your ketone production process.
We have been saying about sufficient amount of protein is necessary for muscle maintenance and physical performance. What is exactly that necessary amount? Several studies have been steered to determine the range. In the studies, the results show that protein intake ranging from 0.55-0.77 grams per pound of lean mass is ideal for preserving muscle mass and maximizing physical performance.
Studies directed towards weight loss, also came up with the result that protein intake within this range along with very low-carb diet is perfect for prompting and upholding ketosis.
5. Including Coconut Oil In Diet
It has been reported that consumption of coconut oil can speed up the process of ketosis as it contains a special fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are absorbed in our body cell quickly and from cells their next destination is to our liver. Liver instantly uses those MCTs to produce energy or transformed into a special properties called ketones.
The truth is, to cure individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorder, experts suggest them to consume coconut oil. Because coconut oil has been considered as one of the great facilitators to boost up ketone production.
Four types of MCTs have been found in coconut oil. However, only one special kind of MCT known as lauric acid generates 50% of its fat. Some research advocates that in order to produce consistent level of ketosis, we should select such fat sources that contains a higher ratio of lauric acid. The rationale behind their verdicts is that lauric acid absorbed more steadily than other variants of MCTs.
MCTs have also been used in treating epileptic children as experts believe that it helps induce ketosis without radical reduction in carb intake unlike classic keto diet.
We have to be careful when we use coconut oil to our diet. Because excessive use of it can lead to some side effects. Our body needs a bit of time to absorb coconut oil, therefore, too much intake may trigger stomach upset.
6. Adding Exercise To Stay Active
Maintaining a high level of activity helps our body to reach into ketosis quickly as this process involves with the depletion of glycogen stores from our body. Usually, unused glycogen stores in our muscles and liver. However, since, we have stopped refilling our glycogen stores by starting eating low carb diet along with keeping protein level low. Therefore, our aim is to get rid of already stored glycogen from our body faster by sticking to high-intensity exercise and doing that on an empty stomach is more helpful as it burns more calories.
Study shows that when ketone concentrations are low in our blood, exercise does help hasten the rate of ketone production. However, exercise does not yield the same result when ketones in blood level reach optimal point. Interestingly, this high ketone production are not proportionate to high exercise. Ketones production may show downward trend when reach maturity level
An experiment conducted with ten elderly women where they had been instructed to exercise either before or after a meal. Later it was found that those who exercise before a meal, their blood ketone levels were 100-300% higher than those who work out with a full stomach.
It usually takes up to three weeks for our body to absorb and use ketones as primary source, though exercise does help increase ketone production. In this phase, we may find our physical performance on the lower side temporarily.
7. Intermittent / Fat Fasting
Fasting at irregular intervals has also been found supportive to achieve ketosis faster. Example of intermittent fasting can be eating only during the 8 hours of the day and fasting for 16 hours. This fasting is found to be very effective at boosting ketones levels. Among other benefits, it also help accelerate weight loss and reversal of type 2 diabetes.
In fact, it has been found that the break that our body get between dinner and breakfast does help get into a mild ketosis.
Epilepsy patients are often kept in fasting state for 24-48 hours before they enter into keto diet. This fasting is aimed at getting them into ketosis fast so that seizures can be arrested sooner.
Moreover, another ketone-boosting tactic is ‘fat fasting’ as it yields nearly the same result of fasting. This scheme involves consumption of about 1,000 calories per day, 85-90% of which derives from fat. This combination of low calorie and high fat intake proves to be effective to reach ketosis speedily.
In 1965 a study experimented on overweight patients implementing fat fast approach. It was reported that this scheme helped them lose fat significantly. However, other researchers – after conducting similar study – marked these results as extremely exaggerated. Because fat fast approach is very hard to continue for a long period of time as it is so low in protein and calories. It was suggested to follow it for a maximum of three to five days as to prevent excessive loss of muscle mass.
8. Adequate Sleeping
When we start keto diet, at least, sleeping seven hours per night on average is imperative. Besides, stress has also to be kept under control. As lack of sleep and stress hormones may lead to raise blood sugar level. Consequently, it slows down ketosis and weight loss a bit.
If we struggle to have some sound sleep, it is vital to create an ambience that is conducive for rest. Keeping room cooler, discarding use of all electronic gadgets before bedtime or using a sleep mask can help the cause. Keto insomnia is a real health condition for keto dieters and should be deal with cautions.
Do Not Forget To Measure Ketone Level
We can do all the above mentioned tips to get into ketosis. However, we need to test our ketone level to ensure as to whether we are achieving our goal or not.
As mentioned earlier, ketones are divided into three categories – acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate. We can check our breath, blood or urine in order to know the ketone level.
Our breath is a source of finding acetone. Studies confirmed that one reliable way to monitor ketosis is testing acetone levels in our breath following ketogenic diet. Ketonix meter has been using to do this test. When breath being spread into the meter, a color flash shows our ketosis state and its level.
Just like glucose meter, ketones can also be measured with blood ketone meter. Placing a small drop of blood on the meter’s strip would indicate the result – how much beta-hydroxybutyrate our blood contains. However, determining blood ketones is a bit inconvenient because of the expensive strips.
Lastly, acetoacetate – another ketone type – can be measured with urine. The process involves dipping the strip into urine and later the strip forms different shades of pink or purple subject to presence of ketones level.
The purpose of conducting these tests is to determine whether we need to alter our diet or lifestyle to get into ketosis.
Usage of urine strips are popular among people due to easy handling and low cost. However, experts put a question mark over it accuracy when used for longer period. Initially, it does help us to know as to whether we reach ketosis or not.
Ketosis is a metabolic state that happens naturally for our body from time to time. We can stay in this state for weeks or months. Even one study found no harm on our body being on keto diet for 5 years. Reaching ketosis can be helpful for both health and mental aspects of a person. Managing weight, dealing with type 2 diabetes, and running a sound heart to name a few among benefits.
However, we have to keep in mind that ketosis can be harmful to some people, especially people with high diabetes. Because they run the possibility of developing ketoacidosis and that may put their lives in jeopardy. That’s why it is always recommended that consulting with a doctor before deciding to start keto diet.
If we follow the above mentioned 8 practices, test our ketone levels regularly, keep a vigil eye on carb intake, and eat more healthful fats; no wonder, within a short period of time, we will reach our goal and will enter into the state of ketosis.