5 Tips to Get Into Ketosis
The point of going keto is to get into a state of ketosis. During ketosis, your body converts fat into compounds known as ketones and begins using them as its main source of energy.
Achieving a state of ketosis can take some work and planning. It's not just as simple as cutting carbs.
Here are 5 surefire tips to get into ketosis.
1. Include Coconut Oil in Your Diet
Eating coconut oil can help you get into ketosis.
It contains fats called medium-chain tryglycerides (MCTs).
Unlike most fats, MCTs are rapidly absorbed and taken directly to the liver, where they can be used immediately for energy or converted into ketones.
In fact, it's been suggested that consuming coconut oil may be one of the best ways to increase ketone levels in people with Alzheimer's disease and other nervous system disorders.
Although coconut oil contains four types of MCTs, 50% of its fat comes from the kind known as lauric acid.
Some research suggests that fat sources with a higher percentage of lauric acid may produce a more sustained level of ketosis. This is because it's metabolized more gradually than other MCTs.
MCTs have been used to induce ketosis in epileptic children without restricting carbs as drastically as the classic ketogenic diet.
In fact, several studies have found that a high-MCT diet containing 20% of calories from carbs produces effects similar to the classic ketogenic diet, which provides fewer than 5% of calories from carbs.
When adding coconut oil to your diet, it's a good idea to do so slowly to minimize digestive side effects like stomach cramping or diarrhea.
Start with one teaspoon per day and work up to two to three tablespoons daily over the course of a week.
2. Ramp Up Your Physical Activity
A growing number of studies have found that being in ketosis may be beneficial for some type of athletic performance, including endurance exercise.
In addition, being more active can help you get into ketosis.
When you exercise, you deplete your body of its glycogen stores. Normally, these are replenished when you eat carbs, which are broken down into glucose and then converted to glycogen.
However, if carb intake is minimized, glycogen stores remain low. In response, your liver increases its production of ketones, which can be used as an alternate fuel source for your muscles.
In a small study, nine older women exercised either before or after a meal. Their blood ketone levels were 137–314% higher when they exercised before a meal than when they exercised after a meal.
BOTTOM LINE: Engaging in physical activity can increase ketone levels during carb restriction. This effect may be enhanced by working out in a fasted state.
Consuming plenty of healthy fat can boost your ketone levels and help you reach ketosis.
Indeed, a very low-carb ketogenic diet not only minimizes carbs, but is also high in fat.
Ketogenic diets for weight loss, metabolic health and exercise performance usually provide between 60–80% of calories from fat.
A three-week study of 11 healthy people compared the effects of fasting with different amounts of fat intake on breath ketone levels.
Overall, ketone levels were found to be similar in people consuming 79% or 90% of calories from fat.
Furthermore, because fat makes up such a large percentage of a ketogenic diet, it's important to choose high-quality sources.
Good fats include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, lard and tallow. In addition, there are many healthy, high-fat foods that are also very low in carbs.
However, if your goal is weight loss, it's important to make sure you're not consuming too many calories in total, as this can cause your weight loss to stall.
BOTTOM LINE: Consuming at least 60% of calories from fat will help boost your ketone levels. Choose a variety of healthy fats from both plant and animal sources.
Another way to get into ketosis is to go without eating for several hours.
In fact, many people go into mild ketosis between dinner and breakfast.
Intermittent fasting, a dietary approach that involves regular short-term fasts, may also induce ketosis.
Moreover, "fat fasting" is another ketone-boosting approach that mimics the effects of fasting.
It involves consuming about 1,000 calories per day, 85–90% of which come from fat. This combination of low calorie and very high fat intake may help you achieve ketosis quickly.
A 1965 study reported significant fat loss in overweight patients who followed a fat fast. However, other researchers have pointed out that these results appear to have been highly exaggerated.
Because a fat fast is so low in protein and calories, it should be followed for a maximum of three to five days to prevent an excessive loss of muscle mass. It may also be difficult to adhere to for more than a couple of days.
BOTTOM LINE:Fasting, intermittent fasting and a "fat fast" can all help you get into ketosis relatively quickly.
Like many things in nutrition, achieving and maintaining a state of ketosis is highly individualized.
Therefore, it can be helpful to test your ketone levels to ensure you're achieving your goals.
The three types of ketones — acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate — can be measured in your breath, blood or urine.
Acetone is found in your breath, and studies have confirmed testing acetone breath levels is a reliable way to monitor ketosis in people following ketogenic diets.
The Ketonix meter measures acetone in breath. After breathing into the meter, a color flashes to indicate whether you are in ketosis and how high your levels are.
Ketones can also be measured with a blood ketone meter. Similar to the way a glucose meter works, a small drop of blood is placed on a strip that's inserted into the meter.
Using one or more of these methods to test ketones can help you determine whether you need to make any adjustments to get into ketosis.
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