When starting a ketogenic diet, one of the things that you’ll probably find yourself asking is, how ketosis works?
Ketosis is a very important aspect of the keto diet. It refers to the state in which your body will end up using fats for its primary fuel instead of carbs. Once you reach the state of ketosis, your body starts burning your fat stores faster and that’s when you will start to lose weight.
Before you get started with your ketogenic lifestyle, the first step is to understand how ketosis works. Read on as we talk more about this.
How Ketosis Works?
A lot of people are not aware of this, but ketosis is actually a process that’s taking place in your body every single day, whether you’re on keto or not. It’s this metabolic process that will provide you with energy coming from ketones if glucose from carbohydrates is not readily available.
Related reading: What Are Keto Diet Ketones?
Ketones refer to those chemicals produced in the liver from fat stores if there’s not enough insulin in your body to drive glucose into your cells to produce energy, when carbohydrate foods are severely restricted or when you exercise heavily for long periods.
In fact, if you will skip meals or totally avoid carbs in a day, you’ll be experiencing a mild level of ketosis. According to Jeff Volek, Ph.D., a professor of human sciences at Ohio State University,
“Your liver produces ketones all the time, but the rate depends on carbohydrate and protein intake.”
If the majority of the food that you eat every day is made up of carbohydrates and protein, the rate in which the liver produces ketones will be slow.
However, if you’re going to eat healthy fats to replace your carb intake, your body will go into the state of ketosis and this speeds up the production of ketones.
Related reading: Best Fats To Eat On A Low Carb Diet
As a result, your body ends up burning fat faster and that’s when you start to reap the benefits of the ketogenic diet, including weight loss.
You do have to be careful not to overdo the calories with all those delicious high fat foods like avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds and full fat dairy foods that make up the keto diet.
Related reading: How Much Fat Should I Eat on Keto?
How To Put Your Body Into the State of Ketosis?
Understand now how ketosis works? As stated above, ketosis happens in our body every day. In order to be successful with your keto diet, you must stay in ketosis consistently.
In fact, the main goal of the ketogenic diet is to induce your body into ketosis. Otherwise, all your efforts will go to waste.
So how do you put your body into ketosis? The best way to induce your body into the ketosis state is to eliminate carbs from your diet.
Related reading: 5 Top Tips for Getting Started on a Low Carb Diet
If you eat carbs, these will be broken down eventually by the process of digestion into glucose molecules once they reach your digestive tract. They will then get absorbed from your digestive system into your bloodstream to be converted into energy.
But if you drastically reduce your carb consumption to less than 50 grams each day, your body will be forced to use ketones for energy, which is how ketosis works.
How Long Does It Take To Get Into Ketosis?
The time it will take for a person to enter the ketosis state will vary greatly. If you are able to consistently lower your carb consumption to less than 50 grams each day, you should reach ketosis in 2 to 4 days.
However, some people might take longer to achieve this state due to certain factors. These factors include your age, metabolism, protein intake, level of activities, and more.
There are certain ways in which you can speed up your body’s ability to get into the state of ketosis. As stated on the Healthline,
“‘Fat fasting’ is another ketone-boosting approach that mimics the effects of fasting.”
Fast fasting is a low calorie diet that requires dieters to eat only 1,200 calories each day. Majority of this should come from fats. The combination of a high fat and low calorie intake will make you to reach ketosis faster.
How To Tell If You’re Already In Ketosis?
So how do you know if you have already achieved the state of ketosis? Below are some signs that you are already in this metabolic state:
Rapid weight loss – when you’re already in ketosis, your body will be burning fat faster. Therefore, one of the first things that you’ll notice is a drastic loss of weight.
It’s because your body will be shedding the stored carbs and excess water, which leads to rapid weight loss.
Bad breath – when you lower your carb consumption, your liver will produce ketone bodies. The excess amount of ketones that your liver produces will be converted into acetone, which will come out of your breath.
Related reading: Why Your Low Carb Diet May Give You Ketosis Breath
When this happens, your breath starts to smell. Simply brush your teeth more often or chew sugar-free gums to keep your breath fresh.
Increased thirst – if you find yourself feeling thirsty more often, there’s no need to panic. That’s just how ketosis works.
Since you’ll be eliminating processed foods from your diet, you’ll be losing water and electrolytes fast and that’s why you’ll feel thirsty most of the time.
Related reading: Boost Your Fat Loss Efforts By Drinking Water
Keto flu – one of the most common side effects that you’ll experience when starting a keto diet is a condition known as the keto flu. This is when you’ll feel irritable, dizzy, nauseated, and you could suffer from mild headaches and fatigue.
But don’t worry since this symptom is only temporary. Just focus on eating healthy fats and those that contain plenty of nutrients. Drink enough water every day and get some exercise.
Restless sleep – if you’re having difficulty sleeping after days of restricting your carb intake, then this could mean that you’re already in ketosis. You have probably experienced feeling sleepy after eating a lot of carbs.
Now that you are eliminating carbs from your diet, your body no longer has that desire to snooze. But this is just temporary. Once your body starts to adapt to your ketogenic lifestyle, you should be able to go back to your usual sleeping routine.
Understanding how ketosis works is important when starting a ketogenic diet. Besides, getting into ketosis is the main concept behind the keto diet. You need to induce your body into this state so it will start to convert fats into energy and that’s when your body will start burning fat faster.
But take note that the only way you can get into ketosis is to drastically lessen your carb intake. If you’re having a hard time achieving the ketosis state, keep track of your carb intake and ramp up your exercise.