7 Tips to Get Into Ketosis
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that provides several health benefits.
During ketosis, your body converts fat into compounds known as ketones and begins using them as its main source of energy.
Studies have found that diets that promote ketosis are highly beneficial for weight loss, due in part to their appetite-suppressing effects (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
Emerging research suggests that ketosis may also be helpful for type 2 diabetes and neurological disorders, among other conditions (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
That being said, achieving a state of ketosis can take some work and planning. It’s not just as simple as cutting carbs.
Here are 7 effective tips to get into ketosis.
Eating a very low-carb diet is by far the most important factor in achieving ketosis.
Normally, your cells use glucose, or sugar, as their main source of fuel. However, most of your cells can also use other fuel sources. This includes fatty acids, as well as ketones, which are also known as ketone bodies.
Your body stores glucose in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen.
When carb intake is very low, glycogen stores are reduced and levels of the hormone insulin decline. This allows fatty acids to be released from fat stores in your body.
Eating coconut oil can help you get into ketosis.
It contains fats called medium-chain triglycerides (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
A growing number of studies have found that being in ketosis may be beneficial for some types of athletic performance, including endurance exercise (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
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.
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.
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.
Children with epilepsy are sometimes fasted for 24–48 hours before they start a ketogenic diet. This is done to get into ketosis quickly so that seizures can be reduced sooner (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source).
Intermittent fasting, a dietary approach that involves regular short-term fasts, may also induce ketosis (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
Moreover, “fat fasting” is another ketone-boosting approach that mimics the effects of fasting.
Achieving ketosis requires a protein intake that is adequate but not excessive.
The classic ketogenic diet used in epilepsy patients is restricted in both carbs and protein to maximize ketone levels.
The same diet may also be beneficial for cancer patients, as it may limit tumor growth (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
However, for most people, cutting back on protein to increase ketone production isn’t a healthy practice.
First, it’s important to consume enough protein to supply the liver with amino acids that can be used for gluconeogenesis, which translates to “making new glucose.”
In this process, your liver provides glucose for the few cells and organs in your body that can’t use ketones as fuel, such as your red blood cells and portions of the kidneys and brain.
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.