A question a lot of people who start a Ketogenic Diet want to know is, how long does it take to get into ketosis? After all, it is being in a state of ketosis that makes the diet, “ketogenic” in the first place.
Being in Ketosis not only supercharges your body to be in an optimal fat-burning zone, but it also gives you a longer, sustained energy, enhanced cognition, improved focus and other neuroprotective benefits.
The advantages of Ketosis don’t end there
Being on a Ketogenic Diet and having your body rely on fats as its fuel comes with cardiovascular benefits as well.
It has been shown that ketosis lowers bad LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol, decreasing a person’s risk of heart disease as well as improving insulin resistance amongst others.
There are also studies into the ketogenic diet’s effects on Alzheimers Disease, Bipolar Disorder among others that have shown promising results.
The Ketogenic Diet itself was used in the early 1900’s to control epileptic seizures and is still used today for those resistant to seizure medication. But we won’t dive deeply into all of that today. Today we’re going to answer the question. How long does it take to get into ketosis?
So, how long does it take to get into Ketosis?
Nobody can tell you accurately how long it will take, but the time it takes to get into ketosis varies between individuals.
We all have unique metabolisms, varying resistance to insulin, previous diet, and other biological factors that differentiate us from one another.
If one were to give a timeframe, it would be safe to say that typically you can expect your body to get into ketosis within a period of 2-10 days if you stick to the recommended macronutrients. And read the proven methods listed further on in this article.
For some, ketosis may not take very long at all. I’ve experienced Ketosis myself in as little as one day. However, that was after a day of bad eating for which my diet was ketogenic for a long time prior.
(that sudden flooding of carbohydrates made me quite sick by the way, shaky and agitated. It’s times like these that you’re shown what havoc a high carbohydrate diet plays on your system).
For others, it may take a little longer to get into ketosis, but as a general rule ketosis will not happen as long as you’re consuming more than 30 gm of carbohydrate per day. (sure some individual may squeeze more in, but why?).
If you’re worried about busting out read our article on preparing for the ketogenic diet.
Again some people will not enter into a state of ketosis unless their carbohydrate intake is much less than that.
The Best Method For Getting Into Ketosis Fast
Initially, to induce ketosis in the shortest period of time it is recommended to stay under 20 gm of carbohydrate per day.
All of your carbohydrates should come from green leafy, cruciferous vegetables and your protein should not exceed 25% of your daily calorie intake.
Here is what has proven to be the best way to get into Ketosis for anyone who is otherwise fit and healthy.
- Keep your carbohydrates under 20gram per day
- All carbohydrates must come from green, leafy, cruciferous vegetables (Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, etc.)..
- Keep protein moderate to 25% maximum of your Fat/Protein/Carb Macros. Protein is needed for muscle retention however excess protein can spike insulin and prevent ketosis. Stay away from protein powders.
- Ensure the good majority of your calorie intake comes from fat. 70%
- Eat a variety of fat from butter, coconut oil, fish oil and nut oils, the ideal high-temperature cooking oils being lard and tallow.
- Eliminate milk (Skim milk is worse). Replace milk in your coffee with heavy full cream instead.
- If you must sweeten, use artificial sweeteners such as Stevia or Xylitol. We find Xylitol to be the closest thing to sugar, just be aware that too much xylitol can give some people stomach upsets, alternatively, Stevia has its place in cooking but has an aftertaste that is evident in tea or coffee.
- Light cardiovascular exercise, only walking for those not used to exercise. Resistance training can come later if you feel the urge. Just a slight change in activity will have a tremendous effect on burning off those last remnants of glucose that your body is currently relying on as fuel and switching to fat as an energy source.
Tip: Nobody is asking or wanting you to be sweating and puffing like a maniac, don’t go running up sand dunes or piggy backing your husband to work, if you’re not accustomed to exercising just walk! Get a Fitbit to track your progress and start with small goals, slowly increase as it becomes easier. This is very important. If you don’t normally exercise, start with baby steps, just get moving (walk a little) then walk a little further or a little faster as you become accustomed to it. If you get into exercise this way you will learn to love it.
If you get into exercising like a bull at a gate, as you see on some TV shows or in your local park. You will not only put yourself at serious health risks, you will learn to associate exercise with pain and know why you hated exercising in the first place. You will not look forward to it.
I have been involved in fitness for 30 years (if you include sport 40 years). I have seen personal trainers with clients in their first session train them harder than athletes, for those clients never to return, and they wonder why. Learn to love exercise one step at a time! It is as much psychological as it is physical.
- MCT oil or Coconut Oil taken at 1-3 tablespoons three times a day has been shown to bring about ketosis quicker due to the way Medium Chain Triglycerides are processed in our bodies. High-quality MCT oil is made from Coconut Oil. Coconut oil also has hunger blunting effects.
We prefer to use Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed Coconut Oil as it has a broader spectrum of fatty acids and other health benefits including the fact that it contains Lauric Acid which is helpful in fighting infections, colds, flu and other nasties.
Coconut oil also has many more uses in the kitchen than MCT oil nevermind its use as a beauty product for hair and skin. We are a big fan of Coconut Oil; we’ll do a whole article dedicated to it and all of its benefits shortly.
There is no doubt the lower your carbohydrate consumption, the sooner your body stops relying on glucose as fuel and begins producing turning to fat as fuel through ketosis.
How to tell if you’re in Ketosis
You can tell whether or not you are in ketosis by monitoring your blood ketones with various devices. One method of detecting whether you’re in ketosis is by way of Ketostix which are thin strips of paper that have an indicator in them that changes color when entered into a person’s urine indicating ketone bodies.
One point I want to make about Ketostix is that a lot of people get caught up in getting that little bit of paper to turn the darkest shade and become disheartened in the process.
For your sake, if you’re doing everything right and its only showing trace elements, accept that you are in ketosis.
Ketostix only detects one type of acid and a lot of other factors can affect how light ketone bodies become in urine.
The amount of water that you should be drinking can have a great impact on them, so don’t get hung up on it.
The most accurate way of measuring ketosis
A more accurate way of measuring ketone bodies in the blood is via a blood glucose and ketone meter commonly used by diabetics, these have the added benefit of storing and tracking your progress from day to day as well.
Symptoms of ketosis
There are also symptoms of Ketosis that will indicate your body is now using fats as its primary source of energy without having to use Ketostix or Ketone Meters:
- You (or others) may notice a fruity acetone type smelling breath. Easily combated with;sugar-free mints, sugar-free gum, etc. if you’re someone that is concerned with artificial sweeteners. The best tasting gum that we’ve found with no sugar and sweetened with natural Xylitol is Trident Sugar-Free Gum. Ps Xylitol has also been used successfully in treating and preventing middle ear infection, just go easy as it does upset some peoples stomachs in large amounts.
- Frequent urination as your body expels the excess fluid that it was hanging onto due to the amount of carbohydrates that you previously consumed.
- Possible fatigue or what is know as keto flu which can be tackled by consuming sugar-free electrolyte drinks, or high mineral containing broths.
- And the most exciting part. A rapid drop in weight! Just be aware that the fast weight loss you notice in the first few weeks of your keto diet is mostly fluid. Fat loss will be steady yet still very noticeable. When you get to 3 or 4 weeks in, you will notice your actual weight (if you insist on using scales) might not be as great each week compared to someone who is starving themselves of all foods on a dramatic calorie restricted diet. The reason for this is that you are retaining lean muscle mass due to keeping up your high fat and moderate protein intake. They, due to restricting everything have no such nutrients to maintain valuable muscle.
This is why you see people who partake in such harmful nutrient restricting diets become weak, gaunt and unhealthy looking.
They become bones in a bag of skin. It is also why I highly recommend you ditch the scales for measurements with much cheaper measuring tapesand weekly progress photos. Muscle is heavy people, the kind of heavy you want.
For the Ladies: You shouldn’t fear turning masculine, you’ll simply be retaining the lean mass you have, it will give you shape as the fat melts rather than the deflated look many achieve on extreme calorie restricted diets.
This won’t pack on massive forearms or biceps, though the diet can be worked into a bodybuilding routine by tweaking protein and calorie intake “if you choose” once you’ve removed the excess fat from your frame.