Studies show that you can enter into ketosis by reducing carb intake, increasing coconut oil intake, fasting, exercising, and consuming moderate protein.
Ketosis is considered a natural metabolic process with various health benefits. A person is said to have entered a Ketosis state when their body converts body fats to ketone bodies and uses these compounds as the main energy source in place of glucose. The body turns to fats for energy through a ketogenic diet having limited sources of carbohydrates. Several studies associate this diet with health benefits, such as weight loss, enhanced brain functions, and reduce epileptic bouts. Additionally, ketosis is helpful for neurological disorders and type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, achieving a ketosis state may require discipline, hard work, and planning. Here are proven tips that can help you achieve this goal.
Reduce Your Carb Intake
Ketosis uses fats instead of carbohydrates as a source of energy, meaning that a low-carb diet is the first requirement in achieving this goal. In the event of low glucose levels, your cells will turn to fatty acids and ketones for fuel. The excess glucose in the body is often stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. When you reduce your carb intake, the liver will convert these fatty acids into acetoacetate, ketones acetone, and beta-hydroxybutyrate, providing fuel for the brain.
Carb restriction that achieves ketosis varies from individuals, with others needing only 20 grams daily while others take twice this amount. You could begin by limiting your carb intake to 20 grams or less daily until you achieve ketosis, then add back some carbs as long as the state is maintained. Doctors can also recommend a ketogenic diet for managing epilepsy by restricting carbs to approximately 2-5% of your total calorie intake.
Incorporate Coconut Oil in Your Diet
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) fats found in coconut oil are healthy since they are quickly be absorbed into the liver. The liver then converts these fats into ketones for energy, meaning that coconut oil can promote ketosis. Some studies have even suggested an intake of coconut oil for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or any nervous system disorder to increase their ketone level and reduce the symptoms.
Though having four categories of MCTs, 50 % of its fat originate from an MCT called lauric acid. Lauric acid is believed to provide a sustained ketosis state since it metabolizes slowly than other MCTs. Other studies also suggest that taking a high MCT diet could result in ketosis without drastically reducing carbs, as in a regular ketogenic diet. However, you should remember to exercise caution when introducing coconut oil in your diet to minimize digestive problems, such as diarrhea and stomach cramping.
Increase your physical activity
An increased number of studies are now suggesting that ketosis could be beneficial for some athletes. During exercise, your body depletes glycogen stores, which are then replenished when one consumes carbs. The excess glucose from carbs is stored as glycogen; however, a restricted carb intake means low glycogen levels, prompting the liver to increase ketones production to acts as an alternative fuel for the muscles. One study conducted in 2009 involving nine postmenopausal women showed that exercising while fasting can increase blood ketone levels. These women were observed exercising either before or after meals, and the results showed that they had increased blood ketone levels by 137-314% higher when exercising before meals than after meals.
Increase your intake of healthy fat
A high-fat diet can improve your ketone levels, helping you reach ketosis within a short period. Interestingly, a low-carb ketogenic diet is known for limiting carb consumption and promoting high fat intake. Additionally, those on a ketogenic diet to lose weight and improved metabolic health often get their 60-80% calories from fat. High-fat consumption (85-90% calories from fat) is also used in a classic ketogenic diet for treating epilepsy.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that extreme high fat consumption does not automatically mean higher ketone levels, as shown in some studies. For example, one study with a population of 11 people examining the effects of fasting on ketone levels found that participants who consumed 90% calories from fat had the same ketone levels as those whose diet was 79% fat. Sources of healthy fat that you could incorporate into your diet include olive oil, fatty fish, and avocado oil. If your main objective is to lose weight, ensure that you reduce total calorie consumption.
Try a fat fast or a short fast
Fasting can also enable you to reach a ketosis state. Studies have shown that many people experience mild ketosis between breakfast and dinner. Doctors treating epilepsy in children often monitor them fast for 12-72 hours before introducing them into a ketogenic diet to reduce seizures. Additional studies have also examined intermittent fasting involving regular short-term fasts and found that it could also induce ketosis.
Fat fasting also boosts ketone levels by mimicking fasting effects. This approach involves a daily intake of approximately 700-1,100 calories from fat. Combining high fat intake and low calories means that the body will turn to fatty acids for fuel, thus pushing the body to ketosis. However, nutritionists advise that a fat fast be followed only for 3-5 days since it is deficient in most minerals, vitamins, and proteins.
Consume an adequate amount of protein
Ketosis requires a moderate consumption of protein, as seen in a classic ketogenic diet. This diet restricts carbs and protein to attain increased blood ketone levels. Restricted protein consumption may also help in cancer treatment as it inhibits tumor growth. Protein consumption should be moderate because a drastic cut in a bid to increase ketones can be counter-productive. The body needs proteins to provide essential amino acids to the liver that are used for gluconeogenesis.
During gluconeogenesis, the liver provides glucose to organs and cells that may not use ketones as fuel, including red blood cells and some parts of the brain and kidneys. Protein is also needed for muscle mass during weight loss programs that restrict carb intake. Many studies have found that consuming a protein range of 0.50-0.77 grams per pound can maximize mass muscle preservation on a low-carb diet.
Test your Ketone levels and make the needed adjustments.
Achieving a state of ketosis is personal, and it will motivate you if you test your ketone levels to determine if you are on track. There are three ketones -acetoacetate, acetones, and beta-hydroxybutyrate- that can be tested from your urine, breath, or blood. You could use one or more of these tests to determine if adjustments are needed to get into ketosis.
The Bottom Line
Your body gets into ketosis when it lacks carbohydrates, thus converting fats into ketone bodies for fuel. A ketogenic diet can help individuals who intend to lose weight achieve their goals faster. The ketogenic diet has also been used to reduce seizure frequencies in people with epilepsy. Studies show that you can enter into ketosis by reducing carb intake, increasing coconut oil intake, fasting, and consuming moderate protein.