We have all come across the concept of adopting a low carb diet for several reasons. A low carbohydrate diet works wonders for weight loss, resulting in improved glycemic control and reduced triglycerides and calories. Another similar diet takes advantage of ketosis.
Does the term ketosis ring a bell? If you are as clueless about the term as I once was, here is a complete guide on what is ketosis, how beneficial it is, and ways to get into this process faster.
What Is Ketosis?
Glucose is the primary source of energy in the body. Energy is what the body requires for it to function properly. From brain cognition to physical performance, it’s all thanks to glucose. Now, where does this energy-supplying glucose come from?
Glucose comes from carbs that may be consumed through foods such as sugar, bread, grains, beans, legumes, fruits and starchy vegetables. By ingesting these carbohydrates, the body can immediately turn them into glucose to form energy. However, at times, these carbs are stored as glycogen in the body that is to be used later as glucose for fuel.
But what if the body does not consume enough carbs, as in the case of low carbohydrate diets? Simple! The body does not produce sufficient glucose and has to look for an alternate energy source. This alternate source is the fat stores in one’s body. This is where the liver comes in handy.
The liver breaks down these fat stores and produce glucose for energy. During this process, a byproduct is produced, which has been named ‘ketones.’ This byproduct comes in three types: acetate, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). This is the elaborate process of ketosis: using fat stores within the body as an alternate energy source.
In other words, ketosis is a normal metabolic process where the body fat is used as a primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates. A ketogenic diet aims to put the body in the process of ketosis.
Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis
Before going any further, you must understand the difference between these two terms. Diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA occurs when the ketone level in the body is high to such an extent that it turns the blood acidic. Diabetics usually get DKA when they don’t use insulin as frequently as they ought to. It can also be caused due to dehydration. A few symptoms of DKA comprise of the following:
- Uncontrollable thirst
- Excessive urination
Unlike the normal phenomenon of ketosis, ketoacidosis can become fatal if it remains untreated.
Why Is Ketosis Beneficial?
Ketosis or a ketogenic diet has been a useful remedy for weight loss, but its various benefits are more significant. The most common benefits of ketosis are as follows:
Improved Mental Focus
Since ketones are used as fuel to provide energy to the body, they are relatively consistent as compared to carbohydrates. This allows the brain to remain focused as there is no spike in blood sugar level that is generally caused by carbs. A consistent power source helps the brain achieve 100 percent focus which lasts for longer periods of time without succumbing to brain fog or disturbed concentration.
Enhanced Physical Endurance
The body has plenty of fat to be used for creating energy which never runs short. This means you can feel fully energized all day long without a hint of lethargy or enervation. With ketosis, you are no longer relying on glycogens for refueling, so replenishment is not in need. A full burst of energy source is available that keeps the body steadily working throughout the day, thereby enabling augmented physical endurance.
A low carbohydrate diet or foods that are cooked with ketogenic diet recipes keep the carbs low. This helps fight cravings and gives a sense of fullness, which allows one to have some form of control on their appetite. Moreover, when your body enters ketosis, it causes the blood sugar and insulin levels to drop. This, in turn, causes the fat cells to release water. The water that leaves your body is translated into weight loss. Later, these fat cells absorb into the bloodstream to produce ketones.
Reduced Blood Pressure
With the aid of a ketogenic diet, you can also keep and maintain a low blood pressure. Since there are less carbs in the body, you can burn more body fat, which would otherwise be stored. This helps with losing weight which, in turn, helps with lowering the blood pressure.
Treatment for Diseases
Ketosis can also prove quite useful for the treatment of epilepsy. As a result of the body’s own healing mechanism, one does not have to worry about spending a fortune on those expensive medications.
Furthermore, cancer cells have been found to feed on sugar, but with ketosis, there isn’t any sugar for cancer cells to thrive on. Ketosis helps the body get rid of this fatal sugar, which reduces the growth of harmful cancer cells.
Now that we have established why and how ketosis is useful to the human body and brain, let’s get into how the body can get into ketosis quickly.
How Long Does the Body Take to Get into Ketosis?
For the body to get into ketosis, it could take from 48 hours to a week’s time. Why? This is because the human body has been used to burning sugar for producing energy since birth and this transition from sugar to fat stores is not a simple one. The body requires sufficient time to adapt to the process of burning and using ketones as an auxiliary source of energy.
There are a few factors that will aid the process of ketosis. These include the body’s activity level, general lifestyle, body type and the usual carbohydrate intake. The process of ketosis can be sped up using the following techniques:
- Intermittent fasting
- Consumption of exogenous ketones
- Increased physical activity
- Intake of healthy fats
However, you must be mindful of the fact that once the body has reached ketosis, it could return to its original state if the ketogenic diet is not religiously embraced and followed. Hence, you need to make sure you strictly follow the ketogenic diet.
Ways to Reach Ketosis
If you are also among those who cannot wait too long before your body reaches ketosis, you ought to follow these steps to ensure that your body is keto-ready faster.
Consume Healthy Fats
By consuming lots of healthy fats, your body can reach the ketosis process much faster. Don’t fall prey to the misconception that fats are all bad. Fats have good as well as bad qualities, so you ought to consume more of the good and healthy fats such as those found in butter, olive oil, coconut oil and avocados.
When the body has more fat content, it can increase the level of ketones produced within the body. Moreover, a low carb diet must be compensated for with a high fat diet to make up for the resulting caloric difference. This is one of the quickest ways to get into ketosis.
Switch to Keto Supplements
If you are one of those careless eaters who cannot keep track of carbs and fats, you must choose from one of these supplements to trigger your ketosis.
- Perfect Keto Chocolate Exogenous Ketones
- Giant Keto – Exogenous Ketones Supplement
- Keto Magic Exogenous Ketone Supplement
- Great Tasting Exogenous Ketones BHB – Supplement for Ketosis
There are many other similar BHB supplements available in the market to help your body get into ketosis in no more than 24 hours. We have helped you in planning and preparing those low carb keto recipes to speed up the process so that you won’t have to rack your brains over how to start the diet.
Working out has been tested to speed up the ketosis process better than any other method listed here. With extreme workouts, your body will burn the glucose faster and require refueling. Once the body has shed the available energy source though physical activity or exercise, it will turn to ketosis to produce more fuel and energy for the body.
If an extreme workout is not your kind of thing, you can try out other exercises and physical activity to ensure sufficient weight loss for the process of ketosis to kick in. With a little physical activity, you won’t be required to adopt a strict ketogenic diet either. So, choose one that suits you and your daily schedule.
If you can bear hunger pangs and starvation for long spells, you can look to fasting to pace up the process of ketosis. Intermittent fasting can be practiced if you can’t stay hungry for long. Since you aren’t eating a lot, your body will start diffusing toxins, thus speeding up the metabolism. As there is no external energy provided, the body will start burning fat to produce energy for the body to keep functioning.
Many people go into the state of ketosis between dinner and breakfast times, especially if they skip lunch too often. Even epileptic children are made to fast for 24-48 hours to trigger ketosis through a ketogenic diet.
Cut Down on All Carbs
This is the most important of all steps. Your body has to stay away from carbohydrates and get used to a low carb diet in order to enter the process of ketosis. If the carbohydrate level does not go down, the body will not switch to an alternate fuel source. Only when you take away these carbs from the body can it use fat stores to produce energy.
With minimal carbohydrates, fatty acids will be released into the body which the liver can break down and turn into ketones. Thus, the takeaway here is to keep your carb intake to a bare minimum in order to keep the blood sugar and insulin levels low.
Increase Intake of MCTs
MCTs or medium chain triglycerides are a type of fatty acids that can turn into ketones without causing any insulin spikes. These may be consumed for their weight loss properties and to attain enhanced physical appearance. The MCT intake may be fulfilled through the use of coconut oil. This is another quick way to get into ketosis.
If these are taken alongside a proper ketogenic diet, you can trigger the ketosis process within 24 hours. You can choose from the following products that have MCT properties and use accordingly:
- Berg’s Meal Replacement Shake with MCTs and BCAAs
- MCT Oil Powder with Prebiotic Acacia Fiber
- MCT Oil Powder from Organic Coconuts for Ketosis and Ketone Energy Supplement
- Carlson MCT and Omega-3. Fish Oil, MCTs, Organic Coconut Oil
Watch Your Protein Levels
This is an incredibly significant point, which requires your complete and close attention. While looking for an alternate source of energy, your body will try to fetch some energy from the muscles, taking away the muscle mass. You can alter this course of action by ensuring sufficient protein intake. You may choose from the following protein supplements too:
- Organic Grass-Fed Bone Broth Protein Powder Capsules
- Natures Blend Protein Tablets Honey Flavor
- Protein Supplement Pro-Stat Sugar-Free Wild Cherry Punch
- Organic Vegan Protein Powder Unflavored Smoothie – Gluten Free
Furthermore, protein will enable your body to trigger ketosis by supplying amino acids to the liver. This amino acid will be used by the liver to produce glucose for those inner body areas that cannot use ketones as a power source.
Hence, you need to achieve the right balance of fats, proteins, magnesium and salts to get your body into ketosis as fast as possible. This is all that you can possibly do to get your body into ketosis faster.
Understand the importance of a ketogenic diet and why consuming healthy fats is necessary for the production of ketones. Once you have achieved a few of the aforementioned points, you can get the ketosis process going!