Whether you’ve been trying to get into ketosis for weeks or you’re just starting out on keto and want the transition to go as smooth as possible, this is the article for you. We’ll be sharing some of our best tips for getting into ketosis quickly.
While the journey to ketosis is different for everyone, it doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right tools, you’ll find yourself experiencing the benefits of ketosis faster than you thought possible.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that produces an array of benefits, like improved mental focus, increased energy, and effective weight loss. The body is in a state of ketosis when it transitions from using glucose as its main energy force to fat. There’s only one way to get into ketosis though and this is by changing your diet.
Most diets revolve around a common macronutrient – carbohydrates. Pancakes, muffins, or bagels for breakfast are followed by sandwiches or subs for lunch. A dinner plate includes a protein of some sort with bread and heavy sides like mashed potatoes or rice. All of these carbs are turned into glucose and quickly burned by the body for energy. This is why even after a heavy meal, we can feel hungry again in just a few hours.
But a keto diet is low in carb and high in fat. We know, it sounds strange. But this change in diet leads to a change in how the body operates. As glucose levels dip, the body starts to burn excess fat for energy. Weight loss is imminent, and the other benefits can be life changing. If you can change your diet, you can change your life.
How Long Does It Take to Get into Ketosis?
There is no set rule for how long it takes to get into ketosis. The length it takes one person to reach ketosis could be impossibly short for someone else. Our bodies are all unique and the transition to ketosis is also unique. But there are a few general rules.
For most people, they can reach ketosis anywhere between two and 10 days. Remember that ketosis cannot occur if you’re consuming more than the daily recommended amount of carbohydrates. For most, this is around 30 grams of carbohydrates a day. So, if it takes you an average of five days to enter ketosis but you eat too many carbs on the third day, you’ll be backtracking.
If it’s taking you longer than 10 days to enter ketosis, it could be time to reevaluate your diet or daily activities and lifestyle. You could be eating hidden carbs or living too sedentarily. But don’t give up. For some, especially if it’s the first time they’re entering ketosis, it can take a little trial and error to get there.
So, before you eat an entire loaf of bread and cry yourself to sleep, try some of the tips included in this article. It’s never impossible to reach ketosis.
Top Tips for Entering Ketosis Quickly
Ready to learn how to quickly enter ketosis? Here are our top tips for entering the metabolic state with less headaches (literally and figuratively). Try one or a combination of two or three tips if you’re really struggling. Don’t forget to read our final portion on testing for ketones, which is the only way to know if your body has entered the metabolic state.
Minimize carbs and maximize fat
This first tip might sound obvious, but we like to address it becomes some people like to start out on what we call light keto. While they know the point of a keto diet is to minimize carbs and increase fat intake, they bend the rules, allowing themselves to cheat a bit more than they should. Your body will react to carbs, no matter how much you think one meal won’t matter.
If you’re struggling to give up carbs entirely, we understand. After eating them your entire life, suddenly cutting them out can be difficult. But rather than taking a step back every time you give in to a craving, take a different approach and slowly reduce your carb intake. This might not help you get into ketosis faster, but it will provide you with a smoother transition. If your goal is to take in 30 grams of carbs a day, start with 100 grams. Then go down to 90 and so on until you hit 30. This slower transition can be easier for some than quitting carbs cold turkey.
Look for hidden carbs
Carbs are everywhere. It’s no secret anymore that food companies intentionally try to mislead when printing nutrition labels and ingredient lists. This is why it’s so important you take the time to learn how to read a nutrition label and anything else printed on the food you buy. In general, you should stay away from anything processed or manufactured when eating keto. But this can be almost impossible and even unnecessary, especially when there are more companies catering to keto needs every day.
If you are purchasing items that are labeled as keto-friendly, take the time to do your own research. Make sure the net carb count really is what they say it is. Make sure you double check serving sizes. If there are any ingredients you don’t know offhand, find out what they are. That keto bar you’ve been eating for lunch for the past week might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Add bulletproof coffee to your diet
Have you heard of bulletproof coffee? It’s a favorite drink amongst keto followers and has its own long list of benefits. Bulletproof coffee is high-quality coffee blended with MCT oil and grass-fed butter. Though the combination sounds strange, it’s a miracle drink for keto followers.
MCT oil can either be a keto-geared product or coconut oil. There are arguments for both but when it comes to speeding up ketosis, MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, are your best friend. They can easily be turned into ketones and help your body make the transition. Just keep in mind that for some, MCTs can cause stomach issues so gradually increase your daily intake instead of going for a full dosage the first time.
Calculate your macros
Macros are short for macronutrients. These are the three main components of our diet and include fat, protein, and carbohydrates. We’re mentioned how you need to increase fat and decrease carb intakes for keto, but we haven’t gone into much detail. The exact number of carbs or calories a person on keto should be taking in varies and is based on a number of factors, like age, sex, weight, and activity levels. So, while you can start your keto journey by going with a generic macros suggestion, calculating your macros can put you on the speed track to ketosis.
There’s a lot that goes into calculating your macros so check out our in-depth guide. Once you know exactly how much fat, protein, and carbs you should be taking in, follow the numbers as closely as possible. Even if you hit two on the head, going overboard on another will slow down your results drastically. Also keep in mind that as you progress, you’ll need to recalculate from time to time.
Exercise is important no matter what but it’s even more important for keto followers. The good news is that once you’re in ketosis, it becomes easier to work out as you have more energy. The bad news is that working out while making the transition can be difficult. You don’t need to go from zero to sixty overnight. If you already work out on a regular basis, keep it up.
But if you rarely work out, start slow. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Complete a short cardio workout video. Do a few laps in the pool at the gym. A little bit of progress every day will add up. But if possible, focus on high-intensity interval training or resistance training. This can help deplete glucose stores faster and speed up your entrance into ketosis, where working out becomes a breeze.
Fasting is one of the best ways to speed up your entrance to ketosis. Fasting seems unnatural but it’s perfectly safe when done correctly. Intermittent fasting is often recommended for the keto diet and involves picking a short eating window, usually about 8 hours, and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. Another option is to fast for the 24-48 hours before starting a ketogenic diet, though this can be difficult for some.
Intermittent fasting can be a challenge but once you get through the first fast window, it becomes much easier. Some prefer to schedule their eating window in the morning while others prefer being able to eat in the evening. Move your eating window around until you find something that works. Just remember that fasting shouldn’t become your permanent method of eating. You should avoid intermittent fasting for more than a week straight at a time. Some only fast for two days a week and still experience great results. Again, a little trial and error will be needed to see what works best for you.
Learn more about keto
Sometimes the basics of keto just aren’t enough. While we’re always happy to provide the basics of what keto is, we don’t always dive in too deep. For some though, having a more scientifically based understanding of how keto works and why it does can make all the difference.
If this describes your learning style, head to your local bookstore or look for online versions of keto books. You’ll be able to grasp a better understanding of the diet from the inside out, learning more about the transition from an internal perspective. When you understand how the body operates, you’ll understand more how your actions affect its operations. This can help you make smarter decisions and boost your entrance into ketosis.
Keep a keto diary
If you’ve tried a few of our tips so far and you’re still not experiencing full ketosis, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate. To do this, you’ll need to keep what we call a keto diary. Write down everything you eat, even small snacks and sips of drinks. Write down when you ate them, why you ate them, and how items were prepared. You should also keep track of your daily exercise routine. Keep your keto diary for at least one week before looking through it.
Look for patterns, both positive and negative. Maybe you’re taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work but you’re still sitting in your office chair for 8 hours straight. Remember to get in some more activity during the day. Maybe you’re eating great throughout the day but giving in to late night snack cravings and the carbs and calories are adding up faster than you realized. Looking at yourself through a magnifying glass can be eye opening and can help you catch mistakes before they become habits.
Use exogeneous ketones
This is one of our favorite tips for getting into ketosis quickly. It works if you’re just trying to speed up your transition or if you’ve made a few dietary mistakes. As we know, the body makes ketones when it makes the switch to burning fat instead of glucose for fuel. What you may not know is that ketones can be synthetically produced. This is exactly what exogeneous ketones are.
Taking a dose of exogeneous ketones can almost instantly put ketones in your blood stream. The good news is that this helps your body eliminate glucose stores faster than normal. The bad news is that this type of ketosis isn’t always long lasting. If you’re still not eating as you should, you’ll never enter a deep stage of ketosis. Exogeneous ketones won’t allow you to eat what you want and remain in ketosis, but they can help you if you’re following a keto diet closely.
Take care of yourself
Our lives are hectic. There’s no doubt about that. At first, following a keto diet can add more chaos and stress. There are a lot of favorite foods to miss and if you weren’t in the kitchen much before keto, you might find learning new cooking techniques and skills a bit frustrating. There’s also the danger of the keto flu, which is common. Symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, body aches, and headaches. Even just one symptom is enough to make you reconsider keto.
But this is the body’s way of telling you to slow down and take some time for yourself. Take a nap if you’re tired, take a break from reading if you can’t concentrate, or lay down and relax if you’re feeling achy. Listen to your body and you’ll be on the road to healing. But if you continue pushing, it will push back. This could slow down your entrance to ketosis.
Am I In Ketosis?
You can test your urine for ketones. This is a very affordable method that detects excess ketones exiting the body through urine. All you need to do is purchase urine strips which you either urinate directly on or dip into a sterile cup of fresh urine. The strip will turn a certain color, which indicates the level of ketones, if any. Though affordable, painless, and simple, urine testing isn’t always the most reliable. Your urine can be diluted or concentrated, leading to misleading results.
You can also test your breath using a breath meter. This device measures the ketones on your breath and is the most affordable option when it comes to ketone testing. However, like urine testing, it’s not considered the most reliable.
While the previous testing methods are easy on the wallet, there is one method that’s considered the most accurate. Blood testing can be expensive and if you’re not a fan of needles, it could take a bit of courage. Using a glucose meter with blood test strips can provide you with the most accurate representation of your ketone levels. You’ll know if you’ve just started producing ketones or if you’re producing quite a bit, signaling a deeper metabolic state.
We recommended a two-step testing method. Test with a more affordable method at first once you suspect you’re in ketosis. Use blood testing when you start to experience positive testing results. This prevents the waste of expensive blood test strips.
You can also read your body to see if there are signs of deepened ketosis, like noticeable weight loss, higher energy levels, better memory and focus, and an overall feeling of positive change.
Ready to speed up the entrance to ketosis? You now have plenty of tips to do just that! Whether you’re trying to make up for a cheat day, are entering ketosis for the first time after a long break, or are just taking your first steps on your ketogenic journey, following at least one of these tips should get you closer to your goal of ketosis. Good luck, stay strong, and kick those carbs to the curb!