Ketosis 101

How Do You Know If You’re In Ketosis

Though many people consider fat the enemy, it is the key that unlocks the process of ketosis which is the foundation of the ketogenic diet. At the heart of it, increasing your fat consumption and lowering your carbohydrate intake is all you need to do to start burning away your stored fat.
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which the body burns fat for energy in the absence of glucose. Ketones, a type of acid, are byproducts of this process – they accumulate in your bloodstream and in your urine when your body enters ketosis.
But how do you know if you’re in ketosis, and how long does it take to get there? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more.
How Long Does It Take to Enter Ketosis?
Every person’s body is different, so it is difficult to make any exact predictions about how long it will take for your body to enter ketosis. The length of time it takes will be determined by several factors including both your carbohydrate and your fat intake.
Generally speaking, if you stick to your ketogenic macronutrient ratio, you can expect to enter ketosis somewhere between 3 and 7 days.
If you want to speed up the process, you’ll need to be very good about tracking your food intake and your macros, making sure to stick to that 75%/20%/5% ratio. You have a little wiggle room here, so you can aim for 70% to 75% fat intake and 20% to 25% protein intake, but you need to keep your carbohydrates as low as possible, a maximum of 5% or about 20 to 25 grams of net carbs per day.
In addition to sticking to your macros, you can speed up the process of entering ketosis by starting each day with a brisk walk to burn through your stored glycogen. Be sure to drink plenty of water during the early stages of ketosis as well. For each gram of glycogen your body burns, you’ll lose up to four grams of water, so make hydration a priority!
You may also want to consider taking exogenous ketone supplements. Exogenous ketones are simply ketone bodies in the form of a nutritional supplement and they can help you enter ketosis more quickly and may also reduce the severity of symptoms associated with keto flu.
What Are the Signs of Ketosis?
As you work on lowering your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat intake, you should be on the lookout for signs that your body is entering ketosis. Again, everybody is different, so it may take you more or less time to enter ketosis than someone else and your body may exhibit different signs.
So, what are the signs that your body is entering a state of ketosis?
Here are some of the key symptoms of ketosis you should be looking for:
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Short-term fatigue
• Digestive upset
• Bad breath
• Increased energy
• Measurable ketone levels
What many people love about the ketogenic diet is that you don’t have to count calories or restrict yourself. As you start entering ketosis, you’ll also find that your appetite decreases. You’ll still get hungry, but you won’t have that aching, empty feeling you get with many diets. Another sign of ketosis is weight loss. At first it might be a lot of water weight, but it won’t be long until you start burning fat.
Making significant changes to your diet is going to have an impact on your energy levels and your digestion. By removing your body’s primary source of energy (glucose), you should expect to feel a little fatigued. By switching your diet from eating primarily carbohydrates to primarily fats, you may also notice some digestive symptoms like loose stools or constipation. These should resolve once your body enters a state of ketosis.
As your ketone levels rise and you enter ketosis, you may find that you develop bad breath – this is caused by acetone, a particular type of ketone. As you enter ketosis, you’ll also find that your energy levels start to rise, and you feel more focused. Once you start noticing some of these symptoms is when you should test your ketone levels to check your progress.
Tips for Testing Your Ketone Levels
As your body starts burning fat for energy instead of glucose, you’ll produce ketones as a byproduct. Ketones, also known as ketone bodies, are acids and there are three different types:
• Acetoacetate (AcAc)
• Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB)
• Acetone
Both acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate are the ketones responsible for transporting energy from the liver to the other tissues in the body that need it. Acetoacetate is formed when fatty acids are broken down and BHB is form from acetoacetate. Acetone is a side product of acetoacetate and is not used as much by the body as the other two ketones.
If you want to know whether you are in ketosis or not, you can actually test the ketone levels in your breath, urine, or blood. A breath test is a simple and affordable method, though you’ll have to purchase a breath meter and it is less accurate than other testing methods. A blood test is the most accurate, but you’ll need to purchase a blood meter (like the type diabetics use to test their blood glucose) and you’ll have to draw a small amount of blood for each test.
The most cost-effective option to test your ketone levels is to test your urine. All you have to do is buy a set of urine test strips which you can find online or at your local pharmacy. You’ll dip the test strip in urine and compare the color to the chart to determine your ketone level range.
Here’s what you’re looking for when testing your ketone levels:
• Negative/nondetectable: less than 0.6mmol
• Low to moderate: between 0.6 and 1.5 mmol
• High: between 1.6 and 3.0 mmol
• Very high: greater than 3.0 mmol
If your ketone levels are negative/nondetectable, you should keep lowering your carbohydrate intake and try again after a day or two. A low to moderate ketone level means you’re on the right track and a high level means you’re almost there. If your ketone levels are on the upper end of the high range of over 3.0 mmol, it’s safe to say you’ve entered ketosis.

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