Ketosis is a metabolic process that occurs when the body starts burning fat for energy in place of glucose. During this process, the body converts fat into ketones (acetone) and uses it as the major source of energy for the body.
The benefits of ketosis cannot be over-emphasized, it aids weight-loss and also helps to protect the body from the risk of certain diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and cancer though further research needs to be made.
The build-up of ketones in the blood starts occurring when the body begins to break down fat. Ketones leave the body through the urine or breath, the presence of ketones in the blood or urine signifies that a person has entered ketosis.
When the body enters into ketosis, it gets easier to burn fat, the body’s regular source of energy (carbs) is depleted therefore the body substitute for this loss by burning fat for energy.
Ketosis also helps to reduce the production of the hormone Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and increases the production of the hormone cholecystokinin (which helps to increase satiety rate). This helps to suppress appetite causing the individual to eat less thereby increasing weight loss.
Achieving ketosis requires hard work and a lot of planning. Most people strictly follow a ketogenic diet in order to induce ketosis however it requires more than cutting your daily carb intake though this is the most important step.
There are other ways to induce ketosis faster, in this article we will look at the 7 best ways to induce ketosis faster.
A ketogenic diet induces ketosis, however in order to achieve ketosis at a faster rate follow these steps discussed below;
1.Cut down your daily carbs intake :
Ketosis occurs when the body’s normal source of energy (carbs) is insufficient causing the body to use fat (ketones) as the body’s source of energy.
One of the major ways to induce ketosis will be to drastically cut down your regular intake of carbohydrates.
The amount of carbs required to induce ketosis cannot clearly be stated as it varies for different individuals, some people need to limit their carbs consumption to 20 grams while others can eat double this amount and still enter ketosis. It is important that you consult your dietitian or doctor before engaging in this diet.
If you seek to engage in ketosis in order to lose weight, reduce blood sugar or prevent your body from the risk of heart diseases it is advisable that you reduce your carbs intake to 20 grams daily.
20 grams of carbohydrates daily is not the set intake that must be followed as some people who regularly eat high carb diet will need to take in less than 20 grams in order to induce ketosis.
The major source of energy to the cells of the body is glucose however when there is a deficiency in the quantity of glucose supplied to the cell, the body substitute for this loss by converting fat to ketones and using them as the source of energy to the cells.
Normally the body stores glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscles however when the carb intake is extremely low the body uses up this reserve. Once the glycogen reserved in the liver and muscles is used up the body starts using ketones to supply the cells with energy.
The liver converts fatty acids to ketones (majorly acetone, in lesser amounts beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate). These ketones supply the cells with the energy it requires to function effectively.
Elevate your indulgence in physical activities :
Studies have shown that ketosis may positively impact athletic performance however before this occurs there will be a temporary reduction in one’s performance level in any exercise.
Once the body starts burning ketones for energy instead of glucose it takes the body some time to fully adapt to the switch in the energy source.
During the initial stage of ketosis, most people complain of fatigue, this occurs as a result of the biological adaptations that the body is undergoing.
When an individual engages in exercises, the body uses most of the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles leading to an insufficient supply of glucose to the cells. Normally the body makes up for this depletion in carbs level when we eat our balanced diet composed of our daily recommended intake of carbohydrates.
Therefore exercising helps to use up the body’s glycogen reserve and if it is not replenished it leads to an increase in the production of ketones.
However, in the case of a ketogenic diet where carbs intake is very low, the glycogen reserve remains empty causing the body to search for an alternate source of energy.
The body produces more ketones to serve as the source of energy to the cells hence the term ketosis. Engaging in physical activities especially when your diet consists of low quantities of carb can speed up the ketosis process.
In addition, working out during fasting has been shown to boost the production of ketones, increase your physical activity, add brisk walking and other exercises that do not demand a large amount of energy as the body might experience tiredness during the initial stage of ketosis.
Ensure that your protein consumption is adequate:
In order to achieve ketosis, your diet must be low in carbs, high in fat and moderately composed of protein. The keyword here is moderate, if a protein is excessively consumed it can be converted to glucose which is the body’s regular source of energy hence disrupting the metabolic process (ketosis).
The amount of protein consumed needs to be lower than fat but higher than carbs in order to induce ketosis faster. There is no set amount of proteins that is strictly recommended however different studies have several ways that one could use to quantify the amount of protein that needs to be consumed.
One study claims that individuals should consume 20% of their daily recommended intake of calories as protein.
Other studies suggest that individuals should multiply their weight in pounds by 0.55- 0.77 grams and the resultant value should be the amount (grams) of protein they should consume (for example a person weighing 150pounds (150×0.55 = 82grams of protein).
Cutting down on the amount of protein is not a healthy practice for so many people, there are some organs(red blood cells and some parts of the brain) in the body that cannot use ketones as a source of energy.
The body requires an adequate amount of protein in order to supply the liver with amino acids, these amino acids undergo a process known as gluconeogenesis. According to the English dictionary, gluconeogenesis is a metabolic process in which glucose is formed, mostly in the liver, from non-carbohydrate precursors(protein).
When the carbs level is low the body tends to undergo weight loss, the body also required protein in order to maintain and preserve the muscle mass while the body undergoes weight loss.
Although weight loss involves the loss of muscle mass and fat, taking adequate amounts of protein will help to prevent severe loss of muscle mass. Individuals who engage in ketosis in order to lose weight should ensure that their food is low in carbs, high in fat, and adequate in protein as this will help to induce ketosis at a faster rate.
Add coconut oil to your diet :
Coconut oil can help one enter and maintain ketosis, studies have shown that adding coconut oil to your diet can help increase the production of ketones by the liver.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These medium-chain triglycerides are easily absorbed and taken to the liver where they are converted to ketones or used as a source of energy.
Recent studies have shown that the addition of coconut oil to the diet of an Alzheimer’s patient or other nervous related disorders can lead to an increase in the production of ketones.
Coconut oil contains four different types of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) however over 50% of the overall amount of fat contained in coconut oil comes from the MCTs known as lauric acid.
Lauric acid metabolizes in a gradual process unlike the other medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), this gradual metabolism process of lauric acid helps to maintain and sustain ketosis after it is induced.
Research has shown that fatty foods that contain a high percentage of lauric acid will sustain ketosis longer than fatty food highly composed of the other kinds of MCTs.
According to Healthline, several studies have shown that a diet that is composed of 20% of calories from carbohydrates and a high amount of MCTs will yield the same result as a classic ketogenic diet that contains barely 5% of calories from carbs.
Furthermore, research has shown that a diet rich in MCTs can be used to induced ketosis in an epileptic child without drastically reducing the daily recommended intake of carbs.
Consumption of coconut oil can lead to certain digestive related problems like stomach cramps and diarrhea, it is advised that you add coconut oil to your meals in relatively small amounts. You should start with as little as one teaspoon daily before advancing to 2 or 3 teaspoons in a day.
If digestive related problems occur it is important that you consult your dietitian or doctor.
Healthy Fat consumption should be high :
Once the glycogen reserve is used up the body depends on either fat or protein as a source of energy. If you decide to replace the carbohydrates with fat, ensure that your diet is composed of healthy fats.
A ketogenic diet is low in carbs but relatively high in fat, adding high amounts of healthy fat to your diet will elevate ketone level and increases the rate at which one enters ketosis.
A ketogenic diet should be composed of 60-80% of the calories from fat, this is extremely important if one engages in a keto diet with the aim of losing weight or boosting athletic performance.
Consuming too much calories will affect you negatively especially if your goal is to lose weight. Your calorie consumption should be strictly monitored in order to prevent excessive calorie intake which could make it harder to lose weight.
It is important that the fat your diet is made up of is extremely healthy and not majorly composed of cholesterol or LDH.
Examples of healthy fat to consume include; avocados, olive, oil, tard flaxseed oil, coconut oil, tallow, avocado oil and butter. There are many healthy fat options to choose from but always ensure that the healthy fat you choose is also low in carbohydrates.
Add fasting to your daily routine :
Fasting is another effective way to induce ketosis, research has shown that most people enter ketosis in between meals (I.e some people might experience mild ketosis in the period between dinner and breakfast).
There are different forms of fasting that people engage in with the aim of inducing ketosis, they include fat fasting and intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is basically a kind of fasting where one eats for 8 hours in a day and fasts for the remaining 16 hours (I.e you can start eating by 11am and stop eating by 6pm). The intermittent fast is also known as the short term fast, it is an effective way to lose weight.
Fat fasting, on the other hand, is an alternate form of fasting, in this diet over 1000 calories are consumed daily with a majority of the calories coming from fat (I.e fat has the highest percentage of calories in this diet).
Fat fasting helps one to achieve ketosis faster however there is a little controversy about the efficiency of fat fasting. Some studies claim that fat fasting is one of the fastest and easiest ways to lose weight however other studies insist that the claims are superfluous.
A fat fast can be extremely difficult to adhere to because it lacks adequate protein. The body requires an adequate supply of protein in other to sustain muscle mass and provide certain organs with energy (organs that cannot function with ketones).
Therefore fat fast has a lot of limitations and it is also not the best option for most people. A fat fast can be strictly followed for not more 2 to 3 days, if it exceeds it could lead to excessive loss of muscle mass.
It is important that you speak to your dietitian or doctor before engaging in the fat fast, if you are already on a fat fast without any professional advice it is important that you discontinue the fast and speak to your healthcare provider.
Test your ketone level and make adjustments to your diet :
Attaining and sustaining ketosis is a process that varies for every individual(I.e the steps it would take individual A to attain ketosis may be less effective for individual B) hence there is a need to continually check your ketone level to ensure that you are attaining your desired goals.
The ketone level can be measured in the blood, urine or breath, there are three kinds of ketones including acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate.
Most times people who engage in a ketogenic diet are associated with a keto breath, the ketone majorly responsible for this breath is acetone. The presence of acetone in the mouth shows that the body has entered ketosis, you can perform a breath analyzing test in order to monitor ketosis level.
Ketones can also be measured using a blood ketone meter, testing for ketone through the blood is recognized as being the most reliable way to test for ketosis.
A drop of blood is placed on a strip and inserted into the meter, the meter measures the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate present in the blood in order to determine if the body has entered ketosis.
Ketosis can also be tested with the urine using the urine strips, depending on the amount of ketones present the strips can turn pink or purple. The darker the shade the higher the amount of ketones present in the body.
Studies have shown that the blood test is the most accurate test however blood strips are expensive to buy, the urine test is inexpensive to purchase but the efficiency of their results is not trusted hence further tests need to be carried.
When you regularly check your ketone level using either the urine, breath or blood test, it helps you to monitor your progress and make the necessary adjustments when needed.
The steps it takes to achieve ketosis vary for different individuals therefore it is advised that you regularly test your ketone level to ascertain what works better for you.
In a bid to induce ketosis most people forget to eat properly this is wrong as the body needs all available nutrients in order to function effectively. Make sure you eat a balanced diet while sticking to the low carb, high fat and moderate protein diet.
Talk to your doctor or dietitian before adding more physical activities to your daily routine.
Are you on a ketogenic diet or have you ever tried the ketogenic diet? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.