Ketosis is a state in which your body is fueled entirely by fat instead of glucose. This usually happens either when you’re in a fasted state or following a very low carb diet like the Ketogenic diet.
Unlike in the fasting routines, you can lose a lot of weight while eating normally with just a single exception i.e., to limit or completely eliminate foods that are rich in carbohydrates.
What is Ketosis? How Ketones are Produced?
Our body generally uses the carbohydrates from the food that we eat as energy for our cells. However, when you’re on a keto diet, your body produces ketones due to carb elimination, which makes use of the stored fat for energy, thereby helping you lose weight fast.
These small molecules are produced by the liver from fat when our blood sugar is in low supply. They can be used by both the body and the brain as fuel.
Benefits of Ketosis
Being in a ketosis state has many benefits such as:
- Increase in mental and physical endurance
- Reduced hunger
- Reverses Type 2 diabetes
- Controls Epilepsy
- Treats several types of cancer
- Reduces symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
- Lowers insulin levels and treats acne
- Reduce brain injuries
- Reduce the symptoms of Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
- Normalizes blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Reduces the risk of getting heart diseases
- Helps in losing weight
How to Know that You’re in Ketosis State?
There are 3 main laboratory tests that help determine whether you’re in Ketosis or not. They include:
A] Urine Test
One of the most simple and cheapest test to determine ketosis. Just dip the stick in your urine and see the color change to measure the level of ketones in your system.
Dark Purple Color is what you should get to say that you’re in ketosis.
- Pros: Cheap and the sticks are available in all pharmacies.
- Cons: The results may vary depending the water you consume.
B] Breath Ketone Analyzers
These devices help you measure the number of ketones in your body.
- Pros: Simple and reusable
- Cons: Not always reliable
C] Blood Ketone Meters
You just need a drop of your blood to let these ketone meters analyze the ketone level in your system.
- Pros: Very exact and reliable method
- Cons: Expensive
However, there are also a few common signs and symptoms using which you can determine Ketosis. They are:
- Dry mouth and Increased Thirst: You can overcome this issue by drinking enough water and stay hydrated. It is suggested to drink lemon water with salt to counter some of these symptoms.
- Increased Urination: Since you get frequently thirsty and drink lots of water, which results in frequent urination. People with this issue will usually don’t face the above problem.
- Ketones in Breath: The ketone body ‘Acetone’ escapes through your breath, which makes it smell fruity or like nail polish remover.
- Reduced hunger: A lot of people will see a huge decrease in their appetite, which usually happens due to your body’s increased ability to burn stored fat instead of glucose.
- Increased Energy: During the initial stages, the followers of the keto diet may feel a bit tired. But, this symptom fades away within a short span and you’ll see a great ncrease in energy levels.
- Short-term Fatigue: Since you switched suddenly from high carb diets to extremely low carb, short-term fatigue is expected until your body gets used to the new lifestyle. During this period, you should take the supplements like Sodium (2000 to 4000 mg per day), Potassium (1000 mg) and Magnesium (300 mg) in order to counter these issues.
- Temporary Digestive Issues: Constipation and Diarrhea are pretty common while you’re starting with the Keto diet because of the foods you eat. This side effect will subside when you eat lots of healthy low-carb veggies that are high in fiber but low in carbs.
- Short-term Insomnia: Since you reduce the carb consumption drastically, you may have sleep issues in the beginning, which subside in a matter of weeks. In fact, long-term ketogenic diets see a huge increase in their sleep quality when compared to before after starting the diet.
- Weight Loss: This is what you want, isn’t it? Weight loss is also a symptom that you’re in ketosis.
How to Reach Ketosis? What is the Optimal Count?
Ketosis can be in different degrees and depends up on the number of carbs and protein you’re taking along with several other reasons.
The optimal ketosis is measured at 1.5 to 3 mmol/L, where your body burns maximum fat. It is recommended for maximum increase in mental and physical endurance.
In order to reach optimal ketosis, you should follow the below suggestions:
- Restrict Carbs: Consume just 20 digestible grams or less per day along with lots of fiber.
- Consume Moderate Protein: General rule of thumb is to eat 1 gm protein per kg of body weight per day. Anything above that will become an obstacle to reaching ketosis.
- Increase Fat Intake: Don’t starve. Get enough fat from the foods to feel satiated.
- Avoid Frequent Snacking: Avoid snacking when you’re not hungry. You may instead drink water to keep your stomach full.
- Include IF or 16:8 Fasting: For much faster weight loss results, you can follow Ketogenic diet combined with Intermittent fasting routine, which makes you reach ketosis faster.
How Long Does it Take to Enter Ketosis State?
There is no exact timespan when you’ll reach ketosis as it varies from one individual to another and depends on the person’s metabolism, insulin resistance and several other biological factors.
Typically, it takes between 2 to 10 days from the day you started the ketogenic diet to reach ketosis.
The thumb rule is that you should not consume more than 20-30 grams of carbs per day, if you wanted to enter ketosis. The less carbs you consume, the faster you’ll reach ketosis.
Should Anyone Avoid the Ketogenic Diet?
Except for people who’re on medication for diabetes, high blood pressure and women who’re breastfeeding, most people can safely follow the keto diet plan.
In case of any confusions, do consult with your physician.
As we’ve already mentioned, it is not really true that our brain needs carbohydrates to function. The brain actually converts the fat in ketones as it cannot directly function from fat.
So, leave all the incubations aside and follow the Ketogenic diet to lose weight faster. Apart from Intermittent Fasting, keto diet is the only best and fastest way to reach Ketosis.
Since you can’t fast for longer periods to reach ketosis, it is therefore suggested to limit your carbs, let your body produce ketones and burn stored fat. This is the best diet to turn your body into a fat burning machine.
Several studies have showed that Ketogenic diet results in greater weight loss when compared to other similar diets like Atkins diet.