Introduction to How long does it take to get into ketosis
Today, We are going to discuss How long does it take to get into ketosis. For a large part of the last century, there was a mistaken belief that eating more fat leads to gaining fat. However, starting with the Atkins diet but continuing with the Keto and Paleo diets.
At this condition, many people have realized that fat is not bad in and of itself. In fact, body fat burning can be sped up by switching your body’s preferred fuel source for carbohydrates to fat, a state that is known as being in ketosis. This is the principle behind using ketosis for losing weight.
But getting to the stage of being in ketosis is not immediately straightforward, but is not that difficult. Basically, what you are seeking to do is to deplete your body’s carbohydrate stores so that is starts relying on fat. A useful analogy is that of a hybrid car that runs on electricity and gas. Gas can be more easily converted into energy, and the same is true of carbohydrates in your body. But you want to burn fat, and the switch in fuel sources takes a while to kick in, just like with hybrid cars that need a little while to convert from running on gas to running on their battery stored electricity.
Your body is in a similar situation - it can’t switch from running on carbs to running on fat at the drop of a hat. Your body will continue to use carbs as its preferred fuel source until all carbs in the body are used up. This means that first of all you need to have not consumed carbs for a while, and secondly, you have to wait until all carbs in the brain and the liver are burned up.
After this, your body enters into a state of ketosis and starts burning fat easily as fuel. Another side effect of this is that you generally get less hungry. And since you are in ketosis, your body starts actively looking for fat to burn, whether it be from your diet or from the fat stores in your body. This is why keto is so good for fat loss.
So how long does it take to get into ketosis?
The answer is not precise. It depends on certain things:
Most importantly, the last time you ate a lot of carbs
If you are a beginner (the more keto you go, the more easily your body will switch to keto)
Consumption of alcohol and caffeine, excessive amounts can make it harder to stay/get into ketosis
Eating gigantic protein rich meals can also make it difficult to enter ketosis
Now, see more about How long does it take to get into ketosis. There are also other things that hinder ketosis. Eating a giant meal even if it is carb free is a bad idea, since if you become over-full your body sometimes leaves ketosis.
So what is the initial time frame for beginners? A general guideline is to not eat more than 20g of carbs for 2 consecutive days and you should enter ketosis. There are several ways to tell for sure. If you have entered ketosis (such as “keto-stix”), but in general the longer you leave it the better!
Other considerations exercise
If you are planning to take part in a strenuous activity such as weight training or cardio, there are a couple more things to take into account. Firstly, it is probably better to cut back on your exercise slightly when first trying keto. This is because the start of keto can get you more stress, low on energy, and mentally drain mind. However, some light cardiovascular exercise is ok. Second, if you train with weights or another strenuous exercise, then carbs are often necessary for recovery.
For this, you can use targetted keto dieting which involves leaving ketosis for a period of training by eating some carbs. Otherwise, you can just train in ketosis. Here your results and progress will probably not be as effective as with some carbs in your diet.
However, One need to keep in mind that at the start of a keto diet this is not the right time to be reverting to eating carbs. It is better to dial back your activity for a week. It is just to make your system as fat-adapted (i.e. ketosis oriented) as possible.
Other considerations of the right foods to eat
Newcomers to keto often make some simple mistakes that make it much harder to get into ketosis quickly. The first is the most obvious; even some high-fat or meaty foods actually contain a high amount of carbs too. Cheese is one example, with some types of cheese containing more carbs than protein or fat! Another is vegetables - while most greens have low carbs, Brussel sprouts and green beans are examples of high carb greens.
Another factor that people overlook which won’t have an immediate effect on your speed of getting into ketosis but will influence your health over time (and therefore indirectly your fat-adaptation mentioned earlier) is the type of fats you eat. Contrary to conventional (flawed) wisdom, saturated fat is very healthy. Polyunsaturated is less so, while trans fats are extremely harmful.
What does this mean for the foods you eat? Firstly, avoid plant based oils like canola, sunflower and vegetable oils. However, coconut, olive, avocado oils are ok along with a few others. Secondly, get as much of your fat from sources of animals that we call grass-fed ruminants (cow, buffalo), pork fat and poultry fat is not as good but also fine. Also, the less processing of the fat the better: so unrefined, unbleached is the best kind of coconut for example, and pure whole butter is the best kind of butter.
Here are the 8 main takeaways from this list
It takes around 4 days to get into ketosis
It is harder for beginners to get into ketosis
Ketostix can help
Avoid gorging on ultra high protein meals
Keep under 50g carbs every day
Avoid super high amounts of caffeine
On your first time in keto, take it easy on the weight training for a few days
Be wary of foods with unexpectedly high amounts of carbs (peanut butter is another example).
We will be discussing more How long does it take to get into ketosis, you can also check my other post related to How long does it take to get into ketosis here.