Transitioning to a ketogenic diet involves low carbohydrates, low protein, and high levels of fat. The aim is to help your body enter ketosis. Ketosis is when your body switches from using carbohydrates for energy to using fats. When you live a keto lifestyle, yet, you may find yourself overcome by uncertainty.
How Long Does it Take to Enter Ketosis?
The body can take time to enter ketosis – two weeks or longer. However, typically the body can get into ketosis within 2 to 4 days. With that said, you need to consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates, low protein, and high fat. It takes discipline. Beyond your carb, protein, and fat intake, age, metabolism, and activity level impact ketosis.
How do you know that you’re doing it right and that it’s actually working?
The good news is that your body offers clear signs when it goes through ketosis. To help reassure and guide you, I’ve compiled nine signs of ketosis.
Signs of Ketosis
At the beginning, you may experience symptoms of the keto flu, which may include irritability, nausea, headache, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and even constipation. Not fun but if you push through this stage, you will truly experience the wonder of the ketogenic lifestyle. Most of these “signs” are temporary so don’t fear!
A great many people who try the keto lifestyle, do so for the weight-loss benefits promised. Sustainable weight-loss can occur if you stick with the plan for long enough. At the start of a keto diet, you tend to experience short-term weight loss from the diet’s diuretic effects. It makes your body get rid of its stores of water.
Don’t get overconfident. The water weight you lose is from a loss of fluids. So, this weight tends to come back if you get off the keto diet. But the fact that it occurs can offer you the reassurance that you seek, that you’re doing keto the right way. Once you go past the phase where you lose weight from shedding your fluids, you lose weight via fat burning. But that process tends to be far more gradual.
As your body switches from carbs for energy to fat, the process produces ketones as a byproduct. The result is breath with an unpleasant fruity odor. Known as keto breath, it lasts a couple of weeks until your body learns to not burn more fat than it needs for energy. When you get keto breath for a while, you’ll know that your diet is working. This problem resolves in a few days.
As your body transitions from burning carbohydrates to burning fat ketosis forces your body into a state of dehydration. Your body produces less insulin, uses its stores of glycogen, and excretes plenty of water. This is the reason that you lose fluid weight when you switch to keto.
The loss of water causes fatigue. It’s easy to counter the dehydration problem. You need to drink plenty of water. Adding a pinch of Himalayan salt replenishes electrolytes lost during the initial water loss.
Decreased Levels of Energy
Starting on keto, you’re likely to notice more than fatigue. When you try to run or work out in other ways, you may find that you have less energy for those activities. The lowered levels of energy come from your body’s attempt to switch energy sources. In a couple of weeks, once it adjusts to drawing its energy from its stores of fat, you’ll find that you have more energy than ever before.
The sensation of hunger stems from two hormones. First, ghrelin which causes hunger. Then, cholecystokinin which helps you feel full when you’ve had enough. As the levels of ketones rise, your body produces lower levels of these two hunger hormones.
For this reason, you’ll find that you’re less hungry. Also, you don’t crave sugary snacks as much. Finally, you’re able to go without eating for longer periods of time.
When you begin on keto, you may go through an initial phase of brain fog. After a few weeks, the fog dissipates. At this point, you will enjoy better focus, mental clarity, better mood, and lower levels of anxiety.
On a regular diet, your body isn’t used to processing large quantities of fat. You may go through periods of constipation, or diarrhea. It can help to take keto digestive enzymes to aid your digestion in the beginning. With time, these digestive issues do disappear. So, your body learns to function better on your new diet.
Poor Sleep Quality
In ketosis, your brain is likely to go through shorter phases of deep sleep. You may wake up in the morning feeling like you haven’t slept well. Shallow sleep and insomnia are likely to disappear after the first ten days or so on the ketogenic diet. Sleep is important but you don’t have to worry. Your sleep will get back to normal and may even improve once you push through this stage.
Higher Level of Ketones in the Bloodstream
One way to end uncertainty about your state of ketosis is to invest in ketone strips. In the beginning, when you’re in ketosis, your keto level reading should be at 0.5 mmol/L or higher. Over time, it may go down. But, Aa long as measurements remain within that range, you can be confident that you are in ketosis.
It may take the body months to adjust to your new keto lifestyle. At this point, you use fat rather than carbohydrates for energy. As your body adapts to using fats, you’ll have energy, mental clarity, and sustained weight loss.
If you’re looking to get into ketosis, here are you main steps:
- Stay active
- Significantly reduce carb intake
- Start intermittent fasting
- Increase healthy fats in your diet such as eggs, avocado & coconut oil
- Monitor ketone levels
- Minimize protein intake
- Drink plenty of water
- Add bone broth into your daily regiment