Different positive effects on your body can be obtained from the metabolic process – ketosis. Ketones are being created from the body’s fat in this process and after they are utilized as a source of energy.
Achieving the state of ketosis has many health benefits and it can result in weight loss because it lowers the appetite. Other benefits of having the state of ketosis are due to its positive effect in the treatment of many health problems, from diabetes type 2 to many neurological disorders.
Here the trick is not only lo lower the intake of carbs, but it demands a lot of effort and detailed planning.
Here are seven steps to follow in order to achieve the state of ketosis:
- Avoid the consummation of carbs
It is very important not to consume a high amount of carbs if you want to enter the state of ketosis because the energy source of the cells is the glucose and sugar. But also, cells can take another thing as an alternative to sugar as an energy source like the ketone bodies which are the ketones and the fatty acids.
When the level of carbs is low in the body, it then used the glucose which is kept as glycogen in the muscles and the liver. In that case, they also use the fatty acids from the supply, the levels of insulin are reduced and also the supply reserves are emptied.
These fatty acids are used by the liver in order to produce brain fuel like beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone which are all ketone bodies.
The needed reduction of carbs intake for getting in the state of ketosis is different for everyone. Like if someone has to lower the carbs intake to 20 grams a day, other can have a higher intake of carbs.
And because of this fact, the Atkins Diet recommends an intake of 20 grams or fewer a day in a period of 14 days if you want to get into the state of ketosis. When this time has passed, you can slowly increase the intake of carbs.
One study was conducted in order to compare the results of the amount of carbs intake and the effects of it. It included people with diabetes type 2, and in the study, they were required to intake about 21 grams of carbs a day for seven days. The results were, that the baseline level was 27 times lower that the daily urinary ketone excretion.
In a different study, which also included people with diabetes type 2, but they were limited to 20-50 grams of carbs intake a day, and the level of carbs was determined from the amount needed in order fir them to have a level of blood ketone between 0.5 to 3.0 mmol/L.
These amounts of allowed carbs and ketones are beneficial for those who want to get into the state of ketosis to regulate blood sugar level, reduce the risk of heart illnesses and to lose some weight.
Other uses of these therapeutic ketogenic diets are in the therapy for cancer and for epilepsy, and it allows carbs intake lower than 15 grams a day or 5% of calories in order to increase the levels of ketone.
So in order to achieve the release of stored fatty acids and to transform them in ketones by the liver, it is needed to limit the carbs intake to 20-50 grams a day and it will also lower the levels of insulin and blood sugar.
- Increase the Healthy Fats Intake
The levels of ketones are also increased with higher consumption of healthy fats and this is also helpful in getting the state of ketosis. In other words, the diet which is low-carb ketogenic is high in fats and low in carbs.
60-80% of calories are taken from fat in ketogenic diets for exercise performance, weight loss and metabolic health and about 85-90% of calories are from fat in the usual ketogenic diet for epilepsy.
And if you have a higher intake of fat does not increase the levels of ketone.
Experts conducted a study in which participated 11 people in good health. The study lasted 3 weeks and they consumed a different amount of fat, in order to evaluate the effects of fat on the levels of ketone. It showed that consuming 79-90 % of the calories from fat gave same ketone levels.
And due to the fact that ketogenic diets are based on fat, it is essential that you intake products with high quality: avocado oil, olive oil butter, lard and coconut oil.
But keep in mind, that you must lower the calorie intake if you want to lose weight.
Intake of 60% of calories from fat can augment the levels of ketone. But you must take fats that are healthy like the ones from animal and plant sources.
- Include Coconut Oil in your diet
Another beneficial ingredient for getting into the state of ketosis is the coconut oil, because it is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), and these fats get absorbed by the liver very fast, and after they are becoming a source of energy and are transformed into ketones.
For people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorders, this is the best way to get the state of ketosis. Lauric acid gives half of this fat, and 4 types of MCT’s are contained in coconut oil.
Sources of fat that have high levels of lauric acid can offer a continuous level of ketosis, as it was stated by many experts because these fats are metabolized slower that other kinds of MCT.
A classic ketogenic diet – obtains fewer than 5% of calories from carbs, and 20% of calories from carbs are obtained in a diet abundant in MCTs – and they have very similar effects.
It is also advised to add coconut into your diet gradually in order to hinder any negative effects such as diarrhea and stomach cramping.
You should begin by adding 1 tsp of coconut oil on a daily basis and then augment it to get to 2-3 tbs on a daily basis after one week. Ketone bodies are being produced from the MCTs by the liver after they have been absorbed very fast from the coconut oil.
- A proper Protein Intake
The state of ketosis can also be achieved by proper protein intake. The usual ketogenic diet used for epilepsy maximizes the level of protein and carbs, and it is very beneficial in reducing the tumor growth and in the treatment of cancer.
It is not recommended to lower the intake of protein in order to promote ketones production.
In order to get the essential amino acids to the liver, it is of great significance to obtain the adequate intake of proteins. They are important for the productions of gluconeogenesis and new glucose, and also for the production of new cells like the red blood cells and various organs, and some parts of the brain and kidney – which do not utilize ketones as fuel.
Also, sufficient protein intake is important in order to maintain the mass of the muscles when the amount if carbs intake is lowered like in cases of losing weight. Losing weight can result in loss of the fat but also the loss of the muscles, but the muscle mass can be protected with sufficient protein intake in a low-carb ketogenic diet.
Protein consummation of 0.55 – 0.77 grams/pound (1.2 – 1.7 grams /kg) is sufficient to keep the mass of the muscles and also the physical performance.
These levels of protein intake and a diet which is low in carbs are very helpful in reaching the state of ketosis.
Another study- in which 17 obese men participated, that were following a ketogenic diet for 30 day – and they get 30’5 of calories from fat. And the experts in this study analyzed the levels of blood ketone, and they were 1.52 mmol/L, and this was within normal limits if nutritional ketosis which is 0.5 – 3.0 mmol/L.
To discover the sufficient level of protein order to get in the state of ketosis, you can calculate the correct amount by multiplying your body weight by 0.55 to 0.77 in pounds or 1.2 – 1.7 in kilograms.
But you should also be careful because the excessive protein intake can suppress the production of muscles, and low intake of protein will lead to muscle mass loss.
- A Short Fast or a Fat Fast
Fasting or not consuming anything for a few hours can get you into the state of ketosis. Also, a mild state of ketosis can be obtained when we do not eat anything in between two meals.
Another example for this is when children are prepared to start a ketogenic diet, about 24-48 hours before that they are faster and this will make them achieve the state of ketosis quicker.
Irregular fasting is another way that can help you enter the state of ketosis faster.
The levels of ketone can also be increased by ‘fat fasting’ which has very similar effects as regular fasting. This type of fasting includes consuming approximately 1,000 calories every day, they are obtained about 85-90% from fat, also high intake of fat and low intake of calorie can result in ketosis.
Also, one study which was conducted in 1965 proved that fat fasting can be beneficial for losing weight in overweight people.
This type of ‘fat fasting’ is not beneficial for more than 3-5 days, because it is poor in calories and protein, and it can lead to a loss of muscle mass. And to remind you one more time: there are 3 ways to achieve the state of ketosis – ‘fat fasting’, irregular fasting and normal fasting.
- Physical activity
Getting into the state of ketosis has many benefits in promoting the athletic performance such as endurance exercise.
And it is also the opposite as well, getting the state of ketosis can be promoted with physical exercise, due to the utilization of the glycogen stores. Ketone is being produced in the liver when we lower the carbs intake and the body uses all the stores of glycogen.
When there is reduced level of ketone concentrations in the blood, exercising can actually promote the production of ketones, as it was shown in one study. On the other hand, when the levels of ketone are high, exercising will not promote further raise of these levels, but actually, it can lower the ketone levels.
Also, you can increase the levels of a ketone with fasting during exercising.
The effects of exercising have been evaluated in another study which included 9 older women who were required to exercise before they eat. And they got results that proved increased levels of ketone for 137%-314% with exercising before eating.
But the body needs some time to adjust to the fatty acids and the ketones as a fuel.
When we reduce the carbs intake, the levels of ketone are also increased with physical activity, and also when we are fasting.
- Test the levels of Ketone and Adjust your diet
It is very important to check the ketone levels to ensure that you will achieve the state of ketosis because it is different for every person.
You can test the three types of ketone – acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone, in the breath, blood and urine.
You can check the ketone levels with three methods and see if you must make alterations in order to reach the state of ketosis quicker:
Use some ketone urine strips and put some urine on them to check the level of acetoacetate. A darker color will appear if the levels of ketone are increased and different shades of purple and pink indicate different ketone levels.
These strips are very simple to use, but how accurate they are is not a guarantee. For example, the ketone levels can vary throughout the day when we are on a ketogenic diet, and they are usually the highest after dinner and in the morning.
There is another way for testing levels of ketones and that way is with blood ketone meter which is almost the same as the work of glucose meter. All you need is one drop of blood on the strip and place it in the meter.
This way allows you to check the beta-hydroxybutyrate as well as the levels of ketone. Only the negative form this work is the pricey strips.
Also, there is a way of testing the ketosis state by checking the levels of present acetone in the breath; this can be very useful for those on a ketogenic diet.
Ketonic meter serves to measure and test the levels of ketones; you only need to breathe into the meter and wait for the color to appear which will show you if you have reached the ketosis state and also you will see the levels of ketone.