The first question most often asked by people as they begin their keto diet is how long does it take to go into ketosis?
You’ve decided to start eating the keto way, either to help you reach your weight goals or to improve your health.
Generally speaking, the first few days are the hardest as the body needs time to adjust to low carb eating and to learn how to burn fat for energy.
It’s the burning of fat that leads to ketosis which is the aim of the keto diet.
Once in ketosis you can begin to benefit from all the weight loss and health advantages of being on this diet.
The answer to the question How long before I’m in ketosis? will depend upon a number of factors.
The switch-over to fat-burning ketosis is going to be different for each person.
What effects the time taken to reach ketosis?
Factors such as your activity level, body type and how closely you keep to the 20g or less rule for carbs will all effect how long it will take for you to reach ketosis.
Have you spent a few months on the keto diet before?
If you have, your body will be adapted to fat burning, and you will enter ketosis within a few days of restarting your keto eating plan.
If you have not tried the keto diet before, you will find that it will take a little longer.
Its possible that your body has been burning glucose from your carb intake for your whole life. It’s going to take a while for your second metabolic pathway to be triggered.
The body’s secondary pathway is to burn fat and this will take a few days before your body fully makes the switch.
Before anyone begins fat-burning the body must first use up it’s store of glucose. It can help if you’ve been eating low carb for a few days before starting your keto diet.
Normally you should expect to be fat burning and in ketosis within 3 -7 days. However, some people have had to wait for a few days longer than this to be well-established.
There are a few things that you can do to make sure you’re not preventing yourself from getting into ketosis.
Measure rather than guess when it comes to carbs. Stay within 20g net carbs each day.
Make sure your not accidently eating more carbs than you think.
Often carbs are hidden in sauces, processed meats or drinks.
Always check the carb value before hand and don’t guess or assume that something is low carb.
It’s possible that you can eat more than 20g net carbs and still reach ketosis, but be super strict with yourself in the beginning. At this level you will definitely get into ketosis.
There are also some great things you can do to help you reach ketosis within the first week.
Are there ways to reach ketosis sooner?
Almost any activity that burns through your glucose stores is going to help you reach your goal in the shortest possible time.
You could eat low carb for a few days before starting on the keto diet.
Intermittent fasting, where you reduce your eating window to 8 hours each day can also help.
Exercise, especially HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) will help you to deplete your existing glucose supplies and force you to turn to fat burning sooner rather than later.
Increasing your fat intake will also help although this idea does take some getting used to.
Make sure you’re reaching the necessary 70% of daily intake by consuming healthy fats such as olive oil, grass fed butter and coconut oil.
Nuts and avocados are great sources of healthy fat too, as well as helping you to reach all your nutritional needs.
Another popular way is to supplement with exogenous ketones.
These ketones will speed up the process for you when you are not seeing the results you want, when you need extra energy or when you want to see results more quickly.
MCT oil is another great supplement. The unique property of MCT’s is that they can be directly used for energy as they can be converted into ketones as soon as they reach the liver via your bloodstream.
They can also give you a quick boost of energy and focus as well as helping you to feel full for longer.
For in depth information about MCT oil read MCT oil for keto .
How do you know when you’re in ketosis?
Experienced keto dieters can often feel when they’re in ketosis.
However, if this is your first time you may want to make sure that you’re actually in ketosis, even if you are starting to lose weight and feel better.
Eating out, having a cheat meal and carb cycling will all make it harder to ensure that you’re in ketosis.
This is when it becomes beneficial for you to test your ketone levels.
There are three main ways to do this:
Many factors can influence your level of ketosis.
The sort of foods and the amounts that you have eaten. How active you have been, and if you have spent some time exercising or not.
Your stress levels and how well you have slept can also influence your ketone levels.
It’s often a good idea to test your ketone levels, especially if you are new to the keto diet.
More experienced keto dieters may want to discover how much wriggle room they have with their carbs, while staying in ketosis.
Very active people or athletes may find that they can substantially increase their daily carb limit and still get all the benefits of being in ketosis.
Anyone who is using keto to help or reverse a health condition will want to make sure they are in ketosis.
If you are using MCT oil or exogenous ketones, you will want to check how much of these to use to stay at your optimal level of ketosis and to make these products most beneficial for you
In these circumstances, you don’t want to be guessing if you’re in ketosis or not.
Blood/ketone measuring kits are by far the most accurate way of knowing your ketone levels.
The take home message
By maintaining a diet of 20g or less of net carbs you should be able to reach ketosis within a week.
There are factors which can influence your individual response to the keto diet.
Anywhere from a few days to a week or more would be considered a normal time in which to achieve ketosis.
You body type, exercise levels and previous eating patterns will all come together to determine exactly how long it will take you.
There are several things that you can do to help to speed things up.
- Be strict with your carb intake. Measure amounts, and track if necessary.
- Increase your level of activity, especially consider HIIT, but even walking more than normal will help.
- Be vigilant when eating out. Carbs are often hidden in sauces or drinks and will delay your success.
- Consider taking MCT oil or exogenous ketones to speed up ketosis and give you extra energy throughout the day.
- Test your ketone levels rather than guessing that you’re in ketosis.
By testing your ketone levels you will learn exactly how many carbs you as an individual can eat, taking into account your exercise level and your body type.
As long as you follow these guidelines, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be enjoying all the benefits of being in ketosis within a week of first starting the diet.
Ketosis is amazing for weight loss but it has many health benefits too.
It can reverse many existing conditions and help to prevent you from developing poor health in the future.
Once you’re in ketosis you will find you have extra energy and focus.
Your appetite will lessen and your moods will be more stable.
Both these things are due to the fact that your blood/glucose levels will be more stable.
You’ll soon be discovering why this has become the most popular diet and lifestyle ever.
If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas that you’ve personally found useful, please leave a comment below. These are always super useful.