If you've been looking for a healthy approach to losing weight that's more than just a diet, you may be venturing into a Keto lifestyle. Looking for a little more information on what ketosis is and how it impacts your body? You'll find the information you need to know about living keto, and whether or not it's for you, in this article.
Understanding the mechanics of ketosis will give you a better understanding of why certain foods are better than others and how your body will function when you consume those foods alone. Boiled down to its simplest form, ketosis happens when the body begins to convert and use fat as a source of energy. It's a natural metabolic state that happens only when the body doesn't have access to the glucose it usually prefers to use for energy (1).
Maintaining ketosis can be an effective weight-loss strategy while still leaving you feeling full and satisfied with fewer cravings. Those aren't the only benefits of moving into a keto lifestyle, though. Keto appropriate foods work to reduce inflammation and can lower the risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease (2). Another perk often attributed to keto foods? People find their mental clarity is better and they're sharp and ready to tackle their day.
Achieving weight loss with ketosis involves keeping close tabs on ketone levels and watching your intake of carbs closely. It can take a while to achieve effective ketosis, and it can take very little to knock your body out of the metabolic state. Here's what you need to know about staying in ketosis and how you can maintain a proper ketogenic diet.
Successful Weight Loss Ketosis
A successful keto diet can reduce brain fog and help keep your blood sugar levels where they need to be. Because ketosis involves changing your body's default mode from burning carbs to burning fat, monitoring carb intake and choosing foods with a higher fat content are crucial to a ketogenic diet.
Checking in on your ketone levels can be done using urine strips or a blood test. This will help you know if you're on the right track with your protein intake and carb count. Of course, detailed record-keeping of the foods you've consumed is critical to pulling off a keto diet. If it's a little too tedious for you to resort to carb counting, meal planning, and understanding which foods are generally good keto choices can help keep you in line.
Take a look at the best keto meal plans to make eating keto a little easier!
Knowing which foods to turn to when putting together a keto-friendly diet is important. Just as important, though, is knowing what foods will take you out of ketosis which will prevent you from achieving weight loss from ketosis, while also denying your body the added benefits that come with keto living. Many foods we traditionally think of as healthy can be high in carbs and low in protein, which will keep you from entering ketosis. So forget everything you think you know about losing weight when it comes to living a keto-friendly life.
A keto diet means going low carb and high fat. Don't worry about getting too much protein — chances are that won't be an issue. And if you don't eat meat? Keto living as a vegetarian can be accomplished as well, as long as you pay attention to the types of vegetables you're consuming and reach for high-protein items to keep you satiated and in ketosis.
As you rid your body of carb fuel and you enter a state of ketosis, you'll have the added benefit of feeling less hungry. As a result, you'll likely want to eat less and will see your weight goals accomplished even faster. As a general rule, plan on avoiding the following foods:
Once you know what foods to avoid, it's easier to identify which foods to reach for instead. While keeping track of your net carbs and protein intake is important (so you can know if you've truly reached and are maintaining ketosis) here are some foods that can be easily incorporated into a keto-friendly lifestyle:
Using Ketosis to Get the Results You Want: FAQ
Whether you're strictly looking to live a healthier lifestyle or you're ready to shed some unwanted pounds, altering your diet so you can reach and maintain ketosis can help you achieve your desired results. Wondering how long to get in ketosis or how quickly you can fall out of it? The answers to these frequently asked questions can help you get off to the right start on your keto journey.
Unfortunately, this diet is one you can't fudge your carb count on and cheating will only prevent you from seeing the real results keto can bring. Consuming more than 35 grams of total carbs, or 25 grams of net carbs, will keep your body from reaching a ketogenic state. To more quickly enter ketosis, be more restrictive with your carb intake and keep your net carbs to 20 grams (4).
When it comes to keto diets, not all carbs are created equal. When recipes or foods mention carb content, they're talking about every type of carb contained in the item or meal. Starches, glucose, and dietary fibers are all different types of carbs your food might contain, and your body will respond differently to those carbs.
Net carbs are more specific and are those carbs that the body can readily convert to glucose. Remember, if those carbs are there for the body to convert, your body will reach for those for energy instead of turning to the fat for a more efficient and productive burn. While the number of carbs you consume is important to keeping your keto lifestyle on track, it's those net carbs that make or break your success.
Every body is different, but most people get there after eating appropriately for two to four days. Don't be discouraged if it takes you a little longer to get to ketosis, though. Factors that will impact the length of time it takes you to get into ketosis include your daily carb, fat, and protein intake.
Your age and natural metabolism will also influence how long it takes you to get to ketosis and some people may find it takes up to a week to reach ketosis. Stick to your low-crab, high-fat keto appropriate foods and you will reach ketosis on your body's specific time table.
The short answer to this one is a resounding yes. You will likely fall out of a ketogenic state during your journey. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including hidden carbs you may not realize you're consuming, or a meal prepared by someone else while you're out at a restaurant. It could even be a simple miscalculation of a serving size or adding incorrectly. Your goal is to get to and remain in ketosis, so falling out of it just means you need to start eating keto appropriate foods and you'll be back in the zone in no time.
Your body will need to burn through the carbs it already has on board before you can successfully reenter ketosis. To speed things along, add in some coconut oil, reduce your carb consumption even further, and reach for foods that contain healthy fats. Fasting can also help you move more quickly back into ketosis. Increasing your activity level will also encourage your body to burn through the fuel it has.
Though it's often referred to as the keto flu and it may be unpleasant, these symptoms can be a sign that your body has entered ketosis. Generally appearing within a few days of starting a keto diet, the telltale signs of keto flu include headaches, fatigue, and brain fog. You may also experience some nausea and difficulty sleeping (5).
The cause isn't well understood, but there are plenty of theories out there, including that this may be a result of carb withdrawal, just like when you cut back on caffeine, or that your body is going through a detox period. It's important to note that not everyone will experience the keto flu and that it's not a longterm effect of living a keto lifestyle.
If you do suffer from these symptoms, you can make a few changes to lessen their severity. Up your water intake and take a break from strenuous exercise. Due to insulin changes that can accompany the dietary changes you're making, you may also be experiencing an electrolyte imbalance. Adding in some salt to your keto-approved meals can help alleviate the imbalance and provide relief from some of the symptoms. Finally, rest up with adequate sleep and make sure you haven't too severely restricted your caloric intake.
1. Publishing, H. (2020). Should you try the keto diet? - Harvard Health. Harvard Health. Retrieved 23 August 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet.
2. 15 Health Conditions That May Benefit From a Ketogenic Diet. Healthline. (2020). Retrieved 23 August 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-conditions-benefit-ketogenic-diet#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3.
3. Eggs for breakfast benefits those with diabetes: Low-carb breakfast improves control of blood glucose levels. ScienceDaily. (2020). Retrieved 23 August 2020, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190411101835.htm.
4. Stuffing Your Face on Thanksgiving Could Wreck Your Keto Diet. Men's Health. (2020). Retrieved 23 August 2020, from https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a25222842/keto-cheat-day/.
5. Masood W, Annamaraju P, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2020 Jun 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/