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Last Updated on February 22, 2021

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:

  • Legumes - This includes beans, lentils, and even peanuts. These can be main food staples on a vegetarian diet, so plan accordingly if you won't be consuming meat while going keto. 
  • Grains - It's not a surprise that pasta is full of carbs and will quickly get you out of ketosis. Say goodbye to oatmeal and rice products as well.
  • Artificial, added, and natural sweeteners - Sugar is one of the things your body will readily process for energy instead of turning to and converting fat. Avoiding all sugars, including honey and natural fructose, can help keep your body burning efficiently in ketosis. This may be one of the more challenging dietary changes to make as you decide to go keto. Just know it will be worth it, and you'll no longer suffer the negative consequences of consuming sugar, like headaches, feeling jittery, and post-consumption crashes. 
  • Hidden sugars - Speaking of sugars, it's important to take a critical look at the ingredients in all of the items you consume. We don't always take into account our beverages when we're planning a diet, but it's especially important when setting up a keto diet. Sugary beverages and juices can keep you from entering and maintaining ketosis. A coffee drinker? Don't forget to count your daily additives when tracking your carb consumption, especially sweeteners or creams. And if you're into alcohol, remember that many contain grains and have hidden sugars, both of which can be detrimental to reaching and sustaining ketosis.
  • Filler foods - Embarking on any healthy lifestyle (whether losing weight is the ultimate goal or not) means saying goodbye to non-nutritious snack foods that don't fuel your body properly and lead to excess calorie consumption. A keto diet is no different. Toss any of those high carb favorites like pretzels and potato chips, swapping them out for healthy alternatives, and say hello to the accompanying ketosis diets weight loss. Remember, the foods that work well to keep you in ketosis will also leave you feeling less hungry. As a result, you may find you need fewer snacks to get yourself through the day. 
  • Low-fat dairy items - Again, the foods you choose while on a keto diet are more important than when you're on a diet that involves basic calorie counting. Don't be lured into advertising that suggests low-fat items are going to be an asset to you while on a keto diet. There's plenty of conflicting information out there about dairy products, in general, so take a good look at your net carbs and protein intake before committing to dairy while on your keto diet.
  • Starchy vegetables - If you've been looking for a diet that doesn't rely heavily on vegetables, you may have finally found the one for you with a low carb keto-friendly diet. Starchy vegetables are easily broken down and converted by the body, taking away the focus from processing protein, and kicking your body out of ketosis. Stay away from potatoes and corn and embrace low carb vegetable options instead.

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:

  • Low-carb vegetables - Some vegetables may be off the table, but there are still many you can enjoy while achieving a state of ketosis. Fan favorites include broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers. Zucchini, kale, and lettuce are also great options for vegetables that contain fewer carbohydrates. 
  • Avocados - Known for their health benefits, avocados are delicious and a welcome addition to a keto-friendly diet. High in "good" fat content and boasting a low carb count, an avocado is a great option to help keep your body in ketosis while providing the fuel you need to get through your day.
  • Coconut oil - Often overlooked, coconut oil is a great addition to a keto lifestyle. Unlike other foods, this oil is derived from coconuts (and touted for its many uses, from skincare, to cooking, to cleaning) contains a specific type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs are absorbed quickly and easily broken down into ketones, encouraging that state of ketosis you're after, and may actually help you reach ketosis more quickly.
  • Nuts - Peanuts may be out (they're actually in the legume family) but tree nuts are a staple in a keto-friendly diet. Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts can all be consumed without jeopardizing ketosis. Do keep an eye out on your net carbs, as some nuts contain more carbs than other varieties, and don't overestimate a serving size — it's often just a few nuts.
  • Meat - High in protein and rich in vitamin B, lean meats, and poultry are a great addition to your diet when you're looking to reach ketosis. Though processed meats are technically allowed while living a keto life, they aren't the healthiest options out there and often contain hidden additives that can set you back. Keep this in mind when putting together your shopping lists and reach for fresh meats, poultry, and fish whenever possible.
  • Eggs - Eggs are a great way to get in extra protein when limiting carbs. They can be prepared in a variety of different ways and added to many different meals for an extra boost of protein. They can even be eaten hard-boiled as a snack and are both affordable and readily available. As an added bonus, eggs actually trigger a hormone release that leaves you feeling fuller for longer while helping your body maintain an appropriate amount of blood sugar (3).

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.

How many grams of carbs will take you out of ketosis?

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).

What is the difference between net carbs and carbs?

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.

How long does it take to get into ketosis?

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.

Can you knock yourself out of ketosis?

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.

How do I get back into ketosis quickly?

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.

What is the keto flu?

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.

References

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/

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Hi, I'm Paul. Welcome to my website! I, along with my cronies, are leveraging our years of working in the food industry to review meal and drink delivery services. We review. You eat happily ever after.

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